Southwest Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

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I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel like I eat the same thing over and over again. I mean, how many times can I eat a fried egg and toast, right? So, it’s nice to have some very-different things to try…like my latest and greatest…

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…a quinoa breakfast bowl.

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You’ll need cooked quinoa (it only takes about 20 minutes to make, so you could theoretically do it in the morning, but leftovers would work, too).

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You’ll need kale. I mean…wouldn’t it be great to eat some veg first thing?

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I could have cut it, but I decided to save a knife-clean up and just tear it.

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I made a quick tahini sauce using some pantry ingredients.

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The sauce was no-cook…just whisk together.

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After a quick layering of ingredients, you have a beautiful, Southwest quinoa breakfast bowl to enjoy. Between the quinoa, beans and egg, this should be a very filling and protein-rich breakfast.

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I have lots of ideas for some great variations, but feel free to tweak as you like. :)

Southwest Quinoa Breakfast Bowl
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Inspired by the quinoa bowls at Cafe Gratitude
Note: This is more of a non-recipe than a recipe since you can use portions of your preference. Below are guidelines for what I used to make a single serving bowl.
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 1
Ingredients
Quinoa Bowl Ingredients:
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa, re-warmed if needed
  • 3 leaves of tuscan kale, rinsed and torn into strips
  • ¼ cup black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ tsp each cumin, paprika, chili powder
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • salt, pepper to taste
Tahini Sauce Ingredients:
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • ½ – 1 tbsp water, depending on how thick you like the sauce
  • juice of half a lime (or you can sub a splash of red wine vinegar, about ½ tsp)
  • dash cumin, paprika, chili powder (use more or less depending on how strong you want the flavor)
  • dash cayenne pepper (use more or less depending on how spicy you want the flavor)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
Quinoa Bowl Directions:
  1. Fry your egg to your liking, seasoning each side with salt and pepper to taste (a light sprinkling)
  2. Meanwhile, steam your kale for 2-3 minutes
  3. Meanwhile also, mix your quinoa with about 1 tbsp of sauce.
  4. And you’ll also want to mix your black beans with the cumin, paprika, chili powder, cayenne pepper, along with some salt and pepper and warm through either via the microwave or stovetop.
  5. Layer cooked kale in the bottom of a bowl. Top with the quinoa mixture. Top with the black bean mixture. Top with a fried egg. Drizzle additional sauce on top.
  6. Enjoy!
Tahini Sauce Directions:
  1. Combine ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Whisk together.

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Enjoy!

I have a sweet quinoa breakfast bowl in the works, too! ;)

Marinated Kale Recipe

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I’ve owed you guys this recipe for ages now, but thanks to a reminder from reader Karen, I’m actually posting it!

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Here it is – my recipe for Marinated Kale! It’s so easy (no cooking!), tasty and healthful – give it a go!

What does it taste like? Well, kale to me, in general, is sort of like spinach except with a much heartier texture. Spinach is tender and bruises easily while kale holds up nicely (which is why a lot of recipes ask you to “massage” the kale – it tenderizes without bruising). Once marinated, the kale will soften up a bit, but it will still have a bite to it, texture-wise. The flavor mostly comes from the sauce ingredients, which end up being salty yet sweet with the lovely flavor of sesame oil ever prevalent and bits of fresh garlic and ginger popping up here and there.

Anywho, I LOVE to make a big batch of this to start a week. It’s an easy side veggie to take to work – just pack some into a tupperware – no re-heating necessary. You just need a fork! Makes a great vegetable serving.

On to the recipe…

First up – some visuals:

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Be sure to triple wash your kale – it’s usually pretty gritty when you get it home from the store. I usually tear my kale into smaller pieces with my hands while I’m doing the washing part, but you can also chop it with a knife.

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Other key ingredients: Tamari, Sesame Oil.

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Whisk up sauce.

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Add sauce to kale and massage – preferably with your hands. Why? Well, it seems like you can get away with using less sauce if you just rub it in a little. I believe most people massage their kale to tenderize it, but I just like to ensure my kale is well-coated without being in a puddle of sauce.

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Add sesame seeds. Done-zo!

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Marinated Kale Recipe

Raw, Vegetarian, Vegan and Gluten-Free

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch kale (curly leaves, not dinosaur), triple-washed, cut or ripped into small 1-2 inch pieces (1 inch pieces will be easier to eat later)
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp tamari (use wheat-free if you’re going GF)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic (you can omit this but it’s so much more flavorful with it!)
  • 1 tsp minced ginger (same note as for garlic)
  • 1-3 tbsp sesame seeds depending on how much you like them.

Directions:

  1. Place prepped kale into a large bowl.
  2. In a separate small to medium bowl, whisk together sesame oil and tamari till emulsified/combined nicely. Whisk in garlic and ginger.
  3. Pour sauce over kale and massage sauce into the kale (this will help ensure all pieces of kale are covered.
  4. Add sesame seeds to the kale (if you’re not sure if you’d rather go 1 or 3 tbsp, I suggest adding 1 and mixing up and checking coverage. You can always add more sesame seeds but you can’t take them back out…not easily at least).
  5. Store in an air-tight container. NOTE: You may wish to make your kale the night before you want to eat it so it has time for the flavors to combine.
  6. Enjoy!

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DIY Zumba Top + Goji Berry Banana Smoothie

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Nothing like dancing in the morning to put you in a happy mood for the rest of the day, right?

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I have some new songs I’d like to learn how to lead, so I try to practice them every once in awhile when I have a free moment. I thought going over one this morning to wake up and get my blood flowing was a good idea. I think it was! I’m doing Break Your Heart by Taio Cruz. ;)

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We need to do some serious grocery shopping, produce-wise. With a shortage of fruits in the house, I decided to make some energy bite oatmeal using an Energy Bite I had stowed away in the freezer.

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Coffee + oatmeal

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Other ingredients: 1/2 milk, 1/2 water, chia seeds, sliced almonds, flaxseed meal and Galaxy Granola (*).

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So cozy, so perfect in the morning!

I got to WFH today, which means better than normal eats.

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I made me and hubby Goji Berry Banana smoothies (2 frozen bananas, small handful dried goji berries, milk till consistency was to liking).

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His was prettier because I added some green-colored Vega Health Optimizer in vanilla chai to mine.

Mine tasted darn good, though! I thought it tasted like frosting!!!!

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I cooked up some tofu for lunch. Nasoya cubed – so you don’t have to press it.

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I chopped up my marinated kale from yesterday (still too much marinade!) and set it on a paper towel to soak up some of that extra marinade.

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I topped it with some steamed broccoli.

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And I hoped the bland broccoli would help balance the overly flavored kale. It worked out pretty good, but I still prefer my broccoli with just some melted butter.

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Lunch was pretty fab, though it was on the light side.

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I carbed up with a couple handfuls of pretzels…

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…a piece of orange marmalade toast…

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…and a piece of Barney Butter toast with chia seeds. Yea…I like toast. A lot! :) It helps when you’re short on time and need groceries. :lol:

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I also got to finish my Honest Tea today – this stuff is yum-o!

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I got a cool sample in the mail today: Lighter Living Probiotic Bars (*). Neat-o! I like how these seem to be a non-dairy source of probiotics. I mean, Id need to look at the ingredient list again (I think they have a yogurt topping), because they might contain some dairy, but it’s not like you have to eat a cup of yogurt for the beneficial probiotics. The ingredient list is almost (if not) all organic and looks to have some good stuff, including dates as the first ingredient. I love dates!

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I got 3 different flavors: Chocolate, Lemon Poppyseed, Apricot Coconut. They all sound amazing – I can’t wait to dig in!

DIY De-Constructed Zumba Top

I took a cue from my Z Life Magazine and decided to go a la Tanya and cut up a tank top. Since this would be my first cutting experiment, I decided to test out something on the cheaper side. Unfortunately, the cheapest thing I could find was an $8 tank top from Target…too much money to throw away in the event my cutting experiment failed, but it turned out okay. Woohoo!

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I gathered my materials – tank top, scissors, rotary cutter, chalk pencil, mat, guide.

I actually put on my tank top so I could see how far up the side to start making cuts and where in the front to do the diagonal cuts. I eyeballed some marks with my chalk and figured I’d clean them up once I could use a straight line.

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First, I cut some slits down the side. I made 5 cuts, each measured 1 inch apart.

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I decided to convert the tank top to a halter top. You can check out this tutorial (click) to see how I did this. I basically went straight along the top of the back.

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I did the diagonal cuts – drawing the lines, then making the cuts. I spaced these by an inch also. It seemed to be good spacing for the cut lines.

I did 2 rows of the diagonal cuts – a lower section of 3 and an upper section of 3.

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Guess I should have gotten some photos in class, eh? Oh well, these will have to do.

Vega Sport Pre-Workout Drink Mix

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I tested out my other Vega Sport Natural Plant-Based Performance Optimizer today. This one was the same as the other, but a different flavor – Acai Berry.

I actually have a really fun experiment/case study/test planned with this stuff…details soon!

Here are some photos of the packaging for the curious:

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I swear this stuff really works! I think I need to buy a jug! Can’t wait to see how my experiment with this product works out.

Oh and I definitely prefer the Acai Berry flavor to the Lemon Lime. The Acai was less grassy and more berry-licious!

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Hubby and I went out after my workout to see my friend Dana. I wore too-tall heels when I should have worn flip flops or something. I have more fun when I can walk easier. :lol: Though we didn’t stay out long, it was good to get out and see our friends!

Hmm…now…what to eat for tomorrow morning? Is it sad that I’m already thinking about what yummy things I can eat for breakfast? I think not! ;)

Reader Question: Are you more concerned with how you look or how comfortable you are when you go out (with friends, for dinner, etc)? Which is more important – fashion or comfort?

Bonus reader question: Do you have any de-constructed DIY tops like my cut-up zumba top? Send me your photos! thechiclife at gmail dot com. The cutting bug has caught me and I’m itching to snip up another top soon…I need inspiration!

A Real Tofu-Kale-Soba-Noodle Dinner

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My body has finally started signaling it’s ready to eat real food again. I’ve been craving tofu-soba-noodles since yesterday and finally made a batch tonight to enjoy.

But first…

I wanted to try one of my Nicobella Organic Vegan Truffle samples (*). I figured they don’t have dairy in them, so I should be able to eat one, right? :)

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Eeny, meeny, miny…

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MOE!

I decided to try the walnut flaxseed crunch.

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The vegan truffle was really good!

I plan to do a full review of the Nicobella vegan organic truffles soon (once I’ve sampled all the flavors), so I’ll save the details for then, but what was most noticeable about this truffle over traditional ones, to me, was that this one didn’t leave me feeling heavy or on a sugar high! Nice!

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Ok, on to dinner!

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I finally got to test out the Tofu press (*) Nasoya sent me a couple weeks ago.

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The press was a cinch to use and was so much easier than stacking pots/pans and cans to weigh my tofu down. Thank you Nasoya!!

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So like I was saying, I was really craving soba noodles with tofu and veggies. I guess your body just let’s you know when it’s ready for something, ya know? I must be ready for real food again. I’ve been eating pretty well today (especially compared to the last couple days).

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Ingredients assembled/cleaned/prepped.

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Again…using a too small pot for all the big, leafy greens I wanted to cook! :lol:

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I did a play on one of my faves – my 3, 2, 1 Vegetarian Noodles (click for recipe), except I just used kale. I missed the other veggies but wasn’t up to going to the grocery store to get the others.

Hubby was out watching the basketball games, so my friend Megan came over for some girl-talk. ;)

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We made sure to have some time for…CHOCOLATE! As in some vegan chocolate chip cookies, which I made earlier today.

Oh yea!!!!!!!

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No Project Hydrate Updates for today. I haven’t really been keeping track since I first started feeling under the weather. I’m hoping to pick up again tomorrow, though.

Did you see the fun + eats from hubby’s beer brewing extravaganza? One of my favorite photos from the last couple weeks is in that post – it’s the hummus – the one taken from the side. Love!

Check out this post for some weight loss / diet / healthy eating tips gathered from one of the coolest TV shows I’ve seen lately.

Who’s excited about something they gave up for Lent that they’ll get to enjoy again tomorrow?!

Chocolate Cherry Oats + A Bday Dinner

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Happy Project Hydrate Day #2!

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I wanted to do something fun with the dried cherries I picked up this weekend.

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Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal

In the pot:

  • 1/3 cup 2% organic milk
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup oatmeal
  • 1/2 tsp flaxseed
  • 1/2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Cooked stove top till thickened up (don’t let it boil if you use milk or it will curdle). Add a chopped date and small handful chopped dried cherries.

Toppings:

I wish I would have added more unsweetened cocoa powder! I will do that next time b/c the flavor combo was pretty sweet!

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Breakfast was awesome but work started out pretty stressfully. As a result, I forgot to drink any water until 10:30am because I was so distracted!

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I finally remembered to drink something and made a mug of yerba mate latte (yerba mate with sugar and some cream).

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Wow! Yerba Mate is so good and so much better than black tea! I think I’m converted!

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I had lunch #1 around 11:30 am – marinated kale and a toasted Great Harvest honey whole wheat roll (no toppings). I felt like spacing my eats out over the day, along with my water consumption.

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Mmm…kale. I can’t wait to share my recipe with you guys!

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Around 2pm I had lunch #2 – Moosewood Organic Vegetarian Macaroni & Three Cheeses.

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I ran into a snafu with the box when I couldn’t find the cooking directions. I noticed this end of the box looked like it should have contained instructions and upon further investigation…

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I discovered the directions behind the white cardboard – they just closed the box with the wrong flap on the outside.

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As you guys know, I’m not a fan of frozen meals in general, but I’ve found some really great options at Earthfare lately – perfect for busy, working me.

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I love the little stories they put on frozen foods.

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Nutrition Facts.

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Look! An ingredient list you can read! Shocking! haha Honestly, this is why I prefer these healthy grocery store frozen meals – they use real ingredients – things I can prounce, not strange chemicals.

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Overall, I thought the mac and cheese was pretty good. Not as good as my Dad’s recipe, but it’s hard to beat a homemade version, no? This version reminded me of a healthier Stouffers.

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In the afternoon I met up briefly with Megan (looking all business-y and pretty in her suit!).

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We took a quick chit-chat break and I enjoyed a frozen probiotic yogurt with blueberries and strawberries. The yogurt was sooo good! The perfect sweet and tart combo!

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Tulsi tea in the afternoon.

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I had a couple mini pieces of candy when a chocolate craving hit.

I didn’t leave work till 6:30 pm and then headed out to meet some friends for a b-day dinner.

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We hit up Macaroni Grill.

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I had a glass of the Placido pinot grigio.

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I adore balsamic vinegar  in the olive oil for bread dipping. Yum yum!

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B-day girl Dana (aka RE) digging into the foccacia. Is that stuff addicting or what?

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I traded my neighbor, Jim, some of my caesar salad for a slice of his mozzarella caprese salad. Ok, make that two pieces. :) This is probably my fave salad at Mac Grill, but I usually don’t order it since I can finish it.

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Caesar salad. Did they go heavy on the cheese or what?! lol

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For my entree I got the Grilled Salmon with a teriyaki glaze, spinach orzo pasta. The fresh squeezed lemon really makes the flavors pop.

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Bread – I had a couple more pieces than this. The stuff is irresistible!

I didn’t quite manage to finish my entree. I ate about half. The portions at MG are so big – I usually try to split something with hubby (he was home sick – poor guy!).

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Make a wish!

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Dana was a sweetheart and shared her cake. I had a couple bites. Plus, I got a small bite of tiramisu from one of Dana’s friends.

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Totally snacked on a couple small pieces of granola when I got home. I may have messed up my granola bars, but the bars that didn’t cut into rectangles will still be eaten! :)

Happy Birthday Dana!!!!!!!!!

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Project Hydrate Day #2

I let myself get distracted and didn’t get started on my water consumption till 10:30! I think starting earlier in the day is going to be the key to my success in getting properly hydrated.

Hot tea is working really well for me. Not only does it help me keep warm in the office, it’s good for me and tastes yummy.

Consumed:

  • 1 cup coffee consumed but I didn’t count it towards the total
  • Pink bottle – finished around 2:30pm
  • 2 cups of hot tea consumed – yay!
  • 2/3 of the turquoise bottle consumed – oops! almost made it!
  • 1 glass wine consumed but not counted towards the total

I know people say that you can get hydration from coffee and other foods/liquids, but I’m trying to be a stickler to start and I’m only counting the water and tea for now.

What are you counting towards your total hydration goal? How did you do with Day #2?

Mac and Kale

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I kicked off today with the last of our Great Harvest cinnamon swirl bread. I really think this stuff is pretty good for you since it’s whole grain. The sugar is the unhealthiest part.

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MS “sausage” for protein. Carbs + Protein + Fat = Good Breakfast

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Coffee = Happy Me

Fresh Market Spring Blend Coffee = Extra Happy Me :)

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I had a lot of stuff to take with me to work today: lunch, snacks, granola bars for my zumba friends (Kat, I gave Stacy yours – go to her class this week lady), WATER (hello Project Hydrate!), and I put a couple tea bags of my new Yerba Mate in a plastic baggie to keep at work.

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I typically don’t do so hot drinking water in the morning. I seem to consume most of it after lunch but before 4pm. If I have hot tea in the morning, I do a lot better, but I could use some more H2O. So, this morning, I reminded myself to get started on my first bottle of water. I had twice as much water to drink than normal and I really wanted to spread my water consumption over the course of the day. I started with my new pink Gaiam water bottle.

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The result of my AM water-guzzling? I downsized my Starbucks Monday. Instead of a grande, I got a tall vanilla soy latte. I was feeling pretty full from the water, so I figured a tall would be just enough. Saved myself some money and calories! (Not that I’m counting, but why consume something if you’re not trying to nourish yourself or at least satisfy an indulgence of sorts).

I was so full from the water and caffeinated from the Sbucks that I wasn’t feeling tea, even though I really wanted to try my new Yerba Mate. Now I have something to look forward to tomorrow, though!

By 11am I was halfway done with the first bottle of water.

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Lunch was a pretty sweet spread…

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Fontina mac and cheese leftovers from last night’s dinner.

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Marinated kale (I think I finally nailed the recipe…yay!) – Updated – recipe now posted! Click here to view.

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Toasted Great Harvest honey whole wheat roll.

I was SO GLAD I prepped food yesterday! I eat so much better (healthier, cheaper, and all around better) when I prep ahead. Lunch was a little light on the protein, but I had a snack to make up for it.

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In the afternoon, I had a Chocolate Oikos with some homemade granola (from my oops granola bar crumbles). So tasty…so so good!

By around 3:30pm I had finished off my first bottle of water. Hooray! The bad part was that I typically don’t consume many liquids after 4pm. I seem to wake up in the middle of the night needing a bio break if I drink much after 4. Is it just me?

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Zumba workout fuel = a homemade granola bar with dried cherries, dates, and currants plus Kashi crackers.

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Double header zumba class! 2 sweet hours. And my hubby came to class tonight! He said he had fun and might come back. I hope he does. ;)

I worked on my second bottle of water during class, but only managed to finish about half the bottle.

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Post workout sushi with a big glass of water. Even with this water, taking my workout into account, I don’t think I quite made my quota, but I did pretty good for Day #1.

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Miso soup and salad

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Mini cucumber salad

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Tempura zucchini

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California roll with masago

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No problem finishing my cup of water after 2 hours of zumba. Phew! Dinner hit the spot, plus I got to catch up with a girlfriend.

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Dessert – banana and a couple small pieces of dark chocolate. Mmm

Project Hydrate Day #1 Comments

I knew Day #1 of Project Hydrate would be pretty hard for me. Sadly, I barely consume the water in this 3 cup water bottle. Now, I usually do have a mug of coffee in the AM, plus a cup or two or hot tea during the day, plus a little water at dinner (but not too much – see above), so I know I haven’t been getting enough liquids.

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To illustrate, I’m attempting to go from drinking this…

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…to drinking this.

I think the key will be reminding myself to spread my liquid consumption over the entire day instead of trying to chug it all in one sitting (which is simply not healthy – do not try this at home people!).

Consumed:

  • Pink bottle – finished off around 3pm
  • Turquoise bottle – finished half of bottle around 8:30pm
  • 1 large (probably 2 cups) of water consumed at dinner
  • No tea consumed
  • 2 cups coffee consumed but I did not count them towards the total

I don’t anticipate noticing many changes on Day #1, but I’d like to post some comments every day.

Comments:

  • Drinking all the liquids I planned for was difficult, considering how little I was drinking before. I think I need to get started on liquid consumption earlier in the day.
  • Consuming more water than normal in the morning helped curb my Starbucks habit.
  • Looks like if I can drink my two mugs of tea and half a water bottle more, I’ll be meeting my planned intake.

How did you do today with Project Hydrate today for Day#1?

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