Tuesday, April 13, 2010


I am the mom who makes my kids wear lifejackets when we stand on the riverbanks to fish. When camping by a lake, my children put on lifejackets before breakfast and wear them all day. And yet, against all maternal instinct, I went sans lifejacket on Episode 7 of “WANTED: Adventure Host.” As one of six final contestants vying for a hosting job of an outdoor show, I found myself competing in a mega, mini-triathlon along the banks of the Deschutes River in Central Oregon without so much as a water-wing!

The pre-race prep was less than inspirational. “As soon as you hit the water you will be hypothermic,” warns judge Brian “Tracker” Wheeler. The producers added, “Make sure you jump out far enough to avoid the rocks below.” Oh great!

Being the only female in group of men that include a college athlete, two professional athletes, a rock climber and muscle-bound fireman, I just knew that I would come in last place. My only chance was to gut it out and try not to look like a wimp. That meant my old friend, the life jacket, was out no matter how I longed for it’s reassuring embrace.

Ready, set, go! I started the uphill run on a jagged trail to a 30-foot cliff over looking the frigid Deschutes River. When I came to the cliff, I stopped and tried to catch my breath before hitting the icy water. Mustering some courage, I took a jog to the edge only to stop short doubting my footing, doubting whether I would clear the rocks below, doubting whether I would live!

Second attempt, I made it off the cliff only find the cold water hit me just as hard as I imaged the rocks would. The 40 degree water sat on my chest like an anvil – I could not breath!

Now don’t get me wrong, I have excitedly jumped into Alaskan lakes that still have ice on them. This was worse! When out of breath from running in high altitudes, fighting with fresh melted ice is not a battle I would choose. But that day, girl guts won! I made it to the riverbank.

Unable to feel my fingers, I now had to grip handlebars and navigate a mountain bike through boulders, rocks, and roots to the finish line. With slippery wet shoes and limbs like noodles, it is a miracle I stayed on that bike!

But I made it. I loved it. I loved it immediately AFTER crossing the finish line! And I even beat some brawny boys.

Looking back, I am glad that I decided before the race started that I was not going to use the lifejacket. Knowing that I would not be as fast as the men, taking a two-minute penalty for the security of the jacket would have been an automatic concession. Having already made-up my mind, when I stood facing down the cliff, scared as I was, the lifejacket didn’t even cross my mind.

Now, when I find myself re-evaluating decisions based on fear and doubt, I can remind myself that even though fear is here now, and pain will most likely follow, there will be a finish line. I want to celebrate at that finish line knowing I followed the plan. Even when I am scared, I want to have faith and jump.

2 Timothy 4: 7-8 “I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day.”

Quinoa is the king of grains! Not only is it a fiber filled whole grain, but quinoa is also the highest protein plant food! All that muscle building goodness without the animal fats and messy preparation. Quinoa has an almost rice-like flavor, which easily takes on the flavors of added ingredients and spices. And its texture is similar to cous cous, a small granular pasta. Like pasta, quinoa is also a carb making it the perfect pre-race food – just what the “WANTED: Adventure Host” contestants needed before the mini-triathlon in Episode 7! So in honor of the mega mini-tri, I give you Quinoa three ways!

2 cups Water
1 cup Quinoa

Place both water and quinoa into a saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer till quinoa is slightly translucent and tender (about 15 minutes). When there are steam wholes on the surface of the quinoa, it is usually done.

Serves 4

Basic Quinoa
1 cup salsa
½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Prepare Basic Quinoa. When steam holes appear on surface of quinoa, fold in salsa. Try to work the quinoa as little as possible to keep it from getting starchy and gummy. Serve topped with cheese as a side or double the recipe for entrée sized portions.

Serves 4

2 cups chicken broth
1 cup quinoa
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
3 green onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, grated or minced
1 tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat oil in a saucepan. Add finely chopped onion and garlic. Sautee until tender and translucent.

2. Add broth and quinoa. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer about 15 minutes or until steam holes are seen on the surface of quinoa and grains are semi-translucent and tender. Serve top with a sprinkling of green onions, grape tomatoes, salt and pepper.

Serves 4 (side portions)

Basic Quinoa
10 oz bag of spinach
1 cup shelled pistachios
¼ cup olive oil
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp water
2 tsp agave nectar (substitute sugar equally, substitute 1 tsp honey)
¼ tsp ground mustard

1. Prepare Basic Quinoa. In the meantime, mix dressing. Combine oil, vinegar, water, agave nectar, and mustard. When Basic Quinoa is ready, top with dressing, fluff (working the quinoa as little as possible)
2. When ready to serve, place spinach in a large dish. Top with quinoa, toss together and top with pistachios.

Serves 8

Question? Comment? Tried the recipe? Let me know what you think. Leave a comment!


  1. Lindsey! I love quinoa! I use this awesome recipe from the Gourmet Nutrition book..here it is, I think you'd love it! I can't wait to try out yours :)


    Quinoa 1/2 cup

    Vegetable Broth 1 cup

    (core removed, small diced) 1/4

    Orange (peeled with outer
    and central white membrane
    removed, chopped) 1/4

    Raw cashews
    (chopped) 1/4 cup

    Fresh cilantro
    (chopped) 1 tbsp


    Rinse quinoa in a fine strainer and drain. Bring veggie broth or water to a boil in a medium-sized pot and then add the rinsed quinoa. Cover with a tigh-fitting lid and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes and then add the apple, orange and cashews. Remove from heat and let it sit for another 10 minutes with the lid on. Add the cilantro, stir all the ingredients together and serve. Serves 1 large or 2 small.

    Also, I recently saw an article in oxygen magazine for a recipe regarding quinoa. It used sun-dried tomatoes, plenty of garlic, green onions, chopped fresh cilantro, onion and shredded carrot. Sounds delish huh?

    Enjoy, and thanks for all your lovely recipes! My husband and I will never go hungry :)

    -Ali D aka your fitness instructor friend!