Quinoa (with delicious stuff in it)

Realizing you’re an adult is a weird thing, isn’t it? When I was younger I assumed I would just know when I was adult. Like one day I would go to bed with my youth completely intact, and the next day I would wake up in a power suit ready to go as the successful adult I was meant to be.

But as I (and every other person on this planet) realized, it doesn’t actually work like that. You can’t walk into an elevator as a child, and get off as an adult. Sometimes being an adult still feels childish. Sometimes it’s as amazing as you always thought it would be, and other times you want to crawl into your mom’s lap while she smooths your hair because it’s the only time you feel like everything is going to be okay.

And then other times you find yourself in line at the grocery store wondering when the 15-year-old you became the 25-year-old you.

I used to want to be a writer. I specifically wanted to write for Cosmopolitan magazine (obviously, my parents were just thrilled). I was also really sure that working for one of the most popular magazines was not going to be hard. Graduate high school. Get a journalism degree. Move to NYC. Work for Cosmo. That life embodied everything to me and I swear I never dreamed as hard as when I was laying on my bed flipping through every single page, month after month.

Until last weekend when I found myself in line at the grocery store with absolutely no desire to even pick up the new issue. What?! (And, no, it was not because Zooey Deschanel was on the cover. I might not be her biggest fan, but I get why she’s milking this whole “adorkable” thing. I work in PR Zooey. I GET IT.)

The reality is that I just didn’t want to read it. I scanned over the cover and did not see one story that leaped out and made me feel like I needed to read it rightthisminute. Instead I stood there holding my basket of quinoa, tomatoes, sausage and cheese (of the goat variety, of course) and thought about how excited I was to go home and cook. I thought about how thrilled I was to be spending my Saturday doing laundry, cleaning and cooking (and this is where my mother faints because I just said “thrilled” and “cleaning” in the same sentence) any maaaaaybe watching You’ve Got Mail. Again.

For someone who has bought every issue of Cosmo since she was 15, this was kind of a big deal. Suddenly feeling like my life wasn’t a story I read in a magazine, but rather a story I was writing for myself? That was huge. But even more monumental for me was that I realized I was making a conscious decision to not hole myself up and read about the life I had glamorized for so long. I didn’t even want to give myself the opportunity to compare what I actually have to what I thought I wanted, but more importantly I came to the startling realization that what I currently have is exactly what I want. I realized some time ago that writing was not for me, but actually feeling content and happy with that decision took me a long time. But dreams change, and there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, I would argue that dreams get better as you get older. Sometimes it just takes a basket of quinoa and cheese to make that clear.

P.S. Lest anyone things I’ve gone and gotten too mature, you should know that I did spot the new issue of People StyleWatch and almost knocked down the women in front of me to get my grubby paws on it. So there’s that.

Quinoa (with delicious stuff in in) Serves 4

1 lb ground chicken sausage (I used a spicy one)

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 zucchini, cut into bite size pieces

1 red bell pepper, cut into bite size pieces

1/2 t ground cumin

1/2 t paprika

1/4-1/2 t red pepper flakes

salt & pepper

1 cup quinoa

2 cups liquid (water, stock, whatever)

goat cheese

Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the sausage, breaking it into pieces as it cooks. Once the sausage begins to brown, add onions and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Depending on the meat you use, you might need to add a little oil if the onions start looking a little dry. Just use your judgement. Once the onions begin to soften, add in your garlic, zucchini and red pepper. Sprinkle in the spices and let cook for another 7-8 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Add the quinoa and let it toast for a minutes. Then add in your liquid and turn the heat up high. Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover your pan. Let cook for 20-25 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed. Dot with creamy, delicious goat cheese and season with salt & pepper. Serve!

This will last for daaaaays in the fridge, and can easily be packed up for work lunches.


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1 Comment

  1. Hammer

     /  October 9, 2012

    hooray for cheese of the goat variety!!


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