Keeeeeen-wa

Yesterday I felt the need for a little roadtrip, so I threw my laundry in my car and headed west for a little time at my vacation home (aka my parents’ house).  This morning, then, presented a golden opportunity for a run at my favorite Des Moines park.  Six miles, a lake, trees, and cool temps made for one fantastic start to the day.

I love Gray’s Lake because 1) it’s a well-defined 2-mile loop, which is good when you were born without a sense of direction like me, 2) for part of the loop you run along the river, and 3) the people-watching is usually pretty great.

I am now officially registered for the Des Moines half-marathon in mid-October…which is sort of terrifying.  Can I get myself in good enough shape to put in a respectable performance in just over a month?  Well, I’ll try, but it’s somewhat doubtful.  However, I like to think that what I lack in endurance, speed, and general athleticism I make up for in stubborness.  I’ll just crawl the last few miles if I have to, so there!

Moving on to food, let’s talk about my love for quinoa and a nifty new recipe.  Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is wonderful grain-like stuff that I’ve been using in salads like it’s going out of style.  It’s ancient, it’s South American, and it’s freakishly nutritious.  It’s a great protein source for veggie-eaters like myself, because it’s very balanced in terms of amino acids.  A couple of weeks ago I found myself in possession of some top-notch IA sweetcorn and made up this salad.  It’s quickly going out of season, so try it ASAP or file it away for next year because it was pretty delish!

(Yes, I took that picture in the grass outside my apartment because my kitchen lighting is bad.  I never claimed to be normal.)

Sweetcorn Quinoa Salad

  • 1 1/2 c. water
  • 3/4 c. quinoa
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp. agave nectar (or you could use honey)
  • cayenne pepper to taste (I used about 1/8 tsp.)
  • 1 c. cooked corn kernels
  • 1 tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 3-4 thinly sliced scallions
  • half of a 14.5 oz. can of black beans
  • chopped cilantro, to taste

Bring the water to a boil.  Add the quinoa and cook according to the package directions, or until the water is absorbed.  Put the lime juice, oil, agave nectar, and cayenne in a small bowl and whisk to combine (I actually used a blender for this).  When the quinoa is finished, add the veggies, beans, cilantro, and dressing and stir to combine.  A scoop of this stuff on top of some greens = lunch of champions.

Happy weekend, friends!

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