Chorizo & Quinoa Squash Bowl

I’m really trying hard to get back into adding more posts for ze blog. Ive had a few requests recently and I’m still not sure why I ever veered away from blogging. I guess its a lot harder than it looks to maintain and I just haven’t dedicated any of my free time to cooking, capturing deliciousness, and sharing it.

Here I am, almost 11pm on a Monday night. Today was a cleaning and organizing, slightly mild, lazy day off. It was nice to have an open schedule for doing anything I wanted to do, my ADD really loved that! I did however decide to finally cook something and write about it. Using just a few of my favorite fall ingredients, here it is…the long overdue much anticipated second food post of 2016 (that’s terrible I know) Cheers, enjoy!

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Prep Time: 25 Minutes

Total Time: 50 Minutes

Mise en Place:

-1 Acorn Squash, Sliced in half

-2 Cups Apples, peeled, medium diced (About 3 small apples)

-1 Cup Quinoa

-1/2 LB Ground Chorizo Sausage

-1/2 Yellow Onion, small diced

-Salt & Pepper, TT

-Grated Parmesan, Optional Garnish

-Honey, Optional Garnish

Additional Ingredients:

-Canola Oil

-Ground Cinnamon

-Pumpkin Spice

Method of Prep:

-Turn oven to 350 degrees. Split squash in half and remove seeds. Season with a pinch of salt & pepper on each half, a dash of ground cinnamon and a tablespoon of canola oil. Rub along the inside.

-Place on a lined sheet tray and bake for 40 minutes.

-While squash is cooking, in a small pot cook off quinoa per directions on package.

-Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Using a tablespoon of oil, add in diced apples and onions. Season with salt, pepper and a thin coat of pumpkin spice. Cook until apples are soft, set aside.

-In the same pan, cook off chorizo over medium heat until fully cooked. Add in apple mixture and stir until well incorporated, set aside.

-Remove squash from oven. Fill with quinoa and chorizo mixture. Top with grated Parmesan. Toss back in the oven for 5 more minutes.

-Drizzle with 2 tablespoons local honey, mix filling up with squash

Enjoy!

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**Suggested Wine Pairing:

-Semi sweet Riesling.

-Oregon Pinot Noir

A Walk on Lake Erie During Sunset

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As mentioned, I want this blog to be more than just food. Nature is such a beautiful thing that I don’t get to enjoy much due to my job being indoors. On my day’s off I try to spend as much time outside as possible to take in fresh air and the beauty I see very little of. Last week was the start of Spring and even though the first day drew in some snow flurries in N.E Ohio, the weather has slowly begun to warm up giving us hope that winter is packing his bags and going away for a few months.

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It was a 45 degree day with heavy clouds and the sun fading in and out. At about 5 pm, the clouds finally broke up and allowed the sun to stand still for a while making a chilly evening seem cool from the little warm of the sun kissing your skin as it began to lay down for sleep, so I took to the lake with my camera. I would hate to waste such a nice sunset sitting on the couch catching up on Top Chef (my current addiction) after being stuck in the house all day, I needed my ipod and some fresh air to relax and take my mind off life for a while.

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Lake Erie may not be as clear as the Pacific Ocean or a beautiful as the Atlantic, but it’s home and to me home is love. I can’t wait to take more walks along the lake this summer and even hit the parks for more pictures. Cleveland is actually quite nice if you take the chance to stop what your doing and look around. If you get the chance, spend more time outdoors. Grab your ipod and go for a walk with nature. Take a book and sit in the park, put your dog in the car and take a drive to somewhere you can walk and play. Enjoy the outdoors while it’s legalπŸ™‚

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The world is yours to explore

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Study nature. Love nature. Stay close to nature. It will never fail you.

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“I swear to you, there are divine things more beautiful than words can tell.” -Walt Whitman

**Pictures we taken at Huntington Beach in Bay Village, OH

Floral Monogram Letter

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Part of bringing this blog back to life was the plan to include some of my other interests into the posts, non food related, to give me readers inspiration outside of cooking.

I’m sure most of ya’ll use, if not know about pinterest and how UH-MAZING it is. I spend more than enough time during my days off to plan out my next few projects to get me through the month. Going to the craft store has basically become a weekly routine. Instead of spending time in the gym to get fit for the summer, I get my exercise from walking up and down the isles at Jo Ann Fabrics plotting out what I want to invest my time and money into for the next pinterest encouraged project. I’m starting to get real good at crafting and soon I might try to sell some of my products…all depends on the feedback from my readers, so please let me know what you think!

This project was presented to me during a baby shower I worked back in January. The Event Coordinator took the time to make a monogram letter of the first initial for the soon to be baby girls name made from cardboard, which she then covered in scrapbook paper and decorated with artificial flowers. The letter wasΒ  displayed as a center piece for the dessert table. I loved to appearance of this activity that I had to replicate it at home to use for decor in the house. When you live in an apartment, you need as much flare as possible to make the place look cute.

This project is a wonderful gift idea for a close girlfriend or to use for decor at a wedding/baby or bridal shower.

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Total Time: 1 hour-ish

Mise en Place:

-1 Cardboard monogram letter of choice, size is up to you.

-Artificial flowers of choice (eye ball how many you will need based on side of letter. for this large letter I used 4 different flower types with approximately 2 per bunch.)

-1 Push pin or thumb tack

-Scrap book paper of choice (optional)

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Method of Prep:

-First remove the head of each flower for the stems of the bunch. They should all easily pull off. Throw stems and leaves out.

-Starting from the top of the letter and working your way down, take the pin and punch 4 holes in a circle that will eventually open up a hole large enough to pop in the flower bud. Alternate different flowers and continue this motion all the way around the letter until complete. (This will tire your hands out quickly so give yourself breaks if you have to.)

-Once finished, turn letter around and using hot glue, cover the back and or sides with scrap paper for an added effect. This step isn’t necessary, it just adds a nicer effect to the blank areas such as the back of the letter that didn’t get covered.

-Display for decor. Enjoy!

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Stuffed Sweet Peppers with Tomato Stew

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Okay, so I’ve been really bad for letting this blog slip away from me. A lot has happened in the last year since my most recent post of pumpkin seed pesto. I’m not going to bore you with the details but long story short, blogging became dull because I wasn’t getting much feed back on the posts and it was primarily focused on food. It’s hard to dedicate all your time off on doing nothing but writing recipes, preparing food to cook, taking multiple photos of the food with terrible lighting in your apartment and then finding the time to edit the photos and post about it. It’s a lot of work and Ive been too busy on my days off to keep up with it. Enough with the excuses though, I’m ready to get back in blog world and start fresh.

As you may have noticed I changed some things up a bit. The name of the blog has been switched from Driven2eat and replaced by Whisked Away. My goal, in hopes of being a more active blogger is to focus on other interests I have that keep me busy that will give me something to write about. I do less cooking now that my work schedule has me all over the place with inconsistent hours. The amount of food posts that I would actually dedicate the time to in putting up would be maybe 2 a month if that. Other interests that I have that I personally feel others would enjoying learning about is wine and crafts. I’m a huge pinterest whore, I make a lot of things at home that I would love to show off for others to make for gifts or personal use. A good portion of my crafts all come from wine corks that I save from work and drinking at home. It’s a great way to recycle and reuse them. It’s amazing the simple things you can make out of cork. Again, I’m getting off topic but I just wanted to say, Driven2eat is back and with a minor makeover ready to whisk you away with new recipes, wines to try and crafts to make. I hope you enjoy the fresh concept. Cheers!

If you’re looking for a quick and delicious dinner for 2, these stuffed peppers are the way to go. Just add a starch of your choice (I went with quinoa). This recipe isn’t very filling, just as a heads up. If you’re a heavy eater, I’d go with a fuller starch (like mashed potatoes) and yield 2 peppers for yourself. Great dinner option for the summer when you’re looking for a lighter meal!

Prep Time: 20 Minutes

Total Time: 40 Minutes

Yield: 2 Peppers/person

Mise en Place:

-2 Sweet Anaheim Peppers, sliced down the middle, seeds removed

-1/2 lb Uncooked Hot Chorizo Sausage, or sausage of your choice

-Tomato Stew, see recipe below

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Tomato Stew:

Yield: 2 Peppers worth

Total Time: 15 Minute

Mise en Place:

-2 Large Tomatoes. Cut in 1/4’s, remove stems, then cut in 1/3 (large dice, leave seeds in)

-6 Garlic Cloves, sliced thin

-2 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar

-2 Teaspoons Salt

-1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil

Method of Prep:

-In a medium sauce pot over medium heat, add oil and brown garlic.

-Add in tomatoes, sugar and salt. Stir.

-Reduce heat and allow to simmer slowly until tomatoes are soft and liquid begins to thicken.

-Taste, adjust seasoning if needed.

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Method of Prep for Peppers:

-Set oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.

-Stuff the peppers with approximately 2-3 oz uncooked sausage until full.

-Place in an oven safe casserole dish. Ladle a layer of stew on the bottom of dish. Place peppers on top. Cover with remaining stew on top.

-Place in oven and allow to cook until Sausage is fully cooked, approximately 20 minutes. (Use a knife or toothpick to stick in the center of the meat to check for doneness. It’s ready when center is hot.)

-Enjoy with your choice of starch and fresh grated Parmesan and chiffonade basil on top.

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Pumpkin Seed & Kale “Pesto”

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When something in your refrigerator is on the verge of passing, meaning the shelf life of the item isn’t going to last much longer, I always try to use it up immediately in some way so I don’t just toss it in the trash and waste it. This time it was Kale. I purchased and small 8oz bag from Trader Joe’s and next thing I knew, the leaves were beginning to discolor and kale at the bottom of the bag was bathing in it’s own juices from the moisture inside. Usually I buy Kale to saute up or make Shakshuka with for breakfast. This time I let the days go by and neglected the delicate greens until it was almost too late.

Now I’m not much of a red sauce fan when it comes to pizza or pasta. I’ll eat it but I will almost always go with some kinda of alfredo, white wine butter sauce or pesto. I figured if I was going to use the kale up I needed to act fast and the first thing that came to my mind so I wasn’t being wasteful was, if you couldn’t figure it out by now, pesto! If you’re like me on a health kick, this is a delicious recipe to try for Sunday night dinner.

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Prep Time: 5 Minutes

Total Time: 12 Minutes

Yield: Approx. 1 Cup

Mise en Place:

-1 8 oz bag of Kale, washed

-3 Small Garlic cloves

-1/4 Cup Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

-1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan, Optional

-1 Cup EVOO

-S&P, TT

Method of Prep:

-Using a food processor, lightly pulse garlic, (grated cheese if using) and pumpkin seeds with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.

-Split kale up in half. Take the first half and add into the blender. Slowly puree the kale while drizzling half a cup of the olive oil.

-Add in the rest of the kale. Continue to puree and drizzle in oil until sauce is smooth. (It’s okay if sauce separates from the oil. Just try and eye ball the oil as your adding it in as to how little or much you will need).

-Season lightly with salt and pepper. Blend again and taste. Adjust any ingredients if needed.

Enjoy!

**If you don’t use all the pesto up right away, you have the option of freezing it! I find that adding cheese to the pesto doesn’t allow it to freeze as well which is why I omit the cheese.

**For additional flavor and a popping green color, add in a handful of fresh basil in the end!

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