Saturday, March 15, 2014

Quinoa Salad and the Fountain of Youth

Marcella: You know, when you started getting invited to your ten year high school reunion, time is catching up.
Martin Q. Blank: Are you talking about a sense of my own mortality or a fear of death?
Marcella: Well, I never really thought about it quite like that.
Martin Q. Blank: Did you go to yours?
Marcella: Yes, I did. It was just as if everyone had swelled.
-From Grosse Pointe Blank

When I first saw Grosse Pointe Blank, I still had 5 years to go until my own 10-year reunion. Now I'm well past twenty years out of high school! How did that happen? How am I nearly forty years old? How? 

I've had some sobering reminders of aging and mortality recently: a friend's mom is in the hospital; I'm working with a college student I've known since she was six years old(!); I went to a play last night and saw an actor I hadn't seen in about 20 years and dammit, he looked OLD! Which he was, compared to the last time I saw him. And it reminded me that I'm not getting any younger either. 

I think I look pretty good for almost-forty, especially since this year began and I've been losing some weight and getting healthier. On the one hand it's hard: I go into a wonderful bakery and I realize that there is NOTHING that I can eat. Not a sandwich, not a wrap, and certainly not a cake or cookie (I don't eat bread basically ever. And obviously no desserts either. Or pasta. I DO eat rice, even white rice, and rice noodles and sometimes tortilla chips because everybody needs a few vices. It seems to be working.) I order a cappuccino and get the hell out of the bakery fast. Mostly I don't go into 'em in the first place. On the other hand it's getting easier: eating well just feels better, and I can wear cute clothes I would have avoided only months ago. When I DO overeat, it's likely that I gorged myself on something like Kombucha and Quinoa salad instead of chocolate and potato chips. 

Ah, Quinoa salad. I started eating it this summer, as an alternate form of Tabouleh. Now that I live with my brother and sister-in-law I am shamelessly copying their salad ideas. Since they are both hardworking nurses they pack a lot of lunches, and quinoa salad is often a big part of those lunches. I started by filching a quinoa/cucumber/chickpea salad that pretty much accompanied me to every first aid class. And now I'm onto this one, which I like even more. Start by roasting jalapenos for about 20 minutes in some olive oil. I add grape tomatoes too, which makes the salad a bit more moist, but so yummy. 
 At the same time, cook a cup of quinoa then let it cool down. If you have the patience to wait that long.

Once the roasted peppers and the quinoa are at least room temperature, add halved grapes, feta, roasted salted pumpkin seeds, and parsley. (Or cilantro, which is what the recipe calls for.) Oh, I always cook the quinoa in Vegetable broth, which makes it taste wayyy better. Voila!

Then, if you can keep the kitten's head out of your bowl, you can enjoy your healthy lunch. 

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