Hey Gang, thanks for listening to me rant last Friday. It was cathartic to let it all out, so I appreciate it. I’m feeling a little better, but definitely not up to my usual standards, and my right ear is still pretty jacked up. Why, oh why, won’t you pop?! It’s so swollen I can’t even get a Q-tip in there, and yes I tried because it seemed like a smart thing to do. Confession time, I have a weird obsession with cleaning my ears. I Love It, with a capital L. There’s something so refreshing about it, like the first night’s sleep on newly washed sheets. It just feels sooooo good. If I could do it every day, I would. Sadly, I can’t because my doctor yelled at me years ago and told me to lay off. She said ear cleaning is not a daily activity (oh how I wish it was), ear wax is there to protect us, and I should only do it every few days. So, now that you think I’m a total freak, that’s the real reason I was trying to jab a Q-tip in my ear.
I really tried to take it easy this weekend so I could bounce back, but I also had to do something, anything, because I was starting to go a little stir crazy from six straight days in the house with doctor’s offices being my only outside excursion. Plus, I had family in town. Most of my family is back in Buffalo, so it’s always nice when they journey to Cleveland and I get to spend time with them. My brother and sister-in-law were here for a Pakistani wedding (she’s Pakistani), so we got to hang out with them on Saturday and part of Sunday. Pakistanis’ really know how to do it because their wedding ceremonies go on for days. My brother and sister-in-law got married almost a year ago, and their wedding was the most exciting and entertaining four-day affair I’ve ever witnessed. I got henna-ed, and it was cool. Honestly, I love experiencing different cultures and seeing and learning what everything is all about, and I have never met a more open and welcoming bunch. And my sister-in-law, Hunia, rocks. She is always smiling and happy and makes me laugh. So I was thrilled to spend time with her.
In the theme of taking it easy, we hung out around the house on Saturday and went out to dinner Saturday night (see I relaxed). We also hit up the Sweet Spot for gelato and it was fabulous, as usual. Come visit: I will take you out for gelato, and you will love it. Sunday morning, we threw together a quick breakfast of Parmesan Roasted Potatoes, Turkey Bacon, Scrambled Eggs with Green Onions (what else) and Asiago cheese and a Pineapple and Raspberry fruit bowl. If you haven’t figured it out by now, I love fruit and would eat it with pretty much every meal if you let me. It’s so delicious.
I also did some cooking this weekend, and it was fabulous to be back in the kitchen making good food again. I missed my beautiful kitchen last week. When we first moved into our pad three years, we completely gutted and redid the kitchen so it has pretty much everything I could need or want. Well, except the foot pedal sink starter. Have you seen these things? You can activate the water just by stepping on a pedal on the floor. So, when your hands are completely covered in food, oil, dough, you just step on the pedal and rinse. It’s like magic or maybe science.
Anyway, back to the food. On Friday, I threw together a quick batch of granola and made some Baked Parmesan Kale chips, which are all the rage in health food circles lately. Credit for these chips goes to my other, and equally, lovely sister-in-law, Marybeth. They were her suggestion and much like the Kale smoothie, they really grew on me. Marybeth and Dan (the Hubby’s brother) live in Los Vegas, but are looking to move to California or perhaps even Ohio. Now I know this must be a tough decision: sun versus snow ball fights and sledding, sun versus Ohio football (O-H-I-O), sun versus my cooking, sun versus reasonable cost of living, and sun versus the best ice cream ever. Come to Cleveland; I will take you for gelato, and you will love it. Ice cream aside, these kale chips were very easy and pretty good. They are crunchy, salty, a little cheesy, and full of veggie love.
This is my first go around with Kale chips, and I burnt them (even though I cut the cook time in half), although not horribly. I would definitely make these again if we get more kale in our CSA share. No surprise here; I snagged this recipe from Pinterest via http://www.skinnytaste.com/2012/03/baked-parmesan-kale-chips.html#more.
I also found myself in the very fortunate position of having not one, but two, lovely heads of cauliflower on hand, so I did what most cauliflower loving gals will do and made Cheddar Cauliflower Soup. I divided the soup into two separate Tupperware containers. One went into the fridge for a quick easy dinner this week and one went into the freezer to be eaten at an undeterminded time and place. I also hardboiled some eggs and made a batch of Energy Bites so the Hubby and I would have something to snack on for the week.
The piece de resistance came on Sunday night though.This dish, like the soup, is from Eating Well and is an old favorite which we haven’t had in a very long time. I don’t even remember why it fell out of the rotation, but mark my words, it’s going back in. It’s Chicken, Broccoli, Tomatoes & Feta on a bed of Quinoa (whenever I pronounce Kin-Wah I do so with an Asian accent and hand chopping motions). The Eating Well recipe actually uses Broccoli Rabe and is served on a bed of toast, but I like my way better (Duh). This meal is so full of flavor and juicyness, you’ll swear there’s a party going on in your mouth. And it calls for a quarter cup of garlic, so enjoy (just not on a first date). You can thank me later.
This dish was so delish, I have to share multiple pictures. And the tomatoes and the broccoli were both from our week three CSA share, so bonus points for double usage.
This would be a quarter cup of garlic and some of the prettiest tomatoes ever.
You can get with this or you can get with that. You can get with this because this is where it’s at.
It was soooo freaking good. I give it two thumbs up, a snap, a swizzle and a twirl, and the Hubby is just happy to have meat twice in one day (Major Score!).
Chicken, Broccoli, Tomatoes & Feta on a bed Quinoa or Brown Rice
- Brown Rice or Quinoa
- 1/4 cup chopped garlic (Uh, yum!)
- 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 pound chicken tenders, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces (or chopped up chicken breasts or skip altogether and less if you have a vegetarian in your midst )
- 2 bunches broccoli (or more if you have a vegetarian in your midst)
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- Heat brown rice or quinoa according to package directions.
- Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add chicken; cook, stirring occasionally, until just cooked through and no longer pink in the middle, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken and any juices to a plate; cover to keep warm.
- Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the pan (or a new pan if you have a vegetarian in your midst). Add chopped garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant but not brown, about 30 seconds. Add broccoli and cook, stirring often, until bright green, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, vinegar, salt and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are beginning to break down, 2 to 4 minutes. Return the chicken and juices to the pan (or just add the chicken to individual plates if you have a vegetarian in your midst), add feta cheese and stir to combine. Cook until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Serve warm over quinoa or brown rice.
What did you eat this weekend? And do you have any strange obsessions you’d care to share?