Vegetable Quinoa Salad

This salad is quick, quite inexpensive, healthy and most importantly, delicious! Quinoa is a grain-like seed that cooks up in 10 minutes and is healthy and chock full of protein, vitamins and minerals. I’ve been eating it for a while but more as a plain base for meat or sauces and not really mixed into a whole dish on its own until this past week. I went to Padova to hang out with some girl friends and they had the genius idea to make a quinoa pasta dish of sorts, basically substituting it in a dish where you could usually put pasta. Simple, yet brilliant in my opinion. I highly recommend this and you can substitute the zucchini and bell peppers for any veggies. I think today for lunch I will put brussels sprouts and fava beans to mix it up.

Vegetable Quinoa Salad

serves 3-4 (serves 3 generously)

1 cup dry white quinoa
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, small dice
1 red bell pepper, thin strips
1 small zucchini, thin half moons
1 cup of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup grated parmiggiano (or any hard cheese such as pecorino or grana padano)
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Put the quinoa and 2 cups of water in a pot, cover and bring it to boil. Once it’s boiling, reduce the heat, leave it covered and set a timer (or just watch a clock) for 10 minutes. The water should be mostly evaporated after 10 minutes and you will see little holes in the surface. Turn the heat off and leave it covered for 5-10 minutes.

2. In the meantime, saute the onion in the olive oil in a large skillet (preferably non-stick).

3. When the onions become translucent add the bell peppers and a good pinch of salt.

4. When the red peppers start to soften up, add the zucchini with another pinch of salt and some black pepper. Saute the veggies until the zucchini start to caramelize just a bit.

5. Add the chickpeas and stir to heat through.

6. Add the cooked quinoa and toss to combine. Add salt to taste at this point.

7. Serve and top with grated parmiggiano.

Buon appetito!

Update on post wedding life

Sorry I’ve been gone for a while!!! I hope I’m apologizing to people who will still read this. As most people can imagine, a wedding is a hectic time and so after it takes some adjusting to get back to your normal routine. It was truly an amazing day and experience and I couldn’t be happier. I feel so lucky to have had so many of my closest friends and family there to share such a beautiful day with me. I can honestly say that it was the best and happiest day of my life. Here is a link to the professional pictures:

http://www.italyweddingphoto.com/blog/italian-wedding-photography/wedding-in-asolo/

I will very shortly do a wedding summary post. In the meantime here are some post married life updates!
I’ve really been enjoying fall for the delicious pumpkins Italy has to offer. They have many more varieties here and I use them to make all sorts of baked goods and even chili! I will have to update with a delicious wheat free pumpkin scone recipe that I have. I also love these ornamental pumpkins I found at our local supermarket.

Livio and I have been working on finally finishing our apartment with all of the non-essential details such as light fixtures (before there were just hanging bulbs) and curtains. We will probably continue decorating slowly in the next few months but this is our living room so far. We thought these Tiffany-blue curtains gave just the right touch of color to a white and grey palette.

I have gotten tired of salads and have started experimenting with some new recipes. This one is thanks to a fun day in Padova that I spent with my friends Rachel and Becca. We bought some fresh veggies and made a delicious quinoa and chickpea salad. I will post the recipe shortly- It is delicious and gluten free!

So far married life has been almost completely the same as pre-married life, a part from having a lot less wedding planning to do. The principle difference I would say is in the mindset you have for the future. You start to think more long term and obviously have a more specific vision of what you want your future to be like. It has also brought a sense of calm and tranquility into my life and despite having still tons of paperwork to trudge through, I know that I will be here in Italy and having that firmly set in my mind gives me so much happiness.

I will be back soon (and this time for real) with posts on the wedding, a pumpkin bread recipe, the quinoa salad recipe and just general life updates!

Lunch + a vinaigrette

Today I have a recipe! Not a very complicated one…but one that is very useful!

It’s my super simple vinaigrette.

It’s just garlic, minced:

You put it in a jar with salt:

Pour in the balsamic and let the garlic marinate (it removes the strong, bitter taste of the garlic):

Then pour in equal parts olive oil and Voila!

You have a great dressing for salads of any type…which leads me to my lunch:

Salad topped with tuna, hard boiled egg, corona beans, corn and tomatoes. Oh and my special sauce 😉

Today I am cleaning my house because my parents are arriving in TWO DAYS!!!!! I also am starting to prepare our bilingual speech (together with Livio). Does anyone have any tips about speeches from the bride, or in particular how to do them for a group of people who speak two different languages? Is simultaneous translation a good idea? Is it better to pass out cards with the translation?

Weekend Catch-up

Sorry I’ve been MIA all weekend. Let’s recap a bit shall we?

After my Friday afternoon trip to Venice with Lani, my soon-to-be mother-in-law and her sister, Lani returned with me to Crocetta (my town) to keep me company since Livio was gone this weekend! We got a pizza to go and watched a girly wedding movie (The Wedding Date). So cheesy but cute!

Saturday morning we woke up early and we went on a 6.25km/almost 4 mile run! It felt great and was the longest I’ve run in a while.

I didn’t photograph much of my eats this weekend however I did photograph my lunch on saturday:

I pan-seared this chicken breast and had it with a delicious and simple salad of lettuce, tomato, corn and corona beans!

For dinner I had some swordfish and veggies. I roasted the Brussels sprouts and grean beans in the oven with olive oil, s + p on 350F/180C for 25 minutes and marinated the swordfish in lemon juice, wine, parsley and garlic. It was quite good although I prefer tuna to swordfish.

Today I have been a cleaning machine, in preparation of my parents arrival. This afternoon I am working on my speech and going to visit my fried Fabio in Asolo. I’ll be back later with a yummy dinner post for after I pick up Livio!

Rise and shine!

This morning I woke up really early (well…at 6) to bring Livio to the meeting place for his volleyball retreat. It was so sad to say goodbye! It’s our first weekend a part since I’ve come back to Italy 😦 It’s ok though because I have lot’s of fun things planned this weekend!

When I got back, I desperately needed some coffee to get me through this day!

The ol’ standby breakfast. Now I know it get’s boring but I love this breakfast and can literally have it every day. I would love to switch up larabar flavors but until my parents arrive (in 5 days!!!!!) I am stuck with just blueberry.

I will get around eventually to posting my step-by-step tutorial for how to make this cinnamon cappuccino but until then, enjoy these photos! Let me know what you think!

I’ll be back later with photo’s of venice =)