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Dammit, Jim, I’m a mother, not a chef!


So far this weekend we’ve spent two days picnicking at the lake. Chelan is a seriously beautiful place to live! In the summertime the population more than doubles and the town is hopping! This is especially true over the 4th of July weekend. On the afternoon of the 4th we sat on a dock and watched one of CheffyK’s sons and his girlfriend parasail. Those of us who live here sometimes begin to take it for granted. We need little reminders like that afternoon on the dock to bring us back to the reality of how lucky we are.

1058413_10200700776175089_446407628_nMy oldest two kids were getting ready for a trip to Guatemala, so my house was completely blown out with clothing and supplies to be packed. The dining table was not even visible, so where better to eat dinner than at the lake? Where better to procrastinate packing and other chores than at the lake? For those of you who are not familiar with Lake Chelan, it is a 55 mile-long lake, nestled into the foothills of the cascade mountains. Most of the southern half of the lake is accessible by car and sports several well-maintained, public parks. There is even a park within walking distance of my home where we can jump in for a quick dip.

imageOn the 4th, we prepared a picnic of quinoa salad (quasi-recipe below), cheese and crackers, cherries, and Old Joe’s Lemonade, and headed to the lake for Manson’s Fireworks. Luckily, we arrived in time to scope out a good-sized piece of grass because we were joined by CheffyK’s brother and his family, and a whole pile of teenagers. We spread out blankets while the kids swam and played, then enjoyed our simple meal together. The fireworks were spectacular, as usual! If you ever get a chance to visit Manson on the 4th, it is unlikely you will be disappointed.

1059590_10200699517783630_926395591_nThe next day, we packed the quinoa salad  and lemonade again, some kielbasa, veggie dogs, and ingredients for s’mores, and went to Lakeside Park with a mini-Weber to enjoy some lake time with the kids before the big trip to Guatemala. We set up the little barbecue and roasted the dogs and marshmallows over briquettes. While we brought the traditional graham crackers and milk chocolate bars for the s’mores, we also brought a variety of other candy bars. I have discovered that I prefer Newton’s Cranberry Citrus Oat Fruit Thins to graham crackers for s’mores. In fact, it used to be so easy to forego roasted marshmallows and s’mores because I haven’t really cared for them all that much. But, now that I’ve tasted them with a Heath Bar in place of the milk chocolate, and the cookie in place of the graham cracker, watch out!

I am perpetually impressed with CheffyK’s willingness to partake in my humble cooking habits. I haven’t known a lot of chef’s but I wouldn’t be surprised if most turned their nose up at hot dogs, even if they are kielbasa dogs. Not CheffyK. Like most moms, I have learned to let go of the complicated and exact for what is easy to put on the table (or picnic blanket) as quickly as possible. Can I get an, “Amen?” This weekend was notable for the quick and easy. This quinoa salad makes a frequent appearance, especially during the summer. I always make a big batch and we can eat the leftovers for a few days. It even seems to improve as it sits in the refrigerator and the flavors continue to meld. Like the pasta salad recipe I posted a couple of weeks ago, this is less of a recipe and more of a suggested list of ingredients to inspire you in creating your own quinoa masterpiece.


  1. Quinoa, cooked with veggie broth, and cooled
  2. Fresh, diced tomoatoes
  3. Diced, sweet, bell pepper (Ooh! I must try this with a fresh jalapeño tossed in!)
  4. Diced carrots
  5. Diced celery
  6. A bunch of minced cilantro
  7. A LOT of minced garlic
  8. Olive oil
  9. Lots of lemon juice
  10. Salt and pepper

Mix it all together adding olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.

983267_10200695161034714_706148943_nEnjoy! Tastes best with loved ones in the open air.


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