June’s Leftovers.

Do you know what I love about fresh new months?

Fresh new ideas and resolutions.  New vegetables and farmers markets.  New places to see, new plans to be made.  New, new, NEW!

However, yesterday was still June.  There were still some loose ends that needed tying before I could kiss the month goodbye, so long.  Leftovers to be finished before any brand new things could arrive.

Yes.  And vegetables to be stir fried.  Leftover quinoa to be eaten.

Quinoa, just like rice, can be frozen quite nicely.  Which is why I most always double the batch and pop one in the freezer.  It takes about 3 minutes to reheat it in the microwave, which is perfect for late nights, crazy days, or for that last dinner in June.

This was the easiest meal of the week (not counting, of course, that bowl of cereal which impostered itself as dinner a couple of nights ago.)

I simply heated a pan with a drizzle of olive oil, added the last of the veggie drawer—carrots, asparagus, zucchini, peppers and onions, and topped it all off with one of my most favorite sauce recipes.

The sunflower seeds added just a touch of fun.  Just a touch of crunch.

There.  The veggie drawer is empty.  The remaining quinoa has been eaten.

Goodbye, June and Hello, July!

(p.s. The kitties are doing well!  Today is the last day I’ll be spending with them, as their ‘parents’ are coming home tonight.  I think Stitch knows something about this, because he’s been nothing short of Mr. LoveBug lately, with his head butting and meowing and acting all silly with excitement.)

(Highstreet, on the other hand, continues to act all regal and sophisticated.  Until a rope passes in front of him, which is when he unleashes his inner jaguar.)

Off for a run.  And then off to fit some studying time in!  It’s always nice a feeling, to start a new month off on the right foot.

Hot And Sour Sauce

Combine: 6 Tbsp. vinegar, 1/4 c. low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth, 1/4 cup water, 2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce, 1 Tbsp. Asian chili sauce, 2 tsp sugar, 2 tsp cornstarch, 1 tsp sesame oil.

QUESTION: What are you most looking forward to in July?

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a summer staple.

My heart, my home and my fridge have been taken over by the perky little grain called quinoa.

I eat it for breakfast.  I eat it for lunch.  It’s the side dish to my salmon.  The quick and easy main course when I’m too tired to think.  Yes.  Quinoa is my go-to staple.  Quicker than brown rice, more satisfying than couscous and chock full of protein to boot.

One of my favorite aspects of quinoa is the way it soaks up saucey things.

Inside the little hollows of their belly—in between those squirly little life rafts—they will eagerly grasp on to any rich or delicate sauce that they come in contact with.  And so, in that way, quinoa is the perfect vesicle for serving the summer stir fry.

Aside from chopping and dicing, this stir fry is as easy as they come.  So you can sit back on your porch with the sun on your face and a full day of work behind you.  Time to relax.  And breathe.  And enjoy the simpler things of summer.

Lemon Chicken Stir-Fry—adapted from the recipe as seen on EatingWell.com

Turn this summery fare into a vegetarian dish by replacing the chicken broth with veggie and either nixing the chicken or replacing it with tofu, tempeh and/or a sprinkle of peanuts.

I added extra veggies than what the recipe called for (i.e., summer squash!)  The vegetables can be changed to anything that you might have on hand.

  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 Tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 10 ounces mushrooms, halved or quartered
  • 1-2 medium summer squash and/or zucchini
  • 1 cup diagonally sliced carrots (about 1/4 inch thick)
  • 2 cups snow peas (6 oz), stems and strings removed
  • 1 bunch scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces, white and green parts divided
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped garlic
  1. Grate 1 tsp lemon zest and set aside.  Juice the lemon and whisk 3 Tbsp. of the juice with broth, soy sauce, and cornstarch in a small bowl.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until just cooked through, 4-5 minutes.  Transfer to a plate with tongs.  Add mushrooms, summer squash/zucchini and carrots to the pan and cook until the carrots are just tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add snow peas, scallion whites, garlic and the reserved lemon zest.  Cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds.  Whisk the broth mixture and add to the pan; cook, stirring, until thickened, 2-3 minutes.  Add scallion greens and the chicken and any accumulated juices; cook, stirring until heated through, 1-2 minutes.  Enjoy!
QUESTION: Have you ever tried quinoa?  What is your favorite way to eat it?