Monday, March 29, 2010

Quinoa Black Bean Salad

This is one of the best fresh grain salads! It has the cool crunch of the bell peppers and red onion along with a creaminess from the black beans. Andy’s aunt started making this last summer, I believe, and we’ve been huge fans of it ever since. It’s the perfect cold salad for the warm temperature days to come.

I made a huge batch of this so we can pack a veggie and protein filled lunchbox all week long.

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Makes ~5 cups

Quinoa Mix:
1 cup quinoa, dry
2 cups water
3 small tri-colored bell peppers, diced
1 large jalapeño, minced
2 cups black beans
1 small red onion, diced
1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped

Dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
1.5 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Prepare quinoa according to package directions. Once cooled, toss it with peppers, black beans, red onion and cilantro. Prepare dressing mixture, shake or whisk together and pour over the quinoa mixture. Refrigerate for several hours to allow the flavors to marry. Garnish with halved grape tomatoes and chunks of avocado, optional.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Fun with the Fam in Durham

I had some great times this weekend with my Mom and sister. We are all three so much alike, after a day of chatting away and running around all day I am quite worn out :D

We were on a huge green smoothie kick too…

Mom making a Green Cabbage, Pear, Banana and Carrot Smoothie…tasted like dirt

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Sara making a Kale, Banana, Apple, and Mixed Berries Smoothie…looked like dirt

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Spinach, Apple, Banana, Flax Smoothie and topped with homemade granola…simply delicious

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I have no pictures from Friday, but we spent the afternoon in Cary. I first treated us all to an hour massage and an express facial. Then we headed to Trader Joe’s and Earthfare to pick-up our delicious eats for the weekend.

First up was a Smoked Salmon breakfast before we headed out on Saturday morning for the Durham Farmer’s Market.

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Some of my favorites…

Daisy Cakes, mmmm. Red Velvet, PB & Jelly, Vairhona Double Chocolate, and Chocolate Vanilla.

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Scratch Bakery (can’t wait for her downtown Durham location to open in a few weeks)!!

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Pigs in a blanket

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Crostatas and Empanadas

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Donut Muffins!!

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Dolly Mama Chocolates

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Had to pick up a hazelnut chocolate bunny for my Easter candy!

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We swung by The Scrap Exchange and had fun being silly in the store. Then we headed over to Wine Authorities for a free wine tasting and to purchase most of the items for our dinner (below). Plus, a must-have frozen yogurt from Local Yogurt!!

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We shared a yogurt cup so we’d still have room to enjoy a late lunch at Toast. My beautiful sister and me. We proudly sported our UK gear all over town.

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Delicious eats…

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Even a spotting of the new Korean Taco Truck, I heard about last week.

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After napping and some quiet time we set-up our Wine Authorities eats…three cheeses, two loaves of bread…

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and a nice bottle of Welschriesling was enjoyed with the UK game. Sadly, the CATS ended their tournament games at the Elite Eight. We stand proud though with the awesome year we had, it was such a fun basketball season.

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Wilson snoozin’ away

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Sunday afternoon, we headed out to Duke Gardens before the rain that was forecasted to hit. Andy was glad to have some alone time each day too, as three of us is admittedly a lot to handle.

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After an hour or so of walking we headed over (in our UK gear!) to Duke’s main campus to enjoy an outdoor Sunday brunch at The Refectory. I LOVE this place and don’t get a chance to go nearly enough. Check out their mission: "Dedicated to providing healthy, homemade, nutritious meals while preserving the environment, strengthening our community and enriching the lives of our employees." (Side note: I hated my first job at Duke and used to day dream about working here.) I forgot to take any photos :( but we shared an Egg Bake Platter with grits and sausage and Corn Flake Crusted French Toast with Strawberries.

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We ate it outside on the lawn with the pups.

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Finally, we headed over to Ninth Street to pursue Vaguely Reminiscent – this was such a cute, fun hat that I tried on. And I would be lying if I didn't mention that we headed back over to Local Yogurt on Sunday too for another treat. :D

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We had such a great time together!!

Menu Plan Monday

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Monday: Quinoa Black Bean Salad (modified)

Tuesday: Lentil Dal with Garlic Naan

Wednesday: Garlic Shrimp Salad

Thursday: Slow Cooker Honey Lemon Chicken

Friday: Pizza Night

Saturday: Slow Cooker Butternut and Apple Soup

Easter Sunday: Brown Sugar & Spice-Crusted Ham, Cranberry-Ginger Relish, and Roasted Asparagus Salad

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Red Rice with Sausage & Peppers

We've gotten back into our regular routine for a couple days now that we’re back home. This has been such a fun and enjoyable month with our trip to Salt Lake City, visit with Andy's parents, & the St. Patrick's weekend with Andy's aunt and uncle...wish I could repeat it all every month.

We’ve both had a lot going on at our work places too lately. It’s created some busy work days, but they sure do fly by!

But the months not over yet and Thursday night my Mom and sister, Sara, arrive to Durham (along with my sister's HUGE 1 year old bullmastiff, Dexter - he's a big sweetie)! I can’t wait to see them all, wish my nephews could make it too (but they have a different Spring Break than my sister does). I’m planning on treating them to a massage and a weekend of LOTS of foodie fun: Trader Joe’s, Earthfare, Durham Farmer’s Market, Whole Foods, Local Yogurt, Wine Authorities, Toast, and Watt’s Grocery!

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Dinner tonight was from the current issue of Everyday Food, April 2010. I wasn’t able to find the recipe posted online yet, but you basically sauté diced Italian sausage, onion, garlic, red bell pepper, salt & pepper, can of diced tomatoes, and pre-cooked rice. I added some crushed red pepper flakes too. We thought this dish was really good and we’re glad to have leftovers for tomorrow night too.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

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Monday: Salmon Cakes, (my little brother) Rob’s Homemade Sauerkraut, and Spicy Roasted Potato Wedges

Tuesday: Red Rice with Sausage & Peppers (Everyday Food, April 2010)

Wednesday: leftovers

Thursday: Frozen Pizza and Rhubarb-Strawberry Crumble (My Mom and sister arrive!!)

Friday: Mozzarella, Raspberry and Brown Sugar Panini and Slow Cooker Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Saturday: Durham Farmer’s Market and Lunch at Toast

Sunday: Brunch at Watt’s Grocery

St. Patrick’s Weekend

We’re back in Durham now after spending a weekend in Tennessee with family and friends for the annual St. Patrick’s Weekend gathering. We had a wonderful weekend full of good company, laughter, and top notch food and wine!

Friday night appetizers: Smoked Trout w/ horseradish sauce and crackers

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Andy working away at stringing cheese

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Armenian Cheese (Mozzarella, Fresh Garlic, EVOO, and Herbs)

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Dinner: Irish Beef Stew

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Rye Caraway Bread and Irish Soda Bread

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Spinach, Mushroom, Eggs, & Bacon Salad

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Saturday

Breakfast: Ham & Spinach Quiches

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w/ Fresh Fruit Salad

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Lunch: Corned Beef Sandwiches, Black Bean and Quinoa Salad & Potato Salad

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Enjoying the outdoors

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Saturday evening appetizers – Cheese Platter

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Shrimp Cocktail

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Darts!

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Patrick, Andy, Larry and Van

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Wines and Vintage Port selections

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Dinner: Beef Tenderloin, Roasted Vegetables, Creamed Spinach, and Buttered Rolls

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and Caesar Salad

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Chocolate and Peanut Butter Mousse w/ Raspberries (aka Incredible Peanut Butter Cup)

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Dessert wine

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Evening entertainment – the group was serenaded by Rick. We were all mesmerized…such a lovely evening.

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Sunday Brunch: Smoked Salmon

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Fruit Salad and Apricot Cream Cheese Braid

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Champagne toast/send-off

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