southwest quinoa salad

This past summer in Manhattan it was extremely warm in our apartment (no central air). The prospect of lighting up the stove and adding to the thick, humid air in our little kitchen was about as enticing as wearing wool tights to hot yoga. So, we decided to make a delicious raw southwest salad by Little House of Veggies. Recently, with the spring weather in the air, I started craving this raw dish and decided to add some quinoa and make my own variation.

I haven’t worked much with quinoa and I have been eager to give this protein-dense seed more attention in our kitchen; this seemed like the perfect dish to incorporate some quinoa! If you aren’t familiar with quinoa, it is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. Quinoa is a nutritional powerhouse! It’s high in protein (18%), magnesium and iron; it contains a balanced set of essential amino acids, making it a complete protein source; and it is also a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus. The texture reminds me of couscous.

Enjoy this healthy dish! Note: this salad is great for leftovers – it works great for a quick lunch or put the mixture in a whole-grain wrap and make it a meal.


1 cup quinoa (measuring 1 cup uncooked)
1 avocado, diced
¼  cup red onion, finely diced
1 tomato, diced
1 cucumber, seeded and diced
½  yellow squash, diced
½  zucchini, diced
2 cups spinach, chopped
¼  cup broccoli, finely chopped
¾  cup chopped cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced

Creamy Lime Dressing:
4 ½ T fresh lemon juice
4  T fresh lime juice
1 ½  T Veganaise
¼  cup olive oil
2 t cumin
1 t salt
dash of cayenne pepper
crushed black pepper to taste


  1. Cook quinoa. If working with unrinsed quinoa, soak quinoa for at least 15 minutes. After soaking, rinse for two or three minutes in a fine strainer. (If using pre-rinsed quinoa, skip this step.) Add quinoa and 1 ¼ cup water to pan. Bring to a simmer, then reduce to low. Cover and cook for 30-35 min. Remove from heat and let sit covered for 5 minutes. Fluff and set aside to cool. (I spread it out on a cookie sheet.)
  2. Wisk dressing ingredients together and set aside.
  3. Place chopped veggies and cooled quinoa in a large bowl. Pour dressing over and toss to blend.

vegan lunchmeat

Now that Harper is crawling EVERYWHERE and pulling up on everything she can, I have to keep my eye on her 24/7. I need to get one of those play areas that trap them inside of it so I can get a little more accomplished. By the way, why am I not smaller and more toned than before I had her? I don’t sit down all day for the most part and I’m constantly picking her up and moving her away from the stairs. These are the things I think about. *sigh*  Welp, onto reality…

I don’t like spending a lot of time preparing a lunch for myself during the week, because I honestly just don’t have the time. So when I found this vegan lunchmeat recipe from one of my favorite blogs, Vegan DadI went to Whole Foods that day, got these simple ingredients and made this wonderful lunchmeat.

This recipe is super fast, super cheap and lasts us up to a week. I won’t lie – at first the texture is a little awkward, but the taste makes up for it and you get used to it. I love this recipe and thought it was perfect, so I didn’t change a thing about it.


1 cup white beans
2 cups water
1/4 cup oil
2 tsp salt
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic
1/4 tsp tumeric
1 tsp ground fennel
1 tsp sage
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp soy sauce
2 3/4 cup vital wheat gluten


Start steaming water in your steamer
  1. Place all ingredients except the gluten flour in a blender and process until smooth. Pour into a bowl. Add gluten flour and work into a dough.
  2. Shape dough into a log and wrap in heavy duty foil. Try to make the roll as thick as possible. Steam for 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees in the last 15 mins of steaming. Remove “meat” from steamer and bake for 45-60 mins.
  4. Cool and slice when ready to make sandwich. Store in refrigerator.

raw oatmeal

Derek and I have some great friends who were on the RAW diet for awhile and they have shared so many great recipes with us that are so tasty and surprisingly simple.  I don’t know why, but for some reason breakfast is the hardest thing for me to conjure up.  I’m either so picky that NOTHING sounds good except my coffee or I’m just too lazy after feeding Harper…either way, I don’t like breakfast as far as cooking goes. How many times can I eat cereal…blah.  Well if you are like me, things are about to change for you – this raw oatmeal recipe is so easy, so good and so healthy.  It almost feels a little naughty when I eat it because it reminds me of cookie dough.  Either way…you need to go make it ASAP.


2 apples ( sometimes I do 1 apple and 1 pear )
1 1/2 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup your favorite nuts ( I love cashews or pecans )
1/3 cup raisins
1 tsp cinnamon


Put all ingredients into your food processor and just pulse until well blended.  Maybe even pour a little almond milk over it.  DELISH!

my gym partner

I don’t know about any of you, but having a baby in the winter months is a S-T-R-U-G-G-L-E sometimes.  I feel so trapped in my own house as I am sure Harper feels the same.  She is probably thinking, “How many times can we read Brown Bear Brown Bear in a day mom.”  Spring is nearly here ( 80 degrees the last few days here in good ole Kansas ) and we are loving playing outside and going for our walks again.  After months of telling my husband how bored I was getting at home with our 8 month old at the time, we decided to join a children’s fitness center, My Gym. And, can I just tell you it has been the most fun thing for Harper and me to do together!  We dance and we workout our muscles ( hey, I chase her around everywhere and pick her up…count that as squats and curls ).  It is a great place that is starting to teach Harper a healthy lifestyle of being active, but also having so much fun and learning at the same time.

pasta with zucchini, yellow squash, and spinach

This past fall my husband and I went to the Cleveland Clinic to be with my mother and stepfather while my stephfather had surgery. During his long surgery, we grabbed a bite to eat at a cafe in the waiting area. Lucky for us, it was pasta bar day! The chef took his job very seriously and enjoyed teaching everyone about the food dish he was creating for you. The pasta he created for us was superb; so, we were very eager to recreate this dish when we got home!

It’s simple, easy, nutritious and very tasty! When training for our marathons, my husband and I ate this the nights before our long runs and we ate it leading up to race day.


1 yellow squash, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
½ onion, diced
10 oz frozen spinach, thawed (about 1.5 c fresh)
1 jar pasta sauce of choice
5-10 oz whole wheat pasta (bowtie, fusilli or ziti)
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
2 t extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 t salt, or to taste
freshly ground pepper, to taste


Put on a large pot of water and boil for cooking pasta.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, squash, and zucchini to the pan; cook, stirring often until softened. Add spinach to pan; then add salt and pepper over vegetables. Clear a spot in the pan and add minced garlic; allow it to cook for 30 sec-1 minute before mixing in with the rest of the vegetables (adjust garlic based on your pasta sauce; if it has a lot, you might not desire much extra). Mix in pasta sauce and simmer.

Meanwhile, cook pasta until tender, 8-10 minutes or according to package directions. Drain and return to the pot. Add the vegetable mixture, toss to coat.

Note: I prefer more vegetables to pasta; so I use half of a package of pasta. If you prefer more pasta, use the entire 10 oz package. 

green smoothies

A few weeks ago Courtney was trying to think of new ideas for breakfast; so, she asked me what I usually ate in the morning. Unfortunately, I didn’t have an exciting answer for her. I have been eating Kashi Go Lean with almond milk everyday for breakfast for over a year – I just love it and it’s packed with protein! But, Courtney’s questions got me thinking about switching up my breakfast.

After a little research, in an effort to even out my caloric intake throughout the day (eat nearly the same amount of calories for breakfast as I do for lunch and dinner) and to start the day with something more than grains, I decided add a green smoothie to my breakfast. And, well, green is my favorite color; so this was bound to be a good decision!

For me, it seemed rather odd to add “greens” to my fruit smoothie – I thought I would have to gulp down the smoothie to get past the weird taste it created when combined with fruit. But after I blended up my first smoothie, I was SHOCKED. The fruit overshadows any taste of the spinach! I called my husband, Ty, into the kitchen the first morning begging him to hurry up and try it (just to make sure I wasn’t crazy). He agreed; the spinach taste was absent from the smoothie. I can’t get enough of these green smoothies – I have had one every morning for the last three weeks!

So far, I have created these blend variations: Green Tropical Smoothie and Green Berry Smoothie.

green tropical smoothie ingredients:

1/2 c frozen pineapple
1/2 c frozen peaches OR 1/2 c frozen mango
1 medium banana
3 ice cubes
1-1.5 c fresh spinach

green berry smoothie ingredients:

3/4 c frozen blueberries and raspberries
1 medium banana
4-5 strawberries OR 1/2 cucumber
4 ice cubes
1 c fresh spinach


Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Feel free to substitute the spinach for kale or the banana for avocado. I haven’t tried it, but the “word on the street” is that it’s just as yummy!

Note: Try not to over-blend or it gets “frothy.” The smoothie will only turn out the bright, green color when mixed with light colored fruits. 

If you try different blends or already have a favorite of your own, let us know what they are in the comments!

happy healthy baby

Have I told you how happy my baby girl is.  She will light up the room the second she enters.  She will make an entire table at a restaurant forget about the foods on their plates and be fully engaged with her.  She is our sunshine.  I do think it’s part of her personality, but I also believe my husband and I have a huge part of her happiness ( I’m with her 24/7…of course I am)  🙂  We are always so careful with our attitudes around her and making sure we are ALWAYS positive and happy.  If we have a little dispute, we discuss it later when we are alone.

Healthy living is not only the things we put
into our body, but the things we see and hear.  

Of course she eats healthy ( later post on her food ) but her little brain is taking in so much information and making her the person she will be.  My attitude has changed as well because I now think about things before I say them ( very mature of me I know ), but as a women and emotions are always crazy, this can be very difficult at times.  Sometimes I just want to stomp my feet and bang my head on the ground until I get my way – but my husband as assured me MANY of times that will NOT work ( boo ).  I want to always be an example for Harper even when she isn’t watching me or hearing me.  I want to be the person she says she wants to be like when she grows up.  I want to be her best friend, and more importantly I want to be her momma.

kale salad

So there is this new cafe in town that is so delicious. It used to be a custard place and they shut down over the summer last year to remodel and become what it is today. They use only farmers from around the area to support locally and the ingredients they use are always fresh. So, on to the kale salad that is UH-MAZING. It’s a little tangy and crunchy and, oh, so good. I knew this would be a recipe I could recreate along with the help of my beautiful momma who knows how to do just that. Here it is…


1 bunch of kale
1 lemon
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs ( toasted )
1/2 cup parmesan cheese ( for non-vegans )


Pull kale leaves off of the stem, chop finely and put in large bowl. Juice half of the lemon in a small bowl and slowly whisk the olive oil in.  ( taste and add lemon and olive oil accordingly). You’re going for a light lemony dressing taste. Drizzle the lemon olive oil dressing over the kale and toss. Top with toasted panko bread crumbs and enjoy!

* If using the parmesan cheese, just add with the dressing and toss.

roasted vegetable hummus pizza

It’s not a secret that I adore roasted vegetables. I’m not sure how to explain the magic that happens in the oven when veggies are sitting in their drizzled with olive oil roasting away at 425 degrees, but something extraordinary goes down behind the closed door. When the magical taste of roasted veggies is laid on top of hummus and pizza crust, a mouth-watering dish is created. This recipe is a favorite in my home. It’s easy and always tastes like it belongs on heaven’s Garden of Eden menu. I do not doubt you will enjoy it as much as I do.


1 yellow squash
1 zucchini
½ red onion
1/2 c spinach, fresh or frozen
1 jarred roasted red pepper

roasted red pepper hummus:1 can chickpeas/garbonzo beans, drained (15-oz)
¼ c tahini
¼ c water
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 T lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ t salt
¼ t cumin
½ jarred roasted red pepper

pizza crust/dough (I used Whole Foods Whole Wheat Crust)


If you are preparing your own pizza crust, prepare dough and set aside to rise. (I use prepared crust to save time.)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly oil large, rimmed cookie sheet or shallow roasting pan. Place sliced yellow squash, zucchini, and red onion onto roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, then use hands to mix everything together. Spread the vegetables evenly in the pan and roast for 30 minutes until tender (they will be placed back in the oven for a little while with the assembled pizza, so you don’t have to roast as long as you usually would). Stir the vegetables every 10 minutes for even roasting. Remove vegetables and turn oven to the specified degree indicated by your pizza crust.

While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the hummus. Place all hummus ingredients into a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth.

Cut 1 jarred roasted red pepper into strips. Spread half of the hummus batch onto pizza crust. Place spinach evenly on the crust followed by the roasted vegetables and red pepper strips. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until outside edges of the crust are golden brown.

Enjoy this little piece of heaven. Let us know if you tried it and, if you used different toppings, please share!