Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Quinoa Lunch

So.. school started this week. As I sort my new schedule out, I am also trying to think of some new ideas for lunches. I want something hearty but also healthy. I have gotten really into quinoa--it is an awesome source of protein and very filling! I did make a lunch with it last school year and I tried to use it in a different way -- so I was inspired by this recipe for a kind of quinoa quiche/frittata. I was too lazy to actually go to the grocery store to get the ingredients from that recipe so I just used whatever vegetables I had lying around the fridge. It was tricky for me to figure out how much quinoa to actually cook. The original recipe said 1 cup precooked quinoa, but I took 1 cup of dry quinoa & cooked that -- which resulted in like 4 cups of quinoa. I forgot how much bigger it gets after it's cooked!

Ingredients: 4 eggs, 2 cups cooked quinoa, shredded carrot, diced onions, diced tomato, 2 hot peppers, 1 ear of corn, cooked salmon, 2 cloves of garlic minced -- I was able to make 12 muffin sized portions with these ingredients.
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Beat eggs and stir into cooked quinoa.
  3. Mix everything else in there, add some salt & pepper to your taste.
  4. Generously butter muffin tin and fill with mixture.
  5. Bake 20 minutes.
I think 2 of these muffin sized quinoa cakes or whatever you wanna call them make a perfect serving for a meal. I like to eat mine with ketchup :) I also have a side of pickled cucumbers here.
Thoughts: These turned out kind of crumbly and a lot of the bottoms stuck to the pan, which was annoying. I think maybe I put way too much corn in there or not enough egg to hold it all together. Other than that I really enjoyed the flavor & texture, and think it's a really awesome way to change up how you eat quinoa!

Here it is all packed for the week! I brought it for breakfast and lunch since one meal for the amount of time I'm at school usually leaves my tummy grumbling by the end of the day.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

August obsessions

Our orchid plants have been flowering like crazy lately!! These were some we cut off since they were weighing the plant down, and shockingly, new bud have appeared where we cut these off from! Who knew?

Anyways, I just wanted to share some things that I have recently purchased (yea.. make up ban broken.. but I have yet to buy any nail polish!). I made my first Nars purchase for myself: Grand Palais eyeshadow duo and their eyeshadow primer. I got 20% off and free 2-day shipping, so it was a good of a time as any to get these :)

Mac Prep+Prime transparent finishing powder/pressed - awesome! Although I haven't used it enough to make a final verdict on it. I do like how the compact has a mirror in it.

Jergens Skin Firming Daily Toning Moisturizer--nice scent that is not overpowering, easily absorbs into the skin.. has glycerin (sucks in moisture from your suroundings) & collagen (firms skin) in it. I've been using this for about 2 weeks now, and I have to say that I have noticed a very slight firming of my skin, but it is not too significant.

Now, onto some food items I have been enjoying lately. First I've been drinking a lot more tea than coffee and in attempt to save money from going to Starbucks all the time, I got the Stash Double Spice Chai, Tazo Zen & Passion Teas at Target. Starbucks brews these same exact Tazo teas in their store so the Zen is the green tea they use and the Passion is the passion tea they have. I've just been brewing them in batches (no sugar added), storing it in the fridge and drinking to my hearts content! I add lemonade to them sometimes as well, which adds some sweetness since lemonade that you buy in store has sugar in it (I've been getting the Simply Lemonade). This Chai is not the same as Starbucks, but does the trick just fine. I do add sugar to this when I brew it; unsweetened Chai tastes pretty nasty to me. Store it in the fridge, and then when I drink it I add some milk to it to make my own Iced Chai Latte.

Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt--OBSESSED! These yogurts with the fruit ont he bottom are so delicious. They really hit the spot when you're craving desserts and so far I have tried the chocolate, lemon, blueberry & strawberry flavors. Chocolate yogurt is not really my favorite; I shall stick with fruit with my yogurt. These were 2 flavors that stuck out to me so I'm excited to try them out. I think I'm gonna take them to school with me to have with my lunch.
Fresh Express Sweet Butter is the best! My grocery store tends to sell these buy one get one free, so whenever I see that I have to get it. Yea, I know, bagged salad what a waste of money but it's so convenient and this lettuce is really really good with balsamic vinaigrette.

I have also been trying to eat more fruit lately, even though I do eat enough on a normal basis. Over the summer it's been mostly watermelon. I've always been a fan of bananas and clementines. One of our neighbors has a longan tree so we have a stash of them in the freezer right now; I have to be careful eating those because one too many and I get nauseous/break out. Recently cherries & peaches have been on my favored fruit list. I'm guessing that cherries are in season right now since they are more prominent in the store and they're freaking huge! And i just had to take a photo of this beautiful humongous peach. I prefer white peaches or nectarines, but peaches are fine too I guess :).

Alrighty, hope everyone had a great summer.. not really ready to go back to school, but you gotta do what you gotta do, right?


Monday, August 22, 2011


Sorry for the hiatus, but there has not been much going on lately and I put myself on a shopping ban for the month of August (which I have broken by now.. haha). I have been missing Chicago a whole lot.. finding myself craving mainly one thing late at night: The Belly Dog from Belly Shack. After a long search for green papaya at the grocery store, I finally came upon a small hard green papaya the other day. I bought it and immediately made some green papaya salad. I definitely have no idea how to make it the traditional way, which I think involves dried shrimps (which I do not have in my kitchen), so this is my take on it.
  • Shred/julienne green papaya (I am lucky enough to have a peeler that on one end is a peeler and on the other end it is able to shred things so nicely and thinly) into long thin strips. Salt it to remove excess liquid -- this gives them a nice crunch.
  • I also added some carrot strips. I imagine you could add cucumber or daikon as well if you'd like.
  • Vinaigrette: fish sauce (to your liking), finely chopped jalapeno, lime juice, sugar. Mix until sugar is dissolved. I really wish I added some fresh herbs (cilantro, basil & mint) in here. Next time!
  • Rinse papaya of extra salt (3 times usually does the trick).
  • Transfer everything into a tupperware & mix well, kinda pounding on the papaya to get the flavors in there. Store in fridge and try not to eat it all at one time. :)
On to the dog..
Ingredients: hot dog (I used all beef ones), buns, papaya salad, sriracha (which goes on the bun underneath the dog)

VERDICT: yea this was a pretty tasty hot dog but it was still nowhere near as delicious at the Belly Dog. I know I left out the bed of crispy egg noodles that the true Belly Dog has underneath their hot dog and I have a feeling that their dog is one made of pork and not beef. I also cut my dogs in half and then cooked them in a pan with some canola oil, whereas the Belly dog had their hot dog whole. My dog was also way smaller in size in comparison to the real thing, so that is why.. I ate 3 of them. Haha! Don't judge me! I've been craving this for 2 months now, so it definitely hit the spot. But I know that next time I'm in Chicago, I'm gonna be hitting up Belly Shack first.