Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Southwest Quinoa Salad

post signatureMy friend's mom made this salad for 4th of July last year and I have been dying to make it ever since. The list of ingredients and steps intimidated me, but after a day off from work today, I decided to tackle it. I cant wait to have it for lunch in the days to come and, as you can see, even my 6-year-old loved it!

Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Black Beans

(I’ve had it with kidney beans, so I think you can substitute whatever you have)

1 tsp kosher salt
1 1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups red quinoa, rinsed well if not pre-rinsed (I used regular quinoa since I didn't have red)
1 15 1/2-oz can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 medium zucchini, trimmed and cut into small dice (1 1/3 cups)
1 cup halved grape or cherry tomatoes (I left these out b/c I don’t like them)
1 cup fresh corn kernels (from about 2 ears) microwaved or blanched for a few seconds
1 small (or 1/2 large) red bell pepper, seeded and cut into small dice (1/2 cup)
1/3 cup sliced scallions/green onions (white and light green parts)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus sprigs for garnish
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 Tbs plus 2 tsp fresh lime juice
2 tsp minced fresh garlic
2 tsp honey
1/4 tsp Asian chili-garlic paste
1/2 to 2/3 cup toasted pines nuts (I didn't toast them)

Combine 1 tsp salt, the cumin, coriander and cinnamon in a small bowl.

in a 3-quart saucepan, heat 1 Tbs of the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the salt-spice mixture, stir well, and cook for 30 seconds.

Add the quinoa, stir again, and add 2 cups water.

Bring to a boil, reduce to a low simmer, cover and cook until the quinoa has absorbed all the water and the germ has separated from the seed, 20 to 22 minutes. (If there is a little water left, bring back to a simmer and cook for 3-4 minutes more to boil off the water)

Remove the pot from the heat and stir once.

Put a folded paper towel over the quinoa and cover with the pot lid again for 5 minutes.
Uncover, discard the paper towel, and transfer the quinoa to a large, shallow mixing bowl or a large baking sheet (where it will cool more quickly).

Let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, combine the black beans, zucchini, tomatoes, corn, peppers, scallions, chopped cilantro, orange juice the remaining 3 Tbs olive, lime juice, garlic, honey, chili-garlic paste, and 1/2 tsp salt.

Stir well and let sit while the quinoa cools, stirring occasionally

Combine the black bean salad with the cooled quinoa & mix thoroughly.

Taste & season as necessary (it will continue to build flavor as it sits)

Serve, garnished with the pine nuts and cilantro sprigs (if using) at room temperature or chilled, or refrigerate to serve at a cookout or potluck later.

It can be made up to a day ahead.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

School Projects

I don't like school projects because it never fails that I end up doing most of the work. I think most parents do. 

I usually see 3 types of completed school projects:

1. The Art Gallery Project
There's no way the kid touched it. In fact, mom did it at home while the kid was at school. Surprise  - look what I did today! It is done using clay and paper mache.

2. The "Can You Tell Me About It?" Project
You can barely tell what it is, but the kid did it all by him or herself. He gets an "A" for effort. 

3. The "We" Project
This is combination of 1 and 2. The parents do most of it while the kid gets distracted. The parent refuses to do it all, so parts look great and others look...ok. 

I am a number 3 parent. I refuse to do the project, but I do the measuring and planning while he fights with his brother and goes off to play. Then he traces, cuts, glues and draws. To give him some more credit, we plan it out at Michaels together, although it's more like me making suggestions and him agreeing so we can leave. 

Why am I posting about this?? 
Of course "we" have a school project due tomorrow. 
And "we" waited until the last night to finish it. 

Abraham Lincoln on a can. He really wanted him to have googley-eyes. 
Another one down in the books!

post signature

Monday, February 16, 2015

It's been a while...

It's been a while since I last wrote - 1 year and 5 months actually. Way too much time has past for this to be a catch-up blog, but I'll do my best to hit the main points.

I did not like to get on my previous laptop. It was 7 years old, had to be plugged in, and over heated. I spoiled myself this weekend and bought a Mac Book Pro so I hope to be writing more now that I found the love of my life...the computer, not a man. Literally, I LOVE this computer!

Austin is now 9 and in the 3rd grade. He's wicked smart - genius smart - and loves to read. He played baseball the past few seasons, but is taking this season off. 

Ryan is now 6 (almost 7) and in 1st grade. His heart is so kind and he has such a gentle soul. He also has been playing baseball and is playing again this year. 

They are getting a sister in June (obviously not from me) and their dad deploys in May again so I have a long summer and fall ahead of me. Being a single mom when you share every other weekend is difficult, but nothing is like being a single mom for 6+ months without the emotional support. I feel like deployments take more of a toll on me now than when we were married. 

I am still working at the same company (3 1/2 years) and I was just promoted to Sales Operations Manager. How crazy is that! I started as a temp doing data entry and now I am a manager! I am so grateful for Facebook...because of a post I made about needing a job, an old friend from high reached out and got me this temp job that has turned into and amazing career. To top it off, her husband coaches our sons' baseball team now too!

I know you all want to hear about the man in my life...there's two and I already mentioned them. I haven't been dating since my brief stint online. I'm really happy where I am right now. I really like my independence and keeping up with kids and my job is enough right now. I get a little lonely sometimes and wish I had someone to co-parent with, share my day and my dreams with, a shoulder to cry on or just someone to hold me, but overall life is good. There's my hodge-podge catch up and until next time...

post signature