Quinoa Pizza Crust!

Whoa Nelly.  So we almost never make pizza….  But I saw a video about using quinoa to make pizza crust….  And quinoa is like THE BEST, so.   We decided to try it out:  WIN.

Quinoa Pizza CrustHOW TO DO IT:

  • Soak 3/4 cup of Quinoa in 2 cups of water (cover) for up to 8 hrs (I just set it up in the morning and went to work….)
  • Drain, rinse and put into your food processor.

Add:
1/4 cup fresh water
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt

  • Pulse till smooth like paste. ( you will need to stop it a few times to scrape down the sides)
  • Line a cookie sheet with Parchment paper and lightly spray OR grease and flour – we used coconut oil, which worked GREAT.
  • Spread your Quinoa mixture evenly into a Pizza crust shape.
  • Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes
  • Remove from oven/carefully flip it over and Bake an additional 5 to 10 more minutes.
  • Top with your favorite toppings – we did tomato sauce, mushrooms, onions, green pepper, tomatoes, cheddar, and parmesan – put it back in the oven to melt cheese etc!

Foodie Friday! Santa Fe Casserole

 

Photo by Angela Liddon, "Oh She Glows"
Photo by Angela Liddon, “Oh She Glows”

Formerly known as “Crowd Pleasing Tex-Mex Casserole” from Angela Liddon’s super amazing “Oh She Glows” cookbook.  I made this recipe last night – DELICIOUS!  We had it with home made mango-yellow tomato salsa and plain Greek yogurt (to tone down the mega jalapeno!  I made it with a jalapeno from the garden, but also with a can of diced “tomatoes & jalapenos” which may have been jalapeno overkill….  Sam2 LOVED it, but it was a little spicy for me 🙂 )  I guess I should qualify changing the name – it’s SO like the Santa Fe Beans and Rice Smart Ones frozen meal I used to love!  But making your own from all fresh magical ingredients is SO MUCH MORE WONDERFUL!!!!

Santa Fe Beans and Rice

Look at all that amazing veggie color!  Garden bounty!  I also used a bunch of sliced fresh tomatoes and a green pepper from our garden.  One other note – the spice blend is fantastic.  I’ve recently discovered the amazingness that is grinding your own spices – completely by necessity – I needed ground cardamom last week, but only had seeds, and then last night I found we were out of ground cumin, but again, I had seeds.  I used my Nutribullet milling blade in both instances and was SHOCKED by how much more fragrant and AMAZING fresh ground spices are….  I mean, I KNEW that, but I was still BLOWN AWAY by how much more amazing those spices smelled compared to bought grinds….  ANYWAY….  If you have something that you can use to grind spices – DO IT!!!

The Recipe…..

Ingredients
For the Tex-Mex spice blend

  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) chili powder
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons (7 mL) ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) smoked sweet paprika, or 1⁄2 teaspoon (2 mL) regular paprika
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon (1 mL) cayenne pepper, plus more as needed
  • 1 1⁄4 teaspoons (6 mL) fine-grain sea salt
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon (1 mL) ground coriander (optional)

For the casserole

  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons (7 mL) extra-virgin olive oil 1 red onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded, if desired, and diced
  • Fine-grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1⁄2 cup (125 mL) fresh or frozen corn
  • 1 (14-ounce/398-mL) can diced tomatoes, with their juices
  • 1 cup (250 mL) tomato sauce or tomato puree
  • 2 to 3 cups (500 to 750 mL) chopped kale leaves or baby spinach
  • 1 (15-ounce/425-g) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 1⁄2 cups (875 mL) cooked wild rice blend or brown rice
  • 1⁄2 cup (125 mL) vegan shredded cheese, such as Daiya (I used cheddar actual cheese…  I don’t really use vegan soy-“cheese” products)
  • 1 to 2 handfuls corn tortilla chips, crushed

Optional toppings

Directions
1
 Make the Tex-Mex spice blend: In a small bowl, combine the chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne, salt, and coriander (if using). Set aside.

Make the casserole: Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Oil a large (4-to 5-quart/4- to 5-L) casserole dish.

In a large wok, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, bell peppers, and jalapeño and sauté for 7 to 8 minutes, until softened. Season with salt and black pepper.

4 Stir in the Tex-Mex spice blend, corn, diced tomatoes and their juices, tomato sauce, spinach or kale, beans, rice, and 1⁄4 cup (60 mL) of the vegan shredded cheese. Sauté for a few minutes and season with more salt and black pepper, if desired.

Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish and smooth out the top. Sprinkle the crushed chips over the casserole mixture along with the remaining 1⁄4 cup (60 mL) cheese. Cover with a lid or foil and bake for 15 minutes.

Foodie Friday!

Wow, so, a lot went on and I failed utterly at blogging all summer….  Time to get back at this!

Pinterest GOT me yesterday morning, and I have had a butternut squash staring at me waiting to be used in the pantry, so right away in the morning I got started on dinner.  I was totally made of win, and got a load of laundry going, stuck the squash in the oven to roast, and did a great workout all at the same time!

Butternut Squash & Spinach Lasagna

Photo from Juliasalbum.com
Photo from Juliasalbum.com

Pretty obvious how Pinterest got me, right?  Doesn’t that look great????

Here’s my “Making of”…..  SOOOOOO GOOD.  I think some red pepper flakes to add a little heat might make it even better, but it’s delicious exactly as the recipe is written!

Butternut squash and spinach lasagna

Ingredients

Butternut Squash Filling:
    • 2 cups butternut squash puree (I used more like 2.5 cups, my whole squash, which was pretty small ~ and the squash puree link goes to www.juliasalbum.com, where I got this amazing recipe)
    • 1 cup ricotta cheese
    • 1/2 cup milk (or more, if needed)
    • 1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Spinach Filling:
    • 1 cup cooked spinach (8 oz uncooked)
    • 1 cup ricotta cheese
    • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • pepper, to taste
Other Ingredients:
  • 10 oz lasagna noodles, cooked (for gluten free, use Tinkyada brown rice lasagna noodles)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese (or more)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (on top)
  • Italian seasoning
  • Paprika
  • Basil

Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
Butternut Squash Filling:
    1. For this filling, you will need to have pre-cooked butternut squash puree. Using food processor, combine 2 cups of butternut squash puree with Ricotta cheese, milk, salt and nutmeg. Add more milk if needed (to make the butternut squash filling very creamy). Mix very well, taste and add more salt, if needed.
Spinach Filling:
    1. Combine spinach, Ricotta cheese, mozzarella, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix, taste, and add more salt and pepper, if needed.
Cooking lasagna noodles:
    1. Bring a very large pot of water to boil, and cook lasagna noodles according to package instructions. Rinse in cold water, drain. Using knife, trim noodles to fit your baking dish (if necessary).
Lasagna assembly:
  1. Prepare a baking dish – I used a casserole dish 11 inches x 8.5 inches x 3 inches deep. Grease the lasagna dish lightly with olive oil spray. Spread 1/3 of butternut squash filling on the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle lightly with mozzarella cheese. Top with cooked lasagna noodles without overlapping (I used 3 noodles).
  2. Spread half of spinach filling over the noodles. Top lightly with Mozzarella cheese. Top with cooked noodles.
  3. Spread another layer (1/3) of butternut squash mixture, then sprinkle lightly with Mozzarella cheese. Top with cooked noodles.
  4. Spread the remaining half of spinach filling over the noodles. Top lightly with Mozzarella cheese. Top with the final layer of cooked noodles.
  5. Spread a generous amount of butternut squash filling (the remaining 1/3) over this final layer of noodles, sprinkle with grated Parmesan and remaining mozzarella cheese (about 1/2 cup of mozzarella). Generously sprinkle the cheese with Italian seasoning, paprika, basil.
  6. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 30 min. Remove foil and bake additional 10 minutes.

A little Spring in my step!

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I’ve been kind of doodling around for the last month, randomly selecting different ShaunT workouts (Beachbody On Demand is GREAT for “choose your own adventure” workout schedules!).  For May I decided to change it up.  I’m doing a really fun challenge group with a bunch of our team, Sweat Nation, coaches, and at the same time, I’ve been hankering to start training for trail racing…. We have a GLORIOUS trail system I can access right behind our house!  I think I actually have a perfect combination:PiYo, trail running, yoga, pilates, running, Boise, Ridge to rivers Trail system

PiYo is one of my soulmate workouts (yeah, I’m promiscuous, I have a couple!).  It’s a fusion of pilates strengthening, and yoga lengthening, all at a pace that brings your heart rate up into the cardio zone.  What I love about it, is it takes care of your body as it conditions it.  I think radical core strength really improves my running and YOGA is the only thing that keeps my legs working at all.  I guess I’ll see how I feel in a month – maybe this year I’ll finally do the Foothills XC12K.  I’ve planned to do that race SO MANY TIMES, but then am always either out of town or injured.

Cobb Trail, Boise, Ridge to rivers, arrowleaf, trail running
Early morning in the Boise River Wildlife Management District (right behind our house!)

Summer is coming….

bikini (2)

My next fitness group may seem like wishful thinking in some parts (ahem, Nor’easters) but really, if you build it, they will come.  Think positive!  Think about bikini weather, and it WILL happen.  Your bikini bod could be READY before the sun comes out. We’ll do a fitness program, fix up our eating habits – get lean and strong so that we all look and FEEL great in a bikini!

We’ll work as a group to hold each other accountable to our exercise schedule and share meal ideas to make clean, healthy eating a SNAP!  The group does require a commitment to a Beachbody dvd fitness program, but there are several options, so we’ll find the right one for you.

Starts March 30 and runs for 21 days – they say it takes 21 days to set a new habit, so let’s make it fitness, and gift ourselves with bikini bods in the process!  Comment with your email address and we can chat more about getting started.

Balsamic Chicken and Eggplant

Foodie Friday!

20150319_205602
French Food ~ And we all know French women don’t get fat! Balsamic Chicken & Eggplant

I saw some absolutely BEAUTIFUL eggplants in the produce section, which inspired me to pull out an old recipe from the summer I was obsessed with French food.  It’s simple and delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 1 eggplant cut lengthwise into 4 thick slices (fit chicken breasts) OR as I did, cut into enough rounds to match your chicken – I used boneless, skinless thighs And made 6….
  • (4) boneless, skinless chicken breasts – or see above
  • 1 14 oz can whole peeled tomatoes, cut into quarters – save some of the juice!
  • 2 tbsp capers, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil + some for greasing the pan
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar or honey
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed basil leaves
  • fresh ground black pepper

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 400, oil baking dish – large enough to fit eggplant slices in a single layer ~ place eggplant in the dish and top each slice with chicken breast (or whatever)

2. Combine tomatoes, capers, vinegar, oil, 1/2 cup tomato juice, and sugar/honey- mix well.  Spread tomato mixture over chicken

3.  Bake until chicken is cooked through (the thighs took about 40 minutes, thinner pieces would be less; the recipe said 20-25 minutes, but those must have been thin chicken breasts)

~to serve, sprinkle with basil and pepper and spoon some of the yummy balsamic-tomato vinaigrette over the top!

2015-03-20 06.32.59
Fresh from the oven ~ each chicken sits atop a round of eggplant

Turkey Chili: Simple and hearty!

2015-03-06 12.09.14

 

FOODIE FRIDAY

So for the last several weeks I’ve been following the portion fix meal plan that goes with The 21 Day Fix and Insanity Max 30 ~ this last week I’ve been combining BOTH Max 30 and 21 Day Fix Extreme in SUPER WORKOUTS.  It has been AWESOME and I feel like a super hero!  But it definitely needs HIGH PROTEIN SUPPORT!

I made Turkey Chili this week – a recipe straight out of the 21 Day Fix Extreme Recipe Book.  It was delicious!  It’s chili.  Chili is always delicious!

Ingredients:
-1.5 pounds ground turkey
-1 tsp olive oil
-1 onion, diced
-1 green pepper, diced
-3 cloves of garlic, minced
-1.5 tsp cumin
-2 tbsp chili powder
-1/2 tsp sea salt
-1 tsp cayenne pepper
-1 tsp red pepper flakes
-2 15oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
-1 15oz can diced tomatoes with liquid (I used fire roasted!)

(I also added 1 pint of home made tomato paste and 1 pint of water, because following the recipe LOOKED like it was kind of dry to me!)

All you do is saute onion, green pepper, and garlic for a few minutes, then add the turkey and cook until it’s not pink, add the spices, beans, and tomato, bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 more minutes.

I ate it over 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa with cottage cheese:  REALLY hearty and delicious!

Butternut Squash Stew

butternut squash soup
Butternut squash with kale & quinoa stew: Very FABULOUS!

Foodie Friday rolls round again!

This week I have been strictly sticking to the 21 Day Fix portion control meal plan – which mean EAT MORE VEGGIES and EAT MORE PROTEIN!  This delicious stew has been a lunch staple all week – so much veggie goodness!!!

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (or more) teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 (or more) teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon red chile flakes
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • splash of white wine vinegar (1-2 tablespoons)
  • 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 32 oz. vegetable broth
  • ½ cup dry quinoa (or 1.5 cups cooked quinoa)
  • generous amounts of salt & pepper
  • a few big handfuls of chopped kale
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until they become translucent. Add the butternut squash cubes, another few pinches of salt, and stir again.
  2. Let the butternut squash cook for a few minutes, then add the garlic, cumin, coriander, paprika and chile flakes. Stir, then add a splash of white wine vinegar to deglaze the bottom of the pan. Add the tomatoes, broth and quinoa. Cover and simmer until the butternut squash is tender and the quinoa is cooked through (about 40 minutes). Halfway through, I like to taste and adjust seasonings. Add additional spices if you like.
  3. When the soup is nearly done, add in a few handfuls of chopped kale. Stir and let it cook until wilted (about 5 minutes more). Taste, and adjust seasonings again.
  4. Store leftover soup in the fridge for 4-5 days or freeze.
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This picture is from “Love and Lemons” ~ They have a beautiful blog full of delicious!

Asian Chicken Salad – for Fixies

IMG_20150211_195027

I think this was my favourite salad experience OF ALL TIME.

The magic is in the dressing – but here’s what was underneath:

  • spinach
  • tomato
  • green pepper, red pepper
  • green onion
  • celery                            (2 green containers of veggies!)
  • seared chicken tenders     (1 red protein container)
  • avocado                         (1 blue container, healthy fats)
  • pumpkin seeds                (1 orange container)
  • quinoa (cooked)              (1/2 yellow carb container)

(I got to the end of the day and realized I hadn’t eaten half my food, so our came GIANT SALAD OF FABULOSITY)

MAGIC STRAWBERRY ASIAN DRESSING: 

Combine all ingredients in a jar & shake; you might need to heat in the microwave for 20 seconds if the coconut oil re-solidifies (mine did)….

  • 2 strawberries
  • 1 tsp “zested” ginger
  • 1 tsp pressed garlic
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1.5 tsp Sriracha
  • 1 tsp honey

I put my final 1 orange container of dressing – 2 tbsp or so I guess – on the salad and it was MAGICAL.  especially heated up.  The pickled strawberries….  OMG.  Little bit of warmth from the sriracha….  OMG.  Seriously, the most fantastic salad I have ever eaten….

Happy Foodie Friday!

 

 

Setting up for Foodie Friday… A whole new meal plan!

Insanity Max:30 meets 21 Day Fix!

max_30_idealfor

I am on week 5 of ShaunT’s Insanity Max:30 workout program.  It is serious, hardcore fitness, and I LOVE ME SOME SHAUNT!  What I wasn’t really doing until this week though, was following the meal plan exactly.  I eat pretty well anyway, with whole foods and made from scratch everything and all that…

21-Day-Fix-bannerBut this week I also started  mentoring a group doing the 21 Day Fix.  With 21 Day Fix, it’s such a short time, so following the meal plan is INTEGRAL to success – and coincidentally, the meal plans for Max 30 and 21 Day Fix are the same.  It’s all about portion control, eating a few less carbs, and eating a few more servings of protein and vegetables.  The group is a PERFECT opportunity for me to get serious about the meal plan for Month 2 of Max 30, and continuously post meal ideas for the 21 Day Fixies.

The Eating Plan:

containersHonestly, there isn’t a “diet” in 21 Day Fix or Insanity Max:30. The eating program uses a color coded system of containers and a Shakeology Shaker Cup to give you perfect portion sizes every time.  I think most people don’t have a clear idea what the right portion sizes are for various foods ~ well, seek and ye shall find.  Indeed, the container-measured meals often end up much larger than anticipated!

  1. Green Container: For vegetables
  2. Purple Container: For fruits
  3. Red Container: For proteins
  4. Yellow Container: For carbohydrates
  5. Blue Container: For healthy fats and cheeses
  6. 2 Orange Container: seeds and oils
  7. Shakeology Cup: For mixing drinks

How it works:

  • First, the diet plan will show you how to calculate your caloric intake based on your current weight and your caloric needs:

calorie level

  • The caloric intake will lead you to know the exact number of each container and teaspoons (oils, butters) a day. The eating plan comes with 4 caloric levels, as you can see in the picture :

daily intake

  • The best thing about this program is its simplicity: fill up the containers with the food that goes with each one’s color and enjoy! You don’t have to count calories. Just choose the foods from the list that comes with the program. It’s all about portions. Portion control is what makes this program so special and revolutionary, it teaches you how to make healthy choices without restrictions or obsessions and it’s something that you’ll be able to take with you for the future.
  • The program recommends drinking a lot of water and also allows coffee and tea (I’m pretty sure you can even have a glass of wine!).
  • Autumn also recommends taking an extra green container when you are hungry because it’s hard to overeat veggies.

ANYWAY, so far so good!  It’s actually a perfect amount of food for me, eating at the 1200-1500 calorie level, and I am making some AMAZING meals.  I also can’t wait for STAT-urday, because I feel REALLY LEAN.  

Meal plans matter, folks.  You can’t outrun your fork!