Red Quinoa Salad

Back from a vacation to Crested Butter, CO and back to blogging!  Hope everyone had a great Holiday season.  I made this festive red quinoa salad for Christmas at my folks but it would be perfect for anytime of the year. 

Red Quinoa Salad
with Arugala, Apples, Walnuts, Gouda, and Cranberries
from Tastespotting

1½ cups red quinoa
3 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ large red onion, minced
4 oz. arugula, trimmed and thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
4 oz. aged Gouda, finely diced (about 1 cup)
1 large, crisp apple, such as Fuji or Pink Lady, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 cup finely sliced fennel
1 cup dried cranberries
3 tablespoons Sherry vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

In a bowl, rinse the quinoa with water, rubbing it between your fingers for about 10 seconds. (It is necessary to rinse quinoa well before cooking because the seeds are coated with saponins, naturally-occurring plant chemicals that can taste bitter.) Drain and transfer it to a 3-quart pot. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, covered, until the quinoa is tender but still delicately crunchy, about 15-20 minutes. Drain the quinoa and return it to the pot. Cover and let the quinoa rest for 5 minutes; then fluff it with a fork. Let cool to room temperature. While the quinoa cooks, soak red onion in small bowl of water for approximately 30 minutes. Soaking the red onion will reduce its astringency. When quinoa has cooled, in a large bowl, mix the quinoa, onions, arugula, cheese, apple, walnuts, fennel, and cranberries. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil with the sherry vinegar, 1/2 tsp. sea salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Add the dressing to the salad and gently mix it in. Let rest a moment; then season to taste with salt and pepper. Add more olive oil if the salad seems dry.

Health Benefits of Red Quinoa

  • Complete protein: contains all 9 essential amino acids in the correct proportions that are necessary to support the repair of tissues and organs.
  • High in fiber which promotes heart and digestive health and controls blood glucose and insulin concentrations.
  • Minerals: good source of manganese, magnesium, iron, tryptophan, copper, and phosphorus, which are particularly valuable for people who suffer from migraine headaches, diabetes and atherosclerosis.
  • Good source of riboflavin (also called vitamin B2), which is necessary for proper energy production within cells.

Until next time…
look good, feel good, do good
Sara B.

Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers

Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers
from Clean Eating Magazine
Ingredients for Stuffed Peppers:
2 ORGANIC bell peppers (any color), halved and seeded, stems intact
1/2 C uncooked quinoa
1/2 C chicken broth (I think I used about a cup)
7 oz diced tomatoes (you may notice I have no red in mine…I did not have canned tomatoes on hand)
5 oz spinach or kale (I used kaled and of course, I used more than this…probably a cup or two shredded)
1 T pine nuts
I cheated and used store bought, but if you choose to make your own…
2 cups basil or spinach
1/2 clove garlic
1 1/2 T Parmesan cheese (fresh is best)
1 T pine nuts
1 1/2 T extra virgin olive oil
1/8 tsp sea salt
1 pinch fresh ground black pepper
Prepare peppers: preheat broiled to high. Place bell peppers, skin side up on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Broil until bell peppers start to soften, about 10 minutes. Keep a close eye so you don’t burn!
Meanwhile, combine quinoa, broth, and tomatoes in medium pot. Bring to boil on high heat,then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-12 minutes, until liquid is absorbed. Add handfuls of spinach to quinoa mixture and stir to combine. Fill bell pepper halves with quinoa-spinach mixture, divide evenly. (before filling, I combined the pesto and quinoa so it was dispersed evenly…you can choose to do this or serve pesto on side)
Prepare pesto:
Add basil, garlic, cheese, pine nuts, oil, salt, and pepper to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add 2-3T water as needed to thin pesto. Top stuffed peppers with pesto (again, see thoughts above).
Nutrients for 2 peppers:
388calories, 18gfat, 43gcarbs, 9gfiber, 14gprotein

Until next time…
look good, feel good, do good

Quick Quinoa and Garlic Salad

This wonderful quinoa salad was another one of my girlfriend Leigh’s cooking show creations.
I then went on to make it for a nutrition presentation I did at Continental Western Group.
It was a hit!
Leigh also taught the secret to making a perfectly seasoned and flavored recipe….FASS.
Is there a fat? Is there an acid? Is there a spice? Is there a sweetener?
So next time when you just can’t figure out what is missing in a recipe….think FASS.

Quick Quinoa and Garlic Salad
1 cup dry quinoa
2 ish cups water
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup carrot, chopped
1/3 cup parsley, minced
1/4 cup sunflower seed

2 -3 cloves garlic, minced SPICE
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice ACID
2 tablespoons olive oil FAT
2 tablespoons soy sauce (such as Tamari Soy Sauce)
2 tablespoons honey SWEETENER

Bring salted water to a boil in a large pot. Add quinoa, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes until all water is absorbed. Let stand for 5-10 minute, then fluff with fork. Place quinoa in large bowl and add carrots, parsley, and sunflower seeds. In a seperate bowl, prepare dressing by combining all ingredients and mixing. Pour over quinoa and toss well. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

Today is my 26th Birthday! Wahoo! Thank you J for making the day so special and to everyone else for the wonderful b-day wishes!

Until next time…
look good, feel good, do good

Sundried Tomato Tofu w/ Quinoa

Yes, I am obsessed with this recipe. If you haven’t tried it…what are you waiting for…click here for recipe.
J and I LOVE it! Especially with some low fat cottage cheese atop.

the reason why I post it today is because yet again I have slightly changed it by trying a new pesto. Instead of the Basil Pine Nut aka green pesto, I tried Sun-Dried Tomato….and guess what!?!? It was still amazing!

I have yet to conquer homemade pesto….but it will come soon.

Until next time…
look good, feel good, do good

Toad Food

Oh, how I love kids and the funny things they say…

My mom emailed me to say she made the tofu & sun dried tomato recipe ( for family dinner last night.
Everyone loved it including my niece Emmerson (9) who thought she was eating
“toad food.”
Does that not put a smile on your face!
J and I love this recipe as well and made another batch this weekend…this time with quinoa instead of brown rice and green beans instead of peas….either way it’s the bomb.
Here are other fun comments from children of families I have worked with:

“Yesterday, the kids were headed to the pantry for snacks with friends, where they discovered the new (healthified) shelves. It was cute to hear all the kids explain the changes: “We can’t eat a lot of junk anymore.”(Evan) “We are being healthier now.” (Cole) “Ya – her name is Sara.” (Sophia)”

“How come if you are suppose to shop the outside aisles of the grocery store are the ho ho’s there?”

“Mom, would Sara want us to eat that?” …I am known as the “health witch” in that family…which I accept with pride 🙂

Although I did not leave you with a recipe today…I hope I gave you a good laugh!

Until next time…
look good, feel good, do good

Tofu & Sun Dried Tomato Qunioa/Brown Rice

As I cruised through the grocery store last week I noticed tofu was on sale, “oh that’s nice I thought” as I walked on by and then something hit me. I realized I had been depriving all my readers out there…vegetarian or not…of good tofu recipes. Yes, you heard me correct, GOOD TOFU recipes.

I had to put an end to this….I went over, gave each type a good squeeze…squishy, squishier… perfect…extra firm.

I was reminded of a recipe I recieved from Erin Penticoff (former track teammate at ISU). She said I HAD to make.

Don’t even knock it before you try it….if you ever have been hesitant to try tofu this recipe will change your opinion FOR GOOD! It is just ridiculous how good it is….remember all my recipes are taste tested approved my J.

Tofu& Sun Dried Tomato Quinoa
with Pesto Sauce
splash of extra virgin olive oil
pinch of sea salt
1 shallot, minced OR 1/4 onion diced
3 C cooked quinoa, brown rice, or other grain (remember to rinse your quinoa before cooking…see labels: quinoa for how to prepare)
1 C corn, fresh or frozen (I used peas since I did not have corn on hand…I had tofu but no corn imagine that)
2 C spinach, kale, other other hearty green, finely chopped (be generous on your greens…always love adding extra veggies)
2 C extra-firm niagri tofu, browned in a skillet a bit
1/3 C pesto (mine was store bought but feel free to make you own!)
1/3 C pumpkin seeds, toasted
1/4 C roasted cherry tomatoes OR chopped sun-dried tomatoes

To roast cherry tomatoes: heat oven to 350F. Cut each tomato in half and place in large oven proof baking dish. Mix together splash of olive oil, spoonful of brown sugar, and pinch or two of sea salt. Pour over tomatoes and toss gently making sure all tomatoes get covered. Make sure each tomato is face side up before placing pan in oven. Bake for 45min. Tomatoes will be shrunken and sweet when finished. These are sooooo good. Top salads, sandwiches, or pop em’ like chips!

For the salad:
First, slice and brown tofu in medium-high heated pan greased with olive oil.

In big skillet or pot heat olive oil and salt over medium-high heat. Stir in the shallot/onion and cook for a minute or two. Stir in the grain (quinoa, rice..etc) and corn and cook through.

Stir in greens and tofu, cooking until tofu is heated through.

Remove the skillet from heat and stir in pesto and pumpkin seeds. Mix well so the pesto in spread throughout. Place mix in a serving dish and top with sun dried cherry tomatoes.

Beautiful and delicious! Tastes like chicken 🙂 ha…I crack myself up, seriously though…amazing.
I hope you enjoy it as much as J and I did. Let me know when you serve it up to your family and friends OR if you have any other tofu recipes I must try! Thanks again Erin for sharing!
Until next time…
look good, feel good, do good