It’s Long Overdue ~ Mango Avocado Quinoa Salad

There’s part of me that wants to pretend that there’s nothing unusual about falling off the face of the blogging world for over six months and then casually popping in for another post like I’m right on schedule. Not that I ever actually had a schedule going around here, but I was rather consistent about posting once a month…or so.

The other side of me wants to make a BIG deal out of this. Hey WORLD!!! I’m BACK!!! And look what I brought ya!!!!

That, I tell myself, sounds rather obnoxious though, so I won’t. You’re welcome.

It’s been six months of significant season change, from a lovely autumn, a fairly mild winter (that is, on the days when it wasn’t snowing or icing), a spring of rain, storms, and more rain, to another hot, hot summer. Tell me, how does the ground go from oozing water like a soaked sponge, to cracking from dry heat in less than a week???

My life has been considerably less drastic.

IMG_1093I bought a new cutting board!  Yeah, not much to say here…

Actually, you want to know what I haven’t talked about since this post in August of 2013?? My braces! Well, they are off now folks, as of September 2014. It wasn’t as thrilling as I was hoping since the adult canine died, but hey, it’s where it’s supposed to be now and seems sturdy enough. I don’t even have to wear that horrendous retainer! As far as I’m concerned, I can happily forget the whole thing happened. I’m sure you were dying to know the rest of the braces saga, so there you have it!

So, in spite of the fact that I haven’t posted since 2014, I do still cook…just as much as ever, as my Instagram can attest. (You can pretty much blame that app for the seemingly imminent demise of my blog.) What brings me back, you ask?

Well, it’s this…

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I made it for a party, innocently enough, and…well, people just got addicted. Every other person wanted the recipe and I scolded myself for not having blogged it already so I could just pass out my blog address rather than racking my brain trying to remember what I actually put in it. Yep, I’ve returned to the old habit of not making notes while I cook (and creating run on sentences that you can barely get through without stopping for breath!). Oops!

I made it again today because I think my original taste testers have pretty good taste when it comes to good food. I’m pretty sure, if they liked it, than you will too.

And let me tell ya’, this is a salad for summer! Sweet, spicy, refreshing, light and yet filling. Okay, I hear you, I’ll stop the wordage already and get with the recipe!

Mango Avocado Quinoa Salad

  • 1 c. quinoa
  • 2 mangos, peeled and cubed
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, cored, diced
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1/2 t. minced garlic
  • 1 t. honey
  • 2 T. sesame oil, or other mild flavored oil (not toasted sesame)
  • 1/4 t. red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 avocados, peeled, seeded and cubed

IMG_1160Rinse quinoa. Drain, then add enough water to the pan to cover the quinoa by about an inch. I use the first joint on my index finger to measure from the top of the grain, because I dislike measuring liquid for grains. Weird, I know.

Bring to a boil, cover with a lid and lower heat to a simmer. Cook 15-20 minutes or until all the water is cooked out. Remove from heat. Let cool to room temp (or refrigerate for later use) and fluff with a fork.

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Peel mangos and cut into bite-sized pieces.

IMG_1110Dice the red pepper, purple onion (Can we just come to terms with the fact that this variety of onion is not red and should not be called red?), and the jalapeno. This is my favorite way to de-core a pepper…

IMG_1122Chop cilantro and add to prepared ingredients. Let’s just stop and relish the colors for a moment, shall we?

IMG_1134Purple, that onion is totally purple.

Mix the juice of the limes, honey, red pepper flakes, oil, and garlic in a jar or cup and pour over ingredients.

IMG_1130Add cooled quinoa to bowl and toss lightly. The avocados should go in at the last minute…or at least a couple hours before.

IMG_1139Salt and pepper to taste. Please don’t over stir! Once the avocado is added, you want to mix as little as possible so it doesn’t just mush together.

IMG_1151Enjoy as a side for grilled chicken, or eat it as a meal all on it’s own!

Before the next mouth watering photo, I would like to take this moment to thank each and every one of you. Thank you to my loyal readers who have stayed with me even though I ditch you for 6 months at a time. And thank you to my new visitors for getting this far in reading this post! Welcome and I hope you enjoy what you find here on Stir it Up!!

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Mediterranean Stuffed Eggplant

Giant fluffy snowflakes are drifting out of a grey sky this afternoon. It’s one of my favorite kind of days really, when everything gets canceled because of the snow and all I have to do is do whatever I feel like doing.

But today I’m feeling that wanderlust itch. Today, I’d happily give up my beloved snowflakes to be transported to Gimmelwald in the Swiss Alps, Haarlem’s bicycle busy cobbled streets in the Netherlands, or the Cinque Terre along the Tyrrhenian Sea in Italy.

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On snow days I read blog posts like this and this and the gorgeous pictures of far away places make me smile and cry at the same time. Maybe it helps cure the travel bug bite… maybe it makes it worse.

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It’s funny how the senses can take you back in time to a specific place. Pictures, food, music, and smells – they all do that to me. I love it. The smell of Torani Hazelnut syrup takes me right back to the counter of the Rocky Mountain Candy Factory in Georgetown, CO. Steven Curtis Chapman’s “Not Home Yet” finds me driving in the wee hours of the morning on lonely highways through Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. And the combination of kalamata olives, tomatoes and feta cheese? Well, you know where that’s headed…

I found these adorable mini eggplants at the market for 10 cents a piece, that’s right, 2 bucks for all 20 of them…

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…And I thought to myself (Well, I don’t know, maybe I said it out loud right to the produce guy placing them in the bins), these would be perfect stuffed.

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Slice in half and place on a baking sheet. Sprinkle on the olive oil, salt and pepper and roast @ 375 for about 20 minutes.

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Scoop out the insides with a spoon (I used my melon baller-dilly-wopper-thing.). Place the shells back on the pan.

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Chop the flesh into small pieces and put in a bowl. Add some chopped tomatoes, green onions, kalamata olives, feta cheese and cooked quinoa.

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How about some fresh oregano if you have some? Oregano is pretty tough stuff. Mine is living through it’s second winter.

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Season with olive oil, pepper and more salt if needed.

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Spoon into eggplant skins and top with Parmesan cheese.

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Bake at 350 until the cheese is melted on top and it’s warm throughout – about 15 minutes.

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May the flavors transport you to your favorite Mediterranean getaway!

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And where would that be?

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Brussels for Breakfast

I hope no one was holding their breath in anticipation for this delicious breakfast recipe, because that would result in fewer people reading my blog due to…well, let’s just say a severe lack of oxygen.

Believe me, I’ve been thinking about it everyday, but something always seems to get in my way. So finally, this morning, I bring you one of my favorite breakfasts – Brussels Sprouts with Quinoa and Fried Eggs topped with Hot Sauce!

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First, a word about Brussels Sprouts

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These darling little vegetables had suffered a lot of abuse over the years. Not only do they get overcooked, discolored and soggy, drastically loosing their full potential, but people tend to hate them with a passion for that very reason. I am convinced that if the poor Brussels only had the chance to be cooked correctly, they would immediately have a following. Case in point, my brothers. They LIKE Brussels.

Besides, did you know that Brussels Sprouts have three times more vitamin C than an orange? Four-to-six sprouts contain the adult daily requirements for vitamin C! Watch out cold and flu season! They are also high in protein, accounting for more than a quarter of their calories, and an excellent source of vitamin D and folic acid. Brussels are also a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells.

If that doesn’t make you want to try this dish, I don’t know what will!

Here goes –

Recipe serves one.

  • butter
  • 4 small Brussels sprouts
  • 1/2 c. quinoa, cooked
  • 2 eggs, fried or soft boiled
  • salt and pepper
  • hot sauce

Hold the Brussels sprout by the stem and slice into thin strips.

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Melt butter in a skillet. Add Brussels and saute until the sprouts turn bright, vibrant green.

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Add the quinoa and cook just until heated through. Salt and pepper to taste. Top with fried eggs and hot sauce and enjoy this power house of nutrients!

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What a way to start off 2013, eh?

So, tell me – are you a fan of the Brussels Sprout? What is your favorite way to eat them?

Happy 2013!