Vegetable Fajitas over Quinoa

​Look back with gratitude; look forward with faith.  It's New Years resolution time. I have so many goals, hopes, dreams, and aspirations. Often, we interpret healthy eating only with losing...
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Sun-dried tomato and warm potato salad

 

My garden is starting to produce!  Yay, go me!  Those cute little yellow balls in there are my homegrown pear tomatoes!

2 chicken breasts, butterflied (cut in half horizontally)
4-6 red potatoes, quartered, skins on
1 onion, sliced
2-4 whole garlic cloves, smashed
1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed & cut in half
1 pint cherry, grape or pear tomatoes
1 jar, 4 oz. gluten free sun-dried tomatoes (I used this blend that had some herbs in it)
garlic salt and pepper to taste
1 - 5 oz. container fresh baby spinach
graded Parmesan cheese to taste

 Preheat oven to 450. Fill one cookie sheet with potatoes, onions and 1-2 smashed garlic cloves.  Drizzle olive oil from sun-dried tomato jar onto veggies.  Pull out half of the sun-dried tomatoes, dice them up and throw them on there too.  Garlic salt and pepper to taste then toss to coat.  Bake for 15 minutes.
On another tray put asparagus, fresh tomatoes and remainder of smashed garlic cloves.  Do the same thing as before with the sun-dried tomatoes, drizzling veggies with the oil from the jar and adding rest tomatoes, diced,  followed by garlic salt and pepper.  Toss to coat.  Put in the oven with potatoes and bake for another half hour.
While that's cooking defrost chicken and butterfly cut (lay on cutting board and cut into chicken breast horizontally) Season with a salt and pepper then cook either in a skillet with a little olive oil or grill. Slice of chicken into strips.

When veggies are done cooking throw them all into a big bowl.  Add fresh spinach and toss gently until spinach begins to wilt.  Place chicken strips on top then grate the Parmesan over it all.

* "With the skin, one medium red potato (5.3 oz) contains 3g of dietary fiber per serving. That's the same amount of fiber found in many whole grain breads, pastas, and cereals. In addition to being beneficial to the digestive system, offering protection against colon cancer, and lowering cholesterol levels, fiber also gives potatoes their substance, helping you to feel fuller for longer.

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Quinoa Pasta Broccoli Salad


Spring is in full force!  The blossoms on my enormous cherry trees in the back yard cover the branches and litter the grass beneath and the crab apple tree in front is the brightest fuchsia pink I've ever seen.   That means that people are uncovering the grills and firing them up once more. This gluten free, dairy free version of broccoli salad is a  yummy and filling side to serve at your next barbecue along side some Fired Up Pork Ribs! This salad can go together in a snap if you have planned ahead.  Make your own {Homemade} mayonnaise the day or two before for an even healthier, preservative free dish.  

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Swiss Chard Citrus Salad (Gluten Free)


 
Staying on a budget while feeding an entire family healthy, gluten-free food is an art form. Okay, maybe more like a necessary obsession. I've found that the most convenient and inexpensive way to get quality, organic produce is from my local farmer's market or a food co-op where I can contribute a certain amount and then go pick up a big basket of fruits and vegetables at the end of the week. The co-op option is great, especially in the winter months. It's also pretty fun since I never know what surprises I'll find in my basket.

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Fresh Veggie Southwestern Salsa


 
Need something quick and yummy for a get together? This is my go-to. It's super simple and is a great appetizer for your holiday dinner, a summer barbeque, or whenever. It's also a very tricky way to get your kids to eat their veggies since they can scoop them up with corn tortilla chips!

(F.Y.I. just because it says "corn" chip, doesn't mean it's gluten free. Be sure to check where they were made or better yet, make your own out of some quinoa tortillas by adding a little extra coconut oil on the griddle and cooking them till they're crispy. Cut them in fourths and sprinkle with sea salt.)


1 cucumber, peeled and chopped

2-3 roma tomatoes, chopped

1 ripe avocado, pitted and chopped

1 bell pepper; red, green, yellow, or orange

1 cup frozen corn, thawed or grilled corn on the cob, corn cut off

1 green onion, sliced

lime juice

few sprigs fresh cilantro leaves

dash or two smoked paprika

sea salt and pepper to taste

chili powder to taste

This is such a simple throw-together that I never measure the spices. Just sprinkle, dash, stir, taste, and repeat until it tastes good to you. I chopped my veggies a little big, but chopping them smaller will make it a little easier to scoop.
 This recipe was featured on Good Things Utah! 

Enjoy!


 
 

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Summer Veggie and Herb Salad


 
Fresh tomatoes still warm from the sun. Kale, romaine lettuce, cucumbers, and green onions crisp and bright green. Carrots that grow in funny shapes; some long and skinny, some as wide as they are tall. Fresh herbs like basil and parsley that grow so fast you can hardly keep up with them.  Homegrown veggies straight from the garden...these are a few of my favorite things. Summer is upon us and I can't wait! 

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Lemon Dill Asparagus


 
Today the sky is azure blue. Birds are chirping a sonata of melodies each their own while a lizard does some vertical sunbathing on the back wall. Life in nature always seems so constant, so predictable, and peaceful. I sometimes watch the goings on of the usual wildlife that surround my home and think...I wish I had it that easy. Of course, then I'm reminded of all those Discovery Channel shows that delve into the "real" life of animals and suddenly I'm reminded that their existence isn't easy, just less complicated.

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Italian Roasted Potato Salad


  

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Gluten Free Zucchini Fritters


 
Summer and excessive amounts of zucchini go hand-in-hand! This time of year my kiddos are bound to find things like tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and zucchini hidden somewhere in their meal. The sneakier I am at hiding them, the better they are at eating them. Like in gluten free zucchini bread. So I decided to make some Gluten Free Zucchini Fritters and guess what? They didn't seem to notice that they were eating zucchini cakes!

I had made zucchini fritters years ago before going gluten free and as far and I can tell when making fritters there are two ways to go about it - sweet or savory. I chose savory, which involves flavors like fresh basil and parsley, parmesan cheese and garlic. Traditional fritters usually call for bread crumbs or flour to help hold everything together. So I used the next best, gluten free thing...oat flour.

Oat flour (made from gluten free oatmeal that has been ground into a flour-like consistency) acts just like wheat flour in most recipes. Unlike other gluten free flours you don't have to make an elaborate blend or add gums like guar gum or xanthan gum to make it stay together either. Plus, oats are full of fiber, antioxidants, boosts immune system, and so much more. If you're a nerd like me, you can read all about oats, one of world's healthiest foods here

Now for the fritters! (Makes 12+ zucchini fritters. About 3-4 inches across)

4 cups zucchini shredded, drained and squeezed dry

1 cup oat flour

2 eggs

2 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

2 clove garlic

1/3 cup parmesan cheese

4-5 fresh basil leaves

3-4 sprigs fresh parsley, stems removed

2-3 tbsp. coconut oil

Grate the zucchini and place in a strainer in the sink or set in a bowl. Allow the water to drain off the zucchini for about 10 minutes. While it's draining you can pulse the oats in a food processor or blender until it becomes oat flour. Take a clean dish towel and squeeze out all the remaining liquid out of the zucchini. Add the zucchini, eggs, salt, pepper, garlic, parmesan, basil, and parsley to the oat flour in the food processor. Blend everything together until it's nice and evenly chopped and mixed.

Heat a nonstick skillet or griddle (preheated to 325) and drizzle on some of the coconut oil. Once the oil's hot take a spoonful of the fritter paste, shape into a patty (it will be sticky, that's okay), and get it cooking. It should only take about 5-6 minutes per side. Once both sides are a nice golden brown set them on a plate to cool. Serve warm.

Eat them as a side to some grilled chicken for dinner or place a slice of tomato and mozzarella in between two fritters and have a fritter bruschetta sandwich for lunch!
Enjoy!


      
 

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Fresh Fiesta Salad & Salsa Dressing


 
I love summer rain storms. They don't roll around often enough where I'm at, but when they do it's like heaven. In fact, I'm almost certain heaven smells like a summer rain. I take a deep breath and feel re-energized despite the sleepless night of a baby who's teething and an early morning because the kids want to find a good spot to watch the parade. Now that the blazing sun has evaporated any traces of the curling clouds and it's cooling rain and we're all tired from the parade starting 20 minutes late, I'm in need of another pick-me-up. Instead of caffeine or sugar I choose to nourish myself with fresh from the garden veggies. 

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Warm Italian Vegetable Salad


 

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Chickpea & Spinach Salad


Chickpeas, spinach, some spiral cut carrots, sliced purple onion, chopped almonds, orange segments, and a simple dressing makes this salad...well, simple...and kind of addictive! It's so easy to keep munching on it and goes great with almost any dinner. Add some grilled chicken strips to turn it into a light dinner or just as is for lunch.

Chickpeas (garbanzo beans) have a great creamy texture and are really filling. If you're like me and love salad but no matter how much you pile on you're still not full, then this legume should be your go-to. Adding chickpeas to salads will help you feel full and satisfied, not to mention adding lots of extra vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein.


This is also a great side to bring to a get together because the dressing it already on top...and because it looks so pretty! The dressing won't make it soggy either so it's okay to sit in the fridge for a couple days once it's dressed.

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Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Beets


The colors in this dish are so amazing! The more vibrant the natural colors of your fruits and veggies, the more vitamins, minerals, and nutrients they hold.

Dark oranges from the sweet potatoes means your getting lots of bete-carotene (vitamin A), along with vitamin C. flavanoids, lycopene, and potassium. The deep purple-red of the beets provides vitamins like A, B & C,  and minerals like magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and iron. Roast them together with sliced sweet onion, oil, and seasoning and...hello beautiful!


 
Another great thing about this simple dish is that it's great for camping! What?! Yep. Instead of the usual tin foil potatoes for your family camping trip, try wrapping some of these babies up and roasting in the coals.


The fun part of doing the tin foil dinner is that each person can season their potatoes and beets how they like - sweet or spicy, simple herbs or a little bit of everything.

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Oriental Chicken Salad & Sesame Dressing


I saw a picture once with the caption, "gluten free, grain free, dairy free, soy free, refined sugar free, and vegan"....it was a sad looking piece of lettuce with a tomato slice on top. I had to laugh! (1. because it was clever, and 2. because it was so wrong!)

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Dixie Salad

I love fall for many reasons, but one of them is the pomegranates.  I had seen and heard of this peculiar fruit growing up, but never got my first taste until I met my hubby.  My in-laws have two out of control pomegranate trees in their back yard and every fall my mother-in-law makes Dixie Salad.  There's always plenty more pomegranates to take home and share with neighbors and friends too.

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Persimmon Salad with Lemon Fennel Dressing


 
It's almost a new year, new resolutions, why not try something new too. Now that the holidays are past and everyone has sufficiently stuffed themselves, I felt the need for something a little lighter. I was gifted a half dozen persimmon fruits and some garlic dill cheese curds that were just screaming to be put together.


 
This was my first time eating this unusual tomato-look-alike fruit. Their soft peach-like texture and sweet, mild apple-ish flavor make them very versatile. I tossed mine together in a simple, light salad with a warm fennel, lemon, and olive oil dressing. The sweet from the fruit and the salty from the dressing and cheese blended together so nicely. Persimmons are usually in season between September and December so I must have gotten the last of the season.

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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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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 4

Mint and Basil (Herb) Quinoa Salad
2 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 wedges

1 green onion, chopped

3-4 fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped or torn

4-5 fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped or torn

Rosemary and Lavender Scented Dressing
1 tbsp. raw honey

1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1/8 tsp. sea salt

pinch black pepper

1 tsp. dry rosemary or half a sprig fresh rosemary, leaves stripped

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Quinoa & Roasted Vegetable Salad


 

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Guest — Julia
Great recipe Melissa! Looks delicious! What restaurant have you had the best salad? Remember to add it to your Besty List! http://... Read More
Tuesday, 18 November 2014 19:34
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Stuffed Roasted Bell Peppers

This meatless wonder is so fresh and perfect for summer or fall when peppers are right in season.  I decided to stuff these guys with some herb seasoned quinoa followed by sauteed veggies topped with cheese.

Couscous Stuffing:
1 cup organic quinoa
1.5 cups chicken or vegetable broth, 1 1/2 cups for couscous, reserve remaining
1 bay leaf
basil leafs, finely chopped
3 parsley sprigs, stems removed and finely chopped

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Melissa Moore 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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