A Warm and Savory White Bean & Carrot Quinoa Salad

Where has the summer gone? Do you feel that, too? Just yesterday I saw this quote by John Burroughs: “I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see.” Yep – I couldn’t put it any better than that.

Not only have I been feeling the days are too short, I’ve been feeling my days are way too filled with the ‘tedious things’. The laundry. The organizing. The grocery shopping. The laundry. The cooking. The cleaning. The laundry. (Do you do that much laundry, too?) On more than one occasion I’ve looked at the floor waiting to be swept and the dishes needing washing, and, for a split second, it’s crossed my mind to run out the door with The Kitchen House and hide in the shade of a tree instead of doing my chores. Ha! Maybe after the kids go back to school that will be my ‘free day’: shade, a good book, no chores for mommy.

Anyway, because of all the business of these last days before school starts, there’s been no real ‘plan’ for our days… which is why we ended up eating this last night:

I was staring at my pantry, my overabundance of carrots, and a nice selection of my staples: white beans, lemons, spinach, and arugula. As I started to cook, it didn’t even occur to me I was throwing together a recipe I’d be sharing with you – hence, my lack of ‘how to’ photos in this post. But you know what? It was so yummy… so fast… and so perfect for a quick meal on a summer night – I have to share it.

Here’s what I used:

1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, diced and smashed with the back of a fork
1 1/2 cups of carrots, peeled and grated (I chopped mine with my mini food processor)
1/4 cup fresh diced parsley
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp sea salt
2 cans of white beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup of water
2 handfuls raw baby spinach
1 cup cooked Andean Naturals quinoa
1 handful of arugula
Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon

In a large fry pan, sauté your onions and garlic in a little olive oil on medium high. Once onions are translucent, add in your shredded carrots, parsley, dried seasonings; stir and continue to sauté for another couple minutes. Add in your white beans and water; stir again, and allow beans to warm through for a couple minutes. Add in baby spinach, stir to incorporate, cover, and turn off heat while spinach wilts.

Place your quinoa in a large bowl. Add in one cup of your hot bean/carrot sauté, a handful of fresh arugula, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Stir to incorporate. Serve the salad and, before eating, freshly zest lemon zest over the top for garnish.

Now, here’s the truth: After I pulled out the cup of sauté for this salad – my salad, I actually mixed the remainder together with some noodles for my man and kids. So, if you have family that wants pasta – serve them pasta! But, if you want quinoa like me, do it up; and, if you have leftover saute, just mix it with more quinoa and save it for lunch tomorrow.

Before I go, please know I intend to spend more time here once our house is back on a school / work schedule. Thank you for sticking it out with me, encouraging me, and being here! I appreciate you… I hope you know that.

(Want to learn more about quinoa? Check out my brand partner, Andean Naturals. They’re raising the power of goodness and sharing quinoa with the world.)

4 Mexican Dishes You Want to Make (And Eat!) This Cinco De Mayo

OK, peeps, today is Cinco de Mayo and, in case you didn’t know, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s independence day. No, the 5th of May is celebrated to commemorate the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over Napoleon’s French forces at the Battle of Puebla.

In any event, even if it is more of an American holiday these days, since Mexican food is probably on the brain today I thought I’d remind you of 4 of my favorite Mexican dishes you can throw together in a snap:

1) Homemade pinto beans.

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My pinto beans just went into the pot!

Right now, do this: pull out your crock pot and add  2 cups of dried pinto beans, 6 cups of water, 1 onion chopped into quarters, 3 peeled and smashed garlic cloves, 1 tsp of cumin, 2 tsp sea salt, 2 tsp of black pepper. Cook for 5 hours on high (or 8 hours on low). These will be the most amazing pintos you’ve ever had.

2) Almost instant chicken fajitas (and you don’t need a fajita flavor packet to make it happen).
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(Make a quick run to the store sometime today and grab a rotisserie chicken, some bell peppers, and corn tortillas today and throw these together.)

3) Homemade red and green salsas with  Juanita’s (the ONLY tortillas chips I buy).

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(Seriously, MAKE THESE SALSAS. They come together in a flash and will make you think you’re sitting in Mexico for dinner tonight.)

4) Use QUINOA for a ‘tortilla-less burrito bowl‘. (While my kids gravitate towards burritos and tacos with tortillas, you know me: quinoa is my foundation for everything.)

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And don’t forget to put out a gorgeous array of fresh fixings like cilantro, tomatoes, avocado, onions, lettuce, lime wedges, and fresh diced jalapeño… and shredded cheddar cheese! Everything goes better with FRESH.

Have fun, everyone!

And hey: Let me know what YOUR favorite homemade Mexican dish is!

YOU CAN DO IT: Baked Quinoa Egg Pie

It’s been awhile, sweet friend. I’ve missed you. I don’t know what happened… I don’t know where the days have gone from January 29th to today. I was on a roll. I was writing, and cooking, and savoring every connection with you – and, then, I got quiet.

Quiet.

I feel like three weeks ago I made an unconscious decision to slip out of my tough skin – the skin I wear when I command the troops, run the house, strive to build, and do, do, do, and slip back into the softness of motherhood, and marriage, and friendship. I needed to stop striving. I needed to turn inward, and pay attention, and be still. (And with tough skin on, being still and quiet is the last thing I want to do.)

But then a couple of days ago I was standing in my kitchen after a workout, and I needed to eat.  I wanted something powerful, because I was feeling powerful. I wanted something light, because I was feeling ready to take on the world. And in that moment, I felt something else: I felt the urge of quiet lift, and I wanted something to share with you – I wanted something to empower YOU with, too.

And you know what came from that thought? This:

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A baked quinoa egg pie.

I made it, ate it warm, and then snacked on it cold the next two days. I made another variation for my Friday morning bible study group – and it was devoured. Then, I made another one today after I returned from my morning workout – and it has carried me through the day.

Just a little slice or two, a glass of water or some tea, and a piece of fresh fruit. Can you say PERFECT MEAL?

Clean. Pure. Whole. Easy. DELICIOUS.

Here’s what you need:

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For saute:

  • olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 baby Portobello mushrooms, roughly chopped in quarter sized pieces
  • 2 large handfuls of spinach
  • 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, halved (this is a great way to use up tomatos that are beginning to wilt)
  • 1 handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp peppr

For egg mixture:

  • 6 eggs
  • 2 cups of precooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup of crumbled feta

Make sauté:

Heat a large skillet with some olive oil. Add diced shallot and minced garlic; sauté for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly so you don’t burn the garlic.

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Add in mushrooms and parsley and sauté until mushrooms begin to release their moisture (about two minutes).

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Turn off heat and add in spinach, cherry tomatoes, parsley, salt and pepper, and stir to mix thoroughly. Cover so the steam wilts the greens and tomatoes while you prepare the egg mixture.

Make egg mixture:

Butter a glass pie plate. (Yes, buttered. Don’t use chemical cooking spray – use real butter.)

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Whisk 6 eggs in a large bowl until they are loose.

Add in quinoa, feta, and then the warm sauté. Pour entire mixture into a buttered, glass pie plate.

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Bake at 375 for 18-20 minutes. Remove from oven, cover with foil, and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

DONE.

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Now, the possibilities are limitless with this dish. Just like an omelette or quiche, you can add sausage, arugula, other herbs, other greens. You could do it with leftover roasted root vegetables or potatoes. You could use any cheese – from cheddar, to goat cheese, to parmesean. Whatever your heart desires (or whatever is in your fridge) will work. Allow yourself the freedom (and fun!) to get creative.

So there. I’m back. And… I hope you’re inspired. (Because that’s why I’m here, you know? I’m here because I want you to know: YOU CAN DO IT.)

Much love to you.

Um, More Cauliflower Quinoa Soup, Please

We eat a ton of cauliflower in our house.

Raw. Roasted. Sautéed. Stir fried.

I was just telling a girlfriend yesterday that when I roast it and put it on the counter to cool, I often return to find little fingers have nibbled the entire pan away.

Our favorite way hands down, however, is this:

Cauliflower Quinoa Soup

Cauliflower Quinoa Soup

… the most savory bowl of yumminess ever.

The inspiration for this recipe came a couple years ago from The Pioneer Woman. Of course (because I need to be in control, lol) I made some tweaks that work better for the way we eat in our home (nixed the butter and flour, added garlic, upgraded from milk to cream, and added quinoa).

Don’t worry, though – this recipe is SO SIMPLE. Truly.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1/4 cup EVOO
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, diced and smashed
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 celery sticks, chopped
  • 1 head of cauliflower, broken into small florettes and roughly chopped (trim off the stalks from florets as best you can)
  • 4 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 2 cups precooked quinoa
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Warm a big soup pot and add the EVOO. Once EVOO is hot and loose in the pan, add onions, garlic, celery, and carrots. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly so garlic doesn’t burn.
  2. Add chopped cauliflower to the pan and continue to sauté for another minute or two. Then, cover pot, reduce heat to just under medium, and allow veggies to soften for about five minutes. (Yes, you’ll want to give them an occasional turn with your spoon during that time.)
  3. Uncover the pot and add the chicken stock, heavy cream (optional), fresh parsley, and precooked quinoa. Bring soup to a gentle boil; then, reduce heat to just under medium again, cover and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes. (Also, if you need more soupiness (we like it a little thick in our house), just add more broth until it reaches the consistency you want).
  4. When it’s done simmering, grab a spoon and give it a taste! This is how you’ll determine how much salt you’ll need. Once you’ve tasted it, add in a little salt and pepper to taste.
  5. To serve, ladle into a beautiful bowl and sprinkle on some crushed chili pepper for those that love a little heat. (You can also add a little extra parsley for presentation.)

NOTE: If you are DIARY FREE, you can make this without the addition of the cream. As I sit here and think about it, I wonder if coconut milk as a substitute would add a little something special to this soup!

Enjoy… and, as always, Rebel On.
Elisha

Last Minute Dinner Idea: Kale, Sweet Potato, Black Bean Quinoa Soup

Contrary to popular belief, I’m often totally unprepared for dinner. Take last night, for example. At about 5:30 I was talking to my man on his drive home when he asked the typical question every man asks after a long day at work, “So, what’s for dinner?”

“Not sure yet,” I responded. “I was just figuring that out.”

He laughed. “It’s crazy, isn’t it? It just keeps happening… every single night. We just don’t stop needing to eat!”

Yep – every night. There is no rest for the weary.

BUT – while I am not always totally sure what I’ll be making, I am always very confident that I have the right things on hand to create something healthy, filling, and satisfying. This is where our ‘staples’ come in.

You can probably see from the recipes I post that much of what I cook is made of pretty simple ingredients: quinoa, leafy greens and other vegetables, beans, eggs, fruit, herbs. Some meats, lots of fish (although I haven’t posted many of these yet). You’ll also see a lot of olive oil, coconut milk, greek yogurt, and spices of various sorts.

We like simple.

We like clean.

I like ingredients that can be mixed and matched and it won’t take me two pages of directions to explain the recipe to my girlfriends.

So, here’s one of those types of recipes for you – one that you can throw together and have served in less than 30 minutes: Kale, Sweet Potato, Black Bean, Quinoa Soup. (You should know: I was a inspired by a recipe I had seen on Oh She Glows.)

Kale, Sweet Potato, Black Bean Quinoa Soup: Instant Dinner!

Kale, Sweet Potato, Black Bean Quinoa Soup: Instant Dinner!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1/4 cup EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced (NOTE: you can also use a small shallot for a lighter flavor)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and mashed
  • 1 bunch of kale, washed and cut into bite sized pieces (NOTE: when you use kale, you want to trim off the bottom half of the stems and discard them)
  • 3 palm sized sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized chunks (I used WHITE sweet potatoes… but you could also use other varieties, I’m sure)
  • 2 cups of broth
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 cans of organic black beans, drained and rinsed (NOTE: canned beans are gold to a mama. Be sure when you buy them there are no preservatives; the label should simply say “beans, water” (and maybe “salt”)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 1/2 cups pre-cooked quinoa (You know: gotta ALWAYS have the precooked quinoa on hand when you’re cooking with me!)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • To Garnish: fresh avocado, cherry tomatos, cilantro, and jalapeño
  1. Heat a soup pot and add olive oil. When hot, add diced onion and garlic. Stir constantly to prevent burning.
  2. After about a minute or two (when onion is translucent), add in chopped kale. Saute the kale for about two minutes, tossing occassionally so that all leaves have been fully coated in oil.
  3. Add in the diced sweet potato and cumin. Stir entire mixture to coat. Add in the broth and the water; turn heat up to medium high and bring to a rapid boil. Once boiling, turn heat down to medium, cover, and let simmer for about 5 minutes. (This is a great time to prepare your garnishes.)
  4. After 5 minutes, check your potatoes for tenderness with a fork. (If they are still too firm to pierce with a fork, allow to simmer another couple of minutes. NOTE: you want the potatoes soft, but not mushy.) Once tender, add in your black beans, cooked quinoa, a little salt and a little pepper, and stir to mix completely.
  5. DONE!
A Beautifully Simple Soup

A Beautifully Simple Soup

TO SERVE: Ladle out the soup into bowls and then time for the magic to happen: with garnishes. The soup is amazing by itself – but it goes to a whole new level when you top it with fresh chopped cilantro, halved cherry tomatoes, diced fresh avocado, and (if you have it) diced fresh jalapeños.

The Magic is in the Garnishes...

The Magic is in the Garnishes…

Isn’t that easy? The best part is, like I said at the beginning, it’s made with things you can always keep as a ‘staple’ in your home. Because remember: if we can be sure of anything, it is this: we need to eat every night! And, with a recipe like this in hand, there’s never an excuse to ‘not be prepared’ with something that will power up you and your tribe up for greatness.

Let me know if you make it!

I’m thrilled you’re here with me…

Rebel on,
Elisha

 

 

 

 

POWER-FULL: Fried Quinoa and Veggies

My role as mama – as “Chief Nutrition Officer” of my home – is to make sure my kids are equipped to think clearly, perform with strength, and feel good as they walk through their day. What they eat for breakfast has a HUGE impact on their performance (just as it has a huge impact on my own performance!)… so I make sure we ALL eat powerful before we head out the door.

Here’s a great recipe for Fried Quinoa and Veggies. It’s just like fried rice – but, with the superfood quinoa as it’s base, it’s the SUPER HEALTHY version. Now, maybe you’ve never thought of fried rice for breakfast… let alone “fried quinoa”. But for me rice is as basic as toast in America… so I LOVE any opportunity to offer this super dish to my family.

Ingredients:

  • Cooked quinoa
  • Corn
  • Peas
  • Carrots
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Eggs
  • Soy Sauce
  • Black pepper
  • Olive oil for sautéing and frying the eggs
Here’s the “how-to”:

FOR VARIATION: Sometimes I throw chorizo sausage or kielbasa sausage into it because the kids LOVE sausage. If you’re making this more for dinner, you can also add chicken chunks, shrimp, or tofu – whatever floats your boat. You can also use whatever veggies you have on hand – like asparagus, bell peppers, cauliflower; any veggies work fabulous!

I’d love to hear how you cook it up in your house – so please come back and share!!

Rebel on,

Elisha