Aw, snap! Cold snap, that is…

It is below and beyond freezing around here.  As of right now, it says it’s -12, but feels like -36, and I don’t think that’s the coldest it has been today. My poor Peanut will barely go outside to do her business, and when she does, she does it on the patio stoop about 3-6 inches from the door.  It’s quite lovely.  Ahem.

So because of a few different reasons, one being a sick toddler, others being personal that I won’t divulge, I have gone on a bit of a hiatus from the elliptical for a few days.  I know, I know.  You’re thinking “Seriously?! A hiatus after what, 4 days??”  I’ve thought it, too.  But like I said, things have gotten in the way.  But have no fear, I will be back in a day or two!  I woke up with cold symptoms this morning and am trying to ward anything off…exercising with a cold can be miserable at times.  Hopefully, lots of water, tea, healthy foods, green smoothies, and some light exercise will have me feeling better in no time.

Speaking of healthy foods, Audrey and I shared a green smoothie today for lunch with some eggs.  It was pretty good!  Here’s the recipe, adapted from simplegreensmoothies.com:

Green Smoothie (2 large servings)

2 cups baby spinach
3 cups pineapple (I used frozen)
1 and 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
1 clementine orange

For dinner tonight, since I started feeling this cold big time this afternoon, I was really feeling like some homemade chicken and brown rice soup, but didn’t have anything thawed and ready for that, so that’s for dinner tomorrow.  Tonight we went with veggie bowls.  Here’s what I did:

Veggie Bowl (makes 2-3 servings)

cooked quinoa (1-2 cups depending on how much you want per serving)
2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 head cauliflower, broken up
1 can chickpeas, rinsed, drained, and dried off on some paper towels
almond ginger dressing*

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Toss the sweet potatoes in 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Sprinkle with sea salt, pepper, garlic.  Toss the cauliflower with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic.  Toss chickpeas with 1 and 1/2 teaspoon olive oil.  Sprinkle with the same seasonings.  Put all veggies on separate foil lined baking sheets and into the oven.  After 15 minutes, roll the chickpeas around and flip the potatoes and cauliflower.  Roast for another 15 minutes.  Take the potatoes and chickpeas out.  Bake the cauliflower for an additional 5 minutes.  (Exact roasting times may differ based on how big your pieces are!)

To serve: Put cooked quinoa in bowl.  Add sweet potatoes, cauliflower, and chickpeas. Drizzle with sauce.

*Dressing: I used the recipe for the dressing from Oh She Glows:
http://ohsheglows.com/2013/09/10/the-big-salad/

I use almond butter, but have used peanut butter in the past when I ran out of almond butter.  I also use low sodium soy sauce since I don’t have tamari.  I make a double batch of this stuff and use it all. the. time.  The nutty sauce combined with the creamy sweet potatoes is heavenly.

Anyways, enjoy.  Send warm thoughts this way to get us out of this freeze!  I know I’ll be dreaming of beaches tonight 😉

 

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My Very Most Favoritest Salad Ever

I haven’t written a post since July.  JULY.  And this post was actually started in August, but I only saved it as a draft. But all I actually saved was the title of “My Very Most Favoritest Salad Ever” and a blank document.  Sooo…progress is being made.

It’s January 1, 2014.  A New Year…a new me?  No, the same old me, but definitely a new year.  I haven’t made a set list of resolutions or anything, but one thing I am going to try and work on is updating this blog a bit more often than I have the past year.  Along with that, I’m hoping to make some more permanent, healthy lifestyle changes for me and my family.  Generally, we eat pretty healthy meals, but we slip up quite a bit, and we eat out much too often.  And neither my husband nor I are that great at making sure we are getting regular exercise.  Well, THAT is what we are working on!  Or at least I am.  I started working out again a few days ago with the support of some girl friends, and I’m hoping to keep it up.  When I work out regularly, I tend to eat healthier, too.  I not only crave better foods, but I don’t want to waste all my hard work.  The hubs also got me a FitBit Force for Christmas, which was 1) unexpected, and 2) motivating.  I wear it (bracelet) all day and night, it doesn’t need to be charged too often, and when I reach my goal it vibrates, which is surprisingly uplifting. I plan on chronicling my journey to a healthier life on here….if I can manage to update every so often!

So back to the title of this post.  I don’t remember how exactly I came across making this salad recipe.  I was inspired from something in a  magazine, but I don’t remember which one, and it doesn’t help that I do remember that it wasn’t from an actual article…it was just a side note or something.  Anyways, I make this a lot in the summer, and I can eat it. Non. Stop.  I love it.  It’s vegan, if you’re into that kind of thing.  And even if you’re not, it’s still soooo yummy and good.

My Very Most Favoritest Salad Ever (Quinoa Salad)
Makes about 4 big servings on its own, or several smaller side servings

For the salad:

  • 1 cup quinoa (uncoooked)
  • 1 cup chopped red pepper (or just one red pepper, which is what I do)
  • 1 cup shelled and cooked edamame
  • 1/2 cup diced onion (I usually dice up an entire small, red onion and rinse it in a sieve or colander for a minute or two to take the bite out of the raw onion)
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries or cranberries, roughly chopped (I prefer cherries)

For the dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • pinch of sugar
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Cook the quinoa* according to package directions and let cool.  Toss the cooled quinoa with all of the salad ingredients.  In a small both, whisk together the dressing ingredients.  Taste and adjust salt and pepper (and possibly sugar) as necessary.  Pour over salad and mix.  Adjust salt and pepper again, to taste.

*Note: You can cook the quinoa in water or broth (chicken, veggie).  I’ve done both and either way, it tastes great!  (I generally cook quinoa in my rice cooker so there is pretty  much no thinking involved.  One part quinoa to two parts water/broth, set it for “steam” and in about 20 minutes you’ve got some pretty perfectly cooked quinoa.  I also will only cook rice in my rice cooker.  Once you’ve had rice cooker rice, you will never go back!  Perfect. Every. Time.) Obviously, to remain vegan, you wouldn’t want to use chicken broth.  Additionally, if you’re going for gluten free, you will either want to cook the quinoa in water or check the ingredients for your broth.  Something as simple as store bought broth can have a lot of additives!  You can always use homemade broth, too!

 

Super easy, super tasty.  All of us enjoy this salad, and if I had a good picture of it, I’d share because it’s really beautiful with the red pepper, bright green edamame, dark maroon cherries, purple onions…ugh, I can go on and on!  But it’s January 1, and it’s not exactly number one on my list to cook right now.  I’m more in the mood for things like soup, chili, and casseroles.

Speaking of which, I made a fantastic chili last night that little Miss Audrey (and the hubs) gobbled up.  It’s from The Clothes Make the Girl: http://www.theclothesmakethegirl.com/2009/02/22/my-favorite-chili-recipe/.

I used ground turkey and chicken broth since I apparently am out of beef broth.  I let it simmer uncovered for about an hour to an hour and a half, then covered it up.  I found that I had to add a bit of salt at the end, but I’m guessing that is because I used turkey rather than beef.  Turkey tends to be a bit more bland.  One pot made quite a bit, so we are having the leftovers this weekend when my parents come to visit.  I’ll make some elbow macaroni to serve it on to make my dad happy, and I might bake up a spaghetti squash to serve mine on (and maybe my mom’s) for a lighter fare.

Well, I just took a swig of the last of my coffee, and it is now stone cold, which indicates that it’s time for me end this lovely little entry.  Next time, I will thrill you with tales of my battle with the elliptical and entice you with my favorite granola recipes!  That’ll keep you coming back for more, I’m sure!  Happy New Years!