Mexican(ish) Quinoa

Whle in Yakima, (my high school hometown, not to be confused with Walla Walla, where my heart to resides and I consider my true hometown), I attempted to post a few times, but my parents live out of town, to the point where the only Internet available is via satellite. And before you start humming yourself a little Dave Matthews,

I’ll have you know you cannot watch that youtube video at an acceptable speed out at my parents house.

So instead of boo hooing about the fact that I couldn’t update y’all on my super-exciting life, I took a blogging break. I didn’t even read blogs.

Ok, that isn’t entirely true. I did read some of my favorites, and got shamelessly addicted to a new one. My friend, Mandy, tipped me off to The Bloggess, via the now-viral Pick Your Battles post.

I laughed. I cried. I wanted to leave a giant chicken on my own front porch. And I know I’ll be purchasing the greeting card for a friend or two.

While in town, my mom asked me to show her how to make quinoa. She purchased a bag years ago, and let it sit on the shelf, assuming some day she would run across a recipe calling for quinoa. She never did, and eventually threw the bag out. Saturday was her lucky day. I whipped up some of my favorite sauce to marinade our chicken, and set to work on a Mexican(ish) quinoa salad. This recipe isn’t much different than any other quinoa salad I’ve made before, but it is very tasty, and therefore must be shared.

Mexican(ish) Quinoa Salad

Salad Ingredients
1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
2 cups chicken broth  (or water)
1 can black beans, rinsed/drained
2 oz cojita cheese, crumbled
½ red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, diced
½ sweet onion, diced
10 grape tomatoes, halved
½ bunch cilantro, stems removed
1 ½ avocado, diced

Dressing Ingredients
Juice of one lime
3 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp chili powder
2 TBS stone ground mustard
3 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Bring chicken broth, or water, to a boil. Add rinsed quinoa and reduce to simmer, 15 minutes. Remove from heat, place lid on pot, and let sit for 5 minutes. Place cooked quinoa in a bowl and place in fridge to cool.

Meanwhile, mix black beans, cojita cheese, onion, bell pepper, tomatoes and cilantro in a large bowl. In a small bowl, wisk together all sauce ingredients. When quinoa is cooled, add all ingredients together, mixing in diced avocado at the end (to prevent browning).

Enjoy as a side dish to chicken or fish, or as a vegetarian entree.

Traveling to Yakima, WIAW style

While in Yakima, I sun bathed,

and burned myself.

I also enjoyed lots of delicious food. I’m going rogue for WIAW this week, offering up a travel edition, yet again. Only this time I didn’t document everything I ate, as four and a half days of eats was way too much to put in one post. Would you continue reading? Yeah, I wouldn’t either.

When I was in high school there were only 4 options for dining out: Red Robin, Olive Garden, Zesta Cucina, and Mexican food, (including tons of taco trucks). Applebee’s didn’t show up to the dining scene until I was in college. It was insanely exciting.

I’m happy to report that Yakima now has a lot more to offer these days. When I arrived Friday evening, my family and I hit up the new(ish) restaurant Creekside West.
You know you’re in Yakima when the entry way is lined with wine and the wine booklet is so thick the grommets holding it together fall off…

We split an order of sweet potato fries to start, which were served with an amazing aioli concoction: garlic and saffron. Mmmmhmmmm

My dad and I both ordered the rock crab cakes, with both the garlic saffron aioli and a tomato relish. The relish was not up my alley, it was too sweet and to tomato-pasty.

I also had a few bites of my mom’s ahi. Mmmm, perfectly pink.

And maybe a few of Libb’s beer battered fries…

The next morning, and each morning that followed, I enjoyed deck dining, fresh fruit, and raw cold oats.

Fun fact: my mom is a potter, (and I keep trying to get her to sell her stuff on etsy, hint hint again mom). Her best friend, Trudy, is also a potter. Each Christmas and birthday they exchange unique, fun or pretty mugs or bowls. I wish I had the cupboard space to hold the massive amount of fun mugs my mom has. Trudy actually hangs hers from the exposed beams in her kitchen. If I had a low enough ceilings I might do something like that.

Saturday night I taught my mom how to make quinoa, as I whipped up a Mexican(ish) quinoa salad (recipe tomorrow) to pair with grilled chicken marinated in my favorite dressing/marinade.

Sunday night I had a craving for real Mexican food, so we decided to go to El Mirador for dinner. I was in heaven when my tortillas arrived.


mmmm, I’m drooling just looking at this picture…

I ordered something new: pollo a la parrilla. I ususally order fajitas or arroz con pollo. I was quite pleased with my choice, and will have the hubs re-create it for me on the grill sometime soon.

On my final night in town, Libb (I guess I should call him Jake now, hmm?), grilled up some burgers.

Bachelor and Zoe waited expectantly.

They were denied.

With my burger, I enjoyed some watermelon, corn on the cob, a salad and some Jones of Washington Viognier.

Dogs, again, drooled and begged,

but, again, were denied. I love Bachelor’s expression, he reminds me of the talking dog:

What is your must-eat while in your hometown?

Mine is Mexican food. Yakima has a very large Hispanic population, therefore we have real Mexican food. Spokane’s idea of Mexican food is Azteca. While I enjoyed the occasional Taco Tuesday in college, Azteca isn’t really Mexican food.

Greetings from Yakima

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Hey y’all, I’m in Yakima visiting my parents and brother, (Libb moved out, but it’s kind of a long story), as I avoid the Hoopfest crowds in Spokane and the Ironman crowds in Coeur d’Alene. It is blazing hot here, and I’m trying to get a little color on my pasty legs.

I’m enjoying the gym right outside my bedroom,

playing fetch with Zoe,

and Bachelor,

and alfresco dining with a Valley view.

(Mt. Rainier & Cascade peaks)

(Mt. Adams)

(cows next door)

 

Do you have any fun plans this weekend?

Creamy Curry Dressing

Ever since eating the Creamy Curry Salad at The Elk my senior year of college I’ve been in love with curry as a salad dressing base. I tried to recreate it in my younger years, but each attempt yielded very little pleasure to my palate. But last week when I visited Winthrop, WA I encountered yet another creamy curry dressing. Only this time coconut milk was involved.

Be still my heart!

I spent my last evening in Winthrop dissecting the dressing, trying to determine what the ingredients were. Upon returning home, I quickly got to work in my kitchen, adjusting ingredients until I had the perfect combination of spicy and sweet. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any coconut milk in my pantry, and I was too lazy to run to the store. So I used honey instead, and it worked quite well. But next time I think I’ll sub half the Greek yogurt, and all of the honey, for an equal amount of coconut milk. If you test it out before me, let me know how it tastes.

Creamy Curry Dressing

Serves: 3 (4 TBS; 1 TBS + 1 tsp per serving)

Nutritionals: Cal: 40, Carb: 5g, Fat: 2g, Pro: 1g

Ingredients

3 TBS Greek Yogurt

2 tsp Lemon Juice

1.5 TBS Honey

1/2 tsp Curry Powder

1/4 tsp Sea Salt

1/8 tsp Ground Black Pepper

1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

Directions

Combine all ingredients, except EVOO, and mix well. Slowly add EVOO, mixing until emulsified. Serve over your favorite salad or use to marinade your chicken, fish, or tofu.

I chose to make a creamy curry salad mixture, which I used as a filling for a wrap (with the best tortillas ever) the first day, and as a salad my second day. Watch out, this is a two-fer recipe post!

Creamy Curry Garbanzo Salad

Ingredients

2 TBS Creamy Curry Dressing (above)

2-3 cups Spinach

1/2 Cup Garbanzo Beans (rinsed, drained)

4 Grape Tomatoes, diced

2 TBS Walla Walla Sweet Onion, diced (can sub red onion)

2 TBS Orange Bell Pepper, diced (can sub red or yellow)

1 oz Goat Cheese

Directions

Combine all ingredients, coating well with the creamy curry dressing. Split evenly between two tortillas, or add more spinach and eat as a salad.

What is your favorite curry recipe?

WIAW: travel edition – Winthrop, WA

How is it already the first Wednesday of Summer Break? And why do I have only 2 weeks left until Summer School starts? Waaaa 😦

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Yesterday I accomplished very little in terms of planning, but it took me forever and felt like a lot at the time. I made my first day power point and my very first Edublog! I’m teaching a Film as Lit class, and am creating my curriculum on my own. Luckily I’ve found quite a few great sources to guide me. Since I know there are quite a few teachers who read this blog, here are some of my favorites:

Other than planning, (I even went into school on Monday, the first Monday of Summer Break…who does that!?!), I’ve attempted to stay on top of my fitness goals…

W#1

I have a confession to make: I hate warm weather running. I know that most runners love 70 degree weather, but I am not one of those people. My body does not regulate its temperature well, and my athsma kicks in big time. My favorite running temps are the 40’s, in a tank top. I know, I’m crazy. I guess it was a good thing we had such a long winter this year. It allowed me the ability to discover that I love running.  But the past two weeks….meh, I didn’t run once! In case you weren’t aware, not running is counterproductive to my half-marathon training plan.

So Monday morning I laced up my runners and met my friend, Rhonda, and her running buddy, for a long run. Around mile 3 I had to peel off. My inhaler was doing nothing for me. So I took two more puffs and glanced down. The inhaler was empty. Oi. I had my prescription refilled, but I thought I still had 20 or so puffs left. I looked something like this:

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It took me an hour and a half to run 7 miles. I was pathetic. I was (still am, actually) so sore afterward! Why, why, why did I do that to myself? I have 2 1/2 weeks until half-marathon day, and I really need to get my bootay in gear. Help motivate me!

W#2


And now what you’ve all been waiting for (ha), my foodie recap from our trip to Winthrop, WA, WIAW style.

We hit the road as soon as I got off work on Thursday. I was starving. The hubs was starving. On road trips I generally pack a cooler full of healthy snacks: sandwiches, apples, baby carrots w/hummus, waters, etc. The last week of school was crazy, however, and I didn’t have time to run to the store to get snacks to pack. The hubs couldn’t drive either (due to his knee situation), so we hit Jack’n’the Box a half hour into our trip.

So. Gross.

I’ve broken up with fast food after this trip. So has the hubs. We both got so sick afterward. I even ordered a “sandwich,” or as close to a sandwich as you can order at the Box.

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That night I couldn’t eat much, as my stomach was yelling at me, so I ordered a salad and cup of soup from room service. Scratch that, I tried to order room service, but I called at 8:31 p.m. and room services ended at 8:30 p.m. The hubs walked downstairs to the restaurant and ordered food to go, and one of the servers kindly brought our food up to the room. My soup and salad combo, however, cost $17, so this was the last meal we ate at Sun Mountain Lodge.

Seeing as I am cheap frugal conscious of my bank account, the next morning I cobbled together a breakfast of a nanner that happened to be in my purse and half a cliff bar that mysteriously appeared. After hitting the lodge gym, and working out with the deer,

the hubs and I hit “downtown” Winthrop to grab lunch and explore. Winthrop is a cute, touristy, old West town near the Canadian boarder. It is adorable, and caters to foodies like myself.

Our first stop: The Old Schoolhouse Brewery.

I was very impressed with their menu. Lots of organic ingredients, lots of fresh veggies, and they support local farms. (This is something that I found to be quite common in Winthrop). We opted to sit outside, on the fabulous riverside deck.

We were both excited by the large selection of small batch brews. The hubs selected the multi-award winning Ruud Awakening IPA, and I enjoyed an honorable mention Uncle Big’s Brown.

I couldn’t decide what to eat, I wanted everything! It was a touch choice between the summer salad, portabella veggie wrap (which came with baby carrots and ranch instead of fries!), grilled veggie sandwich and the black bean burger. Ultimately, I opted to go with the black bean burger, as I was starving. I intended to order baby carrots and ranch, instead of the housemade fries, but I forgot. I wasn’t disappointed when the crispy goodies arrived, however.

The hubs ordered the pulled pork sandwich, which I stole a few bits of. ‘Twas tender and perfectly pulled pork, and this is coming from a gal who hates BBQ sauce and usually steers clear of pork.

After lunch we explored the town, hit the small grocery store for some essentials, and stopped by the Rocking Horse Bakery for some fresh bread.

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Just like The Old Schoolhouse Brewery, the Rocking Horse Bakery supports local businesses, including Blue Bird Grain Farms wheat for their bread, Backcounty Coffee Roasters for their coffee, and Thompson Custom Meats for their sandwiches. Right up my alley, and something Foodbeat NW readers will appreciate! (my contributor bio is up – check it out!)

I also swung by the grocery store for some apples, nanners and Luna bars. Cheap hotel room eats for this gal!

Friday evening we attended the Bankruptcy Bar Association banquet. I neglected to bring my camera, however, but the food was pretty tasty. I enjoyed chicken in a dijon sauce, spring mix salad, lots of veggies and a crumbly (in a good way) corn muffin. Dessert, however, was the star of the evening: berry crumble with whip cream. Mmmmmm, happy Leila.

The next morning I made a pot of nasty hotel room coffee, and inhaled some of my Rocking Horse Bakery bread.

Oh my goodness, this bread is the bee’s knees! I was so sad to discover the bread options rotate daily, I wanted to buy multiple loaves to freeze on our way out of town.

After a quick lodge exercise room workout while the hubs was at his conference, I picked up an iced vanilla latte, dry blood orange soda, and quinoa tabouleh from a coffee shop, that I cannot remember the name of. It is across the street from The Old Schoolhouse Brewery, however, if you happen to be in Winthrop and want a cafe treat or two. They have lots of healthy and organic options to tempt your taste buds.

After grabbing our car snacks, we set out for a scenic drive on the famous North Cascades Highway…

north cascad hwy

and I realized tabouleh was a terrible car snack, as I could only eat it when we stopped at scenic points. Sigh.

The weather was not cooperating with our drive, but I did manage to snap a few pictures.

After our rainy drive, the hubs and I got back into town and intended to try something new, but wound up back at The Old Schoolhouse Brewery. It was just too good! We decided we couldn’t leave Winthrop without tasting multiple brews, so we ordered a sampler tray complete with the Hooligan Stout, ESB, Rendevous  Porter, Backcountry Coffee Stout and the Imperial IPA.

The beers paired well with some No Cheese Left Behind Nachos.

I also ordered their summer salad to go, and dove into it an hour later back at the lodge. The salad was composed of organic baby greens, avocado, craisins, mandarin oranges, blue cheese and candied pecans.

The salad itself was okay, but the coconut curry dressing was out of this world delicious! I attempted to recreate it yesterday, and then I realized I was out of coconut milk. So I created a creamy curry dressing instead. Recipe will debut tomorrow 🙂

On our way out of town the next morning we stopped back at The Rocking Horse Bakery to grab coffee and sandwiches to eat on the road. We attempted to try a delicatessen, but it was closed. I wasn’t upset about having to go back to The Rocking Horse though, no worries 😉 The hubs enjoyed a turkey sammie on their flax bread, and I had their caprese.

The caprese was your standard mozz, tomato, basil action, but it also included an amazing basil aioli and red onions. I was quite the happy camper. My eyes, however, were not. I forgot my contacts on the trip, and had to purchase some awesomely 90’s clip on sunglasses that were way too big for my frames.

I have so many pictures to share, but WordPress hates me right now. I’ve been tackling this post since 7 a.m. Seriously.

Where is your favorite close-by weekend vacation destination?

An ode to the Arrested Developement

Recently someone stumbled upon my blog by googling arrested development chicken instructions. This isn’t the first time this phrase has lead to my blog, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

So I thought, why not throw that image up again? Someone clearly wants to see it.

If you know me in real life, you know I have a slight obsession with Arrested Development. I started watching the show during it’s first season, and was immediately intrigued by the lack of a laugh track, the wit and my fondness for characters I would despise if I met them in real life. I even did a presentation on the show for my Communications and Media course.

Arrested Development Season 1(source)

After graduating from college, I landed a job in the promotions department for the local FOX affiliate. Arrested Development was now in its third season, somehow missing the first season kiss of death FOX is notorious for. However, the show had been moved too many times, both in days and time slots, and it was clear from my first day in November 2005 that the show would not be renewed for a fourth season.

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Even though I was a lowly assistant, I tried with all my might to convince the staff at FOX headquarters to renew the show. I signed the Save Our Bluths Campaign petition, searched for and found 3-D glasses to watch the much anticipated (at least for me) 3-D episode, and begged and pleaded with my rep to no avail.

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What’s a girl to do? Clearly, the imitating a chicken is a good option.

But be careful not to reenact any of the chicken options while near a campfire. Not that I almost fell in one while doing that exact thing or anything. I just think you might want to take some precautionary measures when choosing the time and place to perform chicken imitations.

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While imitating a chicken you might be compelled to cook some chicken. If this is the case, might I suggest an apron:

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(source) p.s. check out Sarah’s cornballer inspired recipe here.

Or perhaps a coffee cup to enjoy a cuppa’joe while you watch re-runs on lazy Saturday mornings and reminesce:

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And in case you need to make a phone call, or look up more Arrested Development chicken impersonations, pick yourself up an iPhone 4 cover.

Arrested Development phone cover(source)

But whatever you do, please pull up your Netflix account and place all three seasons in your queue immediately. You’ll thank me when the Arrested Development movie debuts.

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What is your favorite comedy from days past?

How To: Roast Bell Peppers

Summer makes me happy. Salads in the summer make me extra happy, because all of my favorite produce goodies are in season and taste delicious. Unfortunately, one of my favorite salad toppings requires me to turn on the oven and heat up the house. I’ve heard you can roast your peppers on the grill and get the same effect, but then they would be called grilled bell peppers, now wouldn’t they?

My summer method of roasting is still the oven, as I don’t actually know how to operate our grill, but if you make a big batch on the coolest morning of the week, you should be fine. Also, you can roast any color you like. I don’t know why red bell peppers get all the fame, the yellow and orange ones taste even better! But, please, do not attempt roasting green bell peppers. You might think you can redeem them and extract even a little bit of taste out of them, but you can’t. Green bell peppers need to be given a new name. Like vapid peppers or tasteless green orby things. Either will work.

Roasted [Red, Yellow, Orange] Bell Peppers

Ingredients

1 bell pepper (or as many as you would like to roast)

1-3 tsp olive oil or olive oil spray in misto

dash sea salt

Directions

Pre-heat (pre-broil?) your oven to Broil. If you have the option of a Lo or a High broil, select High. Split bell pepper in half, lengthwise. Alternately, you could split the bell pepper in quarters, which will result in more evenly blackened skin, which will be easier to remove. But I’m lazy, and I don’t care if it takes me a little more elbow grease to remove the skin. My biceps could use the extra work out.

Remove innards, rinse and dry. Place bell pepper halves on an oiled cookie sheet. Spray bell pepper halves liberally with your olive oil misto, or douse with the olive oil bottle and sprinkle with a little sea salt.

Place bell pepper(s) in the oven, and let ’em sit there a long time. You want these babies to be black, black, black. If you think you’re done, wait 5-10 minutes longer, and remove from the oven.

Place the bell pepper(s) in a ziploc bag and seal. Let sit at least 15 minutes.

Once your pepper(s) has cooled, remove from the bag and remove skin with your fingers. The blackened skin will fall off easily. Slice up the flesh of your bell pepper(s) and apply to salads, sandwiches, pizzas or whatever your heart desires.

I re-use the same ziploc I let the bell pepper(s) sweat in to store them. I slice ’em and dice ’em, and they keep about a week. If you pour olive oil over them they will last approximately 3 weeks. You can always rinse the olive oil off when you’re ready to eat, and the flavor won’t change.

Hey look, a recycled photo from when I did daily meal recaps. Similar to WIAW, but I did them every day…I got bored of doing that daily, but at least it encouraged me to eat different things on a daily basis.

 

What is your favorite dish involving roasted bell peppers?

My favorite way is atop a bed of spinach and arugula with some Walla Walla sweet onions, cherry flavored craisins (or dried cherries if I have them), goat cheese (feta will do in a pinch) and my homemade shallot/honey/mustard dressing. Mmmmm, heaven.