I quit my job.

It wasn’t a quick decision. I wasn’t mad at my boss. I didn’t throw chairs or anything.

I just knew it was time to move on. Actually, I’d known that for quite a while, but I needed to feel like I was standing on solid ground when I made that big of a decision, and it took a while.

I want to work for myself. I want to be in charge of my own days. I am an extremely productive person when I’m doing what I love. The past few months I’ve been squeezing what I love into a few hours after my day job, and that’s made me a person I don’t like. I don’t sleep well. I’m cranky. I have headaches all the time.

Now I’ll have time to craft, to learn how to properly market my business. To work for other publications and earn what I deserve. And in a few weeks I will take a training course for Nia, which is an exercise class I’ve been taking for a while now. It takes me back to my dance background a little, which is fun. And most importantly it helps me let go of all the stresses in my life. It’s a wonderful thing. You should try it!

Am I scared? Um, yes. The first few months could be pretty rough. But I have done this before, and I have done this well. I just never looked at it as a full-time career, and now it’s all I can imagine doing. Funny how things work out.

I will miss my co-workers like crazy. I’ll miss the constant stream of new people I’ve met through my reporting job, and the way it pushes me to be more social and ask more questions. But this is the right thing to do. I know that now.

I’ll be at Juice through the end of the month. Then I’ll take a deep breath, walk into my home office, and start over.

Just thinking about it makes me smile.

Red quinoa salad

I read a lot of food blogs. It’s one of my greatest sources of inspiration, and it means I hardly ever have to crack open a cookbook anymore. If you want a recipe, it’s usually out there somewhere, beautifully photographed and spelled out step-by-step.

But there’s one thing I’ve noticed about all the food blogs I read. You almost can’t buy a healthy recipe. There’s so much butter and heavy cream in these recipes you’d think Paula Deen was masquerading as 20 different food bloggers. It has not been good for my butt these last few months.

So I decided that I would make a better effort to seek out healthier recipes, and try to post more of them here. There’s no reason I can’t challenge myself to cook a little lighter, and make those Pioneer Woman recipes a once-in-a-while treat.

So here’s one of my first efforts. It’s similar to a tabbouleh salad, but I used red quinoa instead of bulgur (which is packed full of protein). I found it at our farmers market, so I’m not sure how difficult it will be for you to find. You can always substitute regular quinoa.

This recipe makes a very potent salad, so dial down the garlic if you like it more mellow.

Red Quinoa Salad

1 cup (uncooked) red quinoa, rinsed
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for cooking veggies
Juice of a large lemon
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cucumber, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
4 scallions, sliced
1 red pepper, seeded and sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

Start by rinsing the quinoa. Then boil it, covered, with two cups of water for about 12 minutes, or until the water is evaporated and the little spirals start separating from the grain.

This is optional, but I like to saute the red pepper and green onions in a little olive oil before I toss them in, just to soften them a little.

After those have finished cooking and cooled a little, toss them in a large bowl with the remaining ingredients.

I just grabbed some fresh herbs from the garden – a little basil and thyme. But you can use what you have on hand. Basil and mint is a great combination. Oregano would be good, too.

This tastes even better after it has soaked overnight. Serve it with the hummus I posted yesterday.