I want to take my shirt off too…

Having to prepare meals when I would prefer to stay in the garden drives me wild. Not that I have any issue with feeding my family or being in the kitchen. I simply want to stay outside.

One hot sunny afternoon when I was a little girl, my dad, uncle, younger brother and I were helping my grandfather Ekstrom paint his home. As the sun beat down on us, one by one the men’s shirts started coming off. Keep in mind, I was nine years old; from the waist up my body looked identical to my brother’s. We were all painting. It was hot out. Everybody else had taken their shirts off. As I whipped my t-shirt over my head, my horrified grandfather almost fell off his ladder.

With littIe explanation, banished to the kitchen with my grandmother and mom to help with supper, I sat peeling potatoes trying to figure out why I had not been given the same freedom as my brother.

This is not a rant about equality. I love cooking for my family and I have no issue keeping my shirt on! But after a long winter of waiting to be in the garden again, I want to spend as little time indoors as possible. I have been thinking of lunch dishes that I can make ahead of time so that everyone is happily fed without me losing precious garden time.

I like to incorporate grains and vegetables into our lunch so I have been experimenting with quinoa. I prepped this salad the night before I served it. Allowing it to sit, only improved the flavour.

Quinoa and Chickpea Salad

serves 2

1/2 english cuke, unpeeled and diced

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced

I lemon, juiced and zested

1 14 ounce can of chick peas, drained and rinsed and drained again

1 cup quinoa

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Follow manufacturer’s directions to cook quinoa

As it is cooking, place cuke, grape tomatoes, bell pepper, zest and chick peas in a large bowl

In a separate bowl mix together lemon juice, grated ginger, maple syrup and sea salt

Slowly whisk in the extra virgin olive oil

Mix vinaigrette with vegetable/legume combination

Add cooked quinoa and toss gently but well

Serve immediately or allow to cool then cover and refrigerate until needed.

Will keep up to 2 days in fridge

Thanks for reading