I seem to spend a lot of time talking about age and aging, don't I? Well, I think I've discovered the very best age: age 10. My youngest son, my baby, just turned 10! It was a thoroughly delightful and enjoyable day. He relished being "king for the day," yet he was constantly checking to make sure that everyone else was having as much fun as he was. And we were; watching him was a blast!
The highlight of our day had to be the Build-A-Dino workshop. It's one of those places, like Build-A-Bear, where you choose your dinosaur and they stuff it for you, and then you can spend all kinds of money buying clothing and accessories for your new friend. I've always stayed away from those sorts of places:-) However, little man recently renewed his interest in dinosaurs. We saw the movie "Dinosaurs in 3-D" at the IMAX theater and he decided he definitely wants to be a paleontologist when he grows up. Those of you with children know that the career choices change at approximately the same rate as the phases of the moon, so you have to grab the one closest to the birthday and encourage it and go with it, before the next phase moves in.
At any rate, the workshop was filled with young kids, ages 4-6 seemed to be most prevalent, and then there was my son, towering above them at 10 years old. He didn't care. He chose his dinosaur and thoughtfully made a wish on its heart before stuffing it inside. He carefully chose a pair of shorts and a paleontologist kit for his dinosaur, an ankylosaurus he named Ace. We printed up a birth certificate for Ace and I paid, trying not to wince.
So, we walked around the T-Rex Cafe store, and my son talked to Ace the whole time. Every once in a while he'd reach in and pet him, adjust him in his box a little, rub his tail. We went to dinner, and he thoughtfully opened Ace's box and "fed" him bits of lettuce. When we got ready to leave, Ace was ready to sleep.
These memories alone are worth the price of Ace, and then some. 10 year olds can play games with the big boys, play on the computer, read novels, paint dinosaurs, dive into the deep end, and fall asleep hugging their stuffed dinosaurs. What could be better than that??
So, how about some healthy recipes to keep you feeling like a 10 year old, even as time marches on? Okay, let's go.
First, Quinoa Tabbouli, a favorite modified from "Diet for a New World" by John Robbins. Don't forget to thoroughly rinse your quinoa under warm water, rubbing it through your fingers, to remove the natural bitter taste which serves as an effective pesticide, courtesy of Mother Nature!
1 C quinoa
1-1/2 C water
2 tomatoes, diced
3 green onions, chopped
1 cucumber, diced
1 small green pepper, diced
1/2 C finely chopped fresh parsley
1/4- 1/2 C chopped fresh mint, to taste
1/4 C freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 C olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
dash cayenne pepper, to taste
Rinse quinoa thoroughly. Bring water and quinoa to a boil; reduce heat, cover, simmer until tender and water is absorbed, 10-12 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cool completely.
Stir remaining salad ingredients into the quinoa.
Whisk together the dressing ingredients, then pour over salad and toss well. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.
Next, a recipe from Mollie Katzen's "Still Life With Menu Cookbook." This is always a big hit at potlucks!!
Jeweled Rice Salad
1/3 C olive oil
6-8 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbs. honey
2 C uncooked short-grain brown rice
4 scallions, minced
1/4- 1/2 C minced fresh parsley
1 C chopped, toasted pecans
black pepper, to taste
2 C red or green seedless grapes
1 C cooked chickpeas, optional (canned is fine)
a handful toasted pecan halves for garnish, optional
Cook the brown rice. Then, spread it out on a large platter to cool.
In a large bowl, combine dressing ingredients. Add cooled rice and stir well. Add scallions, parsley, chopped pecans and pepper; mix well. Slice the grapes in half, saving a few whole for garnish if you wish. Gently stir the grapes into the salad, along with the optional chickpeas. Cover tightly and chill well. Garnish with whole grapes and pecan halves, if desired.
Both of these recipes are summery and delicious!! They are easily adapted to variations and very forgiving. Yes, my kids DO love the rice salad with grapes... who wouldn't?
Knitting.... still plugging away on the shawl and socks! Here is a picture of the shawl, which is maybe halfway completed: