Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I've read and heard that the mind is most active and creative during the stage just between asleep and awake. I've experienced this phenomenon more than once, so I believe it to be true.

A couple of days ago, I had in mind to make a grilled chicken salad for dinner. We've had our share of cookies and ice cream lately - and probably another family's share, too - so I thought that we should have some lighter fare that was power-packed enough to give our systems a boost.

I once read an article by a guy who hikes more than the average "crunchy" person. He claimed that if he could take only one superfood on the trail with him, it would be

That's "keen-wah".

A Google search will yield many articles citing the nutritional benefits of quinoa, but I first heard of it through my friend, Becky. She was the first person whom I ever met that cooks and bakes with fresh grains.
I purchased this book that highlights the main super grains, along with a bit of history of the uses and benefits thereof.

Anyway, back to my brainstorming. 
I awoke with the idea to have a quinoa salad with our grilled chicken salad. 
(I also thought about how to season the chicken for grilling, rather than marinating it. Yum!)

Quinoa can be eaten as a hot breakfast cereal - best, in my opinion, with cinnamon, ginger, almond milk, a dash of salt, dried blueberries and agave nectar - but I've seen recipes for salads and other sides made using this versatile grain.
In fact, I once made it as a yummy side dish with mushrooms, and my friend, Lauren, makes amazing cookies using quinoa. 

When I made the salad, I wanted to merge a few different flavors, so I included dried cranberries for a bit of sweetness, as well as slivered almonds, cilantro, cumin, salt, pepper and olive oil.
These were added after cooking 1 C quinoa in 2 C salted water, which I brought to a boil, then simmered, covered, until the water cooked out, and let it cool in the refrigerator while working on other preparations.

I found it a bit salty as I "poison tested" it, so I drizzled just a tad of agave nectar for balance.

The final assessment?
Lots of positive feedback from the natives.

I forgot to mention that during my half-awake brainstorm, I came up with an idea for sun-dried tomato dressing for the grilled chicken salad. I didn't write it down, but here's what I remember:

sun-dried tomatoes (the kind in a jar of oil & herbs)
red wine vinegar
balsamic vinegar
minced garlic
Greek seasoning
lemon juice
Dijon mustard
a hint of soy sauce

Tweak this per your own taste. I made this in the Vita-Mix, which made it a little thick and caused it to somewhat resemble Thousand Island dressing, which I absolutely do not like. So, I had to remind myself that I'd enjoy the end result.
And I did. 
We all did.


  1. Oh, this sounds delicious! We have experimented with quinoa a little and found it a nice alternative to rice. Thanks for posting the recipe :).

    Much love,

  2. Thanks, Micaela! Yes, quinoa does stand in nicely for rice. I've made that substitution once before. Feel free to share your own quinoa recipes! :-)

  3. I *love* quinoa!
    You should try the Gingery Granny Smith Quinoa with Slivered Almonds recipe found here:
    (It's the second recipe on the page, so you'll have to scroll down.)
    And, unless you're a big ginger fan, I recommend cutting back what the recipe calls for. It's soooo good!

  4. Liesl, thanks for the tip! I do love ginger. A LOT! We had homemade ginger ice cream last night. It's a favorite, second only to coffee ice cream.