Dockside Quinoa Superfood Salad

Today we are heading to the lake where we’ll bask in the sun on the dock and enjoy a lazy summer day. I’m in the shoot to bring snacks for my girlfriend and I so, of course, quinoa is on the menu!

When it’s hot like this, our bodies crave refreshment. Food that is light and fresh is best – and, when you have a hint of citrus or a little sweetness, all the better. At the same time, we do need substance to keep us charged up and energized for long-haul, right?

Well, that’s where this salad comes in:

Dockside Quinoa Superfood Salad

Dockside Quinoa Superfood Salad

Isn’t it beautiful??

Here’s the scoop…

In a large bowl, I layered:

1 1/2 cups pre-cooked quinoa out of my fridge

3 handfuls of the superfood salad I buy at Costco (NOTE: If you don’t have the greens blend, you can use dark kale, red cabbage, green cabbage, and brussels sprouts, and just chop each of them coleslaw-thin)

1 can of organic kidney beans (drained and rinsed)

1 fresh jalapeno, finely diced

1/4 cup of fresh cilantro, rough chopped

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I sprinkled some ground cumin, sea salt, and ground black pepper over the top; and, I freshly grated about 1 TBSP of lime zest and 1 TBSP of lemon zest…

A Microplane is an essential tool for every kitchen... do you have one?

A Microplane is an essential tool for every kitchen… do you have one?

Gorgeous.

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Next I drizzled about 1/4 cup of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), 2- 3 TBSPs of sesame oil, and the juice of 1 medium lemon over the bowl; I sprinkled some of my favorite Furikake, and tossed until everything was mixed well.

YUM.

Now, I’m one that likes to mix sweet and savory – and, while the flavor was delicious at this point, it definitely needed some sweet. I considered fresh mango (because, if you know me at all, mango goes into pretty much everything I eat), but since this salad will be sitting in a cooler for a few hours, I didn’t want to take the chance it would brown and get not-so-enjoyable-to-eat gooey. So… I did this:

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I rough-chopped 1/4 cup of dried mangos and threw them into the mix… and it was PERFECT.

There’s crunch, sweetness, bursts of heat from the jalapeno, depth of flavor from the sesame oil and the Furikake – and, man, I can’t wait to dig this afternoon.

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Our Afternoon Treats: Dockside Salad, Fresh Cherry Tomatos and Carrots, and Hardboiled Eggs

And, ta-da! Quinoa saves my day…

7/3/13

UPDATE: I added FRESH mango and grilled chicken to my leftover salad and OHMYGOSH!!! Fresh mango made it soooo much better!!!

The Queen of Leftovers and Lasts

Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will [her]self be watered.

Proverbs 11:25

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One thing most people probably don’t realize about us mamas is this: we are Queens of the Leftovers and the Lasts.

We thrive on the left behinds that no one else wants, like the the burnt toast, the black jellybeans, the half-eaten bananas. We typically care for ourselves last, which means we’ve learned to persevere with cold dinners and wrinkly clothes. And, we don’t skip a beat when we are the last to get a break, the last to take a shower, or the last to hit the pillow at the end of the day.

It’s called Mamahood… and there is no place for selfishness, whining, or feeble knees.

If we have the right perspective, however, not all the ‘lefttovers and lasts’ are a bummer. Take today, for example. I fed the kids, fed my man, made lunches, and got everyone out the door. When all was quiet, it was time for me to get a bite; and, as I surveyed my kitchen to spy what had to be salvaged so as not to waste, here’s what I was left with:

About a half cup of quinoa at the bottom of the pot

About a half cup of quinoa at the bottom of the pot
About a handful of edemame and half an alatufo mango

About a handful of edemame and half an ataulfo mango

Hmmm…

Well, with these random barely-there ingredients, this Queen of Leftovers did this:

  • Put the 1/2 cup of precooked quinoa in a bowl.
  • Diced up the 1/2 of the ataulfo mango (aka ‘Manila mango, or champagne mango) and shelled the 1/2 cup of edemame.
  • Drizzled a bit of EVOO, squeezed a little fresh lime juice, and topped the whole thing with a sprinkling of Furikake, which is a Japanese ‘condiment’ of toasted sesame seeds and nori.
quinoa, edemame, mango salad

And lookie lookie: a beautiful, colorful quinoa, edemame, mango salad

Let me tell you: my ‘leftovers and lasts’ turned into something spectacular I probably never would have thought to throw together otherwise. It was beautiful. It was light. It was fresh and fragrant and exactly what I needed to start my day. Yum. Yum. Yum. (NOTE: This would be an AMAZING lunch for work, or even a side salad for a bbq.)

So, today, as we mamas do what we do best – serve, and love, and serve, and lay down all that we are for our little tribes – let’s do it with heads held high, joy in our hearts, and determination to be a bright light in our homes. Why? Because there is beauty in the leftovers and the lasts… the question is: are we creative enough to see it?