Food Friday – Fall Quinoa Salad

This week while doing my food prep I decided to try out a new salad.Generally when working with quinoa I gravitate towards the same salad time and time again because I love it, but this time I figured I should try and incorporate one of my other food obsessions.   Lately I have been completely obsessed with apples, so thank goodness it is apple season!

So this week I decided to take the general guidelines of a recipe I found online, while removing and subbing some items that don’t agree with me and the end product was delightful.
run for the cure

Fall Quinoa Salad

1 cup uncooked Quinoa
1.5 cups Organic Vegetable Broth
1 cup unsalted Sunflower Seeds or Pumpkin Seeds
1/2 cup unsweetened Dried Cranberries
1 sm-med chopped Gala Apple (golden delicious or any other sweet apple will be fine)
1 tsp fresh Lemon juice
1 chopped Red Pepper
2 handfuls of chopped Baby Spinach (about 3 cups packed)
1/2 a log of Goat Cheese

Dressing:

3 tbsp Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
3 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
Salt and Pepper to taste

  1. Rinse quinoa thoroughly.
  2. Place quinoa in a pot with vegetable broth, bring to boil and then reduce heat to medium and continue to cook stirring occasionally until all broth is absorbed. Should take about 10-15minutes.
  3. Spread cooked quinoa out on a plate and allow it to cool.
  4. While quinoa is cooling, chop red pepper, apple and spinach. Before mixing all these items together, place the chopped apple in a small bowl and add lemon juice being sure to mix to prevent browning.
  5. In a large bowl or storage container mix together pepper, apple spinach, dried cranberries and sunflower seeds. Set it aside and mix all dressing ingredients together in a sealable container. Shake until it is all combined.
  6. Once quinoa has cooled add to vegetable and fruit mixture, and stir together.
  7. Before serving add dressing and goat cheese.  If you are making this ahead of time for the week, add goat cheese prior to consuming the salad so that it keeps it flavor.

I hope you all enjoy this tasty fall twist to quinoa salad. 

Happy Friday!

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Food Time Fridays – Canada Day Addition

So for this installation of Food time Fridays I wanted to attempt to make something a little festive and summery. With Canada day just around the corner I wanted to attempt to represent in our national colours of Red and White.

So after some thinking about how to make something red and white that wasn’t a cookie or a cake I decided to go with salad. Now I LOVE watermelon, like completely love them. I could most likely eat an entire watermelon to myself in one sitting. I would probably feel ill in the end but I guarantee you it would be worth it. With my love of watermelon making a salad with it as the main ingredient was just the natural progression.

So I hope you like it as much as we did…the flavours sound like they are going to be weird together, and they are but in the most delicious way.

Feta & Watermelon Salad:

We do run run

Serves 4

2 lbs cubed Watermelon
1/2 cup Feta
1 tbsp chopped fresh Basil
1.5 tsp Olive Oil
1.5 tsp Balsamic Vinegar

1. Mix watermelon, feta and basil together in a large bowl.
2. In a small container place the oil and vinegar and shake until combined.
3. If serving immediately pour vinaigrette over salad and toss. If not keep separate until ready to serve.
4. Serve and enjoy.

Happy Friday and I hope you all have incredible long weekends if you are getting them!

Food Time Friday – Kale

So I have experimented with kale in the past and I have never really been able to get it right. So I ended up reserving it for cooked casseroles and some of our juice cocktails.  But I had all but given up on making delicious salads with it.  I could never seem to quiet get the leaves to be as soft as I had read they could be or as delicious as my sister had made them this past summer, so I just gave up.

Last weekend however I had a girlfriend over who had a particular set of food restrictions for the weekend (she was cleansing) so I figured that I would test it out again and see if I could get it right this time.  Being successful in my attempt to make a kale salad I decided to give it another go and add some quinoa.  As it turns out the secret is to be a little unforgiving with the leaves and to give them some time to absorb the beating you have just given them.

So for any of you out there that have faced the same failures in your attempts to make delicious kale salads, don’t lose hope it is possible!

Kale and Quinoa Salad:

1 cup Quinoa
1 1/2 cups Vegetable Broth
1 Bunch of Kale
1 Lemon juiced
3 tsp Olive Oil
1 Red Pepper diced
1/2 Cucumber diced
3 Green Onions diced
4 Radishes, thinly sliced

1. Rinse quinoa using a colander, try and get off as much starch out as possible.  It also helps to soak it a bit so that it cooks more evenly and comes out less gritty.  Once quinoa is rinse place in a small sauce pan with vegetable broth (I use organic low sodium broth because it is gluten free and less salt is great for the heart).   Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to allow quinoa to simmer, stirring often to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.   Quinoa should take about 15 minutes, you will know it is done when all the liquid has been absorbed.   Remove from stove and allow to cool completely.

Quinoa Collage

2. In a non-reactive bowl (glass is great) add cleaned kale.  I use a salad spinner to soak and dry off the torn up kale and it works great.  Once the kale is in the bowl add juice from 1 lemon and really message the leaves.  They will turn from a pale green colour to a bright green as some of the tough fibers start to break down.

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3. Add pepper, cucumber, onion and radishes to the kale and mix in, being sure that all the vegetables are coated in the lemon juice.  Once all the vegetables are mixed in add oil and work it in with your hands. Working in the oil with your hands gives you another chance to massage the kale leaves, further tenderizing them.

4. Once the quinoa is completely cooled add it to the salad and mix.  Add salt and pepper to your liking and serve.

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Know that I know the secret of making a tasty kale salad you have better believe it will become a staple. Especially with the farmer’s market just around the corner!  Oh how I have missed the farmer’s market, I just can’t wait to see all the vendors again, and to have a fridge full of local, organic products!

Happy Friday everyone! 

Note: I have updated the Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner pages so if you are short of some ideas for meals this weekend check them out. 

A Weekend in Review

This weekend was a great one. The perfect balance of lounging around, running around, and sweating. I was going to start my weekend out with a nice long run on Friday but due to switching up my workout program at the gym my legs were more sore than normal. I know that every time I change programs/ start a new phase I whine about how much my muscles hurt, but this time I seriously wasn’t prepared.

I just finished the six month cycle workout program at my gym and I was starting back on phase one again so I figured it would be a breeze. What I hadn’t thought of was that for the past 3 months I have been doing high weight low rep workouts, and the first phase in the training program is conditioning which is low weight high rep. I figured it would be a walk in the park because it was low weight, but adding another 10 reps per exercise destroyed me (in a good way of course). It is funny how fast your body can adapt to something and forget how to do something else. Every time had to count up to 15 I remember thinking “what is this cardio?”. All of this aside two days after my workout my legs felt like it was the first time I had ever worked them out in life. It is great to know there will always be room for improvement when working out, and as long as I keep switching it up, my muscles will continue to respond.

So I started my weekend out with a rest day, full of foam rolling and stretching followed by going to meet some friend’s new baby girl. She is still brand new so she did a lot of being adorable while being completely passed out. She did wake up for a bit and let us see her eyes, which is always a treat when they are so young. Shortly after our quick visit it was time to investigate cameras.
photo 4 (1)For the past little while I have been researching cameras so that the quality of photos on this blog can get a bit better and so I have something to take pictures while in Costa Rica in November. So watch out readers the photos are about to start getting much better! Thank you for being so patient for so long.

The rest of my weekend was spent doing some running around with a girlfriend and getting some crafts and a wonderfully vegetable packed meal Saturday evening. To keep our Saturday healthy and light we decided to have a delicious kale salad, with grilled portobello mushrooms for my girlfriend and some grilled chicken for me. After many attempts and failures at kale salads I think this one was definitely a winner, a delicious winner.
photo 3 (1)This weekend also gave me a chance to get started on my Yoga for Runner’s book my dad gave me for my birthday. So far the book has been pretty great, when I get books like this I like to read them through instead of just jumping to the stretches, I feel like it gives me a good background to properly understand where the author is coming from, and why certain yoga poses have been selected.
photo 1 (1)Then I finished the weekend off with a nice 4 mile run Sunday morning, that finished right as some rain started to roll in. It was a fantastic run, and it is always so nice to see so many other runners out. This time of year on the canal is always so much fun because there aren’t many bikers or rollerbladers and it feels like the whole canal belongs to the runners of Ottawa.

Now it is back to ol’grind stone for the week and finishing sorting through my wardrobe to pick out the pieces that no longer fit me to find them good homes.

Happy Monday Everyone! I hope you are all ready for some sun and warmth today!

Food Friday – Asian Steak and Shrimp Salad

I have been on a ridiculous salad kick for the past week or so, making sure to get at least one salad in a day. This is a little unlike me, although I am extremely fond of vegetables I am not huge on giant leafy bowls of leaves, and normally I am really not a fan of arugula. But lately I have found this spinach and arugula mix that is just heavenly, I have even been putting a handful or two in my morning smoothies.

So keeping on the salad train I figured I would make a salad with steak as the centre piece, and then decided “heck why not make it surf and turf style” and threw in some shrimp. This salad was so easy to throw together and I only marinated the steak for about 20 minutes.

psyche

Serves 2

250grams Sliced Steak (use a lean cut)
8-10 Medium sized Shrimp

Marinade:

2 tbsp Braggs or Soy Sauce
1/4 tsp Sesame Oil
2 tsp diced Garlic

Salad:

4 cups Spinach and Arugula salad mix
1/4 Cucumber diced
1/2 Red Pepper diced
1/2 cup 3 bean salad mix
3 Green Onions diced

Dressing:

2 tbsp Olive Oil
2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon Mustard

  1. In a bowl mix Braggs, Sesame Oil and Garlic together. Add steak and mix until completely coated. Set aside to marinate for 15-20 minutes, stirring 2-3 times.
  2. Divide mixed greens, cucumber, pepper, beans and onions on two plates. Top with shrimp (4-5 on each plate).
  3. In a container with a lid (mason jars work great) mix oil, vinegar and dijon mustard, shake well and set aside.
  4. Preheat a medium sized skillet. Once heated to about medium high heat, place marinating steak and cook through to your liking.
  5. Top salad with cooked steak and salad dressing. Serve immediately.

I hope you all enjoy the salad!  Let me know what your favorite combinations are, being on this salad kick I have been searching for new and tasty salad combinations.

Have a happy Friday everyone, and I hope you all have a great weekend. 

Lessons learnt

To date the honeymoon has been great, met some nice people saw some amazing things, got ears full of history and found many a pub for a pint and delicious food.

So far some of the things I have learnt are:

1. If you have a sensitive stomach take more care in packing snacks your belly is used to.
2. Pub food is great but do what you can to find a salad.
3. Always bring a jacket even if you don’t think you will need it.
4. Listen to the reviews on Trip Advisor when they say the beds are “a little hard” cuz what that actually means is that you are sleeping on rocks.
5. Take advantage of the hotel/apartment kitchens they are life savers.
6. Wash your colours and the whites separately because even the oldest pink sweater can run apparently.
7. Remember to do what feels best to you, the guide books aren’t always right.

I am sure there are a million more things I have learnt while traveling this time around but those are just a couple things.

I am excited to give you guys a run down in photo form shortly stay tuned.

Happy Saturday!!

Spring Cleaning

With all the wonderful weather we have been having and the impending visits my fiance and I are expecting this weekend the past week has been a busy one. Between workouts, work, cleaning and planning, I am definitely looking forward to hopefully a bit more of a laid back weekend to give my brain a bit of a break.
Spring-CleaningAlthough this week has been pretty busy it has also been so productive I don’t so much mind the constant go mode I have been in. I love the feeling after a long winter of being able to throw out loads of junk that has accumulated, and get ride of that caged in winter smell that happens when it is so cold outside you can’t open your windows/you would be crazy to open them. Now our house smells of fresh outdoor air and cleaning products.

I have also been looking forward to my friend’s baby shower! It should be loads of fun and definitely delicious considering who is taking care of the goodies for the day. Last night myself and my friend got together to plan some of the finishing touches and put together everything we would need to for the event.

Once we had finished running around for the evening, we made ourselves a delicious summery salad for supper. It was so delicious I just have to share it with all of you. I have made the photo extra large to drive home how delicious it was.

BBQ shrimp asparagus and grapefruit salad

Shrimp Asparagus and Grapefruit Salad
Servings: 2 HUGE servings or 3 regular servings

Salad:
2-3 big handfuls of baby romaine lettuce
12 medium shrimp raw
1/4 red onion
15 spears of asparagus chopped
1 large red grapefruit
1 tsp oil
2 tsp Braggs “soy sauce”*

Dressing:
Juice from grapefruit
2 tsp oil
Pinch of cayenne pepper

  1. Wash the lettuce and set aside.
  2. Heat BBQ medium heat.
  3. While BBQ is heating, in a medium bowl combine raw shrimp, chopped asparagus, red onion, Braggs and oil. mix until everything is coated, and add in salt and pepper to taste. Note: you do not need a lot of salt, as the Braggs is pretty salty, you could actually just put pepper in.
  4. Toss shrimp and veggie mix onto the BBQ, cooking for about 5minutes before flipping the shrimp, cook for another 5minutes – these times may vary depending on your BBQ. Asparagus will still be pretty crunchy, but onions should be pretty cooked. Remove and let cool for about 2 minutes.
  5. While the shrimp mixture is cooling prepare the dressing. Here is some direction on how you should cut up the grapefruit so you get pieces of grapefruit and juices for the dressing. Squeeze left over core of grapefruit to get juices.
  6. Place grapefruit juice, oil and cayenne pepper in a container with a lid that you can shake around. Seal and shake until everything is mixed together.
  7. Plate, dress, and eat!

*gluten free and fermentation free, made of non-GMO products.