Friday, October 21, 2011

A recipe

Yeah, I'm not even going to apologize for the lack of KCWC posts. I actually finished a pair of pinstriped pants for the Numa and have planned most of his Halloween costume, but haven't photographed anything yet so I won't be posting about that until I do. Besides, I am still the only person reading this (other than my husband, who apparently checks these posts...thanks babe!). M, if you were offended by the lack of posts, just look around the house and it will all make sense.

Instead of posting about crafts, I am going to post a recipe that is one of our favorites. I actually wrote this a while ago, with some background about the inspiration as well as the full recipe. I will make it soon and update this with a picture. Enjoy!

My mother was a stay at home mom.  It was great for me and my sister, since she was always there to help us with homework or take us to various activities.  Looking back as an adult, I realize that we definitely didn’t appreciate all of her hard work or the fact that we were (most likely) slowly driving her crazy.  Don’t get me wrong...we helped around the house.  No one had more chores than we did and they were never suspended.  If we had friends over, they either waited or helped which seemed so cruel at the time.  However, so many things that made no sense to me as a child or young adult are so clear to me now, and none more so than the fatigue and aggravation that comes of being the main cook for your family.  Our immediate and never changing answer to the question “what do you want for dinner” was “I don’t know.”  It took almost 30 years for me to understand the silent rage that those 3 words can incite but now that I am the one trying to put a nightly meal on the table, not many things irritate me more than that response.  How can anyone have no preference whatsoever about food?  We all have likes and dislikes...why can’t we voice them?  I would rather make a special trip to the store for an ingredient I am missing than to get no input at all about what I cook for my family.  Karma, you are a giant bitch.

The real tragedy of my youthful indifference was that my mother is a fabulous cook.  She can make anything and rarely uses recipes.  One of her specialties was and is something we have charmingly termed “trash soup.”  The name was no reflection on the taste...trash soup is amazing.  Mom would simply empty all the leftovers that may otherwise go bad and combine them into shockingly wonderful soup.  We continue to tease her about her soup, but it is still one of my favorite comfort foods.

One night, deep in the throes of a “woe-is-me” session about the dinner plan that just wasn’t materializing and the lack of input from my spouse, I took inspiration from trash soup and Southwest Quinoa Salad was born.  I gathered some lonely vegetables from the fridge, some leftover cooked chicken breasts and quinoa and created a dish that can stand alone or be a side.  It is versatile and quick, requiring only the time it takes to chop veggies and/or cook your chosen protein, which is a must when you have a hungry toddler.  It is easy to keep vegetarian if you so desire and can be adjusted to suit your particular tastes or available leftovers.  If it saves you even one night of dinner frustration then I have done my good deed for today. 

Be well,


Southwest Quinoa Salad

(All ingredients and amounts are adjustable according to taste.)

2 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped into bite-sized pieces (I sometimes substitute 2 cups of edamame for a veggie version)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 container cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
2-3 medium bell peppers, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2-3 Tbsp EVOO
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2-3 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp agave nectar or honey
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp coriander
2 tsp cumin (I LOVE cumin so this may be too much for some people)
salt to taste
fresh cilantro and/or avocado (garnish, optional)

  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions.  Most of the time, you will combine 1 cup quinoa with 2 cups water, bring to a boil and then lower heat and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes.  Some quinoa requires rinsing before use, so be sure to read the instructions.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, chop chicken and veggies and rinse beans if you haven’t already.  Combine all veggies and proteins in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add cooked quinoa to bowl with veggies and proteins and top with all remaining ingredients except garnishes.  Stir until evenly mixed.
  4. Serve in bowls while warm or refrigerate and serve cold.  Garnish with fresh cilantro and/or avocado slices.

All veggies and proteins can be cut, rinsed and/or cooked in advance, making assembly much faster.  Obviously, you can add, take away or substitute almost any veggies or proteins in this dish.  I have made this dish with many variations and usually get rave reviews.  It is a great make ahead dish for pot-lucks or picnics and keeps well for several days in the fridge.  Because it is entirely veggies, lean proteins and grains, it is also good for you as long as it is consumed in moderation.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


I am not technically behind on KCWC. I have spent at least one hour each day since Monday (Sunday, actually) working on kid's clothing. However, I have yet to finish anything. So far, my week has consisted of two not-so-perfect attempts at projects. My biggest challenge when making anything is my constant fear of making things too small. That means that I tend to overestimate and everything comes out waaaay too big. I frogged my first hat cast on (plus 20 rows...frown) because it became very obvious that it was going to fall off of the Numa's head, rather than keeping it warm. Similarly, I cut a pair of pants for him that are at least 2 inches too long and 2 inches too big in the waist. That was actually only partly due to a fear of creating too-small pants...part of it was due to the fact that I really wanted the pockets of the shirt I was refashioning to be on the back of the pants. Unfortunately, the pockets of an adult men's shirt are too big to really be the back pockets of the Numa's pants, so I am removing the pockets (re-removing in one case) in order to cut them down further. I am going to have to add some sort of patch, though, because of how the shirt is worn around the pockets. I may just chuck was a really old shirt, after all.

The good news here is that the pattern I made is actually good. Tomorrow I will use it more faithfully to make a lightweight pair of pj pants as a fore-runner to the Halloween pants. I feel certain that it will work out beautifully.

So, actual pics to come, including pics of the failed pants attempt.

Be well,


Saturday, October 8, 2011

And then he was 2.

Not really, but the attitude is there. I was fully prepared for the Numa to eventually go through the terrible twos. I just didn't realize that it would a) happen so early (he doesn't actually turn two until the end of the year) or b) that it would be so sudden. As in, one day, my darling son was the child who made most people say "hey, this isn't so bad. I could handle this." And the next day, he became the child who makes almost everyone think "what is wrong with this kid's parents? Haven't they ever heard of discipline?" or "maybe we should call child protective services because screams that loud are a clear indication of abuse." I can tell the next few months are going to be super fun. It is next to impossible to take him anywhere now, because all he wants to do is run loose, whether we are in a restaurant or a parking lot. And it is impossible to explain to someone this little and moody that running through a parking lot just isn't a good idea. So he screams and we look like terrible parents. Oh well. Who needs more friends, right?

On a positive note, I am getting all of my ideas and supplies ready to participate in the Fall 2011 Kids Clothes Week Challenge, issued by Elsie Marley. If you don't yet read Elsie Marley, you should, because Meg writes a wonderful blog and makes adorable things for her little people. I will be making several things for my Numa, including some new pants (using this pattern from Made), a new knitted hat (probably the Noro hat) and his Halloween costume! So fun. I will be posting each day about the progress I made the day before, so stay tuned.

Be well,