Quinoa with Greens & Beans

Over the last few years, I have really stayed away from carbohydrates. Even getting as far as being overly obsessive about not eating fruit or even veggies that had over a few grams in them before my wedding. I thought this was “healthy” because, yeah, I lost a lot of weight. But I gained it all back pretty much immediately after our honeymoon. I hadn’t even introduced carbs back into my diet yet, but I made up for it because when I had a cheat day, I really had a cheat day.

I have discovered over countless diets and trial and error that all your body really needs is balance. If it doesn’t get this balance, your body gets cravings and sooner or later you will indulge those cravings. I have only recently {like 2 weeks ago} come to terms with the fact that eating carbs not on the weekend is actually okay {gasp!}. And I don’t mean white sugar and white flour. I mean whole grain seed carbohydrates {notice I didn’t say whole wheat}. Carbs are still a little scary to me, but I have read The Kind Diet before and recently picked it up again, and it details so well why we need these little seedlings in our life and what they do for our insides and overall well-being.

Quinoa with Greens and Beans

So here’s to carbs! {Wow, never thought I’d say that}


| Quinoa with Greens & Beans

Serves 2

1 C quinoa

1 TSP oil {I used coconut}

4 or 5 baby bella mushrooms

1/2 C chopped onion

1 C spinach

1 C kale, torn into pieces

1 TSP soy sauce

1/2 C canned great northern beans, or any white bean

Cook the quinoa as package directs {you will have extra}.

In a skillet on medium-high heat, lightly saute the mushrooms and onions in coconut oil until soft. Add the kale and spinach plus soy sauce and 1 TSP water. Cover and stir every few minutes until the greens have wilted.

Start your plate with about a quarter of the quinoa in the pan {or however much you want}, then make a little bed of half of the vegetables and sprinkle 1/2 the beans over the top.

Quinoa with Greens and Beans1



Lemony Brussels Sprout Quinoa with Baked Salmon

I have been so bored of cooking the same things over and over again. Do you ever get in that rut? I have a few staples that I come to every time I’m tired, not feeling creative, or lacking of time and resources to make something spectacular. Those three meals are chicken fajitas with black beans and brown Spanish rice, oven baked chicken with brussels sprouts and brown rice, and red chicken chili. While all those things are pretty freaking delicious, they become quite monotonous day in and day out. I would love it if I could pepper in lots of meals in between so that those delightful dishes don’t become a Debby-Downer meal. Sometimes, however, that just isn’t realistic.

I’m making a goal that for the next couple of weeks I will dedicate some time everyday to research and create. Whether that be browsing through food magazines, perusing the grocery store aisles for unusual ingredients, or {maybe the best idea} going to my Mom.

I used to tell her I would never not like cooking. She always told me, just you wait until it’s a daily task, becomes mundane and then you’re sucked dry of all creativity. Well, Mother, you were right. {Don’t they say that’s something every daughter eventually comes to terms with? “Mom, you were right.”}

Anyways, I am a little flabbergasted with myself, but I’m gonna be real here for a sec.

I’m sick of vegetables.

There, I said it.

Maybe that’s why I’m in this funk. I feel like this is what mother’s have to do with their children who shudder at the sight of green on their plates – I have been sneaking veggies in my meals. Doesn’t that sound silly? Because I know they’re there. I guess it’s just the gesture of adding a veggie to something not so… veggie.


| Lemony Brussels Sprout Quinoa

2 C rinsed and shredded sprouts, stem removed

1/2 C roughly chopped onion of any color

1 TBS coconut oil

1 C frozen peas

1 C Quinoa, rinsed and drained

3 C water

1/4 TSP salt

1/8 TSP Cayenne Pepper

1/4 TSP Lemon Pepper

1 lemon

In a bowl, squeeze half of the lemon over the shredded sprouts and onions, and add the lemon pepper and cayenne. Stir to coat. In a pot on medium heat, melt the coconut oil and saute the vegetable mix for 5-7 minutes, or until tender. Set aside in a bowl.

In the same pot, mix the quinoa, water, salt and squeeze in the juice of the other half of the lemon. Place both lemon halves in the pot, and bring to a boil. Cover, and let simmer for about 15 minutes. When the quinoa is finished cooking, add the veggies and frozen peas {the heat will thaw them} to the pan, letting cook for another few minutes while stirring.

Set Aside

Lemony Brussels Quinoa Salmon

| Baked Salmon

1 LB total salmon fillets

2 TSP spicy brown mustard

3 TBS lemon juice

3 TBS soy sauce

1/8 TSP salt

1/4 TSP lemon pepper

1/8 TSP cayenne pepper

1 TBS coconut oil

Preheat your oven to 375 and in a small bowl melt the coconut oil in your microwave, about 1 minute. When it’s completely melted, mix in the mustard, lemon juice, soy sauce, salt, lemon pepper and cayenne.

Place your fish in a foiled and greased baking dish, pouring the marinade over the top. You may let them marinade for up to a day, but it really isn’t required. Place in your oven for 11-14 minutes.

When your fish look about done, set your oven on broil for 2-3 minutes.

Serve your salmon over the quinoa.

Lemony Brussels Quinoa Salmon1


Quinoa “Tortilla” Soup

So, even though fall started a couple weeks ago, I feel like today is the official first day of autumn, and do you know what that means?  I get to be concocting more soups! A favorite dish of mine {or, ughm, bowl}, I find soups to be a perfectly complete, well-rounded meal – plus, a big bowl of soup never did the soul any harm.

Growing up, my mom made lots of soups. Well, that’s what I think now anyways, because Husband supposedly isn’t a big fan of soups {weird, I know}, which leads me to think either he didn’t have them very much growing up, or I had them a whole lot. But anyways, some of Mom’s staple soups included split pea, red chili, Thai coconut, Italian meatball, and the favorite – chicken tortilla. Yep. She made some of the best chicken tortilla soup you will ever have.

Now, nutritionally, I am pretty sure her version was pretty healthy, but using her basics for the soup, I made my own adaptation, and I think she’d be proud.

The reason that this posts’ title has the word tortilla in quotations is because I didn’t actually use tortillas. So you’re asking, “how can it be chicken tortilla soup with no tortillas?” I swapped out the crispy fried tortillas in the soup for quinoa {pronounced keen-wah for those of you who were just as confused as I was}. It gives it a little crunch with added fiber and protein. Also, I had a whole wheat tortilla on the side to dip into the soup, so fret not – there was tortilla to be had.

To start out, I did something I normally don’t do when adding chicken to a soup or stew: I marinaded the chicken for a whole day, roasted it, and actually didn’t add it into the soup until the last minute. The end result was a very moist, savory and perfectly seasoned chicken.

Marinade {2 breasts should be enough for the pot of soup; add more or less to your liking}:

2 TBSP of Coconut Oil

1 TSP of Salt

1 TSP of Pepper

1 1/2 TBSP of Taco Seasoning

1/2 TSP of Paprika

1/2 TSP of Cumin

A dash of Cayenne

I marinaded it for almost 24 hours, popped it in a 375 degree preheated oven 40 minutes before dinner {or 20 minutes per pound of meat}. Now, let’s talk about jalapenos for a second. Capsaicin is the key in these taste bud-shocking mini-monsters. Capsaicin relieves so many ailments; from headaches and sinuses to cancer and high blood pressure. It also revs your metabolism, being a key ingredient in weight loss. One jalapeno also has over your daily need for vitamin C {but I wouldn’t recommend popping one in your mouth to get the good stuff} and quite a bit of potassium in relation to their size.

Meanwhile, I busted out the ole crock pot. Seriously my best friend – she never fails. Into the pot, I put:

Two 10 oz cans of diced tomatoes with chillies {I used medium, you can use whatever heat you want}

Two 15 oz cans of black beans {drained and rinsed}

One 15 oz can of hominy {also drained and rinsed – this soup is delicious with garbanzos, too}

1/2 an red onion {chopped}

5 baby portobellos {chopped}

1/2 C of frozen corn

1 small jalapeno {minced}

8 cups of water

After I gave all the ingredients a quick stir in the slow cooker, I added the spices:

2 TBSP of taco seasoning

3 TSP of salt

2 TSP of pepper

1 TSP of paprika

Leave the soup on low for 6-8 hours. Garnish with avocado, cilantro, cheese, sour cream, or whatever your imagination comes up with!


Pearl Barley vs. Quinoa

Upon re-activating my Costco membership last Friday, I was so excited {yes, EXCITED- I hadn’t been there since September} to make a b-line to the “grain aisle”, but was thoroughly disappointed to find that my trek to acquire the highly sought after Quinoa had come to an end. To my surprise, they didn’t have it anywhere in their store {not even a spot where it would have been!}, but knowing Costco, I was sure that they had something else new to try in the same family.

Surely, I was correct. I stumbled upon this little gem called Pearled Barley

Looked similar to Quinoa, and surprisingly, it even has compatible stats to the latter. It has 4 more grams of Dietary Fiber, which among other wonderful things, balances the Intestinal PH, and in turn, may help prevent cancer {however, Quinoa is gluten free, and Pearled Barley is not}.

I’m only getting started with this unforeseen treasure, but I plan on experimenting with it quite often. The other night, I cooked it as the directions called, added a can of Rotel diced tomatoes, a can of black beans, and poured the jumble over some taco-seasoned, baked chicken. Needless to say, it was DELISH.

Here are the tit-for-tat stats between Quinoa and Pearl Barley:


Quinoa: 170; Pearl Barley: 180

Total Fat:

Q: 1G; PB: 2.5G

Dietary Fibers:

Q: 4G; PB: 8G


Q: 1G; PB: 0G


Q: 5G; PB: 5G