When I was a child and a teen, I was always in this great big rush to grow up. Adulthood seemed like a magical gateway to fabulousness, and once I reached there everything would be just perfect automatically. I imagined my dreamy life filled with dinner parties and cocktail hours and late nights. I filled notebooks and computer disks with stories of what I imagined life would be like. In my head, it would all just come together seamlessly. But what I didn’t know then was that life isn’t seamless, and things rarely come together without a lot of hard work, drive and effort. It wasn’t until my senior year of college that I realized my nonexistent savings account wouldn’t be giving me that fabulous dream life anytime soon. And a little more than 11 years later, I’m not there yet. I am still working my way toward that dream life. I will get there, though the picture has morphed a little since then — adding a husband and kids and beagles to the mix. But getting there? Well, the journey is important too. It’s not just about money — though money is a big part of it. Money is the first thing I always jump to — wondering how I can save more, do better, grow my business … There’s more to it than that though. It’s about building a career to be proud of, raising respectful, kind children and creating a life that’s worth living. And sometimes, it means slowing the progress toward the dream life so that you can enjoy life along the way with an afternoon bike ride or a day spent with family at the beach. Life is complex like that. How about you? Are you living your dream life? Or did you find that life can be a lot more complex than it seemed as a kid? You know what else is complex? This quinoa dish. It’s a side dish that combines a vinaigrette salad with fruit salad. It’s sweet, but not dessert. The tangy vinaigrette gives the dish greater depth. It’s great as a side dish, or you could even serve it over grilled chicken. Either way, it’s hot-summer-day-ready. To make this, you start by cutting summer squash, kiwi and pineapple into little chunks — about a 1/2-inch dice. And you cook up a pot of quinoa in water. Then, whisk together the lime vinaigrette and stir it all together with the squash and fruit. Chill it for at least 30 minutes to let those flavors mix and mingle. What’s your favorite way to enjoy quinoa?
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 2 cups water
- 1 summer squash, yellow or green, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 kiwi, diced
- 1 cup pineapple, diced
- zest and juice of 1 lime
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Stir together the quinoa and water in a small saucepan. Heat over a medium heat to boiling. Then cover, reduce the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Meanwhile combine the squash, kiwi and pineapple in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, zest, olive oil and salt and pepper.
- Stir the quinoa into the squash mixture until well combined. Pour the vinaigrette over and stir well. Chill until ready to serve, at least 30 minutes.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of several cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.