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
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
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.