I’m going to start out today’s post with a few notes on social anxiety. I don’t suffer from it severely, but I hit bumps here and there. I can certainly be shy, especially in situations where I feel intimidated. I’ve been told in the past that some people dismiss me as ‘boring,’ since I don’t open up right away (ouch). They backtrack by saying ‘but then I got to know you and you’re anything but!’ Uh, yeah, that still kinda stings.
Chelsea can be shy, too, which is probably why we got along so well to begin with. We sensed each others awkwardness and it opened both of us up!
My social anxiety has eased considerably as I’ve gotten older, but not totally gone away. I still find myself at parties sometimes or in social situations where the best I can muster is a smile as I let other people do the talking. Baby steps. Smile and nod. Laugh at the appropriate moments.
All things considered, I’m relaxing a lot as I get older, but I recognize this isn’t the case for everyone. A good friend of mine struggles with social anxiety far worse than me; she will go out of her way to avoid confrontation with just about anyone she doesn’t know. I try and be pretty sensitive to this and stick close in new situations if I sense her discomfort. This is especially tricky if she’s with someone really outgoing, they won’t always realize what situations cause her to get antsy. I mean- I get it- how could they know if they have never felt anxiety in comparable situations? Heck, sometimes even I’m not 100% aware of what hits a nerve. We all try and be as sensitive as we can though and, thankfully, even our beloved Shy Girl has a sense of humor about her situation (and has allowed me to tell the following stories 🙂 )
Shy Girl: “Let’s cross the street.”
Finn: “The restaurant’s on this side.”
SG: “Uggggh, no let’s just cross back later then. Come on!”
F: “Okay- *runs across the street and whispers*- what was it? Was it an ex? A nemesis?”
SG: “No, I just didn’t want that guy wearing the sandwich to talk to us. The sandwich-head guy. He weirds me out.”
And then after a beat we both proceed to clutch each other crying with laughter because we realize how ridiculous the situation is, but also- yeah, I don’t want to talk to the sandwich-head either! Why is his head a sandwich?
In short, SG’s avoidance of confrontation has resulted in a few funny stories, stories she tells loudly and animatedly around her best and closest.
Much like me, SG is a Hungry Girl. If we’re going out to a restaurant, we are going to order whatever we please, with extra fries on the side. It’s a rare day when we order ‘just a salad’ at a restaurant.
A few weeks ago, SG was on a date and ordered a big plate of pasta. The waitress, either mishearing my soft-spoken friend or simply mixing up orders, proceeded to bring her… a salad. Her date scratched his head “oh, for some reason I thought your ordered the pasta…” SG, not wanting to make a fuss or confront the waitress, mumbled vague about actually wanting salad.
But hey, lo and behold, that salad turned out to be a massive hit. Quinoaaaaa to the rescue!
(As a bonus, she noted that not having long noodles to slurp through actually made the date’s conversations run smoother. I should really remind myself of that next time I order a massive burger at a work lunch.)
All the hearty comfort of a bowl of pasta, but lighter and healthier for these hot summer days.
My favourite kinds of quinoa salads are ones where the quinoa is just one ingredient floating among many. A transporter for other types of delicious, if you will.
Black beans and quinoa are both protein-rich so this salad, while very light, will stick in you for a good long time. Adding a bunch of water-rich veggies like cucumber, tomato and bell pepper amps up the nutrients while keeping you hydrated and your system moving. If you reeeeally wanted, you could even make this vegan and skip the feta cheese but in that case, I would suggest upping the salt in the vinaigrette and boiling your quinoa in veggie stock instead of water to keep the flavours punchy.
|Black Bean Quinoa Salad with Lime Vinaigrette|| |
- 1 cup dried quinoa
- 1 small tin black beans, rinsed
- 1 punnet grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 red, orange or yellow bell pepper, diced
- ½ long english cucumber, diced
- 1 avocado, diced
- ¼ cup feta cheese, drained and crumbled
- 1 small bunch fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
- 2 limes, juice and zest
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- Salt and pepper
- Place 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn heat off, cover and let sit for 20 minutes. Remove lid and fluff with a fork.
- Whisk all vinaigrette ingredients together.
- Add the quinoa and the rest of the salad ingredients to a large bowl and mix gently. Drizzle vinaigrette over salad and toss to coat.