What's Cookin' Wednesday - Pantry Farm Box Dinner on the Fly and Buying Bulk Spices

This week I've been off my cooking routine, partly because we're still feasting off of Mexican food leftovers from Daniel's 40th birthday party in the park (so much fun!). I came home at 8 from tutoring the other evening and was so hungry. I almost got us takeout when I decided to buck up and make something with what we already had.

I quickly scanned the pantry: rice, quinoa, No Oodles, canned beans, canned tomatoes, sardines. I didn't really feel like beans and quinoa cooks up quickly. A scan of the fridge revealed bok choy from our Chow Locally farm box and an avocado begging to be eaten.  

I rinsed the quinoa and got it started. Then, I diced up fresh garlic to saut√© for the bok choy. V'oila! A pantry farm box meal in 20 minutes or less. 

turmeric quinoa, sauteed bok choy, sardines and avocado with garlic chili paste.

Pantry Farm Box Quinoa and Veggies with Protein (serves 2)

  • 1 C dry quinoa, rinsed
  • Herbs and Spices of your choice
  • I bunch bok choy
  • Fresh garlic, diced (as much as you want
  • 1 TBS + 1 tsp oil
  • 1 Avocado (optional)
  • Sardines, or any other protein you have available (optional)
  1. Place 1 C dry quinoa into a sauce pan with 2 C water.
  2. Add a tbs coconut oil, tbs turmeric, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and set a timer for 15 minutes.
  3. While that cooks, heat up some oil in a saucepan (I used coconut oil and a bit of sesame oil for added flavor).
  4. Rinse thoroughly and chop bok choy (I took the stalks and chopped into thirds).
  5. Dice garlic and throw into the heated pan. 
  6. Heat the garlic for a few minutes and then add the bok choy and stir until wilted, about 5-7 minutes. 
  7. Check on the quinoa after 15 minutes. If it looks soupy, continue to cook for about 5 more minutes or until more water has absorbed. 
  8. Add quinoa to a bowl and top with bok choy. 
  9. Slice avocado and split between both bowls. Add in sardines, canned tuna or salmon, protein you have on hand, or nothing else. The idea is to be resourceful and use what you have. I added garlic chili paste because it's good on EVERYTHING! The crunchiness of the bok choy was so good with the turmeric quinoa and creamy avocado. 

Sardines might sound gross to you, but I urge you to try them. I was quite surprised to find I liked them. Plus, they're packed with Omega-3s and protein, so I keep them stocked in the pantry. 

Luckily, I have been building up my bulk spice collection, so I have a lot at my fingertips for throwing together any type of recipe. You might have noticed that I use turmeric for almost everything, due to its wonderful anti-inflammatory properties, among others. I also use cumin, ground mustard, garlic, cayenne, paprika, oregano, etc. so much that I was going through small spice jars of it too quickly. I was buying them from the bulk spice section of Sprouts and using a funnel to fill up the small jars, but one day I thought, "why not just buy them in bigger bulk online and store them in ball jars?" 

I already had a small collection started, buying them in bulk bags from Tempe Farmer's Market (they are from Haji Baba wholesale market - if you haven't tried Haji Baba Restaurant - you must!) storing them in Ball jars, and labeling them with tape and Sharpie. Bonus: anytime I can use a Sharpie, I'm a happy girl. I can get a bag of cayenne pepper for under $5 that fills a 4 oz. Ball jar or I can spend that much on a small bottle from the spice section at the store. Another great source for bulk spices is Mountain Rose Herbs. They have a lot of other wonderful products, too. 

Recently I (meaning my dad and Daniel) added two new shelves to the kitchen wall to make room for essential oils and overflow spices. I think it turned out great! I bought these Bekvam shelves from Ikea for additional storage in our bathroom and bedroom, so stay tuned for that. I have been on quite an organizing tip lately. 

What are you cooking up this week? What do you do in a pinch for food when you want to avoid getting takeout? Have a great rest of your week!

B Well,

Cynthia