Archive for May, 2010

Summer Quinoa Salad

Today we have been invited to an impromptu barbeque and as always it is up to me to bring my own main course.  This is fine, actually preferred.  However, today I am not in the mood for a veggie burger or hot dog.  In reality  I could go for a hot dog but I only like Morningstar Farms brand and I can’t seem to find them lately.  I will have to find out if they’ve been discontinued or not.  Does anyone know?

Back to tonights dinner.  I decided to throw (literally) together a quinoa salad for my main course but made enough to share. This way others can try it as a side dish and see that eating veg isn’t some kind of self punishment.  The only time requirement for this recipe is the 20 or so minutes it takes to cook the quinoa and corn on the cobb.

Ingredients

1 Cup uncooked Quinoa

2 Ears of corn boiled or grilled (or similar amount frozen and thawed)

3 Plum tomato’s chopped

1 Small onion diced

1 Can black beans rinsed and drained

1 Lemon zested and juiced

Approximately 1/4 cup olive oil

Salt, pepper, cumin to taste

A few sprigs of thyme, fresh basil and 2 lemon balm leaves if available

Directions

Place quinoa and 2 cups of water in a small saucepan and bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes

Cut corn from husks and add to cooked quinoa

Add diced tomato and onion as well and black beans

Add olive oil, lemon juice and zest

Chop fresh herbs and add, then salt and pepper to taste

Chill in fridge for a couple of hours prior to serving

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Memorial Day Poem

memorial_day_00fgh6bupo3aa.gif image revmyspace2

Peace will come when people live
In friendship, side by side,
And cherish understanding
More than hatred, greed and pride.

Peace will come when people see
All people as the same,
And no one has to live in fear,
In ignorance, or shame.

Peace will come when people
Who are needy can reach out
For shelter, food, or love,
And no has to do without.

Peace will come when people
Learn to listen and to care
About the rights and dignity
Of people everywhere.

Peace will come when love and trust
And kindness know rebirth,
And on that day all people
Will rejoice in peace on earth.   Amanda Bradley

Thanks to all who have served… Lin

School lunches & plastic wrap

I have become a regular follower of Mrs Q’s fedupwithschoollunch blog and find it very interesting.  School lunches are barely recognizable compared to the hot lunches I ate as a kid throughout the 1970’s.  Several guest bloggers have shown the difference between school lunches in the USA and other countries throughout the world.  I read those posts and wonder how this supposedly advanced country of ours is comfortable serving our kids such absolute crap and then having little to no problem with the majority of these lunches are tossed in the garbage.  But this isn’t even my real issue.

My concern is that the new style of hot lunches seems to be doled out in individual sized servings all wrapped in plastic.  Heating food in plastic wrap can leak toxins into our children’s food.  I realize that this is somehow considered controversial that some articles say plastic absolutely contain toxins others say that’s not true, but really do we want to take these chances with our children’s health and well being?  I am glad that the subject of school lunches is getting so much attention and that there seems to be a momentum working towards fixing this issue within our schools.  I just hope that while they are working towards healthier food options they also recognize the need for a healthier means of preparing that food.  Who knows how many years these toxins will sit in our children’s bodies before they show themselves in the form of cancer or some other disease?  Am I the only person that’s bothered by this?  I find it hard to believe but I can’t really find anything demonstrating this concern.

Fresh Tomato Sauce

We arrived home from vacation after a ridiculously long drive.  It’s good to be home but there is quite a bit of post vacation work to be done.  A day of relaxation was not to be had, at least today anyway.  There was the usual laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping as well as helping my son finish his preparations for his trip to Europe.  He’s leaving Monday and I was really happy to help him complete his shopping and just enjoyed time spent with him.  We had lunch at Acropolis, a favorite of ours.  I had a grape salad that I believe is my new favorite salad.  It has spinach leaves, grapes (of course!) gorgonzola, walnuts and other veggies with a delicious home made dressing.  After a week of eating poorly I really enjoyed it.

With such a busy day, dinner needed to be quick and easy.  My husband suggested an old standby Fresh Tomato Sauce which is a chopped fresh tomato sauce served raw.  My husband likes this topped with some grilled or boiled shrimp and I like it plain or possibly with some grilled corn or chick peas mixed in.  I make it a couple of hours prior to eating and let it just sit on the counter until dinner.  The flavors get a chance to meld together which is all it needs.  There have been times when I’ve added it to a saute pan for just a few minutes to slightly warm it on a cool evening.  The recipe itself has no exact measurements and is based upon an average appetite.  Feel free to add or subtract any ingredient to your personal liking.

Ingredients

3 average sized roma tomato’s per person chopped

Chopped vidalia or red onion

Garlic- less if raw, more if roasted, either way to your taste

Fresh herbs such as thyme and basil just a little rosemary

Salt and pepper

Olive oil- enough to come to the top of the chopped tomato’s in a bowl but not to drown them

A little red or white wine vinegar, again to taste

Any choice of pasta, I prefer think spaghetti with this

Bread crumbs or parmesan cheese to top if desired

possible add ins: roasted corn, walnuts, pine nuts, chickpeas, white beans

Directions

Chop tomato’s place in bowl, finely chop onion and garlic add to tomato.  Chop fresh herbs and add to bowl with seasoning and liquid ingredients.  Stir well and sit on counter for a couple of hours stirring occasionally.  Cook pasta according to directions, drain and serve topped with sauce

Great Smoky Mountains

So tonight is our last night of camping in our rented 5th wheel.  Overall it’s been really fun vacation.  My hubby and I have really enjoyed each other’s company and have gone outside our usual comfort zones.  We’ve hiked many trails within the Smoky Mountain National Park.  There are many great scenic drives and destinations.  We saw some great wildlife including the bear in the picture above.  The bear really was as close as it looks.  It was a young cub but no baby.  Sitting above us in a tree that looked far too weak to hold it’s weight, the bear did not seem bothered at all.  It was happily munching on leaves or berries while a group of us below were snapping pictures hoping the branch would hold!

After that experience we drove through rural towns such as Townsend and Wear Valley where we found some interesting antique stores as well as a local wood carver.  The carver had just finished carving a beautiful bear and his wife was just starting to stain it.  I fell in love and foolishly asked the price.  It was only slightly out of my budget so today we found our way back to their location with cash in hand.  He will serve as an adorable reminder of our vacation.  I’m sure our dogs will find him quite intriguing.  Driving back we drove past Walden Rd and then somehow crossed Walden Creek at least 3 times.  It seemed a sign that his name should be Walden.  Also, every other name my husband came up with was just plain awful!

As for my fears of being a vegetarian up in the mountains, they were well founded.  First of all, while the scenery is gorgeous, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are basically tourist traps, something I usually avoid.  With that said, our first night we ate at Jose’s Cantina which was typical overly heavy mexican food but I did manage to order and enjoy enchilada’s florentine.  We did a bit of cooking in the camper and on the grill which I enjoyed.  One evening I decided to have mercy on my husband and offered to go to Alamo Steakhouse which boasted a “veggie plate.”  In reality this was a side salad with 3 side dishes for $13!  After our server asked for the 3rd time if I wanted cheese on my broccoli for protein I not so nicely explained to her that ounce for ounce broccoli has the same amount of protein as steak.  Well she looked surprised and bothered by me.  The mushrooms and onions were my 2nd choice of side which after eating a few bites I realized had beef broth in them.  It’s been awhile since I’ve tasted beef anything.  Good news is that the sweet potato was very good as was the salad with homemade poppy dressing.  Lunch today was in a cafe inside a country store where I had a grilled swiss and tomato and some baked steak fries.  It was actually quite good.  I can’t imagine how I would have managed if I were vegan.

Vacation!

I’ll be off to Gatlinburg Tn early Saturday morning.  My hubby and I will be renting a 5th wheel and staying at a campground at the base of the Smokey Mountains.  It is our goal to one day own a 5th wheel and travel the country.  I am very interested in seeing how the RV lifestyle fits in with being a vegetarian.  I have done some online research and have found some cafe’s and restaurants that shoul be able to accomodate me.  Also working in customer service, I spoke to a customer who owns both a pub with a vegetarian restaurant  above it in Asheville NC!  We were considering Asheville as a day trip and after viewing the online menu’s I absolutely want to go.  I can’t find the link for the veg location but the pub also has a few interesting veg options.  Here’s the link:  http://www.jackofthewood.com/menu.htm

While I love eating out, I am also very interested to see how different it is to cook in an RV’s miniature kitchen.  Hopefully some new foods will inspire me to invent a new recipe worthy of posting.  I am bringing a few basic staples with me and plan to buy and consume local foods as much as possible.  I see no point in going somewhere new and sticking to the same routines, foods, restaurants, etc that you would be utilizing at home.  Now I just have to make it through one more work day, pack my stuff (yes, I’m procrastinating) and head out!

Black Bean Corn Salad

I hope someone is still reading this.  I apologize for the time span between posts.  My family life has been kind of hectic and I’ve either been eating take out or cooking the same old recipes over and over again.  I need to plan more time in the kitchen as it really helps me recharge myself.  Yesterday being Mother’s Day meant I had my family over and did some simple cooking.  Chipolte veggie burgers for my son and I, burgers and hot dogs for the rest.  I am very upset at not being able to find Morningstar Hotdogs lately.  They are the only veggie dogs I like, however I am open to recommendations for another brand if you have a favorite.  I’m digressing as usual.  Here is an easy recipe for a favorite side dish of mine.  I can easily eat it as a main dish over a little brown rice or quinoa.

Salad ingredients

1 can black beans rinsed and drained

1 pint cherry tomato’s quartered

4 ears of corn cooked (I prefer on the grill)

Dressing Ingredients

zest of 1 large or 2 small limes

1/3 cup lime juice

1/4 cup agave nectar

1/4 cup olive oil

salt pepper

1-2 teaspoons chopped cilantro or coriander (I use Vietnamese Coriander, it’s easier to grow)

In a bowl combine all 3 salad ingredients

In a separate bowl combine the dressing ingredients whisking well and seasoning to taste

Combine salad and dressing and refrigerate for a couple of hours