Sunday, September 12, 2010

Quinoa & Chickpea Salad with Feta & Herbs

As I packed up my youngest son's room this weekend preparing for his move to Seattle, I found myself lingering on the memories of his childhood. His little model airplane hanging in the corner of his room, school recognition awards line the wall, and a box of Legos remains tucked under his bed. He grew up, but in many ways, his room still reflects the passions of a little boy. I'm having a difficult time thinking of turning his room into a guest bedroom. For now it will remain a shrine to an era gone by. How quickly those years flew.

I called my mother and told her what a difficult time I was having letting go; my baby moving to Seattle to start his life without his parents. My mom was compassionate as she listened to me and then near the end of our conversation she said, "Honey, give it time. I love you and your siblings, but I wouldn't want you back home. You'll get use to it." I guess I will.

This I know, we've raised him well and he's ready for the world. It's time to let him soar.

Quinoa & Chickpea Salad with Feta & Herbs

Quinoa is a wonderful tiny grain that contains more protein than any other grain. It was a main staple for the Inca Indians dating back thousands of years. Known as the mother grain or super grain of the future, quinoa is gluten free and simple to make. Enjoy this light, delicious salad made with quinoa and chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans).

1 cup quinoa
1 (15 oz) can of chicken broth
1 (15 oz) can of low sodium chickpeas drained and rinsed
1 cup grape tomatoes sliced in half
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 scallions thinly chopped (stalks included)
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped basil

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

(Rinse quinoa in a cheese cloth or sieve until water runs clean.)

Place quinoa in a pan and add can of chicken broth. 

Bring to a boil and place a tight fitting lid over pan. Reduce heat to low and simmer 
for 15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and let cool.

Chop scallions, parsley, and basil. Slice tomatoes in half and set aside. 

When quinoa is completely cool add olive oil, fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper.

Add in chopped vegetables, feta cheese, chickpeas and herbs. 

Stir until well blended. Serve cold.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Hiking around Mt. Rainier

There is nothing quite like the mountains. The clean air drawn deep into my lungs filled with the scent of pine brings about a sense of quiet relaxation. Twenty-six years ago my husband and I camped, just the two of us. We camped primitively back then; a small pup tent, sleeping bags and a few essentials to cook with. Now, a tent trailer that sleeps seven, but all beds empty except the one we laid our heads upon.  We talked of going back to the simplicity of just the tent, but the thought of sleeping on the ground again made us think twice.

We reminisced over camping with our kids. It is different than vacationing by hotel. Our kids learned how to chop wood for campfires, how to make roasting sticks from branches, how to look for edible berries and tracks of animals. We learned to play hours upon hours of card and dice games when the rain outside pattered hard upon our trailer. We enjoyed stories around the campfire and roasting smores. Oh the memories!

The beauty of Mt. Rainier is unsurpassed. 

We spent a day hiking on the Nachese Trail Loop. There 
are several beautiful high alpine lakes along the trail.

We stopped for lunch and the birds flocked around us 
hoping to receive a crumb or two from our sandwiches.
One decided to rest upon my boot looking for a handout.

Snow comes early to the mountains. We ended up cutting our Labor Day weekend short due to the forecast that predicted a 60% chance of snow. The day we left, the area we had hiked was so socked in with fog, you could barely see a few feet in front of you. We were grateful to have had the weather we did and look forward to our next visit.