Quinoa Apple Cashew Salad and What is Happiness?

This Quinoa Apple Cashew Salad is delicious served warm or cold. Make the quinoa ahead of time, where the recipe only takes 5 minutes to make!

Quinoa Apple Cashew Salad

Friends, I made a very delicious, fresh Quinoa Apple Cashew Salad this week, that I think you will love! I love the combination of apples and cashews, and how this is a simple salad to pack in a containter for lunch in the outdoors, or even in the car if you’re out running errands! Of course, make it for lunch or dinner, and share it with a friend!

We’re over here in Bend, Oregon, and the sun has been shining so brightly! It truly is lovely over here.

Sunriver, OR

The sunshine (and bright blue skies) for sure make me happy. But … what really is happiness?

Different people say different things, but for me, Christian happiness is the grace of loving, and being loved by, God. We should have a life that is full of joy, no matter what our circumstances are. We know that two people with identical circumstances can have vastly different levels of happiness. So it’s all about perspective.

Paul and I learned this when we went to Africa. We saw children with little or nothing. And yet, they are happy. Food, shelter, clothing and safety were all they needed. It showed in their beautiful smiles.

They eat rice, corn and vegetables every day, with very little meat. Some live in boarding schools, some sleep in beds made of wooden planks, and they wear clothes donated or handed down. We were amazed at the happy kids that we saw, the contentment—no selfish grabbing, fighting, crying, and no pouting. They were happy!!!

Happiness is unrelated to having “stuff.” Having stuff is not a determinant of happiness, but right perspective about stuff is a big determinant of happiness.

Happiness also comes when we think of ourselves less, and others more.

My friend sent me this “happiness” article, which is … WOW. I think right on! If you have time, check it out, Why Generation Y is Unhappy.

It comes down to a simple formula:

Happiness = Reality – Expectations

It’s pretty straightforward—when the reality of someone’s life is better than they had expected, they’re happy. When reality turns out to be worse than the expectations, they’re unhappy.

I found a few quotes on happiness that made me smile:

Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude. – Denis Waitley

Happiness is to love and to work. – Freud

Happiness is a warm puppy. – Charles Schulz, of Charlie Brown fame

Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product. – Eleanor Roosevelt

Quinoa Apple Cashew Salad

I always cook my quinoa in the rice cooker, as I would rice. For example, 2 cups of quinoa to 3 cups of water (1:1.5) on “brown rice” setting. Perfect quinoa!

Mix all ingredients together and serve! We love this salad and it’s a healthy snack to keep in the fridge, if you’re off to a healthy eating regime this year!

Since we’ve gotten our kids through high school now, I’d say “simple living” will be our goal for 2016.

The world is constantly calling us to consume, to store up, and to get as much as we can. Paul and I would actually like to downsize, get rid of stuff this year, and to share generously, learn to share better, and get by on less stuff. Not everyone is into simple living, but enjoying the outdoors more, and being less consumed by maintaining so much stuff, sounds attractive to us.

I do believe that simple living brings a form of happiness.

I do believe that having lots of friends in my life makes me happy.

I also believe that puppies do bring happiness! :)

How have you learned to rise above your circumstances to be joyful and happy? Or, what changes are you making this year, for a simpler way of living?

Quinoa Apple Cashew Salad

Quinoa Apple Cashew Salad
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Quinoa Apple Cashew Salad

This Quinoa Apple Cashew Salad is delicious served warm or cold. Make the quinoa ahead of time, where the recipe only takes 5 minutes to make! Cook quinoa in rice cooker on brown rice setting, or on stove top.
Prep Time5 mins
Total Time5 mins
Servings: 6


  • 3 cups cooked red quinoa
  • 2 large apples diced
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. apple juice
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 shallot chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. chives minced
  • 2 tsp. dried tarragon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup cashews toasted


  • In a large bowl, mix the quinoa and apples together. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, apple juice, cinnamon, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, shallot, chives, and dried tarragon. Mix together and drizzle over the quinoa. Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the cashews to the mixture; serve.

Quinoa Apple Cashew Salad

5 comments on “Quinoa Apple Cashew Salad and What is Happiness?”

  1. This salad is DELICIOUS; it was hard to stop eating, even when we got full :)   Thank you for the recipe!

  2. Great quotes, lovely article Sandy. I recently heard a TED talk on this subject. The speaker was describing research done, and the results were eye-opening. I
    L try to find the link and send it your way. Basically…. The shelf life of “circumstantial” happiness AND unhappiness (following what we perceive as huge life events) is like 6 months, tops. Then it’s all up to that person to choose happiness. Really interesting.

  3. Sandy, I started about 6 months ago when I felt that the Lord was speaking to me about “living a more simple live.” I have cleaned out, organized and cut back on all of my household items, clothing and spending. My husband came on board a couple of months ago and he has cut out cable (we now have a Roku and antenna) and we are cutting our phone plans. We have already down-sized and live in a small house. I can tell you that our experience has been wonderful, liberating, and freeing. It was so good to give away things that we were not using or wearing to others in need. My home stays more organized, clean and gives us extra time to do what we enjoy and to serve others. We started small but are ready for the next step of simplifying even more. We were out of debt as well until our 20 year old car died and we had to purchase a new one. So, the next goal is to get it paid for. I often think of the words of Paul, “I have learned to be content with plenty and with none.” True happiness comes from a heart of thankfulness and gratitude. Thank you for continuing to encourage us to be the person that God would have us to be!

  4. Love, love, love! Your perspective on happiness is heart warming and right on Sandy.
    Wonderful post!

  5. So good! And your salad looks yummy! I love that “happiness=reality-expectations”!  In the last two years we’ve had circumstances change that could definitely impact “happiness”, but for me, that wasn’t an option…I’ve had to be intentional about happiness and joy. 

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