Sunday, September 16, 2012

Update: Let's simplify

So, I received a few questions to the recipe post on quinoa from a few days ago... and I also consulted with my step-mom (who was the one who made it for me this summer!) She passed on her recipe... which seems quite simple and possibly cheaper than buying all the veggies individually! I am a big fan of that and from having been a taste-tester... I know this is good!

1 package of FarEast Taboule
1 juice from a whole lemon
1 or 2 tomatoes & cucumber
Quart of Julianne Salad (in the deli counter... mixture of squash/red onion, etc)
Veggies from the salad bar
1 can garbanzo beans
Sunflower seeds
Fat Free Italian Dressing

Make the Taboule the night before and refrigerate overnight. Take the juice from the lemon and add it to the taboule the following morning. Chop the tomatoes/cucumber and chop up the Julianne Salad & veggies in to smaller pieces. Add these, along with the Garbanzo beans and sunflower seeds to the taboule. Coat with the dressing and mix together. Serve over lettuce.

Simple!! Like that
Very Tasty!! LOVE that!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Quinoa - How do you say it?!!

Quinoa. I've heard it pronounced so many different ways.... and it fascinates me how everyone thinks they are saying it correctly and will defend themselves AND seem insulted when you correct them... or indicate they might be wrong!

But, no matter how you pronounce it... it tastes yummy!
Filled with nutrients, low in fat, high in protein!

Especially in a cool summer salad.

I love when friends post new recipe finds on their blogs, so I thought I would pass along a new favorite of mine! I had it a few times this summer and LOVED every bit. Seriously - ate it for breakfast, lunch and dinner some days!

I love that it's "light" on the stomach, but filling. I love that you're getting veggies and nutrition galore when you eat it. I love that you can make it with a variety of different combination depending on your mood... or really, what you have in your home. But, more than anything - I just LOVE it!

So if you want to try it too... here you go! The quinoa can be made ahead of time and refrigerated as well... another big plus! I am also going to list just "the start" of things you can include.


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups cold water/broth
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup snow peas, corn, shell peas, celery, lima beans, black beans or green beans
  • 2 small carrots, peeled and sliced thin... or zucchini, etc
  • 1/2 green or red pepper, sliced thin
  • 1 medium ripe tomato & avocado
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, cilantro, or basil
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, almonds, toasted sunflower seeds or toasted cashews

Dressing: Here's a recipe... but you can just also use light Italian dressing from the store as well!

  • 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Options: Pinch of cayenne, garlic powder or fresh minced garlic, minced fresh or dried ginger


  1. Soak the quinoa 5 minutes in cold water
  2. Rinse thoroughly 2 times, pour off the water and drain through a large fine mesh strainer
  3. Place in 2 qt pot with the chicken/vegetable broth.. or just plain water!
  4. Cover the pot, bring to a full boil, turn the heat to low, and cook for 15 minutes
  5. Remove from heat and set aside to cool
  6. Steam the carrots and green veg for 5 minutes or until tender-crisp, drain, rinse in cold water and drain again
  7. Chop the tomatoes, herb and cucumber
  8. Gently combine veggies, quinoa and dressing in a large bowl
  9. Cover and chill, or serve immediately
As I mentioned there are so many variations to this. I found some that combined feta, watermelon, mint and quinoa... then tossed with a honey dressing or balsamic vinegar. I also found a pesto/tomato one that looks yummy too! I'm excited to try some fall versions and maybe I'll post another recipe soon!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Labor Day weekend fun!

As my previous post indicated, for part of Labor day weekend I went to Nantucket, closed out their house, and took their car across ocean to the main land. I kind of volunteered to drive their car back because it gave me two days "off" from the kids and I knew I could stop and spend some time with my dad on my drive back. 

So, Friday night I traveled from Hyannis to Westerly and spent Friday night/Saturday with my dad and step-mom. Nothing too exciting... usually just very relaxing and this time didn't disappoint! 

I left their house on Sunday to begin my drive back to DC... but my friend Meradyth had come north to visit her friend from high school in New Haven, CT, so I stopped and checked out the Yale singles ward with her! Nothing too much to report there... BUT, after church we walked out and took this picture. The sign was placed so perfectly and I think the picture turned out well!

Mer posted it on Facebook with some message about starting her first year of undergrad... (she's my age and went to U of U... and graduated) but anyway... it was funny...

BUT, the funnier thing was that so MANY people believed that she was truly going to Yale and starting her undergrad program there! Ha ha!! Go Bulldogs :) She'll have a fabulous freshman year!

After church I drove back to DC. There were some major storms along the way but fortunately.... NO traffic jams! I made it in a sweet 5 hours or so!! It's a long drive no matter when you do it, but I was glad to really make good time!

On Monday, as one of the month-long celebrations for Mer's b-day, she, Miranda and I went hiking in Great Falls! It was so dang humid, but I am glad we did it. Very nice to be out in nature and fun time to just chat with them.

The falls are really pretty. We were on the VA side. The other side is MD!
 Just so pretty and calm and parts and then filled with rapids and rocks at others!

Happy Labor day and Happy Birth Month Meradyth!!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Leaving the island once again... time for a top ten list!

My summer on Nantucket came to an official end yesterday. I returned with the kids to DC last Tuesday, but had to fly back on Thursday of this week to drive their car back to DC. So, I had about 30 hours on the island all to myself!

Just to give you an idea of HOW much I love the pool on a beautiful day, 8 of those 30 hours (over 2 days) were spent at the pool! I finished one book, started another, talked to some friends, ate lunch and swam my last two times in an outdoor pool for the season.

Ahhh- peace and quiet. A true treasure. 

Nantucket is an amazingly beautiful place. It has a special place in my heart. But, as I think about it, I wanted to come up with a top ten list of what I'll miss... and what I won't miss!

Let's start with what I won't miss!... in no particular order

1. The Stop & Shop parking lot, deli counter, checkout lines and basically every square inch of that place - It's a nightmare in the busy season. People and cars everywhere. Unless you go at 4 AM... you're never sure what's going to be in-stock and plan on waiting in line forever even if you just need a few items. 

2. Crowds - People, poeple, people... bikes, bikes, bikes... cars, cars, cars Everywhere!

3. Cobblestone streets - Pretty to look at... but terrible to drive on, impossible to ride a bike on, and treacherous to walk on!

4. Mosquitos - enough said

5. Sharing a bathroom with a 7 & 10 year old boy - No one should have to do that! Ewwww

6. Doing more loads of laundry than I care to think about - It's incredible the about of wash 6 active people can generate. 

7. Nothing ever dries out - It seems like nothing ever dries because of the humidity. Although I did remember the trick my mom has taught me when I was younger to put newspaper in my sneakers and that dries them out!

8. Having to get up earlier than I would like on the weekends - You can hear EVERYTHING in the house... so once the kids are up (which is early), I am up!

9. Just having my own space....

And, this is probably the thing I won't miss at ALL

10. Not having any friends to hang out with!! I truly missed that this summer. Thank goodness for cell phone to text and computers to email with!

On a different note... there are some things I WILL miss! (Again in no particular order)

1. Sunsets. So beautiful

2. Island time - Life's speed slows down on an island

3. The food! - Yes, I did cook a bit... I had a nice rotation of roast chicken, tacos, hamburgers, pasta and microwave chicken nuggets :) BUT, we also ate out a lot and the food there is like none other! So yummy and I LOVED it!

4. Nature - I loved our trips to the State Forrest, the Cranberry Bogs, the Bamboo Forrest and any of the dozen beaches. Nantucket does a great job of preserving its lands and keeping them beautiful!

5. The Nantucket Airport - Kind of an odd thing to make the list, but I LOVE this airport. Free, easy, accessible parking, free wi-fi, clean bathrooms... clean everything, it's only minutes from their house... and most of all... the TSA didn't give me a HUGE hassle when I realized my license was lost and needed to board my flight!

6. Anywhere you need to go - You can Bike! - Definitely nice to know you can avoid some of the crowds (as well as get more exercise) by biking to do your errands!

7. GHYC - a.k.a... my swimming pool and basically where I spent every afternoon with the kids! Honestly, I fell in love with this place. The GHYC has two locations. One is downtown and has the main yacht club, fitness center, and sailing club (didn't spend too much time there except for a few dinners including my birthday dinner)... The 2nd location is very near our house and has tennis courts, two swimming pools and a snack/lunch bar. I fell in love with the 2nd location! The kids love the tennis clinics, I love sitting by the family pool and watching them swim... while also getting to thoroughly enjoy sitting by the adult pool when the kids weren't there! I swam laps on an almost daily basis. The adult pool area was almost never crowded and just peaceful :) The food was great... the lifeguards were a lot of fun... there is simply nothing to complain about here! The pool/tennis club provided constant entertainment for the kids and its where all their friends gathered as well... so I got to know many of the other moms and nannies. It was our 2nd home and I couldn't have made it through the summer without this place!

The adult swimming pool... just me, the pool and the lifeguard!

8. The TWIG - This is what the LDS members on the island call themselves. They're not their own branch, but are part of a ward located on the main island. However, it's too expensive and difficult to get to the ward for church every Sunday... so we meet in a member's home. (It's actually a single male dentist who lives year-round on the island. During the year there are 6 people who attend weekly, but during the summer this numbers can skyrocket up to 10 or 11 (with nannies like me, other visitors, and extended family coming to visit, etc!) Even though I missed attending my ward, I grew to really value and appreciate these members. I am grateful for their friendship but also admired their dedication and persistence in still holding weekly "meetings" despite have so few members. Especially the one teenage boy who is still living at home. Admirable. Very admirable. 

9. My chair - I like to call it "mine" but obviously they own it!! You can kind of see it in this picture. The yellowish couch in the back is a couch with three seats, but the third seat is sofa chaise (?). Is that the right word to describe it. Anyway, you can just lie on it and sink right in. The perfect spot for reading and then napping... which I did quite frequently this summer! So comfy!!
10. Summer - This might seem kind of silly, but since I've spent the past two summers on Nantucket all summer, and the summer before that I was there for a few weeks... I've come to associate summer with Nantucket. And, while living on the island presents its challenges and frustrations for me, it really is a very pretty, relaxing and wonderful place to live... during the summer! (I don't think I'd want to live there from November to April!... but I'd like to visit one weekend just to see what it's like!) Leaving Nantucket means that summer is coming to an end. And, while that is exciting, it also means the lazy days of summer are over... and the schedules, stress and what-not of the school year begin!! Who knows what this year will bring... but I am just hoping for my birthday wish to come true!!! Please - oh PLEASE!!

Pictures as I leave the island: