Thursday, April 25, 2013

Food Day!

Chances are, if you work in an office or have ever worked in an office, you have experienced the phenomenon known as the "Food Day".  Innocently it is defined as a day where people bring in food, to share with everyone.  Realistically it is defined as how much salt, sugar and fat can we get into one cubicle to graze on all day long.  If you are someone who struggles with the temptation of a food day, and I know, it is not easy sometimes, I have a few suggestions to help you deal.  Now, personally, I have no trouble watching people walk by with donuts and cupcakes and whatnot.  I've been to the Boston Science Museum and I've got the visual in the form of Crisco, of the amount of fat in one of those donuts.  I'm good thanks.  Because I'm all too aware of the fact that to level the calories consumed in that donut I'd have to jump rope vigorously for 30 minutes (that is no easy task), or walk briskly for an hour or go on my usual 3 mile, 30 min run, I rather not.  I want to run for added health benefits, not to waste that on a donut!  My real weaknesses on a food day are the thing's like Karen or Kim's homemade mac and cheese.  Or Deb's sausage bread.  For the love of God, it is really hard to resist the sausage bread.  So I have a few strategies that may or may not work for you but surely it could be worth a try.

1.  Don't participate.  This is my usual tactic.  I don't want to be like that guy who never brings food but eats everything that anyone in any corner of the office brings in.  Nope, not me.  If I don't bring food to share, I don't eat the food being shared.  I stick with my boring routine of yogurt, oatmeal, banana.

2.  Call it breakfast, call it lunch, call it something but it sure is not a snack.  Hopefully we don't normally graze all day on pulled pork, half moons and three varieties of taco dip.  So on food day, pick something in a reasonably sized portion and consider it a meal.  I sometimes do this.  I'll wait until lunch time and fix myself a little plate and be done with it.  Grazing is trouble.  That is a crap load of jump roping.  Whew.

3.  Tomorrow we are having a food day to celebrate the arrival of my supervisor's new baby boy.   So as not to be a Scrooge, I am going to participate, employing strategy number 3.  Bring something healthy that I really like to eat! Whaaaat?  It's true.  I am bringing a quinoa salad (see recipe below) that I love and if no one dares to try my lovely healthy contribution, I'll eat it myself.
Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah) is considered a super food.  It eats like a grain but is actually a seed.  It is a complete protein and also high in fiber.  You can do a ton with it as far as flavors go so it's easy to incorporate into your menu.  My recipe starts with one cup of quinoa which cooks just like rice. 
For the dressing, combine olive oil, lemon juice salt and some red wine vinegar and whisk together.
Add some fresh chopped dill and black pepper to taste.
Once the quinoa is cooled add a cup of diced cucumber.  I just love these little red bowls Nelsy got me for Christmas.  They are all marked as measuring cups, very handy.
Dice one medium tomato, add it to the mix along with....
A half cup sliced green onion.
Gently mix with the dressing and add in 1/4 cup of crumbled feta.
Toss and refrigerate until ready to serve.  Make a few hours or a day ahead.  This can be served chilled or at room temp.

Dill-icious Quinoa Salad

1 cup uncooked quinoa
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice (juice from 1 whole lemon)
1 1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbs fresh dill, chopped
black pepper to taste
1 cup diced cucumber
1 medium tomato, diced
1/2 cup sliced green onion (about 5 onions)
1/4 cup crumbled feta

Boil 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt.  Add quinoa and reduce to a simmer, cook covered for 15 minutes until water is absorbed.  Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.

In a small bowl mix olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, pepper and dill.  Whisk until well combined.

When quinoa is cool add the cucumber, tomato, green onion and dressing.  Toss lightly to combine.  Add the feta and toss again.  Refrigerate until ready to serve, can be made a day ahead.  Serve chilled or at room temp.

I'm hoping people will like it! I just had a taste and can't wait to have some tomorrow. 


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