Sometimes you just want something light and healthy. These Quinoa Salad Lettuce Cups are just the thing.
When you realize that you are at the age that your mother was when she was starting her fight with cancer, silently cursing yet willing the chemo to do its part to keep her alive, it sobers you. Every so often, this crosses my thoughts, and I can’t help but wonder what she must have worried about. Fighting the illness is one thing. Wondering if your children will be ok is another.
I find myself thinking these thoughts as I deal with the mundane — who will pack their lunches? Will they continue to eat as healthy as possible? Who will wash their clothes and make sure they change their towels? Who will tuck them into bed at night? Who will be there to talk to them about life’s important things? Who will give them hugs when they need them, without them asking? I wonder if she asked these same questions.
And then I think of my father as he faced himself as a single parent, without his wife who did all those things. What the weight must have felt like on his shoulders. We were dealing with our own loss, we never really stopped to think of his.
And then I have to shake it off. Because right now I am healthy. And very much alive. And everything I do is to keep it this way. They are the reason I push myself at the gym. They are the reason I write this blog. They are the reason I cook. They are the reason I try to eat as healthy as possible.
I know it’s a Monday, and this was probably a heavy read at the beginning of the week. But let’s lighten things up. Literally and figuratively. Being ever the the nostalgic, I wish things could last forever, and the same is true when it comes to warm summer days and light eats. These Quinoa Salad Lettuce Cups were my go to lunch all last week. Why? Because I always have cooked quinoa on hand, and we all know how wonderful it is for you. Because I’ve been keeping a head of butter lettuce in the fridge, tearing off the leaves as I need. Because it’s hot at lunchtime and I want something cool and quick, crunchy and satisfying. And because I feel good after I eat it, energized and ready to take care of the people who need me.
Quinoa Salad Lettuce Cups
Sometimes you just want something light and healthy. These Quinoa Salad Lettuce Cups are just the thing. It makes for a great lunch or appetizer.
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
juice of half a lemon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup cooked quinoa
1/3 cup dried cranberries and/or golden raisins
1/3 cup sunflower seed
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
butter lettuce leaves
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and salt. Season to taste with more salt if necessary, and freshly ground black pepper.
In a medium bowl, stir together the quinoa, dried cranberries and golden raisins, sunflower seeds, shredded carrots and salad dressing. Gently stir in the avocado and feta cheese. Spoon into the lettuce cups and serve.