Red Quinoa Corn Salad


Can I just say I love salads, especially salads with a lemon and lime tang to them?  It is a bonus when the weather is nice as well, for it brings about a kind of holiday feel to dinner.  This spring has been an interesting one for the west coast.  It seems a bit chillier and rainier. I swear yesterday it hailed for 2 minutes and then the sun came out, which was spectacular. See, when the sun is out, it changes everything from clothes to cravings.  I have always enjoyed dedicating Wednesdays to Mexican Wednesdays, so it was ideal this was for dinner last night along with seasoned chicken on the side and tortilla chips.  Easy peasy.  With the leftover salad, I put it in a bowl with a spoon as an appy for our homegroup, however the cake from Goldilocks won favor over the salad.  I tried.

Red Quinoa Corn Salad

(Inspired by Rebar)

Ingredients:
1 cup red quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 1/2 cups corn, fresh, or frozen
1 small red onion, minced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1/2 red pepper or orange pepper, finely diced
3 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp lime juice
1/4 cup cilantro
3 scallions, minced
2 tbsp finely minced chives
1 tsp sea salt
2 avocados, peeled and cut in cubes
1/2 tsp Tabasco sauce, or to taste

How To Play:
Place quinoa in a fine mesh sieve and rinse thoroughly with cold, running water. Bring water to boil in a small pot, add the quinoa and salt and bring to a boil again. Cover and reduce heat to low for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and keep the pot covered for an additional 5 minutes. Strain off any excess liquid and spread the quinoa out to cool on a tray while preparing the remaining ingredients.
Steam or lightly saute corn(I sauteed it with a tbsp of butter) until just tender and cool to room temperature. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and gently toss. Season with additional salt, pepper or hot sauce to taste. Serve with fresh lime wedges.

Enjoy.

Grump Day


Being that yesterday was Mexican Wednesday, we had Taco Salads. Some call Wednesdays, the hump day, however, for me it was the grump day.  I was so grumpy and it didn’t help that Sean had to work later than normal and we had a freak snow fall that I had to drive in to take 1 to dance.  Even though I took my drivers test in a blizzard, when I was 16, I didn’t care then.  I care now. I don’t like snow!  I had my heart on going for a run, to keep up on this weight loss journey, but I have to be flexible, because life happens and things can get in the way.  For our Connections group last night, I made an old university favorite of mine.  I remember when Ren liked Tim.  I remember when Tim liked Ren.  When all this liking would be going on, I would be in Ren’s parents’ kitchen stuffing my face with the most awesome appetizer in the world, hoping no one would notice the ever decreasing feta cheese spread.  To this day, I make this appetizer often. I am forever grateful to Tim for sharing it with me.  I prepare it with the fondest memories of my university life friends pouring over in my mind of the countless wine and cheese fondues, over eating of fine decadent foods, and deep conversations of not only life’s mysteries, but of God’s too.

Beef Taco Salads

The great thing about Taco salads, is that they can be made in a whole variety of different ways and always taste great.  Most times I use chicken, but in this case, I used ground beef.  When I have jalapenos, believe me, my salad is covered in them, but unfortunately, I had none in my cupboard.

Ingredients:

1 pound of ground sirloin beef

3 cups Arugula

1/4 cup Red onion, chopped

1/2 cup red, orange, or yellow pepper, chopped

taco seasoning of choice, I like Trader Joe’s, (sometimes I make my own by adding 2tsp chili powder, 1/2tsp sea salt, 1tsp ground cumin, and 1/2 tsp onion powder)

1 tbsp butter

1/2 cup organic roasted corn (or organic corn kernels)

sour cream

guacamole

salsa

1-2 cups grated Monterey Jack and Sharp cheddar cheese

Taco chips (I use Food Should Taste Good Tortilla Chips)

How To Play:
In a skillet cook beef until no longer pink.  Add seasoning and a bit of water if it looks too dry. While beef is heating, in a small sauce pan, melt butter and add corn, heat thoroughly.  Prepare salad bowls by adding arugula topped with fresh peppers and onions.  Add cooked seasoned beef.  Pour favorite salsa over the beef.  Sprinkle with corn and cheeses.  On one side of the salad bowl add a spoonful of guacamole and sour cream, while the other side has a wall of taco chips.  You can really make it any way you want, it is just the way I like to present it, all that really matters is that it tastes good.

Feta Cheese and Herb Appetizer

Ingredients:

1 Block of Feta Cheese (just over a cup)

2-3 Garlic cloves, minced

Fresh ground pepper

1/4 tsp dried basil

1/4 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp fresh rosemary, minced

2 tbsp Olive oil

How To Play:
Heat oven at 350 degrees. Place feta cheese in tinfoil inside a baking dish.  You can have the minced garlic placed on top or inserted into the feta, either way is fine, then dust feta with ground pepper.  Sprinkle over with basil, oregano, and rosemary, then pour olive oil over top.  Close the tinfoil tightly over the seasoned feta and bake for about 20-25 minutes until really soft.  Serve warm with crackers or prepared baguette.

To Prepare Baguette:
Cut baguette thinly on an angle.  Place onto a baking sheet.  Brush each piece generously with olive  oil and heat in the oven for 5 minutes at 350 degrees.

Enjoy.

Oh She Glows Hummus

I just got back from the Dermatologist and it was reassuring to some small degree that the spots on my face, which were not there when I was in my twenties, is a completely normal thing for people who are blue eyed, fare skinned, and in their thirties…They gist of his message was this… I am aging.  Lately, I have been thinking a lot about my mom.  Especially during the days when I was young, did she feel the way I feel now?  I used to think she knew all the answers and was untouchable by people who were mean.  She came across, to me, as fearless, well, fearless regarding people, the thing I was most fearful of when I was young.  Now, I look at myself in the mirror, with my lines and spots and my favorite lipstick, and in my head I am the same me.  I feel as though I haven’t aged.  I am 11, I am 15, I am 20, but I am really in my thirties.  I don’t know all the answers.  I am not untouchable, and yes, I still have a slight fear of people, so hide under the label of shy, however, my mom paved a way for me to be a mother to my kids.  She exhibited a confidence that made me safe.  I pray that I will do the same for my own children.

After seeing Dr. Dermatologist, I made Hummus, from Oh She Glows.  It is a great snack and I ended up just eating it as my lunch.  I added a wee bit more of lemon juice and one spoonful more of Tahini with a dash more of salt.  Costco has these amazing cracker tortilla chips made by Food Should Taste Good.  They work really well with the spread, as well as peppers and carrots.

Oh She Glows Hummus

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas, liquid reserved and set aside
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 Cup tahini
  • 7-8 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp reserved chickpea liquid (or water)
  • 4-8 drops of Tabasco or hot sauce, to taste
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • Paprika, for garnish

How To Play:

Place all ingredients into a food processor (except the salt) and process until the hummus is coarsely pureed. Now add in salt gradually, stopping to taste as you go. Scoop into a bowl and drizzle with a good quality olive oil and garnish with paprika. Makes about 2 cups and lasts for about 4-5 days in the fridge in a sealed container.

Enjoy.