Recipes

Roasted Garlic Broccoli Quinoa

Throughout my childhood I remember eating “white spaghetti”. It is still a favorite of mine; chopped broccoli, garlic, olive oil and spaghetti noodles with some salt and pepper. Mmm hmm! But lately I’ve been trying to eat less pasta and replace it with more “green light” items such as quinoa. I strive to eat clean 80% of the time and for me, quinoa is a staple! I believe in a green, yellow and red light system of eating which truly helps me stick to my goals of an 80% clean lifestyle.

Tonight I decided to replace the noodles with quinoa and it was as delicious as the usual dish! I was so HAPPY. My sons absolutely loved it as well!

 

Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa

2 heads of broccoli

4 tablespoons cold pressed extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

7 garlic cloves

Garlic Powder

Salt & Pepper

 

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 while you’re chopping your broccoli into small, even pieces.Smash and mince 4 garlic cloves. Once done chopping broccoli and garlic, mix together with two tablespoons of EVOO and one tablespoon lemon juice. Cook in the oven for 20-30 minutes. (Mine took about 25 minutes). While the broccoli is roasting, cook quinoa according to package instructions with salt, pepper and the rest of the garlic cloves to your quinoa when cooking it.

Once the broccoli is done cooking, put it and 2 tablespoons of EVOO in a food processor or blender and process until the broccoli is the size you’d like it. I enjoyed mine minced. Add the broccoli to your cooked quinoa and adjust salt and pepper flavors as necessary. You may find another splash of lemon juice is tasty!

 

Cheers to happy, healthy eating!

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Recipes

Chocolate Quinoa

Quinoa! I’m sure you’ve heard about it before; but did you know it is a seed? It is also gluten free. It’s actually considered to be a close relative to the spinach family. Crazy, right?
One of my obsessions right now is chocolate quinoa in the morning. My kids love it too; which is super great, because hello nutrients! Quinoa is a complete protein. Complete proteins are REQUIRED for every human being. There are 9 essential amino acids (what protein breaks down into) that our body cannot produce so we MUST get this from our food intake! So it is a protein power house; but let’s not forget, it also has a high amount of fiber, omega 3 (think heart healthy) fatty acids, folate and magnesium—this is a small snapshot of the rocking nutrition quinoa has to offer!

So a little FYI about my recipe here…I LOOOOOVE chocolate. I’m talking raw cacao powder here, not the milk sweet chocolate we all grew up on. This can be bitter to some folks. (You know who you are, lol) It doesn’t taste bitter to me anymore because I eat it 24/7. So if you’re just starting on this raw cacao powder journey, start slowly. Taste. Add more. Taste. Add more. Same goes with the honey or maple syrup. This is how I love it and have made it for friends, so tell me what you think if you make it!

Look at your quinoa package before you make it by the way, mine requires 2 cups liquid, 15 minutes simmer after a boil. That’s what the following recipe is based on. Read your directions! It may be different 🙂  ps. Totally forgot I was making it this morning and all the water boiled away, hahaha. Motherhood…oyyyyy!
Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa

2 cups non sweetened vanilla almond milk (or non dairy milk)

3-4 tablespoons raw cacao powder (I do 4)

2-3 tablespoons honey or pure maple syrup (being honest, totally do 3. I love honey)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of sea salt
Directions to this chocolate goodness:

In a medium sauce pan, let your 2 cups of non dairy milk come to a boil. Add 1 cup quinoa (if yours is the same as mine! Read your label). Add ONLY 1 tablespoon of raw cacao powder, the 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and the pinch of sea salt. Let simmer for 15 minutes.

Once done, add the rest of the raw cacao powder and the honey or maple syrup. Best to add small amounts at a time until it’s sweetened to your preference.
If you’re like my husband and I, I add more raw cacao to my bowl and he adds more honey, HA!

Other toppings: granola, fruit, chocolate chips, coconut flakes or perhaps dried fruit! Coconut flakes sound delicious right now. Note: add to grocery list 😂

FYI, I like cooking the quinoa with one tablespoon of the cacao powder because it takes on a rich chocolate taste. If I do not add it, it doesn’t taste as strong as it does when it cooks with the cacao. Quinoa will always take on the flavor of the seasonings or powders you cook it with. So that’s the big secret, cook it with some cacao powder and vanilla milk! I wait to add the rest of the raw cacao powder at the end so I can get the benefits of raw cacao powder without cooking most of those nutrients out 🙂
Cheers to happy, healthy eating & drinking!
With gratitude,
Nichole

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Blog, Recipes

Why Spring Water & Flavored Water Recipes

Spring water, my new love in 2016. This one is a rant post…just a warning 😉

This year my husband and I started watching a few David Wolfe videos through social media (if you know me, you know this sparked an obsession for us, ha) and we noticed he is always drinking water from glass (okay, yeah, we get it, plastic is bad) BUT we also kept hearing him talk about spring water. Again, we knew what spring water was—we thought–until we started researching more. Google it.

Do you know what is in your tap water? Are you ready for this?? Click this link and find out.

http://www.ewg.org/tap-water/

 

PST. Jacksonville readers, see that? One of the WORST waters. WHY IS THIS NOT COMMON KNOWLEDGE?! At least it wasn’t for me!

 

Have you ever thought about the process tap water endures? Well, let me tell you and open your eyes! Here are the top contaminants in water supplies in our “developed” country: arsenic, fluoride, chlorine, broken down toilet paper and prescription drugs {I know a lot of my readers work HARD to buy antibiotic/hormone free meat—but you’re still getting it in the water supply…}. This is naming a few, really, I went back and deleted a whole paragraph rant here. 😀
**Edited to add: most filters do not remove much of anything….in fact, if you start researching you’ll be startled to know they ADD chemicals to their filters to make the water smell and taste cleaner

😦

Fear not! The one I’ve linked further in the blog post appears to be the best in my research, but I haven’t personally used it yet. I would love to hear your feedback in the comments if you have a great solution!

Anyways! This doesn’t sound like the water I want to drink nor does it sound like the water I want to shower with honestly! Our skin the most absorbent “organ” of our bodies, everything our skin absorbs goes straight into our bloodstream. I work SO hard to ensure my boys are not around toxic chemicals in our household, I work my butt off to make sure they eat a mostly clean and healthy diet free of additives but this? This? Its hard to control their exposure to this.

It is beyond heart breaking and sickening to read water reports, go ahead, read yours…go back up there, click the link 😉

We have installed shower head filters in our house, we drink mountain spring valley water (WHO DELIVER IN GLASS JUGS, BY THE WAY, YESSSSS) and obviously our ultimate dream is to have a hybrid filtration system such as this:

PristineHydro

(It not only removes contaminants it also REMINERALIZES the water to act like spring water!!!!  This is a great option for bathing and cleaning water!)

So again, we aren’t perfect. I am not preaching all tap water is bad, if its the only option, yes its better than nothing. Baby steps, prioritize your health and wellness, but for us, water is a biggie so we only drink spring water.

If you can’t justify the cost of spring water; perhaps, a reverse osmosis and adding electrolytes as mentioned below is your best option. But definitely get shower head filters!! 

 

Spring water…just a FEW benefits because I respect that you do not have all day to read this 😉 ( get some here http://www.mountainvalleyspring.com/ )

Spring water is pure water, it is not treated (if you get it from the above source anyways) so this is as clean as we can possibly get! You need LESS spring water than tap water eventually because spring water is alive with magnesium, {good} oxygen, natural salt (salt is actually good for you, specifically sea salt, not the table salt we add to everything!) and lots of other minerals.It delivers the oxygen straight to our cells! This means it helps with your endocrine system,  hormones, thyroid function, lungs, free radicals–I can go on and on–literally changes your body. It truly HYDRATES you!! Also, Spring water is alkaline which helps to balance out the highly acidic diet most of us have. Or at least I did, per-enlightenment as my friend Maggie likes to say.  ;p

Yes, reverse osmosis water is a good solution too, if you add electrolytes such as a small amount of sea salt, citrus juice or MSM, it can help. Because, again, this is dead water. We want bio-available (completely absorbable) water.

 

Guys. I could go on for days. In fact, its taken me 3 days to write this blog post because I have so much to say about water (or lack there of, in our society) but I tried to condense it because it is overwhelming, so I apologize if this post is somewhat scattered and isn’t flowing smoothly. I have to stop editing and post it NOW or I never will, ha!

 

Here are some fun ideas for you to add to your water: [bonus if you use herbs you grow!]

Lime or Lemon, Basil, Rosemary (this wakes me up in the mornings!)


Lime or Lemon, Rosemary, Mint

Lime or Lemon, Cilantro, Mint

Lime or Lemon, Mint, Green Tea


Cheers to happy, healthy eating AND drinking!

 

PS: Ma, sorry for always making fun of you and your fancy spring water, you were onto something there… hehehe

 

PSS:

Here is where our Spring Water is from:

http://www.mountainvalleyspring.com/

If you’re in NE FL, send me a message, I can give you the contact info for the company who distributes Mountain Valley Spring Water. They truly are one of the sweetest, most caring companies I’ve ever come into contact with.

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Recipes

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

It’s Tasty Tuesday!!

Ask my mom and my husband…8 years ago, I could barely scramble eggs. Really all I could make was oodles of noodles and spaghetti with canned sauce. I’ve come a LONG WAY since then. Growing up my grandma always told me she moved in with my grandpa and didn’t know how to scramble eggs. She taught herself everything! I remember admiring her for that but never once did I want to sit in the kitchen with her and watch her or help her cook, instead I enjoyed doing my own thing and eating her delicious foods. I’d love to have some of her cooking and instruction right now! My mom also tried getting me into the kitchen, but I always had other pressing matters, boys or dancing! Ahh the teenage years.
Fast forward and I realize I need to learn to cook something if I am going to survive in adulthood 😂My husband & other family members have been so helpful in showing me a thing or two over the years! Lately I’ve been tackling more plant based recipes and Monday it was Stuffed Sweet Potatoes! They are so good. Do I say that about every recipe I post?? Yeah. It’s true though. It’s always sooooo good!! This recipe serves 4 as a main entree, but you’ll want to include a side or two.
Ingredients: (use organic when possible)
4 small sweet potatoes

2 cups Kale

1 15 oz can black beans
1 avocado

Juice of 1 lime

Lime zest of 1 lime

1 bunch of cilantro

Sea Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Poke sweet potatoes with a fork a few times at the top & place on a cookie sheet with parchment or aluminum foil. Bake for 45-60 minutes.

While that is cooking, put an avocado, cilantro, lime juice, lime zest, salt & pepper into a blender or food processor. This is your yummy sauce! Heat up the blacks beans on your stove and sautée the kale after removing the stems. I chose to sautée the kale in a small amount of water and forgo the oil because I already had enough oil in my diet that day but feel free to use it. Once the sweet potatoes are soft, cut the top and layer with black beans, kale & avocado sauce. If you have left over avocado sauce it is quite delicious on many other things, chips, sandwiches, wraps!! Mmm!
Can you tell our cilantro is growing like crazy?? That’s why I keep making these avocado lime cilantro sauces! Plus I love the combo.

Our 3 year old enjoyed these too!

He was quite upset I didn’t make him a “sweet potato boat”. Lesson learned! 

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Recipes

Zoodles with Avocado, Basil Pesto

We love our spirilizer. We use it for zucchini noodles. Do you have one? What do you make with it?

We eat this about once a week. Sometimes we eat it with marinara instead of vegan pesto. Either way, it’s a huge hit.
Ingredients: {organic when possible}

1 large zucchini 

1 avocado

2 cups basil

6 cloves garlic

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup water

Salt and pepper

1/2 a lime zest

1 lime juiced

SO EASY AND SO QUICK. Make your zoodles. This is from one large zucchini. They make more noodles than you think possible…

Combine all other ingredients into a food processor or blender and there you have it! Your blender/processor may need more water, add small amounts until you reach your desired texture.


I love this recipe because it’s raw, yet, it TRULY doesn’t taste raw or like vegetables. The first time we had it with marinara and I really thought it tasted like regular pasta and noodles!

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Recipes

Vegan Creamy Tomato Soup

My husband brought some creamy tomato soup home from Costco a few weeks ago without thinking about the word, creamy. I pointed out that likely meant milk, cow milk. Indeed, it is the first ingredient. 😭So I thought in that moment, I’m sure I can make it with coconut milk. And Monday I finally got around to it! Boy am I glad I did! 🙂

This is mine and my husbands favorite meal now. I thought we’d have a ton left over. We barely have left overs 😩😭but, fear not, folks. We have 4.5 cups of beans soaking for vegan chili, Ha!
Ingredients: {again, if possible, use organic & glass containers rather than cans. I’ll make this with fresh tomatoes one day!}

2 14.5 oz cans organic diced tomatoes {we get ours from Costco which sometimes means odd oz. Make sure you have close to 28-32 oz)

1 6 oz can organic tomato paste

1 can organic coconut milk (can, NOT the milk in the refrigerated section)

1 onion, chopped

4 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced

2 tablespoons of olive oil, or oil of your choice

2 teaspoons red chili powder

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

I would have used San Marzano fire roasted tomatoes if I had any left. If you come across those, pick those babies up. If not, plain ole diced tomatoes work really well, to my surprise!
Blend (yes the nutribullet works quite well) the first 3 ingredients (tomatoes, coconut milk and tomato paste) together in a blender or nutribullet until it reaches your preferred consistency.  Mince up your onion, throw some oil on a sautée pan. Once the oil is hot throw the onions in. Smash and chop your garlic now, add that in when the onions are mostly translucent. Let that go for a few seconds after a good stir. Throw the blended soup in the pan if you have one with sides! If not, get out a sauce pan and combine the blended ingredients with the sautéed ingredients. Add your spices in and give it a nice stir.

Enjoy! 🍅🍅🍅🍅🍅

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Recipes

Yellow Curry Quinoa

I love quinoa. I love curry. So I thought, why not??

I thought wrong. The boys didn’t care for it. Except the 1 year old. He loves everything.

If you like the two, you’ll probably like this recipe. My husband doesn’t like curry so I figured he wouldn’t like it but he gave it a try at least.

Ingredients: 

1 cup cooked organic quinoa {follow directions on your package, for flavoring I’d highly suggest you salt & pepper it as well as adding .5 tablespoon of yellow curry while the quinoa is cooking. Quinoa will absorb the flavors you cook it with}

1/2 of an onion

3 cloves of garlic

2 tablespoons olive oil

.5-1 tablespoon yellow curry, use .5 tablespoon if you’ve already cooked your quinoa with curry, 1 tablespoon if you haven’t.

1 cup broccoli

I love easy. This one is EASY. Like I said earlier, cook your quinoa, mine takes about 15 minutes and I HIGHLY prefer to cook it with spices as mentioned above! While that is cooking get to chopping. Chop up that broccoli into small bite size pieces. Next, smash and mince 3 garlic cloves 😋😋 then cut your onion in half. Did you know to prevent crying you’re supposed to use the top of the onion first, leaving the root last?!? It works 90% of the time for me! So, once you’ve cut your onion in half, chop it up to your liking. (The other day I used the mandoline. It worked so well and again, way easier! Ha! And my husband doesn’t have a heart attack watching my knife skills. Or lack there of…) Heat your olive oil in a sauté pan, once the oil is heated, add the onions and sautée until translucent. Add the garlic cloves and sautée for another 30 seconds or so. Throw in the broccoli. Sprinkle the rest of your curry powder on top and sautée until the broccoli is BRIGHT green. Do not cook it all the way through as you will loose the nutrients of these miracle trees!! If you wanna be fancy you can deglaze with some water or wine. Took me years to figure out when you’re supposed to do that…when the pan and its contents are really really hot and there’s no liquid left 😂. Adds some yummy liquid gold if you’re up to it…Go ahead and take a drink too. No one is watching.

Throw in the quinoa at the end (if you deglazed wait until that liquid is mostly absorbed) and mix up. Then hope your family likes it and eats it. If not, I’m just a phone call away 😉😉😉

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