Howling Sunday

The morning started off with the pup jumping onto my stomach and Poppie howling outside the window demanding to come in.  A great day ahead is determined by a good breakfast.

Multigrain toast with PB and 1/2 a sliced banana, and small glass of OJ.  This is a small breakfast as it is almost noon and I didn’t want to ruin my lunch hour.

The sky is turning grey and gloomy as I type this, but there’s a house to clean and dogs to bath!  We might be going for dinner this evening, so I have grand plans to accomplish as much as possible by later afternoon.

Have a wonderful Sunday morning!

 

 

Summer Quinoa Salad

This makes for a quick refreshing work lunch and it can be prepared the night before, keep is sealed in the fridge and let the flavors do it’s magic overnight.  The tomatoes add a burst of flavor, the cucumber gives this salad a cool and refreshing crunch, and the beans provide satiety and complements the quinoa really well.  You can use any beans you have on hand, be it chickpeas, black beans or kidney beans.  I added sweet kernel corn on the next day and it was absolutely delicious, make sure you use either fresh or canned sweet kernel corn, and not of the frozen variety, or else it will result in rubbery tasteless yellow corn, like bird food.

So gather your ingredients and make this salad today, it’s quick, delicious and easy, keep sealed in a container in the fridge for up to 2 days.

1 cup uncooked quinoa (this amount serves 4), 1 cup grape/cherry tomatoes, 2 medium sized cucumbers, 1 medium sweet onion,  1 can of drained kidney beans (or any beans of your choice), 1/2 cup of good extra virgin olive oil, 2 crushed garlic, salt and pepper to taste.

Cook the quinoa in a pot, use the same technique as cooking rice, water is 1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of water ratio.  it takes about 10-15 minutes to cook, fluff up the quinoa with a fork towards the end of cooking.  set aside.

Diced tomatoes and cucumbers in a bowl together with the drained kidney beans, add in quinoa.

Dressing: In a jar, Add in olive oil, crushed garlic, salt and pepper, shake well.

Pour dressing into the bowl of quinoa, veggies and beans.  Mix it well, you can also add in chopped parley for a little extra flavor.

Refrigerate for an 1 hour and eat.

I topped mine with some feta cheese, extra black pepper and sweet corn and lettuce on the second day.

This salad fills you up too, due to the high protein quinoa.  This also works well for picnics and other gatherings in the summer.

Sun Kissed Orange Cake

Happy Saturday to all!

I caught the baking bug today and went all out with first an orange cake and then a peach clafoutis (recipe to come) for dessert tonight.  Talk about indulgence and extravagance!  My oven was begging for some love and I’m obliged to give it some.

I have always loved orange flavored desserts,  and when I was 5-6 years old, I always got treated to orange sponge cakes bought from those old fashioned Chinese bakeries in the 80’s, the cake is always as light as a sponge, infused with orange syrup, now at a very ripe age, it is definitely time that I make my own.  Truth be told, this is actually my 3rd attempt for the orange cake as the first two has been a total failure, I used self raising flour and the first cake was over-cooked on the outside and raw on the inside, and as for the second, well…let’s just say it’s a disaster that I hope no amateur bakers like me have to go through.

As for the 3rd attempt, it’s almost perfect,  with the slight exception that I might reduce the baking powder from 1 1/4 teaspoon to 1 tsp.

This is a very versatile cake as you can add any fruit you wish, it is basically a basic butter cake recipe dressed up with the fruit of your choice, I’m sure this will work very well with lemons, blueberries, apples, cranberries and more.

Wet Ingredients: 1 cup butter (@ room temp), 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 eggs ( @ room temp), 1/2 cup yogurt, 1 tsp pure vanilla extract, 2 tbsp orange zest, juice of 2 oranges

Dry Ingredients: 2 cups all purpose flour, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 1/4 tsp baking powder

Preheat the oven in 200 Celsius, in a mixing bowl, combine butter and sugar, beat until light and well combined.  This is a very important step as this will determine the texture of your cake, under-mixing the butter and sugar will result in a very dense cake.  Next, add in eggs and vanilla, keep mixing until you get a smooth batter.  Then add in salt, yogurt, orange zest and juice.

Now we come to the dry ingredients, sift the 2 cups flour over the batter, and add in baking power.  Mix batter until well combined but not for too long, stirring for too long will result in a dense cake as well.  Pour batter into a bread loaf pan or a cake pan, and bake for about 50 minutes or until a fork inserted into cake and come out clean.  Cool the cake on a rack before cutting; If you’re feeling adventurous, you could sprinkle orange icing sugar on top by combining 1/2 cup icing sugar with orange zest.

This cake has got a crusty exterior from the result of the brown crystal sugar that I use with a soft lightly tinted orange flavor on the interior.  Goes well with a cup of tea, can be served plain or with a side of marmalade.

It has been a relaxing weekend so far, I hope you’re soaking in the sun and having fun wherever you are!

Good Morning Oats

I felt much better this morning, with the exception of a heavy feeling in my head, my sore throat is almost gone.  I got in about 10 hours of sleep today and woke up with a growling tummy.

Big bowl of oats with all the goodies for topping.

1/3 cup rolled oats

1/3 cup milk

1/3 cup water

1/2 a mashed banana

1/2 tsp vanilla powder (always look for the best kind of vanilla and not the artificial ones, I used Bourbon Madagascar)

Toppings – a small piece of crushed homemade granola (which has oats, coconut, choco chips and walnuts), 1 tbsp toasted walnuts and a tsp of peanut butter (always look for all natural PB without hydrogenated oil, ingredient list should be just peanuts and salt).

The sun is in hiding today and that is bad news for the tons of laundry that I have yet to complete. 😦 I’m off to do more house stuff, then probably take a small nap in between as my head is killing me, and then lunch, followed by more house stuff.

Can’t believe it’s New Year’s eve tomorrow, and it’s time for reflections and a new set of resolutions! 🙂

See you later!

 

 

 

Mid-Week Excitement

Gulliver’s Travels was better than expected, Jack Black was as hilarious as ever and the entire movie is light and entertaining, perfect for a mid-week night out treat…and also, Amanda Peet and Emily Blunt are two of my favourite actress! 🙂

We had dinner at home before we head out for the movie with leftover sauteed french beans and I made an express veggie soup with whatever I can find in the fridge, it turned out delicious.

Rice with leftover beans, just as good as the first day.

Cabbage, tofu and tomato soup.

I’m off to bed in a bit and am excited for some oatmeal in the morning. 🙂

 

Down and Out

Hello everyone!  I was down and out almost the entire of yesterday with a bad sore throat, runny nose and a fever.  I’m feeling slightly better today and figured I’d better blog now before another nap is required due to the headache and fever.

Yesterday’s Lunch

I ate a very late lunch yesterday due to lack of appetite and my throat really bothered me.  I settled for toast (4 slices of walnut bread with olive oil spread and jam, PB and jam), Florida Natural’s orange juice (watered down with Spritzer sparkling water) and some grapes.

I ended up eating only 2 slices out of the 4.  My other half polished off the remaining half for dessert later in the night.

Yesterday’s Dinner

We had vegetable stew, sauteed french beans and brown rice for dinner.

Not a photogenic meal at all but it sure is tasty. Brown rice with sauteed french beans in onions, garlic and soy sauce.

Vegetable stew with carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, onions.  I call this the flu stew because I always make them when I’m feeling under the weather. :mrgreen:

I slept for almost 12 hours last night and woke up feeling groggy today.  Since it’s already noon, I jumped straight to lunch.  I was craving for something warm and soupy and so I had the stew and brown rice again.

With a sliced orange on the side for some vitamin C.

The weather was gloomy all morning and the sun just came out to play.  I’ll work my schedule around how I feel today, still need to get to that laundry!  For a little excitement mid week, we are going to watch Gulliver’s Travels tonight! 🙂  I’ve always liked Jack Black and hope this will be just as good.  Not sure what’s for dinner yet but most probably some thing light and healthy.

Purple Bliss

I woke up with a bad sore throat and a slight fever this morning, and nothing seems appealing in the kitchen for breakfast, but in the end I settled for a smoothie hoping that it can ease the pain in my throat.

My smoothie turned purple after a combination of frozen blackberries, strawberries, one whole banana, orange juice and a tsp of wheatgrass powder.  The sprinkles on tops are my homemade granola with oats, coconut, chocolate chips, walnuts and raisins.. recipe to come. 🙂

It’s a very refreshing breakfast although it didn’t make me feel any better. 😦  My mini work break is almost half over and I still have a lot to do around the house.  I plan to get some rest in today to get rid of the fever, so I’ll probably do some laundry and some light cleaning around the house.  I have no plans for lunch at the moment but most probably a small sandwich and some fruit since I have bread to use up in the house!

Happy Tuesday! 🙂