My body has picked up a very bad habit. I go to bed and fall right to sleep, then around 3am I wake up and can’t get back to bed. During my usual hour of being awake I think about WalkJogRun articles and recipes. If I go down the work rabbit hole I’ll never fall back asleep so I try my best to avoid thinking about my to-do list. Instead I dream up recipes for gluten free chocolate zucchini muffins and butter beans with rosemary mustard sauce and build balancing sequences for my classes. It’s a very productive hour, if I can remember it in the morning.

IMG 7675 736x1024 Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Luckily, this morning I woke up remembering everything. It helped that when I opened the fridge, this thing was staring back at me.

IMG 7664 1024x738 Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

It’s one of two massive zucchinis that we picked over the weekend from our garden. I used one of them for southwestern stuffed peppers and zucchinis last night, which were delicious.

But that left another one to use so before 8:30 this morning I was grating away. To make these…
IMG 7669 794x1024 Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

These muffins can best be described as hearty. I ate two for breakfast and they held me over well until lunch around 1:30.

They’re made with oat flour which gives them an almost whole grain texture and taste. The only sweetness is from a little bit of sugar, which also makes them taste a little bread like, which I really liked. I added ground ginger and cinnamon, which complimented the chocolate well and although the zucchini is a little masked, you still see that touch of green which reminds you that these muffins have a little bit of healthy goodness in them.

IMG 7670 1024x762 Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

IMG 7673 1024x768 Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Muffins (gluten-free, vegan)

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon flax seed meal with 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup oat flour (gluten-free if necessary)
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup coconut yogurt, I used vanilla flavored but you can sub plain
  • 1 cup grated zucchini, water squeezed out
  • 1 tablespoon almond milk or 1 extra tablespoon of yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons vegan chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Add water to flax seed meal and let sit for 5 minutes to gel.
  3. In the meantime, mix oat flour through cocoa powder, combine well.
  4. Next add vanilla, yogurt, zucchini, almond milk and chocolate chips. Stir batter well.
  5. One note on the zucchini, once you've grated it, make sure to squeeze out the excess water. It doesn't need to be completely dry but you don't need all that juice in your dough.
  6. Grease muffin tin.
  7. Fill muffin tins 3/4 of the way up with batter. I didn't use liners and the muffins didn't stick.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes.
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Let’s talk about pickles, more specifically, quick pickling. Michael loves pickles. I like them but his love affairs trumps my liking them so whenever I get a pickle spear on the side of my meal, I always give it to him. I like to think of this as the epitome of true love.

Last weekend I spotted some pickling cucumbers at our Sunday farmers market and decided to try my hand at making homemade pickles. Let me back up, I know nothing about pickling. I’ve read a few articles about how easy it is and that quick pickling is a nice way to ease into the pickling process. That’s the extent of my knowledge.

Luckily, it could not have been simpler. If you own a mason jar and can dump ingredients into it then you can be a quick pickling pro just like me.

IMG 7596 1024x1024 Quick Pickling

A few notes before the recipe:

1.) You must refrigerate immediately after quick pickling. This is not the same as canning where you can place your jars in a cupboard for months.
2.) The flavors will intensify the longer they sit. This is a really good thing but if you include jalapeño like I did, be aware that the pickles will get spicier the longer they steep. If you want milder pickles, simply pull out the jalapeño after a few days.
3.) Make sure to add a little water to your brine to balance out all the vinegar.
4.) This recipe would be wonderful with other types of vegetables like carrots or cauliflower, get creative.

IMG 7593 1024x835 Quick Pickling

Quick Pickling (vegan, gluten-free)

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 24 hours

Total Time: 24 hours, 5 minutes

Yield: 1 jar of pickles

Ingredients

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/16 teaspoon pepper, more if desired
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 jalapeño, sliced in half, remove seeds if you'd like a milder pickle
  • 6 small picking cucumbers, quartered or whole depending on preference
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water

Instructions

  1. Place salt through mustard seed in a clean 1-pint glass mason jar with a wide lid.
  2. Next add jalapeño and cucumbers to the jar, packing tightly.
  3. Lastly add vinegar and water until jar is completely full. I eyeballed the liquid so the liquid measurements could be a little off. Just make sure you fill 3/4 of the jar with vinegar and 1/4 with water, all the way to the top.
  4. Screw on top tightly and place in the fridge for at least 24 hours before opening.
  5. Each time I opened the fridge I would shake up the jar to redistribute the bits that had fallen to the bottle but this is optional.
  6. The pickles have been in the fridge for over a week and are still crisp and delicious but definitely spicier than when we first ate them. Feel free to take the jalapeño out after a few days if you prefer a milder pickle.
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It is all about moderation in my book. When it comes to working out, cocktails, TV, food, you name it. Life is just too plain boring if you’re constantly doing the same thing over and over again. Sometime you need to get out of your routine and have some cookie dough! I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for cookie dough. I’m actually not even that big of a fan of cookies but give me a bowl of chilled dough and I’m a happy camper. Add a bad chick flick like Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead, Troop Beverley Hills or Center Stage and I’ll say, “where are my sister and best girl friends?” because really no one should eat cookie dough alone, not even six ingredient cookie dough that takes about 2 minutes to make.

IMG 7608 1024x1024 Six Ingredient Cookie Dough

A couple of days ago I had a craving for something sweet. I didn’t want ice cream or chocolate and then I remember this post I’d seen on Chocolate Covered Katie a few days prior and thought, why not? If you’re not familiar with Katie’s blog, it’s great! She focuses on healthy, natural desserts. Most everything she makes also has a gluten-free alternative if it’s not already gluten-free.

I halved the recipe when I made this knowing full well I’d be eating it alone, I know, the horror. Michael doesn’t like cookie dough!! And honestly, sharing with a boy feels wrong anyway. I used my homemade peanut butter which has very little salt in it so I added a bit of salt to the original recipe. I also added about a 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. Call me crazy but I love the taste of it in cookie dough and I really notice when it’s missing.

IMG 7607 1024x592 Six Ingredient Cookie Dough

I loved this recipe. Seriously, you should make it. They were a little peanut butter-y, which was fine by me, but if you’re wanting a more chocolate chip cookie dough I’d suggest using almond or cashew butter. Katie also suggests sunflower seed butter which although I love on its own, I’m not a huge fan of in baked goods so I leave that to you. I also think next time I might add some chopped peanuts.

If you’re craving a vegan, gluten-free cookie dough, try this version. It’s divine.

Six Ingredient Cookie Dough

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Total Time: 2 minutes

Yield: ~3/4 cup cookie dough

Ingredients

  • 1/4 gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter, I prefer natural peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cashew meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • handful of chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Mix well.
  3. Chill if you prefer colder cookie dough, otherwise, dig in!
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While our friends were here last weekend we stopped at the Highland Square farmers market for breakfast. I’m not a huge food truck fan but everyone else was eating so I thought, “why not?” They have tons of food trucks there, one of which, Wong Way Veg, is strictly vegetarian. They had a lot of good choices but I decided to sample one of their marinated carrot dogs after a recommendation from the food truck lady. I was not disappointed. I’ve always found veggie dogs to be a little blah and have been known to just eat the bun with the toppings so this was the perfect alternative. It’s light and flavorful and totally natural.

IMG 7618 768x1024 Marinated Carrot Dogs

Once home I knew I needed to recreate the recipe. Luckily, the recipe was on the Door to Door organics website. I made some adjustments to the marinade. And because the week got crazy and one thing led to another, my carrot dogs marinated for 3 days. I don’t think it made much difference beyond the dogs being a little bit more steeped in the marinade but 12 hours would work just as well.

Marinated Carrot Dogs (vegan, gluten-free)

Prep Time: 12 hours, 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 12 hours, 15 minutes

Yield: 4 carrot dogs

Serving Size: 1 carrot

Ingredients

  • 4 large carrots, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons Bragg's liquid aminos
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Once boiling place trimmed carrots in water and boil for 6-8 minutes or until you can pierce with a knife.
  2. While carrots are cooking, mix all marinade ingredients in a large tupperware or ziplock bag.
  3. Drain carrots and let cool slightly.
  4. Place carrots in marinade and stick in the fridge for 12-24 hours.
  5. Heat grill, place carrots directly on the grill for a minute, flipping once, grill on the other side for a minute.
  6. Place in a hot dog bun or lettuce wrap and top with your favorite hot dog toppings. I used ketchup, mustard and sweet relish.
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You can eat these marinated carrot dogs on a hot dog bun, gluten-free bun or even in as a lettuce wrap with a piece of Bibb lettuce. The topping possibilities are endless. The Wong Way Veg dog had cabbage on top but you can also go more traditional with mustard and relish and of course, ketchup.

I really loved these! And the marinated was totally safe to use as a salad dressing afterward. I made a zucchini noodle type thing with the marinade and it tasted just like a healthy version of top ramen. Michael took one bite and said, “yeah, I’ll be requesting that a lot.”

IMG 7612 1024x1024 Marinated Carrot Dogs

IMG 7613 768x1024 Marinated Carrot Dogs

Enjoy and Exhale!

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This past weekend we had the pleasure of hosting friends. Both are friends we met in San Francisco years ago, who have subsequently moved to Sacramento and Casablanca. They were in town for the weekend and we had a blast showing them the city, eating lots of food and visiting on the couch. Good friends are the ones you don’t need to plan out every second of the day with!

Side note, as part of our eating adventures I had my first ever marinated carrot dog. It was delicious, even at 10 in the morning, which is when I ate it at the farmers market. More on that later in the week, first, a couple of photos of the weekend.

Saturday we explored downtown but not before a little coffee break. Here is sweet Sierra with Michael and Doug.
IMG 7565 1024x768 A Colorado Weekend with Friends

Milu with Lupe. Oh those curls!
IMG 7566 768x1024 A Colorado Weekend with Friends

Milu and Sierra playing with straws.

IMG 7568 1024x768 A Colorado Weekend with Friends

We had breakfast at the Delectable Egg which was, delectable.
IMG 7569 768x1024 A Colorado Weekend with Friends

And spent lots of time hanging out in our living room.
IMG 7575 1024x768 A Colorado Weekend with Friends

Chilling.
IMG 7574 1024x1024 A Colorado Weekend with Friends

Selfie with Sierra.
IMG 7588 768x1024 A Colorado Weekend with Friends

Doug bought us girls Dollar Store t-shirts! Which we rocked proudly for about 20 minutes before the glitter made us all itchy.
IMG 7583 768x1024 A Colorado Weekend with Friends

Eli loved having the babies around.
IMG 7587 1024x1024 A Colorado Weekend with Friends

It was such a fun weekend spending time with old friends and their new little families. It was sad to see everyone leave but there was lots of talk of more Colorado visits. Here’s hoping.

Enjoy and Exhale!

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Last Wednesday I was reading blogs in bed before I started my day. I haven’t felt the urge to bake lately. Not that I ever really feel the urge to bake, but everyone once in a while a recipe comes along and I think, I have to make that right now! This was one of those recipes. It was for these one bowl carrot apple muffins from the Minimalist Baker. She had me at one bowl and suddenly this gluten-free, vegan carrot bread was born.
IMG 7552 1024x768 Carrot Bread

So I went downstairs and got started only to realize about half way through that I didn’t have all the ingredients. But, what I ended up creating tasted delicious enough to share. Please click on the link above if you want to original recipe but here are a few of the substitutions I made to prove that this recipe is adaptable as it is delicious.

I omitted the brown sugar completely because I didn’t have any.
I replaced the brown sugar with an additional tablespoon of maple syrup and added one full banana instead of the called for 1/3 cup to add sweetness.
I used applesauce because I had just enough leftover that needed using up.
I swapped the almond meal for cashew meal.
I didn’t have gluten-free flour (!) so I used 1/4 cup of gluten-free pancake mix and 3/4 of a cup of brown rice flour. I was worried about this substitution but the bread turned out great. It did crumble a little while the bread was warm but held together fine after it cooled.
I added a teaspoon of allspice.
I used almonds instead of walnuts.
Oh, and grease the pan before you make this. I didn’t add it to my directions but it’s an important step!

IMG 7551 1024x768 Carrot Bread

It may seem like a lot of substitutions but I assume the overall taste is pretty similar to the original recipe. I gobbled this up for breakfast and as snacks over the last couple of days. I recommend it with a little butter or apricot jam, if you have some.

Carrot Cake Loaf (vegan, gluten-free)

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: 1 loaf

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flax seed meal + 4 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 mashed banana, I used a frozen banana that I thawed
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup + 1 additional tablespoon
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon all spice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 2/3 cup gluten-free oats
  • 1/4 cup cashew meal
  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free pancake mix
  • 2 tablespoons slivered almonds

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Combine flaxseed meal and water, let stand 5 minutes.
  3. Combine all ingredients from olive oil through carrots, stir well.
  4. Next add flaxseed egg, oats, cashew meal, brown rice flour, pancake batter to carrot mixture, stir until well combine.
  5. Top with slivered almonds.
  6. Let cook for 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.
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Sorry for the radio silence. I was feeling a little uninspired over the last month and decided to take a blogging break instead of posting half-assed recipes. Plus, let’s be honest, summer fruit is SO good right now, that’s pretty much all I’m eating anyway. Every week we go to the store and I buy one catalope, one watermelon, a carton of strawberries, a carton of blueberries, a few nectarines and some apples. By the end of the week I’ve demolished everything! I can’t even blame Michael because he really doesn’t eat that much fruit, so it’s all me. When I can tear myself away from the fruit-fest, we’ve also been eating these delicious tostadas.

IMG 7536 1024x768 Tostadas!

It all started on Saturday afternoon when we went to a little hole-in-the-wall Mexican place in Lohi. I got the tostada which was somewhat reminiscent of the tostadas my roommates and I used to get in college at this awesome restaurant in Chico called La Comida.

Let me digress for a moment to talk about La Comida which I still dream about to this day, even though I haven’t been there in 10 years. La Comida was a staple for us college kids. What seemed like a weekly occurrence, we’d all pile into someone’s car and drive over to the restaurant for lunch. It was one of those places where if you mentioned you were going, you had 5 other people tagging along just like that. Mainly because, for $5 you could get a tostada the size of your head, granted it was mostly lettuce, but it was the perfect lunch paired with their delicious salsa and chips.

Saturday’s tostada wasn’t quite up to La Comida standards and I knew I could do better, so Saturday evening we piled in the car (okay there were only two of us but it’s a small car!) and went to the store to get all the fixings.

Michael didn’t seem all that excited about the prospect of tostadas but went along with my excitement. Once home I got to work. I toasted the tostada shells with a little cheese. Made some creamy refried beans by adding a little almond milk because the beans have to be soft and creamy, and for good measure I added a second tostada shell so it also resembled a Taco Bell Mexican pizza. I used tons of shredded lettuce and piled on tomatoes, bell peppers, green onions, avocado and olives.

IMG 7540 768x1024 Tostadas!

We devoured these tostadas and I mean devoured them. Michael professed it was the best meal I’d made in months. We loved them so much that we had the same thing for dinner on Sunday night and probably would have had them on Monday as well had we not run out of tostada shells.

If you’re looking for a seriously no fuss summer dinner, that’s also filling, try these tostadas! If you’re now craving a La Comida tostada as I’m sure some of you are, I’m sorry, but these might help with the craving.

IMG 7541 1024x1024 Tostadas!

Tostadas!

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 4 tostadas

Ingredients

  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  • 8 tostada shells
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese
  • 1 can vegetarian refried beans
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/4-1/2 cup almond milk
  • 4 tablespoon sour cream, vegan or otherwise (optional but recommended)
  • 1 package of shredded iceberg lettuce or shred your own
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup black olives, sliced
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  • Hot sauce of your choice

Instructions

  1. In a saucepan, heat oil over medium heat, saute diced onion and salt for 2 minutes. They should still have a crunch, you're just sweating out the raw onion flavor.
  2. Set broiler to low, place tostada shells on a cookie sheet so all 8 shells are flat. Sprinkle cheese on each shell. Place under broiler for 1-2 minutes until cheese melts, watch carefully.
  3. While onions are cooking, place beans in a stockpot, add chili powder, cumin and almond milk. You want the beans to be almost soupy so use up to a 1/2 cup of almond milk to thin it out. Last, put the cooked onions in the beans and stir well.
  4. When shells are out of the oven, place one shell cheese side up on a plate. Cover with beans, then place another shell cheese side down, on top.
  5. Cover both tostadas with more beans. Top with sour cream and some hot sauce.
  6. Pile on lettuce, tomatoes, olives, onions and avocado.
  7. Finish with hot sauce or salsa.
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A roundup of what’s been happening lately around these parts.

I’m reading The Goldfinch and have been for the past month icon smile Lately I’m about 3/4ths of the way through. I can’t say I’m loving it. I sort of want to shake the main character out of frustration. Anyone else read or reading it?
IMG 7448 1024x1024 Lately

We saw a showing of Second City downtown last weekend. It was HILARIOUS! Michael had seen them perform in Chicago but they were new to me. Laughing that much in a 3 hour period makes me realize that I don’t laugh nearly enough on a daily basis.
IMG 7486 768x1024 Lately

Has anyone else heard of Duolingo? I found out about it from a 2014 trends report I was reading for work. It’s a really fun way to get back into languages. I’m re-learning my high school French.

Guy has taken to sleeping in the window frame in the afternoon sun. This can’t be comfortable but he seems fairly content.
IMG 7484 1024x768 Lately
Ahhh, cherries! They’re back in season and amazing as ever.
IMG 7480 1024x1024 Lately

I took a three day running break late last week and made my way back into the studio for two classes. Holy hell it felt good and my run on Saturday morning was amazing. The power of rest!

I’ve never cooked kohlrabi before but made some last week. Delicious alternative to sweet potatoes with bbq ranch and quinoa on the side.
IMG 7454 1024x768 Lately

IMG 7463 1024x747 Lately

Really good mango smoothie with hemp seeds last week. I’m currently obsessed with all things mango.
IMG 7439 966x1024 Lately

I’m also going crazy over the World Cup. My dad was a huge soccer fan and we grew up to his cheers and screams while watching whatever soccer match was on at the moment. I find myself screaming at the TV in just the same manner now. That US v. Portugal game nearly killed me. Heartbreaker.

Andy, Cathy, Michael and I made in to Linger finally. The service was awful but the food, once we got it, was delicious. This is the beet salad. I also had an unpictured tofu steamed bun that was some of the best food I’ve had lately.
IMG 7494 1024x768 Lately

Enjoy and Exhale!

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Last we left our little garden at the beginning of May, things were just starting to take root, pun intended. We’ve had a lot of rain as I mentioned last week but also some sunshine. That combo has proven to be very fruitful (ah, on a pun roll). Here is my how does your garden grow update.

A couple of side by side comparisons for you.

By far our big grower is the cilantro, it’s sort of out of control. It grew so big, so fast that we had to stake it like a tomato plant. It seems to have stopped growing and is no longer creating cilantro as much as what I think is coriander seeds. I may harvest these but need to do some research.
cilantro 1024x512 How Does Your Garden Grow Update

Other big growers, the tomatoes. These are the second batch we planted, after the snow storm. They have very few tomatoes compared to our potted tomatoes below. But the growth is impressive.
tomatoes 1024x512 How Does Your Garden Grow Update

IMG 7508 768x1024 How Does Your Garden Grow Update

IMG 7507 768x1024 How Does Your Garden Grow Update

Bad lighting for the rosemary but it’s growing steadily.
rosemary 1024x512 How Does Your Garden Grow Update

Yay for kale. We’ve been enjoying our homemade kale leaves for dinner over the last few weeks.
kale 1024x512 How Does Your Garden Grow Update

Garden bounty.
IMG 7483 768x1024 How Does Your Garden Grow Update

The swiss chard is gorgeous with its colored stems. We’ve been eating this steamed for dinner as well.
IMG 7501 1024x768 How Does Your Garden Grow Update

The zucchini plant is growing but I haven’t seen any evidence of actual zucchini or blossoms yet.
IMG 7502 768x1024 How Does Your Garden Grow Update

The peppers and jalapeno plants have both started to flower.
IMG 7503 768x1024 How Does Your Garden Grow Update

We planted a second basil plant a few weeks ago after our first one all but died. It seems to be doing okay. We also had some random plants pop up in one of the pots the old tenants left. We moved the plant to the ground after a few weeks. The pretty orange and yellow flowers in the background are the mystery plant. So beautiful. Does anyone know what kind of flowers those are?
IMG 7506 768x1024 How Does Your Garden Grow Update

Overall I’m really pleased with our little garden. Every evening after work Michael and I head outside to visit our “family”. It’s fun to see the progress and reap the rewards. I’m looking forward to fresh tomato salads with basil. We didn’t do anything special when we planted. We bought a bag of soil and followed the instructions on each plant. We’re not using any fertilizer or Miracle Grow, nothing really seems to need it.

If you live in Colorado hit me up in about 3 weeks, I’m pretty sure I’m going to have more tomatoes than I know what to do with. And if you know anything about coriander seeds, I’m all ears.

Enjoy and Exhale!

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It’s summer and all I want to eat are quinoa salads. Hence why you’ve seen two quinoa salad posts in a row. I can’t get enough. I’ve had quinoa every night this week. I think it’s the ease of preparation and the fact that it’s light but still filling that’s got me. Although it doesn’t take much to convince me to eat quinoa. This is a down and dirty lunch: quinoa salad. I made it in 5 minutes between a conference call and reviewing a presentation.

IMG 0107 775x1024 Down and Dirty Lunch: Quinoa Salad

It’s crazy flavorful and perfect in the warm weather. As an aside, this is not the summer I signed up for. It’s not nearly hot enough and every afternoon the sky clouds over, the thunder rolls and the rain falls. I like the rain as much as the next person and I love a good thunderstorm but not every afternoon. I want heat. I want sunshine. I think everyone claiming 300 days of sunshine a year in Colorado was full of it or was counting the few hours in the morning when the sun shines.

If we ever get another nice, sunny afternoon this would also be the perfect meal for a picnic. Minus the cheese it could stay out on a picnic table for hours and still taste heavenly.

IMG 0108 1024x768 Down and Dirty Lunch: Quinoa Salad

Speaking of cheese, feel free to omit if you’d like. It does not make the dish. I just happen to eye a little block of swiss cheese in the fridge as I was pulling out the rest of the ingredients for this salad and thought it sounded good so I included it.

IMG 0110 1024x778 Down and Dirty Lunch: Quinoa Salad

Also, I used a little Trader Joe’s bruschetta mix as the dressing plus a little salt and good balsamic. If you don’t have a pre-packaged mix in your fridge (like me 95% of the time) mix up some olive oil, balsamic, lemon and salt and you’re good to go. I also recommend using fresh basil if you have it. The second basil plant in our garden looks to be going the same way as our first so I’m trying to use up what I can. I don’t know why I can’t seem to keep basil alive, everything else is thriving. More on our garden’s progress soon.

Down and Dirty Lunch: Quinoa Salad

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 1 salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons green onion, sliced
  • 1/2 roasted red pepper (from the jar) sliced finely
  • 2 tablespoons cubed cheese
  • 5 chiffonade basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons Trader Joe's bruschetta mix
  • 1 tablespoon good quality balsamic
  • Dash of salt

Instructions

  1. Place quinoa, vegetables and cheese in a bowl.
  2. Chiffonade your basil, this just means, roll up your leaves tightly then cut them into thin strips.
  3. Add bruschetta mix, balsamic and salt.
  4. Stir well.
  5. Eat cold.
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Enjoy and Exhale!

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