I’m not horsing around [red] quinoa salad

I love quinoa: hot, cold, mixed with veggies, cheese, fruit, nuts, you name it, I’ll eat it. I always buy a big bulk bag at Costco, but I’ve never seen red quinoa in any local grocery stores. But after an extensive search yielded no results, I gave up on eating homemade red quinoa. Then this weekend I stopped in a grocery store* north of Spokane and found red quinoa in their bulk bins. Score!

*Yoke’s in Mead for you Spokane folks

After debating my options, I decided I would clear out the veggie drawer and create yet another cold quinoa salad. I decided to change up my usual sauce, and swapped stone ground mustard for horseradish. It was a brilliant idea, at least in my opinion. The hubs wasn’t pleased, but he lacks the horseradish obsession that I have.

I’m not horsing around [red] quinoa salad

Serves 6 (main dish) or 10 (side dish)

Ingredients

1 cup dry red quinoa, rinsed

1/2 medium sweet onion, diced

1/2 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, diced

1/2 English cucumber, peeled and diced

2 medium tomatoes, diced

1 can black beans, rinsed/drained

3 oz goat cheese, crumbled into chunks

3 TBS lemon juice

3 TBS EVOO

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 TBS prepared hot horseradish

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 tsp oregano

salt to taste

Directions

In a pot, bring quinoa and 2 cups water to a boil. Cover, reduce to simmer, 15 minutes. Remove from heat, keep covered, and wait 5 minutes. Place in fridge to cool.

Meanwhile mix your dressing: lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, horseradish, pepper, oregano and salt. Wisk well.

Throw remaining ingredients in with the chilled quinoa and add dressing. Mix well. Serve as a main or side dish.

p.s. you know you’re a food blogger when you take your dish outside and place it on your entry mat, just so you get the best lighting…

What is your favorite dish that includes red quinoa?

What is black, white and red [quinoa] all over? WIAW!

Nope, not a newspaper. It is today’s WIAW! As a result of pure laziness multiple reasons, I missed last week’s link up party. But, have no fear bloggettes, I’m back with beautifully creative dishes to tempt your taste buds.

Breakfast: red quinoa (cooked with water and chilled in the fridge) mixed with chia seeds, dried cherries, pepitas, cinnamon, and topped with vanilla almond milk.

Snack: self-picked cherries!

Lunch: I’m not horsing around red quinoa salad (recipe tomorrow!)

Snack: Fage 0% with cherry & pomegranate  – my new favorite flavor combination.

Snack: carrots and sugar snap peas from our garden w/trader joe’s hummus.

Dinner: Flank steak wrapped with provolone cheese and fresh basil from our garden. I always see versions of this at the grocery store, and want to purchase them. But I never have. Sunday, the hubs agreed to do an at-home version for me, and I liked it so much I requested he make it again during the work week.

Do you notice the white rocking chair in the background? I saw it on Saturday evening as I was driving by a garage sale. I debated for 5 seconds if I should stop, quickly determined it would be a brilliant addition to my classroom, and pulled over. A few minutes of bum-testing and haggling later, I walked away with the perfect reading nook chair.

Oh, yes, I never update y’all. I few months back I mentioned I had been laid off, along with a slew of other people in my district. The last day of school we were notified that all certificated employees would be recalled (yay!). However, every teacher in the district was subject to possible involuntary transfer. I spent the next month in limbo, knowing I would have a job, but was unsure what I would be doing. Last week I received my official placement. I wanted to wait until I had the opportunity to meet with my new principal, get curriculum materials, etc. before I announced my placement…

What do you think I’ll be doing?

(source)

This school year I will be a fourth grade* teacher! I am thrilled about my placement – a mere .21 miles from my house! (Yep, total nerd alert, I tracked it with my Garmin). I feel like I won the layoff/recall lottery! I knew I had little chance of returning to my school, (as all elementary schools had their library hours cut, and more senior librarians were offered the remaining full-time middle and high school positions). So even though I am very sad to leave a position and a school I loved so much, I am so excited to get back into the classroom!

(source) *I have a K-8 Certification

What is your favorite memory of fourth grade?

My favorite memory is my teacher, Mr. Showers. He was a great story teller. I remember a story he told the class about his friend who went on an African safari and had an elephant sit on his car. I have no idea if the story is true, but I still remember finding it hilarious.

My 7 Links

A few days ago I was nominated by Sarah, of Sarah for Real, to take part in My 7 Links. Sarah’s was the first 7 Links post I had seen, but it led me to spending many hours pouring over other 7 Links posts. Kind of like when you start off looking at one person on Facebook, and 20 people later you’re browsing your 2nd grade crush’s page. Blogging is funny like that.

Official rules can be found here, and my Bloggers Digest version is: link to the 7 blog categories and tag 5 bloggers.

My Most Beautiful post:

If we’re talking strictly photo-wise, I’m going to go with my Wordless Weekend post on June 12th.

My Most Popular post: I’ll be honest, I’m too new to WordPress to figure this one out. However, June 15th I received the most hits, so I am going to consider the post on that day my most popular. It was, the last WIAW of the school year.

My most controversial post: That is a toughie, as I don’t write very controversial posts (due to my profession). However, I think my series for National Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2011 could be considered controversial, as there are people who still believe eating disorders are not a problem, or that they are just for attention, or that people who have eating disorders just need to eat, or that only girls have eating disorders, or, or, or…well, you get my point. The most controversial post of the series that comes to mind is the Why are we afraid of… post.

(source)

My most helpful post: has to be my simplifying your life post from way back when I was on tumblr, where I discuss how I organize myself for the work week.

A post where success surprised me: this would have to be my Bloomsday 2011 recap. After living with exercise-induced athsma my entire life, I never thought I could be a runner. Finishing Bloomsday (7.41 miles) proved to me that I am capable of running, and that I can’t put up mental blocks. It also spurred me into signing up for my first half marathon!

(source)

A post you feel didn’t get the attention it deserved: probably my first National Eating Disorders Awareness post.

The post that I am most proud of: The Thin Ideal post. Are you seeing a theme here? After living with an eating disorder, and subsequently spending vast amounts of time researching the psychology and sociology of eating disorders, I naturally tend to write a lot about them. It is no wonder 3 out of 7 of my posts are linked to eating disorder related topics.

(source)

And now I would like to nominate:

Sarah at The Smart Kitchen

Jen at Chase-ing the Dream

Lindsay at Lindsay Living

Carly at Carly Love

Monique at She’s Going the Distance

Greek(ish) Quinoa Salad

I haven’t posted a recipe in a while. But a few days ago my friend, Danielle, requested tried and true vegetarian recipes, and I’ve had this one on the back burner for weeks. I don’t care for olives, but if you’re a Kalamata fan, I think they would be a wonderful addition to this dish.

Greek(ish) Quinoa Salad

Ingredients

1 Cup rinsed/drained quinoa

1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, diced

3 roma tomatoes, diced

1 English cucumber, pealed and diced

1/2 red onion, diced

1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed/drained

6 oz feta, crumbled

3 TBS lemon juice

3 TBS EVOO

1 TBS stone ground mustard

3 garlic cloves, minced

1-2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp dried basil

1/2 tsp thyme

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

salt to taste

Directions

Bring 2 cups water and 1 cup rinsed/drained quinoa to a boil, cover with lid, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and let sit 5 minutes. Fluff with fork and place cooked quinoa in the fridge to cool.

Once quinoa is cold, add bell pepper, tomatoes, onion, cucumber, garbanzo beans and feta.

Wisk together lemon juice, EVOO, stone ground mustard, garlic, oregano, basil, thyme and black pepper. Add to cold quinoa mixture and mix well. Serve cold.

Enjoy!

What is your favorite Greek, or Greek(ish), meal?

U-pick, I-pick

Today the hubs and I traveled to Greenbluff, a small no-spray and low-spray farming community north east of Spokane where you can pick your own fruit. Even though I’ve lived in Spokane for nine years, I’ve never been to Greenbluff. Today I picked my first cherry.

Our first stop was Walters Fruit Ranch, which I selected solely for the smiling apples sign.

After a short tractor ride, and a brief introduction to picking cherries, we set out through the orchard, picking Bings and Rainiers along the way.

We also found a birds nest!

After picking, we were greeted by a shaggy dog inside the store,

cheap wine tasting,

and jam and jelly tasting.

We walked away with about three pounds of cherries, for a whopping four dollars.

Next stop was Hidden Acres for a little raspberry picking.

and Ram meeting.

Inside their shop I found a few gems,

I need to meet this Garlic Lady…

We spent a total of $2.30 on 3 pounds of raspberries – score!

Our final destination, not to beconfused with the movie*,

(source)
*raise your hand if you were also in love with Devon Sawa

was Eleven Acres, to pick ourselves some strawberries. Unfortunately, I didn’t snap any pictures, but here is a happy strawberry to brighten your day.

(source)

We spent $1.90 on two and a half pounds of strawberries – crazy!

So now our fruit drawer is busting with fresh goodies, and I’m scouring the internet for fresh, healthy, and tasty recipes.

Do you have any must-make recipes involving cherries, raspberries or strawberries to share?

Have you ever been to a U-pick farm?

Spokane Indians 8K Pennant Run Recap

Hi bloggettes, I’ve been MIA for a week now, sorry about that! The past few weeks have been full of changes, (all good, no worries), and I haven’t had the time or energy to blog. I thought I might muster up the energy to get a WIAW post, but I was wrong. So instead I’ll bring you a race recap instead 🙂

Last Saturday I was browsing The Inlander and ran across an add for the Spokane Indians Pennant Run (8K) benefiting the Ronald McDonald House. For $30 you receive a technical t-shirt, a $7 donation to the Ronald McDonald house, a ticket to a Spokane Indians game and a beautiful run along the Centennial Trail in downtown Spokane. Great deal!

(source)

Unfortunately, I saw the add the day after the registration closed, so I had to pay an additional $5, and I won’t be able to pick up my race shirt for a week and a half. But I’m not too worried about that, it just means I have to travel to the Valley, which means a pit stop at Nordstrom Rack is in order.

(source)

After seeing the ad, and after googling the conversion of 8K to miles (4.92 in case you’re wondering), I texted my friend, Kyndra, to see if she would be interested. She was, and we “trained” for the next week. AKA, I went to Physical Therapy for my knee injury, post Half Marathon, and discovered I strained my IT band (more on that fun later). Therefore, I ran 2 miles one day and 3 miles another.

After arriving downtown at 7:15, with the hubs parking pass in hand, we discovered his garage was locked and we couldn’t park there. We also had no quarters for parking meters. Woops. We had to hit up 2 Starbucks to swap dollars for quarters from their tip jar (apparently they can’t open the register without a cash transaction), and find a 3 hour meter. We finally arrived at the race packet pick up tent at 7:52, grabbed our stuff, and had to run back to the car (about 3/4 mile away) to stash our stuff. Luckily, the internet was wrong about the starting time (it said 8, actual race started at 8:30), so we arrived back at the starting point with enough time to stretch.

After the Little Sluggers Dash (50 yard dash with the Spokane Indians mascot for kids 3 and under), and the 1K Kids Run (again, running with the mascot, poor guy), it was time to start our 8K.

The course started near the Carousel in downtown Spokane, and followed the Centennial Trail through Riverfront Park, along the South side of Gonzaga’s campus, around Mission Park, and back. It is actually the same course I ran 2-4 days a week during undergrad, so a wave of nostalgia passed over me as I ran. 🙂

(source)

The course was rather flat, except for a slightly steep overpass walking bridge (not pictured above!). I was very impressed with myself, as I ran the entire race (except for 2 30-second walk  breaks on the bridge). I finished in 50 minutes 32 seconds, with an average pace of 10 minutes 22 seconds per mile. I usually average 11-12 minute miles, so this was a PR for me!

If you’re thinking of running this race next year, two things you should know: there are 2 water stations (which double to 4, because you run by them twice on the loop), and you don’t get a timing chip. I wore my Garmin, but I spaced on pushing start until about 30 seconds in, and forgot to push stop until 30 seconds after. Woops.

But, it was a really fun small run, and great for the entire family. People were running with strollers, with their kids and with their dogs! It wasn’t a competitive race, like Bloomsday or Fueled by Fine Wine, which as a nice change of pace. Plus, you get to run along the Spokane River for half of the race – gorgeous!



Fueled by Fine Wine Half Marathon Recap

Better late than never, right?

I arrived in Newburg, OR on Saturday afternoon with my friend, Rhonda. We met Reese and checked into our, previously mentioned, smoking room at the Chateaux de Travelodge. I informed the front desk that I had reserved a non-smoking room, but they were completely booked. Inhaling 3rd degree smoke all night really impacted my body, and I woke up feeling sick to my stomach Sunday morning at the ripe ol’ time of 5:15 a.m.

standard pre-run peanut butter banana sandwich on whole wheat bread

After a quick digest of pre-run fuel, the gals and I set off to Dundee, OR, six miles down the road. We expected to have major issues parking, as Dundee is very small, with only one stop light, and over 12,000 runners signed up. However, we encountered no issues and parked across the highway from the race.

The starting area was in full swing when we arrived around 6:20 a.m., 40 minutes prior to start time. Only after we stepped out of a random group of people did we realize we had been standing in the bag check line, and had to go to the end of the line to check Rhonda’s sweatshirt. Sigh. Had I realized they would have a bag check I would have brought a soft pack with flip flops for after the race.

At 7 a.m. the line was still going strong, so the race management waited to start the race to ensure everyone was able to check their bags. I was pleased by how nice everyone was.

Then it was race time. I had my brand spankin’ new Garmin 405 all set to start and I lost GPS signal as I was crossing the start line! Grrr! I spent the first 3/4 mile fidgeting with it, nestling my water bottle between my armpit and my chest, until I was able to get a signal again. Therefore my watch results aren’t entirely accurate, but they give me a pretty good idea of exactly how difficult this course was.

Reese and I running somewhere around mile 4

The massive clouds of smoke from running through the vinyards…I was really wishing I wasn’t a mouth breather at this point!

I was going pretty steady for the first five miles or so. Then the hills really started to get to me. I knew a big hill was coming at mile 9, but I forgot about the monstrous one at mile 7.

*sidenote: the course and elevation were not posted on the course information page until about 2 weeks prior to race day.

Holy hell. I couldn’t even see the top of the hill, and it was a loop, so people kept passing me coming down the very steep, very skinny path. It was completely disheartening.

Once I got to the top, however, I was greeted by a beautiful vinyard.



I was also greeted by yet another hill! The vinyard was a diamond shape, so we went up, turned left, went up, turned left, went up, turned left, turned left and then finally went down.

On the second left Reese yelled something to the effect of there better be a lot of effing wine at the end of this bull.* Everyone around us started cracking up. It was all we could do, agony was all around us.

*Only with the real words. This is a PG blog after all y’all.

I thought I would enjoy going down the hill, but I didn’t. My knee chose that moment to seize up on me and it refused to run. I hobbled down the hill best I could, and attempted to jog a while longer.

But then I reached mile 9. Again, I couldn’t see the crest of the hill. I nearly broke down crying right then and there. But my body wouldn’t let me, it needed to conserve all the water it could to keep me hydrated!

(source)

For the rest of the race I kept a steady walk/run approach, and encouraged Reese to go ahead without me. But she refused to leave my side, noting that we were going to run this race together, and she quickly became my biggest cheerleader.

Caption for mile marker 12: That last wrong mile brought to you by your friends at Crumbled Rock. Yes, it was a VERY wrong mile. So was mile 7, so was mile 9!

Then I hit mile marker 12. I knew I could do it: run for just 1.1 more miles. I was going strong, but then we were met with another hill! It was a gradual one, but my body was SO over hills! I had to walk again, and I am sure poor Reese cursed me for this in her head. But then we turned the final corner and it was downhill from there. As with Bloomsday, Reese and I grabbed hands and held them high above our heads, and sprinted toward the finish line! I have never been more happy to be done with a run than in that very moment.

We were handed cold water bottles, which I slammed immediately, and our gorgeous medals.

Then we stood in a very long line to pick up the most prized possession: a Fueled by Fine Wine Riedel wine glass, which served as our ticket into the massive finishers tent complete with tables of food (which was pretty picked over by the time my slow bootay hobbled inside) and nearly 30 wineries with bottles for tasting.

My final time was 2 hours, 53 minutes, 6 seconds. That is an average pace of 13 minutes, 12 seconds per mile. I would be embarrassed about this time, (I estimated a 2 hour, 25 minute finish), but this course was unlike any run I have ever done. It was literally the hardest thing I’ve done in my entire life.

Rhonda commented that if this had been her first half-marathon she would have given up on running all together. She also jumped into mom mode and kept telling me how proud she was of me all weekend. I loved her for this. I was damn proud of myself for pushing through all the way to the finish, even though I wanted to stop and have a fireman carry me back each time I saw them after mile 7!

And even though I was defeated at first, I am eager to sign up for another half-marathon. I know I can improve my time SO much, and think of how accomplished I will feel then?

A few days post-race the Fueled by Fine Wine Director sent out an email asking for feedback. Rather than just share this information with him, I thought I would post it here in case any of you bloggies are thinking of running this race next year (July 8, 2o11).

Room for improvement:

More food!

By the time I reached the finishers tent the food had been picked over by people who had NOT run the race. Yes, supporters could purchase drink tickets for $20, but they should not have had access to the food. I managed to grab two halves of a banana, some stale bread, a nubbin of a crossant and two brownie bites. The cheese and the rest of the fruit were gone. I could have eaten more energy chews, but I was not in the mood for those at all. I wanted REAL food!

More porta potties along the route!

(source)

Each water station needed 4 or 5 porta potties. Only a few had them, and only 1 or 2. I had to pee starting at mile 3, but refused to wait in the long porta potty lines. Then I passed a fake porta potty after mile 9 and was so upset, It was on a flatbed, just teasing me! I managed to snag a no-line potty break at mile 11 because I couldn’t hold it any longer.

Take debit/credit cards at the pre-race expo.

(source)

The emails prior to the race said to bring your debit/credit cards, but then the clothing tent didn’t take cards. If they want to make more money, they will get more impulse purchases if people can actually spend money!

Don’t allow children and pets to be in the wine-tasting tent.

The emails prior to the race said no kids, yet for some reason there were tons of kids there. This is an 21 and over race, therefore kids have no business in the wine-tasting tent. Plus they were taking the runners food! If kids come to support their parents, that is great, but a separate tent for families would have alleviated some of the congestion.

Post the course before the race sign-up cut off date!

I knew there were hills, the website made that clear, but I was in no way prepared for the type of hills I would encounter. I was training on hills, but I could have been training a lot harder had I known what I had gotten myself into.

The good stuff:

This course was brutal, but it was beautiful.

(source)

‘Nuff said.

I’m going to do this race again.

Maybe not next year, but I know I can improve my time, since now I know what to expect.

So there you have it, my first half-marathon recap. The Director also mentioned that for this race, PR stands for pretty run or painful run, as no one is going to have a stellar time. But for me, I’m just happy to have finished it without the PR standing for Paramedics Required!

What is the most difficult thing you’ve ever done?