Quinoa Summer Salad

Yesterday seemed like a good day for a lemon scallop dinner, and even though season for them technically ended last week, the remaining few at Publix were really delicious. The pound or so that I picked up were still slightly sweet, extra smooth, and cooked to perfection.

Since I had just finished a good bit of interval training courtesy of BodyRock, I wanted to add a little bulk and decided on a variation of this salad, which I found on the always reliable Pinterest!
 What you need (makes enough for 6 people – I saved it & can pack it up for lunch):
1 lb sea scallops
2 cups quinoa
4 cups water
1 ripe Haas avocado
1 naval orange, peeled and chopped
1.5 cups frozen corn, thawed or canned
1 can low sodium black beans
3 leeks, peeled and chopped (white part only), sauteed until golden
cilantro

Vinaigrette:
juice from 2 lemons
1/3 cup olive oil
1 T garlic powder
salt & pepper to taste
1 T honey

1.) Bring water and quinoa to a boil, then reduce heat reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook on low for 15 minutes or until all the water is evaporated and the grains are soft.

2.) While the quinoa is cooking, salt and pepper the scallops and squeeze generously with lemon juice. Toss a tablespoon of butter in a pan over medium heat and immediately lay the scallops down. Cook for 4 minutes each side, or until they turn opaque.

3.) While those are searing, sautee your leeks in a separate pan over medium heat with a turn of olive oil and cook until golden.

4.) Remove scallops and leeks from pan and set aside.

5.) By now the quinoa should be done. Remove from heat and prepare the vinaigrette by quickly mixing the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, and spices with a fork in a giant salad bowl until well combined. Pour in grains and mix well.

6.) Mix in beans, corn, diced avocado, leeks, orange, and cilantro until combined. Spoon it into a bowl, top with scallops and enjoy!

Happy Monday! Enjoy your dinner 😉

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Wanderlust

I’ve got a bad case of wanderlust. I don’t know if it’s the beautiful weather we’ve been having or just the coming of summer, but whatever the reason, I’ve got it bad.

I’m finding myself daydreaming about sipping espressos in Italian cafes,
Strolling Promenade des Anglais in Nice,
And kayaking around Grand Bahama
I’m even craving trips to airports, take-offs, landings, and long conversations over a coffee while we wait for our connecting flight.

Soon!

Snacks! Al Fresco!

Actually, I ate these on my couch in front of my laptop, BUT I really wish I’d been outside! Moving on! As I’m sure you already know, I’m a big fan of cheese + bread. If I had to choose my last meal, this snack would definitely make an appearance (and if the heavens know what’s good for them this combo will be waiting for me aplenty!).

Open-faced Cheesy Leek Toasts:
Fresh, crusty sourdough bread loaf of choice (I used the Whole Foods one referenced over here)
Cheese! (I wanted brie, but forgot to pick some up and ended up with a monteray cheddar – good choice!)
at least 4 leeks, cleaned + chopped (Depends how much you want. I only bought two and wished I had about 4 times that!)
Olive oil
Salt + pepper

Slice up your bread – make it thin! While you’re slicin’, turn about 2 TBSP of olive oil into a pan and sautee the leeks over medium low heat until they’re golden and caramelized. Add a dash of salt to taste. Take them off the heat and move to a bowl for later. Meanwhile, set your bread down on the pan and quickly top with leeks + cheese. Let it sit until the cheese melts. Plate then eat. Immediately.

ALSO! I finally bought a Vitamix!! So expect a zillion recipes for soups, nut butters, smoothies, and ice cream. (Oh yes I just said ice cream!)

You’ve gotta want it

Here, peel this!
Lets back up. I came home from work to my guy getting settled on the couch to watch Ghost Rider. Yes, I’m serious. I got about 7 minutes in before my brain almost melted of boredom and shame at how BAD that movie was. So then I remembered I could vacuum the upstairs, fold laundry, watch grass grow, or catch up on my cooking since I had celery root that’d I’d been meaning to make. Tough decision!

And I took to the kitchen to try my hand at cooking the ugliest veggie ever. But I learned it’s only ugly on the outside, I promise. 😉

But where to begin with that thing, right?! This part was tedious, for real. I took a paring knife to it and carved all the rough parts away until I had 3 pounds of this!
Still not appetizing. BUT the following celery root puree definitely was (via the Food Network pic because by the time it finished cooking the lighting was no bueno):
Now don’t you just want to pile some kind of smoked meat right in the middle of that?! The answer is, “Enthusiastically, YES!”

The recipe I used:
3lbs celery root, peeled and chopped in to quarters/halves
1/4 – 1/3 cup heavy cream, depending how thick/thin you want the consistency (I like mine thick and smooth like a mashed potato!)
Salt & black pepper to taste

Peel & chop celery root. Dunk into salted water at a rumbling boil and cook for about 30 minutes or until a fork goes right through them. Drain. Combine all ingredients in a food processor/blender and blend for 5 minutes or until extra smooth.

Serve under salmon, steak, pork loin, or veggies. You won’t regret it! Some people also cut  this with pureed waxy potatoes, parsnips, carrots, etc. Personally, I think the flavor is so light I like it by itself, but you make the call!

And a little bonus for you because there’s not enough color here or enough hilarity:
Aww, presh.

The other kind of truffle

With every snobby, proud cockle of my arrogant heart, I want to love truffles. No, not this kind (but holy YUM!):
I’m talking about this kind:
It’s a mushroom that looks suspiciously like a moon rock. What’s not to love, right?

I haven’t figured out why, but there’s something I absolutely love about the art and skill that goes in to finding, selling, preparing, and cooking with these. Apparently they’re impossible to harvest artificially. In other words, investors have tried to import the soil from France and the oak trees truffles are said to grow around. They’ve tried to replicate the environment and climate down to the most intricate detail to try to bring this process around the world and have failed miserably, yielding nothing. All sounds very impressive and something my snobbishness wants badly to be a part of!

Now, onto what I do NOT love: the taste. And the smell. I wish I felt differently because I feel like I’m missing out on something amazing like a great wine or a sharp, tangy cheese.

I suppose I’m not, but one thing I’m unapologetically very “into” is a good bolognese, which is exactly what was for dinner tonight.
What you need:
1 lb ground lean turkey
3 cups marinara
1/2 t oregano
1 t basil
1/2 t salt
1 T black pepper
1 T garlic
two hefty splashes of dry white wine
two turns of olive oil around a large pan

Heat the pan over medium heat until hot. Add the turkey and brown for about a minute. Add all other ingredients and continue to break apart the meat and mix everything around to combine. Cook for about 15 minutes, then simmer for about 25 minutes on low heat.

Serve over your favorite pasta or eat by the spoonful right off the stovetop, like we did. 🙂

Now we’re off to watch one of our all-time favorite movies… A Good Year!

Disappearing Act

I’ve totally disappeared from the internet, but no, I didn’t go all Eat, Pray, Love on you and take off on a spiritual world tour.

But I have been up to a little of this:
 Eating A LOT of food:

Whole Foods did it again. This sourdough cranberry walnut bread that was so perfectly warm and chewy on the inside, and crusty and crunchy on the outside that I don’t even know what words to use to describe it. The crust broke off in perfectly crumbly shards that just melted my heart.
Breakfast. Cinnamon Rolls Mangos are in season and I’m eating them like it’s my job. So delicious! 

We found this great place in Clearwater called Shore:

Such a pretty place with fantastic food!
Also, in my absence there’s been plenty of yoga…

… but mostly a lot of staring at a blank computer screen waiting for inspiration for blogging or book writing… but there was none of that for anything! I would mostly sit down, decide I would do something productive, then get distracted and either do a million handstands (my current favorite thing to practice) or read The Hunger Games.

But! Yesterday I did find the inspiration to clean the kitchen like a mad woman.

Since I cant stand the smell of chemical-y cleaning things, I always buy natural cleaners like Shaklee or unscented Seventh Generation stuff when I run out of the other. I bought a big container of unscented SG dish soap and it’s plenty to refill our soap dispenser at least 10 times. Good stuff but kinda boring! When they say “unscented” they’re pretty serious about that, haha.


Fix? Add a dozen drops or so of essential oils! 

So I bought these Aura Cacia oils at Vitacost and after shipping it all only cost me about $10! That’s an awesome deal because at Whole Foods, each of these would cost about that much by itself.
So now my kitchen smells like citrus and my laundry smells like lavender. (Can you tell I’ve been low on writing material? Me writing about my cleaning regimen is like CNN reporting on paint drying. Short on news? You don’t say…) I’m still pretty excited about this little find. It’s the little things! 😉

And a little extra somethin’ for a good laugh:

Time Travel

Not technically summer yet, but it definitely feels like it in Florida. These are calling my name:
But for $245 that would be a NO. I have a $40 coupon from DSW that’s about to burn a hole in my pocket and I’m sure I’ll have no trouble finding a pair there. 😉

We went to Epcot yesterday which is the first time I’d been there in about 10 years. Good times, but a few of those rides definitely need a facelift. We went on this simulator movie thing in which a still mostly un-plastic-surgeried Michael Jackson was our pilot (!) on some kind of space odyssey in a jet that looked like a butterfly. Other things that made an appearance: Alf, the moon walk, and a crotch grab for good measure. There was also a lot of high waisted spandex and music with lasers involved. Welp, glad that cost us $80!
We did have a really good dinner at Wolfgang Puck’s Grand Cafe in Downtown Disney, but that’s all I can really say about it… just good, but not great. I had a really nice seared salmon on sunchoke puree with lobster butter sauce and perfectly grilled buttery vegetables. No complaints about mine. But, I take points off the experience because the place was WAY too bright (like train station bright) and Adrien’s meal was basically a Shake n’ Bake pork chop. ‘Sup with that?!

We had a super active weekend with TONS of walking, standing and long car rides. My hips were creaking by the time we got home last night and in case you find yourself in a similar predicament after your next road trip, here are some fantastic hip-openers from the deep recesses of my yogi heart <3:

Hindi Squat: turn the toes out, drop the hips towards the heels, press the elbows into the knees to open the hips. Lift the chest forward and up and tuck the hips down.
Kneeling lunge: align the knee over the ankle and stretch the back leg far away from the other. Press the weight forward and down to open the hips. You’ll feel it in whichever hip is extending back. Repeat both sides.
Pigeon: square the hips off to face in front of you and press the chest forward and up. Repeat both sides.
Now your rest stops will be much more entertaining. 😉

Discuss! Favorite thing to do at a rest stop. And go!