Ten Things to Do this Summer & Crunchy Quinoa Salad

dive-inNo matter how much we all look forward to summer, there may come a day when you’re ready to throw your hands up in despair. Before you channel your inner teenager and shout, “Mom, I’m bored,” here are ten suggestions for a happier, more interesting summer:

1. Unplug. Somewhere along the way, we started to spend more and more time online. Lift your eyes from the screen, take your fingers off the keys and engage in more face-to-face conversations. Summer is a great time to live real life in real time with real people.

2. Head for the water. Make a date with the ocean, a favorite lake, winding stream or roaring river. Heck, a sprinkler will do if it’s all you can manager. Bring your fishing pole, kayak or paddle board. There is something wonderfully calming about a day by the water.

3. Get some exercise. Four or five months from now, you’ll be complaining that it’s too cold or too dark to go out for a walk. The golf course and tennis court will be covered with snow. Get out and about in the sunshine as much as you possibly can!

4. Try something new. When we were kids, we went to summer camp. There we learned to make a lanyard and paddle a canoe. It’s not too late to take on a new project, try a new hobby or take a course. Let this be the summer you learned to paint en plein air or took up paddle boarding.

5. Plant something. You don’t have to clear forty acres. If you are new to gardening, start with a small backyard plot of tomatoes, cucumbers and nasturtium. Add a few herbs, some mint for your tea and basil for pesto would be nice. If tearing up the lawn seems like a bad idea, plant your garden in oversized pots.

6. Go on a vacation in your own town. Discover all the fun and interesting places that the summer people visit. Take a peek behind the library; there is a magnificent Olmsted garden. Check out the Historical Society’s collection of antique cars and buggies. Head for the hills and enjoy some great hiking or biking. If you aren’t sure how to spend the day, ask a tourist!

7. Volunteer. Warm weather brings out new opportunities to volunteer. Support the arts by helping out at the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen’s fair. Join the cadre of coaches that teach soccer to local kids. With many volunteers off on vacation, some organizations are shorthanded in the summer. Fill those gaps at the food pantry, soup kitchen or library.

8. Have a garage sale. One woman’s (or man’s) trash is another’s treasure. Gather all your gently used goodies, pick up your permit and get ready to negotiate. Haggling not your thing? Consider donating those treasures to a worthy cause. Many nonprofits hold yard sales during the summer. They will be delighted to take your stuff off your hands.

9. Host a cookout. You can go all out with a fabulous gourmet feast or keep it simple, even make it a potluck. Summer is a great time for people to get together. After all, you don’t have to worry about picking an alternative in-case-of-snow date!

10. Watch a movie in your backyard. It’s easier than you think and lots of fun. Borrow or rent a projector and tack a sheet on the side of house (white please, leave Spider Man in the linen closet). Invite the neighbors, throw some blankets and pillows on the lawn, pop some popcorn and enjoy!

Have a wonderful summer and bon appétit!

Crunchy Quinoa Salad
High in protein and fiber, quinoa is as versatile as it is healthy. The sugar snap peas, cucumbers and pistachios give this salad a delightful crunch. Enjoy!
Serves 8

Juice and grated zest of 1 lime
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1-2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons minced red onion
1 teaspoon or to taste sweet chili sauce
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
3-4 tablespoons or to taste extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup quinoa
2 tablespoons finely chopped mint
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley
6-8 ounces sugar snap peas
1-2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
6-8 radishes, chopped
1/2 cup pistachios, chopped
1/4 cup pea shoots (optional)

Cook the quinoa according to package directions.

While the quinoa cooks, put the lime juice and zest, garlic, onion and chili sauce in a bowl, season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Whisking with a fork, slowly add the olive oil.

If necessary, drain any excess water from the quinoa and add it to the bowl with the lime juice and olive oil. Tossing frequently, cool to room temperature. Add the herbs and scallions to the quinoa and toss to combine.

Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil, add the peas and cook for 1 minute. Drain the peas and immediately rinse in cold water to stop the cooking. Drain the peas, pat dry and cut on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces.

Add the peas, cucumber, radishes and pistachios to the quinoa, season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Sprinkle with pea shoots and serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.

The salad can be prepared up to several hours in advance and stored in the refrigerator. If it’s a hot night, keep the salad in the refrigerator or a cooler until you are just about ready to serve. Otherwise, remove it from the refrigerator about 15 minutes before serving to take some of the chill off.

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One Year Ago – Cheesecake Brownies
Two Years Ago – Grilled Swordfish with Tequila-Lime Butter
Three Years Ago – Grilled Swordfish with Olive & Caper Salsa
Four Years Ago – Grilled Red Potatoes with Lemon-Garlic-Herb Oil
Five Years Ago – Tandoori Chicken
Six Years Ago – Blueberry Muffins
Seven Years Ago – Peanut Butter Brownies

Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

What’s on your list of things to do this summer? Feel free to share.

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2016

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