Thursday, August 21, 2014

Crock Pot Quinoa ~ Tex Mex Style

Since trying quinoa for the first time a couple of months ago, I've been eating it a lot.  Quinoa, black beans, corn and taco seasoning seems to be my favorite combination.  It's very flavorful and really filling.  Finding a crock pot recipe for this delicious, healthy food just makes me love it even more!

This makes a lot and since Joe isn't fully on board with my love for quinoa, I decided to freeze the leftovers in smaller portions for myself.  Perfect for a quick lunch during the week!



Crock Pot Quinoa ~ Tex Mex Style
        adapted from:  Chelsea's Messy Apron

Ingredients: 
  • 1 1/2 cups Quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 can black beans, drained/rinsed
  • 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes with liquid
  • 1 jar Trader Joe's tomato-less Corn Salsa
  • 6 mini sweet peppers, sliced
  • 1 vidalia onion, diced
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2 Tbs. Chili Powder 
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 Tbs. reduced sodium taco seasoning
  • 3 cups water
To Prepare: 
  • Spray crock pot insert with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Rinse quinoa as directed on package.  
  • Combine all ingredients in crock pot.  
  • Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours.  
Notes:

  • This is great served as is or with additional toppings like sour cream or shredded cheese (fat free varieties for me please). 
  • This recipe reminded me of Spanish Rice, so while it's great on it's own, it would also work well as a side dish.  
  • Excellent in a wrap, too!  


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Menu Plan Monday 2014 ~ Week of August 18th



Sorry for the late posting of this week's menu plan.  I had a really busy weekend that didn't allow me time to sit down to work on my plan or get anything else posted.  With the busy weeks ahead, I'm thinking of working on a month long menu plan for September.  


Monday 

McDonald's
As part of my driving lessons,
Grace's uncle thought it was very important
that I know how to get to McDonald's
to get Grace's favorite meal ever!



Tuesday 

Tex Mex Quinoa 
I didn't have all the ingredients on hand for this one,
so I had to adapt the recipe a bit.
I'll be sure to let you know how it turns out!



Wednesday

Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches 
This is the perfect meal for a busy week
since there's always tons left over!
This shredded buffalo chicken is
great on buns, in a wrap or even on top
of a baked potato!



Thursday

Pasta Night 
I'm not sure what sort of pasta dish I'll prepare this night,
I just know we're long over-due for an Italian-inspired meal.  



Friday


Leftover Night
Have I mentioned before how much I love leftovers?



Saturday
Hot Dogs, Baked Beans
Macaroni Salad


Sunday 
Undecided




Now that you know what we're eating this week, let us know in the comments what's for dinner at your house this week! Or, if you need more menu planning inspiration? Follow me over to Menu Plan Monday hosted by I'm an Organizing Junkie! Or, if you like what you see here, you can check out my past menu plans.






What Makes Me Smile #7


I tend to be a Negative Nelly about my life.  I'm great about putting a positive spin on things when friends vent to me about their bad days, but when it comes to my life, I only see the bad things.  In an attempt to change this aspect of my personality, I want to journal some things that make me smile each week.  Hoping that when I look back, I'll see just how many things I have to be grateful for and smile about in my life.

Sorry this is posting late this week.  We've had a busy weekend and I didn't get a chance to sit down to write.

Last week was a sad week.  Hearing that Robin Williams lost his battle with depression made it difficult to smile much.  Suffering from depression myself, hearing of his death really hit close to home.  I spent a lot of the week in denial and each morning a logged into my Facebook account, I was hit again with the news of his death.  This went on for several days.

Maybe it seems silly to be hit so hard by a celebrity's death.  Someone I've never met before.  One of my cousin's said it best:
"Losing Robin Williams is like everyone in the world just lost their crazy uncle at the same time." 

Thankfully, a busy weekend helped in keeping me from dwelling on it much longer and gave me a few things to smile about:


  • Great friends.  We are truly blessed with wonderful friends.  Always here to lend a hand with the house, listen to our troubles, celebrate happy times, or just plain spoil Grace.  

  • Family.  We had a family event over the weekend.  Life gets busy and everyone's work schedules get in the way, it's nice when we're all able to get together for some good food and conversation.  

  • First Birthdays and cousins.  My youngest niece turned one over the weekend (see family event listed above).  She is so adorable...all babies are, I know!  Grace, who normally keeps a big distance from babies, really enjoyed playing with her cousin and we all loved seeing them interact with each other.  

  • Twinkle Toes.  Last week, we hit the dollar kiddie movie again.  Six adults and one kid!  That alone made me laugh, but just trying to get all of us together and out the door so early was something out of a comedy movie!  During a slower part of the movie, Grace was a little bored and decided to tap her toes on the floor.  It was funny to see her Twinkle Toes sneakers lighting up the dark theater!  

Hoping you all had a happy week with lots of smiles!  I'd love for you to share by leaving a comment!  


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Pumpkins!

Grace is pretty anxious for Autumn.  It's her favorite time of the year.  Last week, she saw a leaf fall from the tree and exclaimed:  "It's Fall!!!"  I tried to explain to her that we still had some time before the fall and that the leaf she saw was probably from the windy, stormy day we were having that day.  

Adding to her excitement is the fact that the farm that is directly behind us is growing pumpkins this year!  Usually, the farmer plants corn or soy beans.  This is the first year for pumpkins, at least in the field that we can see from our yard!  



Every day, we've been walking to the end of our property to check the progress of the pumpkin field.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Homemade Fajita Seasoning Mix ~ Control the Heat and Sodium

I love to cook, but I'll admit sometimes I get lazy about preparing meals and the last thing I feel like doing is measuring a bunch of seasonings for a recipe.  I could go out and buy some premade packets of seasoning, but those are usually loaded with salt and we've really been trying to steer clear of seasoning packets since Joe's been watching his blood pressure.

I was really pleased when I came across a recipe for a homemade fajita seasoning.  I adapted the recipe a bit to omit the paprika that I recently ran out of and I used less salt, too! Also, I quadrupled the recipe so I could have a decent sized jar of it in my pantry for whenever we want a quick meal of fajitas!  With school and dance class starting, we're gonna be all about quick meals this fall!



Homemade Fajita Seasoning Mix 
     Adapted From:  Chocolate Moosey

Ingredients: 
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 tsp. oregano
  • 4 tsp. black pepper
  • 4 Tbs. chili powder 
  • 1 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 tsp. salt
Prepare: 
  • Measure ingredients into a clean jar with a lid. 
  • Screw on lid and shake until seasonings are well combined.  
  • Add to chicken, beef, soups or stews.  Start with a tablespoon, taste, then add more as needed. 
  • This is pretty good sprinkled on air popped corn, too!    


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