Kale & Quinoa Salad

You guys remember my yummy broccoli salad? Well, this is just a glorified version with a little twist.

Quinoa has always been an interesting grain to me. When I first tried it, I could not get over the grainy taste and wasn’t quite sure if I liked it hot, cold, or not at all. After trying many different recipes, I finally figured out ways to incorporate this high fiber, protein filled grain into my diet.

This recipe is very, very similar to my broccoli salad. You will see it pictured below with broccoli, but I originally made it with sweet potatoes (which I actually preferred!). Sweet potatoes add an interesting and yummy twist to a fun salad that is already packed with flavor. The recipe I provide will include both options.

IMG_2151Walnuts add a slight crunch, while dried cranberries add a touch of sweetness with each bite. Could a salad pack more flavor and nutrient dense foods into one bowl?

IMG_2152

IMG_2154

Aside from all of the delicious flavors, this is a super simple recipe to make ahead and pack for lunches throughout the week. Kale is a firm and crisp vegetable that holds its shape and crunch for much longer than spinach, arugula, or other commonly used salad greens.

IMG_2160

I hope you give this easy, quick, and flavorful recipe a try! While I typically don’t measure ingredients when making salads, I tried to provide the most accurate measurements I could for the recipe. As always, let me know what you think!

Kale & Quinoa Salad

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (dry) tricolor quinoa
  • 1 1/2 large sweet potatoes OR 1 1/2 cups raw, chopped broccoli
  • 3-4 cups fresh kale
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/3-1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese
  • dressing of choice
  • olive oil spray
  • seasonings: pink salt, black pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Dice sweet potatoes into small, bite sized pieces. Spread evenly on a cookie tray and spray with olive olive spray (or spray of choice). Season with black pepper and pink himalayan salt. Roast for 20-25 minutes or until sweet potatoes are golden brown.

While the potatoes are roasting, bring 1 1/2 cups of water and 1/2 cup of quinoa to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer. Let quinoa cook for about 15-20 minutes or until all water is evaporated. You may need to add another 1/4-1/2 cup of water as quinoa cooks. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.

Wash and finely chop kale (if using broccoli instead of sweet potato, do the same at this time). Put into a large bowl and top with warm quinoa to help wilt the kale. Top with walnuts, dried cranberries, and feta cheese once quinoa has cooled to prevent the cheese from melting.

Keep in the refrigerator and portion out before serving. Top with dressing of choice. My favorite dressings for this salad include Champagne Pear Vinaigrette with Gorgonzola from Trader Joe’s and Organic Pear Vinaigrette from Sprouts.


Apple Spiced Baked Oatmeal

Is anyone else in total Christmas mode?! We have our Christmas tree up, decorations out, and cozy blankets all over our house (because believe it or not it is COLD in the morning!). What is better on a cozy Sunday morning than a warm and comforting breakfast?! Don’t get me wrong, I love my smoothie bowls, but sometimes I want something a little more comforting and hearty when the mornings are crisp and cool.

This oatmeal bake is SERIOUSLY so easy. I don’t know if I can really emphasize that enough. All of the ingredients I already had in my house, and it took a total of about 30 minutes form start to finish. It is also delicious, so it was definitely a win all around!

This base of this recipe is very simple: oats, egg, and banana. It is slightly sweet and best straight out of the oven. If you are cooking for yourself, leftover oatmeal can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and re-heated for breakfast as desired!

I chose to top my baked oats with a little peanut butter. Other yummy toppings may include chopped nuts, honey, maple syrup, greek yogurt, or other nut butters. If you are looking for a simple and fast breakfast to serve at your upcoming holiday brunch, this would definitely be a good option! I hope you enjoy this tasty and simple recipe! Happy Sunday everyone!

Apple Spiced Baked Oatmeal

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1 brown banana, mashed
  • 1 whole large egg
  • 1/8 c brown sugar, unpacked
  • 1 capful (~1/8 tsp) vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch pink Himalayan salt
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 whole Granny Smith apple
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • cooking spray

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

In a medium size bowl, smash banana until fairly smooth. Whisk in 1 whole egg, ~1/8 cup (or fill 1/4 cup half way) brown sugar, cinnamon, pink salt, and vanilla.

Dice 1/2 of a large granny smith apple (or apple of choice), and cut the other half into thin slices. Granny smith apples are fairly tart and flavorful, which is why they are a great choice when baking.

Add the oats, diced apple, and almond milk to the banana and egg mixture. Mix until all oats are moistened.

In a lightly greased baking dish or pie pan, spread the oats out evenly. Use the leftover apple slices to create a fun design on top of the oats or just place at random evenly across the top.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the sides of the oats begin to pull away from the dish and turn golden brown. Let cool for 3-5 minutes and enjoy!


First pumpkin cookie of the season!

It’s officially pumpkin season! You know, even though our afternoons are still hitting 100 degrees I am not letting the toasty walks to my car after work ruin my usual spring into fall foods and recipes. I have been itching to make something with pumpkin, so obviously my first go to was cookies!

IMG_1748

Quick side note… does EVERY nutrition/whole food bar company make a pumpkin spice version now?! Holy moly! My Instagram feed has been BLOWING UP with every food blogger out there posting about pumpkin Perfect bars or Rx Bars. I have to stay true to my favorite whole food bar brand Lara Bar; their pumpkin pie bar is amazing!

So a little about this recipe…

Its not low in sugar, it’s not grain free or vegetarian, and yes it contains fat. These cookies were made to be delicious and boy are they! I use whole wheat flour, oats, and pumpkin puree as my base with coconut oil and a whole egg for fat. Start your pumpkin season off right with these little beauties!

IMG_1747

In case you read my last post, in terms of calories I’m not sure what the calorie content is of these cookies. Sometimes I will calculate calories for my recipes just to share here for extra info. I will say, regardless of the calories, these are freaking amazing! They are made with ingredients that are easy, simple, and many might already be in your pantry. I hope you give them a try, and as always let me know what you think! Happy Tuesday everyone!

IMG_1752.JPG

IMG_1755.JPG

Chocolatey Pumpkin Spice Cookies

  • Servings: 24 cookies
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1 whole egg
  • 3/4 can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups oats
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • pinch pink Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3-1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

In a medium size bowl, combine 1 egg with brown sugar, coconut oil, vanilla, and pumpkin puree. Mix with a fork or whisk until brown sugar is well incorporated into wet ingredients with minimal to no lumps.

Add oats, flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix with a large spoon or fork until all dry ingredients are moistened. Lastly, fold in your chocolate chips or chunks (whatever your preference!)

Lightly grease a cookie sheet and scoop large spoonfuls about 1-1 1/2 inches apart. The cookies do not really spread out, so if you would like them flatter, lightly press down with the back of a spoon. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until they slide off the sheet easily without breaking. Let cool for 10-15 minutes before serving. Keep in an air-tight container for 3-4 days; refrigerate to keep for about 5-7 days. Enjoy!


Homemade 6 Ingredient Dog Treats

How much do you love your furry little pooch? I think if you scroll through my Instagram for even just 1 week you will notice how obsessive I am over my little golden Eddie. Yesterday Eddie had his 6-month old birthday (yes, we are a household which celebrates just about everything!) so I decided to make him homemade, special dog treats with some of his favorite ingredients!

These treats are easy to make and adorable when finished! I gave a few away to friends who also have little furry friends and could not wait to have Eddie try his first one last night after they cooled! He was overly excited to say the least and ate 2 in about 4 minutes flat!


If you want crispier or harder treats, you may want to bake them a few minutes longer. Mine are firm, but break apart easily for him to chew through. I hope you give these a try for the special animal in your life and let me know what you think! Your furry friend deserves just as much nutritious food love as you do!

Homemade 6 Ingredient Dog Treats

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Ingredients:

  • 1 mashed banana
  • 1/3 cup all natural peanut butter (chunky or creamy) — no added sugars or artificial sweeteners
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4-1/3 cup shredded carrot (I used a microplane to shred about 1/2 of a large carrot)

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl with your hands. Kneed until a dough forms and all ingredients are all incorporated.

Form your dough into what ever shapes you would like for your dog treats. You may also roll out your dough and use cookie cutters. Depending on the size of your treats you may get anywhere from 12-18 treats. I made dog bones that were for a medium-large size dog.

Line a baking sheet with tin foil or wax paper. I put a little olive oil down on the foil and used a paper towel to just create a thin layer and prevent the treats from sticking. Bake for 16-18 minutes for firm, but easy to break treats. Cook for an extra 3-5 minutes if you would like your treats to be a little harder/crunchier. Let cool before letting your perfect pooch dig in!!

 


What did I think of the Whole 30?

Ok, so I announced a few weeks ago that I was doing the Whole 30, but I never mentioned if I finished or how it went. All of these thoughts and feelings are my own. You or someone you know may have had a completely different experience.

To answer the first question of did I finish? No. I did not finish the Whole 30 for a few reasons. First, I want to say it drove me nuts that I stopped. I am a person who loves a challenge, and I like to see things all the way through. So, even though I started to have poor feelings about what was happening to my body and started to question some of the concepts, I still didn’t like that I was stopping.

I stopped the Whole 30 at day 13. In those 13 days I lost approximately 6lbs. I was currently 5’2″ and 112 lbs, so this brought me down to 106 lbs. I really didn’t want the weight loss to continue, but I was at a loss of how to increase my calories without drowning myself in even more nuts, avocado, and eggs than I was already having. Red meat is something I never really had in my diet (I grew up not eating it!); I’m allergic to fish/seafood; and I was already having 2 servings of chicken per day and 1 serving of eggs per day. I felt a little stuck.

Besides the weight loss, I also didn’t like the way I started to think about food. I never think obsession is a good thing when it comes to healthy eating. I have never been a restrictive person with what I eat. That is not how I choose to live my life, and trying this diet just enforced my belief in this concept. I didn’t want to develop a poor relationship with food… everyone has their limits, you just need to know when to recognize yours. This was a big eye opener for me that I needed to continue the way I have always lived my life and keep food something that is enjoyable and a part of my life…. but not my whole life.

Some positives from this experience:

  • I realized how many foods actually contain added sugar. Even as a dietitian who chooses a lot of plant-based foods, does a lot of home-cooking, and tries to eat whole foods frequently, I was shocked as I dug a little deeper into some of my basic kitchen staples. I was amazed to find sugar in my pasta sauce, canned tomatoes, and even in a jar of organic salsa. I have chosen since stopping the Whole 30 to make a conscious effort to continue to monitor my sugar intake and look for foods with minimal, whole ingredients.
  • I realized what an impact reducing sugar had on my skin. I have always struggled with keeping my skin clear. Cutting back on the quantity of sugar I had in my diet helped tremendously!
  • I realized that as a dietitian, my credentials and education have given me the true tools to living and teaching how to live a healthy lifestyle. I can’t stress enough that if you have any type of body issues, whether that be the desire to loose weight, gain weight, maintain weight, or just feel good in your own skin and reduce your risk of health problems, go see a dietitian. Dietitians are trained to meet you where you’re at in your life and create a plan that is best for you, your every day life, and your desires. Dieting is something that is short term in terms of happiness. What I mean by that is seeing the scale go down by a few pounds may be satisfying now, but as soon as the diet is over it can cause feelings of disappointment, sadness, and even depression when he weight trickles back in. A dietitian can help you create a better lifestyle for yourself so that happiness and healthy living is long term.

So in short, would I recommend the Whole 30? I think the decision is up to you. I highly recommend that you know yourself and pay attention to your body if you do choose to try it. I recommend you seek advice from a Registered Dietitian on how to modify the concepts of the Whole 30 to better fit you, your lifestyle, and your goals. Eating a diet that focuses on more fruits and vegetables, proteins, healthy fats such as nuts and avocado, and eliminating added sugars is something that I support. Just remember to give yourself a break, don’t deprive yourself, and know when restriction becomes obsession. Lastly, carbs are not evil. Learn to moderate and choose the right carb sources, and I promise you, you won’t blow up like a balloon after one meal containing whole wheat pasta. 🙂

 

For any additional questions regarding my experience or thoughts about this process, feel free to email me @ chelseamrd.1@gmail.com. Thank you!