Monday, November 29, 2010

Quinoa Recipes?

Quinoa is one of my new favorite foods. Here's our latest quinoa recipe, courtesy of Cooking Light:

Sesame Quinoa with Tofu

8 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock or water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Place tofu on several layers of heavy-duty paper towels; let stand 20 minutes. Cut into 1/2-inch cubes.

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add tofu and seeds; sauté 3 minutes. Remove tofu mixture from pan. Add quinoa to pan; cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add stock and salt; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Place in a large bowl. Add tofu mixture, green onions, soy sauce, and pepper; toss.

Here's how I do it:

I stick the tofu between two plates and weight it down with a heavy can. I'm not sure what the best way to drain it is, but that's how the first tofu recipe I ever tried said to do it, so that's what I usually do. Anyone who knows better is welcome to leave your suggestions!

I first made this when a friend was in town visiting and realized upon finishing it that it didn't make all that much, so I quickly threw together another batch. I'm not sure if a whole package of tofu is 16 oz. or not, but that's what I use. Just doubling the recipe would mean that you use two tablespoons of soy sauce, which I felt was a bit overkill - it pretty much tasted like soy sauce (sorry about that, Kristine!).

Tonight I doubled everything, except the salt (since I was not using low-sodium soy sauce) and the soy sauce. I just sprinkled a pinch of salt in and used one tablespoon plus a bit of soy sauce. Much better flavor! I also had some broccoli on hand (one smallish head), so I threw that in while cooking the tofu. I love that this recipe is easily augmented; I look forward to trying out other veggies throughout the various seasons. Oh, and if you're going to be doing much cooking with quinoa I'd recommend looking for it at your local natural foods market. Ours has a bulk area (with spices as well - so awesome to be able to get as much or as little as you want) and the quinoa there was about half the cost as what you'll find in the grocery store.

So, here's my problem. I've only got two quinoa recipes. The one above and this one (also tasty). I tried looking up quinoa recipes on my usual trusty site and didn't come up with much (I was probably looking for meatless dishes though, now that I think of it, so maybe that hindered my search some?). Anyone have a great quinoa recipe they'd like to share?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It's Official

Who: Us (Erin, Ryan, and Gareth)
What: Moving
Where: Seattle
Why: Accepted a job offer
When: End of January
How: I'm assuming by plane, with someone else driving a truck full of our stuff across the country

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

More Detailed Halloween 2010

We seem to get more into Halloween with each passing year, so maybe by the time Gareth starts to lose interest Ryan and I will be super-crazy about it! Or not.

Gareth's first Halloween we didn't dress him up at all. As I recall, both Gareth and I had colds and were pretty miserable. The only reason he had a costume for his second Halloween was because we inherited some hand-me-downs and there happened to be a red rain coat with black trim in the bag. It wasn't too much trouble, even for me, to run out and buy a cheap fireman's hat. The only reason Gareth had a costume last year was because my friend took me to Joann's with her when they had a 99 cent pattern sale. And because she let me use her coupons for the fabric and borrow her sewing machine. And because my mom spent a good portion of every day on the phone with me helping me figure out how to not totally screw the costume up.

That fireman year was when Ryan had the idea for this year. We decided to wait a couple of years until Gareth was old enough to handle face make-up, but young enough still to let us totally decide his costume for him.

This year we started planning early. We refrained from cutting Gareth's hair all summer, even when it kept sticking in his ears and when it poofed out ridiculously, making his head look twice as big. We sent my mom a picture to work from (because, honestly, a boy's shirt is probably beyond my skills at the moment). I'll admit, I got pretty lazy then and didn't do much on this year's costume until a few weeks ago when I made one trip to the local second-hand store and was lucky enough to find some light tan pants and a pair of black shoes. Then I got lazy again while my mom busied herself sewing and buying make-up. I just want it to be clear that I had very little to do with this costume. Thanks to the hard work of my mom and Ryan, Gareth went out this Halloween dressed like this:

Gareth was bouncing off the walls for some reason all morning long, so when it was time to put on his make-up we sent him into the bathroom alone with Ryan, figuring that too many people would work him up too much. Ryan had put quite a lot of time in watching various videos of Joker make-up and staring at pictures of the Joker (Heath Ledger version) and had a good idea of what he wanted to do. We weren't able to replicate the scarring, unfortunately, because the stuff that does that would have taken too long and tried everyone's patience a bit much. But I was very impressed with how quickly he put the make-up on. Gareth was more cooperative than we expected and was quite excited to see his face in the mirror.

It was amusing that just about everyone we saw knew who Gareth was but Gareth had no idea. If asked he'd just say, "I'm Gareth" or "I'm pretty scary". The one exception to recognizing him was a lady who thought he was Beetlejuice.

There's a definite high that comes from having people appreciate the work that went into your kid's costume. Gareth definitely caught most people by surprise as they seemed to be expecting another cute little bear or lion or princess or whatever most store-bought little kid costumes are these days. One guy gave Gareth three handfuls of candy he loved the costume so much. At an older couple's house the husband asked to take a picture - Gareth was the first he'd liked well enough to take a picture of that night. (Granted, we were out pretty early - it was about 6:30 - so there was plenty of time for him to come across a few more impressive costumes.) And just about anyone is impressed when they discover that the costume is homemade (I got several compliments last year because of that).

Oh, yeah, and we actually did jack-o-lanterns this year as well. Which Gareth thought were totally awesome. But somehow the pictures of those didn't make it off the camera. Anyway, I'm glad Gareth had fun with it all, because I'm pretty sure the rest of us adults had fun. Too bad he might want to have some input next year or else we could start planning now!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween 2010

Without further ado: click here (the video should work in recent versions of Firefox or Chrome). Okay apparently the audio doesn't work in Firefox for some reason. I would spend endless amounts of time getting to the bottom of the issue, but you see, there's this distance vector routing protocol that I have to finish for a class...