Recovering From Travel In The Kitchen

When I get home from travel I like to do as little as possible. I need time to rest, get back into routine, and spend time with those who weren’t on the adventure with me. Once I’ve unpacked, slept, and cuddled with the dog, I have plans to do things around town, but those usually get lost in my recuperation days.

When I do get motivated, one of my favorite at-home activities is to cook. Specifically, cook healthy food. In this country, I find it challenging to find vegetarian food when I travel. Unless I am meeting clients based in large cities, I’m usually stuck at a hotel that is surrounded by fast food or fast sit-down places that serve “salads” to satisfy the vegetarian notation on the menu. When I have the time, I enjoy tinkering in the kitchen – armed with a rice cooker, some type of grain, and lots of veggies.

Yesterday I  decided to make a pastiche of flavor using several grains. I didn’t follow a recipe, I just used what sounded good. It turned out rather well, if I do say so myself, so I want to share the recipe with you. It was a rare treat to spend the afternoon puttering around my kitchen.

Ingredients:

  • Red lentils (dry)
  • Black beans (canned)
  • Quinoa (dry)
  • Brown rice (dry)
  • Sweet potatos
  • Cucumber
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Bell peppers (red and yellow, not as metallic as green)
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Cook the grains as per package directions. A rule of thumb for the dry ingredients is 1 part of grain to 2 parts of water. At least, that’s how I do it in my rice cooker.
  2. Cook the sweet potatoes. I cook mine at 375° for about 50 minutes. I don’t want them to be too soft, or they won’t hold up once added and mixed in with the other grains.
  3. While the grains and potatoes are cooling, chop up the veggies. I like to coarse chop my additions. It keeps this rustic and the larger sizes hold up better over the week.
  4. When everything is cooled and chop, mix it all together in a large bowl.
  5. Dress it olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.
  6. Enjoy!
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Fresh (mostly) ingredients for simple hearty fare.

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All the pretty colors!

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I know it looks like cat food, but trust me, it’s so YUM!

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Ready to chow down, a bowl of yummy garnished with a cucumber rose (my first ever!)

You can eat this hot or cold, making it perfect for the lazy or time-challenged (me, and me). My favorite thing about this sort of recipe is that you can use whatever you like, from base grains, to veggies, to dressing. Maybe you want to add onions or shallots? Perhaps a creamy dressing is more your speed? There is no one way to make this and THAT is always a good thing. What do you think? Is there a favorite dish you like to make (or eat) when you are home? Let me know in the comments! Bon appetit!

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