Week 18: Summer Vegetable Quinoa Salad

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As April is finally coming to an end, it’s time to start thinking about summer recipes. Probably because I’ve been on the run almost every weekend in April, my body has been craving fresh and healthy foods. This quinoa salad is the perfect side dish for a summer picnic or even just as a delicious quick and easy lunch. You could definitely sub out some of the vegetables depending on what you have at home. Also, next time a nice addition might be some feta cheese as a yummy treat!

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ingredients:

2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp basil leaves, fresh or dried
1 cup quiona
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 can corn, drained
2 roma tomatoes, diced
4 green onions, chopped
1 orange bell pepper, chopped
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directions:

Cook quinoa according to the box. While quinoa is cooking, combine olive oil, lemon juice and basil to make the dressing.

Once the quinoa is cooked, let it cool. Dice tomatoes, chop green onions and bell pepper. Combine cooled quiona, garbanzo beans, corn, tomatoes, green onions, and bell pepper in a large bwol. Drizzle with lemon dressing and mix until well combined. Serve chilled.
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caloric info: yields 4, 391 calorie servings

Open Faced Croissant Sandwich

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Breakfast is by far my favorite meal of the day, but since I’m a busy working girl, I rarely have the time to cook it for myself in the morning. This weekend was the first weekend in awhile that I’ve, first of all, been home to cook and, second of all, had time to cook. I decided to treat myself to a delicious ham & cheese croissant sandwich, with a simple warm spinach salad on the side.  Brunch always has a way of putting me in a good mood and was the perfect way to start my Saturday!

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ingredients:
croissant
2 slices of ham
1 oz shredded cheddar cheese
1 egg
Salt and Pepper, to taste
spinach, optional
olive oil, optional
lemon juice, optional

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directions:
Slice the croissant in half,not fully, because you will use the entire croissant as a base for your sandwich.

Preheat a skillet on low and add the croissant, layer the ham and cheese alternately and cover so the cheese melts.

In a separate pan, cook an egg sunny side up. Once fully cooked top the croissant, ham and cheese base with the egg. Crack fresh pepper and sprinkle with salt, to taste.

In the same pan you cooked the egg, add 1 tsp olive oil and the juice of 1/2 lemon. Quickly toss a handful of spinach in the dressing. Plate the warm spinach salad and season with salt and pepper. Serve with open faced sandwich.

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Easy DIY Personalized Champagne Bottle

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Now that all of my friends have graduated and we live in the big bad adult world, I have the hardes time trying to find the perfect gift. There’s always jewelry and clothes, but how do you impress that friend that has everything already? The answer is always diy! This diy project is super easy, but can be really impressive depending on how far you take it. I personally have always been tempted to cover an entire bottle of champagne with sparkles! Since this party was hosted at my apartment and sparkles can be a pain to clean, I opted for some sparkly paint instead!

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supplies:
champagne bottle, I prefer a black canvas
glitter paint
paint brush or Q-tips
steady hand 🙂

You can decorate with polka dots, chevron stripes, or even a hand written message! Even the simplest design will be a surprise. My roommate was beyond excited when I presented her with this champagne bottle for her birthday earlier this month.

Classics Remixed

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Because I’ve already tried so many new recipes, I’m always looking for ways to remix “old” recipes to make something new and exciting. Such is the case with these two recipes. Yes, I know that I only tried these Turkey Lettuce Wraps last week, but I could already tell they’d be a classic. So I knew I had to come up with another version to satiate my Asian food cravings, but keep my taste buds wanting more. Last time I made these lettuce wraps, I didn’t pair them with anything, but this time I decided to change up my Shrimp Fried Quinoa to a simple Vegetable Fried Rice recipe.

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Week 17: Bacon-Cheddar Cauliflower Chowder

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One of my least favorite times of year is right before summer, when Los Angeles seems to bounce between perfect sunny days and those gloomy depressing ones. It’s not quite hot out on these days, but it’s definitely not cold- just an in between temperature with nothing exciting to look forward to. Today was one of those days and the perfect day for a healthy soup recipe. Don’t be fooled this recipe is not only healthy, but it satisfies cravings for real baked potato soup and fills you up at the same time!

ingredients:
1 package center-cut bacon, chopped
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt & pepper
4 cups shredded cauliflower (1/2 head)
2 Tablespoons water
2 Tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth, divided
2 cups 2% milk
3-4 dashes hot sauce (or more or less)
2-1/2 cups (12oz) shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided (half used for garnish)
2 green onions, chopped

directions:
Use a food processor to mince the garlic, chop the vegetables and bacon, as well as to shred the cheese.

Whisk together flour and 1/4 cup chicken broth in a small bowl then set aside.

Sauté bacon in a large soup pot over medium heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate then remove all but 1 Tablespoon of drippings from the pot. Add chopped onion, celery, and garlic to the pot, then season with salt and pepper and sauté until vegetables are tender, about 4-5 minutes.

Add cauliflower to the pot then stir to combine. Add water then place a lid on top and steam cauliflower until tender, stirring a couple times, about 5-7 minutes. Add remaining chicken broth and milk then turn up heat and bring to a boil.

Slowly whisk in flour and chicken broth mixture while stirring; then turn down heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes or until chowder has thickened. Turn off heat then stir in 2 cups cheddar cheese until smooth, then stir in half the cooked bacon. Taste and adjust salt, pepper, and/or hot sauce if necessary.

Serve topped with remaining shredded cheese, cooked bacon, and green onions.

Caloric info: 257 calories per 1 cup serving