Tomato and Black Bean Quinoa

You guys. This recipe? Amazingess. Especially if you enjoy Qdoba’s cilantro lime rice. This recipe tastes like that only it’s better for you. No lie, I’m waiting until an ‘acceptable’ hour so I can dig into it.

You know how I love to share things that I enjoy with you. So, without further ado, I present to you my new favorite side dish – tomato and black bean quinoa.

Tomato Black Bean Quinoa

Tomato and Black Bean Quinoa (adapted from Epicurious.com)
juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 c. quinoa
4 scallions, chopped
handful of grape tomatoes, sliced in thirds
1 can (14 or 15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 c. fresh cilantro, chopped

1. Cook quinoa according to directions on package (Should include a pre-cook rinse phase. If not, make sure you rinse your quinoa before cooking!)
2. Whisk together lime juice, butter, oil, sugar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.
3. Add quinoa to dressing and toss until dressing is absorbed, then stir in remaining ingredients and salt and pepper to taste.

So easy, right? And the JA loved it, too. Double bonus!

Have a great weekend 🙂

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Falling for Me

I was wandering through the library (after realizing that about six books I wanted were all unavailable) and made my way over to the non-fiction section. I was in the mood for something inspiring, but not too fluffy. I had an utter fail with Paris In Love (surprising seeing that I spent a semester in France) and this title caught my eye.

falling for me

Synopsis (from book cover):
Like most women, whether they’ve chosen the Fortune 500 career path of have had five kids by 35, Anna David wondered if she’d made the right choices. Then she came upon the book Sex and the Single Girl by Helen Gurley Brown, Cosmopolitan‘s fearless leader from the mid-sixties to late nineties. Immediately connecting with Gurley Brown’s unique message of self-empowerment combined with femininity, Anna vowed to use Sex as a lesson plan, venturing our of her comfort zone in the hope of overcoming th fears and insecurities that had haunted her for years. Embarking on a journey both intensely personal and undeniably universal, she becomes adventurous and spontaneous – reviving her wardrobe and apartment, taking French lessons, dashing off to Seville, and whiling nights away with men she never would have considered before. In the process, she ends up meeting the person really changing for: herself.

My Thoughts:
Unfortunately, the book didn’t live up to the hype I had in my mind. I was hoping for an Eat, Pray, Love meets Sex and the City type book. Something to which I could relate – going on a self-propelled journey to better know yourself. To better yourself in ways that you never thought you could. This wasn’t it. I found David’s tone to be a bit whiny at times. The majority of the book was ‘meh.’ Nothing that I would have picked up knowing how lackluster it would be for me. I was continuously waiting for the moment where I could relate to her; it came (in a very small portion) when she describes cooking meals. Disappointing, and I didn’t even get any solid takeaways or ideas of how to create my own journey.

Rating: 2 out of 5

If you liked this, check out my Reviews page. I’m always looking for suggestions, so don’t be afraid to reach out via email (justcallmejanks@gmail.com), Facebook, or Twitter!

Memory Lane

At the suggestion of a fellow Book Club-ber, I am reading Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson. The plot centers around a woman who has amnesia and is attempting to regain her memory by reading and writing in a journal.

It got me to thinking about how difficult it would be to relearn everything each day. To rely on others to tell your story. To trust blindly because you have to in order to survive. Crazy!

What if I couldn’t remember my parents? The love and support they have given me over the years?

parents cheek kiss wedding

Siblings? The secrets and stories we share?

siblings young

My husband, how we met, or our love story?

JJ & JA engagement ornament

Best friends and the good, bad, and ugly times we’ve endured?

JJ & ML

What if it went further than that? What if I forgot how to dress myself, shower, where I lived?

Event further, what if I forgot the most basic thing – my own name?

Certainly makes the case to not only take a lot of photos, but to take video clips as well. I’m certainly more of a picture person – although it only preserves a moment, a good photo encapsulates all the emotion included in the experience. Bonus? You can hang it on your wall! Yet, a video captures those things that a photo may miss – a quick hand gesture, voice intonation, and a complete moment.

Do you prefer photo or video for preserving memories? As I said, I’m more of a photo person. We didn’t get a video of our wedding, though, and it’s still a decision I’m regretting a bit. I don’t know how often we’d watch it, but it would have been nice to have our vows and the speeches on tape.

#TeacherProbs

snow day calculator

Yup, the snow day calculator made an appearance in our household last night. Whenever there is a slight chance of a delay/closing, the faculty and staff are just as bad (if not worse) in tracking the weather as the students. If there is a delay/cancellation, we received a phone call telling us as such. On mornings like today, the JA and I lay in bed waiting for the buzz of one of our phones. It’s torture – especially if things are iffy, but not terrible.

While the JA is automatically off work if school is closed, I still have to wait for an additional call/text to see if staff have to report. I know, I know – so rough. Luckily enough, shortly after our school system changed from a delay to closed, I received notification that staff did not have to report.

Obviously, we’re still up (someone had to take the pup out for his morning walk!), but it’s nice to hang out in jammies all day. Another plus? An already shortened week just got shorter. Can’t beat it!

someone else is excited for the snow, too!

someone else is excited for the snow, too!

A Few Things for Friday

Happy Friday! Posts have been on the emotionally heavy side this week, so it’s high time for a light, fun post. I present to you a few things that are brightening my day today 🙂

1. Six months! It’s our six-month wedding anniversary today. SERIOUSLY?! Feel just like yesterday. I guess time really does fly when you’re having fun.

wedding photo bw laugh

2. The thought of spring. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I LOVE SPRING. Warmer temperatures, fresh fruit and produce, wedding season, new clothes, and the proximity to summer? Yes, please.

yay for save the date magnets!

yay for save the date magnets!

3. Easter’s just around the corner. Girlfriend needs some chocolate in her life. It’s getting rough over here without it.

I'm drooling.

I’m drooling.

4. Fresh flowers. They just smell so good and add a sense of vibrant life to any space.

stop and smell the roses!

stop and smell the roses!

What’s brightening your day today?

Not There…Yet

I want to start this post by stating that I am NOT, repeat, NOT pregnant. Just want to make that explicitly clear before we continue.

I read this article a few days ago and immediately sent it to one of my close gal pals. She has a youngin’ and I wanted to see if everyone feels this way regarding kids. It’s been a question I’ve been begging to ask, but didn’t exactly know how to approach. It sums up my feelings right now PERFECTLY. ‘Yes! I want babies!,’ but ‘I have to push THAT out of THERE?’ (I know there are other options, but that’s the main way to go and it scares the bejesus out of me.)

crab toy

The JA and I both want children. We’ve discussed a tentative timeline about when we want to start trying, but we’ve also discussed planning it out. I know couples who’ve gotten pregnant on the first try, and ones who tried a few months before it happened. I know it can be a strenuous process, especially on the woman, and then we carry the child for another nine(ish) months. I want it to be a pleasant time, but it’s something that is completely out of my control. That also scares me a bit. This gal? Not so laid back.

I had dinner with a friend last night who is in her third trimester. She is absolutely glowing and both she and her husband are so excited to welcome their baby this summer. She told me that she was once in a similar place. Her want of children overcame everything else and, well, here they are.

I’m looking forward to getting to that point, but we’re SO not there yet. The JA and I are relishing the time that we have as a family of two humans (and one dog). Our lives are changing, but not at the pace it would were we to have a child. We love being married and are working on strengthening that bond before adding another member to our family. That being said, friends with children – let it be known that I am more than willing to babysit. It’s a win-win for everyone; you get a night out and I get to give your kids back at the end of the night!

baby feet are the best

baby feet are the best

Short and Sweet

chopped

I like my hair short. Long enough to pull back but short enough that I don’t feel it should be in a ponytail all the time. So when I decided I wanted it long for the wedding, I knew it would be a challenge. I thought immediately after the wedding, I would want it cut, chopped, GONE. Yet, I became attached to it. Between the time we got engaged and yesterday, I had only gotten trims – enough to keep the length but also to have healthy hair.

Long hair is wonderful for styling and colder temperatures. But when I start putting it up all the time and the weather warms up, long hair becomes unbearable for me. In the past few weeks, I went from loving it to hating it. It was driving.me.crazy.

Proposal Day - November 2011

Proposal Day 2011

Bridal Shower - July 2012

Bridal Shower – July 2012

Wedding Day - September 2012

Wedding Day – September 2012

Honeymoon - December 2012

Honeymoon – December 2012

Random Day - March 2013

Random Day – March 2013

So yesterday I chopped it off. While I came to like my long locks, it’s almost springtime and that means short, lighter, blonde hair. I ADORE everything about this style. Now only if Mother Nature would realize that today is the first day of Spring and give us appropriate temperatures!

haircut

What’s something that signifies the change of season for you?