Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Let me introduce you to a book that, personally, I think everyone should read.
But that's just my 2 cents ;)
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
I'd heard from several people that this was a good book, but really had no idea what it was about, except that one friend told me, "It's about being thankful." I could always use help in that department. And honestly, half the reason I bought it was because of the pretty picture on the front...and it was on sale :)
It was well worth it.

It starts off with several heart-wrenching stories, that made me wonder if I could make it through the whole book. But the way she writes immediately drew me in. So poetic, so honest, and yet so hopeful.

She talks about making a list of 1,000 gifts--the everyday, ordinary things in life that we take for granted--that are gifts from God. A while back, I'd started making a similar list, but had stopped. When I read this, I remembered it, and determined to start again my running list. Here's a few of my own favorites:
1) rain
2) a little kid picking flowers...in the gardening section of Walmart
3) laughing on demand
4) play dough
5) sliver of a crescent moon
6) kind words--encouraging, healing, sweet as honey

"When I name moments...I am Adam and I discover my meaning and God's, and to name is to learn the language of Paradise...'To name a thing is to manifest the meaning and value God gave it, to know it as coming from God...To name a thing, in other words, is to bless God for it and in it.' " (One Thousand Gifts, p. 53)

Learning to be open to God's voice everywhere--even in the little things. Washing dishes, driving, watching kids, vacuuming, decorating, pulling weeds, randomly bursting into song in the car (OK, maybe only I do that!). Every good and perfect gift is from Him--this is spiritual. Being present in the moment, and finding God's presence in the moment. This is life.

So here goes.

In keeping with the theme of this blog, here's something I've recently become thankful for:
I'm thankful for quinoa.
Recently, I had a chance to play with whole-grain quinoa (along with my mom, who likes the same kind of foods I do!). Before this, I'd only ever tried recipes with quinoa flakes (like these Blueberry Quinoa bars from Simply Sugar and Gluten Free). But whole grain quinoa can be cooked similar to oatmeal (in sweet recipes) and rice (in savory recipes). I was pleasantly surprised to find this in my local grocery store...If you've never tried it, you so should.

Greek Quinoa Salad
This recipe is adapted from this site.  Here's my modified version.

3-4 c. water or vegetable broth
1 1/2 c. whole grain quinoa, uncooked
2 T. apple cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
juice from one lemon
3 T. olive oil
1/2 c. kalamata olives, sliced if desired
2 T. fresh parsley, chopped
1/3 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 red onion, diced
1 c. cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 c. chopped artichoke hearts
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c. crumbled feta cheese

In a medium-large saucepan, cook the quinoa in vegetable broth for 15-20 minutes, until tender, stirring occasionally. Allow to cool.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil.

Gently toss the quinoa together with the remaining ingredients, except feta. Pour the olive oil mixture over the quinoa. Add more salt and pepper to taste and gently stir in the feta cheese.

This post was shared as part of Sightly Indulgent Tuesdays.

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