All About the Food & Yellow Quinoa Recipe

Except for breakfast yesterday, I actually managed to snap photos of a lot of my food so guess what I am going to be sharing with you all today!

My breakfast was my favorite at the moment blueberry smoothie all jam-packed with blueberries, kale, pineapple, and so much more. It tasted awesome per usual.

Lunch was insanely delicious. I pulled together a salad using leftover mixed dark greens with tomatoes and cucumbers from Sunday, leftover yellow quinoa (recipe below!), leftover chicken, zucchini, sunflower seeds, and this homemade Greek dressing. The flavor in this thing was outrageous. I am going to be making this for lunch again today I think.

salad

I spent a little time in the kitchen mixing up some confectionaries (sugar-free). This is a teaser photo. I promise I really am going to share some homemade dark chocolate recipes with you all soon.

chocolate

I also made dried pineapple in the food dehydrator. These make for the perfect sweet dessert. They taste like gummy candy. So good!

pineapple

Dinner

I didn’t really have any plans for dinner, but when the time rolled around, I knew I had a fridge packed full of veggies, and they were screaming to be eaten. So I threw together my old go-to dinner: veggie hash with an over-easy egg.

This time I used onions, garlic, mushrooms, broccoli, zucchini, green beans, salt, pepper, and paprika. I was so excited to be able to eat an egg again. I had eliminated them from my diet when I was following the Clean Program and this was my first time eating one in about a month. I missed my eggs!

hash with egg hash with egg

Mmm seriously such a good dinner. Such a great day of eats in general!

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So remember that yellow quinoa I made for Sunday night’s Mediterranean dinner?

homemade mediterranean dinner

 

My inspiration for this recipe came from multiple dinners to one of my favorite Mediterranean restaurants where they serve yellow rice underneath mounds of veggies and shawarma. Num. Ca you see it hidden under there? This was a photo of my dinner from the restaurant a while back.

med cruise yellow rice

 

The secret ingredient in my quinoa that makes it yellow is a spice called turmeric. Did you know turmeric has been shown to be a natural anti-inflammatory? I can almost guarantee that nearly every one of us could benefit from a little anti-inflammatory assistance within our bodies. I know I can use the extra help!

Anyway, this quinoa is extremely simple and it was the perfect accompaniment to the Mediterranean inspired meal I made for Sunday night’s dinner which included grilled chicken, kabobs, and a veggie salad.

You could add in onions and green peas to this quinoa recipe to amp up the nutritional value even more. You could also add in veggies AND a lean protein like chicken and you would have yourself a one pot meal.

Yellow Quinoa
Print
This makes one BIG batch of quinoa
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups dry quinoa
  • 5 cups chicken bone broth
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 heaping tsp cumin
  • dash of onion powder
  • salt to taste
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan or pot, combine quinoa, broth, and garlic and bring to a boil.
  2. Cover pot and reduce to simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. At the end of the cooking process, add the remaining seasonings. Season to taste if necessary.
  4. Serve with your favorite kabob combination, on a salad or even on its own!

Happy Day my friends.

Have you ever cooked with turmeric? What are your favorite spices to cook with?

Getting Back into Outdoor Running

Well, I did something yesterday that I haven’t done in a while…went for an outdoor run. The weather around here has been pretty nasty the last few weeks with cold temps followed by snow, so I have been taking my runs (albeit few runs) inside on the treadmill lately.

Yesterday morning I was planning on just that; running on the treadmill. I told Dana my plan and he said okay, but just so you know I am running outside today. Usually the only way I will run on snowy, icy, streets in the winter is if I’m running with someone else, that way if I were to fall, I’d have someone there to help me out. I made the decision to run with Dana and Moose outside.

I got all geared up and wore the same outfit as I did at our January 1st Polar Dash 10K run (photo from the polar dash), except no neck warmer:

dana and melanie polar dash 2013

 

It was 19°F when we were out. The first mile was really cold on my face, but not too long after that I was warming up real well.

The sidewalks in our neighborhood were kinda wishy-washy as far as being clear of snow and ice. Inevitably, the uphill sidewalks were the ones covered in snow so I felt like I was running in sand, uphill. Those hills made me feel pretty out of shape.

At mile two, my legs were feeling like a light load of bricks. The cold was getting to them but they kept moving. We completed our three-mile loop and I am happy to say I finally got an outdoor run in again.

I have less than one month until our 7K run and as long as I start running outside a little more often, I should be just fine. Who knows anyway, the weather could be pretty nice mid-March. Last year it was unseasonably warm. You just never know! You have to be prepared for anything.

From here on out, I’m hoping the weather will only improve and get warmer so I can really start to enjoy outdoor runs again! I’m ready for it.

When we got home I did some stretching, core exercises, and my plank-a-day. Then we got busy packing for our trip and working on some more food preparation!

I wanted to bring some dried fruit on our trip to snack on, so I placed apricots, peaches, pineapples, and bananas into the food dehydrator, covered it, and left it on for a long time; about nine hours.

food dehydrated

*I used canned fruit (in its own juice) for this and rinsed them thoroughly and dried them in the sink

For lunch I ate a grilled salmon fillet with zucchini. I ended up adding some honey dijon mustard to my plate because I’m not into plain salmon yet.

salmon

I finished lunch with a microwaved apple…

baked apple

Later in the afternoon before we left to run errands I snacked on a banana with peanut butter…

banana with peanut butter

Dinner was a grilled turkey burger with avocado, SCD ketchup, and mustard, and cooked carrots. Why do grill burgers taste SO much better?! It was delicious.

turkey burger with avocado

Finally at about 9:30 pm, the fruit was done dehydrating. We laid them out on the counter to cool down.

dried fruit dried fruit

And then bagged them up for the trip!

dried fruit

 

We do plan on visiting a local farm/farmer’s market to pick up fresh produce while we are in Turks and Caicos, but it’s nice to have other options too.

When we were in the Boundary Waters last May with my brother Scott and his girlfriend Nicole, Nicole had made a huge batch of dried fruit and I loved it so much that I went and bought a food dehydrator for myself. Dried fruit is one of my favorite treats, but I don’t like all of the sugar and additives that is often added to the store-bought kind (dried fruit has enough sugar on its own), so I try to make it myself the majority of the time. No additives here!

I have lots to do today so I better get to it. Have a great day!

 

Catching Up on Weekend Eats

Happy Tuesday!

Since I kind of dove deep yesterday into the topic of curbing my sweet tooth, I didn’t get the chance to share the rest of my kitchen adventures with you from the weekend. Even though it’s already Tuesday, I still want to catch up. There’s no better time than right now!

My Weekend Eats

On Saturday I broke out the food dehydrator. I sliced up fresh bananas which I rolled in melted coconut oil, and frozen strawberries which I thawed in the microwave and sliced thin, and placed them on the dehydrator trays. I let them go for 7 hours.

strawberries in dehydrator

The bananas came out great as they always do, but the strawberries were just kind of ‘meh’ to me. They are good, just not goooooood. I still enjoy them though!

dried strawberries

For dinner Saturday night I had not a clue what I was going to make. After taking inventory in the fridge and freezer, I pulled out a bunch of veggies and got chopping. First I sliced a whole lot of brussels sprouts into shreds. I sprayed them with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roasted them for about 20 minutes in the oven.

roasted brussel sprouts

In the mean time, I sautéed carrots, onion, mushrooms, and one garlic clove. In a separate  pan, I cooked two strips of turkey bacon.

sauteed veggies

Once the veggies were nearly done on the stove top, I added pre-cooked brown lentils to them, added a pinch of savory seasoning, salt, and pepper, and gave it a good stir.

Once the brussels sprouts were done roasting and the lentils were warmed through, I began plating. First, the lentils and sautéed veggies, next the roasted brussels sprouts, and finally, the icing on the cake, the turkey bacon cut into confetti pieces.

brussels sprouts and lentils brussels sprouts and lentils

This dish was outstanding! There was so much flavor, it was very hearty, and it was full of stick to your ribs soluble fiber. I LOVED it. Dana gave it two thumbs up as well.

Sunday

I already showed you my breakfast in yesterday’s post, so moving on to lunch. After running our normal Target and Costco errands, and grabbing a few nummy samples along the way, I wasn’t that hungry for lunch, but since Dana and I still had more errands to run, I knew I had to eat something to hold me over.

I threw together a salad made of mixed dark greens, blueberries, feta cheese, and almonds.

salad with blueberries

I more than likely ate some dates for dessert. In the afternoon I made homemade cinnamon honey almond butter and you better believe I had to be taste-testing along the way. 😉

Sunday evening dinner was sesame soy salmon. I marinated the salmon in a mixture of low sodium soy sauce, sesame oil, dried ginger, one minced garlic clove, and honey for about one hour. We grilled it on the stove top inside, about 4-5 minutes on each side, until cooked through. I cranked the windows open, turned the vents on high above the stove, and still wound up with a house that smelled like sesame salmon. I’m anxious for the weather to warm up just even slightly so we can grill outside again.

The marinade gave a nice crispy crust to the salmon which was what I was hoping for.  Salmon is one of those foods that I hope grows on me. I’m just not a huge fan…yet. The plan is to eat salmon once a week, in hopes that I will start liking it more and more. It is just so darn healthy and I don’t want to be missing out on that! I didn’t like red wine at first, but I kept trying it and now I love it so I’m hoping for the same effect. We shall see.

DSCN6378

We began a very exciting project around our house on Sunday. We are “remodeling” our laundry room. I use the term loosely because technically in order to remodel something it has to already be modeled, right? Well ours isn’t. Ours wasn’t even fully sheet-rocked yet. It needs a lot of TLC and that is exactly what we’re giving it.

We will be painting the walls, tiling the floor, putting sheet rock up on the necessary walls, and we will be reorganizing. Our basement is completely unfinished except for the bathroom which we completed last year (whoops except I still need to decorate one wall in there).

This is one more step in the right direction in finishing that basement and I am ecstatic about it. Once we have the laundry room completed, I will be sure to show you before and after photos. Mission laundry room!

One last thing. Since it is now the 4th week of January, that means that there is a new workout posted in the 30 Day Abs Challenge. Here it is!

week 4 abs

I can’t believe it is the 4th week in January already. Did this month even happen? I say that every month! I am still keeping up with this challenge and am feeling very good. I will be sure to update you on any progress I made throughout the month once the challenge comes to an end. 🙂

Have a fabulous day!

Questions of the day: What health goals have you made recently? What are your goals for future months?

I am thinking I may need to find another fitness challenge for the month of February. I love how these monthly challenges motivate me and I enjoy the support of other people partaking in the challenge. I like to set goals and reach those goals!

Peanut Chicken Salad RECIPE

Oh, happy day! I hope you are all having an amazing weekend.

I originally wasn’t planning on posting today but just had to when I got the a-okay from Dana’s mom to share her delicious peanut chicken that I mentioned on Friday.

oriental peanut chicken

peanut sauce

oriental peanut chicken

I know some of you had mentioned your interest, so here you go! I did adapt it just slightly, so what you see below is Sue’s recipe but with my adaptations.

Peanut Chicken Salad
Serves 4-6
Ingredients
  • 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 cups quinoa, cooked
  • 1/4 cup creamy natural peanut butter
  • 3 TBSP low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 TBSP red wine vinegar
  • 1 TBSP sesame oil
  • 3 TBSP water
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ~4 cups veggies: broccoli, onion, mushroom, carrots (whatever you have on hand)
  • 1 cup cucumber, cut into strips
  • 3 cups shredded romaine lettuce
Instructions
  1. Cook chicken on stove top until cooked through. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. While chicken cooks, combine peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, oil, garlic and water. Stir until smooth.**You may have to warm the peanut butter in the microwave to soften.
  3. Add veggies into pan; stir. Let cook for 6-8 minutes until veggies are beginning to soften yet still have a slight crunch.
  4. Toss peanut butter mixture into chicken and veggies. Stir to combine well.
  5. On a large serving platter arrange the lettuce on the bottom, next the cooked quinoa, and finally the chicken and veggies.
  6. Finish by adding the cold cucumber strips to the top.
  7. ***If you have chopped peanuts, sprinkle some on top of the dish to further improve presentation***

 

This one is definitely a crowd pleaser. What’s so nice about this dish besides the fact that it tastes amazing, but it also serves as a full course. We didn’t serve anything for our guests besides the chicken salad. I suppose you could serve some type of fruit on the side, but I just didn’t feel it was necessary since there are so many components to the dish. ENJOY!

A few things real quick before I head to the living room to cut coupons, I was a maniac in the kitchen yesterday. I made dried fruit, nutty granola bites, and a savory lentil dish for dinner. I didn’t do a great job of writing recipes down but I think I will be able to remember and hope to share with you this week.

dried fruit

Also, my lunch yesterday rocked my socks off. I threw together the remains of our container of dark leafy greens, then added quinoa, black beans, tomato, avocado, salt, pepper, cumin, and garlic powder. IT WAS SO GOOD.

quinoa bowl

Oh, and one more thing. It is 0°F in Minnie this am and feels like -17. After we go grocery shopping this morning I may not want to leave my warm home for the rest of the day. 🙂

Happy Sunday!