So this article popped up in my social network recently, and it made me breathe a deep sigh of relief. I may not have a baby any more who wakes up multiple times a night to feed, but I still feel exhausted, like, most days. Even with a full night of sleep. Even with a little caffeine boost. Even with various supplements and energy boosting food. And the simple fact is: being a full-time Mom to one toddler (let alone more than one) is TIRING. It has left with me with a major lack of creativity and brainpower. It feels like my body has given up on everything else, just to get me through the Mom stuff.
Finn is a wonderful kid - he certainly has his toddler moments - but overall, a pretty easygoing guy. But at the end of the day, when I used to be excited about preparing dinner, something interesting and different, now I just want to go horizontal and sleep!
Things seem to be slowly changing though. I'm finding a glimmer of creative spark lurking beneath my heel-dragging surface. Finn starts preschool in the Fall and it hit me that I'll have all my mornings free again to WORK and COOK! And so I find myself having the space to think about this stuff again.
My priorities have shifted when it comes to dinner. In my wildest dreams, my kid would be an adventurous and healthy eater, and only eat what we eat, and enjoy every bite of quinoa I put on his plate. In reality, I have a toddler who, like most toddlers (and frankly most adults), has his strong likes and dislikes. And Finn strongly dislikes quinoa. So last night for dinner, he had pizza and cake for dinner at a friend's birthday party. Oh well.
Phil and I, tired as we may have been, wanted something healthy for dinner, and I remember once upon a time enjoying quinoa salad when we felt like we needed a light meal. Somehow, it felt like too much work. THIS CREATION, however, takes 15 minutes TOPS. I started cooking when Phil took Finn upstairs to bed and was finished before he came back down again. So - tired parents, this one's for you.
Quick Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup quinoa + 2 cups water
- 1/2 cucumber, chopped into chunks
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half (or if small, leave whole)
- handful of pitted kalamata olives
- handful of marinated artichoke hearts, quartered
- handful of fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 3.5 oz feta cheese, chopped into small cubes or crumbled (I like goat feta which isn't as crumbly)
- Pour quinoa and water into a small saucepan with a lid and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook, covered, 13-15 minutes, until water has been absorbed and quinoa is light and fluffy. Set aside.
- Chop the cucumber, tomatoes, and mint, and add to a large salad bowl.
- I used a whole jar of olives and a whole jar of artichoke hearts, so it was as simple as draining and rinsing the contents of the jars and adding to the bowl. I highly recommend this to save time (rather than measuring out a certain amount, chopping, etc.)
- Make the dressing by pouring each ingredient in a small jar and shaking it up. Pour some into the salad bowl, along with the warm quinoa. You may have some dressing left over - this can be kept in the fridge for a week, to be used as a salad dressing for something else.
- Fold through the feta and serve immediately, or refrigerate for a couple of hours and serve cold. This dish keeps in the fridge for 3 days and makes excellent leftovers.
- Get some sleep!