School started back up for us this last week. My boys are in 5th and 3rd grades and my daughter started Kindergarten. I was excited to gain some structure back in my life after the chaos of the summer months – a predictable routine, the ability to hear myself think again, the astonishing capacity to clean the house and actually keep it clean for hours at a time, and the privilege of being able to take a shower without someone banging on the door, barging in, or hearing a general thundering ruckus that sounds like the house is being torn down. Perhaps my favorite thing of all is that I have the freedom to go to the grocery store again without children in tow. It’s the little things… lots of little things, that when all added up, amount to my sanity. I love my family, I truly do, but I was over summer. School, I am beyond thankful for you. Teachers, you’re the best.

So, what did we do two days after school started? Perhaps the most ridiculous, unlikely, spontaneous thing possible. We got a PUPPY! Maya, what have you done? No. Seriously. What were you thinking?! Goodbye routine. Goodbye hearing myself think again. Goodbye keeping the house clean. Goodbye to the privilege of taking a shower without a general thundering ruckus. I blame it all on summer. I wasn’t in my right mind, clearly. Summertime Mommy Insanity, I say. That’s a real thing, right?

But, would you just look at that face? How can you resist that gushy puppy face? And those floppy, curly ears? I can’t even deal.
fisher
His name is Fisher and he’s 8 weeks old. He is a tri-color English Springer Spaniel. And he lays between my feet with his head on my slippers while I sit at the computer and type things like this.
fisher1
I’m a goner, folks.

In other news, this quinoa is the perfect way to cling to the last remnants of summer. Bursting with freshness and crunch, you can serve this cold or room temp, as a side dish or a salad or as a vegetarian main dish, too. Go crazy.

Thai Cashew Quinoa with Ginger Peanut Sauce

A terrific way to enjoy quinoa with loads of veggies, cashews, and a flavorful ginger peanut sauce. It’s great as a side dish, salad, or vegetarian main dish. Adapted from [Ambitious Kitchen|http://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/2013/04/crunchy-cashew-thai-quinoa-salad-with-ginger-peanut-dressing/]

  • 3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed, cooked*, and cooled
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 cup red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup cashews, roughly chopped
  • For the Sauce:
  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, freshly grated
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • water to thin, if needed
  • Lime wedges

Add the cooked quinoa to a medium mixing bowl. Add the bell pepper, cabbage, carrots, red onion, cilantro, green onions, and cashews.

To a small microwave safe bowl, add the peanut butter and honey. Warm them slightly in the microwave to thin, about 15-30 seconds. Stir until smooth and creamy. Add the ginger, soy, vinegar, and sesame oil and mix together until smooth. Add water by the teaspoon to thin, if needed, to achieve a pourable consistency. Pour the sauce over the quinoa and vegetables (you may not need all of the sauce, so do it gradually to taste). Toss to coat. Top with additional cashews, green onions, and cilantro prior to serving. Serve with lime wedges and Sriracha sauce on the side. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

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