Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Hi, my name is Caroline. (books and mexican quinoa cakes)

Just in case you had forgotten whose blog this is.  I've taken somewhat of a hiatus from the blog, obviously. But here I am! Bear with me…it's been a while and I'm a wee bit rusty at the whole writing thing.

What have I been up to? Really, not much! It's summer and this teacher has been enjoying waking up early (but not 4:45 early), drinking coffee on the back porch, taking Birdie on morning walks before the sweltering heat sets in, hitting the pool or beach as much as I can, trying new recipes, and reading lots of good books. Isn't that what all teachers do in the summer? Confession: I have been pinning like crazy for my classroom and am kind of itching to get in there and get started with set-up. However, I am making myself wait until next week! But I have so many ideas bouncing around in my head, I think I may go crazy! I'm sure you teachers can relate: there is a sort of love/hate relationship with the end of July/beginning of August.

I could make this a really long catch-up post, or wrap it up by sharing with you a few good books that I have read this summer, and a recipe I came up with that was a huge hit with me and the hubs (and it's healthy and meatless!). So, I think I'll go with the latter.


The Time Between
Karen White

Karen White has quickly become my favorite author. This is partly because many of her books take place in Charleston. However, that is not the only reason. Her use of details and characterization keep me reading and reading…and reading. Just ask my husband…when I start, I can't stop! This book takes place on Edisto Island, which just happens to be my favorite place in the world, not to mention where Andy and I were married.

Redeeming Love
Francine Rivers

I have to admit, I was skeptical of reading this book. It is in the Christian Fiction genre, and I was skeptical that it would be a little on the cheesy side. But, thankfully, my friend Emily kept insisting that I read it, ensuring me that I would love it. She was absolutely right! This has been my favorite book of the summer…and maybe ever. I cannot say enough about this book, and how it portrays God's amazing love for His children.
Read it!

These are just two of the 6 books that I've read this summer. If you have any recommendations for me, I appreciate it! I need a new book to read!

On to the recipe. 

This was one of those "I don't feel like going to the grocery store. Let's see what I can whip up with what I already have" recipes. And, it turned out great! I would definitely add black beans next time, and  fresh avocado. Wholly guacamole is the next best thing, though!

Mexican Quinoa Cakes
makes 12-14 cakes

1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups water

Bring the quinoa to a boil. Turn to low, cover, and simmer until all the water is absorbed (12-14 minutes).

Allow the cooked quinoa to cool to room temp.

2 canned chipotle peppers, minced
1 cup cooked corn
1 cup Mexican shredded cheese
1 teaspoon house seasoning, or to taste (see recipe below)
1/3 cup bread crumbs
1 (10 oz.) can red enchilada sauce 
3/4 cup panko crumbs

Once the cooked quinoa has cooled, add chipotle peppers, corn, cheese, and house seasoning. Mix well. Add the bread crimps and stir to combine. Stir in the enchilada sauce, a little at a time. I didn't use the entire can. You just need enough to give it a good consistency for making cakes (if you add too much, just add a little more bread crumbs). Taste to check for seasoning. Add more salt & pepper if needed. Form into cakes (tip: wet your hands with water and it makes this much easier). Keep the cakes in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. While oil is heating, place the panko crumbs in a shallow dish, and coat each quinoa cake in the panko crumbs. Cook the cakes until browned and heated through, about 3-4 minutes per side.

I served mine with a salad with honey-lime cilantro dressing.

House seasoning: 1 cup salt, 1/4 garlic powder, 1/4 black pepper

Hope you enjoy!

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