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Thursday, October 02, 2008's kinda been a while

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anyone still out there?

Holy crap I suck at this.

I have been a *wee* bit busy, between moving (I HAVE A NEW KITCHEN!!!), being pregnant and of course, my cute little munchkin, lil Z. :)

Lil' Z was born in early August and weighed in at a hefty 8lb15oz...and she's kept us hopping ever since.

DSC_8122 copy

Don't worry though...there's no way we're going hungry. In fact, I could probably have a football team move in here and we still wouldn't be going hungry. At the end of my pregnancy, I was so enormous that I ended up bombarded by twin/triplet inquiries at least once a day (I became somewhat of a recluse just to avoid people's jackassed comments). So everyone thought lil Z would come early.

I'm only 39 weeks and change in this pic (I almost went to 42 weeks):
39 weeks, 4 days

I went off work.

I cooked copious amounts of food and froze it. Pic below is from one day of cooking. I was off almost a month before lil Z made her grand entrance.

i have enough food for an army

I have an upright freezer, as well as the one on my fridge. Both were so jam-packed that my engineer hubs could no longer figure out any viable way of squeezing anything else in.

We were totally prepared.

Except for one problem.

I don't like frozen food.

And I like to cook.

So here we are, almost 8 weeks later...and the freezer is almost as full as it was to begin with...and I'm still cooking up a storm. :)

I've just been a real truant about writing anything about it. However, tonight's dinner was SO freaking good that it couldn't not be shared. Way in the back of my (enormous - YAHOOOOO!) pantry, there was a medium-sized tupperware container of a mystery grain. I remembered that I had purchased this grain a while back (like probably a year or two). Unfortunately, I didn't have the presence of mind to bother labelling it.

So the mystery grain sat, untouched, and totally unidentifiable. I couldn't cook it because I didn't know what it was.

Finally, today it occurred to me that the mystery grain might be quinoa. I dug up a trusty google image search and sure enough...the funny little grain was (likely...probably...i think?) quinoa. I didn't have any sort of exciting side dish planned for dinner, so I then set out to figure out a) how to cook it and b) how to serve it. This is what it looked also feels really cool (yes, that is a handprint on top...I was inspired by Amélie's love of plunging her hands into a bin of grains...)

mystery grain that sat in my cupboard for two years

Cooking it is pretty easy. Boil for 15 minutes and then strain....but the straining turned out to be a little more complicated than anticipated because all of my strainers are far too coarse for such a little grain...I ended up using a towel to line the strainer...messy, but workable. I like quinoa. Hubs likes quinoa.

And we're both kicking ourselves that we didn't identify the mystery grain sooner. Quinoa is so insanely good for you - it makes almost every superfood list out there. It has loads of protein, fibre, potassium and all that good stuff and is lower in carbs than other grains too. Yum. Look for it again here soon.

Without further jibber jabber and rambles...this was dinner. It kicked ass and was about 45 minutes, start to finish.

Quinoa, Black Bean and Tomato Salad

Quinoa is a fast-cooking, protein-packed whole grain. Steamed, it makes a perfect partner for lime-spiked black beans and fresh tomato.

Makes 4 (main dish) servings.

2 teaspoons grated lime zest
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon brown or demerara sugar
1 cup quinoa, uncooked
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 medium tomatoes, diced
4 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (unfortunately, as happens all too often, my cilantro had liquified in I just skipped this)

1. Whisk together lime zest and juice, butter, oil, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4teaspoon pepper in a large bowl.

dressing for the quinoa dish

2. Wash quinoa in 3 changes of cold water in a bowl, draining in a sieve each time.

3. Cook quinoa in a medium pot of boiling salted water (1 tablespoon salt for 2 quarts water), uncovered, until tender, about 15 minutes

4. Add quinoa to dressing and toss until dressing is absorbed, then stir in remaining ingredients and salt and pepper to taste.

quinoa looks kinda funny

Kickin' Chicken (shamelessly stolen from a book everyone should have, Eat, Shrink and Be Merry

12 chicken thighs
1 cup reduced-fat peanut sauce
2/3 c hot salsa
1/3 c fresh basil

1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray. Spread the chicken thighs in a single layer in the pan.

2. Mix together the peanut sauce (I like PC brand), salsa and the chopped, fresh basil.

yummy sauce

3. Pour over chicken. Bake for 40ish minutes. Serve the chicken with the sauce.


It's insanely awesome and ridiculously easy. I was skeptical...but it's SO YUMMY. I think the sauce would also be good on pork or tofu. I served this with the quinoa salad and some steamed broccoli. Two thumbs up from me and two thumbs up from hubs. :)

this was my dinner

It's quite the experience to be writing this as I hear my little baby cooing away in the background.... :) Thanks for reading, thanks for sticking with me...I'll be back soon!


Tiana said...

*raises hand*

I'll take your frozen food.

Our baby was born in June and I can barely figure out how to make great meals. Although admittedly, I'm not as super into cooking as you are, I'm only medium into cooking.

LunaMoonbeam said...

I, for one, thank you for posting your prego pic. I'm 7 months preggo and feel HUGE. It seems like ALL of my preggo friends are "abnormally small"...which doesn't make me feel any better.

Here's to the girls with babies that want to be SEEN! (Your baby is beautiful, by the way.)

Not So French Girl said...

Welcome back to blogging!

I am going to love the quinoa salad. I can tell already. Interesting that it lasted that long in a pantry. I thought you had to freeze it. Now I know!

Thanks for mentioning that the sauce will be good on tofu. I like the idea of most chicken recipes, just not the chicken :)

BubblyBunny said...

Yay! Happy to see you are blogging again. :) I'm surprised you actually have time to cook and blog with your little wee babe! The only time I have for blogging is night time, after each night feeding sessions! Hahah... As for cooking...that's Hubby's and Mom's job. :P

I was off almost a month too before my baby came. Instead of stocking up my freezer, I decided to start a new blog. Check it out!

Ashley P. said...

WOW...that dinner looks great....I didn't cook until Julien was almost 3 mths old....we were eating a lot of take out and bbq food
Good for you!

Jenny said...

Hey there! Nice to see you back on the blogging scene…although I think you can be forgiven for your truancy ; )

Thanks for the yummy quinoa recipe. It’s a something that I have been meaning to try for quite some time and this looks nice a yummy dish to try!

Lil’ Z is so cute! I’m sure she will be one of the best fed kids out there and will develop quite the varied and sophisticated palate at a young age.

kickpleat said...

congratulations! lovely baby, oh my goodness! and i've got some leftover peanut sauce, salsa and chicken thighs in the fridge!

Deborah said...

Welcome back!! And your daughter is adorable - my little girl is due in January and I can hardly wait!! (And I love the paint in the nursery - too cute!!)

I love quinoa, but always forget about mine as well. This looks like a fabulous meal!

Puhvis Kukk said...

That's so wierd, I was just thinking this morning whether you'll show up again. I just made your chicken curry and froze that though it was thawed almost immediately. Cheers!

Chris and Bambie Sherwin said...

Does peanut sauce = peanut butter?
Thanks for the kickin' chicken recipe, looks and sounds delicious!!

Mrs. Spaghetti Bender said...

You came back - I have been checking daily ... hoping ... hoping motherhood hadn't stolen you away from us.

Now that I'm getting ready for my own little one I'll have to take your advice and freeze some meals. But I'm like you and don't enjoy them. I figure that will probably change once I have a little baby.

Lisa Hutch said...

YAY! I'm so glad you're back!!! Now I'll know what I'm cooking for dinner again (I've been lost without you).

dynagrrl said...

Welcome back! I have missed your posts!

Anonymous said...

Mama's glad her inspiration has found the time to blog again! Give baby a kiss from Grammie, can't wait to see you all this weekend!

Foxy Renard said...

I am so glad you're back. That quinoa salad looks amazing and I'm debating whether to include it as a side dish tomorrow or make it now as proper dinner. I'm leaning to the latter...

leslie @ definitely not martha said...

tiana - you can have some!!! I have so much food!

aunt lolo - yep, she definitely wanted to be seen. Teeny preggos were ticking me off..because I was enormous!

not so french girl - I think you could probably sub tofu in almost any saucy meat recipe and it would turn out great

bambie - nope, peanut sauce isn't quite the same as peanut butter...i like this one from PC

thanks so much for all te comments!!

Tiana said...

Don't tease me!

Anonymous said...

Welcome back and don't beat yourself up. Being preggo myself I am amazed you were able to cook an do as much as you did (I'm on my first trimester and nausea rules the roost right now)

Thanks for posting the photo. For some reason my bump is already visible to me and I was starting to worry. Seeing yours makes me think I still have a long ways to go. :)

Anonymous said...

One more (and the most important thing) what an absolutely gorgeous little one! :) ♥

Not So French Girl said...

Salad is delish! And beautiful. Thanks!

You think I could find peanut sauce? I'll have to go to a bigger grocery store soon.

Anonymous said...

You have no idea how happy I am that you are back. I found your site pretty much as soon as you stopped blogging, and have been checking it almost daily ever since... love your recipes!!!

Congrats on life with baby!

Unknown said...

Well congrats!
I've been behind on blog reading lately, which is why I missed you coming back. Your little one looks adorable, I love the hair!
Looking forward to seeing what you come up with, cooking with a new born was always a challenge for me, and cooking while moving (what I'm doing now) is also not much fun.
Salad looks good.

Unknown said...

Leslie, yeah you're back! I missed your blog. And lil Z is adorable :)
dinner looks yummy too... been meaning to try out quinoa for a while too

Anonymous said...

made the quinoa salad and chicken dish last night for dinner. super easy--- and delicious! probably the best dish i've ever made. thanks so much!

Unknown said...

Woot! You're back...very happy about that. Welcome Lil Z (she is super cute). I can't wait to try the quinoa; I've been looking for something to make with it forever.

Anonymous said...

It does look wonderful for kids of all ages. Thanks for sharing with chicken recipe. I know my grandson will love eating long as he can use his fingers.

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