Mother Nature has lost her mind in these here parts. Friday and Saturday were beautiful days! High 70′s, even getting into the 80′s. Blue skies and sunshine meant lots of time outside! I hosted Mom’s Group this week and we moved our Wednesday meeting to Friday to be able to enjoy the sunshine together!
I think the dry grass was a little rough on his legs. He crawled like Mowgli:
Saturday was another beautiful day! I got a lot of use out of my Dollar Tree sunglasses. (I seriously think the Dollar Tree is the most amazing store.)
And then Mother Nature flipped switch on us. This morning on our way to church it started to sleet. It was 30°! The weather did not improve so we spent a lot of time napping and snuggling, which was just fine by me!
Tonight we had friends over for dinner. I met Katie Meckley through Mom’s Group. The moms get together every week, but it is not often that Travis and I hang out with the other couples…which I am determined to change! We always have such a good time! It is so nice to be around friends who also have children. There is less pressure. They don’t care if your kid screams, poops, burps, spills something, pulls their kids hair, or vice versa. We all smile and laugh because we know that’s just what babies do. We share hilarious stories and give each other lots of encouragement. I would be lost without these girls!
I made Quinoa with Roasted Veggies! As you may already know I am a very budget-y grocery shopper. I don’t coupon…ain’t nobody got time for that…but I always plan meals ahead, make a list, and try to only make one trip to the grocery store per pay period. So, when we have company over, or a special meal, I try to use ingredients I already have, or choose a pre-planned meal that can easily stretch to feed more people. Quinoa is not cheap! But, it is a super healthy, super yummy, super versatile ingredient…so I splurged. I am hoping to find a better place to buy quinoa than Kroger, we will for sure check it out during our next trip to Sams!
Let’s start with the appetizer. I had a lot of anxiety about this. I always look for ways to showcase The Pig, so I wanted to do an appeteaser tray. I pulled some things from the fridge and pantry…sliced and diced…and voila:
I think it would be really easy to create this type of appetizer with things already in your pantry/fridge: olives, cucumber, different cheeses, pretzels, turkey, sausage, etc… If I had more time I would have whipped up some hummus, but this was perfect!
While I was prepping I had to keep Edmund occupied. He loves to crawl up behind me and climb up my legs while I cook or do dishes. I don’t mind, but when the oven is on I need a way to keep him from climbing up on the hot door. So I give him snacks…because he is my son…and we love snacks.
I found this recipe on Pinterest a while back and made it while I was still pregnant. I added chicken that was left over from a roast chicken we had made the night before. This time I didn’t add any meat, and I think it was just as good.
The original recipe calls for red onion, I used white. I didn’t have fennel, but I added mushrooms. I am pretty sure you can roast any vegetables you like.
Cutting a butternut squash is so hard! Or is that just me? I used a knife to peel the squash because my peeler is not sharp enough. I scooped out the seeds and then cubed the squash. Obviously my peel job is less than perfect, but I peeled it, and that is the important part!
I have ZERO counter space. I am not exaggerating. I literally do not have counters. So I used to just throw all the peels, seeds, etc into the sink and then send them down the disposal…sorry mom…But, I no longer do that! Aren’t you proud, mom? I use a bowl to collect everything and then throw it away. I would love to start a compost pile but Travis says they smell…I will make him do it anyway!
This recipe calls for Herbs de Provence. If you are a n00b chef like I am you may not have heard of this. Emeril has a pretty simple recipe for it. I like this recipe because it doesn’t leave you with a ton of seasoning that you have to store and hope to remember to use later! I only had 3 ingredients needed (Basil, Thyme, and Oregano), so I used 1 tablespoon of each and called it a day. Again, the point is to use what you have an improvise a little. I added a little bit of Kosher Salt too.
You can also grill your veggies. Well, you can unless you live in Texas in early March.
Anyway, while the veggies were roasting in the oven I prepped my appetizer. After 15 minutes I flipped the veggies and started the quinoa.
I don’t usually buy so many organic ingredients, but organic chicken stock was cheaper than regular chicken stock at Aldi this week! I heated the olive oil in the pan and then added four WHOLE garlic cloves. You can also use a garlic press, which is what I did the first time I made this. I am terrible at reading instructions so I pressed the garlic and then realized I shouldn’t have…but I don’t think it made a difference.
When the garlic is a little roasted you add chicken stock and RINSED quinoa. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover, and cook.
When everything is ready you mix the veggies and the quinoa. Easy-Peasy!
I love this dinner because you can eat a ton of it and not feel bad afterwards. I also loved tonight’s dinner because we were able to share it with the Meckleys! Edmund and Ria had a great time:
I try so hard to make people feel at home when they come over. That is something I always loved about my parents’ house, every who came over to visit felt like part of our family. Having friends over for dinner does not need to be a huge ordeal. Just clean your house (or not depending on how well you know them or how much you care), choose a simple meal, throw together an easy appetizer, pull out the Johnny Walker Black Label, and enjoy!