What a divinely beautiful weekend it turned out to be! Forecasters predicted Armageddon for Saturday, but it turned out to be a quick lunchtime thunderstorm, followed by sunshine and upper 60’s for the afternoon. I spent my late morning and lunch hour holed up in a local coffee shop, working on book writing and discussing film and books with a couple of the regulars. Then I took to the patio at a downtown microbrewery with friends for the afternoon.
The first hints of spring always arouse feelings of newness and anticipation, brought to the surface from the place deep inside where they hibernate during the gloom of winter. Dreams of budding trees, blooming flowers, and the summer garden give way to plans and action.
Yesterday I cleared the last of the limbs from the tree cut down last August, cleaned up the leaves lingering in my back yard, and set my new raised bed and filled it with soil. My bench cushions and pillows returned to their home and the hammock was given a good wash. Many are the days that will be spent in that hammock, and on that bench, reading and writing and drawing my time away. I wish I could bottle this feeling and store it up on a shelf, so I could take a sip any time I’m feeling blue.
Something about the warming air always sets me to craving fresh veggies. This weekend I came up with something new! I had bell peppers that were intended for stuffed peppers that I failed to get around to making. So instead, I turned them into a delicious side dish that will pair beautifully with any style of chicken or fish. You could even throw in a little ground turkey and swap out the quinoa for brown rice to make it into a simple one-dish meal. Sort of a stuffed pepper skillet–a much healthy version of hamburger helper!
- 1 cup quinoa
- Drizzle of olive oil
- 3 medium-to-large bell peppers, chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 1/4 purple onion, chopped
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1/2 of an 8oz can of tomato sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook quinoa according to package instructions, then set aside
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add peppers and onion and sauté, stirring often. When onion begins to turn translucent, add garlic, salt and pepper and continue to sauté until peppers begin to soften.
- Add tomato sauce and quinoa, and stir to combine. Add more salt and pepper at this point if needed.
- Transfer to a bowl and enjoy!
Honestly–it doesn’t get any easier than that! Eating your veggies can be much more simple and fast than people realize. I did my quinoa in a microwavable steamer bowl, so it cooked in about five minutes while I had my peppers and onions sautéing. The whole thing, including chopping the vegetables, was ready to eat in about 15 minutes start to finish!
If you try it, please leave a comment to let me know what you think. Happy eating!