I love coming into a new space. The setting-up part... it's so satisfying and refreshing. My whole life I've been blessed with blank walls and an imagination to fill them up with. I have plans for every new home, and each one is completely unique from the last. Accent walls in jewel tones. Loads of art on the walls. Each space has to present its possibilities to me and I can only run, not walk, to that siren's call of interior decorating...
My new home, however, is presenting me with challenges. Odd angles in the living room. High ceilings in two major rooms. A porch with no shade. Kitchen with little wall space. Bathrooms with one towel bar. One? One. How do you have just one? Where do you hang your hand towels? And if you want your hair towel and your body towel on the same bar, what is your partner supposed to do about hers? Solutions need to be made. Hooks need to be hung. I'm looking for answers, people!
One thing has been the most important throughout this entire process of "nesting": It absolutely, without a doubt, had to feel like us. Like Cori and I. Like our home. It's gotta feel lived-in, warm, and inviting. It can't be fussy, overdone, or *gulp* boring. Never boring. I don't even know how I would accomplish that last one.
Over the last month, I've managed to get the dining area finished, the kitchen painted and stocked (minus the island my wonderful mother is driving to me in two weeks time), and the major pieces of furniture set. Slowly but surely, things are being hung on the walls, bedrooms are being styled, and the Office/Craft/Animal/Harry Potter room is being perfected. We even had Cori's family over for cheesecake this weekend. I let a group in to see the place and things weren't even finished yet! This is weird but awesome!
And so, as it goes when I'm spending money on my house and not so much on my food, I made a yummy dinner of quinoa and corn patties from things I had on hand. Weird, but awesome. These little guys are great because you can just use what you have in your pantry/fridge. Left over pesto? Done. Half a red pepper from your salad? Of course! Just think savory and don't forget to add salt. That's it!
Keeping cooked quinoa in the fridge for the week is a great little motivator (and life saver!) when it comes to quick meals. It can easily be substituted for pasta, rice, or even meat. Packed with protein and giving your mouth some fun textures to chew on, quinoa is quickly becoming this household's favorite food staple.
The patties I made a from a recipe in Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Everyday - a cookbook I proudly sell at the store and am a HUGE fan of in life. As of right now, there hasn't been anything of hers I have been disappointed in. Come to think of it, almost every page is dog-eared to make later...
Heidi has us sautee these bad little guys in olive oil, but I'm sure you could bake them up just fine, or even forgo the patty shape altogether and just make them into "ground meat" for tacos/nachos. Might even be good as a "meat" loaf... Let your imagination run wild on this great little tumbleweed of goodness!
The things coming out of my kitchen lately have helped inspire me to blog again, a hiatus I had not anticipated would last quite as long as it did. But I'm back. And my kitchen is stocked and ready to rumble. Now about that guest room...
Curried Quinoa Cakes
Inspired by Super Natural Everyday
2 1/2 cups cooked and cooled quinoa
5 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup corn kernels (I used fresh, but you could use frozen just as easily)
1/2 cup sweet onion, finely chopped
15 - 20 fresh basil leaves, minced
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (or 1 clove freshly minced garlic)
two pinches of curry powder
sea salt and ground pepper
1/3 cup finely grated parmeggiano cheese
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl with a wooden spoon or spatula. If the consistency is too dry, add a tablespoon of water at a time until the mixture sticks together well enough to form patties. A more wet consistency is always better than a dry one! Form into 3 inch patties and set aside while you heat up your pan.
Put a large iron skillet on medium-low heat and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sautee the quinoa cakes in batches, approximately 8 minutes per side, when they become golden brown. Serve warm.
Optional: Serve on bed of mixed greens and herbs, and top with sour creme or more parmeggiano.