She needed a plan.

Brian (read: husband) and I dated for nine years before tying the knot. Yes, that's a long time. But when you only see each other once or, if you're lucky, twice a week during that almost-decade, there still remains a lot to learn about the other person. That was the case with us.

During the last three years before getting married, he worked an overnight shift while I kept more traditional office hours. So almost every day during this period, we would talk from 7:45PM-8PM, during his drive to work. Those 15 minutes were fast and efficient. We updated each other on our day at work, quizzed each other on availability for social outings, talked logistics and/or wedding plans, and said our 'I love yous'.

What didn't get talked about was a lot. We would make up for it when we finally saw each other in person at the end of the week, but there was one question that never got asked until recently, when Brian finally transfered to Manhattan full-time, meaning that we now see each other every night:

"What's for dinner?"

Oh, yeah. Meal planning. Something I rarely, if ever, did. I'm Italian-American, which means I definitely think about my meals. The we-just-finished-breakfast-what-do-we-want-for-dinner syndrome is alive and well in my bloodline. The only thing was that seeing my boyfriend/fiance during the weekends only meant that weeknight dinners were catered to me and only me.

Fruit and Granola. Salad with Sauteed Tofu. Hummus and Crackers. Blissfully simple for me; utterly boring for him.

I needed to get on my A-game. This recipe for a summertime quinoa salad helped me get there. In fact, we scarfed this down in such a fast and furious manner that taking photos didn't even occur to me until I was doing the dishes. Oops.

I riffed a bit on Kalyn's recipe by adding crispy shallots and garlic and toasted sunflower seeds. I also omitted the cumin. Just a personal preference.

Did you know that quinoa is also a complete protein source, which means it contains all essential amino acids? Definitely extra credit points for me with my protein-loving hubs.

Easy recipes like this remind me how fun sharing meals can be. Cheers to one of many dinners we are finally eating and enjoying together. Let me know how you like it!

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