The Fantastic Friday Five: Curried quinoa, Kale salad and SPRING!

The Fantastic Friday Five is a weekly series featuring odds and ends from my everyday life – food, running, gardening, home-ownership and more!

The good and the bad. It’s been a good week around here for lazing and catching up on life planning… school vacation week for me! (I’m a teacher, not a student, but vacation is even more welcome when you’re an adult!) And the bad. If you are not living in a hole (or the Central Maine woods?), which I assume you’re not if you’re reading this, you know that the bombings at the Boston Marathon have been very unsettling and heartbreaking to us all. I live only an hour and a half north of Boston, and I know many people in the area. I’m also a runner. But no matter what bad there is in the world, the good is better, and I felt especially proud to be out running this week and seeing others do the same. There’s a race I’ve been not wanting to do (I’m an infamous cold-feeter when it comes to races), but I’m going to run it tomorrow. Because I can, and nobody can stop me. Now allow me to share some of the fantasticness of the week with you… Thank you, as always, for joining in! :)

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#1:  Curried quinoa “tacos” with avocado slaw

I love quinoa. It holds up so nicely no matter what you cook it with, and it keeps really well, too. I also love curry flavors… so when I ran into THIS POST from Healthy. Happy. Life., I knew what was for dinner. I did not include the fresh orange pieces or mint (didn’t have any), I added raisins and chickpeas to the quinoa, and I swapped fresh broccoli for the peas (one of the times I made it, at least). I also served it in corn tortillas as “tacos” instead of wraps. We had this for dinner last week and then served it to friends of ours for a get-together on Saturday night. Such lovely combinations of flavors and textures (not to mention the warm quinoa with the cool slaw… yummy!), and some unexpected tips  – for example, I never would have thought to put orange juice directly in the quinoa cooking liquid. Genius, and delicious!

IMG_3609Enough for leftovers… woohoo!

IMG_3610Mmmm… slaw. I want more right now.

#2:  Kale salad

I also love kale salads – either my creations, or others’. This week, I was inspired to try out a recipe from Healthy. Happy. Life. (a lot of love for Kathy Patalsky’s blog this week, I guess!), as it used a tahini dressing and I’ve had a jar of tahini sitting in my pantry for MANY months now, but I’ve never used it in my cooking before. I know, I’m kind of ashamed. :) Well the first tahini experiment went well – see the curried quinoa tacos above! – and this did too. Yummalicious. I added 1 shredded beet and some chickpeas, but otherwise, I was pretty good and actually followed the recipe. Heh.

IMG_3615So pretty! Shredding up beets into dishes might be my new thing…

IMG_3619I served it with spinach ravioli (a rare treat!) tossed with fresh tomatoes, garlic, basil, and olive oil. Oh. Yeah.

#3:  Wedding Planning… and self-catering

Well, we’ve been engaged since last August, and we’re planning on having our wedding in August 2014, so I finally decided we should at least BEGIN planning our shindig. We’re both very laidback people who just want a fun party, and we were originally thinking we would host the big day at our new house. Now that the snow is finally clear from our yard, we’ve been realizing that our yard would work, but it’s really not quite big enough for all of the tentage and other space we would want. AND we’re not exactly as far along with house projects as we would like. … So I started researching low-key wedding venues online on Sunday – farms, barns, other outdoorsy spots – and I was not super pleased with my findings (oftentimes for budget reasons). But then. Oh then. I found what seems like the PERFECT place here in Maine (Camden if you know the area) that’s a small ski mountain run by the town. It has an adorable lodge and an outside canopy area and beautiful grounds with all that we need. And at a steal of a price. I will be in contact with them very very soon once we finalize the date. Yippee!

Now here’s where things get crazy. I’m planning on self-catering. Yes, feeding 100 people on one of the most important days of my life (hey, I have lots of days to come, so let’s not count those ones out). I am very excited for it, though, and I’ve already put together a menu of do-ahead dishes that can be made big, and require very little effort on the actual day. I will be practicing for all of those dishes in the year and a bit to come, so I’m sure I’ll be blogging about it. Stay tuned!

#4:  Yard work

Along with wedding planning, the melting of the snow has brought our list of outdoor to-dos to our doorstep… One of them was clearing out the drainage system around the property to get the water and melting snow out of the woods. Nobody likes a surprise swamp (surprise flowers are much better!). I was feeling pretty BA so I got Travis to snap a couple of photos. My back and shoulders muscles are still feeling it today, 3 days later (there were some serious ingrown grasses and other roots to deal with!), which makes me feel a little less cool. :)

photo 1Don’t feel like showering? Throw on some scrubby clothes and get muddy instead.

photo 2As my sisters would say… dork.

#5:  Springtime in Maine!

It’s getting serious now. Flowers in the garden! Bees in the garden! Lunch on our deck today! (Where I’m also writing this post from at this minute!) And… (drumroll please…) RIDING!!! (Of the 2-wheeled motorized sort.) We went to our favorite frozen custard place this evening (Mainely Custard in Freeport, for you Mainers out there), which opened yesterday for the season, and life is good. :) Enjoy your week!

IMG_3628To the right of the front door – they just keep coming up!

IMG_3629On the other side of the door. Yes, I know I need to clean it up a bit…

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IMG_3631The bees especially love these cute little guys… didn’t catch any in action, though.

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529288_10152754483430198_383390839_nLunch today! (Veggie sandwiches with a delicious chickpea spread from Savvy Vegetarian)

photo 2It HAD been warm earlier in the day… we needed to bundle up.

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