Hosting is definitely my love language and I been able to do a LOT of lovin' lately!
Last week we had a couple over for dinner on Wednesday, I hosted a brunch for my girlfriends on Saturday, and I cooked dinner for church on Sunday. It was full week, but I loved every minute of it! Last year, when Brett and I lived in Florida and were traveling non-stop, I wasn't able to do much hosting. In fact, apart from a single friend occasionally or a couple here and there, I only hosted a group of friends once. I loved hosting then as much as I do now, but I just didn't have the capacity to plan menus or organize guests in between trips to Guatemala and Nigeria, etc.
Since we moved to NYC, however, it's been a completely different story. In addition to all the family we've been able to host, weekly we host all of our smaller, team meetings and Saturday morning breakfasts and we often host another large gathering at some point during the week. At first I always tried to have a snack to serve at every meeting along with hot coffee, but as the year has progress, we've all become like family and my hosting has taken a more relaxed approach. Now all of our friends know that any of the fruit on our countertop is up for grabs. They know where to find the coffee creamer and they know I always have homemade granola bars or muffins in the fridge, so they just ask for one if they're hungry.
At first I felt like a slacker, but I've come to realize I've got to choose my "battles," or should I say victories?! Hosting takes a lot of energy and mental effort. I'm constantly thinking through who will be coming to our house and what I'll need to serve them, whether it's a full meal or just snacks and coffee. If we're having people over for dinner, then I have to navigate any allergies they have or their cultural preferences since many of the people we host are international students. Then I have to think through the groceries for the week and find a time to go to the store.
You get the picture.
It's actually been quite a relief to realize that there are certain people and situations that I don't have to host perfectly. By relaxing a little more when hosting good friends or teammates I'm able to put more energy into the situations that require more effort. Does that make sense?!
I guess what I'm trying to say is that, if I had made snacks for every team meeting this past week and then tried to host a couple for dinner, plan a brunch, and cook for church, I would have loathed hosting by the end of the week. But, by picking and choosing which events I would put more effort into, I wasn't burnt out on Sunday night. Dinner on Wednesday with our new friends from Nepal went amazing and they enjoyed the Chickpea and Tomato Curry I served. Brunch on Sunday was a feast! On the menu were three types of scones, yogurt parfaits, monkey bread, mini quiches (thank you Costco!) and chocolate covered strawberries. Church on Sunday was another fun success where I decided to make an entire Mediterranean themed dinner including baked falafel (recipe coming soon!), hummus and pita chips, cucumber and tomato salad, and this amazing Easy Vegan Mediterranean Quinoa Salad!
You guys. This salad is so simple to prepare and makes amazing leftovers since the quinoa and veggies are able to marinate in the lemon vinaigrette even longer. The fluffy quinoa pairs so well with the crisp, colorful vegetables and fresh, flavorful herbs. Then chickpeas add in some extra protein and texture and the lemon vinaigrette ties everything together! Everyone at church loved this dish and it's so easy to double so you can have leftovers all week. In fact, I'm going to make this again next week for Brett and I to eat on top of salad or in wraps for easy meals.
Y'all. Get excited!
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 clove garlic, smashed
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 large red onion, diced
- 1 large bell pepper, diced
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- ¼ cup chopped fresh chives
- ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Bring the vegetable broth and garlic to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in the quinoa, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender and the broth has been absorbed (about 15 to 20 minutes.) Discard the garlic clove and scrape the quinoa into a large bowl.
- Gently stir the chickpeas, onion, bell pepper, parsley, and chives into the quinoa. In a separate, small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and salt. Pour over the quinoa and stir until evenly mixed. Serve warm or refrigerate and serve cold.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.