Two Zesty Quinoa Recipes

Now that the big secret that Chris won a trip to Belize on the Price is Right is out, we can start talking details. By details, I mean how it’s time to get beach body ready. We know so far that Belize is a Central American country right against the Caribbean Sea, boasting tropical weather that hovers around 80 degrees F on idyllic days. We can assume that we will spend a good amount of time in shorts, tanks, dresses, and swimwear…read: bikinis (gasp!)

So like a lot of folks out there in this winter month of January, I’m concocting ways to get rid of some winter fluff and make my beach body dreams come true. I’m trying to channel my inner springtime and imagine a slimmer, more toned version of myself wading in the Caribbean Sea. No, I haven’t quite started on a strict exercise regimen just yet, but I HAVE started getting rid of the junk in my diet and replacing it with yummy, nutrient-rich food.

So I’m here to share with you not just one, but TWO of my favorite- go-to quinoa salad recipes. They’re both easy to make, light, and packed with flavor, which makes them great for lunch along with another protein. They’re two great reasons to #wifeloreealready.

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Ingredients

1 cup red quinoa

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1 (15oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can yellow corn, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup cilantro, roughly minced

1 stalk green onions, chopped

1 avocado, cut in squares (optional)

salt & pepper, to taste

 

dressing:

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 large lime, or 2 small limes, juiced

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

 

Directions

1. Prepare quinoa as directed on the package. I like to use my rice cooker, 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water or chicken broth. Let cool.

2. In a small, separate bowl, whisk together olive oil, lime juice, cumin, salt, and red pepper flakes.

3. In a large bowl, combine cooked quinoa, black beans, corn, tomatoes, cilantro, and green onion. Pour dressing over quinoa mixture and toss. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste, then serve immediately or cover and chill.

I love eating this quinoa with grilled chicken, pan seared carne asada, or even with a corn tortilla.

 

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Ingredients

1 cup quinoa, red or yellow

1 tbs olive oil, for cooking

1 bunch asparagus, cut in 1 inch pieces

1 shallot, minced

1/4 cup crushed, toasted almonds (or sliced however you like it)

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (fat free, if you’re being real serious about cutting calories)

zest of 1 lemon

 

dressing:

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp dijon mustard

1 tbs honey

juice of 1 large lemon

 

Directions

1. Prepare quinoa as directed on the package. I like to use my rice cooker, 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water or chicken broth. Let cool in large bowl.

2. Grate the zest of 1 lemon on top of the cooked quinoa.

3. In a small, separate bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, honey, and half of the minced shallot.

4. Heat 1 tbs of olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Heat the other half of a minced shallot until lightly browned, about 2 minutes.

5. Add asparagus and cook 5-8 minutes, or until you can insert a fork into asparagus and it comes out easily.

6. Once cooked, add asparagus to cooked quinoa and stir to combine. Sprinkle in almonds and feta cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. For best taste, add dressing right before serving.

I imagine this recipe tasting wonderful with grilled salmon or white meat. Enjoy!

What tasty food do you eat to shed winter fluff?

How To Get On (and WIN) The Price Is Right

If you didn’t tune in to the latest episode of The Price is Right (TPIR), I’ll summarize it for you: Chris got onto contestant’s row and made a winning bid that brought him on stage to play a classic game of Pushover alongside Drew Carey. You can watch it at this link: http://www.cbs.com/shows/the_price_is_right/video/peaav_XU6fidSxAYQN6F6cJPGuAacoWk/the-price-is-right-1-9-2015/

That moment was a long awaited childhood dream, some may even call it sheer luck. While admittedly luck has a little to do with our time at TPIR,  much of Chris’ success can be attributed to the preparation that took place before we reached the studio. So for folks out there who, too, wish they can spin the wheel, I thought I’d share a step by step guide to making it happen:

Step 1: Watch the show! TPIR was the highlight of my mornings every time I got to stay home sick from school and watch it with my grandmother, so it’s a foreign concept for me that “Plinko” and “Come on down!” isn’t part of everyone’s vocabulary. But the sad truth is, it’s not… so if one of your buddies is trying to get you to go with them to a taping, watch the show! It’s simple, fun, and classic.

Step 2: Snatch some tickets. They’re free, you can get them online, and you ought to get PRIORITY tickets to guarantee a spot in the audience for a taping. Oh, and if you’re not residing in the LA area, make a trip, and plan to spend a whole day for a taping of TPIR.

Step 3: Do your research and study up. Familiarize yourself with the games by watching reruns. Read blog posts about other contestants’ experiences (like this one), and start paying attention to the prices of cars and trips and jewelry. While it’s nearly impossible to actually memorize the prices of every single thing on this planet, it will benefit you to know that a trip to Europe will cost more than $10,000, and that designer handbags and shoes can easily cost upwards of a grand. Some folks go so far as to making excel spreadsheets of the costs of every prize on the show. Laura, the showcase showdown winner of the entire episode, admitted to me while we were waiting in line that she was guilty of making spreadsheets herself. That proves to me that fans who are in it to win it show up with their A-game.

Step 3.5:  Make some groovy T-Shirts. While this actually isn’t necessary for getting called to “Come on down,” it makes for a good chance to be creative and punny. Plus it’s nice to read everyone’s shirts while waiting. And you’re going to do a ton of waiting.

Note: Chris’s shirt read “24 and ready to score!” in celebration of his 24th birthday. My bright idea.

Step 4: Bring a crew of TPIR hardcore fans, and make sure you can rely on them. One person can reserve up to 4 tickets in their name, so you can bring a small crew of 1 other person, or gather a whole bunch of folks and bring a posse of 20. But the number doesn’t matter, what matters is the energy your entire group brings. If your buddy/buddies are as hyped up and excited to be there as you are, then someone in your crew has a good chance to get called on stage. Once that lucky individual makes his/her way up to contestant’s row, and maybe even on to spin the wheel, they will totally lose their minds and their legs will turn to jelly. That’s when the reliability of your crew comes in — whoever is on stage trying to win sweet prizes will be looking right at their crew for numbers and guidance.

As for us, our posse consisted of Colby (Chris’s high school best buddy), Chris, me, and Jenny (Chris’s mom, the wonderful soul that gifted Chris with TPIR tickets)

TPIR

Step 5: Once you get in line for a taping, plan to charm the crap out of the producers. I can’t stress the significance of this step enough. After you endure your first couple of hours of waiting, in which you sign contracts, get your number and nametag, small talk with people in line, and take pictures, it’s now the moment of truth to get pre-picked to “come on down”. They pull you aside in groups of about 20, and the producer and his assistant will ask each person in the line a simple question, most commonly “What do you do for a living?” giving everyone a under a minute to prove they are contestant-worthy.

That’s when you have to turn the charm up, way up, beyond measure. I’m talking bubbly, engaging, ridiculous, almost kind of buzzed behavior. They’re looking for folks who are genuinely over the moon about TPIR (such as ourselves), so if you are as pumped about being there as we were, let that excitement bubble over and make your story striking.

Example) When the producer asked what I did, instead of telling him I was a “Stay-At-Home-Mom” (because, let’s face it, that sounds pretty boring) I told him I was a “Stay-At-Home-Supermom to an exuberant toddler!!!!!!!!! Woooohoooooooo!!!!!!!!” (Verbatim) And I cheesed and wooed and clapped and got them to ask more questions about myself.

Then they got to Chris, who was standing in line right after me feeding off of the rising energy levels. They asked him the same question, to which he answered, “I’m a Master’s student getting a degree in Education, I’m a father to an exuberant toddler (pointing to me, his baby’s momma) and I’m a volunteer at underserved schools in South Los Angeles!!!!! WOOOHOOOOOO!!!”

The producer, impressed and engaged, implored, “When do you have time to watch the show?”

Chris, barely containing his excitement, responded, “I watch it online, that’s what CBS.com is for!!!!!!! WOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!” *

The producer and his assistant smiled, wrote some stuff down on the notepad, and told us they hope we have a good time on the show.

After the short interview, it’s up to TPIR gods to push you forward, but be at ease in knowing you tried everything in your power, so now it’s time for step 6…

Step 6: Have fun! By the time you reach Step 4 of this guide, chances are you’ve waited, and waited. And waited. The moments before you get into the studio, you’re probably starved, dehydrated, bored (they make you surrender your cell phones, which are probably out of battery at that point) and you might have already forgotten why you were waiting in the first place. But once they open the heavy soundproof doors and you enter the brightly decorated fishbowl of a studio, the upbeat music explodes loudly through the speakers and you simply forget all about the waiting you just did. Soak in every moment of the very game show you’ve been dying to get on since your childhood days slurping chicken noodle soup next to your grandma on the couch. Let loose and have fun. Shout numbers incessantly at the top of your lungs. Shake hands and congratulate all the winners that surround you. You’re already living the dream, so enjoy it.

PR 2 PR 3 PR 4 PR 5PR 1 PR 8

And one more piece: http://hub.jhu.edu/2015/01/08/valenzuela-price-is-right

To sum up the story of our time on TPIR, Chris won a sweet DSLR camera and a trip for 2 to Belize. He got to spin the wheel, but unfortunately went over $1 and didn’t make it to showcase showdown. We had the time of our lives, and look forward to snorkeling, ziplining, and cave exploring in Belize.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask me in the comment section!

*I know what you’re thinking, you’re wondering if we’re overdoing it on the Woohooing. I can assure you, there is no such thing as overdoing the woohooing on TPIR.Woohoo til your lungs hurt, then woohoo some more.