Happy 4th of July!

Bring on the Fireworks! Bring on the BBQs!  While I am a HUGE fan of fireworks, I’m probably the worst guest for summertime BBQs.  I don’t consider myself a picky eater (anymore!), but I am not a fan of cookout food.  I’ve got a few weird food quirks and they all fall inline with cookout food.

#1 – I don’t eat condiments (except ketchup with french fries).  No Mayo. Mo Mustard. No salad dressing – I use lemon juice instead.

This pretty much rules out all the salads that are brought to BBQs.  I don’t eat potato salad, cole slaw, baked beans, etc.

#2 – I don’t eat ground meat. The texture makes me sick to my stomach.

This rules out hamburgers, hotdogs, sausage, etc.

#3 – I don’t eat meat off a bone.

This rules out a lot of chicken, ribs, etc.

In our normal day-to-day cooking, it never really poses a problem.  If Christian and Cole want hamburgers or hot dogs, I grill myself a chicken breast.  These food quirks of mine do pose a problem when we are invited to cookouts. I’m always worried that there won’t be anything for me to eat, so I’m always bring a side dish I know I will enjoy.  I don’t know about ya’ll, but a side dish just doesn’t cut it for me lately.

My sister and her family invited us over for a cookout yesterday.  My family is well aware of my eating habits, so I don’t worry much when I go to their house.  My sister was making chicken-kabobs. YUM! My mom made potato salad. Not so Yum. Sorry mom! Everyone else absolutely loves it though! Minus the mayo and the mustard, I’m sure it is great.  My contribution to the cookout – a salad.

It wasn’t just any salad though. It might possibly be the best salad I’ve ever made. And it met all my nutritional needs too!  Lettuce, spinach, cucumber, red, yellow, and orange peppers, pea pods, blue berries, strawberries, and QUINOA!  I added the quinoa to the mix once it cooled so it wouldn’t wilt the lettuce.  The crispness of the veggies combined with the sweetness of the berries combined with the nutty-ness of the quinoa was so good. I topped it with lemon juice, but my family used italian dressing.  Everyone loved it!!! I’m so glad I made a huge bowl so I have plenty for lunch this week! Today for lunch, I’ve topped it with avocado too!

I had never tried quinoa until recently, but it has quickly turned into a staple in our diet.  It is one of the most perfect foods we can eat.  It contains complete protein (meaning it has all 9 essential amino acids). It is full of magnesium, manganese, iron, copper, and phosphorous.  You can read more about it here. It’s incredibly easy to cook. 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water brought to a boil and then simmered until all the water is absorbed.  It is also good with everything. I’ve found it takes on the flavor of whatever. I’ve cooked it with stir-fry, steamed veggies, and salads.  I know there is so much more I can do with it too.  Healthful Pursuits has a lot of amazing recipes including quinoa desserts. I’ll be trying them all!

Happy 4th of July!!!! Enjoy the fireworks and the BBQs!

Cole and his sister, Alexandra, celebrating the 4th in Tennessee
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