Summer reads, and summer dinners!

Happy Tuesday folks! The good news is, I’m still getting a post in today. The bad news is, most of you won’t see it until tomorrow, as it is so late. Letting a client talk me into one last appointment tonight was not on the original schedule for today, but made it home by 9 anyways. Boundaries. One day.

Anyways, I did indeed get after the cheesecake baking yesterday. Somehow, loving baking as much as I do, I don’t have a pie tin, so I opted for mini cheesecakes in a muffin tin. Problem solving has always been a strength of mine. Aaron’s company sponsored a hole at a golf tournament all day, so he came home super tired, and lobster colored. He swears he re-applied. He was napping within 5 minutes, so I dashed to the kitchen to ‘whip up’ some cheesecake. Now, I have been warned that cheesecake takes a special touch, but baking is my jam. I got this, right? Wrong. It turns out, I must have ‘whipped’ too much, and my cheesecakes were full of air bubbles, causing them to deflate and sink in in the centers upon taking them out of the over. They were also overdone. Rookie. Mistake. Come on, Amanda. Pull it together. First time using an oven?

Aaron did do a taste test, and claims I’ve got the taste down pat. Now, to work on the appearance and texture.

These situations in baking remind me a lot of hair. (sounds weird, just wait). I have a groove at work. I feel unstoppable and confident. I think, follow rules, and execute well almost all of the time. Almost. When a color doesn’t turn out the way I thought it would have,  or I don’t graduate the back of the haircut just right to the client’s head (jibberish, I know), I get really discouraged. It generally takes me the rest of the day to shake it off. Baking failures mistakes make me feel the same way. I shook it off about 10 pm last night, when I bashed myself to a GREAT baker and dear friend of mine, who reminded me that this was my first time trying, and I should really take it easy on myself. Which reminds me, look what she (Hailey) got me for my birthday!


I’m going to be The Next Great Baker, and we are going to be on Cupcake Wars. And someday, own a cupcake shop.

I’ll attempt these cheesecakes again, and post a success story!

But naturally, with it being Monday, I had to cook up a batch of quinoa salad. I love to make a huge batch, and eat it all week. Do you love quinoa like I do? It is a grain, BUT, it’s packed with protein, and I know I love it in every form, but it’s a tricky little grain sometimes. It’s flavor (or lack there of) can take over if it’s not prepared properly. So, I had to share a recipe that I typically follow, with a few alternations each time. So, here’s a few tips, and a great starter recipe!

Start with some organic quinoa. I love this brand from Costco:


Start by rinsing the quinoa off in a strainer like this. This is key in eliminating that weird film in the end.


Now, follow the cooking directions on the bag. It is measured a lot like rice, but cooked differently. Your ratio is 2:1-water to quinoa. Put both the quinoa an water into a pan, an bring to a boil together. Then, reduce heat to medium low, and cook for another 15 minutes. All of the water should be absorbed, and there will be a white ring around each piece of quinoa. Now rinse AGAIN. It should look like this :


Now, add the following ingredients, and refrigerate overnight. This recipe is used with 3 cups of water, and 1.5 cups quinoa.

1/2 red onion

2 avocados

1 can black beans

20 cherry tomatoes-halved

1/4 cup oil (I used olive oil)

2 T sherry or champagne vinegar (I alternate both)

4 t cumin

2 T oregano

1/4 cup parsley

1/4 cup cilantro

Add lime juice, salt and pepper of you’d like.

Mix this all together in an large bowl, and add quinoa. Delish!


You can always add more of the veggies, or beans to bulk it up a bit. This is a great lunch, or side to any meal!

… our salmon tonight! Just get some salmon from your local grocery, the fresher the better. Tonight, I seasoned out salmon with the following:

1 t chili powder

1 t cumin

1 t paprika

1 t dried cilantro

Super easy. Like this.


Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Then, we like to add a little homemade Sriracha mayo. Just mix half mayo, and half sriracha. Usually 2 T of each makes enough for both Aaron and I.

IMG_5956 IMG_5958

Such a summer entrée. With a side of quinoa. And you’ll notice I didn’t note the time I finally got dinner on the table. It’s embarrassing. I made up for it in flava.

Now, onto the reads!

My goal this summer is to read some classics. I LOVE to read. But there are quite a few classics I have never read a classic. I had never even finished a book until about 5 years ago, and then I was hooked. I saw this stand at the grocery store last week,


and one of my main homies, Liz Deets had just gotten me a gift card to a really rad bookstore for my3oth, so I picked up my first classic. I am starting with The Great Gatsby. Thanks, Liz!

If you’re in the market for a good summer read, here are a few of the favorite reads of the year! Have a great night, everyone!!







3 thoughts on “Summer reads, and summer dinners!

  1. I started reading “Gone Girl” a couple of days ago. Will let you know what I think when it is all revealed. Not sure I like Gillian Flynn’s writing style.

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