Spicy Quinoa Stuffed Avocado

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Remember these? Here is the recipe. Enjoy!
 
{Ingredients}
  • Spiced Quinoa:
  • Avocados (1 small avocado per person)
  • ½ cup quinoa
  • 1 can black beans (rinsed)
  • ½ chopped red pepper
  • ½ cup corn
  • ½ chopped red onion
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro + some for garnish
  • 1 tbsp taco seasoning
  • Cilantro ‘sour cream’
  • 1 cup cashews soaked for at least two hours
  • 2 tbsp cilantro
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp agave (if you want it sweeter)
  • dash of salt
{Instructions}
  1. Start by rinsing your quinoa well and then place it in a sauce pan and toast for about two minutes until the quinoa starts to smell ‘toasty.’ Add one cup of water or vegetable broth and bring to boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer and cover. (To get fluffy quinoa, it’s really important to not stir it, just let it be, keeping a close eye on it)
  2. Chop the red onion and red pepper and add all the ingredients, minus the quinoa, in a bowl and mix well with the taco seasoning. Once the quinoa is finished and has cooled, add it to the vegetable mixture.
  3. Put the mixture in the refrigerator to cool.
  4. Drain the cashews and place them in a blender. Add ¼ cup water, apple cider vinegar, agave, and salt and blend. You may want to add more water until the mixture is silky and smooth but I recommend doing so a little at a time. Once the consistency you want, pour into a bowl and place in the refrigerator to cool
  5. To assemble the avocados, begin by cutting them in half, removing the skin and the pit. I also scooped out part of the avocado to make a little room for more stuffing.
  6. Scoop about ½ a cup of the quinoa mixture into each avocado, more if you can fit it.
  7. Finish with a little cilantro ‘sour cream’ and some chopped cilantro and serve.

Found this recipe here.

Photo courtesy of Pinterest.

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Organic Dog Biscuits: Yes Please!

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I recently came across this amazing bakery that sells organic dog biscuits. We constantly hear all the fuss about eating healthy for ourselves, but what about those furry friends of ours? They should be fed the best food as well that will help them live long, healthy lives. If I had the time, I would make these myself but I will leave it to Chloe’s Bakery. Such a great concept and the prices are definitely reasonable. Thank you so much for sending me a free sample- my Khloe LOVED them! =)

This is their story:

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“Chloe is a 1 year old Yorkshire Terrier. I started making her all-natural, organic biscuits because I want her to live a long and healthy life,I believe dogs deserve REAL wholesome healthy food just like us. I see so many dog treats out on store shelf’s that contain chemicals,preservatives, or water-y broths,that is just not healthy period.I wanted to make a change.

So that’s when I decided I’d take my love for baking & cooking with fresh seasonal,organic ingredients, and Chloe’s love for treats and start an all-Natural,organic dog biscuit bakery. Right in the heart of Westchester County in New York. We bake the biscuits by hand in small batches,with the finest ingredients we can find. All Natural with no chemicals,no preservatives,or water y-broths as flavoring. Just REAL simple wholesome human grade ingredients for your four legged furry friend.”

You can purchase the biscuits here. You can also find Chloes Bakery on instagram @ChessDevino. Enjoy!

Strawberry Season Is Here!

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I love this time of year. The weather is getting warmer and the variety of fruits and veggies is expanding by the minute. What’s not to love about that?? This means fruit salads, more smoothies, fruit inspired dressings and maybe some sangria when this 60 day challenge is over. Say hello to almost summer! Strawberry season is here. With the month of May approaching two days away, so is the presence of strawberries at the farmers market. I can’t wait to create some recipes for you to try. I often hear some “diets” that call for no fruit but unlimited amounts of meat?? What the heck? If you are working out on the regular and burning this natural sugar off then it should’t cause your blood sugar to spike. Eat real foods, in moderation. Bottom line. And most importantly EAT ORGANIC!

Some of the health benefits include:

1. One cup of sliced strawberries provides 163% of your daily dose of vitamin C (more than an orange) and 12% of your daily amount fiber.

2. Antioxidant rich.

3. Anti-Inflammatory. Strawberries fight against many inflammatory disorders, such as osteoarthritis and asthma.

4. Anti-Cancer. The combination of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents found in strawberries is well known to fight against the onset of many different typed of cancer. Vitamin C, folate create a defense against any potential cancerous cells.

5. Manganese. One cup of strawberries contains 21% of manganese (an essential nutrient that acts as a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent). Manganese is also great for your bones both with helping bone building and maintaining bone structure.

So, now you know. Get to your local farmers markets where farmers practice sustainable farming practices. Also, If you have any favorite recipes that include strawberries send my way!!

Breakfast Scramble.

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Here is an easy on the go scramble. This is often my go to between for my post workout breakfast along with steel cut oats! You can really add anything in a scramble- if you have veggies, throw them in. It might take an extra 5-10 minutes but you body will thank you later in the day for energy you won’t get from that pastry, bagel with cream cheese and sugary cereal. Keep a log of weekly breakfast choices and see how they add up.

What you’ll need:
Eggs (I use 2)
Cherry tomato (cut in half)
Spinach
Asparagus
Mushroom
Avocado
Yellow onion

Sauté a little olive oil or coconut oil with yellow onion. Add asparagus or mushoom and cherry tomato. I like to add my spinach when I add my egg that way it’s not too slimy (I don’t really like cooked spinach so I find that this helps with my texture issue). I season to taste with light salt, pepper and garlic powder. You can serve with FRESH salsa instead of ketchup (you don’t need the added processed sugar with the condiments. Sometimes I eat with a wheat tortilla or by itself! Enjoy!

60 Day Challenge: My Truth!

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Friends! Here we go. It’s April 1 and you know what that means? The beginning of a 60 days to summer challenge. It’s been a year now that I started my blog. Hard to believe the time has flown by. You know that saying. “Where has the time gone??” I’m feeling it! As I reflect on the last year I am amazed at all that has been accomplished in my own life and in the lives of others around me. I attended a Wayne Dyer conference a year ago and remember it like it was yesterday. This was the pivotal moment that I would allow my creative passion for health and nutrition to no longer be just a dream but actually manifest into  reality. To my surprise the people in my immediate life were ready to hear what I had to say. With this said, I have completely transformed my lifestyle. When I look back at a year ago I think of all the things that have changed for the better. Of course when we stop and evaluate our life we assume everything is on track (hopefully or somewhere close), and that we are always the best we can be. Ha. I wish this was true. In the last 5 years or so I have always considered myself healthy. When I refer to healthy I am talking about food, life, relationships, work, etc. It’s always easier to justify where we are due to some event that happened in the past and “made us who we are.” I have come to learn in the last 365 days this simply is not the case. Whatever the situation is, or story that we create to be our own can be changed at any moment you make the choice to live, NOW. I joined FNS training center last year with the intent to try a workout that would actually change the way my body looked. I had the diet down, but never really pushed myself to workout where I felt like I was going to throw up. Don’t get me wrong I liked to go hiking, run and occasionally lift some weights but I think I was lifting the same amount of weight for the last 3-4 years! Sound familiar?? During this type of workout I have learned to really step outside of my comfort zone. I started the workouts because eating healthy is easy for me (not for many) and working out on the other hand was not something I ever exceeded at or felt like needed to be pushed to the limits. As I look back I know that every single workout is so much more than the physical aspect. It’s getting your mind right  in order to then tell your body A- you CAN do this and B- you are SO strong enough!!!! Who was I kidding. When I started I could barely even do a single pushup or pull-up for that matter. It’s not like I would just break down while watching TV and do either of those…how was I supposed to know?? I started with the intent to change my body and this is exactly what has happened. I became committed to doing something I actually hated(this extreme workout). The split jumps, the squats, and the rowing are all things I still have to force myself to do to this day. (Just being honest!) On the contrary,  I have become faster, lost some weight, lost some inches and have changed my confidence level beyond words. I have a frequent habit in my life to start something and not commit if I don’t like it. This workout regimen helps me to overcome this barrier I sometimes set in my mind. We’re not always going to like the things that make us better, it’s a fact. Simple as that.

I am doing this 60 day challenge as a commitment to be better. My passion for life is not just about food and nutrition but about being better than we were yesterday. It’s so easy to make an excuse and get stuck in our ways because it’s easy (trust me, I am guilty) but where is the growth and reward in that? My intent for the next 2 months is to step up my game. I want to be fit and I want to be full of muscle. I want others to know that No- it’s not easy to get in shape and look great  but the easiest things DON’T TEACH US ANYTHING. I want a six pack, let’s get real! I will post an after picture June 1 so watch out! This will be a before and after from May 2012 to May 2013. I am proud of myself for staying committed and changing my body and mindset over the last 365 days. It’s not always easy, and I don’t always want to wake up at 6 AM to workout but I can definitely say I never leave and feel like I shouldn’t have come to the workout. It’s commitment, lifestyle and making my health a priority. What are you going to do in the next 60 days to change your life??

THE 60 DAY CHALLENGE

As we start our “60 Day’s to Summer Chall…enge” is imperative that we are setting ourselves up for success. One of the biggest ways we do that is by Setting Clear Expectations not just for ourselves but also those we surround ourselves with most. Here are a few questions to ask yourself in order to reach your goal over the next 60 days.

1. What are you willing to give up to be successful?

2. What are you willing to add in to be successful?

3. Who are going to ask for extra help, support, and accountability to be successful? When you let others know what you need and what you are trying to accomplish they will either support you or leave you alone. In either case both will be beneficial.

4. What are your “Non-Negotiables”? No matter what the circumstances, what are the things you WILL get done everyday in order to take a step closer to reaching your goal.

5. WHY is this important to you? “If it is important enough you will find a way, if it is not you will find an excuse” KNOW YOUR WHY!

Good luck!!!! When you know better, you DO better!

 

Easy Bake Fruit Granola Bars

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Old Fashioned Oats (Gluten Free if needed)
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I didn’t use because I was out)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking pan with parchment paper.

Toss the oatmeal, almonds, and coconut together a sheet pan and bake for 10-12 minutes. stirring occasionally, until lightly brown. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ.

Place the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in small saucepan on medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute and then pour over toasted oatmeal, apricots and cranberries and stir well.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers and lightly press ingredients into pan. Bake for 25 to 30 more minutes until golden brown. Cool for at least 2 hours. When cool, cut into little squares. Serve at room temperature.

Keep in mind-the more dried fruit you use the chewier the bars will be. I used mango and they were pretty chewy! Good luck…these are good!

“Tacoless” Quinoa Salad.

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Remember this? I posted this on my blog page a couple of weeks ago. It’s one of my favorite, nutrient packed salads. Quinoa is a great rice or pasta substitute. You can eat alot and not feel extremely bloated afterwards. Sound familiar? You can choose any ingredients that you like or take any away that you dislike. Minimal time and it’s ready to serve in a matter of minutes.

What you’ll need:

  • Quinoa
  • Avocado
  • Red Bell Pepper
  • Red Onion
  • Corn (I use frozen)
  • Kidney Bean or Black Bean ( I used canned- no salt added beans)
  • Cilantro
  • Tomato
  • Jalapeno
  • Olive Oil
  • Lime
  • Salt/Pepper to taste

Cook the quinoa separate. For every 1 cup of quinoa use 2 cups of water (or chicken broth for extra flavor.) Dice up all your preferred veggies and cilantro. I use all raw ingredients but you can cook as well if you like. I mix the veggies + quinoa together and mix a little bit of olive oil. I use about 2 limes, and flavor with salt and pepper. Remember- easy with the salt (it’s easy to get carried away but we are so used to it we don’t even think twice.) If you aren’t vegetarian- organic chicken is always an option to add for extra protein. This can be served warm or store in the fridge until ready to serve (It tastes great both ways.) This is great lunch alternative to eating out or a great dish to bring to a party. People LOVE it. Fresh is best!

Enjoy!

Gluten Free + No Bake Granola Bars.

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Finally getting around to posting this recipe! I am the queen of buying new cookbooks and scouting the internet for go to meals. I have been vegetarian for about 5 years now and I would say the biggest challenge is not getting stuck in the same routine of my favorite foods. I would be lying if I say I didn’t LOVE chocolate…..yes that is a LOVE. What woman doesn’t?  I don’t eat it everyday- and as my habits have changed so have my types of indulgences. I now usually only eat dark chocolate. Sometimes chocolate covered raisins or almonds found in the bulk aisle at Whole Foods. The trick for me is: If I don’t buy it, I won’t eat it. If I do buy it, I only pick up a little bit to satisfy my craving. Practice makes perfect. Nevertheless this recipe is super easy and fast. I think it is a great alternative to the granola bars found at the store- especially that there are minimal ingredients. Just because they come in a white and green box labeled “great source of fiber” does NOT mean they are healthy. Check your labels- or simply make your own. This one was found on the blog With Style & Grace.

The recipe calls for peanut butter and I STRONGLY suggest using the freshly ground peanut or almond butter from whole foods. Since they are a no bake granola bar you need to have a good base so they can pack tight and not break. I made the recipe twice- once with regular peanut butter and once without. Also- you have the option of gluten free or regular oats. Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups gluten-free oats
  • 1 3/4 cup gluten-free rice cereal or rice krispies (I used the 365 brand brown rice cereal from Whole Foods)
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • 1/8 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/3-1/2 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips – or replace with dried fruit

Directions

Cut parchment paper to fit a 9×13 or 8″ pan. This will make it easier to remove the granola bars.

Combine oats, cereal, coconut and flaxseed in a bowl and mix together.

In a small saucepan, over medium heat, mix honey, brown sugar and salt. Stir until it comes to a slight boil.

Remove from heat, stir in the peanut butter and vanilla until incorporated.

Pour the warm mixture over the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.

Let cool for about 20 minutes or so before mixing in the chocolate chips. Add mixture to the prepared pan and with a piece of parchment paper; press down to even out the surface. Place in a safe spot [out of reach from tiny hands or pets] and cover with a paper towel or cloth and let sit for a few hours to let everything set.

Remove from the pan and cut into bars. Enjoy!

Makes about 12 bars

CSA. Learn it & Do it.

CSA

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. This is something you should definitely invest some money in and be a part of. It requires no extra cost than what you are probably spending at the grocery store already. Every week you can receive a box full of fresh produce including vegetables and fruits that are locally grown and in season.

When considering whether or not to join a CSA, there are a few questions that you might ask yourself. Be sure to answer for yourself and the people you live with since asking other people to change their eating habits is not a  small thing.

  • Do I like to cook and does my schedule allow me to make homemade meals most evenings?
  • Will it be fun to vegetables that are new to me?
  • How will I handle excess produce? (Do you have a neighbor who would like to get some if you get “behind”?) Feeling bad about wasting food is one of the top reasons former CSA members site for not renewing. If anything you can throw the extra veggies in your juicer or blender and get your daily intake of vitamins.

I know for me personally, throughout the week  I frequent Whole Foods daily. Mainly because I buy as I go, and it prevents a lot of waste since it’s only me. I don’t mind considering I love to cook, I love good food and it thrills me to know that I have access to amazing foods. For some people going to the grocery store is a dreadful process. I think in order to change this, you have to take a little time out of your day to look up some recipes and find things you love. If you know how to read, you can learn to cook! No excuses.

Do your research and find a CSA close to home. Why is this important? Because the more local the ingredients the faster it hits your dinner table after being picked. Nutrient value is at the highest value when your food is picked and served in a short amount of time. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t always accessible, but since we live in a community where it is I recommend you take advantage of it!

Have a great weekend!

Here is a link to find a CSA in your area. Good Luck!

Got juice?

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I made such a yummy juice this morning. There was beets, kale, carrots, cucumber, ginger, grapefruit, lime and green apple. Who needs wine when you have juice? Ha, who am I kidding, I LOVE wine. Have you made any juice recipes that i should know about? It’s Friday which means a two day break AND the weather calls for sunshine?? Score! I don’t plan on doing much this weekend except hitting up the farmers market, getting a good workout in tomorrow and probably a little cooking/ baking for next weeks posts. Hope you all have a great weekend!