Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Quinoa Pilaf with Seared Scallops

It's so nice to come home after a long day of work and realize that it was your husband's day off.  That means dinner is already done!  Woo hoo!!  A few weeks ago we were in the middle of our Eating Well Menu Plan and just that happened.  We had Quinoa Pilaf and Seared Scallops scheduled for dinner and I came home to an already plated meal.  What a wonderful husband I have!
I've had quinoa once, and it was plain and very bland.  This time there was a sweetness from the oranges, crunch from the almonds, smokiness from the cumin, and a kick from the green onions.  It's amazing what quinoa can do with flavors!  Top it off with some delicate seafood and we all had a brand new and delicious meal!
Ingredients
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 scallions, sliced, greens and whites separated
1 cup quinoa
1 cup water
2 medium blood oranges or navel oranges
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound dry sea scallops

Preparation
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add scallion whites; cook, stirring, until beginning to brown, about 1 minute. Add quinoa; cook, stirring until toasted and fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, slice ends off oranges. With a sharp knife, remove the peel and white pith; discard. Working over a large bowl, cut the orange segments from their surrounding membranes. Squeeze juice from the membranes into the bowl before discarding them, if desired. Add the scallion greens, almonds, cilantro, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 teaspoon coriander and salt to the bowl; gently stir to combine.

Pat scallops dry and sprinkle both sides with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cumin and 1/4 teaspoon coriander. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the scallops and cook until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. (To prevent overcooking, transfer the scallops to a plate as soon as they are done.)

Add the quinoa to the bowl with the orange mixture and gently stir to combine. Serve the scallops over the warm quinoa salad.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Outlander

Outlander
by Diana Gabaldon

627 pages

Published - 1991
Read - March 2015

I'm not even sure where to begin with this review, except that I can see myself devouring the rest of the novels.  I never used to read romance novels.  I would look at one and say, "nope, moving on".  I hated them actually.  Reading a romance novel would make me throw my hands up and say "life never works like this!" Rather than put myself through that heartache every time I read a book, I just didn't read them.  Until now.

My friend Teri recommended this series years ago.  I tried twice to read it and never got past the first few chapters.  I only reconsidered it because my sister-in-law Kerry started to read it in January.  I thought it would be great to be able to discuss it with someone reading along, so I picked it back up!  This is a romance novel to end all romance novels.  It's not trashy or so completely far fetched that it's unbelievable.  We all know I'm a fan of really great characters, I think they make or break a novel.  Jamie and Claire are fantastic!  Even the supporting characters have unique qualities and quirks that jump off the page.

I love the historical aspect of this read.....another thing I don't usually go for, history.  But the way the plot is laid out is rich in historical contexts, locations, and scenery.  I'm not going to use this review to give anything away, because I would hate to read a review that gave away too many clues.  All I can say is, as someone who once didn't give it a second thought, please give it a chance.  It took three or four chances before I got to the point where I couldn't put it down.  You will not be sorry.  I bought the second book in the series before I was finished with the first.  I just can't let these characters go unread....I have to know what happens next!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday Favorites #8 - Healthy Recipe Sites

The big storm made me miss Friday Favorites a few weeks ago.  I didn't even realize it until today.  This week I did a lot of recipe searching and browsing.  After the doctor demanded more fiber, I had no idea what to do.  I've been researching a lot of recipes and recipe sites.  Here are five of my favorite recipe sites (I've been posting some of our meals that turned out to be really good!) based on recipes and overall use of site.

Eating Well - As you may have guessed, this is at the top of my list this week.  Not only does it offer wonderfully healthy recipes, they are searchable by category.  Eating Well allows you to save your recipes and offers a blank meal plan to plan it all yourself! If you don't want to do that, this site offers many, many menu plans for any type of diet or health need.  It even breaks it down by caloric value.  It's a really great site... and it's free!

Cooking Light - Another magazine like Eating Well, offers a website with plenty of searchable healthy recipes. a community to ask questions and join discussions, and a meal planner.  You can even search for recipes by Holiday!  They have a wonderful section of Low Calorie Lunches, great for taking to work.

The Food Network -  I'm a sucker for The Food Network.  I watch it for hours on end and really try to create a lot of what I see from Rachael Ray to Emeril.  I love Melissa D'Arabian who does healthy on a budget for a family of four.  That amazes me!  I made a Potato Bacon Torte once from watching her.  It was a lot of work, but soooooo good.

Skinnytaste - It's no secret I love this site.  I have the cookbook and follow her blog.  The recipes are simple, healthy, and full of flavor!  Enough said.  Try her healthy version of Corned Beef and Cabbage, you won't be sorry!

Bon Appetit - This is a fun one.  I love the layout, it looks like a bunch of little blocks instead of a list of articles.  This site has really cool things like the 14 Day Food Lovers Cleanse and Menus for everything from Christmas to Outdoor Movie Picnics.  Love it!

Are there any Healthy Recipe sites that you love?  I'd love some recommendations!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

On Reading a Series...or Three

Do you ever just want to gobble up an entire series in one sitting?  I do.  My latest reading habits have been series reads.  I think a lot of this feeling is because I haven't read anything but textbooks in so long that my last three months have been playing catch up for the last three years!  I just can't finish books as fast as I want.  My son, who is really getting the hang of reading, is trying to read on his own.  It's so cute, he carries a book around now like I did when I was little.  We are on the 3rd book of The Magic Tree House series.


I started by reading the Divergent series by Veronica Roth, because I knew Insurgent was coming out soon (Friday!).  I love that series.  I've been scouring the library, but no luck on the third installment, Allegiant.  I just don't want to break down and buy a hard back book, I haven't done that in a long time!

Then I started reading The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare, mainly because my library had the first two audiobooks; Clockwork Angel and Clockwork Prince.  I read them like wildfire!  Loved those, but now that I am starting the third book, Clockwork Princess, I just can't read it fast enough!

Also, I have about 60 pages left at the end of Outlander and, for crying out loud, this book goes on forever.  Some nights I swear I've read 50 pages, and I look at the page number to find I've only read 6!  It's a slow progress, but I'm really enjoying this one.  Last night I went out and bought the second book.....I must be losing it.......have you seen the size of these books??
I'm loving my time with Four, Tris, Jem, Will, Tessa, Jamie and Claire.  I will not be happy when all these series come to an end, even though I may be rushing through them now!  From now on, I should start and finish one series at a time, easier said than done, I know.  But for my sanity.....

Do you feel you can't read things fast enough?  I need to finish things books before I forget the characters.  Going back to the third book after a year is usually not an option for me because I forget everything that happened in the first two!  Getting older is not fun. What do you do when you read a series?  One at a time? Or total chaos like me?