freestyle fridays

my little bowl of sunshine

good morning!
ever have one of those days that seems like you're just bouncing from one mess to the next? you start the day sloshing through mud, literally and/or figuratively, jumping from one puddle to the next, and all your best laid plans unravel. who am i kidding. of course you have those days. we all have those days. sometimes we have weeks and weeks of those days. on those days we need a sure thing. and this little bowl of sunshine is a sure thing, indeed.
my muddy day happened recently. among the plans that came undone, were the dinner plans. i had the best of intentions. it was the night i was making one of my favorites, thai beef salad (it'll come back around. promise) i was going to do a blog post about it so i had the camera ready, new batteries and all. i had all the ingredients. what i didn't have was time. because hours after dinnertime, i was still milking goats and feeding ducks and watering chickens and there was the running of the dogs that rivals pamplona. and grilling a steak was just not in the picture.
but oh did i need something good. i was starving and frankly, this exhausted and grubby farmstress needed a little pampering. i wanted to be indulged. i wanted delicious. i wanted my freshest favorites. i wanted a big bowl of blessing. and that's just what i got.
first i took a warm bath. then i got down to business

my little bowl of sunshine quinoa salad
serves 4 as a side dish, and 2, if feeding a very hungry and a little bit grumpy farmstress, and who wants for tomorrow's lunch
■½ c plain quinoa
■½ c red quinoa
■2 cups water
■your favorite veggies, prepared (see below)
■2 cloves minced garlic
■zest and juice of one lemon
■½ c extra virgin olive oil
■1t dijon mustard
■1 healthy tablespoon of chopped, fresh oregano
■salt, to taste

 notes on ingredients:
■you may use both, or just one type of quinoa, i happened to have both and that red was going to make me happy.
■ you may elect to substitute your favorite cooking liquid for the water, when cooking quinoa. i often use stock. this recipe, however, uses a vinaigrette, so the additional flavor won't be necessary.
■ feel free to use the vegetables and seasonings of your choice. change it up. make it yours.
■ use any mustard of your choice. dijon is used traditionally. a prepared yellow mustard, however, won't yield the same results. it will be awful, in fact. save it for hot dogs. i used from maggie's farm farmhouse mustard
■ fresh herbs make all the difference, especially in a salad such as this, but if you just don't have access to them, use ½ the amount in dried herb, and let soak in the vinaigrette for at least 30 minutes before dressing the dish. (but really, get fresh. grow an herb or two. just think about it, even.)

prepare your favorite vegetables. trim, chop, slice. i've steamed the carrots briefly (i confess. in the microwave. for three minutes). the other goodies you see here are, from top, clockwise, chopped celery hearts, fresh oregano, mushrooms, tomatoes, scallions, carrots, and sliced cucumber on the edge up there. you might want to add some sweet red pepper, or hot chile pepper, or artichoke hearts, olives, chopped sweet onion, sugar snap peas, bean sprouts, chopped greens, arugula....endless possibilities.

rinse, rinse, rinse your quinoa. if you skip this important step, your quinoa will be bitter. combine quinoa with water in saucepan. add any frozen vegetables if your are using them. you can add any vegetables you'd like cooked, too. i added the handful of sliced mushrooms and frozen peas, at this stage. bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, about 15 minutes, or until grains are transparent, and moisture has been absorbed.
in a medium salad bowl, prepare dressing.

combine olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, mustard, garlic, and salt. whisk thoroughly to combine. (if you want to get fancy, you can combine all of your ingredients except the olive oil, then slowly drizzle in the oil, whisking all the time, and feeling very superior and french. i'm a farmstress. i'm in a hurry. i'm hungry. and while we're talking about me, what's that on my hand in that middle picture? are those scales? i promise i'm not a fish)
now that your vinaigrette is ready, it'll be about time for the quinoa to be done, too. add your veggies and the quinoa with cooked vegetables to salad bowl, toss to coat with dressing.
season to taste, and serve that perfect bowl of happy.
now how sweet is that.
from maggie's farm farmhouse mustard
4.00/half pint

now, the skinny...

muscle enhancer
although technically a seed, this protein source contains a complete set of branch chain and essential amino acids, making it a tissue- and muscle-building powerhouse. its nutritional composition is better than most grains, so try to have one cup a week, alternating it with other healthy starches such as sweet potatoes and brown rice.

olive oil
inflammation fighter
the extra-virgin variety is rich in beneficial monounsaturated fats. its fatty acids and polyphenols reduce inflammation in cells and joints. have up to two tablespoons a day.

immunity booster
mushrooms are rich in the antioxidant ergothioneine, which protects cells from abnormal growth and replication, reducing the risk of cancer. consume half a cup once or twice a week. cooking them in red wine, which contains the antioxidant resveratrol, magnifies their immunity-boosting power.

immunity booster
the lycopene content in tomatoes help protect against degenerative diseases.  Shoot for half a tomato, or 12-20 oz of tomato juice a day.

now friends, i know i promised you a recap of the superfood ingredients we've used up until today.  your farmstress did not anticipate this blogger outage.  we'll address those ingredients, and a new recipe, on meatless mondays. promise. and please know that if you don't see a blog post from me early on monday, wednesday, and friday mornings, well...blame blogspot. technical difficulties...bah!

sources:,, usda national nutrient database

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