Wednesday, June 29, 2011

quinoa with chicken sausage & veggies

last night for dinner, i was in the mood for something simple and fresh.  i had some zucchini and onion, found some quinoa (say keen-wa) in the pantry and took out some sundried tomato chicken sausage to defrost.

here's what you'll need (but feel free to improvise and use what you have handy)
serves 2

1/2 large zucchini
1/2 large onion
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
5 oz chicken sausage (links)
garden greens
red curry
fresh rosemary
olive oil
salt & pepper

1. saute veggies in a bit of olive oil until golden brown.  season with salt & pepper.

2. bring 2 cups water to a boil in a medium pot.  add a few dashes of red curry.  add quinoa to boiling water, stir and reduce to simmer.  cook for 20 minutes or until water is absorb.

3. set veggies aside.  prep pan for chicken sausage by adding a bit of olive oil.  over medium heat, sear the chicken sausage on both sides to create a nicely browned crust.  add 1/4 cup water  to pan and cover.  allow sausage to continue cooking until cooked through (5+ minutes).

4. while chicken cooks, defrost peas in microwave.

5. once chicken is done, slice it into coins and toss it with veggies (zucchini, onion, peas) and rosemary.

when all is ready, serve quinoa topped with chicken sausage and veggies over a bed of garden greens. 

we topped ours with fresh tomato sauce and a bit of sharp provolone to add some zing!

other combos to consider:
- use a red pepper sausage and top with salsa and sour cream
- use an italian sausage and top with grated parmesan, herbs and olive oil
- try other veggies - peppers, carrots, shallots, broccoli, the sky's the limit!

bon appetit!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

wild fires

when craig and i went down to north carolina last week, we flew over wild fires.  at 10:30pm at night, as we were beginning our descent into wilmington, we gazed out the window and were confused by what we saw.  patches of fiery orange amongst the trees.  we speculated about what it might be.  craig suggested wild fires.

credit {here}

when we landed, we found out that a few hours north, there were indeed wild fires, and the smoke was being blown down the coast to where we were staying on oak island.

while meditating at the end of yoga class today, i remembered the wild fires and a thought struck me.  from that great distance above, they were not threatening or ferocious or hot.  they were mystifying...almost beautiful.

had we been on the ground anywhere near them, it would have been all-consuming.  heat and fear.  terrifying.  yet, from above, they looked rather small, contained & manageable.  not that scary at all.

credit {here}

it made me consider other "wild fires" in my life.  problems, events or thoughts that appear all-consuming and terrifying, yet, given a new perspective, diminish into a small patch of glowing orange. 

what wild fires can you rise above today?

Monday, June 27, 2011

NC: round one

craig and i just got back from a lovely whirlwind trip to north carolina.  we flew down late tuesday night and flew back home saturday.  craig's aunt and (maternal) grandmother live in nc, and the rest of us (craig's parents, sister & her beau, his two aunts and their families) traveled down for a week at the beach.

we stayed on oak island.  it's about as far south as you can go in nc, before going into south carolina.  we had good weather - though it was a bit hot and humid and (unfortunately) we both came home with sunburn despite reapplying diligently.  the sun down there is hotter than at the jersey shore i guess.  (too bad i didn't bring more sparkle : )

i led yoga on a beach one morning which was a welcome change from studio classes, and craig spent much of his time ocean kayaking.

craig in southport, nc

wednesday found me and the ladies at david's bridal for mother-of-the-groom dress shopping.  we found a few great contenders.  (did you know that david's bridal now carries vera wang bridesmaids' dresses??!!)

ladies' lunch
and craig and i ended our week with a trip to a local ice cream parlor.  it was just too charming to resist!  the homemade scoops i opted for?  trash can.  yes, the ice cream i ordered was called "trash can".  vanilla with cookie dough, caramel swirl, cake batter, brownie bits, fudge, and...i can't remember the rest! in a divine homemade waffle cone dipped in chocolate.

on a funny note, we'll soon be leaving for nc: round two.  we're heading back down to corolla, nc for a trip with all my cousins.  it's gonna be a fun time for sure!

summer sipping:  barefoot wine's pinot grigio

this light, crisp wine is truly a bargain.  craig's sister & i enjoyed more than our fair share of a 1.5L bottle this past thursday.  (it goes down a bit too easily...).  it's great with grilled chicken or seafood.  make sure to serve it (very) chilled.  need more incentive to enjoy delicious (inexpensive) wine?  barefoot is committed to green initiatives and organizes beach cleanups to keep shorelines "barefoot friendly".  very cool.

how's summer treating you so far?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

stacking bowls - simply green

you all know i'm a big fan of overnight oats {recipe here}.  i prep them the night before and am greeted with a delicious, wholesome breakfast waiting in my fridge each morning.  the only thing i didn't like about my overnight oats routine was the amount of foil i was regularly using to over my breakfast bowl.  in a moment of (mini) inspiration, i grabbed a small plate from the cabinet and used it to cover my oats - instead of using foil.  brilliant!

overnight oats
not only does it greatly diminish the amount of foil i use, it also allows me to stack bowls, which is very convenient if craig wants some morning oats, too.

now, don't feel you can only use this method for oats - it would work great as a replacement for any foil or tupperware situation.  leftovers, cut fruit or berries, you name it!  i'm loving this simply green solution : )

how are you simply green?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

eco-bags - simply green

ok, so i imagine most of you do this already, but i'm always surprised when i go to the grocery store, and people are still packing in plastic...or paper.

green bags

green bags.  my green bags hang in the coat closet - all tucked inside one bag which is the biggest.  when it's shopping day, my bags go with me, along with my list.  it's second nature now.

if you have trouble remembering (we've all been there), leave them in your car, so you always have them with you.

tres chic, non?!

my "green" bags are a rag-tag collection from various places.  i have a few very lovely ones which were gifts (those are my faves) and others were collected from businesses, giveaways, etc.  if you're not doing the eco-bag thing yet, i encourage you to give it a try.  purchase a few that you like and leave them in a convenient place - they're sturdier than plastic and are useful beyond the grocery store : ) 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

cloth napkins - simply green

i thought it could be fun to do a theme this week.  simply green.  i totally support "going green" as much as possible.  that said, it's not always easy or convenient to make the eco-friendly choice.  over the next few days, i'll share some simple things i do to embrace being simply fabulous...i mean, simply green : )

cloth napkins.  growing up we always used cloth napkins.  my mom started collecting them when she was in her twenties, and by the time my sister and i came along, there was a whole color-coordinated drawer-full.  at the time, i honestly didn't realize that other people did any differently.

cloth napkins
now, craig and i have begun our own cloth collection.  we 2 sets from the south of france, bought in the city of arles, startched white from our friends as a house-warming gift and an embroidered set with the initial "M" for once i become a mrs. in november.

replacing paper napkins with cloth is a simple, elegant and fun way to go-green, express your style and make dinner feel just a bit more special.  plus, over time it saves a lot of money, too!

tea cloth

be sure to check out my guest post (about paris!) over at
erica's blog, pocket full of chuckles.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

happy birthday, dad : )

in honor of my dad's birthday and also the first day of summer, i wanted to share a poem i have grown to love.  (my favorite part is italicized : )

summer field
the summer day

who made the world?
who made the swan, and the black bear?
who made the grasshopper?
this grasshopper, i mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
i don't know exactly what a prayer is.
i do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what i have been doing all day.
tell me, what else should i have done?
doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

-mary oliver

i think her balance of observations and questions is so poignant in this particular poem.  each time i read it, it surprises me with its eloquence and simplicity.  so, today i ask you, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

Monday, June 20, 2011

congratulations, cate & chad!

this past saturday was one of my best friend's weddings.  cate grew up across the street from me, and we've been friends for over 20 years now!

the festivities began on friday.  i was lucky enough to have the bride-to-be all to myself for part of the day.  we dropped off items at the rehearsal dinner restaurant, vine & fig tree bistro, in doylestown and then grabbed some delicious, gourmet pizza at jule's thin crust.

after that, we met up with her mom for a mani-pedi appointment.  fire engine red on my toes, french on my hands.  the bride opted for french on both : )

cate & chad enjoying pre-rehearsal cocktails at bobby simone's
friday night we ran through the ceremony at the mercer museum and then enjoyed al fresco hors d'oeuvres at the rehearsal dinner before sitting down to a fabulous garden-fresh meal.

saturday morning began bright and early with an 8:15am meeting of the bridesmaids at cate's parents' house.  we then drove to the salon for hair & makeup.  it's a good thing we got an early start because by the time we all got back to cate's parents' for lunch and to get dressed it was almost 1pm.  (they say the time before your wedding flies, and this really proved it!) 

the bride getting her hair done

me in mirror, post-hair up-do
the bride getting her makeup done
following a delicious lunch of roasted veggie wraps and tomato, pesto, mozzarella paninis, we got into our apple red satin dresses and toasted the bride after she got into her gorgeous gown.  her mom presented her with a lovely surprise gift from the groom - a delicate diamond necklace - which completed her ensemble (red shoes and all) just perfectly.

cate's red shoes, surrounded by the bridemaids' shoes

her dress!!!
pictures around the property were followed by a short ride to the ceremony & reception location - the mercer museum in doylestown, pa.  pictures and prepping filled what little time remained before their 4:30pm ceremony.  (did i mention the day was spectacularly gorgeous weather-wise.  they truly lucked out for their lovely outdoor ceremony.)

bridesmaids before the ceremony
when the harpist was cued, it was hard to believe it was already time to begin.  walking down the grassy aisle, my shoe stuck just once, and the bride glided down effortlessly with a beaming smile.

the words and readings they chose for their ceremony were just perfect.  it reflected them and communicated their thoughts on love and marriage, family, friends and community eloquently.  before we knew it, they were pronounced "husband & wife", and it was time for the party to begin.

the happy couple
megan s, megan h, me, erin
cocktail hour was held in a lovely tent just outside the double doors of the elkins gallery where the sit-down dinner and dancing was to be held.  the passed hors d'oeuvres were delicious, and i sipped my prosecco with fresh berries with a smile.

my sister, hannah & me

me & craig
after another round of pictures, cocktail hour drew to a close, and it was time to be announced into the ceremony.  after dancing in with my groomsman escort, i took my seat beside craig and my fellow bridesmaids to watch the first dance.  they surprised us all with a choreographed routine to michael buble.

first dance
following cate's dad's speech, it was time for me to toast the bride and groom.  i thought i would be able to hold it together, but my voice caught as i recounted our 20+ years of friendship, reading a passage from a letter i wrote to cate almost 10 years ago when she was going to college.

toasts were followed by dinner - a duet of lump crab cake and marinated chicken accompanied by roasted potatoes and green beans.  the food was delicious and by the time we watched the cake cutting, everyone was ready to dance!  and dance we did!

my sister, hannah, was a force to be reckoned with on the dance floor.  her inspired moves put us all to shame and honestly i just laughed & danced for hours...and hours...  it was a blast!

before we knew it, 10:30pm was drawing near, and we boarded the shuttle back to the hotel to change for the after party.

the newly weds at the after party
an intimate group gathered at t.j. smith's for drinks and snacks.  the bartender took good care of us and i can't even remember how many drinks and shots were ordered.  luckily, it was just a short walk back to the hotel for a good night's rest.

sunday found us back at cate's parents' for a fabulous post-wedding brunch.  the spread was phenomenal.  4 kinds of egg strata, smoked salmon, homemade muffins, mixed greens with cherry tomatoes, sticky buns (made from scratch), mimosas and more!  it was the perfect cap to a perfect weekend.  and the new mr. & mrs. couldn't have looked happier : )

Friday, June 17, 2011

divine cookies

ok, so typically i post healthy, wholesome recipes.  but you'll remember,  that my food philosophy is eat nutritious, natural foods 80% (or more) of the time and leave yourself 20% of wiggle room...

well, this post is about to consume all 20% of that wiggle room.  a month back, we visited friends in nyc, and they introduced us to levain bakery.  this whole-in-the-wall establishment on west 74th makes the most divine cookies i've ever, ever, ever eaten.

i searched the internet for the recipe, but (for good reason), they have it well protected.  but, i did stumble across a few copycat recipes and decided to try the most promising.  hello!  they weren't levain bakery good, but they were damn-near close.

so, here's the scoop
makes 10-12 cookies

preheat oven to 390 (yes, 390...)

1 c. butter (2 sticks)
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
2 eggs

cream all above ingredients until fluffy

2 c. flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
pinch of salt
1 tsp cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
1 tbsp. cornstarch

mix all ingredients until incorporated and a thick, creamy dough is created.

then mix in:
2 cups of oats

then i split the dough into equal parts.  and added separate mix-ins to each.

one 1/2 got 1 cup chocolate chips
the other 1/2 got 1 cup raisins

mix thoroughly and then pour onto countertop and knead dough to completely mix dough (this tip evidently comes from the levain ladies, themselves ; )

gently pull lemon-sized hunks of dough. be sure to keep the dough loose and airy and place the mounds on 2 cookie sheets.  you should get 10-12 cookies total.  (they are huge.)

bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating sheets once, until cookies are lightly browned around the edges.  (this recipe was adapted from cheeky kitchen's copycat cookie.)

then...come to mama!  enjoy!

on a different note, this weekend is my friend, cate's, wedding!  we've known each other for over 20 years, and i am super excited to celebrate with her tomorrow!  (i'll be posting pictures next week.)

what are you up to this weekend?  want a cookie?
Related Posts with Thumbnails