Monday, December 10, 2012

Snow and Quinoa Salad

     I think that Winter is upon us and it arrived with a vengeance.  I have been transferred to Dear Daughter's school and last Monday, I was called for my first assignment.  It seemed like a relatively easy substitute for a paraprofessional who was sick.  I gladly accepted the assignment and Dear Daughter cheered (as she was thrilled that Mom would be driving her to school).  But what I failed to realize was... at this new school, the paraprofessionals are responsible for monitoring recess and the lunch room.  Now, that would not ordinarily bother me but last Monday, between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m, while I was pulling recess duty, IT SNOWED THE ENTIRE TIME!  There I was on the playground, no hat and no gloves.  I suppose it was my initiation or at the very least, lesson well learned.

     Most of the remaining week was blustery and cold.  By mid-day on Friday, it was snowing again and this time, I had difficulty making it up the big hill to our house.  However, by Saturday, it was a beautiful, sunny day and we were...spending it inside the Aquatics Center for yet another swim meet.  Dear Daughter did very well but I think that we were all a bit bitter at losing such a great day.  We were grumpy because we knew that Sunday would not be so nice...and it wasn't.  It snowed ALL day long.  Plans of visiting a local Christmas market were scratched.  We found ourselves inside, watching our version of football (which for us has become watching the World Cup Alpine Ski Races).  By mid-afternoon, kids were taking sleds up the hill, cutting through the fences to the pastures where the cows spent lazy summer days and hurling themselves down the hill at lightening speed.  Listening, you could hear the laughter and screams coming from their thrilling adventure.  Later, when climbing the steep hill just became too exhausting, they set about making forts and launching snowball attacks at opposing teams.  While the adults may have felt a bit cooped up, the kids were having a blast.

     I was sure that we would wake up this morning to learn that school had been cancelled.  We were not so lucky.  During the night, the temperature rose and turned everything into slush.  It just wasn't fair.

     We are planning some upcoming day trips to see what Europe is like during the holiday season.  I won't tell you about them now but hope to write about it over the upcoming weeks.

     In the meantime, in my new healthy eating kick, I am trying to cut out most processed foods from out diet.  Frankly, I think that we do a pretty good job but there is always room for improvement.  I read recently that you should not purchase any processed item that has more than three to six ingredients and if you can't identify the ingredient, then do not purchase the item.  I am also trying to incorporate some different grains into our diet and came across a recipe for a Quinoa salad recently that has now become our favorite lunch dish.  If you do not already know,  Quinoa is an excellent source of protein.

So here is something healthy for you to enjoy this holiday season.

Hey, I work tomorrow - subbing again for a paraprofessional.  She only has 30 minutes of recess duty but I will be thoroughly prepared!

Quinoa Salad

Quinoa Salad

Cucumbers, sliced and quartered
Cherry Tomatoes, quartered
Feta Cheese to taste

Dressing:  2T Red Wine Vinegar mixed with 3T EVOO


Make the quinoa according to the box directions.  In my case, I mixed one cup of quinoa with two cups of chicken broth (instead of water).  Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to a simmer and cook 10 to 15 minutes.

Mix the quinoa with cucumbers, tomatoes and feta to your preferred taste.  Mix the salad with the dressing.  Then top each serving with arugula.

It is really good and really good for you!

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