Veggie Pockets

Hi friends! Happy (?) Monday!

Jeremy and I had a productive weekend! On Saturday we cleaned out our basement and donated 2 carloads of stuff to the Salvation Army and now have 7 bags of trash waiting to be hailed away. It feel SO much better! We can actually move around without dodging random things now!

On Saturday night we went to the rollerderby! I had never been to a roller derby bout before and it was awesome! Our friend, Jen, aka Rachel Slure (that is her roller derby nick name) was just coming back from having the most adorable baby ever and she did an amazing job! I’m still a little fuzzy on the rules of roller derby, but it looks like tons of fun, not to mention a great workout! Our local team is called the Dutchland Roller girls. We had a really great night watching our them trample the team from Hanover, PA.

I wish I had gotten better pictures. They just skate so fast!

Ok. I have a confession. I dont like mushrooms. The way they grow kind of freaks me out and the texture makes me want to… well, you know.

I was bothered about my tumultous relationship with mushrooms. I like almost all other vegetables (eggplant is the other one I cant stomach, also because of the texture and probably because I was forced to eat fried eggplant when I was a kid. Ugh, I get chills just thinking about it.) and I want to enjoy mushrooms as well. So, I realized that if I cut mushrooms small enough, and include them with other vegetables, I dont notice their texture. Perfect! I am happy to report that the past 3 weeks or so, I have used mushrooms three times! Now I guess I need to work on eggplant…

Yesterday I decided to make vegetable pockets. Which are basically just a variety of vegetables, any will do, tucked in a little dough pocket.

First I made a standard whole wheat pizza dough and while I was waiting for the dough to double, I sauteed shallots, red peppers, zucchini and MUSHROOMs until soft… added a little salt, oregano, and basil

Once the pizza dough was finished rising, I rolled it out very thin and cut it into pieces. Then I spooned some of the vegetable filling onto the dough and folded it onto itself.

Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes (until the top is golden).

I decided to serve the veggie pocket with a little tomato sauce and rice pilaf. It was delicious! A fun meal for when you want something different, but with familiar tastes.

This is what Maci’s Sunday was like:

Hanging out in the sun. Ps — those wicker chairs are not ours…

Veggies Pockets
Makes 4 pockets

3 T shallots
1 T olive oil
1 red pepper, diced
1 cucumber, diced
1/2 lb mushrooms (!), diced (any kind will do)
1 T oregano
1 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup tomato sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Whole wheat pizza dough

Prepare the pizza dough. While it is doubling, begin to cut and prepare veggies.

1. Saute scallions in oil until soft at medium heat
2. Add red pepper, saute until soft
3. Add zucchini and mushrooms, saute another minute or two
4. Add 1/4 cup tomato sauce and basil, salt, and oregano
5. Turn heat down  to low heat and simmer until most of liquid is absorbed
6. Once dough has doubled, punch it down and transfer to a flowered surface.
7. Roll the dough out very thin and cut into 4 squares
8. Divide vegetable mixture evenly between squares of dough
9. Fold sides of dough in and place on a greased baking sheet seam side down
10. Sprinkle basil on top of each pocket
11. Bake at 350 for 20-30 or until the tops are golden brown

Trader Joes Blues

Last night was another meal made from goodies we picked up at Trader Joes! Whole wheat Gnocchi, three cheese pasta sauce, and a french baguette (which was also used last night with our roasted red pepper artichoke tapenade).

This meal was simple and both the Gnocchi and the pasta sauce were delicious. I almost wish we hadn’t stopped at Trader Joes because now I’m going to be even more sad that we don’t have one close to us 😦 I definitely have the Trader Joes blues.

We have been loving eating outside in the beautiful weather PA has been having lately. Our pretty flower are even starting to bloom!

Maci is still a bit timid in our backyard. She doesn’t quite know what to do. We keep a leash on her, however, just in case she gets freaked out and runs out of our backyard. Which she actually did the other day. Luckily Jeremy was able to catch her before she ran out into the street!

AC Baby!

Jeremy and I decided to take a mini vacation to celebrate the end of my semester and because we wont have a chance to take a true vacation this summer. We settled on Atlantic City for a few reasons: we wanted to go somewhere in driving distance, we got a great rate at the Harrahs Casino, and we wanted  find a hotel that had a “resort” feel, which the Harrahs does because of their AMAZING pool

I mean, HELLO! It was amazing.  The pool is indoor and they keep the area at a constant 82 degrees. It was great, and perfectly relaxing.Our room was nice, nothing spectacular, but nice. We really enjoyed our stay!

I had never been to AC before, Jeremy was there once for a bachelor party. I really didn’t think that I would get into gambling. And, in the grand scheme of things, I didnt. We only spent $20 on the slots. By “we”, I mean me. Jeremy did not gamble at all. I can see how people get really in to it, there were a few times when I thought to myself “maybe the next one I’ll get lucky!”

When I was a kid, I loved “I Love Lucy.” I’m sure it was partly because I felt like I could relate to her because she is a red head. When I saw this slot machine, I knew it was the one for me.

I definitely had the best luck on this slot machine. I was up by $3 at one point! Jeremy told me to cash out, I didn’t annnnd then I lost it all. If only I had listened to him! We hung out and watched some craps, poker, and roulette. It amazes me the kind of money people drop without blinking an eye!

Yesterday we took the Jitney from Harrahs up to the boardwalk to “walk the boards” (as those of us who have grown up going to the Jersey shore (not THAT Jersey Shore) say).

Of course, it wouldn’t be a trip to the Shore without getting some boardwalk pizza! I got a slice of tomato, broccoli, and spinach pizza. It was delicious and humongous!

Last night we went to the McCormick and Schmidts in the hotel. Jeremy and I try to avoid chain restaurants as much as possible, but our options were pretty limited. We had a great meal! It started with some delicious buttery rolls.

Look at those buns!

For my drink I ordered the Sangria Lemonade. It was absolutely delicious! I loved it and it was quite pretty, too!

The night before, I had an unfortunate encounter with a plate of nachos, and since I had a big ‘ol slice of pizza for lunch, I was craving salad. The house salad was exactly what I was looking for: mescalin mix, dried cranberries, blue cheese, candied walnuts, and a white balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Perfect!

Jeremy got the wild salmon in a chipotle sauce with swish chard, mushrooms, and onions. His meal was REALLY good. I was also really surprised/happy that there were 4-5 options of WILD caught fish. I feel like this is somewhat surprising for a chain restaurant.

This morning, we basically just woke up, checked out, and headed home. Another highlight about our trip is that we had the chance to buy some groceries at a Trader Joes on the way home! I love Lancaster, and there are many great things about living here, but the one thing that this area is missing is a really GOOD grocery store. AKA, a Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Wegmans, etc. The closest TJ and Wegmans is an hour away and the closest Whole Foods is over an hour and a half away. Not cool! So we got a few fun things.

We used this tasty roasted red pepper artichoke tapenade to make some bruschetta for dinner

Half topped with feta, half topped with mozzarella=perfect snack-y dinner!

Being that tonight is our “Sunday,” we are keeping up the tradition of movie Sunday. Playing tonight: Black Swan. I’ve been dying to see it!

My parents just finished up a 3 week roadtrip through the southwest. They started out in PA, headed down south, went through New Orleans, went to the Grand ‘ol Opry, and out west to Sedona, and the Grand Canyon. What a great life! I can only hope that when Jeremy and I are retired we can do the same!

They decided to swing by Lancaster on their way home which was perfect since tomorrow is Mothers Day! Initially we were going to go out to eat, but then realized that today was going to be GORGEOUS and perfect for grilling!! Also, my parents stayed in 17 different hotels, and ate out almost every night. We figured they would be ready for a home cooked meal. On the menu: Salmon cabobs, chicken cabobs, Quinoa Salad, grilled asparagus, iced tea, and lime yogurt cake for dessert! It was delicious!

Recipe below!

Grilling is the BEST!

My colorful plate. I think wild salmon cabobs are my favorite grill food.

Lime yogurt cake with blackberry sauce. Delicious!

After the parentals left for their last leg home, Jeremy and I decided to go for a walk. The neighborhood next to ours is so perfect. Wide, tree lined streets, cute little houses. Someday we would like to buy a house in a neighborhood just like this one!

Tonight we are heading to a friends house for another BBQ and then TOMORROW we have one more BBQ (3 cookouts in one weekend? YES PLEASE) and THEN we are off for a little vacation!! SO EXCITED!!

This dish has 3 of my favorite ingredients: dried cranberries, feta, and pistachios! The combination of the three is awesome and combined with Quinoa, a perfect side dish for wahtever you are grilling! This recipe is light, summery, and delicious.

Quinoa with Dried Cranberries, Pistachios, and Feta
Adapted from Cooking Light

Serves: 8

1 3/4 cups uncooked quinoa
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
2 cups water
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup dried sweet cherries, chopped
1/2 cup dry-roasted pistachios, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup feta

1. Rinse and drain quinoa. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallots to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until tender. Add 2 cups water, wine, and salt to pan; bring to a boil. Add quinoa; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender. Remove from heat; set aside, and cool slightly.
2. Combine remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, and pepper in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Add quinoa, cherries, and remaining ingredients; toss gently to combine.

Finals are this week!! Yay! I feel, very relaxed about them actually. Two of my classes I am already finished with and one of my other finals should be a piece of cake. So, I really only have two finals to be really worried about. I’m actually more nervous about the fact that I’m not more nervous about them! Shouldn’t I be freaking out, like I have been about all my other exams all semester?! I’m just ready for them to be ove-r

Today was a really productive day for Jeremy and myself. I studied for about 3-4 hours this morning and then came home and Jeremy and I cleaned out part of our basement. We have SO MUCH STUFF! We got probably 1/3 of the way finished, and it already feels better. Hopefully we will be able to finish it next weekend.

Tonight I made a dish out of one of Rachel Ray’s 30 minute meals books. Has anyone ever used any of her 30 minute recipes? I’ve made a few, and they always take way longer than 30 minutes. Rachel must have 5 arms to be able to get her meals done in 30 minutes!

Even though it took me 30 +60 minutes to make, this meal was delicious! Not quite the most “spring-like” meal, as it was pretty hearty, it fulfilled my one request: lots of veggies! The gouda in the potato pancakes was amazing. I loved the taste! It gave the dish a very rustic taste and feel. It was very nice. If you have longer than 30 minutes, its definitely worth it!

Winter Vegetable Stew (that tastes just as delicious in spring!)
Adapted from Rach!
Serves 4

2T olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1 pound crimini mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch peices
1 medium onion, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 can (15oz) chick peas, drained
1.5tsp. ground cumin
1 can (28oz) diced tomatoes
2T fresh rosemary, finely chopped

1. In a medium pot over medium heat, saute garlic and mushrooms in olive oil for 2-3 minutes.

2. Add zucchini and onion and season with salt and pepper. Saute 5 minutes

3. Add garbanzo beans, cumin, tomatoes, and rosemary. Bring to a bubble, reduce heat to low and simmer, 10 minutes (sorry for the blurry picture!).

Potato and Smoked Gouda Pancakes
Another one by Rach!
Serves 4

Olive oil for frying
2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and shredded
Several dashes salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small onion, grated
3T all-purpose flour
1 & 1/4 cups shredded smoked gouda, about 8 oz.

1. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add a thin layer of olive oil, just enough to coat the bottom of the pan.
2. In a large bowl, combine potatoes, salt, pepper, onion, flour, and shredded cheese. Mix well.
3. Spoon piles of potato and cheese mixture into the pan, making 3 inch rounds.

4. Cook pancakes until golden and crispy, about 4 minutes on each side (I had a hard time with the pancakes sticking to the bottom of the pan, but found that if I gave them the full 4 minutes, it was easier to flip them).
5. Remove to warm platter and repeat

Arrange pancakes, 2 or 3, in a bowl. Ladle vegetable stew on top.

I hope everyone has a great week!

Whoa. Hold up. I am posting two days in a row?! Oh wait, nope, I last posted on Sunday. Today is Tuesday. Days have been meshing together in my world lately.

I attribute the fact that I am posting twice in one week to: Brown Rice.

Does anyone know why brown rice takes sooo long to cook?! I have a feeling that our rice cooker is actually to blame and takes even longer than stovetop cooking. This rice took 1.5 hours to cook! Crazy! It took up all my studying time (which is ok because I don’t have finals in a week and a half or anything…) and is why I have the luxury to post twice in a week! It is really nice to have a night where I did not break open a book.

The rice was to go along with THIS:

VEGETABLE CURRY! In the curry: kale, broccoli, green peppers, sweet potatoes (duh), peas,  onion, and garlic. Oh, and lots of curry powder and garam masala aka deliciousness!

It was delicious and worth the 1.5 hours wait!

There was Naan. Not homemade Naan, unfortunately. Next time I will plan better and make my own Naan!

Sometimes we hold kitten like this. Its normal.

Summer Countdown (AKA when I will be able to post on a regular basis again): 1.5 weeks (!) of class, 1 week of finals

Quinoa deliciousness

Oh hello friends! I hope you didnt forget about me! Its been 2 weeks! Even though I have not been blogging for that long, it is still weird to not have posted in so long. I wish I could say its because I was on an amazing around the world vacation, but I was actually just hanging around home staring at lots of stuff that looks like this:

I know you are all insanely jealous.

I actually dont have any exams this week! Yay! So I was able to try a new dish tonight… and let me tell you. It was Ah-mazing! When I saw this Zucchini Quinoa Lasagna, I knew I had to give it a try. It completely exceeded my expectations. Please go make it now!

The Quinoa was creamy and delicious, the zucchini tender but with a nice bite to it. As you can see, mine did not hold up as well as Mama Peas did, but who cares? This was bangin! This is definitely going into the rotation!

Yes, those biscuits are what you think they are. Amazing cheddar biscuits from Red Lobster. We went there last night to celebrate my brother-in-law’s bday. In my opinion, the biscuits are one of the only reasons to go to Red Lobster.

Dessert was Easter Candy!!

In other news, Maci got swallowed by the couch

But then she realized that it was comfy and decided to take a nap

Summer countdown: 2 weeks of classes, 1 week of finals!