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?

Days of Leftovers

Well HELLO there my friends! I feel like I have been sort of out of touch in the food photo department. I’ve been eating great meals all week but almost all of them have involved leftovers from the Chicken Marbella from Sunday night, so snapping photos of all of the repeat meals would have gotten extremely boring.

For a couple of meals I ate the leftovers cold and they were just as delicious that way! One day I put the chicken into a salad and use the sauce as a dressing…

chicken marbella salad

Num!  I honestly couldn’t believe how long these leftovers lasted and I never got tired of them! They are now officially gone which means I should really make something creative again.

Last night I didn’t get home until 7 and was STARVING, and all I wanted to do was dip into the peanut butter jar and have a snacky night, but I knew that I would feel SO much better if I took a few minutes and actually made myself an actual meal.

We still have a lot of veggies around, so I decided to throw together a veggie and bean hash. I sautéed onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, chili beans, and zucchini and then topped it with cheese, chopped tomato, salsa, and an over-easy egg!

hash

So easy and always so satisfying.

That’s about all I’ve got for today. I’m hoping to get my creative juices flowing for tonight’s dinner. I have some cabbage that I want to use up so it may involve cabbage. We will see!

By the way I am one more day into Insanity and STILL loving it! Keep me accountable my friends! xoxo

What are YOU having for dinner tonight?

Frozen Yogurt Cake & Almond Cookies

The snow is coming down here in MN this morning. I can’t say I’m thrilled about it after all, spring begins on Thursday. BUT, I am thinking positively that this is our last snow of the season.

I’m pretty sure Moose is even bummed about the snow and he LOVES snow.

moose

I have a little catching up to do from the past couple of days. On Saturday evening we headed over to my mom and dad’s to celebrate Dana’s birthday. Kev met us there too and the five of us had a Greek feast of a dinner thanks to mom and dad.

kabobs

 

They even had Mediterranean-like music playing when we got there. Yes, they’re that cute.

I said I would bring the birthday dessert and Dana had decided he wanted an ice cream cake. He’s talking a homemade creation which really couldn’t be much easier.

At the store I had him pick out what kind of ice cream he wanted and then what cookie. He picked a Moose Track Frozen Yogurt and Oreo Birthday Cake Cookies

oreos

 

How to make ice cream or frozen yogurt cake

Birthday Frozen Yogurt Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 tub of favorite ice cream or frozen yogurt
  • 1 package of favorite cookie (try choosing a cookie that would taste good with the ice cream selection)
  • 1 Tbsp butter, melted

Directions

 

  1. Remove frozen yogurt from freezer.
  2. Line a bread pan with plastic wrap; set aside.
  3. In a food processor combine half of the package or Oreos with 1 1/2 tsp butter. Process until it reaches texture of coarse sand.
  4. Pour crumbs onto bottom of prepared pan and use fingers to press them down into the pan forming the first layer.
  5. Next, scoop all of the frozen yogurt onto the crumb layer; use fingers to pat it down.
  6. In the food processor, add the rest of the Oreos and the remaining butter. Process again, but this time leave it a bit more chunky.
  7. Top the ice cream layer with the last layer of crumbs. Garnish if you like. Place in freezer to set and VOILA you have homemade ice cream cake in about an hour!

 

**If I were to do it again, I would have probably added fun colored sprinkles to the top.

oreo birthday cake

I topped everyone’s cake with some Cool Whip to really add that extra wow factor.

oreo birthday cake

I am still passing on the extra sugars at this point, but everyone else gave this cake rave reviews! It is such a fun cake idea for anyone, because they get to choose exactly what goes into it! I made this other Oreo ice cream cake a while back—feel free to check it out!

After dinner we all just relaxed and chatted, and Abbie could hardly keep her eyes open. She was exhausted from all of the socializing!

abbie

 

Sunday

Happy St. Patty’s Day just one day late! We got real crazy…we slept in until 8:30 and read the paper, cut coupons, went grocery shopping, and get this, we even went to Petco for dog food. Talk about a CRAZY morning! 😉

Sunday mornings are my absolute favorite.

After restocking our fridge I threw myself together a spectacular salad with mixed greens, peas, avocado, chicken, sunflower seeds, olives, olive oil, and a piece of cheese and a Claussen pickle (my favorite pickle) on the side.

It’s green!

salad

 

We had another family birthday party to celebrate in the afternoon so we got all prettied up and threw on our Get Lucky 7k sweatshirts—mine was from last year and his from this year. How embarrassing if we would have worn the SAME one. 😉

st. patricks day 2013

For dinner there were MORE veggies on the menu in the form of Veggie Hash or I like to call it Kitchen Sink Hash. We threw all of the veggies we had into a pan which included zucchini, green bell pepper, onion, broccoli, kale, and black beans. We gave these veggies a good sauté. Then we plated them up with some chopped tomato, avocado, cilantro, cheddar cheese, and topped it off with an over-easy egg.

veggie hash

Once again, this dinner never seizes to please me. It’s always good!

Since I am still watching my sugar intake until I am 100% healed from the UC, I made myself a little treat to help satisfy my slight sweet craving I had last night. I found a recipe off Pinterest for Easy Almond Cookies and were they ever! You can check out the recipe here. The only changes I made were I used honey instead of stevia, and vanilla extract instead of almond. If I HAD almond extract in the house I absolutely would have used that.

simple almond cookies

 

These cute little guys turned out well, and best of all they were so easy! Only 5 ingredients. They satisfied my sweet tooth which was what I was hoping for.

I suppose I should get this little lady ready for the day. I’m hoping the roads aren’t too terrible. Chances are they will be fine, it’s the drivers I usually worry about more.

Keep your head up and Happy Monday!

“So keep your head high, keep your chin up, and most importantly, keep smiling, because life’s a beautiful thing and there’s so much to smile about.” ~ Marilyn Monroe

How was your weekend? Did you celebrate St. Pat’s Day?

A Reminiscent Run

Yesterday was an all-around great day. The day began with a relaxing cup of coffee and banana with peanut butter for breakfast. I suppose I could say I am officially in a “rut” with the pb banana. I haven’t changed up breakfast for a good 1-2 weeks now, but I do still love my pb and b!

Mid-morning I swung by Trader Joe’s to pick up a couple of goodies as well as Macy’s in search of a swimsuit for Turks and Caicos. It’s not that I necessarily need another swimsuit it’s just that I would really enjoy another one. I wanted to look at Macy’s because I still have birthday money there and that would have worked out perfectly, but they didn’t have too many options yet. I did find one on Victoria’s Secret website that I like, but I haven’t been able to commit yet. We shall see.

For lunch I met up with my dear friend Kalley at People’s Organic Cafe per Kalley’s recommendation.
kalley and melanie

Just as I had suspected, the menu was stellar, stacked with healthy and veggieful dishes. I was in my element. She knows me well!

I went with the “Really Greek” salad: organic romaine, roasted tomatoes, quinoa tabouli, marinated chickpeas, cucumber, olives, feta and lemon basil dressing.

people's organic

It was a really good decision (ha-ha). I loved every bit of it.

My lunch with Kal flew by all too quickly. I had so much fun catching up on life, reminiscing a bit about the past, and realizing how far I have come with this beautiful lady; about 13 years! I can’t wait to see her again.

I would highly recommend People’s Organic to anybody who enjoys fresh organic, healthy food. It is slightly pricey but that is only because everything is organic. I promise you it is totally worth it. Besides salads they also have sandwiches, wraps, soup, and amazing looking desserts.

I dressed in my running gear at lunch for a reason…after lunch I had plans to run the streets of the neighborhood where I grew up. I was in dire need of a change of scenery and the last time I ran this neighborhood was last late winter perhaps (?), so I thought it would be a welcomed route.

It wasn’t my easiest run but it sure was a fun one. I reminisced the entire time. Every new street I ran by literally brought back so many memories.

I passed by my old house, Betsy’s family’s old house which was just a block away (which explains my closeness to the family as I was there all.the.time.), and about 5 houses of families I babysat for.

I ran on the sidewalk where I would always tell my mom I was thirsty towards the end of our walks. She would tell me to think of biting into a lemon because it makes your mouth salivate and that would be enough to get me home. I remembered our many walks together; reciting state capitals, showing her my new dance steps, singing songs, we have so many wonderful memories.

I passed by “the elephant tree” named because it clearly looks like an elephant. 😉

elephant tree

I passed by the “picnic tree” where Steph, Betsy, our friend Katie, and I would pack lunches and bike to eat lunch under our favorite tree.

picnic tree

I passed the ice rink where I spent many winters learning to ice skate…

ice rinkEvery single step of this run was literally a run down memory lane. Aside from the fact that it wasn’t my “best” run physically, it was sure a great mental run!

Once I got home, we took Moose to the dog park to let him socialize with some buddies. He was in quite the “loving” mood. We had to keep a close eye on him. If you ever are in need of a good chuckle, go to a dog park. Watching the dogs interact is one of the funniest things.

IMG_1353

After the dog park I completed my third session of the Abs Challenge. We are now on to week 2!

Dinner was a favorite of ours: veggie hash with a runny egg on top. I pulled whatever we had in the fridge/freezer which included broccoli, mushrooms, onion, leftover Santa Fe roll filler, bell peppers, and then topped the sautéed veggies with shredded cheese, tomato, cilantro, and an over-easy egg. Perfection.

IMG_1357

We brought out the snorkel gear last night to make sure everything still fit and was ready to go for our vacation. I feel like it is a lot sooner than the end of February based on my excitement level but considering how time flies, it will be here before we know it.

I am in the process of working on a meal plan for the week since we will be doing our own cooking in our kitchen. Once I get that set up I will share with you all!

I hope you all have a fantastic Tuesday!

Question of the day: Any go-to vacation meal ideas for me that are easy yet healthy and satisfying?

Lovey Dovey

Good morning! A quick recap from yesterday….

The verdict on the pb banana wrap with turkey bacon? It tastes better without the bacon. I have a feeling a lot of people out there would argue with me and say that EVERYTHING tastes better with bacon, but I would have to disagree. It was fun to give it a shot but I’ll stick with the B.L.A.T. option if I want to get my bacon fix.

After work I hit the gym for a 30 minute elliptical run followed by back and bicep strength training.

  • 3×10 bicep curls
  • 3×10 push-ups
  • 3×10 (back) flies—I’m going to be honest I don’t know if that’s the right termage, but I’m going to go with it.
  • I ended with a 1-minute plank
I am extremely tired today so I called it quits after that and headed home in the SNOW! It’s actually snowing here in Minnesota…finally. I didn’t mind un-MinneSNOWta myself but it is kind of pretty around here with the white fluff on the ground.

This isn’t my backyard but it’s a pretty photo, right?!

Dinner was an old go-to dinner for us that we actually haven’t “gone-to” in a while.
Kitchen Sink Hash. We basically throw whatever vegetables we have on hand in a pan with some garlic powder, salt, and pepper. We saute the vegetables until tender, in the meantime cooking an egg over-easy. Plate up the vegetables, then place the egg, and a little shredded cheese on top. Lastly poke the egg yolk (and quick take a picture) as it disperses over the vegetables. OH yea so good!

The rest of the night was spent relaxing with my men, watching the Bachelor, and finishing up the laundry that I didn’t get around to last night. Also, Dana and I booked a future vacation! We have lots of fun planned in the next year. I will be sharing it all with you very soon!

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This morning I started off with a walk/run on the treadmill. It got me moving and a little sweaty. Oh, by the way…

This is my first Valentine’s Day as a married woman! Unfortunately I have to work until 7 pm tonight but that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to celebrate when I get home. Dana is going to make some sort of fresh fish for us (I had originally thought swordfish but now I am contemplating over something else like walleye or grouper), oven roasted fennel and artichoke hearts, and ice cream for dessert! I am excited to try roasted fennel. I have never cooked with it at home. I know it has a slight licorice taste which I generally don’t like, but I am thinking that roasting it might bring out a different flavor. We shall see!

Some people will say that Valentine’s Day is just a “Hallmark” holiday, and that you should tell those you love, that you love them EVERYDAY, not just on February 14th. I agree with this partially, but as a person who DOES tell the ones I love dearly that I love them (sorry this is getting confusing), I DO enjoy celebrating Valentine’s Day. It falls at a great time of year when the big holiday rush has subsided, and the winter is getting a little long. It’s a fun day to express your love even more than you normally do. And to get a little sappy too. 🙂

I am thrilled that it is my first Valentine’s Day as a married woman! I won’t get too mushy on you but I just have to say that I feel like the luckiest woman in the whole world to have Dana as my husband.

He is such a thoughtful, unselfish person, who loves me unconditionally and can put up with me even when I’m having a “crisis”.

He makes me laugh, supports me endlessly, and encourages me to follow my heart.

Telling him I love him doesn’t even begin to explain the way I feel for him. I am so happy I get to spend every single Valentine’s Day with this man forever. I love you Dana. Happy Valentine’s Day.

And Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you as well! I hope that everyone has a great day and can enjoy a little piece of love whether it’s a smile from a friend, a piece of chocolate from a coworker, or even just sitting on the couch with people you enjoy, and watching your favorite show together.

I am a pretty mushy person, but I was able to give you the amended version of my lovey-dovey rant. I LOVE LOVE! What can I say!

How do you guys feel about Valentine’s Day? Overplayed, underplayed? Just another day? The best day of the year? I would love to read your comments!