Cold Quinoa Salad

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This is one of my simple and delicious go-to dishes that I make for myself, but usually I eat whatever variation of this recipe I make right when it’s ready and hot. But now that the temperatures have risen in Orange County, I’ve been chilling it in the fridge before I dive in and it’s even more delicious cold. The mustard vinaigrette dressing is what makes it for me; the lemon adds a lot of tangy flavor, while the Dijon mustard makes it really creamy. This recipe also makes for a fantastic side dish, as Sam and I had this dish (he calls it Joaquinoa Pheonix) with little filet mignons one night and it was super yummy! The recipe is below and is versatile for whatever kind of flavors you’d like to add. Enjoy!

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Cold Quinoa Salad (Serves 1 meal or 2 side dishes):

1/2 cup of white quinoa

1 cup of chicken stock

Juice from 1 lemon

1 1/2 tsp. of Dijon Mustard

1 tbsp. of red wine vinegar

1 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp. or so of chopped chives (flat leaf Italian parsley is good-any green herb of your liking would work)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

Wash the quinoa in cold water (this helps give it a fluffier texture). Bring the chicken stock, quinoa and juice from half of the lemon to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the seeds get fluffy. You will see the white rings separate from the seed. If you taste it and it’s still too crunchy continue to let it simmer until it has a softer texture.  You want a little bit of chewiness, but you don’t want to feel like you’re eating bird seed.

While that’s cooking, combine the rest of the lemon juice, Dijon Mustard and red wine vinegar and whisk together. While whisking, slowly pour the olive oil into the mixture to make sure the oil is nicely incorporated into dressing. Add salt, pepper and most of the chives to your dressing and stir. Once the quinoa is looking nice and fluffy, pour the dressing on top and mix it up in a bowl. Let it cool down a bit before chilling it in the fridge. Cover the bowl and poke a hole to let steam out and chill for around 45 minutes or so. Add the rest of your freshly chopped chives and dig in!

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These Two

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Uncle Sam and Ella; a dynamic duo I could not adore more. Poor Ella is the only child on our Silver Lake trips so she sometimes has no one to play with, except when Sam is around–then the playing really begins! I think Ella has a lot of Sam’s attributes, particularly their love of performing for others. He’s the perfect companion for her as he has no problem acting like a kid and doing the silliest things with her. The name of the game for the whole trip was “playing spy” on the grown-ups. Sam would give her “missions” and she’d earnestly complete them. And sometimes they’d go on operations together, like to spy on Papa while he washed the dishes. And I was there to capture it. I was all smiles and laughter behind the camera, while trying not to blow their cover. Mike was also holding back laughter, but playing along with it; he’s a good Papa. I couldn’t resist sharing this hilarious series of photographs with you.

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Silver Lake 2013

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Annual Silver Lake trips started with Sam’s family when he and his sister, Sara, were very young. Somewhere along the way the trips came to an end, but three years ago they decided to bring the family vacation back to life! It’s been amazing in the last three years to sort of experience what Sam’s childhood vacations were like in Silver Lake. And it seems that with each year, the trips get better and better. I’ve known Sam and his family for nearly five years now and we’ve been very close from the beginning, but I am constantly in awe of how lucky I am to be a part of this family.

This vacation was really special for me–maybe even the best of my life, so far. I felt like I was in this calm and spacious mind-set to fully appreciate every ounce of what happened during our trip. There were so many moments that I loved and I was usually right there to capture it with my camera. I realized on this trip how much I love to document the awesome moments of my life. I wrote in my journal of all of the great experiences of the day and I had two cameras with me: my new Nikon SLR and my smaller Sony camera for situations when I couldn’t take my bigger SLR.

I think I have this drive to capture moments that I love on camera or in my journal because I always want to remember them and hate the thought of letting those little things–and even the big things–dissipate into my life’s history without remembrance. To be able to have something to look back on and remind myself that this small, yet incredible, thing happened one day when I was in Silver Lake, is very important to me. Ergo, I’m a serious moment captor. Some of the highlights of the trip: the Supermoon, celebrating my 25th birthday, Sam and Sara dancing to “Billie Jean,” Sam and his niece, Ella, playing spy, boat fishing, mornings at the cafe and beautiful sunsets on the lake.

Have a good Fourth of July!

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Ozone Mama

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I’ve been really enamored by the sky lately. There have been so many interesting cloud formations and beautiful gradations of blue in the sky each day. I find myself  “oohing” and “ahing” every time I look up. I think I’ve been paying more attention to the air above me lately because I know I will be leaving this sky for a completely different sky in Portland. So I’m doing my best to soak in the mostly sunny, California days. And now that today is officially the beginning of summer, I will appreciate all that the sun has to offer–with sunscreen, of course.

Saturday, I will be making the drive, with Sam and his family, to Silver Lake–a gorgeous lake next to June Lake, in the Eastern Sierra. I didn’t realize that I would be going on vacation the day after Summer Solstice and I don’t think there is a better way to start off my summer! I’m really looking forward to unplugging for a week and allowing myself to relax in such a breathtaking environment.

I hope all of you celebrate the beginning of your summer in your own way!  And I will see you in a little over a week!

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Photos by me.

Portland Bound

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So by the end of this summer, I will be calling Portland, Oregon home! Sam and I made the huge decision at the end of last year, but it hadn’t become a reality until this month. Just when it looked like our move wasn’t going to happen for awhile, everything started to come together for us. The universe was somehow letting us know that our idea was–and still is–a pretty great one, terrifying but great. It’s incredibly exhilarating to have a big idea like this become a reality!

I’m really proud of Sam and I. We are a kick-ass team and have been through a lot together. I’m really happy that I get to experience all of this with him. That’s what this move is all about for me–my love and I are starting our life together. We’re ready. But until the big move, I plan on soaking in my summer here in California with all of my family and friends. It’s going to be hard leaving everyone, but I can’t wait to start fresh in lovely Portland, the City of Roses.

Source: Fine Print NYC