April Fools Day… it came early!

Mother Nature is trying to fool us – 6 inches of dense mixed snow last night? This MUST be a joke. Here’s my car last night when I got home from a joyful evening with my lovely friends.

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Yesterday was a dunch night. Dinner and lunch in one. A group of women in their twenties and thirties who all have many things in common, but most importantly, food. We try to get together once a month to eat and drink and be merry. My bestie Rach started it years ago and graciously invited me to joy this past year and it has become such a highlight in my life. I’ve met some amazing women whom have become some of my close friends. I made my favorite summertime dish (trying to stay positive in light of the recent weather occurrences) — strawberry mango quinoa salad tossed with a honey lime and mint dressing. Yes, it tastes as great as it sounds. I mean, just take a look at this beautiful dish!

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Well, sadly, dunch got canceled last minute – but we still went out for some cocktails later at night. Fearless women! Out in the brunt of the storm. Don’t worry, husbands did the driving 🙂 So, the good news – I now have this awesome fruit salad for lunch the rest of the week!

Forecast says its going to start warming up this week – but not too much. Highs will be in the low forties with more rain. I think because of this it is now time to start the count down – 14 days until Florida, 14 days until Florida, 14 days until Florida. Oh how I can feel the sun beaming on my skin now. For now, comfort food…

First, I made stuffed peppers today. I had some bell peppers in my fridge that I had gotten on sale last week and needed to use them up quickly. My mom used to make stuffed peppers a lot growing up as a kid and I loved them. I made mine today with lean ground turkey, brown jasmine rice, and some veggies (mushrooms, onions, carrots and garlic). I started with the vegetables, then added in the meat and cooked everything down on medium heat, getting that lovely caramelization you all know I love from my veggies. Then I added in 1/2 jar of tomato sauce – grandpa’s goes vegetarian, obvi. Mixed in the cooked rice & stuffed my peppers. I cooked these covered at 350 for 45 minutes. I’m really looking forward to enjoying these this week for dinners.

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For lunch this week – soup. To keep it light, and to get winter out of my mind – I made a gluten free minestrone (no pasta, just veggies and beans). For the soup:

1/2 onion, chopped

1/2 leek, chopped

5 cloves garlic, minced (yummmm garlic!)

2 medium carrots, sliced into rounds

2 small zucchinis, sliced into rounds

1 cup green beans

1 cup coarsely chopped asparagus

1 cup dry beans (I used a 13 bean soup mix from Bob’s red mill that I had in the pantry)

4 cups baby kale

1 large can whole tomatoes

1 carton of vegetable stock

rosemary, thyme, and cracked black pepper

(and I added a few baby corns – left over from my dinner tonight – which you’ll see next)

*I started in my large pot with the onions, garlic, carrots and leeks with a little bit of water. I then added in the other vegetables and sauteed them all on medium heat. I added in the dry beans and vegetable stock and let simmer for about 30 minutes. After that I added in the tomatoes and kale and about 1 cup of water – just to make sure that everything was immersed in liquid. I put the lid on, turned it down to low and let it all meld together for about 2 hours.

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*It smelled up my whole apartment with spring soup goodness. Really looking forward to having this for lunch tomorrow with some fruit salad! 🙂

Lastly, for dinner tonight (and I obviously made more than 1 serving so I would have leftovers for another dinner this week) I made a fresh ginger and Sriracha vegetable stirfry. I used all of the same vegetables as what I did for the soup but added mushrooms, broccoli and water chestnuts (oooooo, water chestnuts. they make my mouth…water….). I simmered all of these vegetables with Sriracha and a little bit of liquid aminos. Then at the last minute or so I added some fresh grated ginger for a nice zing. My amazing coteacher taught me this past week to peel and freeze your ginger root so that it lasts longer and is way easier to grate 🙂 Had this over a 1/2 cup of brown rice (had some extra left over from the stuffed peppers) and my mouth was on fire the whole time I enjoyed it.

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I don’t know when I started enjoying spicy foods. I know I didn’t always. My step mom cooked with a lot of garlic, still does, which is where I get my insane amount of garlic in my cooking from. Anyways, I know my stepmom would make things spicy sometimes but I don’t always remember enjoying it. Especially not like I do now. Anything that has a bite to it, I’ll eat it.

Feeling very accomplished today. Lesson planning is done – solid for tomorrow and a great outline for the rest of the week with most materials created. Sundays, I think they are my favorite days. I always feel so great after I’ve cooked all day while lesson planning and jamming out to music. No wonder I have good weeks… I start them out the right way 🙂

14 days… (as I’m bundled up in a blanket)

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2 thoughts on “April Fools Day… it came early!”

  1. The liking spicy stuff comes with age, Lisa. The older you get, the spicier you will like your food! Plus, since you don’t eat meat, you lose the flavor the fat provides. So, you have to compensate with more spices! I hope you have a great trip to Florida. Be safe. Love, Aunt Lorie

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