If there is one thing that is perpetually on my list of Things to Get Better At, it would be meal planning. I always go to the grocery store and buy the same old, same old ingredients to make the same old, same old meals – not having any specific plan for the week (Maybe I have one new or specific meal in mind.) I rarely decide on what I’m going to make until it’s time to get started making dinner. Sometimes this is fine, other times it feels very boring.
Yesterday morning a mama friend proposed to meet up for an evening dinner picnic with our families at a nearby park. It was quickly decided “Yes! Let’s do it!” and with that I was on to figuring out what to bring.
With a look at what I already had on hand (quinoa, avocado, corn and red pepper), I made a short list (limes and fresh cilantro, plus a Kombucha and some dark chocolate too if you’re going to look at my receipt) and planned a quick grocery trip while the girls were at gymnastics for an hour in the afternoon.
I love this term “quinoa bowl”. It just sounds so… cozy. Like we should nestle right in and rest our heads on pillows of soft, fluffy quinoa and take a little nap.
Or just eat it. That’s fine too.
Over the holidays I tried my hand at Sweet Potato Kale Quinoa Cakes to take to a New Years Eve dinner party, but they were sort of a flop. They tasted great, but they didn’t hold together very well. Still, even though the quinoa cakes were a fail, the ingredients were a win and I was left wanting to make it as a dinner side – more specifically, a “quinoa bowl” that I’ve seen around the interwebs and have been excited to
steal try. A quinoa bowl is comfort food with benefits – warm and carby, but some nutritional perks you don’t get with rice or pasta.
This is quinoa and sauteed kale in a sauce made from red peppers, onions and tahini. I initially made this to stuff into portobello mushroom caps, but this stuff was so stuffin’ good that we’re going to focus more on the stuffing instead of what was stuffed.
Stuff this into mushrooms if you like, but you could just as easily choose to eat this as-is and call it lunch. Or use it as a side at dinner. Or as dinner itself. Or even for breakfast. Watch me eat this for breakfast tomorrow. WATCH ME!
(ok, maybe don’t watch me. that’s a little creepy.)
I’ll begin today by explaining that we’ve been eating a lot of the Same Old, Same Old for dinner around here lately.
From what I can figure, any and all brain power that was formerly used for coming up with something new and creative for dinner (or the blog) seems to have been temporarily diverted to growing a baby. A baby who is getting pretty big I might add, and lately has a fondness for doing what can only be described as extended side angle pose in utero.
I did Barbie’s hair. You like?
I get these “Your Pregnancy This Week” emails that list a myriad of facts and tidbits about the wee babe growing inside my uterus, along with any other timely pregnancy notes. You know, like “you’re probably busting out of your bra by now” or “your baby is the size of a tarantula”. Stuff like that.
The Week 18 email mentioned that I’m probably feeling an increase in appetite now.
Well, I hadn’t noticed, but now that you’ve planted the hunger seed, I think I AM feeling hungrier than usual. Thanks for the idea!
In fact, now I’m positively starving.
Today, I had a plan.
That plan was to make dinner early, so that when we got home from an outing with friends late this afternoon, dinner would be mostly ready. All that would be left to do would be to make some guac to top it all off.
And that plan worked. For the most part.
I did indeed make Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili with quinoa this morning before setting off on the day’s adventure.
When I bought my bag of flax seed over the weekend, I snagged a bag of another now-infamous pseudo-grain/seed –>
oh, Quinoa – it’s been a while!
And with quinoa in my cupboard, suddenly I had quinoa stuffed peppers on the brain. That meant digging through the blog archives to remind myself how I made Quinoa Stuffed Red Peppers in the past.
Ummm, that was like my second post. Ever.
Nostalgia rules. Stuffed peppers make me drool.
Today we had plans to meet up with some new homeschooling friends for a nature hike. This informal group meets weekly – outside – all year round. The idea is that “kids need to be outside and surrounded by nature”. What a concept! A small group, a few of whom we know from other homeschooly places, this idea is right up our alley. The central theme is that we’ll get outside, exploring nature, no matter the weather. So even when it’s cold and snowy or wet and rainy, we still meet up and do something outside together.
One more run with my borrowed Garmin 405 this morning before it turns back into a pumpkin. Well, maybe not a pumpkin exactly but they will charge my debit card $350 if I don’t bring it back today. I don’t know about you but that’s more than I want to spend on a pumpkin.
Oh Garmin stats, it’s been fun.
A frosty 27 degrees this morning but with running tights, turtle neck, light jacket, gloves and a hat that I knit myself I was warmed up and comfortable by the first half mile.