Sunday, July 28, 2013

How-To | Cook Quinoa

For my first how-to tutorial, I have chosen to school you in how to make quinoa. First we will start with the common question:

What exactly is quinoa?!

Pronounced kee-wah, this little grain-like seed with a squiggle in the middle is becoming increasingly more present in the healthy eating world. Reason being, it is relatively low in calories, extremely high in protein, and it's a complex carb!!  Which is great, because we are all trying our hardest to incorporate complex carbs into as much of our diets as possible, right?! It has all the essential amino acids your body needs, and has a slew of other vitamins and minerals. It's also gluten free, which is very important to those folks with wheat allergies. Really, it's sounding like a super food if you ask me. 

Now, why am I choosing to do this as my first "How-to" ? I really don't know. I haven't quite mastered it... in the umpteen times I have attempted, I probably get it right two out of three times. I guess that's not too bad... so I will share with you my process for making it. Of course if there is anything you can add, if there is anything you do that I don't do that works like a charm, please leave a comment for me. I love learning! 

How to | Cook Quinoa
You will need:
Quinoa - 1 part
Cooking Liquid - 2 parts
Olive Oil - a drizzle for toasting purposes
Strainer - you'll need a fine-mesh one, not one with big holes in it
Pot with cover

What you do:
  1. Rinse your quinoa well by putting it into the strainer and running it under water. This is a very important step because the outer part of the seed is very bitter. If you have time, soaking it is even better than rinsing, but as long as you do it thoroughly, rinsing will do the trick. 
  2. Drizzle a little olive oil in your pot, and put your quinoa in there. Toast it over high heat for about a minute until the liquid burns off. 
  3. Add your cooking liquid {remember, 2x the amount of quinoa you are using!} and bring it to a boil. 
  4. Once it is boiling, turn the heat down to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. During this time, leave the cover on the pot and don't touch it!!! This is similar to cooking a pilaf or couscous. 
  5. When 15 minutes is up, remove from heat, but do not uncover. Let it sit for another 5 mins. 
  6. Next, you can fluff the cooked quinoa with a fork, like you would do with couscous. 

  • You can use any color of quinoa you like- just make sure it is not out of a box kit or anything
  • You will always need 2x the amount of liquid - i.e. 1 cup quinoa + 2 cups liquid. Keep in mind that 1 cup of uncooked quinoa will yield appx 3 cups cooked. 
  • Salted water works well for your cooking liquid. Personally, I think if you have never made {or tasted} quinoa I would recommend cooking it in water the first time, so that you know ultimately what you are working with. There isn't much flavor, but you can doctor it up with salt and pepper and a little butter if need be. 
  • Other than plain water, you can use chicken or veggie stock, or flavor your water with garlic or herbs. {My next try is going to be throwing mint and basil right into the water}
  • There are all sorts of recipes out there- you can eat it as a simple side during dinner, or make it the main focus of the meal. The possibilities are endless, and because it's very mild in taste to begin with, you can use it with many different flavors. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Saturday things | a flood, bridesmaids dresses, and something blue

Alternate title: Central air washed away my dreams of getting skinny (in stilettos)
thanks tt.

A flood
Last Saturday, all I wanted to do was sleep in. In my life, all I wanted, was to be able to keep my eyes closed until 9:30, but alas, 8:30 I hear a bellowing coming from downstairs. "Coleen?" "Coleen!! You need to come down here. We have a problem. There's a lot of water." 


So I jump out of bed, and run to the basement. And there was water everywhere. Oh, crumb. The AC was working, so this posed a lot of confusion for me. But clearly with the 95-100 degree temps we had had for over a week, something was up. Long story short, eventually we got it fixed, but it took calling two places, and then ultimately two visits. Thank God I can work from home relatively easily and at short notice. 

Biggest issue with this is that all of our junk in the basement had to be hauled out of the storage side and into the finished side!! It has taken over my workout area and I haven't been able to do my Bridealicious Bootcamp for a week!! Thankfully we should be good to go now and can move it all back over this weekend, so I can get back on track starting Monday morning at 5:30 :o)

Bridesmaids Dresses
It's a busy year of weddings next year... I haven't been in a wedding in 5 years - and now I have three including my own coming up in 2014!! 

Went bridesmaids dress shopping with LG and her MOH last night, which was so much fun. We found a few that she liked a lot, but no decisions have been made yet. It's going to be so pretty with all eight bridesmaids {yup, you read that right- eight} in black dresses offset with pink flowers. 

Can't wait to start thinking about plans for my dipsy's, too. She has already showed me a picture of high-heeled cupcakes that we need to find for her bridal shower {me and CMC's love for shoes runs through our blood}. This wedding is going to be a gorgeous fall backdrop in Lake George {ooh, fancy fancy} with very rich and elegant shades of purples and greens. I can't wait to see this place, too- it's quite exclusive. 

And last but not least, hooray! I have finalized my colors!!! I am so super duper excited to announce that my wedding colors on 8/31/14 will be Tiffany blue, gray and coral. My plan is to have my sister/MOH in a gray dress, which she has already picked out, and Tiffany blue shoes. And have all the suits charcoal gray with Tiffany blue ties. I'll put the flower girls in Tiffany blue dresses, and then have bright coral flowers to stand out. SOOO cute!! Now I just need to find my wedding gown.. because I already have my shoes and everything, which leads me to my third and final Saturday thing:

Something Blue
Drum roll please. On my wedding day, I will be walking down the aisle in my "Something Blue" ~ Hangisi by Manolo Blahnik. I have zero words for how absolutely stunning they are... I mean, what words are needed when THAT {see above} was the look on my face the moment I laid eyes on them. The satin has a sheen to it like nothing else. The sparkle of the crystal embellishment on the toe is indescribable. They even smell lavish in all their hand-made Italian leather, bougie wonder. 

I think that's the perfect note to end on. Ciao ciao ~ Baci e abbracci ~!!

Recipe of the day

Monday, July 15, 2013

Day #1...

Today is the day that I get serious {again} // the day that I start the battle all over again. I don't ever want to have to look in the mirror and feel the way that I do now again. Ok ok I said this a year ago. But this time I'm serious. Food went well today- I ate a ton, all healthy. Avoided the cookies that Clifford ever-so-nicely left on the table behind me all day. And I'm excited for dinner since I get to cook. 

I'm looking forward to this time around - I also got Bridealicious Bootcamp which I am psyched about!!

I promise, next post will be interesting :o)

Recipe of the day

Monday, July 8, 2013

Let's be honest.

Our fifth annual trip to ME was a huge success. I think we are getting old, though. Somehow we didn't drink as much as we should have, but ate entirely too much. The girls roadtrip was clearly one of the highlights as it always is for me, Amy + Jen. We had some good and bad weather, relaxed at the cottage, spent some QT at The Pearl rubbing elbows with our bff Michelle {and of course Richie}, Jen and I ended up on a boat, we of course had our surf + turf dinner and unfortunately missed out on jello shots at the TOP. But most importantly, we finally made it to Primo

{Note: If you ever find yourself in Rockland Maine, I highly recommend getting yourself there, and I am hoping it becomes a new part of our annual tradition because it is one of the most amazing meals I have ever had. Here is the dinner menu that we had the luxury of enjoying. Between the eight of us we covered a decent amount of the menu. I had the rabbit, and I'm pretty sure it was hands-down the best meal on the menu, although every morsel of food that I put in my mouth was heavenly. Yea.. get there if you're ever up that way. Chef didn't win the James Beard award, nor was Primo named "one of the most important restaurants in the country" for nothin'}

So, I will fill in the rest of the deets later in the week, but obv the food comes first. 

Now, starts detox #2. Thank you to the 4th of July yet again for reminding me to jump start my health kick! 

Recipe of the day