anyone still out there?
Holy crap I suck at this.
I have been a *wee* bit busy, between moving (I HAVE A NEW KITCHEN!!!), being pregnant and of course, my cute little munchkin, lil Z. :)
Lil' Z was born in early August and weighed in at a hefty 8lb15oz...and she's kept us hopping ever since.
Don't worry though...there's no way we're going hungry. In fact, I could probably have a football team move in here and we still wouldn't be going hungry. At the end of my pregnancy, I was so enormous that I ended up bombarded by twin/triplet inquiries at least once a day (I became somewhat of a recluse just to avoid people's jackassed comments). So everyone thought lil Z would come early.
I'm only 39 weeks and change in this pic (I almost went to 42 weeks):
I went off work.
I cooked copious amounts of food and froze it. Pic below is from one day of cooking. I was off almost a month before lil Z made her grand entrance.
I have an upright freezer, as well as the one on my fridge. Both were so jam-packed that my engineer hubs could no longer figure out any viable way of squeezing anything else in.
We were totally prepared.
Except for one problem.
I don't like frozen food.
And I like to cook.
So here we are, almost 8 weeks later...and the freezer is almost as full as it was to begin with...and I'm still cooking up a storm. :)
I've just been a real truant about writing anything about it. However, tonight's dinner was SO freaking good that it couldn't not be shared. Way in the back of my (enormous - YAHOOOOO!) pantry, there was a medium-sized tupperware container of a mystery grain. I remembered that I had purchased this grain a while back (like probably a year or two). Unfortunately, I didn't have the presence of mind to bother labelling it.
So the mystery grain sat, untouched, and totally unidentifiable. I couldn't cook it because I didn't know what it was.
Finally, today it occurred to me that the mystery grain might be quinoa. I dug up a trusty google image search and sure enough...the funny little grain was (likely...probably...i think?) quinoa. I didn't have any sort of exciting side dish planned for dinner, so I then set out to figure out a) how to cook it and b) how to serve it. This is what it looked like...it also feels really cool (yes, that is a handprint on top...I was inspired by Amélie's love of plunging her hands into a bin of grains...)
Cooking it is pretty easy. Boil for 15 minutes and then strain....but the straining turned out to be a little more complicated than anticipated because all of my strainers are far too coarse for such a little grain...I ended up using a towel to line the strainer...messy, but workable. I like quinoa. Hubs likes quinoa.
And we're both kicking ourselves that we didn't identify the mystery grain sooner. Quinoa is so insanely good for you - it makes almost every superfood list out there. It has loads of protein, fibre, potassium and all that good stuff and is lower in carbs than other grains too. Yum. Look for it again here soon.
Without further jibber jabber and rambles...this was dinner. It kicked ass and was about 45 minutes, start to finish.
Quinoa, Black Bean and Tomato Salad
Quinoa is a fast-cooking, protein-packed whole grain. Steamed, it makes a perfect partner for lime-spiked black beans and fresh tomato.
Makes 4 (main dish) servings.
2 teaspoons grated lime zest
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon brown or demerara sugar
1 cup quinoa, uncooked
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 medium tomatoes, diced
4 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (unfortunately, as happens all too often, my cilantro had liquified in frigo....so I just skipped this)
1. Whisk together lime zest and juice, butter, oil, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4teaspoon pepper in a large bowl.
2. Wash quinoa in 3 changes of cold water in a bowl, draining in a sieve each time.
3. Cook quinoa in a medium pot of boiling salted water (1 tablespoon salt for 2 quarts water), uncovered, until tender, about 15 minutes
4. Add quinoa to dressing and toss until dressing is absorbed, then stir in remaining ingredients and salt and pepper to taste.
Kickin' Chicken (shamelessly stolen from a book everyone should have, Eat, Shrink and Be Merry
12 chicken thighs
1 cup reduced-fat peanut sauce
2/3 c hot salsa
1/3 c fresh basil
1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray. Spread the chicken thighs in a single layer in the pan.
2. Mix together the peanut sauce (I like PC brand), salsa and the chopped, fresh basil.
3. Pour over chicken. Bake for 40ish minutes. Serve the chicken with the sauce.
It's insanely awesome and ridiculously easy. I was skeptical...but it's SO YUMMY. I think the sauce would also be good on pork or tofu. I served this with the quinoa salad and some steamed broccoli. Two thumbs up from me and two thumbs up from hubs. :)
It's quite the experience to be writing this as I hear my little baby cooing away in the background.... :) Thanks for reading, thanks for sticking with me...I'll be back soon!
Thursday, October 02, 2008
anyone still out there?