Hi. My name is Andrea and I am a plant-killer.
Plants wilt at the sound of my name, heaven forbid I look at them or attempt to care for them.
When my mom got me a plant a few weeks ago, it was as much a curse as it was a blessing. Shocker of the century: My plant is still living… but it hasn’t been an easy road.
When the once full and lush leaves started falling out left and right, I panicked. I watered. I panicked more. I watered again. I panicked a third time and watered again. And for a day or two, it seemed as though my inner-horticulturist instincts had kicked in just in time to save my dehydrated plant.
But then, things took a turn for the worse. My once shedding plant started to melt, if that’s even possible. The stems started pointing down towards the ground instead of up towards the sky, as if it was mocking a weeping willow. I’m no botanist, but that ain’t right. Panic set in again. You see, the thing about my very wonderful apartment that isn’t so very wonderful, is the fact that it gets almost no natural light. My heart sank as my plant wilted more. What to do?
I did the logical thing (of course). I picked up my depressed greenery, my keys, a pair of sunglasses, a beach blanket, and a good book, and took my water-logged houseplant for a ride. Outside to the sunshine we went. The two of us sat together and soaked up some much needed rays. While the neighbor (Mr. Jones?) walked his fluffy, obese poodle through the apartment parking lot, I tanned my Spathiphyllum (aka Peace Lily). Mr. Jones gave me a stare. I stared back. Mr. Jones, I’m trying to save a plant. Don’t judge!
It’s true. I took my dying indoor houseplant on a field trip outside. And it’s living now, thriving actually.
Two green thumbs up!
Speaking of two thumbs up, I now present to you a delicious vegetarian (easily made vegan) casserole:
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, diced
1-2 jalapeños, seeded and minced
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14oz) can diced tomatoes
1C vegetable broth
2 1/2C cooked quinoa
1/2tsp cayenne pepper
1T chili powder
3 bell peppers (recommend: red, orange or yellow), seeded and diced
1C shredded Mexican cheese (or Daiya)
2 green onions, diced
sour cream, for serving (optional)
In a skillet, heat oil. Add onion and jalapeño. Cook until softened and onion is translucent, about 4 minutes. Add in garlic and heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add in broth, canned tomatoes (with juice, no need to drain) and black beans. Heat through, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Use a potato masher to mash the mixture slightly. You can puree it with a food processor, but I liked it with whole beans (texture!). Add a pinch of salt. Set this mixture aside.
Cook quinoa according to package directions. Place cooked quinoa into a pan. Add cayenne, chili powder, cumin and a pinch of salt. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings. Set aside.
In a skillet, heat 1T of olive oil. Place diced peppers into hot pan. Cook until softened, about 3 or 4 minutes. Remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 375. Spritz a 13×9 pan with no-stick spray. Place black bean mixture into the bottom of the pan. Top with seasoned quinoa mixture. Place cooked peppers on top of quinoa. Finish with cheese or Daiya. Cover pan with foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for additional 10 minutes. Before serving sprinkle, with green onions. Serve (with optional sour cream)!
*Did you notice my picture is a 8×8? I divided the casserole between two dishes. I topped one with cheese and one with Daiya.