Saturday, January 7, 2012

Red Quinoa and Black Bean Vegetable Salad

I feel like I've been running all week.  Probably because I have been.  

It's crazy how once you have kids, popping out for groceries turns into an all-day affair.  It takes twice as long to actually get out of the house to go to the grocery store.  And then it takes you pretty much the rest of the day to put them away. That is, if you actually manage to get them away before you pass out in bed, exhausted. 

With kids, it's probably never possible to say that you haven't had a crazy week. There are just shades of craziness.  Ranging from the only slightly crazy, 'my house is a little upside down and I'm still in my p.j.'s at 5pm on Saturday' crazy day to the 'I can't find a single frickin' thing in my house, it's such a mess, and I haven't showered in... wait... when was my last shower????' kinda day.

Thankfully, I can still remember my last shower, which means that this past week wasn't full blown crazy, as it can sometimes get.  But it's been busy nonetheless.  And yes, I am still in my pyjamas at 5pm!  And just realized that I don't even remember if I brushed my teeth this morning...

Logan's ear infection came back again earlier this week.  And Chloé has been showing signs that she's following in Logan's footsteps and likely has reflux.  Complete with the wanting to be held 24/7.  Thankfully, she's at least a great sleeper at night (count it - 8 hours straight last night!!), so that makes it still manageable.  But nevertheless, with all of this going on, and the related doctors appointments and the like, the week has flown by and I haven't had a moment to sit down.

So I decided that yesterday would be an 'at home' day so that I could feel a bit renewed before the weekend.  That idea lasted about 10 minutes.  After dropping Logan at daycare, I decided to just pop by the grocery store to pick up some cilantro for this recipe, since I knew that I wanted to make this today.  Which somehow morphed into a full grocery load, a visit to Toys 'R Us, the health food store and a purchase of some gorgeous new winter boots that I am super excited about.  

And all of this by 11 a.m.

Whew!  And somehow my day of relaxation got hijacked, as by the time I'd put everything away and had lunch, it was already time to pick up Logan at daycare.  How is it that time seems to go by twice as fast once you have kids??   

Much like many women, I am afflicted by bite-off-more-than-I-can-chew-itis.  The severity of my condition varies over time, though I've gotten much better at managing my symptoms.  But it flares up every now and then.  Today it was out in full force.

This morning I found myself with this self-imposed mountain-high list of recipes I wanted to make this weekend, including this salad that I'm about to post here, raspberry truffle brownies, grilled cilantro shrimp skewers, another (no) cream of vegetable soup and some homemade granola bars that I will post shortly.  Clearly a case of bite-off-more-than-I-can-chew-itis when you have two kids under 20 months.  In my previous life, I would have been able to get all of this done before noon, throw in a 2 hour workout at the gym and still had the rest of the day to myself.  But with kids, its a whole different story.  Apparently, I'm still adjusting to new expectations of what you can actually accomplish in a day.

Hence why my kitchen now looks like this:

  At least my freezer is now stocked with soup for the week.

(No) cream of vegetable soup, simmering away

(No) cream of vegetable soup
In the end, I managed to finish all of the recipes.  And this salad was delicious at lunch.  And dinner.

And I still had enough time left to hang out lots with Logan and cuddle on the couch with Chloé.  So I guess that's all that matters.   

I got this recipe from the Oh She Glows blog.  My sister had tried a couple other recipes from this blog and said they were all good.  And though my intention was to try the same one Ash had first tried, I got side-tracked by this delicious-looking quinoa salad on Angela's blog. It actually reminds me a lot of my tabouleh salad.  I particularly love the red quinoa and the different coloured veggies, as it makes it all look so beautiful.  Perfect for entertaining or potlucks.
For the salad:

1 C uncooked red quinoa
1 (14 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
 1 red pepper, chopped
1/4 C fresh cilantro, finely chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1 C fresh corn
1 small avocado, chopped into 1 inch pieces 

cooked red quinoa in the rice cooker

rinsed black beans and canned corn

chopped red pepper, avocado, green onions and cilantro

For the dressing:

4-5 tbsp. of fresh lime juice (juice from 2 small limes)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 C fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1/4 C extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. ground cumin, or more to taste

1.  Cook 1 cup red quinoa according to package directions (in my rice cooker, I use 2 C water for 1 C of quinoa).

2.  While quinoa is cooking, prepare the chopped vegetables and whisk together the dressing.

3.  Allow quinoa to cool after cooking for about 5 minutes.  Fluff with a fork.  Add the beans and vegetables and toss well.

4.  Drizzle dressing over salad and toss well with salt and pepper to taste.  Bring salad to room temperature before serving.  Keep fresh in a sealed container for 1-2 days.  

Makes about 5 cups.

I love, love, loved the avocado in this salad and threw in 3 instead of 1.  Angela also suggested to only use fresh corn in the recipe, as she found the frozen corn she had used became rubbery.  I used canned corn and found it worked fine.

And on that note, I am off to enjoy a glass of my favourite wine.  Happy weekend everyone! 

Difficulty rating: easy