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.

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…..

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

 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


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


    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.

Balsamic Chicken and Eggplant

Foodie Friday!

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!


  • 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


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



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!

-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!!!

  • 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
  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.
This picture is from “Love and Lemons” ~ They have a beautiful blog full of delicious!

Asian Chicken Salad – for Fixies


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)


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!



10-Spice Vegetable Soup

It’s Foodie Friday again!  This week the most delicious thing we made was this soup from the “Oh She Glows” cookbook.  SUPER Winter comfort food!  Full of awesome gorgeous color, veggies from the garden (I ran out and picked some of our hardy wintering kale, and used frozen tomatoes saved from last fall!).

The real story though:  one component though stands out as rockstar!

Cashew Cream.



So to make cashew cream, you soak cashews for 6-8 hours, rinse, and then puree/blend with some water or stock.  Varying the amount of water, changes the consistency – and it is WEIRD how much ground up cashew tastes like dairy!  I’ve used powdered cashew in place of Parmesan cheese on pasta dishes – BELLISSIMA!  Anyway.  The creamy base for 10-Spice Vegetable Soup ~ cashew cream!  I left the cashews soaking all day while I went to work, so all ready to go in the soup in the evening.

Now onto the SOUP!

vegan10spicesoup 065A8717


  • 3/4 cup raw cashews, soaked
  • 6 cups vegetable broth, divided
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 sweet or yellow onion, diced
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped (we only had green, but it was fine)
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled and chopped sweet potato, regular potato, or butternut squash
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 (28-ounce/796-mL) can diced tomatoes, with their juices (or sub with fresh tomatoes – see blog post for my how-to)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1-1  1/2 tablespoons Homemade 10-Spice Blend (recipe follows), to taste
  • Fine-grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 to 2 cups baby spinach or destemmed torn kale leaves
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas or other beans, drained and rinsed (kidney beans are fun too)
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1.  Place cashews in a bowl and add enough water to cover. Soak the cashews overnight, or for at least 2 hours. Drain and rinse the cashews.
  2. In a blender, combine the soaked and drained cashews with 1 cup of vegetable broth and blend on the highest speed until smooth. Set aside.
  3. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Season generously with Herbamare or sea salt.
  4. Add the carrots, bell pepper, potato, celery, and diced tomatoes with their juices, the remaining 5 cups broth, the cashew cream, and 1-1.5 tablespoons of 10-spice blend. Stir well to combine . Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Season with salt and black pepper and add the bay leaves.
  5. Simmer the soup, uncovered, for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender. Season with salt and black pepper. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, stir in the spinach/kale and drained beans.
  6. To freeze, ladle the soup into containers (leaving 1-inch for expansion), cool slightly, secure lid and place in the freezer for up to 6 weeks.

Tips: 1) If you don’t wish to make the 10-Spice Blend, feel free to use your favorite store-bought Cajun or Creole seasoning mix and add to taste. 2) You will have leftover spice blend. Store it in a container and keep it handy anytime you want to spice up a dish! It’s great for pasta, soup, tofu seasoning, stir-fry, and more. 3) When thawed (this freezes really well!), this soup’s broth looks a bit grainy, but rest assured when it’s heated up again it will return to its former smoothness.



Foodie Friday

Winter Garden Win!  So this year I just didn’t pull out the kale plants in the garden.  They looked fine after the frost, and then we had a serious cold snap, yet the kale was set to prevail!  So it’s still out there in the middle of winter.  It might not be as pretty as it is earlier in the year, BUT, I read that the taste is less bitter and less “kale-y” in the cold – TRUE!  I was inspired to USE SOME OF THE MAGIC FROZEN KALE….


photo by localkitchener.ca

So what I made…  Hearty, delicious, filled with colour – the dressing was DIVINE.

Barley Kale Tabbouleh

Prep time  15 mins;  Cook time  20 mins; Total time 35 mins 
From Michael Smith’s Family Meals Cookbook
Serves: 4-6


  • 4 large kale leaves, tough center stems trimmed away (I used more)
  • 1 cup (250mL) of any barley
  • 1 teaspoon (5mL) of salt
  • A handful of finely chopped parsley
  • Leaves from 1 bunch of fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 pint (500mL) of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large dill pickle, minced


  • The zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons (30mL) of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon (15mL) of honey
  • 1 tablespoon (15mL) of your favorite mustard
  • ½ teaspoon (2mL) of salt
  • ½ teaspoon (2mL) of your favorite hot sauce
  1. Stack the kale leaves, then roll them up tightly. Slice them as thinly as possible, forming fine threads. Cram into a small saucepan and add ¼ cup (60mL) of water. Cover and cook over high heat until the kale softens, just 2 or 3 minutes. Drain and spread out on a plate to cool.
  2. Measure the barley into the same saucepan and add 3 cups (750mL) of water and the salt. Bring to a full boil, then reduce the heat to a bare simmer. Cover tightly and continue cooking until the grains swell, absorbing the water and tenderizing, about 30 minutes.  (I did mine separately right in my rice cooker)
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients until emulsified. Throw in the tender barley, the kale, parsley, mint, green onions, tomatoes and pickle. Toss the works together, evenly mixing the flavors, textures and colours.  Serve and share!
So at the end I cut up some left over chicken satay skewers and put them on top with some feta cheese… FAN-FRIKKIN-TASTIC!!!


Foodie Friday (Again) ~ Vegetarian Chili

Hahaha, well, a slow start is better than no start.  Foodie Friday it is!

IMG_20150115_152806This week’s most fantastic dinner:  Vegetarian Chili loosely based on a recipe from Tosca Reno’s Eat Clean Diet Cookbook

From Tosca’s Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook: Beans are an ideal source of Clean-Eating protein and even those who aren’t vegetarian love this “meaty” meatless chili recipe. It is still a satisfying version of chili without losing out on hearty flavor. Use leftovers in a wrap for lunch the next day.  So I STARTED with the Tosca Reno recipe below.  But I used whole cans of beans, rather than just 1 cup each, added some homemade Mexican Chili Paste, and then BEST ADDITION:  Romanesco!  (And sliced mushrooms, but those are not as exciting).  Christmas Tree Chili for the win….


2 Tbsp/30 ml cumin seeds, toasted*
2 Tbsp/30 ml extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
1 head roasted garlic
3 Tbsp/45 ml chili powder
¼ tsp/1.25 ml red pepper flakes
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 cup/240 ml canned white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup/240 ml canned great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup/240 ml canned red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup/240 ml canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup/240 ml canned corn kernels, rinsed and drained
2½ cups/600 ml water or low-sodium vegetable stock (gluten free if necessary)
2 tsp/10 ml crumbled, dried oregano
2 tsp/10 ml crumbled, dried basil
4 squares dark (75% or more cocoa) organic chocolate
28 oz/784 g canned tomatoes
Juice of one fresh lime
Juice of one fresh lemon


  1. vegetarian chiliIn a Dutch oven, warm olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, pepper and grated carrot and sauté until onion becomes soft and translucent. Stir in chili powder, toasted cumin seeds, red pepper flakes, sea salt and black pepper. Cover and cook over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add all remaining ingredients. Blend well. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

This recipe can be served over brown rice for a hearty variation.  (prep picture from nourishdrinkcafe.com)