Quinoa & Roasted Vegetable Salad

Quinoa & Roasted Vegetable Salad

 

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Peachy Herb Quinoa Salad with Rosemary-Lavender Scented Dressing

Peachy Herb Quinoa Salad with Rosemary-Lavender Scented Dressing

 I'll take a bunch of fruits and vegetables fresh from the garden or the orchard over store-bought any day. This is by far the most cost effective way to get cheap organic produce. I didn't get a garden planted this year so when my sister-in-law told me that one of her co-workers had a large overly abundant garden and chicken eggs, I said, "absolutely!" I ended up with fresh eggs, zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers, fresh basil leaves, and peaches.  I may have also helped myself to some fresh mint and tomatoes from grandma's garden as well. ;)I can't even begin to express how appreciative I am for cheap or free produce. When you choose to follow a healthy, clean eating, gluten free diet you are going to go through LOTS of fresh fruits and veggies. Now, times that by four kids and the health food foodie (me) and that can add up to be LOTS of green (no I'm not talking about spinach). Especially if you choose to buy organic. Which I do as much as possible. (If you don't have a farmer's market or friendly garden growers near you here's my list for the best organic and clean eating deals from Costco) Organic produce {produce that has been grown without the use of pesticides, herbicides, or genetic engineering} ends up being full of flavor and nutrients, but not always an award winning size or shape. Like the peaches I got that were closer to the size of an apricot, but that still packed a delicious punch of peachy flavor. I could go into a whole monologue about the metaphor of life....(insert moving, wistful music)Life is like a garden. Each fruit and flower is a product of the care and  attention given to it. It doesn't matter how much miracle grow or bug repellent is used, it could never change the nature of the seed. A peach seed can never become anything other than a peach. It won't bloom into an apple or grow vines and sprout tomatoes. The peach's inborn, divinely inherent characteristic allows the seed to develop into just what it was meant to be.....unless of course it's genetically modified from it's original state and enhanced until it's the size of a grapefruit....Okay, that monologue didn't quite go the way I'd hoped. Needless to say I'll take my produce in the most natural form I can get. This Mint, Basil & Lavender Scented Quinoa Salad has a subtle sweet and savory flavor that is enhanced by the ever so slight hint of lavender. It was even better the next day. You could make this salad in the morning before work and have it ready to go for a light side to dinner or to take along to a picnic.Serves 4Mint and Basil (Herb) Quinoa Salad2 cups vegetable or chicken broth 1 cup red, white, or black quinoa (I mixed red and white). Rinsed.1 large or 2-3 small peaches. Rinsed, pitted, and sliced into wedges1 green onion, chopped3-4 fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped or torn4-5 fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped or tornRosemary and Lavender Scented Dressing1 tbsp. raw honey1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil1/8 tsp. sea saltpinch black pepper1 tsp. dry rosemary or half a sprig fresh rosemary, leaves stripped

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Gluten Free Cilantro Lime Coconut Quinoa

Gluten Free Cilantro Lime Coconut Quinoa

  "Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking." - Marcus Aurelius 

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Spring Herb Quinoa Salad

Spring Herb Quinoa Salad

 Eating with the seasons doesn't just save you money, it's good for you too. There are lots of yummy springtime fruits and veggies that I personally am going to start enjoying right now! Lemons, cherries, peas, green onions, and fresh herbs are all combined with warm toasted quinoa, cooked in broth for a flavorful, light, healthy, gluten free, yummy salad that can be eaten warm or cold. This is perfect for your first barbeque of the season, Easter dinner, a get together, or whenever and since it tastes just as good warm or cold it's great to eat for lunch the next day. 

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Poached Salmon Indian Curry with Quinoa

Poached Salmon Indian Curry with Quinoa

  Eating out with kids is always an adventure. And by adventure I mean the poor restaurant staff probably breathe a sigh of relief when we leave. It's not always that dramatic, but anyone with young kids know what I'm talking about. It can get a little hairy. So, even though I love to give my kids the the experience of eating out every once in a while sometimes it's just as fun to make an ethnic restaurant style meal at home. It's fun to really go all out and have a whole themed dinner. The kids get to experience something new, learn about another culture, and I don't go all mama bear while interrogating the chef about their "gluten free" menu. 

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Cinnamon Apple Crockpot Quinoa

Cinnamon Apple Crockpot Quinoa
 

I've been on a breakfast kick lately, but breakfast can get mundane with the same old things. So I like to switch it up. This healthy and delicious breakfast is super easy - as in throw it in the slow cooker the night before and forget about it, kind of easy.  This would be a great alternative to oatmeal. 

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Quinoa with Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes

Quinoa with Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes

I can't believe I haven't put this recipe on my blog sooner.  I love quinoa, but especially with tomatoes roasted in balsamic vinegar, olive oil and Herbs De Provence. This warm salad is a perfect side to something grilled or by itself as a light meat free dinner.  Eat it right away while it's nice and warm or munch after it's cool. Either way it's filling, healthy and oh so yummy!

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Black Bean Quinoa Fiesta & {Homemade} Guacamole Salsa

Black Bean Quinoa Fiesta & {Homemade} Guacamole Salsa

Here's something a little different to put in place of taco night. Fiesta in a bowl! It's light, yet super filling and since this recipe makes a bunch, it's perfect to take to work the next day for a healthy lunch.Black Bean Quinoa Fiesta1 cup quinoa, toasted1 red bell pepper, chopped1 clove garlic, minced2 cups chicken broth2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed1 - 15 oz.can tomato sauce1-2 tsp. cumin1-2 tsp. chili powder1 cup frozen corn, thawed1 lime, zest and juicesalt to taste1 green onion, choppedHeat a large non-stick pot and add dry quinoa. Keep the quinoa moving with a wooden spoon until it becomes fragrant.  Remove from pot and set aside.  Add bell pepper and garlic. Give it a splash of chicken broth if they start to stick.  Once peppers are slightly tender and you can really smell the garlic add remaining broth and return quinoa to the pot.  Bring to a boil then turn the heat down to medium low and add tomato  sauce, cumin and chili powder.  Stir to combine and let that simmer for another 8 minutes or so, until a good amount of the liquid is absorbed.  Add drained and rinsed beans, thawed corn, lime and salt.  Turn to low and put a lid on it until all the liquid is absorbed.  Stir in the chopped green onion.Guacamole Salsa 1 avocado1 tomato, seeded1/2 tsp. cumin1/2 tsp. chili powder1 green onion, choppedjuice and zest of 1 limeCut onion, avocado and tomato (remove seeds) into chunks.  Combine dry ingredients in a small dish before sprinkling over onion, avocado and tomato mixture.  Squeeze fresh lime and zest over top and gently toss to coat.  Top Black Bean Quinoa Fiesta with a healthy scoop of Guacamole Salsa!Enjoy!

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Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

My parents came into town for my super adorable little girl's 4th birthday.  After all the little girls went home,and the pink frosting and princess mess was cleaned up I made these Stuffed Zucchini Boats.  My family jokes about my "exotic" culinary talents, but once they tasted it they couldn't say much else (their mouths were busy) :) 

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Moroccan inspired Quinoa and Salmon

Moroccan inspired Quinoa and Salmon

I must be feeling a bit exotic because I'd been eying this bag of strange tiny balls with the name I couldn't pronounce for weeks at Costco.  I'd heard of quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) but had no clue how to prepare or what to serve them with.  So on a whim I bought a bag.  To me quinoa looks like couscous, so in my cookbook perusing I discovered that couscous originated in Morocco, which brings me to tonights dinner!

  Quinoa with vegetables1 tbsp olive oil1 small onion, quartered & diced1 zucchini, sliced1 carrot, chopped1/2 cup frozen mixed red, yellow and green bell peppers 1 - 14.5 oz. can chicken broth (no MSG added)1/4 cup water1 cup whole grain quinoa 1/2 tsp turmeric 1 pinch saffron 1-2 bay leafsdash curry powderdash cayenne pepper Salmon4 salmon fillets, thawed if frozen1 tbsp olive oil1 tsp turmeric1/2 tsp cinnamon1/2 tsp cayenne pepper1/2 tsp garlic salt1 tbsp lemon or lime juice Heat olive oil in a deep skillet or wok.   Cook onions on medium high for a couple minutes until they begin to soften and caramelize.  Add zucchini and carrots and cook for another couple minutes.  Pour in chicken broth and water followed by the quinoa.  Add all the spices to your pan, stir together and simmer on medium heat for 12 minutes or until quinoa has absorbed all the liquid.  Remove bay leafs. While quinoa is cooking prepare salmon. In separate skillet heat olive oil.  Combine turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne and garlic salt.  Rub seasoning mixture onto fish and place seasoned side down in heated olive oil then pour the lemon or lime juice over top of the other side of the fish. Cook 5 minutes then turn over and cook another 3 or until the salmon flakes easily with fork. Place salmon on quinoa and veggies.* Check out the Creamy Saffron Soup for all about saffron. *Quinoa is actually a seed that was a staple food in the ancient Inca's diet.  You don't have to just use it when your feeling exotic either :)  Substitute in place of brown rice, couscous or barley in your favorite recipes to change things up and add tons of nutrients. Nutritionists call quinoa a super food!  Here's how it brakes down: 220 calories (70 percent carbs, 15 percent fat, 15 percent protein) 40 grams of carbohydrates (13 percent daily value) 8 grams of protein (16 percent of daily value) 3.5 grams of fat (5 percent daily value with no saturated fat) A glycemic load (blood sugar spike) of only 18 out of 250 5 grams of fiber (20 percent of daily value) 20 percent of daily value of folate (various forms of Vitamin B) 30 percent of magnesium daily value (beneficial for people with migraine headaches); 28 percent daily value of phosphorous; iron (15 percent); copper (18 percent); and manganese (almost 60 percent)http://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/stories/quinoa-nutrition-facts* Salmon is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which are healthy fats that your body needs, plus lots of other vitamins and minerals (too many to name without feeling like a textbook).  All that good stuff benefits things like muscle, tissue, hormones, cardio-vascular system (i.e. reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol, etc.), metabolism by lowering blood sugar, eyes and brain. Here's some other nice side effects of making salmon part of your diet: " Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation of the arteries and digestive system, reduce chances of cancer of colon, prostrate and kidneys etc., improve skin texture, add shining to eyes, skin, hair and nails and help in the growth of beneficial bacteria in the colon. The fatter the salmon, the more nutritious and healthy it is."http://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/animal-product/health-benefits-of-salmon.html    
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Melissa Cornwall has spent years researching and implementing nutritionally-based approaches to health and wellness. Her lifelong love of food and health evolved from a hobby to a passion when her daughter was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease.

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