Monday, January 28, 2013

Experimentation with Quinoa

Have you heard of quinoa? I haven't until recently. I had no idea what it was other than some sort of "super" grain. And even after reading recipes using it, I still don't think I quite understood what it was because I was surprised at what I found after buying a package. It's actually a seed! That is not what I was expecting! However, I had read that quinoa is a whole grain that tastes great, is high in protein, is gluten free, cholesterol free and is always organic. How could I go wrong in trying it?

I had two recipes bookmarked to try it for the first time. One I found on Pinterest and the other I found on one of my favorite food blogs, How Sweet It Is. I decided to go with the one from How Sweet It Is because Jessica has never done me wrong. (And yes, I know, it's a "breakfast skillet." But I like eating these heavier breakfasts for my dinner!)

I went about preparing it. I chopped up the sweet potato, the red and green bell peppers, minced the garlic and threw them in the pan with a little olive oil. The original recipe calls for bacon, and I have nothing against bacon (I love it in fact!), but twice a week I try to go completely meatless in my meals, which is why I wanted to try a high protein grain in the first place so no bacon! The recipe was going well. But then I opened the package to rinse the quinoa. I was so surprised at what I found. Literally, it is a seed. I was scared. But I forged ahead. The quinoa took about 15 minutes to cook (not bad!) and the dish smelled delicious. I topped my dish with a "fried" egg just like the recipe called for and dove in. And I'm glad I did. Those little seeds actually taste quite good! 

The verdict? Quinoa is odd when you don't know what to expect, but tastes delicious. If I were to make this recipe again, I would play around with the seasonings a little bit. I'm guessing because I didn't use bacon the flavor was a little off or just missing that extra something. I just think it needs a bit more spice. I'm excited to see how else I can use this interesting grain! If you have any recipes, please share them in the comments!

The quinoa I tried is from Trader Joe's. 

Until next time~

Friday, January 25, 2013

High Five for Friday

Finally a new post! I've been silent on this blog for about two weeks now dealing with the death of my beautiful friend, Karen. Last Friday was the visitation and I struggled with trying to remember the good things about the week while my thoughts were so sad. But, I'm back and ready to get back into blogging!

Let's get on with this week's link up with Lauren and many other great bloggers for High Five for Friday ....


One:
I keep looking at this shirt at Target and I finally just bought it. I love it - the color, the polka dots - and it just makes me happy. I'm such a fan of button down shirts; I think they're a good style for me so I had to have this shirt.


Two:
I treated myself to a manicure. I haven't had one in years and the salon near my house did a good job and the manicurist was super friendly! Now if only I could figure out how to afford these all the time!


Three:
Yesterday at the gym I ran. I despise running. Always have. However, I've been challenging myself to run on the treadmill for a few weeks now. I can usually go about 15 minutes then have to walk or jog for a couple of minutes before running again. Or I could do a slow pace jog for 20 minutes. However, yesterday I challenged myself just to run the whole time and I did it. No slowing down, no tiring out, I just ran. And I felt amazing when I finished!

Four:
I bought an iTunes card the other day and have been going a little crazy downloading music. I've had music from The Lumineers, Mumford & Sons, Joshua Radin and Lifehouse, among others, sitting in my wishlist for awhile now. However, I also bought a couple of songs by Bruno Mars. How am I just now falling in love with his music? He's amazing. One of my favorite songs is an older song of his, Just the Way You Are. How incredible would it be to find someone who feels that way about you??


Five:
And I just have to share a picture of my baby! It's been arctic cold here so we've spent lots of time cuddling up under blankets!


Speaking of the arctic cold .... This has been what our temperature has looked like since last Saturday night. Wind chills dipping around 20 to 30 below. Probably even lower than that. Proof that I live in the wrong state!!


I hope you all had a wonderful couple of weeks and remember to be grateful for the good things in life, even the smallest of victories!

Until next time~

Friday, January 11, 2013

High Five for Friday

Since I woke up yesterday thinking it was Friday, I am extremely happy that today is actually Friday! This week has seemed to drag on with all the sadness happening around me right now. I'm not sure the weekend will be better, but I know things will soon. 

Since it's finally Friday, time to link up with Lauren for High Five for Friday!


One:
Last Sunday I was able to visit with Karen and say my goodbyes (read a little bit about that here). I feel as if I should go see her again, but at the same time I'm content with having been able to say goodbye. Here is a picture of my beautiful, strong friend (on the right) from a few years ago with another friend of ours and myself. 

Diane, Me and Karen

Two:
I receive a catalog from Nordstrom every once in awhile and as I flipping through it getting excited for spring and summer, I spotted these necklaces. I'm thinking of ordering them!


Three:
I finally went to the salon and got my hair done. I hadn't been since July!! Who waits that long??! I'm very lucky that ombre hair color is in and that I'm naturally a blonde so my roots weren't quite so noticeable! I got highlights and lowlights, and a slight trim. I'm still patiently growing my hair out so I asked that my stylist take off as little as possible at the ends. I love getting my hair done; it makes me feel so pretty! :)

Four:
These super pretty roses were delivered to my house by a super sweet someone this week. So beautiful!


Five:
I am incredibly thankful for my friends. On Wednesday when I was struggling the most, my friends took time out of their schedules and went out to dinner with me. I needed that so much; it provided a great distraction and for the first time all week, I slept well that night. That also might have been due to the margaritas! Thanks for being great friends, guys!!

Until next time~

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Heavy Heart

An amazing friend of mine is dying from cancer and my heart is heavy with sadness I just can't shake. She's too young, too full of life to die. My heart breaks for her husband, her boys and her mom. 

I went to say goodbye to her this past Sunday. As we sat in the room with her, she seemed so much at peace. She was giving advice and reassuring all of us in the room. She even told me I need to open my own baking business since my cake bites are so good! I didn't cry until the end of the visit when we each said goodbye. As she told me that she would tell Rod hello for me, have a beer and watch a NASCAR race with him. As she told me that she loved me and that I will do great things in my life. That's when the tears came. 

My heart goes out to her husband and knowing the heartache and the pain he's going to be feeling soon. Because of that, I'm being brought back to the period when Rod passed away. Remembering all of those intense feelings, and feeling many of them all over again. I know some people in my life don't understand the sadness that I'm feeling right now. But it's been 10 months. Just 10 months where yes, I've moved on with my life, but those feelings are still very raw. And losing someone else so close to me is bringing all of those feelings back to the surface. It makes me feel very much alone.

Right now, I just wish peace to my dear friend and her family. You are all definitely loved and are in everyone's thoughts and prayers. 


Friday, January 4, 2013

High Five for Friday

After receiving some very sad news yesterday, I'm having a tough time coming up with things to write in this post. I have a very heavy heart and my mind is definitely reflecting on other things. However, at the same time, it might be good to look back on my week and be grateful for the little things that make my life good. 

So, here are my top five things of this week to link up with Lauren for High Five for Friday ...


One:
A belief in miracles. After hearing sad news yesterday, the only thing I have to hold on to is that miracles happen and hopefully this will be an instance where a miracle will happen. 

Two:
New Year's Eve. I had a blast on New Year's Eve with my friends. It was exactly the New Year's that I had wanted (minus one minor detail that I knew wouldn't happen in real life) and I hope my friends had fun as well!


Three:
My baby love even loved celebrating New Year's Eve!


Four:
Setting goals/ resolutions for 2013. I realize that there are two types of people regarding resolutions: people who make them and people who "don't believe" in them. I typically don't make them (because I forget about them a month later!), but this year I did, and I'm proud of it! I think goals of being in love, taking risks, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and being happy are great resolutions!

Five:
Yes, this is what I'm looking for ...


Until next time~