For the quinoa haters…


My husband and I are on a healthy eating kick. I bet you’re thinking that’s ironic since my last post was about cake, but trust me, we’re all salads, smoothies and lean proteins around here. Sure we cheat…enter hummingbird cake…but we’re really trying to get ourselves ready for summer.

The problem I run into when trying to prepare healthy dinners for BJ and myself is that we don’t really see eye-to-eye on what those dinners should look like. BJ would like grilled chicken or steamed fish and I would rather eat an old shoe than live off of that kind of sustenance. I prefer salads made with tons of fresh veggies,  interesting vinaigrettes and meatless proteins like quinoa. Herein lies the problem…BJ hates quinoa. He says it tastes like plastic and absolutely despises it. No matter how I dress it up, he’s not a fan. Bummer. It’s so easy to make and always satisfies my carb craving while being super high in fiber and protein. I hope your husband likes it. If so, please cook it for me!

This recipe was birthed from BJ’s quinoa strike. Tired of grilled chicken and lettuce, I really wanted to make a salad that would trick me into thinking I was eating a plate of pasta, or at least give me the mouthfeel of it. Having always wanted to try farro, I picked up a pack at Trader Joe’s and decided it would replace the quinoa in my Southwest “Quinoa” Salad. One cup of farro contains a whopping 14 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber. You’ll be feeling full for a long time after eating which is exactly what we’re trying to accomplish!

I made this salad while my mom was still here helping with Kellan and Allie. She really liked it and we both gobbled up our helpings. I have a feeling BJ is still on the fence. More grilled chicken and fish for him this week while I help myself to these leftovers. Happy eating!

Southwest Farro Salad with Honey-Cilantro Vinaigrette

1 cup farro
1 can black beans, drained
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 avocado, chopped into ½ inch pieces
2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
zest of ½ lime
salt and pepper, to taste

For the Honey-Cilantro Dressing:

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons honey

  1. Prepare farro according to package directions.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients for the cilantro dressing in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Combine beans, corn, avocado and tomatoes and gently toss with dressing.
  4. Toss cooked farro with the dressed avocado and tomato mixture.
  5. Serve.

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New Year, New Adventures

Happy New Year everybody! It’s out with the old and in with the new…new resolutions, new healthy habits, new hobbies. As we packed all of our Christmas decorations away in boxes and tucked them in the back of closets until next year, many of us daydreamed about what our lives will look like in 2015. We set goals and make lists, focusing on things we want to start doing in 2015, as well as things we hope we never do again. I love the new year. It’s the perfect time to start fresh and make every effort to be the person we want to be. My husband and I love to sit down together every January and talk about our goals. Something about saying them out loud seems to make them more likely to come to pass…maybe it’s the accountability it creates. I have a long list of things I’d like to accomplish in 2015. Some of them are things I hope to do like run another half marathon after our daughter is born in April. Other items are on my list out of complete necessity, like potty train my two year before the baby arrives and get my home organized and de-cluttered before baby gear covers every inch and corner of the house again. Lots to do and so little time…or energy…to do it! 🙂

Baby #2 will be an adventure for sure and has given us a lot to be excited about in 2015! What’s your new year adventure? For my younger sister, Chelsey, 2015 has already been a year of firsts. Like many do, Chelsey made it her goal to eat nutritious, fresh, home-cooked food. Don’t get me wrong, she has been eating home-cooked food forever…just not prepared by herself and in her own kitchen. Chelsey has never really had an interest in cooking. When I was growing up my mom and I would spend hours in the kitchen cooking and baking, while Chelsey usually only showed up to lick the cookie dough off the spoon and scrape the yummy leftover goodness out of the bottom of the bowl. That was the extent of her “cooking.” It probably doesn’t help that for a long time two out her three meals a day seemed to be Starbucks frappuccinos…but that’s a whole other conversation. 🙂


However, in the three short weeks that have passed in 2015, Chelsey has sent me more pictures of the yummy food she’s whipped up than she’s ever made in her entire 28 years put together. I’m so excited for her! Every night it’s something new and yummy. Her photos make this pregnant girl’s mouth water and I want to try everything she’s made!

Finally a few nights ago I got to try one of the very first dishes Chelsey’s ever cooked from scratch. Spicy Cauliflower Stir Fry from Ree Drummond’s blog, The Pioneer Woman. As soon as I saw the picture and read the ingredients I knew this was going to be one my husband and I would love. You can’t beat the umami flavors of a good stir fry or fried rice without the guilt! I have to admit, while I was painstakingly breaking apart the head of cauliflower into teeny tiny florets, I was kind of shocked Chelsey made it through the process without getting annoyed. The smaller the florets are the quicker they soften up while cooking and the better the whole dish will be. Trust me, it’s worth it. The only addition I made was toasting up a few tablespoons of sesame seeds and tossing them in at the last second. It added a nutty crunch that I loved.

Thank you, Chelsey, for introducing me to this super satisfying take-out fake-out. I’m so proud of all of your culinary feats so far this year and can’t wait to see what else you share with me!

cauliflower stir fry

Spicy Cauliflower Take-Out Fake-Out

1 whole head cauliflower
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 lime
2 green onions, sliced
1 tablespoon sriracha,plus more for deeper color and flavor if you wish
2-3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

  1. Break up the cauliflower into large florets, then, using your hands, break into very small florets.
  2. Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high to high heat. Add the oil, then the cauliflower and garlic. Stir the cauliflower around the pan, allowing it to get very brown in some areas.
  3. Cook for 3 minutes, then turn heat to low. Add soy sauce, squeeze in the juice of the lime, and add most of the sliced green onion, reserving the rest for serving. Stir and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes more, then squeeze the hot sauce over the cauliflower. Stir until the hot sauce has been incorporated. Add a little more hot sauce if you want a deeper color and flavor. Toss in toasted sesame seeds and serve.