Recipes: Spicy Quinoa Pilaf

Quinoa is a new grain to me, but I’ve enjoyed adding it to my repertoire. High in protein, it has a delicate texture that I’ve found delightful. It’s an easy way to slip a vegetarian dish into my week. It cooks quickly which makes it an ideal lunch item for this busy mama. I’m sure it would stand up to many different variations of this dish that I prepared with it.

Spicy Quinoa Pilaf

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water (you could easily use broth to kick up the flavor)
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 or 2 golden zucchini, sliced
  • 6-8 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 pepper (whatever you prefer!), diced
  • salt
  • olive oil

In a quart size pot, saute the garlic and green onion (I used all of the onion – bulb and greens), and the diced pepper in olive oil until garlic and onions are translucent and fragrant. Meanwhile rinse quinoa well with cool water. Drain well. Add quinoa to pot and stir quickly for one minute to toast the grain and evaporate any residual water.  Add the 2 cups water or broth and 1/4 tsp salt to the pot. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Allow to cook for 15 minutes. During that time, saute zucchini and tomatoes (or any other vegetable combination you like) in olive oil until tender. Season to taste. Add the sauteed vegetables to the quinoa, stirring quickly to combine. Replace the lid and let stand for 5 minutes off the heat. Serve and enjoy!


Recipes: Broccoli Potato Soup

I know, I know – we’re in the heat of summer, and here I am making soup. But it was REALLY good! Also, my husband doesn’t like soup (so weird), so sometimes I make it just for me. This was one of those times. I had all these lovely vegetables, and this recipe was just calling my name! Plus, it’s a one pot dish – lovely for those of us who hate washing dishes.

Broccoli Potato Soup

  • 1 head fresh broccoli (around 10 ounces, trimmed and chopped)
  • 3 or 4 small red potatoes, quartered
  • 2 cups chicken broth (vegetable broth could be substituted)
  • 1 Tb olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic (more if you’re like me!)
  • half an onion (I used 3 green onions)
  • thyme (1 tsp dried or 2 Tb fresh)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add and saute onion and garlic until translucent and fragrant. (I added a diced hot pepper at this point for heat in the soup. Crushed red pepper would work too.) Add 2 cups of broth and the quartered potatoes. Bring to a boil. Add the chopped stalks of the broccoli and the thyme. Cover, turn the heat to low and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Add the broccoli florets and continue to simmer for five more minutes or until the florets turn bright green. Using an immersion blender or transferring (carefully!) to a stand blender, process until smooth. Serve hot.

I added a dollop of Noble Springs chevre to mine. You could easily add sour cream or some variety of cheese from Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheeses – delicious!


Plant A Carrot Campaign (or what’s the deal with those plastic carrots?!)

If you look around our lovely East Nashville Farmers Market, you might notice a row of bright orange plastic carrots “planted” or stuck into the ground along the perimeter of the market. Their distinctive, heart-shaped tops attracted our 8 year old immediately. He wanted one! So we asked around and did some Googling about them and wanted to share the information with you! or
These two sites will give you the basics. The Plant a Carrot Campaign started in New Hartford, CT as a grassroots method of advertising. The idea was that for a small donation you could take home this carrot and “plant” it by your driveway to show your love and support for the local farmers market. The idea blossomed, and soon driveways everywhere were boasting carrots and sparking curiosity among neighbors.

As for our carrot, the kiddo has “transplanted” it a few times now, but it is “growing” proudly by our driveway for all the neighborhood to see. I’d really encourage you to see the information tent at the market today about getting a carrot for YOUR driveway! Share your love for our East Nashville Farmers Market!


Recipes: Basil Lemonade

My first experience with this delicious combination was a few years ago. I took one sip and was instantly obsessed. I searched Pinterest for similar recipes and then concocted a combination of those that worked for our house. Our eight year old LOVES making (and drinking) this summer treat! You could add other things to make this an adult libation or add sparking water to make it a little fancier, if you like. We like to drink it over ice sitting on the back deck while watching fireflies.


Basil Lemonade

  • 20-25 basil leaves
  • 4-5 Tb sugar
  • 5-6 lemons
  • water
  • ice

Muddle the basil with the sugar. We usually do 5 to 6 leaves of basil with one Tablespoon of sugar with our mortar and pestle. The kiddo *LOVES* to do that part himself, and I usually follow up as necessary. Dump the muddled leaves and sugar into the bottom of a gallon-sized pitcher or jar. Juice your lemons and add the juice to the basil and sugar mixture. (Tip: microwaving the lemons for 10 to 15 seconds and then rolling them on the counter can maximize your juice extraction!)

Mix in 1 to 2 cups of hot water and stir to dissolve the sugar. Add a mixture of ice and cold water until the lemonade reaches the dilution you prefer. You may serve immediately or let it sit in the refrigerator for a few hours to strengthen the basil flavor. Strain out the basil leaves. Serve over ice and enjoy!