Thursday, October 31, 2013

I'm addicted

Many of you know of my 'slight' addiction to tabouli made with quinoa… I cannot stop eating it - breakfast (gasp!), lunch, snack time, with dinner. The addiction is so bad that I now make it every week. Who would've thought I'd trade chocolate for this? I know what you're' thinking: "But what about Reese's Peanut Butter cups?" Sit down… I'm about to say… I don't eat them anymore. (Wendy - get up off the floor.)

So many have asked for the recipe that I thought I'd blog it for posterity. If you make it and don't like it, which I think is impossible, then call me. I'll come get it and eat it. (Denyc - this is not to be used as a trick to get me to Oregon.)

For all my GF sisters - you know who you are - and especially for Jen and Lejla, here it is:

You'll need:

quinoa (any color or flavor) - super food, high in protein, iron, fiber, magnesium (eat it all the time!)
tomatoes - your favorites or whatever is freshest - high in Vitamin C, low in sugar, anti-carcinogen
cucumber - I use 'seedless' English - high in B vitamins, fights insulin, good source of silica
parsley - mix it up - very high in Vit. C & K, and crazy high in iron
garlic - high in Vit. C & B6, helps absorb iron, lowers blood pressure
lemon juice (fresh or bottled)
olive oil

Cook the quinoa (2 parts water/1 part quinoa) for 15 minutes, let it rest, covered, for 5 more minutes, then cool it in the fridge. (Don't you just love these healthy little suckers?)

Halve, then seed your cucumbers. (Why do we call it 'seeding' when we are actually de-seeding?) I use a spoon to just scoop down the center. Easy.

Next, chop the cucumbers any way you'd like. This is not about accuracy, my friends. This about getting everything in the bowl so you can eat it.

Next, start cutting your tomatoes. I prefer to seed them so the mix isn't too wet before we add the dressing. However, when I use grape tomatoes, like I did this time, I regret this extra little step. About halfway through, I remember why this step is so tedious. Using larger tomatoes makes this so much easier, but, alas…

…They're so gorgeous, and juicy, and healthy, and cute. I cave every time.  Just chop them and add them. Easy shmeezy (is that a word?).

Chop and add the parsley. I use whatever kind of fresh parsley I have on hand. This is a simple, no fuss, no measure recipe.

And, now for the dressing… fresh, citrusy, tart, garlicky - yum.  Pour 1 part EVOO (or any light oil, if you're not into heavy dressings) to 2 parts lemon juice. If you're using fresh lemons, you'll want to squeeze them first to see how much juice you have before adding the oil.  (Remember - no measuring here. Just eye ball it into a Pyrex bowl. Lastly, crush your fresh garlic into the bowl and mix.

Pour it on, mix it up, and voila! Done! Ready to eat!

I'm showing you the finished product in a little serving bowl (of which I ate 3 helpings), but I confess to having to taste it, a few times, right out of the mixing bowl. What can I say? I told you I'm addicted…

Enjoy! And don't blame me if you eat too much of it - it's all good, right?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

From LAS to DTW to IAD to ADD to DTW to FLL but not back (yet)

Friends like to give me a hard time about traveling so much. I, honestly, don't know how all the travel happens, but I'm glad it does. If you really know me, you know I am the Queen of Cheap when it comes to travel. I have a certain price in mind whenever we book, and if I can't get that price, we don't go. We try to plan in advance, and, because of that, trips often collide when an opportunity comes up quickly. 

Two weeks ago, we enjoyed a free trip Las Vegas compliments of Hilton. We appreciated their offer and hotel and used the location to visit Red Rock Canyon, the Hoover Dam, and the Grand Canyon. Watching the expression on my engineering husband's face when he looked over the Dam was priceless... And that Canyon is still Grand. Deciding to stay on East Coast time meant we were awake later than usual and up before anyone else in Vegas except those still coming in from the previous night out.  We're just too old for that...

Our next scheduled trip was/is Oct. 11 to Florida. Canadians celebrate their Thanksgiving on Oct. 14, so we're taking advantage of the long weekend and Spirit Airlines dirt-cheap fares. Don't mock me; their pilots are amazing flyers, and their planes are new. If you don't carry luggage, it's a deal! (Best price we've gotten: $57 round-trip)

Last Tuesday, I left for Africa. Ethiopia, to be specific. This trip came about in a matter of weeks, so if you didn't know about it, don't feel left out. I'm not sure what time zone my body thinks I'm in, but it didn't matter once I 'started' my day in Addis Ababa at 11:30 PM EDT (body time) - or 6:30 AM local time. This Addis trip wedged itself right between the other 2 planned trips, so as of today, Oct. 15th, I have traveled 20 straight days.

Did someone mention Operation Christmas Child Collection Season? Yes, there's that, too! In 5 short weeks, we finish for this year, and, yet, I hate to see it go so quickly.

Time stands still for no one.

I'm up for the challenge!

*A special thanks to United Airlines' computer glitch for my $5 round-trip ticket to and from DC from Detroit. I love a deal but hadn't planned on one that good...

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Random Thoughts from an Airplane

If the crackers on Ethiopian Airlines are shaped like little airplanes and are all broken when I open them, does this not bode well? They tasted good, but looking like little, mangled jets made me a little unsettled.

If my carry-on had to be checked because it was over 20 lbs., then why were there 200+ fully-packed, bursting-at-the-seams suitcases at the gate with me? Not that I'm complaining... Do you think the 7 lb. bag of candy I took for kids there threw it off?

If it's currently 2005 in Ethiopia, am I, as Jared said, arriving from the future? Also, was I really 7 years younger for one week? If so, yay!

If 11:30 PM EDT is 6:30AM GMT+3 and in Ethiopia local time starts at dawn, that means 7 AM international time is really 1:00AM with 10AM being 4:00AM. Got that? As Chicago asked us long ago, "Does anybody really know what time it is?"

If Ferenji mean 'foreigner' in Amharic, then Gene Roddenberry knew what he was doing all along. But we already knew that.

If my spell check changes "except" to "expat", have I been away from the U.S. too long?