Quinoa Vegetable salad with vinaigrette

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It’s summer and everyone is asking me about my quinoa salad! A delicious recipe that you can add loads of veggies, fresh herbs and a tasty vinaigrette. Eat some straight out of the bowl for lunch and have some to enjoy the next day or two. The options are endless, so make it your own and enjoy the bounty of beautiful summer colors. Right now I’m adding fresh basil to almost everything. Let me know how it turns out.

quinoa vegetable salad with vinaigrette

Ingredients:

quinoa - 1 cup dry

broccoli - roughly chopped into pieces - about 1 cup

carrots - peeled and sliced - about ½ cup

zucchini - cut into sliced halves

baby tomatoes - sliced in half

fresh herbs to add: fresh basil, cilantro or parsley, 1/4 cup chopped

optional: pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, pecans, walnuts

vinaigrette ingredients:

3 TBS lemon juice

1 TBS Dijon mustard

1 TBS minced shallot or red onion

1 tsp granulated garlic

1 tsp pink salt or good quality salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  1. Add one cup quinoa into a sauce pan with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, stir, reduce heat, cover and cook for 15-18 minutes. Remove from heat, allow to sit covered for 5 minutes more. Uncover and fluff with a fork. Transfer to a large bowl.

  2. Meanwhile, whisk together vinaigrette ingredients in order, then slowly add olive oil last while whisking until well blended.

  3. Prepare vegetables, steam broccoli, chop carrots, slice zucchini, slice tomatoes, chop fresh herbs.

  4. Stir vegetables into warm quinoa, drizzle vinaigrette over all and stir gently to combine. Add in any fresh herbs or nuts.

Click here for the recipe in printable PDF version

Enjoy healthy vegetable protein and summer love, Steph

Decadence in every bite

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In a healthy world where we have outlawed sugar, It’s absolutely ok to have a special treat, especially a home made one. Made with love and shared by many. These bad boys are so easy to make. Savor every bite, pure decadence!

Old fashioned scotch a roos

1 cup organic peanut butter (smooth or chunky, you could also use almond butter)

1 cup organic white sugar

1 cup karo syrup (I have not found a healthy alternative:)

Stir and melt together in a pot on the stove top over medium low heat.

Pour mixture over 4 cups rice krispies and stir carefully to coat. Transfer rice krispie mix to a 9 X 11 sheet pan, and smooth out.

Meanwhile, in a double boiler melt:

2 cups chocolate chips (semi sweet or dark will work too)

2 cups butterscotch chips

double boiler ~ fill a pot about 1/2 way with water, place a metal bowl on top and heat water to a simmer, do not allow to boil. To metal bowl, add chocolate chips and butter scotch chips to melt slowly, stir occasionally.

Pour melted chocolate/butterscotch mixture over peanut butter rice krispie mix, smooth over all.

Allow to cool, topping will firm in about 20 minutes. Cut into small squares, enjoy!

photo credit ~ Nicki Griffith photography

Steph's SUPER Granola

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It’s hard to figure out what to eat for breakfast during the winter, often we are craving something grounding, but don’t want anything to heavy. I love this granola recipe. Loaded with nut protein, healthy fat and touch of sweetness, it will keep you going till lunch.

I always thought there were so many healthy granola options at the store, why would I need to make it? Then once I made it, I thought, why would I ever buy it? So here you go!

I like my granola two ways, with and without oats, you decide. I like to serve it with unsweetened coconut yogurt, which can be kind of hard to find, but any yogurt will do. And if you have some, top with berries for a extra antioxidant pop.

Always purchase raw, unsalted nuts and seeds whenever possible. And if you find organic, even better.

Steph’s Super Granola - click here for PRINTABLE

2 cups oats

1 - 1/2 cup pecans

1 - 1/2 cup walnuts

1 cup almonds

1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds

Optional add-ins: 1/4 cup dry quinoa - 1 /4 cup sunflower seeds - 1 cup coconut flakes - 1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup maple syrup or local honey

2 TBS ground cinnamon

1 tsp good quality salt (I use fine Himalayan pink salt)

  1. Prepare a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

  2. If you are using oats, measure oats into a large bowl.

  3. Roughly chop nuts (I pulse in a food processor) and add to bowl, along with pumpkin seeds and any optional add-ins.

  4. Melt coconut oil in a small saucepan on the stove top. Remove from heat and add maple syrup or honey and stir. Add cinnamon and salt to oil mix and stir again. Note: I use the same amount of wet ingredients whether I add oats or not.

  5. Pour wet mix over dry ingredients in your large bowl. Stir and toss well to coat completely.

  6. Pour onto prepared pan, and smooth into an even layer.

  7. Cook in oven for about 30-45 minutes on the middle rack. Half way through cooking time, use a spatula to move granola around, and turn pan front to back.

  8. IMPORTANT: It is super easy to burn your granola. It takes time, keep an eye on it and make sure your oven is not too hot. Keep tossing if needed to ensure granola cooks evenly on edges and top doesn’t get too toasted.

  9. Allow granola to cool and enjoy! Store in a sealed container for up to 3 weeks.

Truly watermelon season!

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Summer begins and you’re in the mood for watermelon, but the true watermelon harvest is late in the summer, after several months of consistent hot days. You see watermelon is a super food for dissipating heat in your body.  According to Ayurveda, watermelon is best eaten alone, all melon in fact. Better to eat alone and not confuse your belly with other foods mixed in. Melons have beautiful sweet qualities and high water content to balance your digestive fire and move heat out of your system.   

I do have an amazing juice recipe however, that is ok to break the rules.  We call it Hydration Heaven. Cut about 3 cups of watermelon, peel 1 cucumber, and gather up a small handful of fresh mint.  Juice it all up and enjoy super hydration and heat elimination!  Combination can be blended together also if you would rather go that route. For best results, drink on an empty stomach and wait about 20 minutes before consuming other foods.  

Why is it important to dissipate summer heat? As we transition from one season to the next, we move from the fire of summer to the winds of fall. When wind blows on fire, it gets bigger and hotter and dries your internal body out like a desert. Your body then responds with, you know it . . . mucus!  Those fall colds and sniffles we get from going back to school, and the change of seasons, are often from being around a whole new group of kids and new environments. But if you have cleared out the summer heat and are hydrating with healthy foods and drinks, you are less likely to pick up the bugs.  Magic!  So eat your watermelon.  Cut into chunks and keep in a bowl so it’s easy for your whole family to grab some. It’s the perfect snack, hydration and heat remover all in one!

Back to school, what's the most important?

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It’s August, it's a brand new day, good morning sunshine! The road back to school always feels like a new year to me. I love summer, I never want it to end.

This school year it’s all new for us again!  My daughter is beginning her second year of college, my oldest son, his senior year in high school, and my youngest son, his very first year of high school. So while I am excited for all things new, I want to hang on to summer just a little longer.  I want us to talk at the dinner table long after everyone is finished eating, go to the pool a few more times, enjoy the early rising sun, wake slowly and not be in a rush.

I was starting to feel overwhelmed. I loaded my summer projects list, because when school starts it’s back to work. I want to have my space in tip top shape, efficiency city.  And to my house list I added goals for my business, expansion, getting more help, redo . . . well, everything.  I work well under pressure.  Get something done, give me a deadline.  Need three days to complete a project, bet I can get it done in 2 1/2. And when I am in project mode, everything else falls off the list.  Dishes pile up, tornadoes swirl through the laundry room, my purse gets filled with receipts, papers, permission slips, coupons, and those random flyers I found interesting. Everyone is always talking about being organized, getting things done, checking off your list, check, check, check.  We get it done and more, we go at an amazing pace.

How can you enjoy the end of summer? What is the best way to feel connected to your people as you send them off into the world? The dishes will get done, everyone will find something to wear, your house will come back together again and you’ll be able to get your nails done.

So today, let’s pause. Let's hold onto that hug until they let go first. Check in and stop what we're doing when our kids want to share about their day. Feel everything. Feel the sun on your face. Feel your breath through your nose. Feel your heart expand as you send a bit of yourself off with your little ones.

I cried when I dropped off my youngest at his first day of high school.  “Oh my gosh mom, don’t cry!” He couldn’t get out of the car fast enough.  The drum line was playing in the carpool lane, fuel for your school spirit, what a way to start the day.

Life is so cool. So exciting to see these kids, where they have been and where they are going, but mostly to just enjoy them now, each and every moment.