guest post: summery quinoa salad recipe

Hey dearies, happy Monday!

To kick off the week, I’m turning the blog over to the lovely Jen Cortez, co-owner of The Hive Salon and blogger behind Midwest Vaygun. I asked Jen to share one of her favorite healthy dishes with us this week and the menu she came up with sounds downright divine, especially considering my recent barbecue bender in Kansas City. I’ve really been scaling back on the amount of meat I eat since my trip, and this protein-packed quinoa salad would be the perfect for toting to work for lunch. I hope you enjoy!!

xo, Meghan

Summer is closing in on us fast, and with the soaring temps comes one of my most favorite things—outdoor eating! The only problem is that picnics and barbecues are often filled with repetitious staples. I believe you can only have so much potato salad, right? I love Asian cuisine, but far too often my love of far-eastern goodness takes a back seat in the summer (except for those nights where take-out is the only retreat from a hot stove, or hotter backyard) for more seasonal fare. I decided to put an end to the monotony of usual summer stamples by “summer-izing” some of my favorite Asian flavors. These are perfect for bringing to any outdoor get together!

Cold Quinoa “Fried Rice” Salad with Tofu

Quinoa doesn’t harden when cold like most rice varieties, making it great for chilled salads. although mangoes and avocados aren’t traditional in fried rice, their textures and flavors compliment the spicy and salty flavors of the quinoa and add extra heft to the dish.

What You Need

1 1/2 c. quinoa, rinsed well
2 1/2 c. water
1 20-ounce block Wildwood Tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large mango
2 avocados
1 bundle scallions
2-3 t. Sriracha hot sauce
3 T. gluten-free soy sauce
1 1/2 t. palm sugar, or regular sugar
2 t. fresh ginger, grated
1 T. coconut oil
1/2 c. loosely packed Thai basil and cillantro
bean sprouts, peanuts, and limes for garnish

Begin by bringing the water to boil in a tall pot. Add a few pinches of salt and the quinoa. Reduce to a simmer, and cook until all of the water has been absorbed, this should take roughly 15 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes and fluff with a fork. Spread the quinoa out on a cookie sheet and pop into the fridge to chill,  or the freezer if needed ASAP.

Next, take the tofu and place in on a lightly oiled cookie sheet and pop it into your toaster oven *if you don’t have a toaster oven you can use the regular oven but you’ll really heat your house up. otherwise, you can pan fry the tofu if you don’t mind the extra oil. Crank your toaster oven onto it’s highest setting and bake the bejeezus out of it, or until golden brown and lightly crispy. Place the tofu with the quinoa to cool it down.

Halve and pit the avocados and the mango and cube before tossing into a large, portable bowl that has a lid. Thinly slice the basil, cilantro, and scallions and add them to the bowl as well.

Now you can go ahead and whisk together the soy, ginger, sriracha, sugar and coconut oil (melt first if needed).

Toss the chilled quinoa and tofu with the rest of your prepped ingredients, and fold in the dressing. Taste and adjust to your preference. Sprinkle with with crushed peanuts, bean sprouts, and lime wedges. Serve with spicy grilled pak choy.

Spicy Korean Grilled Pak Choy

Feel free to swap out the pak choy for larger bok choy  or another bitter green, like broccolini.

What You Need

1 lb. pak choy/baby bok choy
4 T. gluten free soy sauce
2 t. tamarind paste
1 T. sesame oil
3 T. rice wine vinegar
2+ T. garlic chili sauce

Rinse the pak choy and cut in half length wise. Whisk together remaining marinade components, taste for heat, and pour over the pak choy. Marinate up to a full day. Grill vegetables until tender, basting occasionally with leftover marinade. It was raining when I last made this so I used my cast iron grill pan, but I think it tastes best when it’s made outdoors.

Get more of delicious vegan recipes like this over on the Midwest Vaygun!

i’m back! with photos of a chicken shack!

Ten days, eight states, nine tanks of gas, 2,300 miles and hours & hours of uninterrupted time with my sweetheart. Yep, our road trip was everything I hoped for and then a whole lot more.  I have a ton of photos to go through, but here are a few snaps from my favorite meal of the trip…taken at Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack in Nashville.

Anyway, I have to dash to the Apple store to get my sick little Mac looked at. :-( Check back tomorrow though…I’m running a super sweet giveaway I know y’all are going to love!

<3,

Meghan

saturday scenes

Happy Monday, all! Mind if I share a few scenes from Saturday? Really? Okay then….

I got up waaay too early and thrifted my little fanny OFF. As luck would have it, I found a ton of seriously adorable stuff. Armloads of pretty vintage dresses, some really stand-out housewares and a handful of vintage baby things I tried to resist, but couldn’t. I tried. I really did. Peeks of some of the finds to come later in the week. Whee!

Once I made it up north, I inhaled a burrito the size of Texas and Finnie got fawned over by at least a dozen hippies. (What’s up with all the hippies, Duluth?!) After stuffing myself proper, we made our way to an perfectly desolate beach in Superior. The water’s 20 degrees warmer than average this summer (!!), so swimming wasn’t nearly as jarring of an experience as it normally is.

Once I got to the lake, instant happy hour commencement. Sipping wine to the sound of the creek. Definitely enjoyable.

My Dad was kind enough to humor me with a stop at this amazing junk shop on our way to dinner. I wanted to live there, honestly I did. I am now the proud owner of a super old croquet set, and I’m predicting a Sunday filled with lawn games in my very near future.

After junking, we ate burgers at The Anchor Bar and hurled Trivial Pursuit questions at each other over the din while waiting for our food. Here’s a view from the front door of The Anchor. You can faintly see the lights of the John A. Blatnik Bridge. Love that bridge.

I hope the iPhone photo-heavy post isn’t too irritating. More posts, with “real” pictures coming real soon, promise.

Have you all had good days? Mine has been equally productive and positive, two amazing things considering it’s a Monday and all. I hope yours was equally happy!

xo,

Meghan