Thursday, April 11, 2013

Portabella Kale Pasta

So, I don't know how dinner planning goes at your house, but almost every day between 3 and 4 I receive an email from my Chief Food Critic asking what we're having for dinner. (Never mind the fact that half the time I have already told him or sent a weeks work of menu items to him, I still get the email). He was actually gone for a golfing man-cation for the first part of the week, so I didn't have as much time to pull together a formal plan, but, I knew we still had a good deal of produce from our CSA delivery last week, so I started thinking.

Ultimately, I decided we could utilize a number of the CSA items (Kale, Portabella, Basil and Onion to be exact) in one pasta dish. The Little Guy decided to take an extra long nap today, which meant he hasn't been awake long before we got home, which equates to him wanting to be hugged or touching me at some point the entire time I'm cooking. Nice and sweet, but it makes it challenging to photograph the preparation process, sorry!

What you'll need:

2 Portabella mushrooms, diced
1.5 cup Kale, chopped (about 6 leaves)
1/4 cup onion, minced
12 oz bowtie pasta
1 1/4 Vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste
2 TBSP Olive Oil
4 oz shredded asiago cheese

Start by bringing a pot of water to a boil.

Heat a pan, add olive oil. Once heated, add your onion and mushrooms and saute for about 5 minutes. Add the kale, and stir until wilted.

Add your pasta to the boiling water and cook until tender.

Back to your mushroom and kale mixture, add half the broth and cook until the liquid reduces by half. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Drain your pasta, set aside.

Add the remaining broth and basil, bring to a boil for about 4 minutes.

Add the pasta and cheese to the kale mixture and stir. Serve as soon as the cheese has begun to melt.



Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Quinoa stuffed peppers

SO. . .I decided to get cooking again. It's been a busy couple weeks, the kids each had the flu (Little Girl first, then Little Guy, although he had a very mild case), then Little Guy decided to stop using diapers, so that has been an adventure as well, he's doing pretty good now, but it was a rough start. So, I haven't had as much time as I would like to cook, but in between all the illness and potty training, I managed to make these yummy stuffed peppers. My first task was to get my pesto bread started, since it take several hours to rise, I knew I would need a good head start, and while I was kneading away, I decided I would try a new variation of stuffed peppers for lunch.

You may have noticed from my ingredient photos that I keep a lot of my dry goods in glass jars. Well, in the process of filling my quinoa jar yesterday, I ended up with a cup that wouldn't fit in the jar, and it was in an unsealable bag (it was supposed to be a sealable bag, but silly my cut it off when opening thinking it would all fit). So, instead of the traditional rice, I started with a quinoa base, and then opted for a more Italian/Mediterranean type stuffed pepper filled with onion, mushrooms, tomatoes and spinach.

What you'll need
3 bell peppers, halved
1 cup qunioa, rinsed
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
Olive oil
Salt to taste
1 onion, chopped
1 pint mushrooms, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
1/4 cup bread crumbs
Balsamic Vinegar

Ever wonder what's going on while I'm taking pictures of produce? Well, here's Little Guy, he was in a chair to the yelling "Cheese" the entire time, I guess he didn't think the tomatoes were looking their best. . .He also took it upon himself to remove the stickers from all the peppers, he's just to finding stickers in books, but was quite happy to learn that he can also get stickers from our fruits and veggies.

 And further out of the picture, but always by my side when I'm cooking something that smells yummy, here's our furry friend, checking things out.

Back to the recipe! Start by combining your broth and quinoa in a sauce pan, bring to a boil and then cover and simmer until the liquid has been absorbed (about 15 minutes).

Meanwhile, heat a saute pan over a medium heat, add some olive oil. Add your chopped onion and garlic, stirring occasionally. After 8 minutes or so, add your chopped mushrooms, cook until softened.

Add the tomatoes, stir to heat. Then add the spinach and cook until wilted, salt to taste.

Once your quinoa and vegetables are done, combine them with the bread crumbs in a large bowl.

Line a baking dish with the pepper halves, spoon the quinoa mixture into the peppers, and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
Dig in!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Kentucky Horse Park

Some how, I have managed to live with in 90 miles of Lexington, KY my whole life and I never knew they had a fun horse park there and offer a variety of attractions from pony and horse rides to retired champions. . .ever wonder what happens to Derby winners after they're too old to mate? Well, apparently, some of them live out their senior days at the Kentucky Horse Park where they are paraded out into a small viewing area a couple times a day, where they can relive their youth through a video reel of their glory days and then get applauded by those of us who grew up cheering for the likes of Go for Gin and Funnycide.
We decided to make it an impromptu family outing, and what a fun day we had. We started by saying hi to a tiny pony that was wondering around outside the Kids' Barn (the pony wondered away before I got the picture taken).

Then the kiddies were able to put their dressage skills to work, Little Girl and Little Guy's cousin, Little C was a natural in tackling the jumping obstacles.

Oak Barrel Horses
 For some reason, Little Girl was obsessed with leaves this weekend, so you will notice her holding one in most of the pictures. . .it's not the same one, she picked up several through the course of the day.

9.3 hands tall! How tall is the Little Guy you ask? Well, we would all love to know, but he screamed and sank to the ground every time we put him near this picture for some reason.

He however, LOVED the random coloring station set up right behind the horse picture seen above.. .
 There are a number of museum type exhibits at the Kentucky Horse Park, I have to say, as much as I typically enjoy museums and the chance to learn about something new, I think this one could use a major overhaul. The amount of text to items to view was way too heavy on the text side. The first couple rooms were also very hard for younger children to even see the exhibits, they were set several feet below the pathway, so you had to look over a waste-high wall (which was over the kids heads). Lots of neat stuff, but if you wanted to read everything, I think you could easily spend the entire day just in this one building and never see an actual horse.

These two finally found something at their eye level and were eager to see what it was. The new portion of the museum did seem to be more welcoming for younger guests.

In preparation for an upcoming pony ride, the kiddies needed to hydrate and eat a quick snack, you can see the loving help
here as Little Girl helps Little Guy get a bite.
If you were expecting to see the Little Guy on the pony, well, you weren't the only one. He was scared to death and this is the closest he got to a horse all day. . .his sister though? Come to find out, she loves horses and ponies, and the normally shy child wanted to go up to every maned creature she saw during the day.

Since the Little Guy turned out to be a big scaredy cat, Little C took an extra go around the pony track.

See? No horse was too big for her to approach and pet. This was after the Horses of the World show, this was the Spaniard.

Little Guy found a someone to hug him while I snuck off to take a picture of his sister, thank goodness his aunt had free arms, he might have died if he had to stand for 2 minutes.

Did I mention they had a horse drawn trolley ride?

And after a long day of walking around, pony rides and more sun then any of us have seen in months, we went to Chuy's for dinner before we all went our separate ways.
It was a fun, long day, the kiddies and I were still tired most of the day today, so tired, they were in bed around 7:30pm, YEAH!