Saturday Small Talk

This is truly a glorious weekend. I’m on the east coast. Spending precious time with sweet friends. Friends that I don’t get to see often enough. Friends that I cherish. Glorious weekend, indeed.

I probably won’t get to it this weekend, but I love making eggs benedict. It’s not impossible, but it definitely is tricky. To make the process a bit easier, check out this tutorial for slow poaching eggs. Maybe you could make English muffin bread to go with your poached eggs!

If oats are more your thing, here’s a recipe for green monster overnight oats. Sneak in a serving of greens with your breakfast.

I have camping on the brain recently. It’s spring! The Art of Manliness has a great post about cooking over the campfire. In addition, check out these homemade marshmallows. They’re a thing. I intend to make them this summer. Many times.

Recently, I feel like I have more question marks in my life than I do answers. Jon Acuff wrote a great post entitled “A Map and a Plan.”

I discovered a lovely blog! Stone Soup. From the author: First of all Stonesoup is a blog about deliciousness. Food that tastes good and is also good for us. The fact that the majority of the recipes here contain 5 ingredients and can be made in minutes is a bonus.

I hope that your Saturday will prove to be lovely and joy-filled!

Don Miller wrote a great piece about Why Conflict in Life is Terrific. I’m totally not a conflict kind of person (who is?), but I get what he’s laying down.

March recap

The first few months of the year seem to go so fast. We’re already a quarter of the way through 2012! It’ll be summer (beach weather!) before we know it.

This month, I whittled my middle. Am I actually more toned? Not really sure. But I stuck with it! I went from a 30 second plank to a 70 second one. For that alone, I’m ridiculously proud. Adding 10 seconds a week didn’t feel like torture, and it added up over the course of the month.

I cooked! I made white chicken chili, meatballs, and quinoa. I even attempted chicken cacciatore.

I’m a running goddess. I finished the coach to 5k plan, and have run 3.1 miles twice thus far. Onward and upward!

I signed up for a sprint triathlon! I’m so excited. I have a little over two months to get ready for it.

I traveled more than I planned on this month. That’s always a good time! I spent a weekend in Iowa, and then the next weekend made a spontaneous trip to Michigan. Right now, I’m in Washington, DC. I love road trips!

Enjoy the last couple days of this fine month!

Quinoa Chili Salad

Let’s talk about quinoa (KEEN-wah), shall we? It’s pretty neat.

Some fast facts about quinoa:

  • It’s gluten free. It’s closer related to spinach than it is to any grain.
  • It is a complete protein: it has all 9 amino acids packed into each little seed.
  • It’s high in magnesium (good for heart health. helpful to counteract high blood pressure or high cholesterol)
  • Antioxidants! Quinoa is super high in them, so it will keep your red blood cells safe from free radicals that want to attack.
  • Any benefit that can get from eating whole grains, you will get from eating quinoa, only it’s gluten free.

Convinced yet? Aside from it being good for you, it’s super easy to make. You cook it much like rice or couscous (1 part quinoa, 2 cups liquid), but it cooks up in about 15 minutes. Any dish that you want to eat with rice, you can substitute quinoa.

Here’s a quick and tasty weeknight dinner to get you started on your love affair with quinoa. This is an easy dish to make ahead, as you can serve it hot or cold. It can be the main dish, or you can use it as a side.

Quinoa Chili Salad

Adapted from fANNEtastic Food

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup broth (veggie or chicken)
  • 1 cup kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small green pepper, diced
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Step 1: Prepare your quinoa. Combine 1 cup quinoa in 1 cup water and 1 cup broth. Boil, then reduce to a simmer until all the liquid is absorbed (12-15 minutes).

Step 2: While that’s happening, chop your veggies and mix them all up with the seasonings.

Step 3: Allow the quinoa to cool a little (it doesn’t need to be cold, you just don’t want it piping hot). Combine all ingredients with the quinoa in a large bowl.

Serve! You can eat this as a hot or a cold dish. As an entree, it will serve 3; however, as a side dish, it could easily serve up to 6.

I wanna know: Discovered any new-to-you, awesome foods recently?

 

Apple Pie: how to make a lattice top

So you want to make a pretty pie? A pie that you serenely pull out of the oven and place on your kitchen window sill, allowing the steam to waft peacefully over your perfectly manicured garden. The kind of pie that a mischievous neighbor boy would want to sneak off the windows sill and have all to himself. The kind of pie that you, in your heels and your apron, proudly serve your family after dinner. You know the kind of pie I’m talking about. It’s more art than food. It makes you think of a Norman Rockwell painting, in all its peace and perfection.

Let’s do it. Let’s make a perfect pie.

In order to make it happen, you will want to follow this recipe. Take it from me, this is one amazing apple pie recipe. Remember my theory about recipes that come from Grandma? It’s legit. And it doesn’t have to be your grandma, either. Anyone’s grandmother will do. They know their stuff.

First things first, make your pie dough. Then follow the recipe to make your filling. Read carefully! The filling gets set aside, and not dumped on the apples right away.

I deviated a bit and made one simple change: toss your sliced apples in cinnamon before you put them in the crust. Mmm….delicious.

Apple PieOnce your crust is rolled, and your apples are piled, you need a lattice top. It’s not complicated. You can do this. Roll out the second half of your pie dough, as though you were going to use it for a top. Cut the dough into strips, no wider than 1 inch.

Lay two of the shorter strips on two of the outside edges of the pie.

How easy is this? Now, see the strip that is going toward the upper right hand corner of the photo? We’re going to call that direction vertical. Flip it back over itself. Like so:

Now lay another horizontal strip of dough, parallel with its friend, leaving some space between them. Lay the vertical strap back down on the pie, and flip back the new horizontal strip.

Now it’s time for another vertical strip. Like you did the horizontal one, lay it next to it’s vertical friend, but leaving some space between. Return the horizontal strip to it’s original location. You starting to see a pattern here? It’s starting to look like pie!

Now things get fun. Next up is another horizontal strip. We need to flip some of the vertical ones back, but only the ones that are underneath the most recent horizontal strip.

Horizontal strip!

Now do the same thing for a new vertical strip. You’ll have to flip back two of the horizontal strips.

Same thing for the next horizontal strip:

Get it? Got it? Good! Keep going until the top is covered, and you’re satisfied with its beauty.

Dip a finger or two in some ice water, and “glue” the edge down. Use a fork to crimp the edges.

From here on out, follow the recipe. You won’t be sorry!

Forever and for always, this will be My Apple Pie Recipe. It will be making many an appearance at family reunions, celebratory dinners, and the occasional Tuesday night. Because sometimes, you just need a slice of pie. Even if it’s only Tuesday.

Saturday Small Talk

Well hello there! Let’s make breakfast. I highly recommend these carrot cake pancakes. It’s like dessert. For breakfast.

Slow never killed time. It’s the the rushing and racing, the trying to catch up, this is what kills time — ourselves. Why in the world do we keep wounding ourselves? -Ann Voskamp

In the book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, Donald Miller shares some stories of his friend, Bob Goff. Here’s an excerpt of his upcoming book Love Does: It’s the Journey that Makes the Coming Home Sweet.

A lovely, wise woman wrote about 5 secrets to a happy heart. Happiness is so simply complex, it’s mind boggling. And wonderful.

Kristen Armstrong regularly shares great perspective on time and family life and running. This week’s reminder: hold the ordinary close and tight.

If you could dedicate just 15 minutes of each day to one thing, you could see surprising results. Emily did!

Read (or written?) something interesting on the world wide web this week? Feel free to share!

Freezer Meal: Lasagna

When I was a kid, lasagna was my favorite meal. It was a rare treat when it showed up on the table, because it’s more time consuming than the average week night allowed. However, there was one day a year that I could count on it. My birthday. Each of us kids got to choose our birthday celebration dinner, and Mom would make us whatever we wanted. Within reason, of course. My pick, year in and year out: lasagna.

As I’ve mentioned before, you can freeze pretty much any pasta dish. All you have to do is under-cook the noodles slightly, and you’re golden. Lasagna is no exception!

Step #1: prepare your favorite lasagna. Don’t have a recipe? Check out this one, or head over to allrecipes.com for some suggestions. You need three basic ingredients:

  • hamburger, ground and browned. 1 lb per lasagna
  • sauce
  • ricotta cheese or cottage cheese
  • noodles, prepared.

Step #2: assemble your lasagna in a freezer safe, oven safe pan.

Step#3: cover with tin foil, and allow it to cool. Slide it in to a level spot in your freezer. Done and done!

Lasagnas are very easy to make in multiples. Making 1 lasagna for dinner? Might as well make two and freeze one of them.

On the day that you want to eat, take the lasagna out of the freezer in the morning and move it to the fridge for the rest of the day. When it’s time to cook, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and bake covered for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 or 15 minutes.

The bottom line: this takes almost NO hands on effort on the day you make it for dinner. Preheat oven. Cook. Serve. That’s all there is to it!

Interested in more freezer friendly meals? I found this post yesterday!

Happy weekend, all!