Spring is officially here. I am wearing sandals, getting sunburnt on my shoulders after sitting outside for about an hour, and craving iced tea. With Spring comes permission to listen to what may otherwise be called a guilty pleasure; Penny and Me by Hanson. Now, I do not consider this to be a guilty pleasure. I was not a Hanson fan as a kid, nor did I like N’SYNC or the Backstreet Boys or any other band that might have earned me the term “teeny bopper.” (Full disclosure: I did like the Spice Girls, but between their message of “girl power” and songs like this, I have no regrets.). So I like this song sort of in spite of, rather than because of  who sings it. Freshman year of college, my roommates and I christened this our “Spring” song, and to this day, I literally cannot bring myself to listen to it unless I can do so while wearing shorts with my bedroom window open. Enjoy:

As for dinner tonight, I was inspired by those short shorts I’m trying desperately to wiggle myself back into and decided to go for lots of fresh ingredients, and to try and get every color of the rainbow onto my plate. To do this, I made some baked salmon with peppers and onion, some steamed broccoli with parmesan cheese, and some quoinia with sauteed mushrooms. It turned out both fresh and delicious.

While the oven heated up at 400 degrees, I rubbed a spoonful of olive oil over my raw salmon, and seasoned it with salt and pepper. I chopped up 1/2 a green pepper, a yellow pepper, and about a quarter or a small yellow onion and throw it over the salmon and put the whole thing in the oven. Meanwhile, I started cooking up the quinoa (pronounced keen-wah). I was introduced to this super food by my big sister, who has been on a big health kick lately. While I am disappointed that she and I won’t be splitting an entire container of raw cookie dough any time soon (a common bonding experience we shared during high school), I must say that from her hair to her skin to her figure, she’s never looked better, so obviously she’s doing something right. I’m too much of a food-lover to eat something healthy simply because it’s healthy, but quinoa really is yummy. It’s a little drier and nuttier than cous cous, and I’ve been using it sort of beef up dishes that otherwise wouldn’t fill me up. In this example, I served it under a handful of mushrooms that I had sauted in garlic for about 5 minutes.

After about 15 minutes, the salmon is done. I bought some broccoli at the store in a “ready to steam” bag, topped it with some fresh parmesan cheese, added the quoinia-mushroom and voila! Now if I can just stick to dishes like this and not blue-box Macaroni and Cheese, I should be ready for sundress season in no time. :)

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