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Sugar-Free Week

Posted on by Susan Posted in Food | Leave a comment

That’s it, friends! I’ve had it.

After a recent faceplant into  a box of Trader Joe’s Sea Salt Brownie Bites, I decided it’s about time to go separate ways. It’s been a little out of control lately. Not sure what happened, but I think Costco had something to do with it (umm, hello 15-pack Häagen-Dazs ice cream bars…) . And then this happened a few times this summer:

Here’s the deal: I can’t ditch the coffee. I need it to function and I’ve already cut way down. But the ice cream has to go!

I also had fitness assessment with my personal trainer a few days ago, and I don’t like what I’ve seen. I gained weight. Quite a bit. It’s time to take charge of my health again, after these months of moving and paperwork stress.

I figured that my little guy loves the gym play care so much, I might as well go a few times per week, but in addition to working out regularly again, I know I must also change my food habits.

So, to kick-start my new challenge to becoming healthier (again!), I’m saying no to sugar for a week. That’s right, folks – 7 long days!

Here’s my plan:

  • No added refined sugar in treats or drinks – replace sweet cravings with a piece of fresh fruit
  • focus on whole, fresh foods, mostly veggies and fruit, and whole grains
  • More green smoothies!
  • more lean protein – I don’t think I’m getting enough protein, which results in my cravings (nutritionist/RD  friends, please correct me if that’s wrong, it’s just a suspicion I have)
  • No weird sauces/condiments that contain sugar – luckily we don’t keep those around, this would be more of an issue when eating out
20120317 - green smoothie

Of course I will write a recap for you to let you know how it went.

So now I need your help! What are some good, easy, refined sugar-free, healthy treats that tame a sweet tooth? I’m thinking: Lärabars, banana and nut butter, smoothies instead of ice cream, but all I want is a Sea Salt Brownie Bite. Good thing I ate them all.

Wanna join me? You can tweet about your #SugarFreeWeek adventures and follow me @susoniadotcom to see how it will work out for me.

Southwest Quinoa Salad + Maple-Mustard-Balsamic Vinaigrette

Posted on by Susan Posted in Dinner, Food, Lunch, Recipes | 6 Comments

Once again, I missed the What I Ate Wednesday party with Peas & Crayons. But, you guys? I’m making up for it with not only one, but two recipes!

Even though I’m not sure what the definition of South-Western food is, this salad has become part of our regular meal rotation lately. I’m assuming corn, beans and avocado are staples in kitchens of the American Southwest, so that’s what I’m going to call this combination. Feel free to educate me, if you know more! I’d love to hear about it!

Southwest Quinoa Salad

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup corn (thawed from frozen)
  • 1 can kidney beans (drained well to remove excess sodium)
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • extra sharp cheddar, about 3/4 cup, cubed
  • cilantro (to your liking – I just garnished the salad with a little cilantro on top)
  • salt and pepper to taste, chili flakes if you feel like it ;)
  • lettuce for layering underneath (I used spinach)
  • easy Maple-Mustard-Balsamic Vinaigrette (*recipe below*)
So, so easy:
  1. Cook quinoa according to instructions.
  2. Toss with the other ingredients.
  3. Scoop onto the bed of greens
  4. Drizzle with vinaigrette.
  5. Eat.
Of course, you can always throw in other veggies you have on hand, such as bell peppers, cucumbers, or tomatoes. That’s why I love these throw-together-in-a-jiffy salads. Be creative! :D
This Maple-Mustard-Balsamic Vinaigrette is one of my go-to salad dressings, as I usually have most ingredient on hand and it works really well with the above salad.
I usually eyeball it, because I make it quite frequently, but I’m guesstimating the measurements to be the following:
  • 1 T grainy mustard
  • 1 T pure maple syrup
  • 1 T balsamic vinegar
  • 3 T Extra virgin olive oil
Mix all ingredients together until smooth and creamy. I keep leftovers in one of our Wean Green glass baby food cubes in the fridge for 3-5 days.
It works also really well with a spinach, pear and blue cheese salad, or simple mixed greens, cucumber and tomatoes.
Do you have any quick salad recipes to share? Your go-to dressing? I’d love to hear your favorites in the comments below!
PS: I’d love if you follow me on Bloglovin, Pinterest and Twitter!

What I Ate Wednesday + Apple-Quinoa Mini Muffins {toddler-approved, wheat-free}

Posted on by Susan Posted in Eats, Recipes | Leave a comment

I’m joining the What I Ate Wednesday party again today, by linking up with Jenn from Peas & Crayons.

Peas and Crayons

But first I wanted to apologize that this little recipe didn’t get posted on Monday, as I promised on Twitter last week. Oops!

Apple-Quinoa Mini Muffins

It’s a wheat-free and toddler-approved snack, perfect for little hands to grab and munch on the go.

Ingredients:

  • 1 c cooked quinoa
  • 1 c oat flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • dash of salt
  • 1/3 c brown sugar
  • 1 container apple sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1 small apple (pink lady), peeled and chopped into small pieces

Making them is so easy:

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. Mix the oat flour, baking powder and salt together.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the remaining ingredients, except for the quinoa and apple.
  4. Fold dry ingredients into wet mix and stir until well combined.
  5. Add cooked quinoa and apples and gently mix together.
  6. Pour batter into a greased (and lined , if you like) mini muffin dish and bake for about 20 minutes.

I forgot to take pictures with our camera, so all I’ve got for you is the above cell phone pic. #foodblogfail

But let me assure you, these puppies were devoured by my toddler!

In addition to keeping healthy snacks around, I have been trying to keep things quick and simple in the kitchen. Here are yesterday’s eats:

B: Oatmeal with banana, cherries and chocolate chippies :)

Snacks: yogurt + fresh organic strawberries, organic peach (both are on the dirty dozen list, so I try and buy organic when I can)

L: Tuna salad on an whole wheat English muffin, snap peas

Toddler snackage:

Snap peas, cucumber, hummus and blueberries, eaten on the patio.

Dinner:

Quick and easy southwestern quinoa salad (recipe coming soon).

Your turn: What were your eats from the day? Anything fun and healthy?

We just came back from the beach, so I’m off to wash the sand off my toes as long as the little guy is napping!

Happy Hump Day!

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