Monday, September 22, 2008

Mooo-vin' day, mooo-hoo-vin' day

Saturday we packed up the remainder of Ben’s belongings and moved them to our apartment. It went much faster than I thought it would, though I hurt my back a bit unloading some boxes off of the hand truck (like me, much of Ben’s belongings are constituted by books).

And with all these boxes around, the cats have been having a field day the last couple of days…an apartment full of boxes is apparently a cat wonderland. They jump on top of them and hunt each other; they creep between them, sniffing and exploring; and Zora, she who also likes to hang out of the windows, licks the tape wrapped around them. They’re in heaven. Poor Dewey, though, failed to look closely enough before he leapt yesterday and jumped up “onto” a box he thought was closed, though it was actually open and he fell into the empty box. Admittedly, it was pretty funny (but only after making sure he wasn’t hurt!).

Ben and I were both pretty beat by the end of the day Saturday, and very hungry. Good thing I had thought ahead and put a whole chicken in the crockpot that morning, to cook while we were away. I dressed it up with some lavender, rosemary, thyme, garlic, and a little sea salt. As we were loading boxes into the apartment, it was calling out to us from its perch on the kitchen counter, the smell so lovely and wonderful.

While Ben returned the moving truck, I began to put the rest of dinner together – a simple meal of chicken, mashed potatoes, and steamed broccoli. (How’s that for gendered division of labor?).

Since I shouldn’t eat potatoes, I made up a batch of mock garlic mashed potatoes. It was actually something I created earlier this summer. I had purchased a box of quinoa flakes, thinking they might be a good substitute for oatmeal, as a morning hot cereal. However, after trying them two or three times, I decided I had better keep looking. The box sat in my cupboard for a while…every time I looked at that box I felt guilty for not utilizing them, but, as I thought over and over, they are just more savory than they are sweet. Fruit does not mix well into them, unless you also add sugar to the mix (which I refused to do).

Then it dawned on me. They are almost the texture and flavor of mashed potatoes. I wondered what they would taste like if I added garlic, butter, and salt. Delicious was my answer.

And on Saturday evening, as we gratefully filled our bellies, Ben agreed; they are not an exact substitute for potatoes, but they are pretty darn close. And delicious nonetheless. He also commented on how comforting and Midwestern the meal was, and I realized that, along with the green bean casserole I had made last week, I had been cooking pretty Midwestern lately. Perhaps I am a bit homesick.

Even if you aren’t on an anti-inflammatory diet, try these as a healthy alternative to potatoes.

Potato-free mashed potatoes:

1 cup quinoa flakes (or more, to desired thickness)

2 cups water

1 clove garlic, minced

Butter and salt to taste

In a saucepan, bring water to a boil and add quinoa flakes. Stir, returning mixture to a boil. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add garlic. At this point, you can add the salt and butter, or each person can add salt and butter to taste when served.

Allow to cool a few minutes. The mixture with thicken a bit more after cooling.

Enjoy! (Feeds 2, maybe 3)

And, just for the fun of it: I came home from the grocery store yesterday to find Rosie dressed up as a sailor...and she didn't seem to mind.

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