tabbouleh or not tabbouleh … is that the question?

Jeanne here.

As the days begin to stretch (we still had daylight at nearly 6 pm last night … crazy!) I’ve been dreaming of the garden we’re going to plant this year.

Actually, I’ve been doing more than dreaming.  I’ve been plotting and planning and ordering seeds and getting ready to start the seeds for some of our long-season veggies (like onions … the teacher in my Master Gardener class suggested that onions needed to be started by the this weekend if I hope to get actual onions this year … AAAaack.  I better get on it!).

And all that plotting, planning, ordering, organizing has me salivating over some of our summer’s best harvest, which has me thinking about summer foods that I can make with stuff we grow in the garden.

Like Tabbouleh.

Like tomatoes (I had such good luck with heirloom cherry tomatoes last year … I’m salivating just thinking about it!).

These are Abby's tomatoes.  I borrowed this photo without asking because I look at this photo and begin dreaming of summer.
These are Abby’s tomatoes. I borrowed this photo without asking because I look at this photo and begin dreaming of summer.

And mint (Even if you don’t have a green thumb, mint is a wonderful plant to have in your garden … it’s so dang hardy.  I’ve accidentally tried to kill it and totally failed.  It’s prolific and everywhere now!).

And parsley (I didn’t grow parsley last year … but Abby did … and it was such a perfect addition to this salad).

And onions (I only ever got mini-scallions last year … planted too late, but those baby scallions were perfect in this tabbouleh.  Perfect!).

Is it tabbouleh if you use quinoa instead of bulgar wheat?  Hmmm.

Whether it’s tabbouleh or not … it’s a taste of summer and that makes me happy.

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INGREDIENTS:

  • ½ c. soaked quinoa
  • 1 c. water
  • 6 or 7 mint leaves (finely chopped)
  • ¾ c. Italian parsley (chopped)
  • 3 or 4 scallions (chopped)
  • 2 medium ripe red tomatoes (chopped)
  • juice from half a lemon
  • 2 tbls. olive oil
  • sea salt, to taste

The night before:

Soak 1/2 cup of quinoa in filtered water and 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar.

The day of:

Rinse the quinoa very well … till the water runs clear.  The soaking will break-down the mineral binding phytates and make the quinoa easier to digest.

In a saucepan, combine ½ c. quinoa with 1 c. of water (and a dash of salt).  Bring to boil.  Lower the heat to a simmer and let it cook until the water is evaporated (10-15 minutes).  Take off the heat, cover and let rest for 5 minutes.  Fluff the quinoa with a fork.  Just like rice … with a good bit more digestible protein!  (NOTE: Quinoa has about 13g of protein, brown rice has 7.5g, white rice 6.6g).

While you let it cool…

In a medium bowl, combine mint leaves, parsley, scallions and tomatoes.  Add the quinoa.  Add juice from half a lemon (a little more if you want a little more “tang”) and olive oil.  Sprinkle with a little salt, toss with a fork and pop it in the refrigerator for at least an hour… better if you let it rest overnight, but who has that kind of time, right?

It’s sort of a perfect salad for a hot and muggy day … a little protein, a little citrus, a little mint … some spicy scallions …

Served on some pita bread with hummus … but you do what you want.  It’s your salad.

What are you craving these days?

fried chicken, honey-mustard, and an easy salad


Fried chicken.  Not exactly something you would call a health food.  But tonight my family was craving it, and with a foot of snow and temps in the teens… comfort food just felt right.

I changed things up a bit from your typical fried chicken to make it a little more health-nut mama friendly and here’s where we ended up.

What I used:

  • 4 large organic boneless chicken breast
  • 3 large eggs
  • coconut oil (about a cup)
  • 1/3 bag Panko italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper
  • large skillet
  • large (11 x 13) glass baking dish

What I did:
Pre-heat oven to 350. Then, using a sharp knife and a non-wood cutting board, slice chicken into strips.

Place the eggs in a bowl and whisk.  In a separate bowl place the bread crumbs.

Next, fill the large skillet with enough coconut oil to coat the pan and get a thin later on the bottom.  Turn the heat up to medium high.

While the oil is getting hot, now is the time to prepare your tenders.  Lightly season them with salt and pepper before dunking them one-by-one in the eggs.

After the eggs, place the tenders in the bread crumbs.  I should note here that you don’t have to use Panko style, but I really love the texture they add.  In the past, I have also used gluten-free bread crumbs or even chia seeds (a recipe I haven’t quite perfected yet.)

By this time, your oil should be hot enough to fry.  It should lightly sizzle when you place the tenders in.  If it doesn’t sizzle just yet, give it a minute or 2 and you should be fine.

After about 4-5 minutes, flip the chicken.  Before you turn, make sure they are plenty browned on the bottom.  Through-out the frying process, you may need to add more oil.
After the second side gets to fry for another 4-5 minutes, place the tenders in the glass baking dish and place in pre-heated oven.  To help absorb the oil, I place a brown paper bag (cut to the size of the dish).  Tonight, I didn’t have one of hand, so I lined it with unbleached coffee filters.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until your tenders are cooked all the way through.  Every oven is different so just keep an eye on them.
For a quick, tasty, fantastic dipping sauce… mix equal parts honey and mustard.
I also threw together a quick kale salad to add a little green to our meal.
  • Finely chop a few cups of kale. This green is tough so it’s important to chop finely!
  • Dice up a quarter of an red onion and a quarter of an apple.
  • I made a quick dressing by placing equal parts balsamic vinegar and olive oil in a jar with a lid and shake.
  • Combine kale, onion, apple and dressing and let sit for about 15 minutes before eating.  Letting it set also helps slightly soften the kale.

My 3 year old, who can be a picky eater, gobbled this up!

This meal pleased every member of my family!  Love it when that happens!
-Abby