Monthly Archives: July 2012

Quinoa Salad

It’s the end of July – when did that happen?! I love summer – aside from the great weather, there is always something going on. Lately it’s been weddings, but when we’re not celebrating nuptials with our friends, there are boat rides, beach trips, and barbeques to keep us occupied. Therein lies the rub: with so many things going on, it can be hard to find time to reset. We pretty much put aside most projects at the house, and I also find that I cook a lot less. It makes me sad that I’m less adventurous in the kitchen during the warmer months, but it also forces me to find easy and light dishes that will keep me going through the summer madness.

After pinning about 3,000,000 recipes for a quinoa salad on Pinterest, I ended up making one up using the fresh vegetables I picked up at the market and what I had in the pantry. You could put most vegetables in here and it would be good, no matter what. I threw together a lime-cumin dressing, similar to the one I made for the corn and black bean salad, and it was all pretty painless.

Quinoa salad with summery vegetables

Ingredients

Salad

  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 orange pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup of quinoa, cooked

Dressing

  • 1 tbsp. of olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. of lime juice
  • 1 tsp. of cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Combine chopped vegetables, cilantro, and quinoa in a large bowl. Mix well.
  2. Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well, using salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Pour dressing over salad, mix well, and serve.

If serving this as a side, it makes quite a bit – the leftovers stayed really well in the fridge. Happy summer!

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Chicken and Lemon Summer Salad

If you are looking for the perfect summer salad, look no further. This tasty Chicken and Lemon Summer Salad is a gem – it’s crisp and refreshing, great to bring to a BBQ, and won’t leave you with the remorse of having indulged in one too many hot dogs.

Preparing this dish is a lot of fun – the zesty yellow lemons, bright and cheerful peppers, and aromatic cilantro all scream summer. Not to mention, all those fresh ingredients make the kitchen smell great without having to even turn on the stove!

I found the original recipe in a cookbook I picked up called Cooking Light Chicken Tonight! and I didn’t change much except added more cilantro (seriously, I’m obsessed) and included orange peppers to the vegetable mix. Helpful hint: to yield more juice from the lemons, microwave them for 30 seconds before juicing.

Chicken and Lemon Salad

Ingredients

Chicken:

  • 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • Cooking spray

Salad:

  • 1 cup sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup each: red, yellow, orange bell pepper strips
  • 1 cup (1/4-inch-thick) slices zucchini
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

  1. To prepare chicken, combine the first 4 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add chicken to bag, and seal. Marinate in the refrigerator 1 hour, turning occasionally.
  2. Prepare grill.
  3. Remove chicken from bag; discard marinade. Place chicken on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 6 minutes on each side or until done. Cool completely; cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
  4. To prepare salad, cook peas in boiling water 30 seconds. Drain, and rinse with cold water. Drain. Combine peas and all remaining ingredients in a large bowl; add chicken, tossing to combine.
  5. Place 1 3/4 cups chicken salad on each of 4 plates. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.
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It’s wedding season!

We started June with a relaxing weekend in Maine, and ended it with a fun wedding weekend in DC!

The festivities kicked off with the Sangeet on Friday night, we spent Saturday catching up with friends before going to the wedding, and spent Sunday sightseeing and traveling back home. The wedding was gorgeous – we had such a blast celebrating with Anuj, one of my college friends, and his new wife, Tanya. Every part of the wedding was seriously stunning. After going through the experience of planning our wedding last year, I have a new appreciation for all the effort that goes into weddings now and there were so many fun details at this wedding. I can only imagine the time that went into all of the events – even the welcome bags were meticulously planned! The decorations and details were gorgeous but most importantly, Tanya and Anuj were grinning from ear-to-ear the entire time – their energy and happiness were totally contagious and w had so much fun celebrating and being a part of the day!

Photo op with the bride & groom!

Before our train left on Sunday we did some sightseeing around Union Station. We strolled by the Capitol and the Supreme Court, but not before going to the Postal Museum – that’s right, the mail museum – housed in the old post office building. It was right next door to the train station, and being a Smithsonian, it was free – win, win! Since I love communications, I found the whole thing fascinating. I felt like I was getting a sneak peek into people’s lives, reading love letters sent back and forth through the mail. To me, it seems so romantic to wait for a letter from your significant other in the mail but to be honest, I also felt selfish for taking the speed of our daily communications – like phone calls, texts, and emails – for granted.

Turns out, it was no coincidence that the former post office was directly adjacent to the train station – at the museum, I learned that post offices were historically situated near train stations to accommodate for the rail mail, which revolutionized communications. It was neat to see the parallels between mail delivery and industrial development in the U.S. – as the rail system expanded across the country, so did the mail. I totally nerded out, and enjoyed learning how “mail-on-the-fly” worked – someone would hang the mail bag on a post next to the tracks, and the mail rail workers would raise a catcher arm to grab the bag as the train sped by. I asked my grandfather, a long-time train conductor in the Northeast, if he had any experience with the mail rail and not surprisingly, he did. He said one of his duties was to hang the mail bag up for the trains to catch going by – an important part of the entire system – but if they missed or broke the bag while going by, it wasn’t his job to clean it up! Smithsonian put up quite a bit of information on their website – check it out to learn more about mail by rail.

After a busy month, it was nice to come home and settle back into some semblance of a routine, even if we were completely exhausted. Coop’s face says it all – time to take a rest before we jump into the second half of the year with four more weddings and a couple more trips!

Doggie!

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