Quinoa Cakes with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Back over the summer, I had quinoa cakes with a roasted red pepper sauce at a restaurant and knew I wanted to recreate them. It took me awhile to get around to it, but I made these last weekend and they were a big hit at our house! I made an avocado salsa on the side in addition to sautéed spinach.

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Ingredients:

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce:

  • 2 Red Bell Peppers
  • 1 cup almond milk (I bet this would be great with coconut milk)
  • 1 Tablespoon corn starch
  • 2 Scallions, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast

Quinoa Cakes:

  • 1 cup quinoa cooked
  • 1/2 zucchini shredded
  • 1/2 carrot shredded
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • handful of parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4-1/2 cup almond flour
  • salt and pepper to taste

Avocado Salsa:

  • 1 avocado, diced
  • handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • handful of cilantro, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

For the Roasted Red Pepper Sauce:

  1. Preheat oven to 500.
  2. Cook red peppers whole for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and wrap in foil for 10 minutes to soften.
  3. While the red peppers are cooking, saute the shallots and garlic together until golden brown. Add to a blender.
  4. Remove the skin and seeds from the red peppers and add to blender with the shallots and garlic. Add in 1 cup of almond milk, corn starch, nutritional yeast, and salt and pepper. Blend until smooth. Then pour into a sauce pan and heat until thickened.

For the Quinoa Cakes:

  1. Add together all the ingredients (cooked quinoa, zucchini, carrot, parsley, eggs, almond flour, garlic, and salt and pepper) into a bowl and stir until everything is well mixed.
  2. Heat up oil in a large frying pan. There should be enough oil in the pan to fry the quinoa cakes.
  3. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop out the mixture and drop it into the frying pan. Cook about 5 minutes on each side.

For the Avocado Salsa

  1. Mix together the avocado, cherry tomatoes, lime juice, salt, pepper, and cilantro.

 

To serve, spoon the roasted red pepper sauce on top of the quinoa cakes and add the avocado salsa on the side. I added sautéed spinach to my meal for added veggies!

Enjoy!

To Work or Play

Can we all just agree that adulting is a little ridiculous sometimes…most of the time? I’m constantly in go-go-go mode so it’s really hard to break free from that. I accept that because of all the extra things I’ve taken on in my life, I will be busy more often than not, but that doesn’t mean I can’t and shouldn’t designate time for fun.

So when Tuesday was a holiday off from work, I knew that it needed to be fun day despite the rainy gloominess. I started off with a relaxing morning drinking coffee in my pajamas before taking Finn pup for a looooooooooong walk. He had a blast running around and wore himself out – so proud of this pup for working on his off-leash skills. We weren’t sure he’d ever get to this point when we first rescued him, but as always – he surprised us with his mad skillz.

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He also has mad napping skillz.

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Then after stopping quickly at my friend’s apartment to take care of her plants, I did a long yoga session.  I generally just have time for 10 minutes of yoga here and there, but it felt so good to take an hour and a half to really stretch out and then do some meditation on top of that.

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After spending some time signing up for two of three certifications I’m working toward this year, it was time for a run in the rain. It actually was kind of nice despite the crazy wind and rain along the lake.

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After that, Finn pup was up and ready for another walk so we headed out again for a second hike. I’m so lucky to live in such an incredibly beautiful place.

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I decided to relax a little under an electric blanket while I ate a chocolate peanut butter smoothie bowl with homemade granola on top and worked on school work.

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And then after a couple hours, I made dinner (Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai).

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Unfortunately on Tuesdays, I don’t see Damir until 9 at night so I put his dinner in the fridge, packed my breakfast/lunch/snacks for tomorrow, and cuddled up on the couch with the pup while doing some more school work. Then when Damir got home we all cuddled up together until I crashed into bed. The perfect way to end an active, relaxing, and fun day.

It’s so easy to get caught up in everything we “have” to do. Both my work and home to-do lists are miles long and never-ending, but that makes it even more important to take time to yourself. Sunday is designated as fun day in our house and sometimes no-phone Sunday which is incredible. Then when I have a random holiday or day off from work, I often just work through it, but taking the time to just enjoy the day was the right call. I highly recommend it!

Happy Wednesday!

 

Quinoa Sweet Potato Quesadillas

Sweet potato quesadillas are a healthy quick meal for one of those nights you just don’t feel like thinking about recipes or cooking. Last night was one of those nights for me and after a long run, I was getting HANGRY  – so it was quesadillas to the rescue! I apologize for the phone photos – I actually did take photos with my camera and then my card reader this morning decided it wanted to stop working. 😦

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Finn was pretty bummed out about it too. I’ll replace the phone photos with actual pretty photos once I get the card reader situation sorted. Until then… on to the recipe!

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Quinoa Sweet Potato Quesadillas

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 4 Whole Wheat Tortillas
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (Cheddar works great, but I used Fontina cheese last night)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced
  • 1/4 red onion diced
  • 1 small sweet potato, diced
  • 4 handfuls of kale or spinach
  • 1/4 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • Salsa (optional)
  • Avocado (optional)
  • Plain Greek Yogurt (optional)
  • Tofu/ substitute chicken product (optional)
  • Chicken or other lean protein (optional)

Directions

1.) Pre-heat oven to 425.

2.) Toss diced sweet potatoes in olive oil and roast in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, stirring once or twice.

3.) In a saucepan add 1/2 cup of water to 1/4 cup of quinoa. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and let simmer 15-20 minutes.

4.) Cook your protein according to directions.

5.) Saute spinach or kale in saucepan and set aside.

6.) Once the quinoa is finished add 1/2 tsp cumin and 1/2 tsp chili powder and mix together well.

7.) Remove sweet potatoes from the oven and turn off the oven.

6.) On a baking sheet, lay two whole wheat tortillas flat. Sprinkle 1/4 of the cheese on each. Add spinach, jalapeno, sweet potatoes, quinoa, red onion, and protein on top.

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7.) Sprinkle the remainder of the cheese on top of both and add a tortilla on top of each.

8.) Place the quesadillas in the oven for 7-10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

9.) Cut into triangles and serve with salsa, avocado, plain greek yogurt, and additional red onion.

Enjoy!

 

Healthy Meal: Veggie Pasta

When my wellness coaching clients tell me they struggle with finding the time to make a healthy meal and also trying to figure out what to make, I tell them to start off just finding one easy healthy meal that they can make. Then in another week, find another. Then another. Suddenly you have several go-to meals you can rely on when time is limited after work in the evenings.

Healthy meals don’t have to be complicated. This meal is one of my go-to meals and it’s so easy to mix it up. Again apologies for the iPhone photo. My runner’s appetite usually takes priority over a food photo shoot. 🙂

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Ingredients:

  • Brown rice noodles, quinoa noodles, veggie noodles (carrots, zucchini, or sweet potato), or a combination of all three!
  • Kale or Spinach
  • Onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Fresh Basil
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Optional: Pasta Sauce or Pesto
  • Optional: Chicken and/or tofu sausage or another lean protein
  • Optional: Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

  1. If using, prepare your protein of choice.
  2. Boil pasta if using rice or quinoa noodles and set aside. If you’re using veggie noodles saute them in a pan and set aside.
  3. In a large pan, saute  onions and garlic until the onions are almost translucent. Add the halved cherry tomatoes and kale or spinach. Once the tomatoes have started to juice a little bit, add the pasta and basil into the mix and cook for about 2 more minutes.
  4. Take off the stove and serve immediately with your protein, sauce, and Parmesan cheese if using.

This is a super quick and easy meal, but healthy and long distance runner/tae kwon do master and also vegetarian/carnivore approved!

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Quinoa Tacos Recipe

I bet when you started reading this blog you thought these recipes would all be healthy salads. Ha! Think again. Healthy meals incorporate veggies and I do love a good salad, but as a long distance runner, I often need something more substantial.

These quinoa tacos are a favorite in our house and the leftovers make for a super easy and healthy lunch the next day!

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Recipe serves 4:

Ingredients:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup, dry quinoa
  • 2 cups veggie broth
  • 1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 yellow or red onion, diced
  • Optional: 2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
  • Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • If in season, fresh corn cooked and cut from the cob or frozen corn
  • 1 Avocado, sliced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  •  4 tsp chili powder, divided
  • 4 tsp cumin, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 TBSP nutritional yeast
  • 3 TBSP olive oil
  • Tortilla chips, taco shells, or corn tortillas
  • Optional: plain greek yogurt (sour cream substitute), shredded cheese, salsa, guacamole
  • Optional: Lean protein such as chicken or meat substitute

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425f.
  2. Peel and dice the sweet potatoes. Toss in olive oil, 2 tsp cumin, 2 tsp chili powder, and garlic. Spread out on a baking sheet and put in oven for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. If using, prepare your protein (chicken or meat substitute) according to directions.
  4. In a sauce pan bring quinoa and veggie broth to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook about 20 minutes or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and add the remainder of the chili powder, cumin, nutritional yeast, and a little olive oil to the pan.  Add in half of the black beans and add in the jalapeno peppers. Stir.
  5. Spread the quinoa mixture on a greased baking pan and bake in oven for about 10-15 minutes
  6. While everything is baking, chop up the onion, lettuce, tomato, and avocado. Also prepare the corn if using.
  7. Remove the quinoa and sweet potatoes from the oven. You can either make a taco salad, tacos, or buritto/wrap. I always start with the tortilla chips, add sweet potatoes, quinoa, chopped up vegetables, and optional toppings.
  8. Enjoy!

Baked Pumpkin Ravioli

Happy middle of the week!

I’m still struggling a little bit with lingering cold symptoms, but I’m hoping to be back to my old self by this weekend.  I’m still trying to hit my running mileage this week, but won’t be devastated if it doesn’t happen.

One of my favorite fall/winter recipes to make is baked pumpkin ravioli. It’s one of those comfort food meals that warms you up and keeps you full for a long time. It’s easily improvised too if you want to add or do something different!

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Sorry for the phone photo – I was too hungry to wait to pull out my real camera!

Ingredients:

1 cup canned pumpkin

1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese

1 package of won ton wrappers (should be about 48 to a package)

1 teaspoon nutmeg

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 egg, beaten

1 – 1.5 cups spinach, sauteed

2 cups kale, de-stemmed and torn into smaller pieces

1/2 cup sliced cherry tomatoes

1/2 onion

2 cloves garlic

Pasta sauce or tomato sauce to make your own pasta sauce

Optional: Tofu sausage or chicken sausage

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350f .

2.) If using, cook sausage according to instructions.

3.) Mix together the pumpkin, ricotta cheese, nutmeg, sea salt, and sauteed spinach.

4.) On two parchment lined baking sheets, lay out half of the won ton wrappers. In the center of each wrapper place a large dollop of the pumpkin mixture.

5.) Brush the egg around the outer edge of the wrappers and then place another wrapper on top of it. Then press down with a fork along the outer edge of where you placed the dollop to seal the ravioli.

6.) Lightly brush olive oil on top of each ravioli and then place in oven to bake for 7-10 minutes. 7 minutes will have a more pasta like texture and 10 minutes will have a crispier texture.

7.) In a skillet saute the garlic, onions, cherry tomatoes, and kale until the onions are translucent and kale is wilted.

8.) When the Ravioli is finished, take out of the oven and serve with the sausage and kale mixture. Then top with tomato sauce.

Enjoy!!!

Food Budgeting

One of my major goals this year is stick more to a food budget. With two athletes in the house (and you know, that long distance runner when training lives by the “eat ALL the food” mindset) it can be difficult. The last several months we’ve let that slide a little… a lot.

With some financial goals this year and further education happening, now more than ever it’s really important for us to stick to a budget. That generally means meal planning/prepping, healthy budget meals, and making sure not to let food go to waste. My time was limited this week for meal planning and grocery shopping ended up being grabbing random vegetables/ingredients. So this morning I decided to check the cupboards and figure out a plan for the rest of the week.

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When you actually pull things out of the fridge and cupboards and pair them together, it’s crazy how quickly healthy meals can form!

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Here’s the plan for the rest of the week.

Dinners:

  • Pumpkin ravioli with sautéed spinach and homemade tomato sauce (I always say I’m going to freeze half, but we end up eating all the leftovers pretty quickly – so good!)
  • Veggie stir-fry with brown rice and likely some tofu “chicken”
  • Butternut squash soup with whole wheat cheddar biscuits and a spinach, pear, walnut salad. (I will likely freeze half the soup for quick meals on busy days)
  • Tomato soup and grilled cheese

Lunches:

  • Leftovers
  • Tuna avocado salad

Breakfasts:

  • Eggs
  • Oatmeal
  • Protein smoothie

Snacks:

  • Almonds
  • Fruit (Apples, blueberries, pears) with peanut butter
  • Healthy banana muffins

This weekend, I’ll be back to meal planning, prepping, and all that fun stuff. We’re debating a CSA and also how much per week seems like a reasonable food goal for us. Stay tuned on that front!