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I feel like I have been living off peanut butter lately…. (Thanks Mom!)

It’s actually a combo of peanut butter, sunflower seed butter (my favorite), almond butter and Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter–yes, you heard me right, chocolate hazelnut butter. I haven’t actually been living off only said nut and seed butters, but let’s just say they’ve made an appearance at many a meal lately, primarily dinner. PB + J is just so easy, especially when B has to study all night and doesn’t care what I put in front of him as long as it’s edible (although the addition of honey scores major brownie points) and I don’t care to make an elaborate dinner if I can’t share it and talk about our respective days at the table with him. Plus we’re at that time of year when I am sick of heavy, rich, stick-to-your-ribs types of meals but the really good summery produce isn’t quite in season yet. It’s right around the corner, but not here yet. So here I am stuck craving ripe, fresh from the vine tomatoes, corn-on-the-cob, cucumbers, green beans and watermelon to name a few and we’re just getting into greens season people. What’s a girl to do?

I decided to settle for the asparagus that I already had on hand and made a quick meal that has just became a new favorite: Balsamic Roasted Asparagus + Quinoa. It’s so simple yet incredibly flavorful. And healthy! I almost hesitate to call this a recipe because I literally just mixed together two of my favorite foods, but the flavor does have a little complexity to it and I wouldn’t hesitate to serve this as a summer side dish or cold salad. Without further adieu…

Balsamic Roasted Asparagus + Quinoa

Ingredients:
1/2 bunch asparagus (roast the whole thing anyway, it’s amazing on it’s own)
2 tbsp olive oil, divided, 1 tbsp for quinoa and 1 for asparagus
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 cup quinoa
2 1/4 cups water
1/2 onion
2-4 tbsp finely minced parsley
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 garlic clove
salt + pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

We’ll set up the quinoa first because it takes just a tiny bit longer to cook. I used my rice cooker but you could easily prepare this on a stove top. First, rinse your quinoa with a fine mesh strainer. Always, always, rinse your quinoa. Quinoa has a bitter tasting residue that needs to be washed away, although I do believe some boxed brands pre-rinse it for you. Dice up your onion and garlic and add to rice cooker. Add quinoa, 1 tbsp oil, 1/2 tsp salt, and water. Give it a quick stir and let the rice cooker do its thing.

Wash asparagus and either snap or cut off woody ends. Have I mentioned I enjoy green things? It’s my favorite color. I have a good story about that, remind me to tell it to you sometime.

Spread out evenly on a baking sheet and drizzle 1 tbsp oil and 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar over asparagus. Mix gently to coat all asparagus spears. Next, sprinkle with salt + pepper to taste. Pop into the oven for 25-30 minutes. The asparagus will be fully cooked before then, but we really want to let the balsamic vinegar caramelize.

YUM. Once asparagus is done, chop into bite-sized pieces (about an inch long). In a large bowl combine quinoa, asparagus, parsley and lemon juice.

Garnish with a sprig of parsley (and maybe a couple leftover asparagus spears.

Enjoy!

You might also want to make these muffins. Can we talk about these muffins?

Banana Oat Muffins, vegan and gluten-free. They are perfection. I know I gave you a good muffin a few days ago but these blow the other ones out of the water. I used the same recipe but made a few changes. I think the biggest difference was eliminating the coconut flour. I was so eager to use it but having omitted it for this recipe, I can see that it made the muffins a little too dense. The same thing happened with the brown rice flour I tried before that. I guess Bob’s Red Mill GF flour is all you need! Live and learn. There’s a new sheriff in town. Recipe very soon…

So, I’m not sure if I told you that THIS HAPPENED.

Yeah, baby girl is not happy. But the good news is she’s down a little over 2 lbs! We had a vet appointment today to get Stella’s heart worm and flea and tick meds and they weighed her. Looks like our walking and the new food is paying off! I’m glad my girl is healthy 🙂 On the way home Stella and I stopped by Fenner Nature Center because I wanted to see if dogs are allowed in the park. The sign at the center also had the word “dog” painted over it. Just like I saw at Francis Park the other day! Maybe the city is now letting dogs into more parks? When did this happen? I need to look into this.

Stella and I made it home just in time to beat the crazy storms we had tonight. Oh wow, do I ever love a good storm. It smells like summer in my house. Thunder and lightning are warring outside and rain is streaming down my big kitchen windows. Outside is a blurry sea of vibrant green against a dull gray sky. Drink up grass and flowers and trees.

Love that green.

Love these too. B graduates and I get flowers. I am not asking any questions 🙂 Don’t you think daisies are the friendliest flower? Name that movie…

Happy almost Friday friends. Anyone have any fun weekend plans? I’m looking forward to some B & sister time and maybe a yoga class? It’s been a while.

‘Night kids!

-S

   

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