Meatless Monday: Roadted Delicata Squash with Quinoa Salad

Dont get me wrong, I love stuffed bell peppers when they’re done right. But they can be awful and bitter at their worst. Well, I found a wonderful replacement. I had never cooked with Delicata squash, so this recipe was right up my alley.  Plus, my MIL’s neighbor in Idaho has arugula coming out of her ears.

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This recipe is super easy and can be made ahead, which is always nice for me because I often have time to make things and pop them in the fridge.

Roasted Delicata Squash and Quinoa Salad

INGREDIENTS
Ingredients

2 Delicata squash (about 1 pound each), halved lengthwise and seeded

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 cup quinoa

2 tablespoons golden raisins

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

1 teaspoon honey

1 Granny Smith apple, finely diced

1 large shallot, minced

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons chopped mint

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

2 ounces arugula (2 cups)

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Brush the cut sides of the squash with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil and season the cavities with salt and pepper. Place the squash cut side down on a baking sheet and roast for about 45 minutes, until tender.

2. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, bring 2 cups of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the quinoa, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the raisins and simmer, covered, until the water is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl and let cool.

3 In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar and honey with the remaining 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add the dressing to the quinoa along with the apple, shallot, garlic, mint and parsley and toss well. Add the arugula and toss gently.

4. Set the squash halves on plates. Fill with the salad and serve.

  
  

Back to Tucson

Our time in Idaho is coming to a close. We have enjoyed cousin time cool mountain time, and grandmother time.  

The cool grass in the front yard will be sorely missed. My walk into town to study, shop, or go to the library will be missed. I grew up in a small, walkable town so I appreciate what this area has to offer.

The slamming screen door, the clicking of the Aspen leaves, the cool mountain air flowing over my face each morning as I wake up. 

 
The mountain sensations will be locked away for another year; referenced when the heat of Tucson wears me down.  

It will be nice to be back home in our own space.  Sharing a bathroom with only my husband is ideal. Sharing a bathroom with my boys is a little more challenging.

I can catch up on my Bravo addiction. Although the break has been nice,  I can’t wait to see why Vicki Gunvalson breaks down and hear Luann de Lesseps say: “Be cool. Don’t be all, uncool.”

I know one day the boys will look back on their time here with fondness. I want them to experience the freedom of a front yard and being able to play without the fear of snakes, scorpions or speeding motorists. Right now it is more for me than anything. I enjoy the calm. I enjoy the cool. 

  

Sun Care, Skin Care

I’m sure you’ve seen this report by now but it doesn’t hurt to inform yourself. Plus, you can share it with your friends and family. 

 Here is a link to the Environmental Workjng Group’s (EWG) lists of the best and worst sun screens on the market. For years, I loved Neutrogena’s sunscreens but we no longer use them because of their contents. Read the criterion for determining a sunscreen’s rating and you’ll see why. I thought I was using a high quality product, but I found otherwise. 

We’re all just trying to do the right thing for our kiddos!

  

4th of July Menu

This year, in Ketchum, ID, we did things a little differently. My 9 year old niece and I are often in cahoots for planning dinners either out or at home so we talked on Thursday over waffle fries at Perry’s. 

Here’s what we decided our menu would be:
Mediterranean Chopped Salad
Fruit salad

  Beef sliders

And

Oreo Cookie Pops

  
It has been a little steamy in the evenings and most of the kiddos are preferring cooler menu selections for dinner.

The menu worked out beautifully and everyone was sugar charged to stay up until it got dark enough for fireworks: 9:45 pm. Bed time Schmed-time.

  

Meatless Monday: Hazelnut-and-Green Olive Pesto

Do you need a quick topping for any meat, fish, mushroom or bread? Here it is: from Food and Wine.com Grace Parisi is a culinary go-to for me. This recipe is delicious! And, with no cheese in it, it is perfect for a cookout!

I’ll update the post with a picture…ASAP!

 
 

Meatless Monday: Beet, Pickled Cherry and Crispy Shallot Salad

 

For Father’s Day,  Ryan requested ribs and beets. So that’s what we made for him! I found a recipe that I felt would be satisfying…and boy it was! I found the recipe on Food and Wine.com

We have a ton of cherries right now so I also made a cherry-peach pie. It was a really good basic recipe…nothing fancy. Ryan likes crust, so that was the focus.  The next time I make it I think I will add ginger.

 Yesterday was more relaxing for me because Ryan took the boys hiking and to get new camelbacks, so I really enjoyed work on the meal yesterday.

We also had grilled corn and asparagus. The meal was a success. The fathers were happy and my MIL was raving, which always makes a girl happy.

  
 

Sweet Sun Valley

I’m not going to lie, 108 degrees is too hot for me. I love Tucson, but that kind of heat… I can do without it. I guess it is like being locked inside during the winter in the Midwest. You spend a lot of time trying to figure our how not to go outside. You don’t want to leave your car in the sun because it is so hot when you get back in it.

 

That is why we come to Idaho. It is literally 30 degrees cooler! My mother

Andrew...and Mata-E asleep in the hammock

Andrew…and Mata-E asleep in the hammock

in law is very gracious to let us descend upon her house for 6 weeks this summer. I am so thankful that we have the opportunity to spend time in such a beautiful place.

 

Chase and Andrew’s cousins will be here again and they will all be in camp! Andrew is in full days this year, which will allow me time to workout, study for the LSAT.

 

On my first day of freedom, my MIL and I dropped off the kiddos with ease and I felt like Mel Gibson in

I just spent 3 weeks with my children...you understand right?

I just spent 3 weeks with my children…you understand right?

Braveheart. I went running, did a couple of Barre3 online videos by the river here in Ketchum and then headed back to shower up, eat some lunch, and start filling my brain with strategies for getting a perfect score on the LSAT.

 

I’ll still have a block of time to do laundry and cook dinner. Luckily, my MIL has a flexible work schedule and Ketchum is small enough to walk everywhere I go. Evenings will be filled with eating dinner

I hope we have enough!

I hope we have enough!

and my MIL and I enjoying a stockpile of delicious wines. I am very lucky to be a part of such a fun family in a beautiful setting. Ryan arrives in a few days with the mountain bikes and Sara. Let the fun begin!

 

 

Siggy-Q

 

Meatless Monday: Swazi Salad

Phot by Con Poulos on Food and Wine.com

Phot by Con Poulos on Food and Wine.com

Salads are a way of life for Ryan and me once the warm weather hits.  Food and Wine has a feature called: Salad of the Month.  They are always delicious  and different.

INGREDIENTS
3 medium beets (12 ounces), scrubbed
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
Kosher salt
Pepper
1 head of romaine lettuce (1 pound), coarsely chopped
3 radishes, thinly sliced
1 Hass avocado, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup crushed roasted peanuts

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 450°. Wrap the beets in foil 
and place them on a baking sheet. Roast for about 
1 hour, until tender. Unwrap and let cool. Slip off the skins and cut the beets 
into wedges.

2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the oil with the lemon juice and ginger and season with salt and pepper.

3.In a large bowl, toss the romaine, radishes, beets and all but 2 tablespoons 
of the dressing. Transfer 
to a bowl. Top with the 
avocado and drizzle with 
the remaining dressing. Scatter the peanuts on top and serve.

MAKE AHEAD
The roasted beets can be refrigerated 
for up to 3 days.

Siggy-Q

Back Home Again In Indiana

We arrived last night for a visit to my home state. There are are several things that I am really looking forward to while I’m here:

Humidity, tomatoes, green grass

Aside from seeing friends and family, which is of the utmost importance, the above three things are what I look forward to most when we are able to visit Indiana in the summer.

This trip was initially scheduled to attend the wedding of a college friend…but quickly turned into a chance to enjoy some of the things that define Indiana for me.

I live in the desert southwest. The relative humidity is at about 15%.  By the end of our visit, my skin will be completely hydrated despite the amount of Champagne I’ll be drinking.

We landed around 6:15pm, 3:15pm our time.  My parents picked us up and we headed to the NE side of the

The go-to toy according to Chase

The go-to toy according to Chase

city.  My parents have lived in their house for almost twenty years.  It is not my childhood home, but it is definitely a house that holds many memories for me.  We were last here for Christmas of 2013 so Andrew has no memory of it, but Chase sure does.  The first thing he asked for was a toy on which you can race and play with hot wheels.  I played with it as a kid and am amazed that it still exists.

Andrew on the other hand, wanted to be outside.  My parents have multiple ride-on toys and Andrew tried out each one in the cul-de-sac.  We romped around the back yard, marveled at the growth of the landscaping and the boys were literally rolling around in the grass.  With no threat of scorpions, rattle snakes or cacti, it looked pretty enticing.

The vacation ahead of us will offer visits with friends, lazy days in the backyard and trips to the Children’s Museum, which by the way is the BEST in the country.  If you ever have the privilege of visiting Indianapolis, check it out!  It is a familiar comfort level that calms me and recharges me.  And, its always nice to be around my mom. She laughs at my jokes, offers to do my laundry, and buys me Woodford Reserve!  You can’t beat that!

I’ll post more about my great home state.  Plus, after our short trip here, we’re off to Idaho.  If you think I’m going back to 103 degree weather you’re insane.  We’ll be there from June 15th through July 25th.  The boys will be in camp, I’ll be studying for the LSAT and hiking too.  Plus, a dear friend from Santa Fe will be spending a week in the area too.  More to come!

Siggy-Q

A Quick Look at a 39th Birthday Brunch

I truly love entertaining.  I love good food, music, cocktails and friends.  I love a beautiful table too.  I can attribute that to my mother.  I’m not sure where I got it but I love brainstorming recipes, flowers and music to create the perfect setting for having a great gathering.  Whether it is an impromptu get together or a 39th Birthday Brunch, putting together a menu, cooking the dishes and then enjoying how everything comes to fruition gives me great joy!

Though I love going out to restaurants, entertaining at home is enjoyable for me.  Nothing beats opening our

A look at the brunch buffet

A look at the brunch buffet

home to our friends and family for a morning of eating, drinking and laughing.  This is what we did for my 39th birthday this year!

When we lived in PA during Ryan’s residency training, I was a member of Partners in Medicine (PIM).  It was

I farmed out the Macarons and flourless chocolate cake bites.

I farmed out the Macarons and flourless chocolate cake bites.

the spouses’ and partners’ group associated with Hershey Medical Center.  It was not only the way I met some of my dearest friends but also a way to keep my creative juices flowing in a new environment.  We were lucky enough to have a great house for entertaining so we hosted a lot of parties.  From Jamaican Me Crazy in the dead of winter to our Annual Bourbon Tasting Party in September to many, many baby showers, we made great use of the house and I honed my skills in entertaining.

As a single gal, I loved hosting boozy brunches on Memorial Day weekend.  Though I was a bit of a control freak regarding the menu, they sure were fun!  It was an opportunity to show a different side to my work friends and show appreciation of good food and drinks.

This year for my birthday I wanted to enjoy all of my favorite things to eat and drink at a brunch.

Menu:

Beverages:

My favorite bubbly friends

My favorite bubbly friends

Moet

Veuve Clicquot

Perrier et Jouet

Bloody Marys

Spa water

Coffee

Nibbles:

CA BLTs

Grilled Salmon

Carrot and Chickpea Salad

Cucumber and Grape Gazpacho

3 Pea Salad

Fruit Salad

Arugula and Spinach Salad with shaved fennel, dried cherries and walnuts

The little cups held gazpacho and these were the napkins I used.

The little cups held gazpacho and these were the napkins I used.

Croissants

Cheese plate

Macarons

Flourless Chocolate Cake Bites

We had a wonderful morning full of good food and shenanigans.  Everyone left by about 1:30 and Ryan I and I watched the 2015 induction ceremony for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Siggy-Q

 

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