Over the past weekend, we celebrated Juan turning thirty, with the lovely company of friends, as well as his dad and brother, who’d flown in to DC specially for his birthday.
Amidst the wonderful time of reunion and happiness, we heard the unfortunate news of the six ISIS attacks in Paris, and as we tuned into the TV channels to find out more, we discovered that almost 130 people had died in the attacks, with many more wounded.
In the wake of such horrible news – news that threatened to make fear overshadow our faith and hope in a world of humanity – I tried to make sense of what was going on.
Families had lost their children, parents, spouses; others had lost their friends and colleagues and acquaintances – people who were simply unlucky enough to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.
The loss of a family member or a loved one or friend is overwhelming (as I’ve learnt after my beloved Aunty Catherine passed away earlier this year), but the loss is made infinitely worse when death comes so suddenly and so horrifically as in the case of a terrorist attack.
I spoke to friends in France and breathed a huge sigh of relief when I’d been assured they were safe.
Later, messages started flooding in from worried friends, warning us to take care and keep safe given that ISIS had also threatened to attack DC, the city we currently live in.
I understood their concerns and fears, but at the same time, I think about how terrorists like the ISIS intentionally want us to stop living our lives in response to fear, and want to create a larger divide between Muslims and the rest of the world. If we do as they intended, then they would have won.
I think about how the newspaper headlines are constantly evoking sadness and anger, and how the media highlights the worst of humanity. In a world where there already is more than enough suffering than is needed to be emphasized, it depends on each individual one of us to turn fear, sorrow and hate into courage and love.
My favorite author Elizabeth Gilbert wrote on Facebook sometime this weekend in the wake of the Paris attacks, “Turn your overflow of sorrow into love”, and in the light of the fact that Thanksgiving in just round the corner, I think, if we were to count the blessings that we have instead of focusing on all the horror going on in the world, there would be so much less negativity and anger.
Today, I choose to give thanks for all the good there is in the world, despite the many bad things that still go on. I choose to believe that love can defeat hate, and that when we choose to focus on the good instead of amplify the bad, the world will be a much better place for everyone.
What better way to give thanks than with a healthy, protein-filled salad in the gorgeous colors of fall?
I’d been wanting to experiment with tri-color quinoa, and when one of my favorite brands Lundberg sent over a packet of organic tri-color quinoa for me to sample, I already had a recipe forming in my head.
I wanted something that would enhance the natural flavors of the ingredients I would be using, and I couldn’t think of a better way to do so than a salad that would preserve the looks and tastes of the produce I would use.
In a large salad bowl, I combined fluffy, cooked tri-color quinoa with roasted butternut squash and sautéed kale, added a shake of salt to taste, dressed it with olive oil and fresh lemon juice, and then mixed it all together.
This makes a beautiful, healthy and hearty salad to bring to your Thanksgiving table, and as you eat it, remember to give thanks for all the good in the world, and enjoy.
- 3½ cups cooked tri-color quinoa (about 1½ cups of uncooked quinoa)
- 3 cups of cubed butternut squash
- 3 cups of torn fresh kale
- Salt to taste
- ½ cup of olive oil
- 4 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
- Pre-heat oven to 400 deg Fahrenheit (200 deg Celsius)
- Grease a large baking dish with cooking oil, and place cubed butternut squash in a single layer on the baking dish
- Roast butternut squash for 40 minutes, flipping over one half way through until butternut squash is soft and cooked through
- As butternut squash is being roasted, sauté torn fresh kale in a little oil in a large saucepan, just until kale is cooked and has turned a bright vibrant green
- In a large salad bowl, combine cooked quinoa, roasted butternut squash and sautéed kale, season with salt, drizzle over olive oil and fresh lemon juice, and mix well to combine