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

CrossFit Des Moines party – Red and Gold Potato Salad

Good times, good food, good friends at the Crossfit Des Moines party last Saturday.
Thank you Paul and Kelly for hosting. You have a beautiful home and property. Perfect for a relaxing summer evening.
Keith provided a smoker (is that how I term it?) and smoked up salmon, ribs, and pulled pork.
Everyone else provided a side dish….there were so many yummy ones to choose from.

I decided to try a new salad recipe…
Red and Gold Potato Salad
loosely adapted from Simply Recipes
Ingredients: (for the party I doubled everything)
1 lbs of red potatoes, peel on, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 lbs of Yukon Gold potatoes, peel on, cut into 1-inch pieces
3/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup olive oil mayo
2 teaspoons of mustard (your favorite, yellow, Dijon, stone ground)
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 medium carrot, finely chopped (optional)
1/2 red bell pepper, raw or roasted, chopped (optional)
1/2 cup chopped red onion (optional)
3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1/4 cup chopped parsley
3 dill pickles, chopped into 1/4 in cubes (about 3/4 cup)
4 Tbsp juice from dill pickles
Fox point seasoning from Penzeys (salt, shallots, chives, garlic, onion and green peppercorns)
sea salt
Freshly ground pepper

lots of added veggies!

thick, creamy sauce
1. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes. Drain, and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.

In a large bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt, mayo, pickle juice and mustard. Add about a tablespoon of Foxpoint, dash of sea salt and some pepper.
Add the eggs and potatoes, gently combine using a rubber. Add the rest of the ingredients again, gently combine. Salt and pepper to taste.
Serves 4-6.

I also made the infamous refreshing summer dessert…Jello Cake! I will post later.

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

Buy Fresh, Buy Local- on KCCI news tonight at 5

I am blessed with another opportunity to spread the word on living a healthy lifestyle!
Today on KCCI Channel 8 News I will be discussing

“Buying Fresh, Buying Local”

This is a topic I am very passionate about so I am excited to highlight it today on my blog. Agenda:
  • Share a couple tasteful and seasonal recipes for using your purchased local produce.
  • Highlight some benefits to buying fresh and local.
  • Share how easy it is to find farm fresh, local foods.
  • Resources to learn more.

Heirloom Tomato, Basil, & Mozzarella Salad
from Simply Recipes


Heirloom tomatoes, sliced

fresh basil, leaves carefully chopped as not to bruise

fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced

extra virgin olive oil

balsalmic wine vinegar

sea salt and fresh ground pepper


Assemble the salad with slices of tomatoes, basil leaves, and mozzarella slices. Sprinkle extra virgin olive oil over the salad. Add a dash of vinegar and a very light sprinkling of sea salt and pepper.

Other popular recipes I have posted using local produce:

Portobello Mushroom & Chicken Ragu

Wilson’s Apple Orchard

Rhubarb Crisp

Where does your food come from?

Apple Squash Soup

Benefits to buying fresh, buying local:
1. Helps strengthen the local economy – buying local foods helps support growers in Iowa, who are more likely to reinvest their revenue back into their own community. This builds and strengthens Iowa’s communities.

2. Protecting the environment – local foods travel on average 45-65 miles while most food items found in the supermarket travel around 1500 miles. The added travel supermarket produce goes through increases pollution from the extra transportation, distribution, and packaging.

3. Protecting your family’s health – You can get to know your local farmers and learn about their farming practices. This enable you to choose farmers who avoid or limit the use of pesticides, chemicals, hormones, antibiotics, or genetically modified seeds.

Also, you get max health benefits from fresh produce. When a tomatoes is allowed to ripen on the vine it gains valuable nutrients. Local produce is typically harvested within a day of it being purchased, since it has such a short distance to travel to make it to your plate. This ‘on the vine’ ripening allows the produce to retain higher nutritional value than those harvested, handled, and transported thousands of miles. Basically, an increase in travel means a decrease in nutrients.

4. It just tastes better! No one from Iowa can deny the sweet goodness of peaches and cream corn purchased from a farm stand on the side of the road. I challenge all my readers to purchase some local produce this week and share their fine food moment with the rest of us.

So easy to buy local:

According to an economic analysis of Iowa’s farmers’ markets, in 2004 Iowa had around 160 farmers’ markets, the highest per capita in the nation. Full report: www.leopold.iastate.edu/research/marketingfiles/marketsrfswg.pdf

Another wards….there is no excuse to NOT find one near you. To find a market.

I visited the Valley Junction Farmers Market last week:

scrumptious blueberries and scrumptious things made with blueberries

Timber Ridge Flax-fed Cattle

Another way to buy local is through a CSA or Community Supported Agriculture group. I visited Turtle Farms located in Granger, IA last week to learn more.
“A CSA Community supported agriculture (CSA) is a partnership between growers and consumers that seeks to recognize the importance of healthy food and the manner in which it is grown. Consumers (or CSA members) share costs of supporting the farm, including the risks. In turn, members receive locally grown, fresh, wholesome food grown in a sustainable and responsible manner by a farmer that they know.” -from Turtle Farm’s website

Turtle Farms was one of the first CSA’s in Iowa. Angela (owner) and Ben (farm manager) are proud to grow all organic vegetables, fruits, and herbs.

you receive your “share” as a box of produce each week throughout the growing season

Angela and Ben gave J and I a tour

they grow everything from okra and bell peppers, to sweet potatoes and strawberries

getting ready to plant more veggies!

Other resources:
Find CSA’s at http://www.localharvest.org/

Take your family for a fun filled day at Picket Fence Creamery

Find local grassfed meat at http://www.eatwild.com/

Greater Des Moines Buy Fresh, Buy Local

Until next time…

look good, feel good, do good


Sea Scallops with Watermelon & Spinach Salad…Cabin Food

As Mom, Dad, Matt, J, and I drove to the cabin we decided that each would take a night to prepare a tasty meal.
We stopped at a neighboring town on our way to the wilderness to gather supplies. We all raided the grocery store searching for the perfect ingredients. Mom was trying to dish out coupons while Matt, J, and I examined the seafood counter.
In total we spent about 200 dollars for 4 days or food…that’s 12 meals serving 4 people….I think we did pretty good!

Mom and Dad’s Meal

on the menu:

  • champagne toast to J!
  • grilled, natural beef hamburgers with pepperjack or mozzarella cheese
  • roasted asparagus with lemon and sea salt
  • roasted sweet potato fries with chili seasoning and salt
  • dessert was grilled bananas with Haagen Daz 5 ice cream

Park Cafe
a sweet treat after a day of hiking
located in St. Mary’s, just outside the park

look at all the pie flavors (middle chalkboard)
boysenberry, cherry, lemon, rhubarb strawberry, peach, huckleberry, raspberry, apple…..

Matt and I split a giant huckleberry milkshake

Matt’s Meal
the menu:

  • Camembert cheese with strawberry glaze
  • steamed salmon on the grill with lemon and sea salt
  • tuna sashimi
  • mixed green salad with olive oil dressing
  • steamed artichokes
  • dessert was lemon and passionfruit Haagen Dazs 5 ice cream…Matt’s favorite

Breakfast one morning was a big avocado mixed greens salad

J and I’s Meal
the menu:
Sea Scallops with Watermelon & Spinach Salad
this was a nice, light, refreshing meal for a hot summer day

Ingredients: (I doubled everything to serve 4 hungry people)
1 lb medium sea scallops OR you can use about 16 small scallops (about 2 large or 4 small scallops per person)

1 T olive oil

sea salt

1 1/2 cups spinach (be generous) I used 4-6 cups for 4 persons

2 cups watermelon (be generous)


3 T mandarin orange olive oil (I picked up at Pilgrim’s Market… you can also use normal olive oil or lemon olive oil)

1 T chopped fresh mint

2 T scallions or red onion

1 T lime juice

1 T black or white sesame seeds

sea salt

1 small hot pepper (serrano, Thai, jalapeno, or bird), chopped

1 T grated lime zest

Rinse scallops and pat dry with paper towel. Toss in a small bowl with olive oil and salt. Heat grill or saute pan to about medium high heat.

Prepare dressing while pan heats up: whisk together olive oil, mint, scallions, lime juice, zest, sesame seeds, pepper, salt and pepper to taste.
Brush grill or add small amount of olive oil to pan. Cook scallops for about 4 minutes of one side and about 1 minute on the other. They should be white the entire way through and slightly springy to the touch. Set aside to cool.
In large bowl mix dressing onto spinach. Fold in watermelon and scallops. Garnish with extra lime zest or mint.

needless to say, we ate gourmet while out in the forest

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

Chicken & Apple Salad Sandwich

This chicken salad was so unbelievable good…you HAVE to try.

You’ll impress your family and friends. Pack up these sandwiches for a picnic in the park or toast the bread to make crispy versions for dinner.
Chicken & Apple Salad Sandwich
3 chicken breast, boiled and shredded…I use the Smart Chicken brand (stoke up when it goes on sale)
1 crispy and juicy apple, sliced and chopped (try organic ones)
1/4 C ish crushed walnuts
1/4 ish C olive oil mayo…found this product last week

2 T ish mustard…any flavor (yellow, honey, dijon)
2 T ish pickle juice or relish
spices: dill, onion, garlic, chives, sea salt….OR shakes of Penzey’s Fox Point Spice
bean sprouts (optional)
avocado (optional)
spinach (optional)

Mix all ingredients together. Make a sandwich and say YUM!

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

Strawberry-Banana Smoothie, Memorial Day Fun, Big Ol’ Salad

Smoothies are a pretty no fail & delicious thing to make. I crave them all the time during the summer. Usually its while I’m running on a HOT day and can’t wait to get home to blend one up.

They are a great way to use up any over ripe fruit.
Add any of the following combinations: milk (soy, almond, diary), ice, yogurt (homemade, Greek, plain), whey protein (vanilla, chocolate), flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, oats, etc, etc.

Blend away, check the taste and consistency, and Viola!

In this Strawberry-Banana Smoothie I added:

homemade yogurt (flavored with honey and vanilla), splash of skim milk, banana, strawberries and ground flaxseed

Memorial Day Fun
Man, were we blessed with a beautiful Memorial Day weekend or what?!?
J and I took full advantage of the sun…
We took the opportunity to go on our first open water swim of the season. Actually, it was J’s second…his first resulted in swimmer’s itch and it looked like he had chicken pocks 🙂

We then set up our own mini triathlon to prepare for the upcoming tri season!

One of the benefits of LONG bike rides through the country is you get to see Iowa’s peaceful and beautiful countryside. J came upon this field of wild flowers.
After about 6 high school graduation parties (and lots of cake) on Saturday he drove me out to it for a good photo opt.

Who says Iowa isn’t gorgeous!?!?!?!
Big Ol‘ Salad
with all this biking, swimming, and running….we’re hungry!

Salad Fixins: Romaine lettuce, baby spinach, avocado, bean sprouts, apple slices, cottage cheese, steamed broccoli, shredded chicken breast, and Penzeys Italian Salad dressing.
(J’s trying to figure out what in the world I am feeding him)
On our last day of fun…Ryan and Robin invited us over to their pool for wine spritzers and relaxation! Thanks again!
Hope everyone had a memorable Memorial Day!
Until next time…
look good, feel good, do good