Quinoa Concoction

I work from home for part of my day.  Sometimes I just get an urge to cook something, even though it is technically the middle of my work day.  I guess that is the benefit to a flexible schedule.  Since I am not usually one to get an urge to cook something, I went with it.  I knew I had some food set to expire/go bad, so I started there.

Actually, the only thing not ready to go bad was this quinoa.  I was planning on tofu and veggies, but I wanted a grain to go with it.  What better grain than quinoa.  If you are looking for something that packs a nutrition punch from the grain family, make this your pick. 
DSC02581 First things first, I had to prep my tofu.
I marinated this in balsamic vinegar and a little green olive mustard.
I really love my Lock and Lock containers.  I know there are many brands around now, but I have been using these for years.  I put my lid on and lock in place, then I am ready to toss my tofu and coat it with my marinade.
Looking good so far!
Next up were the veggies.


I also have some red pepper underneath all of these other veggies.

I sautéed them in a little olive oil and then later added some balsamic.
Once all of this was taken care of, I started on my quinoa. 
It only takes 10-15 minutes to cook.

I baked my tofu in the oven, so here it is finished and ready to go.
Time to mix it all together.
I enjoyed this dish hot, but it will also be delicious served as a cold quinoa salad.

I had tons left over, so Ryan and I ate some as leftovers.  He liked it too!

QUESTIONS:  What is your favorite grain?  Have you ever tried quinoa? What is your favorite way to prepare quinoa?

Happy Memorial Day!!!  I hope everyone has a great day off and enjoys some time with family and friends.

R is for Random

From time to time the random pictures just pile up.  Then there comes a point when you have to just post them or hit the delete button.  I decided today that I just need to post these pictures.  So today's post is brought to you by the letter R, which on most days stands for Rachel (my sister) but today stands for Random!

I took this picture just before Easter.  I am Jewish, so this might just be an Easter thing, but I have never seen hard boiled eggs baked in to a loaf of bread.  They were selling these at the local grocery store.
I also took a picture of their bakery area.  I love the abundance of good, fresh baked bread.
The other weekend, Ryan and I were getting ready to go out.  But, we were met with some resistance.  There was a marching band passing by out front.  Instead, we watched the parade of band members stream by.  Then we were free to go since we were going to be heading in the opposite direction.
My favorite combo, well minus the chocolate, which I usually like to have with my banana and PB.  Sometimes, for an afternoon snack, I will grab a banana and stick some PB on it.  So good!
This was an interesting frozen dessert I found in the commissary.  There was 160 calories in this cup and it was a decent size (I think 6 oz when an actual portion of ice cream is a 4 oz scoop)
I would have to say this product was only so-so.  I think it may have been better with vanilla ice cream and strawberries instead of strawberry on strawberry, which after a while tasted too artificial.  I think I will stick to my vanilla fro-yo with my frozen berries added or PB.
I picked up some potabellas recently and decided to make some pita sandwiches with them.
I added some peppers.
A little oil and then balsamic, with a little olive mustard for additional flavor.
Then I had myself a nice veggie sandwich for lunch.  I used a whole wheat pita.  These are great.  One half of the pita contains 4 grams of fiber.

Well, I liked it so much, that the next day I made this again, but I added some Morningstar Farms soy crumbles to it for some additional protein.
Again, I stuffed this into the pita.  Whatever did not fit, I ate by itself.  No way this was going to waste.
Some days if I am at work all day, I will stop by the commissary to pick up lunch.  If I know i am working all day, I usually pack, but on occasion, I find myself needing to buy lunch.  They never have any lower fat options for dressing, so instead, I opted for this.  I had cucumbers, carrots and tomatoes, which I planned to eat plain, like a raw veggie platter.  At the last minute, I changed my mind and added some shredded cheese, which became my dressing.  Ok, not low fat, but better than some of those dressings.
Another day I needed lunch, so I went to the club on base and visited the buffet.  the reason I like this buffet is because it is the only place with a self-serve salad bar (other than the commissary) and they also have a baked potato bar.  Here was my salad.
Here was my entree.  It was Asian food day, so I had some rice and mixed veggies.  I also had a very tasty roll.  As usual, I put more food on my plate than I can eat.  I think that is why I like buffets.  i never have to really make a choice and I can put all kinds of foods there and decide as I go.
One night for dinner Ryan and I had a craving for breakfast.  He was on pancake duty and I made some scrambled eggs.  I brought back this target brand pancake mix from the States.  It was pretty good.
I whipped up some eggs.
Ryan is the master griddler.
Perfect looking pancakes!
Not too bad on the eggs either.
This was a super treat for us.  My mom was down at the shore and bought us some fudge.  I do not know how she did it, but this package took 6 days to get to us.  That is amazing as the average is about 10 days.  Normally it is 10-14 days because packages only come on the weekends.
Here is our pound of fudge.  It was so good, and such as treat.  I think we avoid fudge because we know we will over do it.
Last up, my replacement Chocbite bar came in the mail.  This time it is pistachios and sprinkles, which is not excatly what we ordered, but as this was a replacement bar for the last one, I can't complain and I am sure it will taste good.  That is the nice thing about chocbite, it all tastes good.  they have some many toppings and you can mix and match.  Because we had the fudge, we have not yet broken into this bar, but I am sure we will this week.
Thanks everyone for reading my randoms.

QUESTION:  What does the letter R stand for for you today?

Check out my guest post

I hope everyone is looking forward to a great Memorial Day weekend.  I also hope everyone has great weather to go along with their great plans.  We will be having some bathroom remodeling going on today because it seems we have sprung a leak behind the tub.  The good news is that we think the man coming to fix this speaks English.

I don't have a post to share today on my blog because Jessie from The Happiness in Health is away in China and she was gracious enough to have me as a guest blogger during her absence.  So, head on over to her blog and check out my GUEST POST.

As Nossas Ilhas, traditional meal

This past Sunday night was like a Saturday night because Ryan was off on Monday and I had work in the afternoon.  With our extra weekend night, we headed to Angra.  Our original plan was to go to this restaurant just above the beach area.  We had never eaten there before but we did stop in once to get a look.  

The problem with Angra is that it can easily turn into a maze.  I can't even imagine how old some of these cobblestones streets are and then they are one way streets and on hills.  Plus, they are super narrow.    The last time we went to Angra we tried to find a new way to get around and be headed in the right direction for the parking.  I try to avoid as many illegal left turns as possible, but the main driving road in Angra makes this very hard to do.  Well, in an effort to not break the law, we have resorted to driving around and trying to come back down the road so we can make right turns.  It is not that easy, I swear!

So on Sunday night, we made the decision to go straight at this one road where the last time we turned left in order to park on this hill where we had parked once before, and we know this is a decent place to park.  Straight is was!  Wow, how the heck had we never been down this road.  Not one, but two new (to us) restaurants for us to try out.  After scoping out the menus, we selected As Nossas Ilhas, which means Our Islands.
One of the reasons we picked this over the other was the English menu printed and hung by their window.  We knew right away we could navigate the menu.  The second reason was the name sounded familiar because it was on our list of restaurants that were participating in something similar to restaurant week back in the States.  They had a sign on their door denoting they won an award during that time for their food.

First up we had some bread.  This was slightly different from the usual bread we eat, and it was very good.
Fresh goat cheese and butter.  Isn't it nice when even the butter is local.
Olives, which were really good.
This is a pepper sauce.  Usually this is eaten with the cheese and bread.
We ordered a bottle of wine.  The server spoke limited English and we have had this wine before, so it was an easy choice.  It is local to the Azores, but from a different island.
One thing that was neat about this place was the proximity to the major market in Angra.  Their menu boasts all fresh foods because they are next to the market.  At this point the little light bulb came on and I realized that this area below was the market.  Ryan and I were just talking about the market and how we have yet to find it.  Ok, now it's found!  Since it was Sunday evening, nothing was open, but I could see into the fish market below.  I could also tell that they had various things around this market and I look forward to going back when they are open.  It is hard to tell in this picture, but this is looking out to the market area.
Then our dinner arrived.  A typical Azorean dish is the clay tile prepared fish.  I think it comes in meat too, but we have always ordered it with fish, for obvious reasons.  This was a little different because it was in a cream sauce.  The cook this whole clay tile and then it stays warm so the food stays warm too.  It is usually sold as a dish for 2 people.  It was also interesting to see the handles.  The covered them with dough and then it baked into bread.  The potatoes were served in a dish below.
This dish had 3 different fish inside.  Ryan and I must eat a lot of fish and go out in the ocean often because we were able to identify 2 out of the 3.  We could tell the boca negra by the red scales (some scales did remain) and then the cherne (AKA wreckfish) because this is a meatier fish, not a flaky fish.  After the meal we asked the server which fish these were and we were right about those 2.  As for the third, we did not recognize the name, so I still have no idea.  At least they were good.
The meal ended with a coffee.  I was pleased to see they served Nicola, which is my favorite brand of coffee on the island.
This was adorable.  If you have been reading my blog for a while, you might remember that some restaurants bring the check in a box.  Here the box had a tile on the top with a map of the Azores, hence the name Our Islands.
When we finished, it was still light out despite being after 8 pm.  This picture I actually took on the way in, so it looks a little lighter, but you will see in the other pictures how light it was after 8.  It may have even been closer to 9.  I took this picture because I thought it was crazy looking.
After dinner we took a walk around the neighborhood.  We spotted a spirit house at the top of this hill and since Monday was a Portuguese holiday, there was something going on here.  They set off these fire crackers and have get togethers at these spirit houses during this time of year.  I know it is religious in nature, but I am not sure exactly what is going on.  I have tons of pictures of these and I plan to do a whole post on them sometime soon.  They look like mini-churches, but I believe the were Pagan when they were built.
Then we found a church.  I like how it was clearly marked.
Then we turned the corner and started to head back down the hill to our car.  I loved this view.  You can see Angra off in the distance, and then the ocean.
I zoomed in some to see the backside of my favorite church.
As we got closer to the car, we spotted another, more quiet, spirit house.
Oh, before I forget, one more thing.  I am getting ready to celebrate the big 3-0 in just over 2 weeks.  My mom and step dad are coming to visit me and then we are going to mainland Europe (more details to come).  The sad news is that Ryan can't get off from work to go with us, but I hope to travel with him later this summer.  I plan on posting while I am away, but I do not think I will be able to do this every day.  Technically, I am still working while we are gone.  I teach online, so I will have papers to grade and other work.  So, I would like to ask if anyone is interested in guest posting on my blog while I am gone during the second part of June.  Please email me if you are interested.

QUESTIONS:  Any travel plans this summer?  How did you celebrate your birthday this year?  Any great gift ideas I should think of to ask for when I get asked "what do you want for your birthday"?