A Salad That Beckons Springtime..


It’s cold outside… the kids are at school… I am dreaming of springtime. All things point to this mama needing a nice, energizing pick-me-up for lunch!

With energy in mind, this what I threw together – and can I just say: YUM.

Satisfying. Tasty. Fresh. Beautiful.

  • Handful of arugula
  • 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • A sprinkle of goat cheese crumbles
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 lemon juice, fresh squeeze (please, please, please – NEVER use lemon juice out of a plastic lemon. NEVER.)
I am one happy mama.

Rebel on, -e.

Coconut Chicken Corn Soup

When I was growing up, one of my favorite fiesta dishes was always the coconut chicken corn soup. It’s such a sweet memory for me: walking in on the nanas in the outdoor kitchen boiling the chicken off the bones, fanning themselves with paper plates and talking about the neighborhood gossip. When it was ready for the party, they’d bring it out in big pots and all us kids would gather round to fill up our cups. It may have been 95 degrees outside, but there was something about a hot cup of corn soup that made us all feel happy.

Now, on days like today where it’s drizzly, cold and the kids are bouncing off the walls from a full day of “indoor activities”, a big, hot pot of soup seems more than appropriate. So –  here’s my recipe for the most delicious coconut chicken corn soup you’ll ever – EVER – eat. And you know the best part? You can pick up a Costco rotisserie and make this in less than 15 minutes… so it’s the perfect “quick and easy” homemade meal.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 rotisseri chicken, deboned
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 cup coconut milk (be sure when you buy coconut milk the ONLY ingredient you see is “coconut milk” – I love the Trader Joe’s brand)
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • black pepper to taste
  • soy sauce to taste (I usually use about 1/8 of a cup)
  1. Sauté the onion in a large pot with just a little olive oil. When onions are translucent, add in the chicken meat, the broth, the water, and the frozen corn. Bring to boil then turn heat down to medium low.
  2. Allow the pot to simmer for about 10 minutes then add in the coconut milk, the black pepper and the soy. Turn off the heat and cover until ready to serve. (NOTE: If you like it more “soupy” than it turns out, just add some extra water.)
  3. Serve over cooked quinoa – and, if you like it HOT, top it with chili paste.
Enjoy!
P.S. Now, I know the american thing is to serve everything with bread. REBEL FROM THIS TRADITION! I add quinoa into each bowl before I serve because it gives extra substance to the meal and makes bread unnecessary.
P.S.S. Sometimes I’ll make this by boiling down the bones of a rotisserie that we’ve eaten at a previous meal. There is so much meat left on the bones no matter how good we try and clean one off… and it stretches my $5.00 rotisserie purchase into TWO full meals. I share this way with you, however, because it’s something you can do on the fly.)

5 Steps to Training Conscious Eaters

This week on twitter I was reminded of a this great quote:

We are walking billboards. If we are overweight and out of shape, lack vitality and enthusiasm, we are telling the world on our billboard, “I don’t care.” On the other hand, if you take care of your body by giving it proper nutrition and exercise, you will exude vitality and enthusiasm. Your sign will read, “I have pride, I have discipline, I take care of this God-given body, it’s my moral obligation.” -Jack Lallane, from his book Revitalize Your Life: Improve Your Looks, Your Health & Your Sex Life.

Growing up in a bodybuilding house this idea that we are “walking billboards” was always top of mind. Why? Because people are watching. Yes, whether we like it or not, others are watching our “example”. How we talk, how we dress, how we look, where we go, what we do – it all says something about what takes priority in our heart. We are a total package… therefore, if we are to have positive influence on others, we musn’t just be talking – we must be WALKING. Our life must say something – and, when it comes to whether we care about our health and fitness, what people see on the outside speaks louder than anything that ever comes out of our mouth.

Now that I’m a wife and mother, my “walking billboard” has grown to include my husband and my children. How they are “nourished” in my home is reflected in who they are – physically, emotionally, spiritually. I am no longer able to just think of health in terms of what I need and want… I must consider what “my tribe” needs and wants. Health and wellness is a family affair… and, if I want my family to be healthy and well, it all starts with me and the habits I cultivate in my home.

One “rebel” habit I am cultivating in my home, for example, is “conscious eating”. How? With these five basic steps:

First, regular meals at regular times of day. We have regular meals at regular times of the day: breakfast in the morning, lunch at mid-day, and dinner in the evening. No matter what our schedule, we do our best to all eat at the same time, and eat the same things; no one gets to “opt-out” of what’s be prepared for the family. And, when the kitchen “closes” after dinner, there is no more eating – period.

Second, proper portions. I serve my children on smaller plates/bowls than adults eat off of; smaller bodies need smaller portions. We rarely serve seconds – if there is still hunger after a meal, then we bring out fruit to top it off.

Third, listen to (and understand) your body. I once heard that the French word for “full” is actually translated, “I no longer have hunger”. This is what I want my kids to understand – that you don’t have to be “full” after a meal, you simply have to “no longer have hunger”.

Fourth, we have clear family definition for what a snack is. In between our regular meals, we have “snacks” – a nutrient dense nibble of whole food that will fend off hunger and provide the energy we need between meals.

Cookies and milk is not a snack.

A bowl of ice cream is not a snack.

A fruit snack is not a snack.

A sugar-laden granola bar (or protein bar or meal bar) is not a snack.

A bowl full of chips is not a snack.

None of these are a snack in our home because none of them fit our definition of snack: a nutrient dense nibble of whole food that will fend off hunger and provide us the energy we need between meals.

So, what is a snack?

Whole fruit is a snack. Nuts are a snack. A bowl of edemame or sugar snap peas is a snack. Crackers with peanut butter is a snack. SmartyBars are a snack. A slice of turkey or a piece of salami with cheese – that’s a snack.

Fifth, everything gets a plate. Nothing gets eaten unless it’s first put it on a plate (or in a bowl) – why? Because seeing how much you are serving yourself is key in understanding how much your body needs to “no longer have hunger”. I want my kids to see what they are consuming, not eat mindlessly.

I share all this because today is a great time for you to think about a couple of things: 1) are you happy with your “billboard”; and 2) if not, what is ONE step you can take to begin remaking your “billboard”?

Just one step… that’s what it takes to go in a new direction.

Rebel on, sister.

Elisha

Ladies, Meet Ataulfo


We are coming into the season of this bundle of sweetness: the ataulfo mango. Depending on where you find them they are also called “Manila” and “Champagne” mangos… our family just calls them candy.

They are amazing.

Juicy, vibrant in color, and string-less.

I just picked some up at our local Costco (every time I see them there I wanna do a happy dance!), and every nibble makes me feel like I’m back in the islands. When you find them you want them to be bright orange with yellow undertones and you don’t want them mushy when you give them a little squeeze. (If you buy them a little underripe, just put them in a brown paper bag for a couple of days and they will ripen right up.)

We eat them freshly skinned, over homemade pancakes or waffles, and, of course, over quinoa as either a super porridge breakfast or an “afternoon delight”.

Keep an eye open for them… I promise you’ll fall in love.

Here’s the recipe for the photo above:

  • 1/2 cup of quinoa (pre-cooked and cold out of the fridge)
  • 1/2 cup of whole milk, plain yogurt
  • 1/2 a ataulfo mango, diced
  • a sprinkle of frozen blueberries
  • a sprinkle of unsweetened coconut

Eat up, mama… that’s SUPER FOOD for sure!

Enjoy!

“The First Step to Love” Salad

Wow – ever since Quinoa Week ended I have been dying to share more, more, more recipes with you! If I had it my way we’d be filming recipes every night… but, life gets in the way, you know? I mean, my sweet man not only did all the filming, he was also staying up until the wee hours of the morning to get the videos edited. After the “week” was over, we felt we had jet lag – yet, without a vacation tan; and, with three children that “lifestyle” just isn’t sustainable. LOL.

With all that said, I promise we’ll keep the recipe videos coming – just one a week, though. So, I hope you’ll come back every Monday and see what we’ve thrown together!

In between the videos, however, I WILL be posting photos and recipes (and, of course, I can’t help myself: some thoughts on this “rebel” life we’re trying to lead.) And the first photo/recipe I want to share? A little salad I call “The First Step to Love”.

Why the “First Step to Love”? Because this salad is the perfect way to introduce your man to quinoa. It’s so funny to me how many guys I know that, over the last week, have said: “My wife better not make me eat rabbit food.” BUT – they haven’t experienced the “First Step to Love”: a quinoa salad with BACON. (I wish I would have thought to post this before Valentine’s Day, but better late than never.)

Yum.

So, here goes – this recipe will make two side-servings:

  • 1/2 bunch of fresh arugula
  • 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa
  • 10-12 dried dates
  • 3-4 TBS crumbled goat cheese
  • 4 strips of cooked bacon, cut into bite sized pieces (not bits)
  • 3-4 TBS balsamic vinegar
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Put your dates into a small fry pan with just a little bit of water barely covering the bottom of the pan. Bring the water to a sizzle (which should take less than a minute), turn the stove off and cover the pan. Let the dates sit and soften in the steam while you…

Wash and dry the arugula, then roughly tear and put into a large bowl.

Drizzle the balsalmic and the olive oil over the arugula. Stir to coat.

Add in the quinoa, the goat cheese, and the BACON.

Dice up the softened dried dates and toss into the salad.

Continue to toss the salad together until everything is coated.

Serve salad onto two beautiful plates and serve your man. (It might help if you have something sexy on, too.) Tell him it’s the “First Step to Love”… I have a hard time believing he’ll turn up his nose to that “rabbit food”.

Let me know how it goes!

P.S. I cook my bacon in the oven at 425 degrees for about 12-15 minutes. It’s the BEST way to cook the stuff… it gets it perfectly crisp!