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A lifetime of learning

Local Flavours - Joan Yates - Crunchy Quinoa Salad
Joan Yates

Joan Yates is a woman who loves a challenge.

The South Surrey resident – who has called the Peninsula home for 12 years –

particularly enjoys the challenge she gets out of her involvement in the Semiahmoo Potters, a club she joined close to 10 years ago.

After taking pottery classes at Surrey Arts Centre, Yates discovered there was a group of like-minded artists in her own backyard.

“It was just so thrilling to tour this tiny little building that housed all the necessities, and to know that I now had a place to go,” she says.

Nearly a decade later, Yates says the fact that she’s always learning and growing as an artist is one of her favorite things about pottery.

“It never ceases to amaze me how much I can learn,” Yates says. “Just when I think I’m getting a little better, I realize I can get even better. It’s a constant challenge.”

Being a part of a community – something Yates says she misses since retiring from her career as a registered nurse almost five years ago – is another huge draw for the Ontario native.

“Adding new groups to my life has been enriching,” she says, noting she is also part of a local book club. “I’m challenged to continually stretch my learning in new ways as I step deeper into retirement life.”

Yates and her Semiahmoo Potters colleagues are gearing up for their annual sale this weekend, set for Saturday April 30 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday May 1 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Ocean Park Community Hall.

Along with a diverse array of original pieces of art and jewelry, Yates says the group has planned something special in light of a holiday that’s just around the corner.

“We thought because it’s fairly close to Mother’s Day… we’re going to set up a table of items that are $10 and under,” she explains. “It’s something that we hope will help a younger person to be able to afford a special gift.”

Another way Yates enjoys to challenge herself is by finding new and interesting recipes to share with friends and family. She discovered this recipe for crunchy quinoa salad, thanks to a friend from Ontario, and said it’s a great choice for people who haven’t tried quinoa.

“It’s a tasty introduction for anyone who has not yet tried this food,” she says. “You can even use it as a main dish, it’s so good.”

Crunchy Quinoa Salad


2 cups cooked quinoa (see note below)

1 cup grated carrot

1/2 cup finely chopped red pepper

1/2 cup finely chopped celery

3 green onions, chopped

1/4 cup sunflower seeds (toasted an option)

1 cup chopped cilantro or parsley


1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 Tbsp. tamari soy sauce

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds


To cook the quinoa, mix one cup quinoa and 2 cups water in pot. Bring to boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook until all water is absorbed (10 to 15 minutes). Fluff with fork and let cool.

Place salad ingredients in a large bowl. Stir to combine. Mix dressing ingredients together in a glass jar. Shake well and pour over the salad. Enjoy!