Happy Memorial Day to all my fellow Americans! Today is traditionally a day to remember those who fell in honor and defense of our country, and also a day that Americans use as an excuse to sit on their butts, drink lots of beer, and eat massive amounts of food – not that there’s ANYTHING wrong with that once in a while.
I decided to start the holiday off in a different way. After a leisurely morning at home with yet another spicy breakfast scramble, I headed back to the park for hiking. The heat was ridiculous today and the flies were out in full force. When I say flies, I don’t mean the pesky little ones that buzz around your ears, I mean the ones that thirst for blood and attack! I endured an hour of biting, buzzing, sweating, crowd-fighting misery before getting back into the blissfully air-conditioned car.
Up next were errands that had to be dealt with: picking up cat food from the pet store. Could there be anything more thrilling? The dog joined us on the trip, and since we were out and there just happened to be a new self-serve frozen yogurt place nearby, we had to enjoy a lunch of cake batter fro-yo outside in the blissful summer air.
Back home, a big stomach ache ensued. I may have forgotten to mention, but I seem to be lactose intolerant… I’m really good at sticking to soy substitutes, except when it comes to ice cream/gelato/frozen yogurt and cheese. Goat cheese has become my new favorite for those times I just can’t go without a cheesy, spinach omelette in the mornings. I decided to make some sun-dried tomato hummus from scratch to help ease my tummy.
Sun-dried Tomato Hummus: Makes 2 cups (Recipe from allrecipes.com)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt (I normally leave this out. I don’t want anymore sodium added to my diet than I take in already)
1.5 tbsp tahini paste (Also known as sesame seed paste, can be found in Albertson’s in the asian food or kosher aisle)
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 (15.5 oz) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup olive oil (Again, I use a bit less than this and add water to thin out my hummus)
2 tbsp finely shredded fresh basil (or 1-2 tsp of the dried stuff)
1. Place garlic, salt, tahini and lemon juice into a food processor; process until smooth. Pour in the garbanzo beans and 1/4 cup of olive oil; process until smooth, scraping sides as needed. Once smooth, add the sun-dried tomatoes and process until they’ve been chopped to very small pieces and have made the hummus a pink color. Finally, add the basil and pulse a few times until mixed in.
2. Pack hummus into airtight container and refrigerate for at least one hour. When serving, I like to add a little lemon zest to the top to give it even more color and zing 🙂
(It tastes much better than it looks)
Of course, I wasn’t able to eat this right away since it needs to refrigerate, so I decided to finally get working on the quinoa that I meant to start a few days ago. We ran out of zucchini and onions, but I found some shallots bought for a recipe I meant to make last week, so I thought that I would take a risotto recipe I learned from the amazing Giada De Laurentiis when I was obsessed with the Food Network and substitute quinoa instead. (Original recipe here) I also removed all traces of cheese and butter, but feel free to add some into yours! I might try some soy cream cheese substitute in mine next time.
1 tbsp olive oil
2 large shallots, diced
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1/4-1/2 cup good white wine (something you would like to drink)
1.5 cups of reduced-sodium vegetable broth
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1. In a saucepan, heat olive oil, add diced shallots and saute until translucent.
2. Add rinsed quinoa and mix with shallots and olive oil to toast.
3. Pour in white wine and stir until absorbed.
4. Slowly add the vegetable broth, 1/2 cup at a time until absorbed by quinoa.
5. Once quinoa is cooked (the little tail-looking thingy appears and the quinoa is tender but still has a little pop to the bite – very scientific, eh?) stir in the lemon zest and juice, and fluff with a fork.
For 1/4 cup of quinoa there are 160 calories, 3 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein. These little grains pack a punch, plus, in the lemony quinoa recipe, you’re also getting healthy fats from the olive oil. I think when I reheat this for lunch tomorrow, I’ll get some zucchini and butternut squash to saute and add in for some veggie-power.
And now, while everyone else relaxes and enjoys their barbeques with friends and family, I’m off to a pointless 3 hour shift at work where I’ll spend my time holding up a counter and watching the dust bunnies roll across the tile while the minutes drag by. Who wants to sit at home eating bratwurst and drinking good beer when you can work a night at retail?
Oh wait… I do.