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Yikes!

Up here in the Northwoods and my laptop seems to have died!  An hour away from the nearest Best Buy!  Writing at any great length on my I Phone will be interesting.  I have a great salad to tell you about. A Japanese noodle salad with mango-chutney dressing. Oh, here comes my techie guy. Of course! A simple solution. He performed a hard shut down, rebooted it, and here I am. Whew! I am back on line.

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Wednesdays are Reserved

Wednesday is sacrosanct, untouchable, and reserved! I make no other plans or appointments on Wednesdays.  When the dentist’s office asks which days are good for me, my first response is” Never on a Wednesday.”  (Mmm…sounds like a movie, but that was “Never on a Sunday”.  Just my corny humor.)  That is my day for quilting, but not just quilting.  Laughter (lots of it), sharing photos (mostly of grandchildren), telling jokes (many not repeatable here), having lunch together (usually ordering something delicious from Panera’s), and generally having a fab day!  At 8:30 AM, I pack my car with assorted fabrics, patterns, and sewing paraphernalia and then head out to a sweet little quilt shop in the country, just 15 quick minutes from home.  Our class of 17 fills every inch of table space.  Who would think quilting, which, in some minds, evokes thoughts of elderly women bent over a quilt frame, would bring such pleasure?  Our leader, grand pooh bah, and holder of all quilting knowledge is our teacher, Kathy D., who pretty much can answer any question thrown at her with aplomb and a smile.  Kathy D. because there are four of them – Kathy’s, not teachers.  That was a BIG name way back when.  Wednesdays do bring joy into my life.

In the photo below, it’s break time on the screen porch at the cottage. What a perfect spot to quilt, overlooking Green Bay.

Find a group doing something that you enjoy.  It’s a “two fer” – make new friends while you are at it!  The very word “quilting” sounds like a post for women.  Not so!  There are well-known men in the world of quilting making a great living at it.   Form and math – both elements of quilting.   Engineers and architects have turned to quilting as a creative outlet for their skill sets.  Men in the art world have used fabric as a medium for ages.  Quilting is not rated “For Women Only”.

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Roasted Sweet Peppers with Spiced Quinoa

A savory recipe for quinoa as promised.  Although we are not vegetarians, we did dine as such last night.  No meat in sight but quite satisfying all the same.  Stuffed peppers, roasted cauliflower steaks (see recipe in my blog), and a crisp, green romaine salad.  It made for a beautiful plate with opposing reds and greens and was quite easy to put together.  I did tweak the recipe a bit with healthy eats in mind and made a few changes.  There will definitely be a next time for this recipe, with experimentation using other seasonings. This is another recipe from This French Farmhouse and here is the link.  http://thisfrenchfarmhouse.com/2012/05/31/roasted-sweet-peppers-stuffed-with-spiced-quinoa/

Visit my post “Goldilocks Had the Right Idea” for the health benefits of quinoa.  It is a better choice over rice because it is way more nutritious and has a slightly nutty flavor to boot.

Roasted Sweet Peppers with Spiced Quinoa

Ingredients

Serves 4

  • 3 sweet red, yellow or orange bell peppers. Cut into halves the long way, leaving stem attached.  Remove seeds and piths.
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water or broth
  • 3/4 cup corn kernels
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onion (white and light green parts)
  • 3/4 cup black beans
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese
  • 3 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.  Sprinkle a bit of salt into each half pepper.  Roast peppers for 10 minutes on a cookie sheet.  Remove from oven.
  2. While peppers roast, bring broth or water to a boil and add quinoa.  (Broth lends more flavor to the quinoa.)  Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes until moisture is absorbed and quinoa is translucent.
  3. During the final minutes of cooking the quinoa, add taco seasoning and mix well. Remove from heat and toss with cheese, corn, black beans, green onion, olive oil, and salt and pepper (if needed.) in a large bowl.
  4. Stuff pepper halves generously and return to cookie sheet.  Bake another half hour.

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It’s Green and It’s Good for You

Yes, it is truly green – a rather  dubious green.  Sort of army green.  Honestly, it  does not look appetizing at all!  Have I convinced you yet?  Seriously, try this drink.  Would you drink it if  it contains half of the daily requirement of fruits and vegetables, gives an energy boost in the morning, detoxifies and seems to reduce acne?  And it actually tastes good?  That last one was the hardest to swallow – pardon the pun.  My daughter, champion of its many merits,  shared this recipe.

It does seem to include at least half of the fresh fruits and vegetables needed in a day.  This will be obvious once you see the ingredients.  Bananas, apples, pears, spinach, romaine lettuce, celery, lemon juice,  and water.  I know; it sounds awful when one thinks about drinking it.  We hesitantly gave it a go.  Surprisingly, it actually tasted good.   One benefit of this drink is getting so many servings of fruits and vegetables in one go.  It can be tricky to have the five to eight  recommended servings everyday.  I knew romaine was way healthier than iceberg lettuce, but I was surprised by how healthy it is.  It is an excellent source of vitamins K, A, and C, beta-carotene, potassium, folic acid, omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, and other vitamins and minerals.  Vitamin C and beta-carotene, in particular, are heart-healthy.

Actually, the word detoxify brings to mind crazy diets.   This isn’t meant to replace healthy eating with a fad diet.   It is rather filling and could replace breakfast, but not necessarily so.  Your usual healthy eating should not change.  The energy boost is supposed to come from the body absorbing all of those good foods quickly in somewhat liquid form.  It does give a get-up-and-go feeling.  I hesitate to even think this, but it could take the place of a cup of coffee as the way to start out the day.

Truly, it does taste good.  I expected it to taste like lettuce, but it does not.  The fruits give it a slightly sweet flavor.  Good enough to have everyday, if one is organized to make that happen.  That is the difficult part for me.  This drink can be made every other day and then refrigerate half of it.  That requires keeping those fruits and veggies in the house … which requires organized grocery shopping.   So, we go in spurts.  When we remember to shop, we make it in the morning.  We started with just 8 ounces and then graduated to 12 ounces, once we discovered the pleasant taste.   Here’s the recipe.  Remember to wash everything first.  If organics are available or affordable, use those.

 

My Daughter’s Green Drink

  • 1   1/2 cups of water
  • one small head of romaine lettuce, torn in pieces
  • a handful of spinach
  • 1 pear, cored and cut in quarters
  • 1 apple, cored  and cut in quarters
  • 2 bananas, peeled
  • one stalk celery
  • a splash of lemon juice
  1. Put the water in the blender.  Add the romaine and blend well.  Use the stalk of celery to help push down the romaine.  It helps to stop the blender occasionally to push down the lettuce.
  2. Add the spinach and blend well.
  3. Add each fruit, one at a time, and blend well.
  4. Add a splash of lemon juice and blend till smooth and no chunks remain.
  5. More water can be added if too thick for one’s taste.
  6. Refrigerate the leftovers and re-blend the next day.  This does keep for two days.

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Goldilocks Had the Right Idea

Summer porridge indeed. Porridge brings to mind Goldilocks, who thought ”baby bear’s bowl was just right and so she ate it all up.” I’d always wanted to have porridge when I was young, just like Goldilocks. However, it was never on the menu at our house, unless Quaker Oats counts. Well, I found a recipe for summer porridge at http://www.simpleprovisions.com.au) and it sounded intriguing. My eldest daughter has been espousing the merits of quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”). I’ve had a box of quinoa in my cupboard for several months, waiting for the right recipe. This is such a simple recipe to whip up for breakfast, just two ingredients plus add-ons. Be sure to top it with your favorite healthy nuts, fresh fruit, and a drizzle of honey. I found the rice milk on the shelf at the grocery store. It doesn’t need to be refrigerated until opening. Quinoa has a somewhat nutty flavor and is not heavy like oatmeal, a good choice for summer.

 
As one would expect from me, it turns out that quinoa has many health benefits. The United Nations has declared 2013 to be “The International Year of the Quinoa”. It has been singled out as a food with “high nutritive value, impressive biodiversity, and an important role to play in food security world-wide.” Quinoa has anti-inflammatory phytonutrients and heart-healthy fats. It is a complete source of protein, unlike whole wheat, and provides twice the amount of calcium. It does look like a grain but  is not a cereal grass.  Surprisingly, it is in the same food family as spinach, Swiss chard, and beets.  Quinoa comes originally from the Andes region in South America where it was a mainstay in the Inca diet.  Look for a savory recipe with quinoa soon!

 
Tips
• Store it in an airtight container. It will keep for three to six months in the refrigerator.
• It’s a good idea to rinse it in a fine-meshed strainer to remove any bitter taste that might remain after milling.
• To cook quinoa, add one part grain to two parts liquid.
• It is perfect for a gluten-free diet.

 

 

Summer Porridge with Nuts and Berries

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 cup quinoa

2 cups rice milk

Handfull of pecans, chopped

Handfull of berries

Honey

Method

Rinse quinoa in a fine-meshed strainer and place in saucepan with rice milk. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the quinoa has soaked up the liquid and turned translucent. Serve with pecans, raspberries and a drizzle of honey.

 

 

I love responses to my posts. Don’t be shy! You will need to click on an individual post to find the reply box for that post. Looking forward to hearing from you. ( Your email address will be requested, but will not be made public to anyone.

The Rest of the Story

The other half of a very enjoyable weekend, aside from the art fair,  was that we made it into a mini-vacation.  The car was packed from top to bottom and end to end with photos, tent, and display.  We could barely squeeze in a few necessities, as in a change of outfits. We arrived two days early to kick back and chill out.  We are lucky enough to have a cottage that has been in the family for five generations and soon to be six. ( More about the sixth at a later date.)  It has an amazing wrap-around porch that looks out on Green Bay.  There was a chill in the air (5o degrees) when we awoke because it is June in Wisconsin.  The cure for that is to slump down in a captain’s chair on the porch, cup of steamy coffee in hand, and gaze out at the diamonds glittering on the Bay.  It’s a guaranteed blood pressure-reducer.

Groceries were purchased for breakfasts and lunches only.  It was a vacation, after all, and neither of us had any intention of cooking dinners.  Since television was invented, there has been a sacrosanct rule that no TV will cross the threshold of our cottage.  Horrors, you say!  Actually, I never miss it.  We played scrabble and gin rummy, listened to the Milwaukee Brewers’ games on the radio, and just generally relaxed.  Time flew by and suddenly it was Sunday, the day of the art show.  On Monday morning we headed for home, taking small byways instead of the Interstate.

“Wait!”, I said, as we were nearing home,   “I have a totally brilliant idea!”  Last week we discovered a bar and restaurant, Tello’s, in Port Washington where we had gone to listen to some blues outdoors.  I am usually a purist when it comes to margaritas, on the rocks, with no fancy blending.  Well, Tello’s makes an amazing mango margarita, on the rocks, with a salted rim.  Yum!  It was still Happy Hour when we arrived with Happy Hour prices for drinks and food.  Well, $4.95 for a gigantic burrito with a side of rice, and it was delicious.  One wouldn’t expect delicious for that price, but a true story.  A wonderful end to a wonderful weekend.  Plan a get-away, even if just for a night.  It refreshes the soul.

 

 

I  love responses to my posts.  Don’t be shy!  You will need to click on an individual post to find the reply box for that post.  Looking forward to hearing from you. ( Your email address will be requested, but will not be made public to anyone.

Risky Behavior?

Practice what I preach, right? Take a Risk!  Take on a new challenge!  Enrich your life!   I did just that this past weekend.  I participated in a small, juried art fair in Menominee, MI, a sweet little town with a pretty harbor on Green Bay.  Yes, Green Bay as in Green Bay Packers, of which I am a huge fan, and have been since I was old enough to sit on my dad’s lap and cheer along with him as we watched that tiny TV.  Well, I cheered and he yelled at the set.  But I digress.  Choosing, developing, matting and framing photos to name just a few things… We had lists upon lists of things to do and get.  It has been crazy busy, but lots of fun.

What risk, you ask?  Firstly, submitting an application to a juried art fair is putting myself out there – the risk of not being accepted.  Then, crossing my fingers that some of my photos will be taken home and hung on someone’s wall.  Some did go home to be hung, I hope, in a place of importance.  I have to say the best part of the whole experience was meeting scores of new people and receiving quite a few sincere compliments about my work.  I must admit to having had a few misgivings and more than a little stress beforehand.  However, all was for naught!  It was amazingly enjoyable, and it will be repeated.  I hope to do more this summer.

So, you need not take on such a large project to take a risk.  Attempting anything new always has an element of risk attached to it.  Is there something you’ve always wanted to try but haven’t gotten around to?  The satisfaction gained from learning a new skill, studying a new language, taking an art course, entering a quilt show…  Well, it is amazing how much pleasure it brings into one’s life.  Don’t delay.  Take that step before you change your mind.

I  love responses to my posts.  Don’t be shy!  You will need to click on an individual post to find the reply box for that post.  Looking forward to hearing from you. ( Your email address will be requested, but will not be made public to anyone.