Well It’s Official, We are emptynesters…

It really feels like it this week. Back to school week. No more back to school jitters, no more back to school shopping, no more thinking about lunches.  Where did the time go?  Not sure why it has hit me more this week because really, it’s been over 2 months since the last wedding and the final exodus.  The bedrooms have been switched over, one is now our exercise room, complete with a pull up bar.  The other is slowly being decorated as an official guest room.  “Their” bathroom has been clean for 2 months now.  The dining room table is set with candles and flowers instead of binders and books.  I love coming home and finding the house exactly how we left it, especially the kitchen.  The leftovers are still in the fridge, the ones I planned to reheat for dinner or take for lunch.

I love the quiet, YET I miss the noise. I miss hearing all about their day at school, the latest story from work, the smell and taste of Rachel’s homemade cookies and Kirsten’s latest Thai stir fry even though every cooking utensil was used. I miss their infectious laughter and wiping away their tears.  I knew it would happen one day, and that day has come.

I’m thankful that we have a made a point of building into our marriage. We have made good friends with common interests and have stuff to talk about and do. We are looking forward to this next phase, doing life together as emptynesters and making new memories with our daughters and new sons.

Speaking of leftovers, I made this recipe last night for dinner and we both enjoyed the leftovers today. I usually serve it with a piece of naan bread and at this time of year, fresh corn on the cob. Enjoy!

Chickpea Curry

 

 Olive oil for cooking

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 small onion, chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped (or other hot pepper)

2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

1 tbsp grated fresh ginger

2 tsp curry powder

2 fresh tomatoes coarsely chopped (or a few whole canned tomatoes)

2 cups cooked chickpeas or 19oz (540ml) can rinsed and drained

½- 1 can lite coconut milk (398ml)

1 cup fresh green beans cut into 1 inch pieces or 1 cup frozen peas or a handful of fresh spinach

Chopped fresh parsley or cilantro for garnish

 In a large skillet heat a glug of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the cumin seed and cook for a minute or two, until wonderfully fragrant. Add the onion and cook until soft and starting to turn golden, about 3-5 minutes. Add the jalapeno, cilantro, ginger and curry and cook for another minute, then add the tomatoes, chickpeas, and half the can of coconut milk. Add in the fresh green beans if using and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 5-8 minutes until everything softens and thickens. Add the rest of the coconut milk if you like it saucier (yummy for dipping naan bread) Stir in well and add frozen peas or spinach and cook another 1-2 minutes to heat (peas) or wilt (spinach). Serve hot over brown rice.

 Serves 4-5.

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Quinoa salad… this is a good one:)

This is a very yummy quinoa salad…There are lots of recipes out there to try. I found this one and made it for lunch today. It was easy to make. I prepared it this morning before work. While I was eating breakfast, I had the quinoa cooking, soaked my oil packed sundried tomatoes in boiling water& toasted the almonds. Then after a bike ride and showering I finished the rest. (I already had corn on the cob leftover in the fridge.  I served it on some greens, and had a big, crunchy, local in season Honeycrisp Apple for dessert!  Click on the link below and enjoy:)

http://inpursuitofmore.com/2012/09/24/recipe-super-powered-super-protein-quinoa-salad/

Three meals, trying my best to be local and healthy..

Hippie Pancakes were first up this morning. For the past almost 9 years, we have had a special breakfast every Friday morning.  It was pancakes, waffles or french toast.  I decided to try a new pancake recipe, a bit of a risk, but delicious. My husband loved them, Kirsten probably would have had I not told her what was in them. I served them with sliced local strawberries I picked earlier in the week, sliced bananas, maple syrup, a few toasted pecans and a sprinkle of freshly ground flax seed.  You could add a tablespoon of your favorite healthy plain greek yogurt if you wanted,

but then you might not taste the yummy pancake:)

Hippie Pancakes 

1.2 cup steel-cut oats

1/2 cup quinoa, washed and rinsed three times or until the water runs clear)

1 cup water

1/2 cup plain non-fat yogurt

1 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp nutmeg

3 eggs

1 tsp baking powder

Small scoop of coconut oil, melted or unsalted butter

In a blender add the oats, quinoa, water and yogurt, cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning add the remaining ingredients. Blend on low to combine all the ingredients, then move the setting to high or puree and blend for a minute or more, until the batter is smooth.  (It will be runny).  Heat a scoop of coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. When it is hot, pour in about 1/3 cup of batter slowly, so it does not run all over the pan and cook for about 3-4 minutes until golden brown and bubbly. Flip the pancake and cook the other side for another 3-4 minutes or until cooked through. These are not the big fluffy kind of pancake but delicious. Enjoy.

Noodles and Greens Salad was up for lunch. We had both our girls home, rare these days and what a treat it was. I served up this salad and felt good about feeding my family and healthy meal.

Serves 4

1/2 box whole wheat spagettini, cooked a la dente, rinsed with cold water and set aside

1 avocado chopped

1 mango, peeled and chopped

2 green onion, chopped(locally grown)

1/4 head savoy cabbage, thinly sliced

2 carrots, shredded (locally grown)

1/4 cup toasted cashews

1/2 red pepper chopped

12 cherry tomatoes, halved

handful of snap peas, washed, stems removed and cut in half (locally grown)

4-6 cups assorted greens, including kale (*from my garden)

4 tbsp crumbled goat feta cheese (optional)

Once everything is all chopped and prepared, arrange 4 plates starting with greens at the bottom, then cabbage, then spagettini, then everything else with cashews, green onions and mango at the top.

Top with Honey Mustard dressing:

4tbsp orange juice

4tbsp olive oil

4tbsp apple cider vinegar

3tbsp liquid honey or agave syrup

4tsp Dijon Mustard

 Whisk all ingredients together.

Homemade Pesto Vegetarian Pizza served at supper for just the two of us. Using a whole spelt grain pizza crust topped with made from scratch arugula/basil pesto (see previous post)and a little (about 1 tbsp tomato paste) at the bottom.

Toppings:

1 red bell pepper, thickly sliced

3/4 green bell pepper, thickly sliced

1 walla walla onion, quarters (locally grown)

splash olive oil

fresh ground pepper.

Toss vegetables with olive oil and pepper and put on barbeque to roast for 10-15 minutes. Remove and slice peppers and onions into thinner strips.  Add to pesto base. Add 1 tsp capers (optional), handful of sliced cherry tomatos  and 1-2 tbsp grated romano goat cheese (optional)  Bake 10-15 min 375 degree oven. *  This pizza would be even better when peppers and tomatoes are in season here in the okanagan. At least the  pesto was made with local and fresh basil and arugula.

At the end of the day, not alot of work, but we ate well with fresh and homemade ingredients.

For those Meat and Potatoe loving guys (minus the meat)

Try this recipe that I found once again in “Spilling the Beans-cooking and baking with beans and grains everyday”. I have adapted it only slightly. It is delicious and a great way to use up those mushrooms that are starting to shrivel.  If your meat and potato loving guy loves mushrooms, this will be a hit!

Tip: You can make mashed potatoes a little healthier by using any combination of potatoes, sweet potatoes, cauliflower or turnip. Just cook them together, mash them with a little olive oil, a clove of minced garlic and no one will ever know.

Lentil & Mushroom Sauce (For the meat & potatoes guys in the family)

 Splash of olive oil

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped

2 tbsp butter or becel

3 garlic cloves, crushed

2 large portabello mushrooms, sliced, (discard the stems and scrape out the gills)

2-3 cups sliced button, brown, white ( or a combination) mushrooms

¾ cup cooked or canned brown lentils, rinsed and drained

1 cup red wine

1 tbsp whole wheat flour

2-3 cups vegetable stock

1 tbsp tomato paste

Egg noodles or mashed potatoes ( I use a combination of sweet and regular potatoes and even cauliflower or turnip all mashed together)

 1)     In a large, heavy skillet, heat a splash of olive oil and sauté the onion for 2-3 minutes. Add the butter, garlic and mushrooms and cook until he mushrooms release their liquid, soften and then start to brown- add another drizzle of oli if the pan seems too dry.

2)     Add the lentils and cook for a couple of minutes, then add the wine and cook for a few more minutes, scraping any browned bits off the bottom of the skillet, until the wine has almost all cooked off. Sprinkle the flour overtop and stir to blend., then add the stock and tomato paste. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring often, for about 10 minutes or until the sauce is thick and dark and the mushrooms are a little tender. (If the sauce is too thick, add and little more stock- I found my more runny than thick)

3)     Serve hot with fresh cracked pepper and some freshly chopped parsley over the noodles or mashed potatoes.

 Beware- Meatlovers might actually like this meaty(yet meatless) gravy like sauce. Especially those meat and potatoes guys!