Thursday, June 21, 2012

Grilled Sea Bass and Quinoa Salad with Mango, Avocado and Tomatoes

The past few days I've been craving the combination of mango and avocado! A couple nights ago we had a greens salad with mango, avocado and a nice champagne vinaigrette which was delicious and hit the spot! With leftover mango and avocado, I decided to try a new salad using the same combination. A simple search led me to a quinoa salad and I was immediately intrigued! I paired the salad with grilled sea bass, which made for a perfect meal on a hot summer day!

Grilled Sea Bass
Adapted from, recipe found here


sea bass portions for the people you're feeding (2 for us)
3 tbsp butter
1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped (I used dried)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp onion powder
lemon pepper and salt to taste (I used regular fresh ground black pepper)


Preheat grill for medium heat. Combine onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, lemon pepper, and salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle on both sides of fish. To prepare butter sauce, combine butter, garlic and parsley in a small saucepan. Remove from heat once butter has melted. Top fish with butter mixture.  Lay fish, skin side down, on tin foil that has been lightly oiled. Wrap the tin foil around the fish leaving some room. Cook fish for 10-12 minutes or until fish is white and flakes easily. Remove from grill and serve.

Quinoa Salad with Mango, Avocado and Tomatoes


1 cup uncooked quinoa (black, rainbow, red or original will work)
2 cups water
pinch of salt

1 large mango, diced
2 large tomatoes, diced
3 green onions, sliced
2 medium avocados, diced
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper, to taste


Using a strainer, rinse the quinoa under cold water. Toast quinoa on the stove top in 2 tbsp butter for about 5 minutes. Then, add quinoa, water and salt to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Let quinoa cool to room temperature. (I didn't have much time, so I stuck it in the freezer for about 15 minutes, and it cooled right down!)

In a large bowl, combine quinoa, mango, tomatoes, green onions and avocados. In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, olive oil and cumin. Pour the dressing over the quinoa salad and gently stir until well combined. Season with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

An added bonus is that this salad keeps very well in the refrigerator overnight! I had a delicious lunch of leftover quinoa salad today!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Patio Project Day 6/7/8 - Completed!!!

Monday (Day 6) was brick laying day!! Our gravel, sand and bricks were delivered in the afternoon and we got going quickly. We were expecting them to be delivered first thing in the morning, but they didn't come until about 3pm - so we knew it was going to be a late night of outdoor work because we couldn't stop anywhere in the middle and let anything but bricks lay out overnight. That also explains my lack of photo documentation of that part...

We laid 2 inches of gravel first as our base. Then we laid 2 inches of sand. We had to be quite detailed to keep it even and level, which was so tricky with sand. Next, we were ready to lay our bricks! We used the herringbone pattern and got to work! Let me tell you, this part was the easiest and most fun part of the whole project! We could actually see our progress and we seemed to be working pretty fast! The hardest part was transporting bricks from the pallet over to the patio. After a few hours of brick laying, we were finished!! Who knew that in 6 hours our hole would turn into a patio!! Since it was 9pm, we decided to clean up the yard and call it a night.

That, my friends, is one beautiful patio. It consists of 848 brick pavers, each laid by Bryan and me and we are so proud of our handiwork!

Tuesday (Day 7) Bryan laid the border around the bricks to keep them in place.

Next up was to brush sand into the cracks and tamp it down so that it's packed evenly.

Today (Day 8), after a delay with a broken tamper, we've got it fixed and are up and running again. We filled gaps with sand and tamped 3 times to make sure all the cracks were filled properly. We cleaned it off and filled the edges in with top soil.

Look at that beautiful brick laying! Obviously, we need to get some grass growing around the edge (and the whole back yard really), but eventually it will all look as great as our new finished patio!

We did it! We completed our project in about a week - just in time because tomorrow we're off to Vancouver to embark on an Alaskan Cruise with Bryan's family!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Bryan's Medical School Graduation in Chicago

We spent the past few days in Chicago for Bryan's medical school graduation! Bryan's family was able to meet use there, and the time just flew by! It was great to go back to Chicago for one last hurrah!

Boat Cruise!

The first night we were there, his school had planned a social event for the students on a boat that toured around the Chicago River and then out onto Lake Michigan. We even got to see the 1st firework show of the summer from the lake!

 This is the building we used to live in!

As you can see, it's hard to capture fireworks on a moving boat, so here's a little video: 


On Thursday, we got in some good family time!


The night before graduation, his school had a reception at Navy Pier! 


Graduation was held at the Civic Opera House in downtown Chicago. It was beautiful and such a monumental day! Bryan is finally Dr. Hinck!!!

 Best Buds!

With Bryan's Parents

Congratulations Bryan! I am so proud of you! You will be an amazing doctor, and I am so blessed to share my life with you!

Even though we had already moved to Cleveland, this weekend marked the end of a chapter in our lives. The four years that we lived in Chicago and when Bryan was in medical school have been such a BIG part of our lives. We decided to spend the rest of our lives together, lived in our first home together, celebrated many friends accomplishments and marriages, formed bonds with friends that will stay strong for a lifetime, and created a life together that we never could have imagined would be so awesome. We now start this new chapter in Cleveland. I'm sure it will be monumental in its own ways over the years.