I'm determined that this not become a mommy blog. So. There's this:
Although I haven't done much else besides be a mum for the last 3 months. I am back to being interested in cooking though. I've been making these grain salad things with some regularity. It has several advantages, one being that it uses up CSA vegetables pretty nicely, two, it is generally fairly quick and three, it makes excellent leftovers that Ryan can take to work. Also, it is different every time. Basically, I start with a grain of some variety - usually quinoa or burghul (bulgar wheat for those not familiar with Arabic). Burghul has the distinct advantage of not even needing to be cooked - just soaked. Then I add a variety of things from the fridge. The key is to make it balanced, so I always try to add a protein thing as well as all the vegetables.
Last night, I cooked beets in water and vinegar, roasted some garbanzo beans* and caramelized some leeks/ I tossed that with those with burghul and some chopped up arugula. When I roasted the garbanzo beans, I roasted two very large cloves of garlic, which I mashed up in some olive oil. I added balsamic vinegar and used that to dress everything - although a dressing isn't striclty necessary. Finally I added chopped green pepper - not a bell pepper, but similar, our CSA has a variety of pepper that kicks the crap out of regular old bell peppers but the name escapes me at the moment.
In the past, I have added nuts, tempeh, spinach, peas, corn or tomato and often I find scraps of leftovers that do nicely. A thing I like to keep in mind is adding different textures as well as flavours. Chopped almonds add a bit of crunch and the roasted garbanzo beans added some crispiness and chewiness - and they are so yummy that it's hard not to eat them before they've gone in the salad. How I do mine is to toss them in oil and pour them on a baking sheet, roasted at 400 F for 20 minutes or so. When they are done, take them out, toss them with salt or paprika or thyme or whatever - even sugar for sweet ones would be nice. They are a yummy snack!