Hope You’re Hungry!!

Since I forgot my phone yesterday today is going to be a recipe bonanza! A little background, I read The Tao of Martha by Jen Lancaster, review to come soon, and I got hooked on home improvement and cooking “fancy” flavorful meals. I also ordered Martha Stewart Living and downloaded the magazine on the boyfriends iPad. Though I will never be as organized and as crafty as Martha herself (she has people I don’t) there are a lot of good tips and recipes I took away from the first magazine that I wanted to try out. I also wanted to make my food look nicer, it almost always tastes fine, but it isn’t pretty. We shall see how long this fad lasts, but enough about that lets get into the food!

First up is lunch this week. I have been trying to switch up lunches so I don’t get bored and also don’t order food downstairs because that is never good for the waistline nor the taste buds as the food isn’t that good. I came across the recipe for a quinoa salad on Pintrest and decided to give it a go.

Spring Quinoa Salad
4, 1 Cup Servings
  •  Original Recipe Here
Adaptations to Recipe
  • Fresh peas shelled. Takes longer but is so worth the taste, this is coming from someone who hates peas too
  • Follow directions for water to quinoa ratio on your bag of quinoa. Mine was a little less than the 2:1 that the recipe calls for and I wish I just stuck to it because I had to slightly overcook it to get all the water out
  • Fresh basil in the salad part as well. It is worth the taste
  • Instead of minced garlic I used the garlic I used here I think it made the dressing a tad creamy as well. 
I love this for lunch and pair it with chicken burgers by Brat Hans that I got at Whole Foods for a quick and easy meal that is very filling and healthy. 
I have brought that for lunch three days in a row now and have one more serving for tomorrow. Luckily I don’t need anything for Friday because lunch will be on the road with my ladies!
Monday night for dinner I made the boyfriends favorite meal. I was going to make this much earlier in the relationship but he made a comment “I don’t know if you can make it as good as my mom” to which I said “forget that I’m staying away”. I have learned that there is no coming in between a boy and his mama early on, but I figured why not give it a go and if he hates it oh well, it can be something that his mom makes him and I don’t. Luckily I got the “babe this is bomb” comment which I get ever so often when I know he truly loves what I just made. 
Serves 2
  • 2 pounds of clams (go to your local seafood market and look for ones on ice with no cracked shells)
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 6 cloves of fresh garlic
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • Fresh parsley chopped
  • Bread for dipping
  • Salt and Corn Meal
First step is to get the clams to purge all the gross sand and grit out of themselves. There is really nothing worse than biting into one and chewing the bottom of an ocean. Makes you a little timid about all the other ones you bite. To get the clams to purge themselves make a bath of salty water and mix in cornmeal. The cornmeal acts like dirt and the clams take it in and spit out the grime. Eating cornmeal, ok. Eating dirt, disgusting. Let them soak for at least 30 minutes if not longer. 
While these are soaking take a very large pot and place in it the stick of butter. Then mince up your garlic and place that in a pot as well. I’m all about taking short cuts but for this you need fresh garlic. Not my squeeze paste and not the stuff you buy pre-minced in a can. Fresh makes the dish, don’t spend all that money on clams to ruin it with crap garlic.  
Turn the burner on for about 60 seconds until the butter starts to melt and then shut it off. This will allow your butter to fully melt in the pan while you are cleaning off the clams without it burning. Take a kitchen brush and clean off the clams so there is not cornmeal or dirt on the outside shell then place it in the pot with the melted butter and garlic and cover it with the wine and about 2 TB of the fresh parsley. Don’t worry that the clams aren’t fully covered in wine and butter, they are called steamers for a reason. 
Cover and turn on high for about 5 minutes, the alcohol in the wine will evaporate and it will start to boil. Remove all that have opened, you can then boil for another 3 minutes the ones that haven’t opened but after that if they haven’t opened they  need to be thrown away. Serve with some nice bread to soak up the broth. 
The theme for our dinners this week is really seafood. After a week of eating barbecue and fried food in St. Louis I decided that this week was going to be fresh and healthy. The boyfriend is just along for the ride but doesn’t seem to mind so far. Last night I made scallops with mashed potatoes and sauteed spinach. I was kind of itching for corn but I consider that a carb so I didn’t want to do potatoes and corn. Perhaps tonight! The scallops were fantastic though, thanks to Whole Foods fresh selection and again it was another winner. 
Seared Scallops with Mashed Potatoes and Sauteed Spinach
Serves 2
  • 8 large sea scallops
  • 2 potatoes 
  • 1 bag of spinach
  • 1 TB butter
  • 3 TB olive oil
  • 2 TB Gourmet Garden Garlic
  • 3 TB cream cheese
  • 1/2 Tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dill
  • Salt and pepper
Start off by prepping your potatoes, for some who like the skin on, this is just giving them a good scrub under the water, for others like the boyfriend this is peeling the skin off. Chop them into large chunks and put them in some salted water to boil. While this is going on rinse and pat dry your scallops and salt and pepper them. Prepare two large skillets one for the scallops and one for the spinach by putting the olive oil in one and the butter, 1 TB of Gourmet Garden Garlic, the bag of spinach, and salt in the other but keep the heat off for now. When you can pierce the potato with a fork and it slides right through they are done, reserve some of the water you used to boil them off to the side and then drain the rest.Turn on the spinach skillet to medium high heat and add the other TB of the garlic the cream cheese and the dill to the potatoes and start to mash them. If you need them to be a little creamier slowly add the reserved potato water until you get the right consistency. This keeps them flavorful without the fat of adding cream or half and half. Ever so often while mashing use tongs to turn spinach so it doesn’t burn. When the potatoes are almost done mashing turn the other skillet with the olive oil in it on high and a few minutes later when the potatoes are done add the scallops. Scallops cook quickly so please be alert! It is about two minutes per side and then they are done. While you are watching the scallops divide the potatoes onto two  plates or bowls.
Flip scallops to the other side for two minutes and then take your wilted spinach and press it into the potatoes with the tongs you were using. 
Cover each with the crushed red pepper. Then take and place four scallops on top of your little mountains and serve. Though I didn’t get a “this is bomb babe”  I did get a fist pound which also means he likes it, just isn’t a favorite. 
PHEW! Ok so that is what I have been doing in the kitchen lately. I have other stuff to share with my flowers and new finds for the nails, but this post is getting a tad long so we shall wait until another day! 
Have you ever been inspired by a book or magazine?
If the three recipes up there don’t give you proof that I am then I don’t know what will! 

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