Life seems to go in stages for me and I’m guessing most of you. I’ve had blissfully happy and abundant times and times where I honestly didn’t know how I was going to keep on going. Through the dark times I’ve learned that as long as my family and loved ones are safe and healthy, nothing bad ever really happens. Oh sure. It seems like it at the time, but later looking back you can see:
- How much worse it really could have been.
- How much you’ve grown and ultimately benefited from the whole experience.
The last several years have been filled with some dark, scary times – something I haven’t talked about ever here.
No need to go into the details today, but when things got rough I had to do something, something that would allow me to contribute to the family coffers without leaving the two little heros (AKA Alex & Christian) that I literally couldn’t breathe without.
And that is how this website was born.
I didn’t even know what a food blog was and had no designs on creating one. I’d just ran across The Keyword Academy and over the next year they taught me how to make a living online. Cooking Quinoa was one of many websites I started back then and I wasn’t at all prepared for what its success would bring.
There are a lot of things I’d do differently now, but I don’t want to talk about that today.
Today I wanted to take a pause to celebrate the wins and to say thank you to all of you who have made this possible.
I’m headed out in a bit to pick up a new lens for my camera and then I’m off to Whole Foods.
Tomorrow I embark on a new chapter. I’ll begin testing recipes for the first of my next TWO books.
The first one is going to be a gluten free book that will be full of recipes that work for those with food allergies, but also have adaptations so if you can have gluten the book will work for you too.(i.e. you won’t have to restock your pantry with all new flours)
And the second is going to be a dessert cookbook. (I KNOW – ME doing a dessert book? Luckily I was a baking fool in my 20’s.)
I’m excited for a lot of reasons. I think it will be so different for me writing a book that I know is going to be published, versus the experience of writing Quintessential Quinoa as an ebook that I had no idea would ever sell a single copy.
I’m also excited because though I am proud in many ways of my first book, I KNOW I can do better. A lot better. With the recipes, accuracy, and photography. I get nervous at times, because really, who am I to be writing three cookbooks?
Then I remember all of you guys who have continued to read for the last two years and a calm comes over me. The nervousness fades and the excitement grows.
Anyways, enough rambling for one day…let’s get to the food!
Today’s recipe is a great salad I’ve been meaning to get posted for a couple of weeks. It’s a bit of a riff on my Mexican Quinoa Salad and I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
- 6 corn tortillas
- Olive oil spray
- 3 cups chopped romaine lettuce
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 ½ cups cooked black beans, drained and rinsed (about 1 can)
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 1 avocado, pitted, peeled and diced
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener)
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 jalapeño seeded and diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- ½ cup water + 1 tablespoon chia seeds or ½ cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut tortillas in half and then into ¼ inch strips. Place on a baking sheet and spray with olive oil spray. Salt and pepper to taste. Bake about 10 minutes, turning half way through.
- Meanwhile, if using chia gel in place of the oil in the dressing combine chia seeds and water. Stir well and set aside.
- In a large bowl combine lettuce, quinoa, black beans, tomatoes, red onion and avocado.
- Make dressing by combining all ingredients in a food processor or blender and processing until smooth.
- Toss salad with desired amount of dressing and top with tortillas strips.
If making the salad ahead wait to toss until right before serving. Also either wait to add the avocado or sprinkle the avocado with lime juice to prevent browning.
Calories 285, Fat 7.7g, Carbohydrates 46.9g, Protein 10.1g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Sodium 410mg (assuming canned beans - lower if you cook your own), Fiber 11.3g, Sugars 9.4g