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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Autumn Greens with Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Pears


The leaves in the mountain just above my house are an explosion of beautiful fiery reds and oranges. It's official...it's FALL!!!! I love this time of year.  There are many wonderful things about fall such as: kids are in school, the windows stay open and let in cool night breezes and I get to light my pumpkin spice candle.  And one of the best parts is the food.  I try to cook and eat what's in season and this time of year there are so many yummy, colorful things to eat.  Just look at what's in this warm side salad.  This is fancy enough for entertaining with a balsamic vinegar reduction drizzled over top.  Plus you can grill up some chicken and toss in with it to make it a light dinner.

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Quinoa Risotto Stuffed Vegetables


Alright, if you haven't noticed I like stuffed vegetable anything.  This yummy and healthy side or appetizer is so fun, easy and so good for you.  It will definitely be a hit!

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Waldorf Salad with {Homemade} Raspberry Vinaigrette


Okay, seriously is it possible not to sneak the kids Halloween candy they raked in?  When there's so many things vying for your time and attention how do you find the time to exercise and make healthy home cooked meals?  Is it even possible with the approaching holidays?  Sure it is, said the girl who just ate her fourth peanut butter cup. :)  But really it is possible to stay in shape, eat healthy and still snatch a few fun sized goodies when the kids aren't looking.
How? Make it a priority and don't feel guilty if you fall a little short of your goal.  Just keep at it.  Here's what we do to keep us and our kiddos away from falling into sugar overload.  Let them pick out five of their favorite goodies then have them leave the rest out for the "switch witch". She'll take your candy, but she'll leave a cute little toy or game behind in its place. It's a tradition now and the kids never complain! 

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Orange-Glazed Sweet Potatoes


We're taking back thanksgiving and making it not only taste incredibly festive and delicious, but good for you too! Here's a healthy and amazingly yummy must-have for thanksgiving this year.  These sweet potatoes, or yams if you prefer, are baked with healthy coconut oil and glazed in a honey orange sauce.  No marshmallows needed to make these taters shout "happy thanksgiving!" Serves 4-6

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Spinach Quinoa Salad with {Homemade} Balsamic Vinaigrette

 This little number is perfect for all these new years resolutions and eating smart.  This is a great lunch that is easy to pack to work or school and can be eaten warm or cold. 

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Sweet & Tangy Roasted Vegetable Side

 
This dish is a perfect veggie side to your favorite main course. Plus, it also uses that yummy {Homemade} Balsamic Vinaigrette from the other day.  So go ahead and just double or triple the recipe and make a whole bottle of it.  It's simple, healthy and good on just about anything.  This easy roasted vegetable side uses good old brussel sprouts, some mini sweet red peppers and multi-colored carrots. All the colors add lots of extra vitamins and nutrients so it's important not to over roast these babies so you keep all that color and just a little crispness. 
 
 
Sweet & Tangy Roasted Vegetable Side
 
1/2 lb. brussel sprouts, washed and halved if you like
1/4 lb. mini sweet red peppers, stems removed and quartered lengthwise 
4-6 multi-colored carrots (red, orange and yellow), washed, halved or quartered and cut into 2 inch sticks
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, chopped
3-4 fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
Sea salt and pepper
 
Balsamic Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1.5-2 tbsp. real maple syrup (I like this a little sweeter)
1 Tbsp. coconut oil (softened)
 
Prepare the veggies accordingly and preheat the oven to 425.  Toss brussel sprouts, peppers, carrots, garlic, shallot and a generously dust with salt and pepper. Pour combined balsamic vinaigrette over and toss to coat.  Spread everything out on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes or until the vegetables are browned and soft enough for your liking. Remove from oven and scoop into a serving dish.  
 
Enjoy!
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Harvest Chicken Salad with Sweet Balsamic Dijon Dressing


Okay, I had a hard time naming this beauty. I wanted to call it Harvest Greens & Chicken Salad with Bacon, Toasted Pecans, Pomegranates, Apple, and Caramelized Onions with Sweet Garlic Balsamic Dijon Dressing....but it seemed a little long. Don't you think? This salad was so yummy I made it two nights in a row and no one even complained! It's hardy enough to stand alone as a meal or you could leave out the chicken and serve it as a side salad next to the turkey on Thanksgiving. It's a crowd pleaser so prepare to make a lot of it!

Harvest Chicken Salad

4-6 chicken breasts (about one per person)
4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
salt & pepper
1 onion, yellow or purple works fine, thinly sliced
1 glove garlic, minced
1 head red leaf lettuce
1 bunch kale, stems removed
1 apple (I like Fuji or Gala), cored and cubed
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds or dried cranberries
handful pecans, toasted
crumbled feta cheese (optional)

Sweet Balsamic Dijon Dressing

1 clove garlic, pressed
2 tbsp. dijon mustard
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/3 cup olive oil

Heat a large skillet. Lightly toast the pecans until they are warm and fragrant. Put them in a bowl for later and start cooking the bacon. Once the bacon is good and crispy, remove from pan to a paper towel. Drain off most of the bacon grease, leaving just a little bit in the pan to brown the chicken in. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Toss in the garlic along with chicken breasts. Once the chicken is browned and cooked through, pull them out of the pan and slice them into strips. Now toss the sliced onion into the hot pan (you may need to add a little olive oil). Turn on medium low and let them caramelize while you chop and prepare the rest of the salad. Combine all the dressing ingredients and shake until well mixed.

Now put it all together. Toss the lettuce, kale, apple, pomegranate seeds, toasted pecans, and bacon together. Place chicken strips and some caramelized onion on top and drizzle with the dressing. Sooo yummy!

Enjoy!

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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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Pan-Fried Sweet Potato Fries


It's hard to resist the smell of fries when you're hungry. And whether you love it or not you can't seem to get through childhood in America without them either! So, when I want to give my kids all the wonderful experiences of hamburgers and fries without the health risks I make Pan-Fried Sweet Potato Fries!

This seriously is so quick and simple to make and will definitely hit the spot! I used an O'Henry white sweet potato. Normally I use the orange Covington, but the white is slightly less sweet and holds up a little better than their orange cousins.

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Almandine Green Beans


 
Sunday dinner at family's house is such a great tradition. It's nice to visit and all, but seriously - I won't lie - it's really nice to not have to cook. Alright, I can't really just sit back and relax, I do have four kids after all. This simple dish was part of one Sunday dinner menu and it was so yummy and simple I just had to share. I also learned something new; almandine means "garnished with almonds". It's sound fancy and smart too. ;)

*This recipe serves four, but it's pretty easy to double for more hungry dinner guests.

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Spring Salad and Strawberry Vinaigrette

Thanks to some spring rain and mild temperatures my little garden is already starting to produce spinach and green onions. Yay! I've been working on finishing my bachelors degree in nutrition and with a busy family I'm so glad my garden has been able to handle some neglect - I mean just look at this beautiful salad it helped make! Thanks to some homemade strawberry jam with no refined sugar it made the Strawberry Vinaigrette so simple and healthy. Strawberries and spinach are both full of vitamin C and B6, folate, magnesium, fiber, and a handful of other vitamins and essential minerals.
Overnight Strawberry Jam
  • 4 cups crushed strawberries
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cups honey or 1 - 2 tsp. stevia powder or liquid
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp. chia seeds
Combine all the ingredients, pour into jars or freezer containers, and place in the fridge overnight. The chia seeds will cause the jam to thicken. Store jam in the freezer until ready to use.

 

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Beet & Carrot Coleslaw {No Mayo - Dairy Free Option}

 

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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 Fiesta
1 cup quinoa, toasted
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups chicken broth
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 - 15 oz.can tomato sauce
1-2 tsp. cumin
1-2 tsp. chili powder
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 lime, zest and juice
salt to taste
1 green onion, chopped

Heat 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 avocado
1 tomato, seeded
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 green onion, chopped
juice and zest of 1 lime

Cut 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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Homemade Green Hummus


After school snack attack is a real problem around my house. The kids get home from school and in a whirlwind my sort of quiet, somewhat tidy home is strewn with backpacks, shoes, homework, jackets, and noise. The only thing that can calm the after school crazies is to wind down with a snack and maybe some outside time before we tackle homework.

Hummus is a such a great snack because it's full of protein, fiber, and very filling. I usually put out a little cup of peanut butter too. The carrot sticks go in the hummus and the celery in the peanut butter.

What makes the hummus green, you ask?
.....Promise not to tell my kids?

It's spinach (and a little cilantro too)! Yep, and you'd never taste it. My kids love green smoothies so I just tell them it's green hummus and for some reason they don't ask any other questions. This hummus is simple enough to make right in a blender or food processor and the color of the fresh spinach makes it look like a mischievous Leprechaun fixed it for them ;) It's perfect for St. Patrick's Day or any day you want to sneak a little more green in your family's diet. 

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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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