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    Trader Joe’s Tuesdays! – Spicy Peach Quinoa Salad & A Reminder to Never Criticize the Cook!

    Finally caved and cooked up a dish with quinoa.

    I don’t know about your family, but growing up we had a set number of dishes. My mother only attempted new things maybe once or twice a year, because well, she didn’t have to. There were already about 20-30 dishes she perfected and we LOVED, so we kinda stuck to that. Every night that she would cook was a good night, since we just loved every dish anyways.

    There was one night when my mom attempted something new. I will never forget it. I was about 13 and we were all at the dinner table, she brought out the big Pyrex and a smell filled the kitchen that we weren’t used to. It was a chicken dish with an orange zest. We all stared, very confused.

    “I wanted to try something new.” She said this with a certain doubt in her face.

    My father was the first to try it. He chewed and chewed and didn’t say anything. Then my brother went next. My sister and I figured we would be okay if we joined in. It was silent. There were no “mmmmm’s” or “wow Mom! So good!” you know, the typical. My mom asks my dad, “what do you think?” He then makes a grimace, and we all start laughing, well, everyone except my mom. The dish was edible, but it was just not good. Not good at all! This was a FIRST in our lives that we didn’t absolutely enjoy what my mom served! My brother, sister, Dad and I then went on and on for the next five minutes about how bad it was and it became this fun moment we were all having. My mother stood up, took the entire dish and threw it in the sink. She then stormed off and slammed the door to her room.

    I won’t forget that night, clearly. It’s been over 17 years and I still remember how that made us all feel. We felt worse than the food we were eating, which really wasn’t all that bad. My mother had taken a huge step in attempting something new and because of how we reacted, she didn’t attempt anything new for the next decade. I kid you not!

    Thankfully I am not as sensitive as my mother, and since then I have learned to be more sensitive to the feelings of others, especially cooks. One of my favorite movies growing up was My Best Friend’s Wedding. I loved Julia Roberts and her characters career in this movie was that of a food critic. I thought for years that that’s what I was going to be when I was older. This incident changed me, and now I just have the toughest time criticizing anyone’s cooking because a part of me feels they might throw the entire dish in the sink!

    My kids just aren’t fans of quinoa unless it’s mixed in to some buttery dish like those amazing Aussie Bites. I will admit that I too am not the biggest lover of this food but I am seeing it everywhere. I finally purchased a Trader Joe’s sample that consisted of this and it was surprisingly tasty. I would recommend this as a side dish, something to nibble on with a main dish of roasted chicken. Roasted chicken. Not orange zest. 😉

    So since quinoa seems to be everywhere, I figured I better start getting used to it. I didn’t buy this with the intention to impress my kids. I bought it with the intention to eat healthier, at least a few times a week. My kids know to at least give something a try. If they don’t like it, I am not blamed. I don’t want them to expect greatness from me every single time, since I will be bound to mess up. The kids weren’t thrilled about this one, but since they are obedient, they had a few spoonfuls anyway, and then ate their chicken right after. It’s all about balance.


    • One Ripe Avocado
    • Trader Joe’s Spicy Peach Salsa
    • Trader Joe’s Quinoa Duo
    • Cilantro (optional – I opted out)
    • Trader Joe’s Organic Black Beans


    Drain the can of black beans and set aside. Follow instructions for quinoa. I heated a couple tablespoons of water on a skillet and then poured it all in to the skillet. Started cutting up the avocado. Once the quinoa was ready, I poured it in to a glass bowl. Then I mixed in an entire jar of the spicy peach salsa. Threw in the black beans and began mixing it all up. Topped it with fresh avocado and served it. I preferred this dish COLD. I liked it fresh and warm, but then the extra that we had I put it in the fridge. The following day I ate it cold and liked it better!


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