It is a beautiful day.
Its a lovely 62 degrees outside. The actual smell of spring is in the air. Birds are chirping, a breeze is drifting, and you can be sure that there's a little extra pep in my step today as well.
It wasn't but about this time last week that this was the view from the back of my home:
Admittedly, the world is beautiful when everything's dusted in snow. But however lovely it may be, there is just nothing quite so satisfying, to me, as enjoying a walk in the warm sunshine.
So today is a good day as hopefully, it is the start of a sunshiny Spring and Summer to come.
Today is also a good day because I am FINALLY DELIVERING on the Quinoa Double Feature.
Is it a few weeks later than I had hoped - Yes.
Are the recipes any less delicious and/or nutritious - No.
As the saying goes, "Good Things Come to Those Who Wait." Both of these recipes are terribly delicious, super satisfying, and very easy to make. One requires a little bit of TLC to bring the caramelized onions along but the results are so totally worth the time spent in front of the stove. Your tummy and taste buds will thank you.
DISH #1 - Squash, Zucchini, & Sesame Seed Quinoa Bowl
3 c. prepared quinoa* (see How to Cook Quinoa Perfectly for directions)
2 Tbl. olive oil
1 lg. zucchini
1 lg. or 2 md. summer squash
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. basil
11/2 Tbl. white sesame seeds
15.5 oz. can black beans
1 c. orange, Zima tomatoes
1/2 c. goat cheese crumbles (optional)
Preparation: Dice zucchini and squash into bite size pieces. In large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add squash, zucchini mix. Stir to coat in olive oil. Let cook for about five minutes. Then reduce heat to medium, low. Add garlic salt, thyme, basil, and sesame seeds. Mix and continue cooking for an additional 10 - 15 minutes, or until squash and zucchini pieces are tender. Drain and rinse black beans. Combine black beans with stove top mixture. Reduce heat to low and cook for about 3 more minutes. Remove from stove top and transfer to container. Halve tomatoes and add goat cheese.** Toss all together. Serve warm or chilled (chilled is my favorite. I love this one chilled) over 3/4 c. quinoa. Makes 4 entrée portions or about 8 as a side.
* As quinoa has quickly become a staple in our home, I have taken to cooking up one large batch at the beginning of the week and then just portioning out whatever is desired as the week progresses. I typically cook up about 2 1/2 cups dry quinoa. With 1/4 c. dry cooking up to about 1 cup prepared, I end up with a good amount of quinoa to work with throughout the week.
** For a vegan friendly dish, just 86 the goat cheese and enjoy as is. If you add the goat cheese right after removing the mixture from the stove, it will melt down to create somewhat of a cheese sauce which is the effect you see in the photo above. You may prefer to wait to add the goat cheese until after the dish has cooled for a delightful dusting of creamy crumbles that you can either elect to have or not have. The choice is up to you.
DISH #2 - Chickpea, Rosemary & Caramelized Onion Quinoa Bowl
3 c. prepared quinoa
2 Tbls. olive oil
1 lg. red onion (the biggest one you can find)
1 tsp. ground, black pepper
1 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
15.5 oz can chickpeas
15.5 oz can black eyed peas (optional)
1/4 c. fresh, chopped rosemary
Preparation: Slice up red onion. Pour olive oil into saucepan on medium, high heat. Place onions in saucepan and stir to coat each sliver. Reduce heat to medium and season with pepper, garlic salt and sugar to aid in caramelizing process. Let onions cook down for about 10 - 15 minutes, stirring frequently (keep an eye on them to make sure they do not burn; if they appear to be burning, reduce heat). Reduce heat to medium, low and cook for additional 10-15 minutes until onions taste sweet and appear caramelized, somewhat browned and translucent in color. While onions cook down, rinse and chop fresh rosemary leaves. Reduce heat to low. Add drained and rinsed chickpeas, black eyed peas, and fresh rosemary. Stir all together for an additional 3 minutes. Serve warm over 3/4 c. quinoa. This dish also makes about 4 entrée servings or 8 sides.
I really do hate it when things don't go precisely according to my little plans but, "C'est la vie, n'est pas?" And life, is good. So today, all I can do is say, as the flowers bud and spring starts to take hold, I hope you will feel inspired in your own personal growth to everyday eat more fresh, life promoting foods to help give you a healthier tomorrow.