Zucchini and White Bean Soup

We still have zucchini overtaking our garden. Luckily I was able to squeeze a tiny bit of creativity out of myself this week, and I whipped up a batch of this healthy, filling, end of summer soup.

Zucchini and White Bean Soup

Serves 6 – approximately 1 1/3 cup servings

Ingredients

2-3 large zucchinis, cut into chunks

1/2 large onion (I used sweet, but yellow would work well too)

4 cloves garlic, minced

42 oz vegetable broth or chicken broth (3 14 oz cans)

1/4 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt

1 can white beans, rinsed and drained (black beans would work well too)

1 tsp Italian seasoning

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Throw vegetable broth, onion, garlic, zucchini and Italian seasoning into a large pot and bring to a boil.

Cover, reduce heat to simmer, and cook for 20 minutes, or until zucchini is tender.

Transfer half of your batch to your food processor, add half the Greek yogurt, and process until smooth. Do the same with the second half of your batch, adding the last half of the Greek yogurt.

Make sure your lid is on and actually snaps in place…

both times.

Yes, I spilled it once, cleaned it up, and then made the exact same mistake the second time. An immersion blender could prevent this issue. Hmm…add to amazon wish list…

Return to pot, add beans, and heat through. Salt and pepper to taste.

I plan to make a second batch and freeze it for work week winter meals. The first batch went too quickly to freeze!

Enjoy!

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How pinteresting, Kale and Quinoa Salad

First, I am utterly addicted to Pinterest. I’ve been pinning food, style and classroom ideas like a mad woman. You can follow me here.

Second, I have yet another quinoa recipe to share with y’all. Lately I have been on a major quinoa kick. I need to be on a kale kick too, as it is taking over our garden.

In my opinion, quinoa salads are perfect for both lunch and dinner parties. So when the hubs and I were invited to our buddy Nate’s birthday potluck, I knew a quinoa creation*  was in my future.

*I’m counting that as alliteration

Kale and Quinoa Salad


Ingredients

1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed

2 cups water

10 kale leaves, stems removed (or half a bunch)

1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, not packed in oil (if packed in oil, rinse/dry)

5 oz fresh mozzarella, chunked or shredded

1 extra small sweet onion, diced (or half a medium sized onion)

10 basil leaves, chiffonade

3 TBS lemon juice

3 TBS olive oil

1 TBS stone ground mustard

1 tsp prepared horseradish

2 tsp fresh oregano, diced (or 1/2 tsp dried)

3 garlic cloves, minced

s&p to taste

Directions

In a medium sized pot, bring water and quinoa to a boil, cover with lid, reduce to simmer, 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, remove kale from stems and shred. Mix with  sundried tomatoes and add to cooked quinoa. Let sit at least 10 minutes (to wilt the kale). Place in fridge to cool.

Once quinoa, tomato and kale has cooled, add onion, basil and mozzarella.

Mix dressing ingredients (lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, horseradish, garlic, salt and pepper), add to quinoa mixture, stir well.

Serve cold.

Enjoy! (Especially you, Joy Jones!)

I’m not horsing around [red] quinoa salad

I love quinoa: hot, cold, mixed with veggies, cheese, fruit, nuts, you name it, I’ll eat it. I always buy a big bulk bag at Costco, but I’ve never seen red quinoa in any local grocery stores. But after an extensive search yielded no results, I gave up on eating homemade red quinoa. Then this weekend I stopped in a grocery store* north of Spokane and found red quinoa in their bulk bins. Score!

*Yoke’s in Mead for you Spokane folks

After debating my options, I decided I would clear out the veggie drawer and create yet another cold quinoa salad. I decided to change up my usual sauce, and swapped stone ground mustard for horseradish. It was a brilliant idea, at least in my opinion. The hubs wasn’t pleased, but he lacks the horseradish obsession that I have.

I’m not horsing around [red] quinoa salad

Serves 6 (main dish) or 10 (side dish)

Ingredients

1 cup dry red quinoa, rinsed

1/2 medium sweet onion, diced

1/2 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, diced

1/2 English cucumber, peeled and diced

2 medium tomatoes, diced

1 can black beans, rinsed/drained

3 oz goat cheese, crumbled into chunks

3 TBS lemon juice

3 TBS EVOO

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 TBS prepared hot horseradish

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 tsp oregano

salt to taste

Directions

In a pot, bring quinoa and 2 cups water to a boil. Cover, reduce to simmer, 15 minutes. Remove from heat, keep covered, and wait 5 minutes. Place in fridge to cool.

Meanwhile mix your dressing: lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, horseradish, pepper, oregano and salt. Wisk well.

Throw remaining ingredients in with the chilled quinoa and add dressing. Mix well. Serve as a main or side dish.

p.s. you know you’re a food blogger when you take your dish outside and place it on your entry mat, just so you get the best lighting…

What is your favorite dish that includes red quinoa?

Greek(ish) Quinoa Salad

I haven’t posted a recipe in a while. But a few days ago my friend, Danielle, requested tried and true vegetarian recipes, and I’ve had this one on the back burner for weeks. I don’t care for olives, but if you’re a Kalamata fan, I think they would be a wonderful addition to this dish.

Greek(ish) Quinoa Salad

Ingredients

1 Cup rinsed/drained quinoa

1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, diced

3 roma tomatoes, diced

1 English cucumber, pealed and diced

1/2 red onion, diced

1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed/drained

6 oz feta, crumbled

3 TBS lemon juice

3 TBS EVOO

1 TBS stone ground mustard

3 garlic cloves, minced

1-2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp dried basil

1/2 tsp thyme

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

salt to taste

Directions

Bring 2 cups water and 1 cup rinsed/drained quinoa to a boil, cover with lid, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and let sit 5 minutes. Fluff with fork and place cooked quinoa in the fridge to cool.

Once quinoa is cold, add bell pepper, tomatoes, onion, cucumber, garbanzo beans and feta.

Wisk together lemon juice, EVOO, stone ground mustard, garlic, oregano, basil, thyme and black pepper. Add to cold quinoa mixture and mix well. Serve cold.

Enjoy!

What is your favorite Greek, or Greek(ish), meal?

Taco pie

After seeing Donna’s version of Katie’s Crockpot Mexican Lasagna, I knew I needed to eat a piece of the (non)proverbial pie. But I didn’t get my act together in time to actually make Katie’s, and I didn’t have the ingredients to make Donna’s.

Sigh.

So I fell back to an old standby: Cheesy taco casserole*.

*sidenote: wow, look how terrible those food photos are! So happy for extended daylight hours and my increasing camera skills.

But I didn’t have those ingredients either.

Double sigh.

Whatever. I can improvise. And improvising tasted particularly delicious tonight. In part because this recipe is very easy, and also because I love cheese.

Taco Pie

Serves 6

Ingredients

10-12 corn tortillas

1 can black beans (rinsed/drained)

1 cup Morning Star crumbles

1/2 cup diced onion

1/2 cup diced bell pepper (I used yellow)

1 1/2 cups 1% cottage cheese

3 oz shredded pepperjack cheese

1-2 oz cheddar cheese

1 cup salsa (I used Kirkland Organic)

1/4 cup taco seasoning (or one packet)

3 TBS red taco sauce

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients in large bowl, (except tortillas, cheddar cheese and red taco sauce).

Spray round baking dish (or 8×8 pan) with cooking spray and layer 2 tortillas (if round dish) or 3 tortillas (if 8×8 pan).

Spread layer of cheese/bean mixture.

Alternate layers of tortillas and cheese/bean mixture, with tortilla layer on top. Spread taco sauce on top, and sprinkle with cheddar.

Cover dish with foil and bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes. If you like your cheese crispy, (really, who doesn’t?), broil on low an additional 2 minutes.

Why hello, crispy cheese.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes, slice and serve with desired toppings. May I suggest avocado?

Enjoy.

Downtown Spokane Eats: Mizuna

Hey, hey, hey, it’s that time again. Restaurant review, Foodbeat NW style. You may remember the review on The Flying Goat I did a few months back.  This review, again, is written by me and brought to you in conjunction with Foodbeat NW.

Foodbeat NW Logo

Foodbeat NW‘s mission is:

SUPPORT LOCAL FOOD. Committed to showcasing independent restaurants and food artisans around the Pacific NW. Keep coming back for fresh, releveant info about local dining in & dining out experiences.

Check out their facebook page to find foodie news from all over the Pacific Northwest. But until then, find out my thoughts on Mizuna below.

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Spokane is often scoffed at, considered the neglected redheaded, freckled, stepchild of Seattle. While chain restaurants still cloud the northern, southern and eastern corners of our city, the downtown scene has picked itself up, cleaned itself off, and is here to offer residents and travelers quite a few dining options.

 

One restaurant that has called downtown Spokane home for many years is Mizuna. Mizuna touts itself as Spokane’s leading vegetarian restaurant, and for good reason. While many restaurants offer one or two vegetarian options, Mizuna has an entire menu dedicated to the herbivore crowd. Carnivores have no fear; many local meat options are available as well.

All entrée options sound interesting at first glance, and I am pleased to report that the menu rotates seasonally and features local northwest organic ingredients, earning it a Foodbeat Northwest stamp of approval. Also full of local favorites is the rather extensive Northwest wine list, featuring many of my favorite Washington wineries.

While considering the menu options, including the Pan Seared Halibut, Sweet Chili Marinated Tempe and House-Made Seitan, we nibbled on bread dipped in house-infused garlic rosemary olive oil. They chose the Pappardelle Pasta with Eggplant Meatballs and Vegetarian Carbonara with Vegan Bacon, peas, shallots, herbs, cherry tomatoes and shaved parmesan, (options I was salivating over). I selected the meat special of the evening: Lamb Shank Osso Buco with goat cheese polenta and gremolata braised carrots.

 

As a woman married to a bacon aficionado, (aren’t all men?), I enjoy a crispy slice every so often. I did not have high hopes for the vegan bacon in the Vegetarian Carbonara dish, but I was blown away! I couldn’t believe I was eating a vegan version of my beloved breakfast protein source. Equally enjoyable were the eggplant meatballs. These orbs were perfectly seasoned, smooth and moist in the center and crisp on the outside. I opted against stealing the entire plate and focused instead on my mouth watering, fall off the bone lamb osso buco. Although we were all rather full, we decided to split the famous vegan carrot cake. This vegan delight is hearty and chunky, and easily beats out any carrot cake I’ve ever eaten. I’m still slightly sad I did not order a second piece to take home.

 

All in all I was, and always am, very pleased with my Mizuna dining experience. The staff is knowledgeable, friendly and accommodating and you will be welcomed as though you were an old friend.

Chicks happen

My day started off with some forgotten spinach pancakes,

coffee and a pomegranate chobani.

A few weeks back I mentioned I was going to start strength training again. And I did. I also mentioned I had two free sessions with a personal trainer, and that I would be cashing in on them. Then I never spoke of them again. It wasn’t because I was being a flakey blogster, (although I have promised many a recipe that haven’t appeared yet, patience my blogets, patience.), the Y just didn’t have an opening until today.

Last night I almost canceled, and not just because I was at the happiest hour. I just wasn’t sure I wanted to go through with it. A few years back I had a negative experience with a trainer, (who insisted I eat only 1200 calories a day and scoffed at the idea that I could lose weight at 1800-2200. I guess I showed him, as I’ve lost 11 pounds so far at this calorie range), so I was apprehensive about throwing myself into this potential situation again.

But I didn’t cancel. I drove to the gym at 10:10 am, and arrived with a few minutes to spare, (and nabbed the only real spot in the parking lot). I checked in at the front desk, found out where I needed to meet my trainer, planted myself at the appropriate station and waited. And waited. And waited. The cardio area was packed, and I spotted one trainer on the floor. I tried to read her name tag, but my contacts didn’t provide me the strength necessary.

Finally the trainer, along with two trainees, arrived at the wellness station. She apologized for running (15 minutes) late, and tried to wrap up her previous session. Her trainees didn’t get the hint that they were robbing me of my training time, and continued to ask a plethora of questions. Needless to say, we were not off to a good start.

A few minutes later we set off…to an office. I filled out an information sheet, (which I had already filled out), and answered all of her questions. Then we did a body analysis, (I am in the healthy range for weight/body fat and could drink more water. Nothing I didn’t already know, haha). And that was it. Apparently the first “training” session is a get-to-know-you type thing, like an awkward first date where you feel self conscious about all your short comings, (while wearing no make-up, talking about your body fat and diet no less), and not even the joy of a cocktail to lighten the mood.

Sigh. I wish Laury lived here so she could be my trainer.

Had I been told this would be the first session’s format I would have gotten to the gym earlier to actually work out. Unfortunately I wasn’t informed, and by the time I finished my appointment I couldn’t stay any longer. I had chicks to buy!

After a quick pit stop at my favorite store,

and some car snacks: pom lychee green tea,

dried apricots, mixed nuts, and a think thin lemon bar,

which at first reminded me of the lemon girl scout cookies. But after the first bite it tasted like chalk coated in lemon.

I only ate half, blah.

Then it was on to Big R,

which really does have anything you could possibly need.

From wranglers to garden creatures,

anti monkey butt powder,

and salted nut rolls.

Which I used to buy every time I visited my dad’s office as a child. So gross, why did I like them?!

But we were there for the chicks.

I was really excited to pick out our little ones.

And you know I’ll be entering the chick house peepstakes.

Once home we set our chicks up in their new pad,

and assembled a sunflower butter + honey sammie.

Later on I tried to find a meatless main dish that the boys wouldn’t turn their noses up at. I think the hubs has already OD’d on black beans…and we’re only 3 days into Lent. We had 5 bell peppers, so I tried to find a good vegetarian stuffed pepper recipe. Not interested by anything I found, I decided to whip up a batch to my liking.

And they were quite tasty.

I thought about making a salad, but decided we had plenty of veggies in our stuffed peppers, so I opted for only La Brea multi-grain bread on the side.

Mmmmmm….content.

So, what should I name my chicks?