For Memorial Day, my friends and I barbecued at mMa’s house and we decided to try to keep it healthy since it is swimsuit season. Instead of mashed potatoes or potato salad, we made cauliflower faux potatoes. Oh my gosh, they were so good! I’m not going to lie, I was skeptical since potatoes are my thing and cauliflower is most definitely not even on my top 100 things, but these were amazing and super easy to make. All you do is boil cauliflower until it is basically mushy and then put it in the blender. Add butter, sour cream, salt, and pepper to taste and then serve. The only difference is the consistency but I swear you couldn’t even tell. We even served it to guys and they liked it! A big hit overall!
On another note, I just finished both On The Island by Tracey Garvis Graves and The Man of My Dreams by Curtis Sittenfeld and they were both really good. I saw On The Island on Kindle special for $2.99 so I jumped on it and while it is definitely not deep by any means, it is a really cute beach read. It also has a lot of twists that I didn’t see coming. As for The Man of My Dreams, I remember reading Prep by Sittenfeld a few years ago and really liked it so I gave this one a try. I think it is a great coming of age story and I saw a lot of parallels to my own life :). It also has a surprise ending and while I’m not sure I really loved the ending, it is definitely realistic. Another great beach read which reminds me, I really need to actually go to the beach and read soon!
Happy Friday! But more importantly, happy long weekend! Here are some inspirational quotes for your three day weekend. PS I took all of these from my Inspirational Thoughts Board on my Pinterest and there is a large variety from Bible verses to celebrity quotes.
I have always wanted to make quinoa for myself since I started seeing it all around in Boston. Sometimes they have it in our dining hall but usually I see it at work because the chef makes it for the kids all the time. It is super high in protein and is also gluten free and is a great “one dish dinner.” Since I am at home for the next month, I am cooking for me and my family. I wanted to ease them into the idea of eating quinoa so I started out with a delicious recipe: quinoa mac and cheese. I found the recipe on Pinterest but here is the blog that the recipe links back to if you want the original recipe. If you love quinoa or have never tried it but want to, this is a great starter recipe for you to try! The consistency comes out pretty close to cheesy grits because it is a casserole like dish. I also think this would be great for breakfast with some bacon (or lunch and dinner with bacon but who’s counting.) Anywho, recipe to follow:
Quinoa Mac and Cheese
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 med. leek white and pale green parts halved and sliced (omitted because I am allergic)
- 1/2 cup diced tomato or red/green pepper
- 1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
- pinch of salt
- big pinch of seasoning salt
- 2 cloves of minced garlic
- 3 cups of water of stock (chicken, vegetable)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup milk (I used skim but you can use whatever, soy, whole, cream)
- 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese with extra for the top (this is a lie, you need at least two cups if you want it to be cheesy)
- Optional- I added Panko breadcrumbs to the top but you can also add crushed red pepper or whatever your heart desires
- Heat oil in med. saucepan over med. heat. Add whatever vegetables you want (I used tomatoes but broccoli would definitely be good); cover and cook five minutes until tender. Stir in quinoa and garlic, and cook, UNCOVERED, 3-4 minutes or until the grains turn opaque but they will not even be close to being cooked all the way so don’t worry.
- Add 3 cups of water or stock and then add the salt and seasoning salt. Then cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until most liquid has been absorbed (this really took me like 25 or 30 but it depends on your stove, quinoa type, patience, etc.)
- Remove from heat and let stand five minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 and spray 13×9 pan. Whisk together eggs and milk in large bowl. Fold in quinoa and cheese (the mixture will be very soupy and you will get scared but it’s okay). Make sure you stir this a lot or you will have scrambled eggs and that’s gross. Stir until some of the cheese melts.
- Transfer to baking dish and add bread crumbs and cheese on top. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until browned around edges. (I found that if you add the bread crumbs half way through instead of at the beginning it works better).
I served it with a salad and grilled chicken. If you divide it into six servings, it is 339 calories per serving.
After a temporary break from blogging courtesy of my wireless which doesn’t work unless you gently coax and coddle it, I am back. I know people like to do a five things Friday or something like that but I feel like by Wednesday, I need to be reminded of the good things in life that will get me through until Friday.
1. Insurgent- I just finished the second book of the Divergent series by Veronica Roth and it definitely did not disappoint. I wrote about how the Divergent series will definitely be the next Hunger Games on The Prep Crew and so I will say it again here: If you loved The Hunger Games, you absolutely need to check this one out, it’s amazing!
2. Slutty Brownies- I need to amend this to say that I love and hate these with equal passion. Basically, you get a casserole dish and put a layer of cookie dough, a layer of Reese’s, Oreo’s, or whatever strikes your fancy, and then cover it in brownie mix. Bake these in the over on 350 and then stand over the pan eating them until you explode. Thank you, Pinterest!
3. Water sports- now that I am home for the summer I have either been at the beach or on the lake water-skiing. I love water sports and I always miss them when I am in Boston. Please excuse the obvious thumb in this picture.
4. Iced tea- apparently iced tea is just not something that New Englanders cherish like Southerners. I think that I have made and consumed at least five pitchers of Arnold Palmer’s since getting home with the help of my friends who drink it like it’s going out of style (you know who you are). It’s getting out of hand but I don’t see it changing anytime soon.
5. My rediscovered love for Target– I seriously struggle with not having a car at school but mostly because I cannot drive to go grocery shopping or go to Target. I have a sick obsession and it can’t be tamed, yes I just quoted Miley.
I have a newfound love of cooking and all kinds of new foods. Up until about this year, I have had the appetite of a picky toddler i.e. chicken fingers, green beans, and caesar salad mostly. Since I am trying to
force persuade myself to like salad, I made one with a whole lotta yummy things on top to improve the typical grass flavor of lettuce that makes me want to proj vom. My ultimate fave summer salad recipe is as follows: one bag of spring mix, a shitton of goat cheese (my fave food), pears, craisins, praline walnuts or almonds, and balsamic vinaigrette. This salad is strikingly similar to one that they make at CPK but there’s has Gorgonzola I think. You can definitely use that but any cheese with visible mold freaks me out hence the goat cheese. I use Marie’s brand because I am allergic to onion powder and onions and it is the only one that I have found that doesn’t have it but you can use whatever floats your boat. I love this salad for many reasons: 1) takes three seconds to make 2) stores well if you just leave the dressing off and 3) does not even remotely taste like grass. So for the summer, this is the perfect, easy dinner for two or twenty and it tastes amazing. Enjoy!
Now that it’s officially Summer for me, I am most definitely getting back to blogging. I will be spending half the Summer here in Florida and half the summer in Nantucket so I can’t wait to be blogging all about my adventures. For now, it’s Tampa and the good old desk job aka lots of time to fill my days with brainstorming awesome ideas for blogging. As for where I am now, I am still continuing my forty book challenge for the year and am on number eleven, Insurgent. This may not seem like a lot but trust me I get a lot of reading done at the office over the Summer. I have also been trying to cook a lot more so look forward to some yummy new recipes. As for the lack of pictures in today’s post, I’m working on a repair for the good old iPhone so get excited for some cracked out, fuzzy pics in the (hopefully very near) future. I am also trying to get back into running (laughs audibly). I cannot run for my life so we shall see how this pans out. Anywho, get excited for a summer full of Whales and Wayfarers, returning with a vengeance.