After a very long hiatus from the blogging world, I'm back!! Every time you think I'm gone for good, I throw posts in here and there only to go away again for a while. Well, this time I am back and plan to be back on a regular basis.
The new house is finally in order, which means I can begin concentrating on things I love best, mainly cooking, baking, and writing. I even have my own office digs in the house with an actual door I can close (but not lock). The kids are back in school. Yes, kids, meaning even my darling Logan is off to all-day kindergarten. The best part is that they all ride the bus to school. Do you know what this means? It means I no longer have to cart them back and forth from home to school and school to home. It means I actually have an entire day to work and devote my time to you. Hallelujah! Don't get me wrong because I do miss having them home. I don't miss driving. I also don't miss only getting snippets of time to write. Try squeezing in a post in an hour's time, especially when you have the slowest computer known to man that finally decided to stop uploading photos as the summer began. Great timing, right? So, as the summer comes to an end, I have a new computer, more time, and more amazing recipes to share.
Even though I have been away, it doesn't mean I haven't been cooking and trying new recipes. Some have been my own creation, like this healthy and yummy Mediterranean Quinoa Salad. Some have been in new cookbooks that serve as constant inspirations for my own spin. Much to share, much to share.
I can easily say that as a family we ate our way through the summer, beginning (and ending) with our share of fried food, chips, pies, and cookies. By the end of our trips to the beach, I swear I could have gone for a week straight without eating simply because I wasn't hungry. That's where this salad creation came into play.
I am crazy about Mediterranean food and all of the flavors packed into it. The combination of saltiness from the kalamata olives and feta cheese, brightened by the lemon peel, and the soft, filling addition of the meaty chickpeas hit the spot every time. I added the quinoa because not only is it healthy but it pairs well with the fresh vegetables in the salad and soaks up the dressing perfectly.
This dish was a hit with the entire household. Eat it alone for a light lunch or dinner or add some more protein with grilled chicken or salmon. Either way it is a perfect salad to fill you up without adding too many calories. I definitely needed that after the eating frenzy I caved to this summer.
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1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 T. fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
3 Spring Onions, chopped
1 roma tomato, seeded and chopped
15 ounce can garbanzo beans (or chickpeas), drained and rinsed
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
6 ounces feta, cubed or crumbled
1 package of Italian Good Seasonings salad dressing, prepared according to package directions
Begin by making the quinoa according to package directions (1 cup quinoa to 2 cups water). Once the quinoa has absorbed the water, add the lemon juice, lemon zest, and chopped parsley. Mix it all together. Set the quinoa aside and allow to cool while you prepare the veggies.
In a large bowl, combine the red bell pepper, spring onions, tomato, chickpeas, and olives. Once the quinoa has cooled sufficiently, add it to the veggies. Stir the mixture to combine. Add the prepared salad dressing and stir to coat all of the ingredients in the bowl. Top the bowl off with the cubed or crumbled feta.