beka stays real : it’s time for spring

 

Spring

pinned here via here

When you’re in your apartment dressed in two pair of socks, boots, three layers of sweaters, and a down coat, huddled next to the only furnace that is putting out any semblance of heat and drinking hot tea…it’s time for spring.

(And FYI: by tea, I mean hot water spiked with lemon juice, cinnamon, and ginger. OH MY WORD…I’m making that a habit. So good!)

beka stays real : snow lover, part II

There is no sight more beautiful than this.
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I went outside to clean off my car. It was completely voluntary because all previously scheduled activities have been cancelled today due to unpredictable amounts of lake effect snow.

(SNOW!)

So out I went to start unearthing my car. Half because it’s the prudent thing to do (street parking + plowing = vehicle igloo) and half because I just wanted an excuse to be outside. But it only took 10 minutes. That’s chump change to a girl who has been waiting MONTHS for winter to finally arrive!

Since I wasn’t ready to head inside just yet I decided to go for a walk around the block. I put my earbuds in and turned on the Zac Brown Band Pandora station I’ve been listening to all the live long day and then some frequently and set out into the falling snow.

An hour later, I came home.

And let me tell you…it was the BEST hour of the year so far.

Because I just love this. I love being the freak who is giddy with joy, laughing out loud while nearly faceplanting on the sidewalk. I love running noses, numb toes, tingling fingers, bright red cheeks. I love old houses with lots of windows, columns and wrap around porches trimmed by a layer of fluff. I love the slow thaw after returning indoors that necessitates hot beverages and oversized sweatpants and thick, soft blankets. I love being snowed-in, given official permission to not leave the house (or aforementioned sweatpants) from sunrise to sunset. I love the pure, bright BEAUTY of a world covered in sparkling white.

I love snow.

Amen.

good things : breakfast quinoa

There are 10 other posts sitting in my drafts folder just waiting to see the light of day…but this one just can’t wait any longer…even though it’s a repeat.
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This meal is magical. Honestly. It’s guaranteed to make you feel better about life. Maybe it’s the brown sugar melting into the cinnamon. Or maybe it’s the burst of blueberries in the dead of winter. But whatever it is…it’s good, soul-warming, comfort food. Perfect for the last Monday in January!

Breakfast Quinoa

lightly adapted from Martha Stewart Living, February 2010

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups milk, plus more for serving (I’ve been using Almond Milk and it works wonderfully!)
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons light-brown sugar, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for serving
  • 1 cup (1/2 pint) fresh blueberries, plus more for serving

Directions:

  1. Bring milk to a boil in a small saucepan. Add quinoa, and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered, until three-quarters of the milk has been absorbed, about 15 minutes.
  2. Stir in sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Cook, covered, until almost all the milk has been absorbed, about 8 minutes. Stir in blueberries, and cook for 30 seconds.
  3. Serve with additional milk, sugar, cinnamon, and blueberries.

beka stays healthy : wild rice stuffed acorn squash

Sometimes when I’m not eating sushi and nutella (I still stand by this decision) or Aladdin’s fatoush salad (oh my word…SO good…it’s dangerous that I live two blocks away) for dinner, I actually – wait for it – make something!

Will wonders never cease?

This is one of my favorites for this time of year: roasted acorn squash stuffed with wild rice, dried cherries, and walnuts. I’m a fan for the following reasons:

1 – There are exactly two steps, so it’s the opposite of labor intensive.

2 – There are exactly 5 ingredients (plus seasonings), so it’s the opposite of pantry-depleting.

3 – The seeds from the squash can be roasted with maple syrup and spices for a snack the next day. Two birds, one stone.

4 – It’s basically an edible bowl filled with warmth and comfort, and who doesn’t like that?

Here’s how you can make the magic happen in your very own kitchen!

Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash

Serves: 2

Total Time: About an Hour

Step 1:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Then, hack into the acorn squash. I’ve yet to find a reliable method of splitting the squash in half that does not involve hacking (and fearing a looming trip to the ER), but it works, and bonus: doubles as a stress reliever. Again with the birds and the stones! Once split in half, scoop out the seeds and reserve for later use. Coat the squash with a teaspoon of olive oil and season with course ground salt, pepper, and just a little cinnamon. Pop into the oven for 35 minutes.

Step 2:

Prepare the rice mixture. Feel free to actually cook your own rice…but I’m a fan of using these rice mixes. Mix 1/2 cup of cooked rice with one tablespoon of dried cherries, one tablespoon of chopped walnuts, and a teaspoon of olive oil. After 35 minutes take the squash out of the oven, split the rice mixture between the two squash halves, and bake for an additional 10 minutes.Let it sit for about 5 minutes afterward to cool, then dig in!

Winter dinner is served! Probably a better bet than nutella…or at least a more respectable one.