Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Healthy Vegetables over Quinoa

We are starting to see signs of summer here in Chicago. The weather teases you though, one day it will be beautiful and it makes you think summer has finally arrived! Then the next day it's gloomy, windy, and rainy. O well, I'm hanging in there and can't wait till it's consistently nice!

One of the warm, summery days we had got me in the mood to make a light and fresh summery meal. I have been making a lot of quinoa lately and am constantly trying to find new ways to incorporate it into a meal. This recipe is great for using up left over veggies in your fridge. It's light, fresh, and delicious. I didn't stick to this recipe exactly because I didn't have all the veggies it called for. Instead of green onions I used red onions, and for the vegetables I used red and green peppers, zucchini, and corn. So it really is full proof and you can throw in whatever you want! A tip: make a bunch of quinoa the beginning of the week, keep it in a tupperware in your fridge and then you can pull it out for a quick meal like this:)

Quinoa with Veggies


* 1 cup quinoa
* 3 cups water
* 1 pinch salt
* 3 tablespoons olive oil
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 red bell pepper, chopped
* 1/2 cup corn kernels
* 1/2 teaspoon cumin
* 1 teaspoon dried oregano
* salt and pepper to taste
* 2 green onions, chopped


1. Bring the quinoa, water, and 1 pinch of salt to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender, about 20 minutes. Once done, drain a mesh strainer, and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the garlic, and cook until the garlic softens and the aroma mellows, about 2 minutes. Add the red pepper, and corn; continue cooking until the pepper softens, about 5 minutes. Season with cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper, and cook for 1 minute more, then stir in the cooked quinoa and green onions. Serve hot or cold.

Monday, May 16, 2011

New Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe-Seriously

So I guess yesterday was National Chocolate Chip Day-without even knowing this I got the urge to make some chocolate chip cookies. It must have been some sort of inspiration:) I wanted to try a new recipe though. I've had some coconut oil for a while and haven't used much of it yet, so I searched for chocolate chip cookies made with coconut oil. I found a winner! Seriously, these cookies turned out so yummy I really think they will be my go to chocolate chip cookie from now on. Now, for those of you who know me you know how big of a deal that is because I swear by my cookie recipe and am very faithful to it. I like how easy these cookies are to make, and I also love that they are made with a good fat-coconut oil. I've always hated that the chocolate chip cookie recipe I use calls for shortening. I always try not to use any shortening in my baking. So now I think I have a win win-a cookie recipe that's just as good as my old recipe and is better for you!

The coconut oil I used was Nutiva extra virgin organic. It has a mild coconut flavor which I LOVED for these cookies. Some coconut oil has no flavor which is what I like to use for sauteing, but this coconut oil is great for baking if you like a little coconut flavor. If you want to learn about the health benefits of coconut oil go here. The texture of these cookies were soft, chewy, and gooey. The key I found is to take them out when they look pretty under done. They harden up pretty quickly. I got three batches of 6 larger cookies and the batch that turned out the best was the one where I baked it for 9 1/2 minutes. But everyone's oven is different so you may need to find out what works best for you:)
Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
from Cheeky Kitchen

1/2 cup coconut oil
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspon baking soda
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 3/4 cup flour
8 ounces mini chocolate chips
8 ounces large chocolate chips

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together coconut oil, eggs, and brown sugar until very well mixed. Add remaining ingredients, mixing together until all are incorporated. Roll into massive balls (I made my cookies from 3 tablespoons of dough. That’s just how I roll.) and place 6 on a cookie sheet. Bake in an oven preheated to 400 degrees for 9-11 minutes, or just until the outside of the cookies have browned ever so slightly around the edges. Remove, cool slightly, devour.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Someones birthday is coming up:)

So tomorrow is Eleni's birthday. I can't believe it! I have been flooded with so many emotions this past week. I've been thinking a lot about this past year. First of all I can't believe it's already been a year. I've been thinking about the ups and downs. The countless hours Micah and I spent pacing the floors with Eleni during her colicky days, and then my mom and dad coming to the rescue when I was spent and taking a turn to hold Eleni. Finally at about 5 1/2 months Eleni getting over her colic, I was so happy for her that she wasn't in pain anymore and she became such a happy baby. I think about her little quircky ways, some things she doesn't do anymore and some things she still does. Like her crazy, twisting hands (those of you who know my baby know what I'm talking about;) ) These memories make me so emotional. I'm not sad that my baby isn't staying a baby. I'm actually really excited to see her grow and to see her at new stages. Maybe some of my sadness comes from not having family around to help me celebrate her birth. I wish so bad they were by me right now!

But on a more positive note:) I'm so excited for the little party I am planning for Eleni! Even though her birthday is tomorrow, the party will be Saturday. I can't wait to share with you the pictures from her little party. I can't wait to see what Eleni does when I give her her little cake. I wonder if she will go right at it or be a little tentative. I can see it going both ways:)

I can't believe she used to be this small!
O how I love my little Leni, leni pie, lenard, lens, lenners, lenekins. She has kept this year busy, not a dull moment. Micah and I both feel so blessed to have received such a sweet little spirit...well a sweet and spicy spirit:) I love our little family. I couldn't imagine doing anything else right now with my life other than being a mom. It's so rewarding. Greatest joy I have ever felt.

A personal blog is in the works, so I don't have to keep mixing personal life and cooking:) Sorry for those who come to this blog expecting a recipe and instead you get a long post about my baby girl:) It will happen-soon:)