Roasted Pear Salad with Gorgonzola, Candied Pecans, & Balsamic Reduction

This weekend, I finally got around to making that new salad creation I’ve been dreaming about the last few days.

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Ever since I received those coupons for free Fresh Express salad blends as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program, all I can think about are creative salad concoctions.

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Tonight’s salad focused on a fall fruit as the star ingredient – pears! I used Bartlett because I read online they are good for roasting. I chose a nice, firm, organic pear for my recipe.

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And I made some quick and easy candied pecans. These are vegan, too, because I didn’t use the traditional egg white. I actually really like my recipe because it’s easy to make in small batches. You can’t really use half an egg white (unless you use the stuff in the jugs).

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All in all, I’m pretty proud of my little fall salad. I had another turn feeling like a real chef with all my you-can’t-rush-this cooking: the reduction of the balsamic, the roasting of the pecans, and the roasting of the pears.

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It was so worth it for this yumminess!

This salad would be so pretty to entertain with. And if you’re on the fence about trying it because it looks complicated, maybe just go for the roasted pears, but use a store-bought dressing? I’d go with something on the sweeter side if you do that. If you have company over, make extra of the pecans and put them out in a bowl for your guests to snack on. I know from personal experience that they are quite tasty to snack on. ;)

Roasted Pear Salad with Gorgonzola, Candied Pecans, & Balsamic Reduction

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 pear, peeled, halved horizontally, seeded/cored (I used Bartlett)
  • 2 cup tightly packed Fresh Express Five Lettuce Mix, rinsed and dried
  • 1/4 cup gorgonzola
  • extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • balsamic reduction, cooled, recipe below
  • candied pecans, cooled, recipe below

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cut a small slice from the bump of each pear to help it lay flat on the rounded side.
  3. Place pear wide side down and drizzle with a bit of EVOO.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes. Flip. Drizzle other side with a bit of EVOO. Bake for 10 more minutes. Remove to cool.
  5. Place salad mix on 2 large plates as your salad base.
  6. Place cooled, roasted pear on top of each salad. Top with gorgonzola, candied pecans, and drizzle with balsamic reduction to finish (use portions to your preferences). Enjoy!

Balsamic Reduction

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • pinch salt

Directions:

  1. Add balsamic vinegar and salt in a small pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat, while whisking often. Reduce heat to simmer.
  2. Continue cooking, whisking often, till vinegar is to as thick a consistency as you like. (It should reduce to about 1/4 – 1/2 cup).

Quick Candied Pecans

Easy and Vegan!

These are great for salads, topping for bread or breakfast casseroles, over oatmeal, in cereal, over mashed sweet potatoes, or even served straight up as a party snack.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pecans (I used whole)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1-2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together maple syrup, cinnamon, and oil until well combined.
  • Add pecans and stir till sauce is well-distributed and all nuts are coated. Pour nuts onto prepared baking sheet and spread out a little so nuts aren’t touching.
  • Bake for 10 minutes. Turn pecans. Sprinkle with a bit of sugar. Return to oven and bake 10 more minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle lightly with sugar.
  • Set aside to cool.

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Nommmmm!

Golden Autumn Salad

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I’ve got a special kitchen experiment to share with you guys, and I’m so excited! :)

You see, with working 40+ hours a week, teaching zumba twice a week, going to other zumba classes, blogging, and just living a normal life, I tend to take shortcuts with my eats. Sometimes I only make things that can be quickly put together. But, tonight…tonight my friends, I took my time crafting a new salad creation!

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I recently received some coupons for free Fresh Express salad mixes as part of the Tastemaker Program with Foodbuzz, so I picked up some Spring Mix, which has a nice assortment of various greens.

At first, I was inspired by the salad I recently had at Roy’s in Florida, and I planned on creating a salad with a roasted squash base (I was thinking perhaps acorn squash).

But as I thought of other ingredients that are in grocery stores now:

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Stunning golden beets…

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and beautiful corn…

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I decided to use the squash as more of a presentation layer and let the other vegetables shine.

I went with kabocha instead of acorn because I thought it would fit more salad.

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The chef in me came out when I had 3 items roasting away in the oven tonight: kabocha squash, corn…

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…and golden beets.

I actually cut the corn from the base and peeled the beets by hand.

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I even made a from-scratch dressing based on a brainstorm I had the other night – Maple Dijon Vinaigrette.

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I ended up roasting the squash whole, then slicing it in half horizontally and scooping out the seeds and meat. I stored the squash inside for later, save a couple slices I added to the salad.

The hardest part of the recipe was waiting patiently for the veggies to cook and then cool.

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But after that, it was simply a matter of assembly.

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One thing to note…I think the kabocha squash makes for a really nice presentation for if you’re entertaining guests.

But, the squash bowl is totally optional.

I think this recipe could be created on a regular week day without the squash bowl step.

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As you can see, the salad works well on its own…

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…and even looks pretty darn good without the kabocha bowl.

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The combination of the sweet beets and sweet corn go really well with the Maple Dijon dressing, not to mention the gorgonzola cheese and toasted walnuts really add a lot of great texture and flavor. Don’t you just want to dig in?

I present to you…Golden Autumn Salad, which is named for the colors in the golden ingredients, but also for golden fall days glowing with the gentle sun and colorful leaves.

Golden Autumn Salad

Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 small-medium golden beet, tops removed, scrubbed clean
  • 1 corn on the cob, in husk, rinsed clean
  • 1 kabocha squash, scrubbed clean, optional
  • 4 cups salad mix, rinsed clean, and dried (i.e. in a salad spinner)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup gorgonzola cheese, depending on how cheesy you want your salad
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted (I heated mine over medium low heat in a saute pan till just toasted)
  • extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) for roasting
  • salt and pepper for roasting

Directions (they look long, but I’ve added some notes and tips):

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place beet on a sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle with a bit of EVOO, sprinkle with salt and pepper, enclose in aluminum foil and place on prepared baking sheet and into the oven. Depending on the size of your beet, it will need to roast for 45-60 minutes, until a knife easily inserts into beet. NOTE: I cut my beet in half before roasting because it was HUGE! Leave small to medium beets whole.
  3. Optional step, if you’re using the kabocha squash: With 50-55 minutes left on the timer, add the kabocha to the baking sheet in the oven. Roast until squash is cooked through, or a knife easily inserts into the squash. NOTE: With differences in size of squash, yours may take shorter or longer to roast. It doesn’t have to finish at the same time as the other roasting vegetables.
  4. Meanwhile, carefully peel corn husk back from corn so you can remove the strings. Drizzle corn with a bit of EVOO, sprinkle with salt and pepper and pull the husks back over the corn. Wrap the corn in aluminum foil. With 40 minutes left on the timer, add the corn to the baking sheet. NOTE: The corn, like the squash, also doesn’t have to be completely cooked at the same time as the other vegetables.
  5. Once vegetables are cooked, remove them from the oven and let them cool (I put mine, still in the packages, on trivets).
  6. Optional step, if you’re using the kabocha squash: Once squash is cooled (mine was not cold, but at least cool enough to touch), cut the squash in half horizontally and scoop out the seeds and flesh. Set the flesh aside to eat later – you can even slice a couple wedges of roasted squash to add to the salad if you want.
  7. Once the corn is cool, remove the kernals from the base. Set aside.
  8. Once the beet is cool, cut into smaller pieces. Set aside.
  9. In the kabocha squash bowl (if you’re using it) or a large bowl, layer the salad mix on the bottom. Add beets, corn, optional squash, gorgonzola and walnuts on top. NOTE: You could also toss all the ingredients together before placing in the serving bowl.
  10. Drizzle with Maple Dijon dressing (recipe below) and enjoy.

Maple Dijon Vinaigrette

Salad Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp stone ground mustard
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 tsp balsamic dressing
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • dash pepper

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients except the EVOO.
  2. Slowly whisk in the EVOO to the dressing mixture till well-combined and emulsified.

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Happy eating!

Mini Spinach/Rice Frittatas + Theo Orange Dark Chocolate

I LOVED hearing about all you intuitive eaters out there! From the experts to those just starting out – you’re amazing! Keep up the good work!

Here are a couple of my fave comments:

  • Faith – “once I get to a certain point of hungriness, I start eating to stop the hunger but generally don’t stop once I’m adequately full – it’s like I’m overcompensating. Because of that I try not to let myself get past say, a 3 on a 1-10 hunger scale.”
  • Jessica – “I always eat when I’m hungry and usually try to pack a snack with me everywhere I go, just in case. You don’t want to see me when I get too hungry cause that turns to hangry really quick! If I want to feel good and have energy all day I need to eat!
  • Joy – “I just started, but I must say it is very liberating! I haven’t been overeating because I know that if am hungry again, I will eat. Nice work on listening to your body! It knows you better than anyone else.”

Thank you everyone who commented – you guys made me smile!

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This morning, I whipped up some mini frittatas to use up that leftover pilaf from the other night. I don’t know if they sound difficult, but they are SOO easy!

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So easy and satisfying – these had protein, grains, and even a lil bit of a veggie – baby spinach!

Mini Spinach, Cheese, and Rice Frittatas

NOTE: These are a good way to use up some leftover rice or other grain pilaf. Inspired by this recipe by Giada DeLaurentiis.

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup cooked grain – rice or blend (mine was rice, barley, and spelt)
  • about a dozen baby spinach leaves rinsed and chopped into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup grated cheese
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F and prep a mini tart/frittata pan with non-stick spray.
  2. Whisk eggs and milk in a bowl. Stir in cheese, spinach, salt, and pepper.
  3. Use a mini ice cream scoop (or melon baller) to fill tart/frittata cups about 3/4 full.
  4. Bake 8-10 minutes until the eggs are cooked through (I usually wait till the tops are just starting to brown lightly).

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Bailey practiced some tricks this morning. He used to HATE when we made him sit up, but now he LOVES it! :)

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Teavana Mate Vana + Rooibos Macadamia + honey = wonderful.

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For lunch, I started with a GIANT salad: baby spinach, romaine, farmers market tomatoes, cucumbers, pepitas, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, blueberries (yes! try them – they rock in salads), and TJ’s poppyseed dressing. Great combo!

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I also had some TJ’s breaded halibut with tartar sauce and a micro-roasted sweet potato with butter and brown sugar.

Theo Orange Dark Chocolate Review

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I had a hankering for something sweet after lunch today, so I broke into the sample I requested from Theo – Orange Dark Chocolate.

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This bar is Organic and Fair Trade – both wonderful features I look for in my products – food and otherwise. And did you know Theo was the first North American organic and fair trade bean-to-bar chocolate maker? Yea…says so on the bar. ;)

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Check out that ingredient list! It’s wonderful – short, readable and with good ingredients.

Nutrition info, too.

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The verdict: the dark chocolate was lovely and smooth. I thought it had a good balance of dark chocolate and orange flavors. The orange was noticeable but not overwhelming. Also, I didn’t think I liked the combo of chocolate and citrus, but this bar was very enjoyable. Overall, I would love to buy more Theo bars to support the company for 2 reasons: 1. the chocolate is tasty and 2. the company is amazing and does great stuff for our planet! Go Theo!

What’s your favorite chocolate flavor pairing? (It’s ok if you like your chocolate plain)

Vega Sport Performance Optimizer Review + Breakup Recovery Week

Waste not, want not!

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I had half a leftover Flying Biscuit pancake this morning with more yummy peach topping, a fried cage-free egg and nice, hot coffee.

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I celebrated Starbucks Monday with a grande vanilla soy latte. I had to re-charge my card…using my Starbucks card gets me discounts on the syrup and soy upgrades. Actually, they’re free with the card! :)

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For lunch #1, I had a turkey sandwich on Great Harvest WW with romaine and dijon mustard. I planned to eat my sandwich first strategically. The reason? As I learned recently, meat and gluten are hard for your body to digest. Your body uses energy to digest food…this energy could be energy your body could put towards other things like exercise, and I wanted all the energy I could have for my post-work workout.

Plus yerba mate tea.

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Lunch #2 was easier on the body to digest – a strawberry salad: romaine, cucumbers, tomatoes, SC strawberries, almonds, and Trader Joe’s poppyseed dressing.

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Odwalla Strawberry Pomegranate Odwalla bar.

Vega Sport Natural Plant-Based Performance Optimizer

Post work, I had a wonderful workout planned – ZUMBA!

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But, before my workout, I had an exciting experiment to kick-off – sampling one of the Vega Sport Natural Plant-Based Performance Optimizer packets (*)!! I decided to try out the lemon lime flavor first.

According to myvega.com, this optimizer has many features & benefits:

  • Immediate and sustaining energy
  • Increases endurance, aerobic and anaerobic capacity
  • Enhances mental focus and motor performance
  • Reduces stress and enhances immune system function
  • Replenishes electrolytes lost during exercise
  • Reduces inflammation, joint and muscle pain
  • Improves body composition and reduces body fat
  • Supports healthy weight management

I often start feeling tired during my zumba classes. I’ve tried everything to give myself more energy:

  • stay hydrated
  • hydrate well the day before
  • eat a good pre-workout snack
  • avoiding heavy meals beforehand

Some days these things work (I think they’re good to do anyways), but often times I still find myself tired! Very frustrating!

So, today, I was extra happy to be testing out this energy boosting pre-workout drink.

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The package even matched my zumba pants!! :lol:

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Nutrition – only 70 calories.

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Add the dry mix to water, shake, and enjoy! The mix looked a lot like the health optimizer stuff I’ve been enjoying, but it tasted totally different – more tangy. I sort of expected it to taste like gatorade…not sure why. It didn’t. I won’t say I loved the flavor, but I I think it may have been because I was expecting something different. I can see myself growing to love it, though. It’s not too sweet and is smooth (not gritty).

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Bottoms up!

The gym where we had our work-out was MUGGGGGGYYYY from all the rain we had today. Did I mention the gym doesn’t have AC? Yep…the environment conditions themselves made the workout hard…let alone being tired from working a 9 hour day.

The Result: I was surprised at how effective the drink was. I’m sure a lot of things factor into energy levels beyond just energy drinks. I had hydrated well all day. I had eaten healthy meals earlier and given my body plenty of time to digest the food. But I was feeling a bit drained from work and from the heat and humidity in the air. Still, I had a steady stream of energy throughout class. Some days I start feeling tired during class and I wonder if it’s almost over. Today, I just enjoyed every minute and put my attention towards dancing and having FUN! It was awesome.

I have another sport performance optimizer packet to sample, so I can’t wait to see if the results are the same. I sure hope they are!

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I whipped up a quick dinner at home – lemon garlic sauteed shrimp, steamed broccoli and that 3 grain blend TJ’s pilaf I picked up Saturday. That pilaf is good stuff! I loved the chewy textures of the different grains and the box made a TON. We have lots of leftovers, so I’m hoping to use them later in the week. Yum Yum!

Hubby and I enjoyed dinner whilst watching Twilight – New Moon and as I finished up some projects. Can you believe I waited this long to see that movie? It seems like everyone raved about it when it came out. I thought it was pretty good, though a little teenager-y-sappy.

Breakup Recovery Week

I have a friend, who will remain anonymous, who is recovering from a recent break-up. So, to help them out, I’ve decided to post some breakup recovery tips that you guys send in. I’ll be posting your tips all week. So far, I’ve received a few via twitter and some others via email. If you have a breakup recovery tip to share, please leave it in the comment section and I’ll try to blog it later this week.

Here are today’s tips:

  • @Zoziku – Plan a vacation to look forward to. And do something she’s always wanted to do to her hair :)
  • @healthyashley – Get a pedicure! Write down a list of all you want in a future partner.
  • @possiblymaybe – I would take this opportunity to assess what you really want out of a partner. Then spoil yourself silly with a massage, facial, pedicure and a fun evening out with your girl friends.
  • @karathon – Your poor friend :( surrounding yourself w/ tons of supportive friends is my best recommendation! Also ice cream helps :)

If you tweeted or emailed me tips and you don’t see them, I’m probably saving them for tomorrow!!

If you have some breakup recovery tips to share, please, I encourage you to leave them in the comments section and I’ll add them to blog posts throughout the week.

Tidbits

Check out this interesting article I stumbled upon by WSJ on gardens saving people money.

I read about a neat house-organization trick in my Real Simple the other day – Game 29 or “29 Pickup” as I like to call it. The concept – pick up 29 things every day. 29 should be subbed out for your age if you want to play along. I’m hoping to incorporate this little game into my every day life to help me get things together. I played 29 Pickup last night and it was surprisingly simple and effective.

Good night everyone! :D

Be sure to leave your break-up recovery tips in the comments (or submit them via the Contact page).

Take Out Oops + Organic Gardening Q+A

*Before I forget yet again, thanks to Bonnie, Taylor, and Ashley for your fun zumba notes. I loved reading them!*

More Tuesday Eats

After my fabulous quinoa breakfast, I brewed up some Teavana tea.

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Mate Vana + Rooibos Macadamia = delicious tea

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Sweetened with local honey.

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I was extra glad to be at home so I could get comfortable and prop my foot up. RICE, right? Ok, so my “injury” isn’t that serious, but I’ll do anything to make it get better faster! So far no swelling, so I expect to be 100% sooner than later. *crossing fingers*

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I got stuck on phone conferences and couldn’t get to lunch so I snacked on some Stacy’s Pita chips. Darn you Stacy and your irresistible pita chips!! It’s too easy to eat these.

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I had a nice, healthy lunch today.

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A GIANT salad or organic veggies: baby spinach, romaine, cherry tomatoes, sunflower seeds, pepitas and Drew’s Rosemary Balsamic.

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Plus a piece of spelt toast with some Homestead Creamery butter (from my weekend grocery trip)…so so good!

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I was mostly excited about digging into my creation from last night – Southwestern Quinoa Salad (click for recipe).

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For nutrition, I had a mini Vega Health Optimizer shake made with a little more than 1/2 a scoop of mix plus plain ole water.

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Then I had a not-so-healthy snack – a mini Texas donut…

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…plus some Tulsi tea in India Breakfast.

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I got a candle going to combat the rainy day and make the room smell yummy.

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For dinner, I got take out from The Flying Biscuit. I asked the guy on the phone to help me choose from 3 options (turkey meatloaf, turkey pot roast, and herb-crusted chicken). He recommended the chicken (served with mac and cheese and collards) so I took his suggestion.

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The dinner came with a salad with a vinaigrette dressing.

Dinner was also supposed to come with a biscuit (hello, the restaurant is called The Flying BISCUIT!) :lol: but I didn’t get it. I called to ask if the dinner was supposed to come with a biscuit (in case I misunderstood) and they said it was supposed to. The person I spoke with was very friendly and apologetic and when I said I wanted to come back for the biscuit (yes, I really wanted it!), they offered to throw in dessert. They started to go down the dessert list, but I had another idea – breakfast! I am still thinking about the fabulous breakfast hubby and I had at TFB last Saturday. So, I got a single oatmeal pancake with peach topping to go. I’m already looking forward to breakfast now!

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I was really excited about my biscuit, but you know what…the restaurant forgot the apple butter. :oops:

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Luckily, I had some Kime’s at home, which I heated up to get the full Flying Biscuit experience.

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I got to enjoy my biscuit whilst catching the latest Glee – the Madonna episode! I love this show…so glad I remembered to watch it this week. I’m pretty bad at watching TV shows because I don’t pay much attention to the schedules and forget when they’re on.

Anywho, The Flying Biscuit made some mistakes tonight, but who doesn’t!? No one’s perfect. The important thing to me was that they were concerned about my satisfaction and they went out of their way to make me happy. Thanks TFB…I’ll definitely be back.

Theo Chocolates

After contacting Theo Chocolate, I was thrilled they were interested in sending me some samples to review. :mrgreen:

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The chocolate came extra-nicely packaged with cornstarch packing peanuts! Neat! I usually try to keep my peanuts to re-use them when I ship stuff, but it’s nice to see how eco-friendly these are – they dissolve in water!

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Theo Chocolate sent me some awesome stuff – some Pink Salted Vanilla Caramels in Dark Chocolate

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…plus an Orange Dark Chocolate bar.

I love how Theo supports both Organic and Fair Trade. I can’t wait to sample these and write up my reviews!

Organic Gardening Q+A with Don

You guys had some fabulous questions for Don, founder of Instant Organic Garden. In fact, we already have answers for those questions:

Michelle –

Question for Don: I’m wanting to start a garden, but I’ll be living in a rental property and can’t plant like I’d like to. Do you have any tips on container gardening?

Yes, use as big a container as possible, especially for summer plants like tomatoes. A whiskey-barrel sized container is sufficient for a single tomato plant. Use good-quality potting mix, but no synthetic fertilizers. Natural fertilizers like Plant-Tone or worm castings are best.

Jessica –

Question for Don: What are some examples of vegetables in North Carolina that are cheaper to purchase as well as examples of those you would grow.

Avoid crops that are inexpensive in the stores, take a lot of room (watermelon, corn, okra), don’t taste better fresh (potatoes, onions) and don’t offer a long term harvest (iceberg lettuce, bush beans.)

Julie -

Question for Don: I only have a very small gardening plot available at my apartment (but I am lucky to have one I can use considering I am only renting my apartment!) What is the best way to maximize your space when trying to grow a variety of fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Any suggested additional resources?

Good soil with organic fertilizer means you can plant three times closer together. Set up a trellis for climbing plants like beans and cucumbers. My book shows you how to get started. “No Green Thumb Required! Organic Family Gardening Made Easy.

Thanks for your answers Don!
If you’d like to ask Don a question about organic gardening, he’s kindly offered to answer some more! Leave a comment on this post starting with “Question for Don: ” and I’ll do my best to get your question to him.
If you’re in the Charlotte area, you can go to one of Don’s many local events to ask questions in person. :) Click here for his event page.

Randomness

Giveaway Alert! I have a super-cool giveaway planned for Thursday…stay tuned for details.

Page Updates – I’ve updated several of my pages:

  • Recipes – wow, I thought I only had to add one or two from the last week…turns out I was missing a TON!
  • Reviews – added links for some recent reviews
  • Blogroll – new bloggie friends

One great way, as suggested in my post the other day, to go Green this week for Earth Day is to get a re-usable water bottle. I just added the Klean Kanteen water bottle to my OpenSky shop if you need one. I’m also working to get some other sizes/colors added, so I hope to have some new options soon.

Did I mention I have a wedding to go to this weekend?! It’s my oldest best friend’s wedding! I can’t wait!

Have you ever picked up a take-out order only to realize after you get home that something is wrong/missing? What did you do? What did the restaurant do when you told them?

Southwestern Quinoa Salad Recipe

Happy Monday friends!

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I was running later than I would have liked today, so I made breakfast quick so I could spend time prepping lunch: coffee, Power Toast (spelt bread, Barney Butter, pepitas, hemp seeds, and ground flaxseed).

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I can’t remember at the moment if I told you but I sort of twisted my ankle last night leaving the dinner party. I stepped on a curb wrong and though it didn’t hurt immediately, I knew I needed to take it easy. :(

So, though I really wanted to go for my usual double-header workout tonight, I decided to play it safe by:

  • wearing flats to work
  • skipping my workout
  • and trying to eat anti-inflammatory foods
  • RICE would probably be a good idea, but since I don’t have a laptop, the Elevation part is going to be a challenge. I should probably try some ice next

Stupid ankle. I googled sprained ankles and I don’t think it’s anything serious (I was barely a level 1 on the article of 3 levels of sprained ankles I found), but I also believe that you should try to take things easy so you don’t make a non-situation turn into a problem. Better to be overly cautious IMO.

Speaking of anti-inflammatory foods, here are the top foods I googled:

  • ginger
  • garlic
  • green tea
  • turmeric
  • blueberries
  • cherries
  • curciferous vegetables
  • salads – dark green lettuce, spinach, tomatoes
  • salmon
  • grass fed beef and other animal foods
  • olive oil
  • kelp – also kombu, wakame, nori, arame
  • papaya
  • sweet potato

Kath had a great post today on anti-inflammatory foods if you want some more tips.

Today’s eats were very snacky…I really kind of grazed all day.

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For Starbucks Monday, I grabbed a tall vanilla soy latte.

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For lunch, I brought a big green salad of organic veggies: baby spinach, romaine, cherry tomatoes, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, and sun-dried tomato vinaigrette.

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I also brought a small sweet potato with some Earth Balance and brown sugar in another container.

A couple knife-pokes and a trip to the microwave later and you have…

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Sweet potato with brown sugar!

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I also had some honey lemon green tea (a sample from my cube-mate’s new tea) – with sugar.

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1000 Layer Cracker (from Tj’s)

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One of those organic minneolas from yesterday’s grocery trip.

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Cherry Pie Larabar towards the end of the day.

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For a post-work snack, I had a 3/4 cup scoop of my Vega Vanilla Chai Whole Health Optimizer…I figured maybe the boost of nutrition would help my ankle?

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I also had some Galaxy Granola with blueberries and vanilla almond milk.

While I waited for my friends to call about our girls’ dinner out, I prepped some food for lunch tomorrow. I experimented with a new recipe.

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Organic black beans, all nice and rinsed.

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I placed mine on a paper-towel lined plate to help them dry off.

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Quiona, frozen organic sweet corn, black beans.

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Organic lime zest.

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Organic limes.

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The zest looked so pretty in the olive oil.

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All mixed up and ready to dress.

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Ta-dah!!! The finished product. Even hubby liked it. This Southwestern Quinoa salad would make a great vegetarian or vegan meal or side dish. Perfect to take to work or a pot luck or cookout.

Southwestern Quinoa Salad Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dry, uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds, minced
  • 3 tbsp chopped, fresh cilantro
  • 2 limes, zested and juiced
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • heavy dash garlic powder
  • dash cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. Cook quinoa. Rinse quinoa and combine with water in a medium pot. Bring to a boil and simmer on low till water absorbed and quinoa is tender, about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. I used a non-stick pan so it wouldn’t stick to the bottom. Reserve 1 cup of quinoa (I reserved 1 cup so I could use it in another recipe. It would probably be fine to just add all the quinoa to this recipe if you didn’t have another way to use the reserved quinoa, but I encourage you to try it as a breakfast hot cereal – check out tomorrow’s post for details on how to morph it). Set aside to cool.
  2. In a large bowl (preferably with a lid) place cooled, cooked quinoa, beans, bell pepper, corn, jalapeno, and cilantro and mix gently to combine.
  3. In a small bowl combine lime zest, lime juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and cayenne papper. Whisk to combine (like you would for a dressing).
  4. Pour dressing over the quinoa mixture and stir to combine.
  5. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving, to allow flavors to combine.
  6. Enjoy!

By the time I was done prepping lunch, it was time to meet my friends, Kat and Megan, for dinner. I brought them a sample and they approved. :)

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I was pretty boring tonight and had a couple bites of Kat’s edamame, a small salad with ginger dressing, and miso soup.

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Plus, I had a Cali roll and asparagus roll. I thought about getting a big veggie stir fry since lots of veggies seem anti-inflammatory, but then I got the sushi for the sea veggies instead. I also ate all of my pickled ginger tonight! :lol:

No dessert for me tonight, but boy do I wish I had a couple of these to nosh on!

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Check out my article on Easy Ways to Go Green for Earth Day 2010.

I have a yummy breakfast planned with quinoa! Can’t wait! :)

What’s your favorite way to eat quinoa?

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