Quinoa Tabbouleh

Tabbouleh is a Lebanese dish made with parsley, mint, tomatoes, green onion and bulgur. An authentic Lebanese tabbouleh contains mostly parsley and is mostly green. Americanized version contains more bulgur and resembles a couscous salad.  Then there is the quinoa version, which is my favorite because the addition of protein makes it possible to be a meal replacement.  Plus, quinoa is a staple in my house; therefore, readily available.

I love eating quinoa tabbouleh scooped up with pita bread or tortilla chips or alone. I love eating it as a side with grilled steak or chicken or shrimp, you name it. It goes with everything.  Gosh, I’m salivating as I’m writing this.

Quinoa Tabbouleh

Prep time: 15 mins Cook time: 20 mins
Serves: 6

Ingredients

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup diced red onion
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
1 cup diced cucumber
1 large bunch parsley, chopped
1 small bunch mint, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a saucepan bring water to a boil. Add quinoa and salt. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature and fluff with a fork.

*Optional: In a small mixing bowl, marinate the diced onion in lemon juice and zest while prepping the other ingredients to soften the bite.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, zest and oil. Salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Pour the 3/4 of dressing and toss gently. The salad can be made a few hours ahead of time and refrigerated. Drizzle remaining dressing right before serving.

First Day of School

Peanut, my last baby, has started 1st grade. I thought this fact coupled with how young she still looks to me would be the tear trigger. There were some fluttering in the heart, some ache. It was harder to walk away from her for sure, but…

Soso, my first baby, is the one that brought tears to my eyes. I have brought her to first day of school for 7 years and the routine hasn’t changed too much over the years. We take a photo by the school sign, we walk to that year’s grade entrance, we take a few more photos with friends, we kiss and hug and I wish her luck and we say goodbye. Perhaps I linger for a few more minutes. Sure there are less parents each year, but surely…

We round the corner and yup, no parent in sight. All the kids are in there little groups, looking impossibly tall and independent. I whisper, “No photos?” and she quickly replies, “No,” before she runs off to join her friends. She may have brushed me a quick kiss. It happened so fast, I don’t know.

I manage to get off a quick shot when Peanut runs over to hug her goodbye. Then we leave quickly so we’re not late to Peanut’s school, but also so I don’t embarrass Soso.  I don’t know why I felt so bereft, but I was holding back tears the entire walk back to the car.

Wishing everyone a happy back to school, however bittersweet it is.

Luck Redefined

I’ve never thought of myself as particularly lucky. In fact, I would venture to say I’ve called myself unlucky.  I’ve never won the lottery.  Okay no one really wins the lottery, but I’ve never won more realistic lottery type things.  I’ve never won a bingo game, 50:50 raffle, casino games, carnival game prizes.  I don’t even win back the $2 from scratch off tickets!

Well, I had a car incident last night.

28448168373_0cfdb70eb7_z

While making a slow turn, the car just stopped with a thud and refused to budge.  I thought my tire blew out.

28448166953_5d7a7dba89_z

It was the axle.  It broke or came apart.  I don’t have enough car knowledge to understand let alone explain what happened.

What I do know is I didn’t hit anything. Something must have been wrong. May be only for days, but possibly for weeks, may be even for months. It was only a matter of time.

This could have happened while I was driving to or from work yesterday.  Or today.  Or Saturday while driving on a highway to go see a friend. With my kids.  Or it could have happened last week while I was driving on the highway with my kids and a friend.  Or two weeks ago while I had 7 people in my car, again on the highway. Driving way faster than the 5 mph I was doing making a turn on a local road.  This could have had a far greater, dire, possibly fatal consequence.

As I was processing what happened last night, I realized that I’ve got it all backwards.  I’m incredibly lucky.  I’ve already survived a car accident in my early 20’s where the car was totaled. I was rear ended last summer on the highway and while I’m still seeing a doctor and a physical therapist, it’s for a nerve issue.  No broken bones, internal damages, not even a scratch.  And I avoided a potentially horrific accident by having the incredible luck of having the wheel come apart on a local road.

I guess God’s been saving my luck on what really matters, my life.  So, I’m walking around today feeling really lucky and grateful. I’m never going to feel unlucky again.  Money is nice, but life is better.