making time to make time January 12, 2012

The first 10 days or so of the year have been far more introspective than I’d ever planned. I knew I felt the rumblings of taking a bit of a slow start to the year here on the blog but I’ve approached writing here several times…and it hasn’t come. I’ve been spending time doing something for myself every day. Trying to set in place some healthier routines. Even just little things. Taking the dog for a long walk. Making sure I drink those bottles of water. Taking the time to put a little makeup on.

There are the big things, too. The soul-searching stuff. Trying to figure out when putting myself first (or even second or third sometimes) became so damn difficult.

The pup and I and a dear friend went up to the mountains for the weekend. We both needed a chance to do some soul searching. Have that kind of forced environment with little in the way of distractions to let your mind slow down about work and school and doggy daycare and editorial calendars…and let all the marbles that have been clanging around settle.

Rationalizing some decisions about projects I want to work on this year. The change of priorities to fulfill an almost life long dream versus something I know can come in time and still be wonderful. Sitting in pitch darkness, breathing in that crisp air and putting goals out into the universe over a cup of tea. Decidedly not worrying about the weekend’s food while I worry about sorting through a whole year of food.

We didn’t do much cooking in the tiny cabin kitchen. There was some noshing on chips, a failed attempt to roast beets with no foil (there’s a reason I’d never done this before), an emergency run for veggie sandwich fixings.

There was also fruit.

It is one of my “things to do in the new year” to eat more fruit. As someone who likes sweet but not too sweet stuff – and not a fan of chocolate – I’m trying to get more fruit into my diet. Adding it to breakfast (which I’m also trying to be better about eating) and savory items for easy nutrients, all the other health benefits, and something to curb a sweet tooth before it rears its ugly head. This quinoa salad, made for lunch the day before I left, was a way to use up stuff in the house and it is delicious. Black quinoa, some cherries from the fridge, a sprinkle of pistachios and a few leaves of red watercress for more substance. You can replace the pistachios with any nuts you have on hand – toasted almonds would be quite tasty.

Black Quinoa Salad with Cherries, Pistachios and Cress – serves 4 as a light meal

  • 1 cup dried black quinoa – rinsed and well-drained
  • 2 cups water or lightly flavored vegetable stock
  • 1 cup pitted cherries, cut in half or quartered
  • 1/3 cup chopped roasted & salted pistachios
  • 2 cups red watercress – washed, dried and tougher stems removed
  • 3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper, to taste

- In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, honey, oil, salt and pepper. Set aside.

- In a medium saucepan with a lid, bring the water/stock to a boil. Stir in the quinoa and return to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, until the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender but not mushy – this is about 12 minutes for me but depends on the quinoa you’re using. If it’s still got a bit of bite once the water has been absorbed, add a bit more liquid and continue to cook. Once cooked, remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Fluff with a fork to break up the grains.

- Mix the cooked quinoa with the pistachios and cherries in a salad bowl. Drizzle over the dressing and mix to coat completely. Portion out onto plates and top with handful of the watercress leaves. If you’d like, grind a bit more pepper over the top & sprinkle with a tiny bit of kosher salt to garnish. Serve immediately.

Comments

Stephanie @ okie dokie artichokie Jan 12, 2012 12:01 pm

So beautiful and light — love it! Cute puggy!

Heather @ Better With Veggies Jan 12, 2012 12:01 pm

That red watercress is gorgeous, I’ve never seen that before. Looks like a delicious salad!

Mallory Jan 12, 2012 12:01 pm

I have never used black quinoa before. The color is gorgeous though!

sippitysup Jan 12, 2012 01:01 pm

Red watercress! Wow. And your little pug reminds me so much of my little guy who passed away several years ago. But he lived a good long life and flashed me that same quizical look that I see on your pug face– everyday! GREG

marla Jan 12, 2012 05:01 pm

Your pup & this quinoa are stunning! Hopefully you were able to figure stuff out on your trip :)

DessertForTwo Jan 12, 2012 05:01 pm

That red watercress is stunning! I’m going to have to grow that this year–thanks! :)

Someday I want to run away to the mountains with you & Chris! Y’all are so sweet :)

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar Jan 12, 2012 07:01 pm

What a lovely salad! So yummy looking. And those cherries?? SWOON!

Nancy Coffin Jan 12, 2012 08:01 pm

The quinoa salad is one of the most beautiful pics I have seen on tastespotting! Sounds like a great simple recipe too :-)

christelle is flabbergasting Jan 12, 2012 10:01 pm

I would never have thought about such an original flavor combination but I think you just won my heart AND my belly with this super-inspired salad! I will possibly dream of it.

Brian @ A Thought For Food Jan 12, 2012 10:01 pm

HA! I can’t take it! That pug is too cute!

Anna Jan 13, 2012 02:01 am

Your pictures are stunning…They come to life! This salad recipe is superb. Come to think of it, all my favorite salads are green. It is nice to have a uniquely colored salad. Thanks for sharing! Looks refreshing. A must try!

Simon Jan 13, 2012 08:01 am

Love the salad. Red watercress is stunning – I want some.

Amy Jan 13, 2012 08:01 am

I’m jealous of your time. I think that would do me a world of good to take a day or so to think and process and breathe. I’m with ya on the fruit. I’ve been trying to keep the easier to prep ones on hand so I have no excuse.

Gorgeous photos, as always.

Caitlin Jan 13, 2012 09:01 am

what a gorgeous salad!

Winnie Jan 13, 2012 06:01 pm

A stunning salad, and a lovely post all around. Mingus is crazy cute…and more fruit is good ;)

Snippets of Thyme Jan 13, 2012 09:01 pm

I wasn’t expecting those gorgeous colors in the salad. How beautiful. I just love the colors of it.

Teresa Blackburn Jan 15, 2012 07:01 pm

I so enjoyed reading this. It is certainly the month for reflection isn’t it? Happy New Year.

Sofie Dittmann AKA German Foodie Jan 16, 2012 09:01 am

LOVE the watercress. beautiful photos!

Amanda@EasyPeasyOrganic Jan 16, 2012 01:01 pm

That salad, your puppy, everything. So beautifully photographed.

Laura Jan 16, 2012 09:01 pm

SO glad I stumbled onto your blog today. Can’t believe it took me so long. Like you, I’m trying to do the eat-more-fruit-before-I-cram-even-more-sugar-into-my-body thing. Hope the mountain air is clearing your head :)

Magic of Spice Jan 19, 2012 12:01 am

Your pup is just adorable, and sounds like a lovey time with needed reflection. This salad is just heavenly…fresh and gorgeous!

Russell at Chasing Delicious Jan 20, 2012 07:01 pm

It reassuring to see others are taking the mark of a new year to reevaluate all those big and little things in life. This salad looks stunning! Lovely shot.

Cranberry & Pistachio Biscotti Jan 21, 2012 11:01 am

[...] the problems that come my way can be fixed. That thought process really sunk in with an impromptu trip to the mountains. It rained the entire weekend, but it didn’t make a difference.  When I [...]

Beth Jan 22, 2012 10:01 pm

So lovely! But… where the heck are you getting cherries in January!? Send some up to Chicago, please.

I love the direction of this post. I’m in great need to settle for a minute, catch my breath, and figure things out. So wonderful.

kale @ tastes good to me! Jan 23, 2012 03:01 pm

This is probably the most gorgeous photo of salad I have ever seen.

Kulsum@journeykitchen Jan 24, 2012 08:01 am

sometimes you really need to think of yourself first :) I really need to try black quinoa

P.S. I hate dogs (yea) but every time I see yours on FB I feel like changing my mind!

The Teacher Cooks Jan 24, 2012 10:01 am

Gorgeous!

lisaiscooking Jan 30, 2012 09:01 am

I love the colors in this salad. And, the cherries sound lovely. This reminds me I have cherries in my freezer just waiting for a good use like this.

Jill Mant~a SaucyCook Feb 1, 2012 12:02 am

What a lovely post. So heartfelt. I completely understand. I often run away to Shambhala Mountain Center in Red Feather Lake, Co. when I just need to sort things out and check in with me. No phones, no tv…pure joy.
And your recipe looks so good. I’ve never tried Black Quinoa, but I will. You might enjoy my purple kale and grapes recipe; I hope you’ll try it. I will try yours! Thanks.

Ève Feb 2, 2012 11:02 am

Just when I discover your blog… hope you gonna write again anytime soon!

Nikkie Feb 16, 2012 11:02 am

These pics are absolutely beautiful and sounds delish! I will be trying this soon!

Kusuma Feb 22, 2012 09:02 pm

Beautiful post. My life seems to be echoing similar sentiments. I love how food fails usually lead to the genius of subtle simplicity dish. I’ve been trying to figure out how to find inspiration, all the while in front of a bowl of strawberries.

Thank you.

[...] grain. Plus, it’s a complete protein! And look at all the stuff you can do with it: here, here and [...]

[...] Black Quinoa Salad with Cherries, Pistachios and Cress from Running With Tweezers /* Share the love: Category: get in my belly! [...]

[...] Did you know that you can get black quinoa? Use it in your favourite quinoa recipe, or try a new one like this black quinoa salad with cherries, pistachios, and watercress. [...]

[...] Did you know that you can get black quinoa? Use it in your favourite quinoa recipe, or try a new one like this black quinoa salad with cherries, pistachios, and watercress. [...]

[...] For those of you who would like something a bit more substantial in the am – in fact, this is great for any time of day – Running with Tweezers gives you all the protein you’ll need with their recipe for Black Quinoa Salad with Cherries, Pistachios and Cress.  [...]