• September 14, 2016

    Tabbouleh Inspired Quinoa Salad

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    Now that summer is winding down and fall is nearly upon us, I’ve gotten a little obsessed with this simple, hearty meal.  Using tons of veggies right out of the garden with a little quiona and feta… this has to be one of the best things I’ve come up with so far!  And the great thing is, you can use this alone for a lunch or light dinner or you can serve it alongside a nice steak or pork chop!  It’s easy, versatile, and super healthy… what more could you want?  *grin*  I hope you love it as much as I do!

    Tabbouleh Inspired Quinoa Salad Recipe

    By Erin Published: September 14, 2016

      Now that summer is winding down and fall is nearly upon us, I've gotten a little obsessed with this simple, hearty meal.  Using tons …

      Ingredients

      Instructions

      1. suppliesGather Ingredients.
      2. Cook the quinoa (Rinse 1 cup quinoa in a fine mesh strainer, then put in pot with 2 cups water (or 2 cups broth if you prefer) and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and let simmer for 15 minutes. When done, remove from heat at let stand 5 minutes.)
      3. Cook the edamame according to the packaging and cut the other veggies.
      4. When the quinoa is done, add the edamame, chickpeas, tomatoes, green onion, parsley, mint and feta to the pot. Toss to combine.
      5. 4. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Pour into the bowl with the quinoa and toss until combined. Season with additional salt to taste if desired.
        yum
    • May 4, 2016

      Infused Water Recipes

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      If you are anything like me, you struggle to drink enough water every day.  And if you are like me, this next piece of information is going to blow. your. mind.: the old idea of 8, 8oz glasses of water every day is bunk.  It doesn’t take into account your height, weight, activity level, or anything!  A 100lb woman who works out for an hour every day won’t need the same amount of water as a 300lb woman who never works out, or a 300lb woman who does work out every day.  Makes, sense, right?

      So, how much water do you actually need to drink?  To find out, take your weight and multiply it by 67% (or .67) and the total is the number of ounces you should drink if you are not working out or spending the day in the sun.  So, if you weigh 130lb… 130x.67=87… 87oz of water every damn day!

      For reals.  And that’s just the base level – you should drink another 12oz for every 30 minutes you work out!

      When I learned this, I about died.  I mean, I don’t drink that much of anything in a day, let alone just water!  It felt so insurmountable at first that I almost gave up before I even tried.

      But then I didn’t.  I didn’t give up.  I tried really, really hard for longer than I care to admit and finally reached my goal water consumption!  I defiantly don’t hit it every day, but I’ve changed some habits and made water a priority, so it’s way better than it used to be.  To help me reach that goal, I tried lots of different things, one of which was flavoring my water like they do in fancy spas.  Mmm… fancy water.  Here are my two favorite water flavor combinations:

      Strawberry Cucumber Basil Water

      Strawberries

      • 1/2 sliced cucumber
      • fresh basil leaves
      • 5 strawberries, sliced

      Strawberry-Water

       

      Ginger Pear Water

      Pear-and-Ginger

      • 1 sliced pear
      • fresh ginger

      Pear-and-Ginger-Water

      Let ingredients mingle for a few hours and enjoy!  Hopefully having fancy spa water will help inspire you to drink more water and actually enjoy it!

    • March 16, 2016

      Easter Eggs

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      Dying eggs is my most favorite Easter tradition and reminds me of quality time I had with my mom and a good friend of ours while I was growing up.  I don’t remember how my mom’s friend got involved, probably because her boys had outgrown the tradition, but she became an integral part of our celebration.  It has now been years since I last dyed an Easter Egg, but it’s such a beautiful tradition, so I decided to learn a little more about the history behind it all and try my had at naturally coloring some eggs!

      My research has shown me that, like Christmas, many Easter traditions were borrowed from pagan celebrations and repurposed into something new.  Eggs symbolize fertility and rebirth, so early Christians adopted them as a symbol for Christ’s resurrection.

      Understanding the coloring part of the tradition is a little less obvious as there are many different theories as to how it all got started.  Some believe eggs were decorated simply to beautify them in celebration of Lent coming to an end – eggs were not allowed during Lent.  Other’s believe Mary had eggs at the crucifixion and Jesus’ blood dripped on them – coloring them red – and so we color eggs red in remembrance of his sacrifice.  Other legends claim that Mary had the eggs with her and they miraculously turned red when she saw the risen Christ or, alternatively, when she told someone he had risen and he replied that Christ had no more risen than her eggs were red, so they turned red.

      Whatever the historical reason, I enjoy the tradition because it reminds me of home, of simple joys, and of familial closeness.

      Now, on the “show” part of this little show and tell!  *grin*  Because we try to eat cleanly and don’t buy dyes or foods containing dyes, we were determined to try and color some eggs naturally this year!  I didn’t have the time or desire to test lots of different recipes – frankly, I don’t even really like hard boiled eggs all that much – so we’re going to try good old Martha Stewarts recipes out and see what happens!  *grin*

      We decided to try to achieve pale yellow, light blue and chartreuse for our eggs.  There are a lot of other colors that require different ingredients and techniques listed on the website, so I would encourage you to check it out!

      Following the instructions given, we simplified them a bit and came up with the following:

      Pale Yellow: Bring 1 quart water, 2 tablespoons white vinegar, and 3 tablespoons turmeric to a boil.  Once it has boiled, lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  Strain dye into a bowl and place already hard boiled eggs into solution and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

      Turmeric

       

      Light Blue: Bring 1 quart water, 2 tablespoons white vinegar, and 4 cups chopped cabbage to a boil (add more water and vinegar in their correct proportions if needed to cover the cabbage).  Once it has boiled, lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  Strain dye into a bowl and place already hard boiled eggs into solution and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

      Cabbage

       

      Chartreuse: Use the dyes already used for pale yellow and light blue.  Soak eggs in the turmeric dye for 30 minutes and remove.  Then, place in the cabbage dye briefly – about 5 minutes.

      Coloring-Eggs

       

      Eggs

      Pro Tip: When removing the eggs from the color, pat them dry with a paper towel – don’t rub!  If you rub too much, the color will come off!

      Expect a bit of variation with your eggs.  I don’t know what makes the color stick or not stick, but some defiantly turned out better than others and they were all done the same.

      Cabbage, turmeric, eggs, and vinegar all stink, so try to plan your egg dying time for when you can have an open window!  Otherwise your house will stink and everyone will wonder what kind of mess you’re making for dinner!

      I hope ya’ll give this little project a try!  I was very pleasantly surprised by the vibrancy of the colors and how easy it all actually was.  Way more interesting and fun (as an adult at least… though, you could totally turn this into a mini science lesson for your kids) than the little kits you can buy!

      Easter-Eggs

    • March 9, 2016

      Greek Salad with Lamb

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      Sometimes you just need an easy meal that is healthy and quick, you know?  That’s not an easy combination to come up with, so I end up making my go-to easy meals kind of a lot.  I’m ok with that, especially with this Greek salad recipe!  The lamb makes it hearty enough for dinner, but the veggies keep it fresh and crisp.  I especially love this meal after a good work out at the gym.

      Greek Salad with Lamb Recipe

      By Erin Published: March 9, 2016

        Sometimes you just need an easy meal that is healthy and quick, you know?  That's not an easy combination to come up with, so I end …

        Ingredients

        Instructions

        1. ComponentsGather Ingredients.
        2. Cook-it-upCook ground lamb and season with oregano and dill.
        3. Greek-SaladFill bowls or plates with lettuce, top with cooked lamb, feta, olives, tomatoes to taste. Top with a drizzle of olive oil and enjoy!

        Pro Tip: If you can’t find lamb or it’s too expensive, you can substitute ground turkey.  Or, for a more traditional and vegetarian option, leave the meat out altogether!  Just toss the oregano and dill with the lettuce and you’re golden!

        Pair with a yummy glass of pinot grigio or merlot and you’ve got yourself a classy meal that you can really impress your friends with!

      • January 27, 2016

        Setting up a Gluten Free Kitchen

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        When we moved into our new home, my hubby and I discussed what to do in the kitchen to keep it safe for me to eat.  Previously, we had shared everything for both gluten and gluten free foods but, given the opportunity to start fresh with a brand new, squeaky clean workspace, well, we couldn’t pass it up!

        kitchen1

        Now we have taken the following steps to clean up our act and run a completely gluten free household:

        Step 1: Get rid of gluten containing food products from your pantry and fridge.  Sort through everything and either throw out or give away any foods you can’t eat.  This is a great opportunity to check expiration dates and get rid of old food at the same time.

        Step 2: Sweep away any crumbs or flour that may have collected in the pantry and fridge as well as the floor.  If you are using the same appliances (fridge, microwave, oven, etc.), deep clean everything the best you can.

        Step 3: Replace old, glutened up cookware and utensils.  When sorting through items to keep or be rid of, consider the following questions as it applies to each item:

        1. Is it made of porous material (wood, plastic, cast iron, stone, etc)?
        2. Are there chips or scratches in the surfaces where gluten can hide?
        3. Is it possible to clean every nook, cranny, and hole to rid it of gluten?

        Some common gluten catchers that you’ll definitely want to replace include:

        • Wooden and plastic utensils
        • Toaster, Bread Maker, etc.
        • Pots and Pans – especially non-stick and cast iron (replace with stainless)
        • Colander
        • Pizza stone
        • Cutting Boards, Rolling Pins
        • Cookie sheets
        • Cleaning supplies – sponges and brushes

        It is ok to keep glass, ceramic, and stainless steel cookware as long as you carefully clean it out with hot, soapy water.  We kept our pyrex storage containers, but got rid of the plastic ones and bought new lids for the pyrex.  We also replaced all of our cooking spoons, pots and pans, colander, cutting boards, and toaster.  Our bread maker was already only used for gluten free breads, so that got to stay!  :)

        kitchen3

        Step 4: Once you have your new gluten free kitchen set up, keep up on it!  Keep gluten foods out of your space as much as possible and don’t allow your new supplies to be used for those kinds of foods.  Clean your kitchen and appliances completely and frequently.

        kitchen2

        Now that  you have everything set up, you can look forward to feeling better and being healthier than ever!  Keeping gluten out of your home won’t be easy, but it’s worth the effort to maintain your health!

      • November 18, 2015

        How to Survive Holiday Parties and Family Feasts when You have Food Allergies

        It’s not easy going through life with food allergies, sensitivities, special diets or other health based reasons for a significantly different diet that the diet others in  your life have.  Hopefully, those other people in your life are aware and understanding of the differences and are willing to help you.  I know, however, that this is often not the case.  So, I’ve put together some tips and tricks that I use, personally, to help me get through the holiday parties and family dinners with both supportive and insensitive hosts.  I hope this helps you develop your own methods and that you stay safe and healthy this holiday season!

         

        If you can, tell your hosts ahead of time that you have specific dietary needs. 

        If you are going to a friend or family event, it is probably not too hard for you mention any special needs or share food related concerns ahead of time.  If the event is work related or less personal, it may be more difficult to make special requests, but you can certainly try.  My husband’s office is hosting a dinner party this year, so he has talked with the party committee and they are going to ensure there are some gluten free options!

         

        Offer to help with food prep or bring a dish that you know is safe for you.

        When you talk to your friends and family about their holiday parties, offer to come early to prep food – this will allow you to see firsthand what goes into some of the dishes and can alleviate some of the extra work of converting things to allergy friendly foods.  If you can’t go help beforehand, see if you can bring a dish or two that are safe for your family.   

         

        Bring a snack for yourself.

        I never go anywhere – including parties – without a snack in my purse.  Load up your bag with trail mix, granola bars, dried fruit, etc!  This way, if you get to the event and it turns out there isn’t an option available you won’t stave.

         

        Eat ahead of time.

        If you know there is little to no chance of safe foods at  the party, eat a meal ahead of time.  Better safe than sick, so plan ahead and a good meal before.

         

        Try not to focus on the food – enjoy the party for the social and human connections. 

        It’s hard, but if you do end up eating your meal ahead of time and then are watching everyone else munching away on foods you can’t have, try not to let it get to you too much.  Focus on the positives and the people you came to see rather than what foods are provided.

         

        At the party, ask the host what is safe and what is not.

        Don’t be afraid to ask what ingredients are in the dishes you want to try!  This goes for homemade foods and catered foods!  If there isn’t anything set out you can eat, they may be able to find something for you once they are aware you’ll be hungry.

         

        Bring any medication or emergency information you might need.

        If you or your family members have severe allergies and there are medications (like an Epipen) that might be needed, bring them.  Keep them on hand.  It’s just not worth it to be unprepared.

         

        If food allergies also effect others in your family, prepare the same for them. 

        If you have young children, be sure to talk to them ahead of time about the importance of only eating safe foods.  At the party, let them know what foods are ok for them and remind them to ask you if they aren’t sure if something is ok.

         

        I hope these tips and tricks will help you with your holiday plans.  I have used all of these strategies and usually don’t have any problems staying safe.  The important thing is that you don’t let the food part of the holidays interfere with or damage the other, more enjoyable parts!

      • November 4, 2015

        Thai Chicken with Mushrooms and Leeks

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        I was at the farmers market this weekend and came across some beautiful leeks that I just had to make something with!  This led me into some experimenting and we came up with a new favorite meal.  The best thing is that it is super easy too!  Now is a great time to find leeks since they are in season, so I hope you’ll give this little dish a try!

         

        Thai Chicken with Mushrooms and Leeks Recipe

        By Erin Published: November 4, 2015

        • Yield: 4 Servings

        I was at the farmers market this weekend and came across some beautiful leeks that I just had to make something with!  This led me …

        Ingredients

        Instructions

        1. Gather Ingredients.
        2. Mix garlic, cilantro, tamari, and sesame oil together and let chicken marinate for 15 - 20 minutes. While the chicken marinates, prep your grill for use.
        3. Cook chicken on the grill, searing on both sides to help keep the juices in.
        4. While the chicken cooks, heat olive oil in a saucepan. When hot, sauté leeks and mushrooms together.
        5. To serve, top chicken with vegetable mixture and sprinkle parmesan cheese on top. Serve hot.

         

         

      • October 7, 2015

        Stuffed Bell Peppers

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        Happy October, ya’ll!  I’ve probably said this more times than anyone cares to hear, but I love fall!  I love the changing colors, the chilly mornings, the warm drinks, and the tall boots.  I also love the yummy treats and meals that are coming in season now!

        One of our favorite fall meals is stuffed bell peppers.  I use quinoa to add protein without necessitating cooking meat along with everything else that goes into this meal.  I also like to mix and match ingredients depending on what I have on hand.  This recipe is my favorite, though, and I hope you like it as much as we do!

        Stuffed Bell Peppers Recipe

        By Erin Published: October 7, 2015

        • Yield: 4 Stuffed Peppers (4 Servings)

        Happy October, ya'll!  I've probably said this more times than anyone cares to hear, but I love fall!  I love the changing colors, …

        Ingredients

        Instructions

        1. Set oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, cook quinoa: Rinse 1 cup quinoa in a fine mesh strainer, then put in pot with 2 cups water (or 2 cups broth if you prefer) and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and let simmer for 15 minutes. When done, remove from heat at let stand 5 minutes.
        2. Cover a baking sheet with foil and place all pepper bottoms and tops on - let bake for 25 minutes.
        3. In a separate pan over high heat, add olive oil and sauté the thyme, garlic, leek, and kale.
        4. When quinoa is done, combine veggie mixture in pot. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
        5. When peppers are done, remove from oven and stuff with the quinoa/veggie mixture and top with the pepper's top. Serve warm and enjoy!

         

        Pro Tip: If you’d like to add meat to this meal, it’s super easy!  Just cook  up some ground sausage while the quinoa is cooking and mix it all in at the end!  You will probably want to halve the quinoa/veggie mixture, though – or bake a few more bell peppers – so the filling to pepper ratio works out better.

        You can also beef up the filling with black beans, corn, peas, nuts, cheese, dried cranberries, etc. depending on your own tastes and what’s in your cupboard!  You really can’t mess this one up.

      • March 4, 2015

        Simple Hummus

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        I just got my first ever food processor and let me tell you, It. Is. Magical.  The first thing I made in it was this hummus because I’ve been making it for months with a teeny-tiny blender and it was a nightmare every single time.  The food processor has solved all that and now I can make it in minutes!  This is such a blessing and help in my quest to eat clean foods and to be as healthy as I can.

         

        Simple Hummus

        By Erin Published: March 4, 2015

          I just got my first ever food processor and let me tell you, It. Is. Magical.  The first thing I made in it was this hummus because …

          Ingredients

          Instructions

          1. IngredientsGather Ingredients.
          2. BlendedIn a food processor, combine all ingredients. Add 2 Tablespoons of the olive oil to start, adding more if needed. Blend together until smooth.
          3. HummusServe with raw veggies, chips, or pita bread.

           

          Pro-Tip:

          This is the most basic hummus that it is possible to make, so feel free to add to it and experiment.  Try herbs, red peppers, garlic, jalapenos…. the list could go on forever!  *grin*

        • August 6, 2014

          Pico de Gallo

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          It’s recipe time again!  Woohoo!

          *grin*

          Today’s recipe is brought to you fresh from my little backyard garden!  I’m pretty sure there isn’t anything much more satisfying than being able to grow your own food and then turn it in to something delicious!

          Pico de Gallo

          By Erin Published: August 6, 2014

            It’s recipe time again!  Woohoo! *grin* Today’s recipe is brought to you fresh from my little backyard garden!  I’m …

            Ingredients

            Instructions

            1. IMG_6590Gather ingredients.
            2. IMG_6595Chop up all ingredients and mix together in a large bowl.
            3. IMG_6601Add seasonings and lime juice. Combine.
            4. IMG_6608Refrigerate until you are ready to enjoy!

            ProTips:

            Let it sit overnight and you’ll find your pico de gallo is more flavorful (although also more juicy) then when first made.

            Add more jalapeno’s to suit your level of spicy hotness.