Category: Gluten Free

A Little Bit Sweet & A Little Bit Spicy

No, no, no.

We’re not talking about me…though my husband might beg to differ…(HEYO!)

What we are talking about are these deliciously, fantastically, awesomely, wonderfully (I could do this all day) spectacular recipes I’m about to share with you. (YES! I did say RECIPES – You’ve got a twofer today!)

Personally, I LOVE sweet and spicy things! I also love that according to  Women’s Health that makes me trendy (at least my food anyway…). Give me a nice fruit salsa with an extra dose of  jalapeños or some chocolate and chili peppers, like this old gem of mine – White Chocolate, Cranberry, and Chile De Arbol Bread Pudding – and I’ll be happy as a clam.

(Note to self…make that bread pudding again ASAP! )

I’ve even tried Tabasco Ice Cream, and let me tell you, it was awesome!  I just find something so pleasurable about indulging in flavors that compliment and contrast each other at the same time. I can never say no to something sweet and spicy. Can you?

(Second note to self…you gave up bread for Lent, fool, make it for Easter!)

You can enjoy this recipe hot or cold, and with or without the Spicy Lime Tilapia (below) I served it with!

Sweet & Spicy Pineapple
& Black Bean Quinoa

  •  1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup water/chicken/vegetable stock
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 1/2 small red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, diced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup pineapple, cubed (I use the canned stuff  until summer time. Still super delicious!)
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Cilantro, chopped, to taste (I use SO MUCH! Because I love it. But if you’re not a fan go ahead and leave it out or sub in parsley.)
  • 1 juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

In a medium sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.

Add the onion, bell pepper, and jalapeño. Season with cumin, garlic, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Saute until soft, about 5 minutes.

Add the quinoa and stir to combine. Add the water and turn the heat to high. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and let simmer – covered – for about 15 minutes or until all of the liquid is absorbed.

Add the black beans, pineapple, cilantro, lime zest, and lime juice. Stir gently to combine and cover five minute more until the beans and pineapple are heated through. Serve topped with more cilantro if you’re a freak, like me!

sweetandspicypineapplequinoa

 

Spicy Lime Tilapia

  • 2 tilapia filets
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • The juice and zest of 1 lime

Combine the spices and lime zest in a small dish. Sprinkle evenly over both sides of the tilapia filets.

Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over high heat. Add the seasoned tilapia filets and let cook for about 5 minutes.

Carefully flip with a spatula and continue cooking for about 2 minutes more.

Add the lime juice to the pan and cover. Reduce heat to low and let cook 2 to 4 minutes more or until the fish is cooked through.

Serve with sweet & spicy pineapple & black bean quinoa!!

spicylimetilapia

This is one BEAUTIFUL, HEALTHY, SWEET & SPICY  meal you don’t want to miss out on.

Monday Morning Munchies

Happy Monday!!

I hope everyone got to enjoy their weekend as much as I did. Do anything exciting??

Mine was pretty casual and super relaxing. That’s the best kind of weekend in my opinion!

I got to my Zumba class on Saturday morning which was awesome! Johnny and I went out a bit and I bought a new workout top at Target for $12 which I’m super excited about. It’s just a simple short sleeved top but anytime I find a nice workout top for under $15 I always take advantage. I LOVE certain brands and lines of workout attire but I can NOT justify ever spending $60 on a tank top. Ever, ever, ever, ever, ever. *sigh* When you work out, do you prefer tank tops or short sleeved tops? I totally prefer short sleeves. No idea why. 

We also went to a local Mexican place to celebrate my father-in-law’s birthday for dinner Saturday night. I got tamales and they were ridic! Ya know, in a good way. I was so hungry I forgot to snap a picture though. *OOPS!*

Sunday was delightful, too! I got to my yoga class and we had a substitute instructor who teaches in the Kirpala style, rather than the standard Vinyasa style most folks (including myself) are accustomed to. It was different and refreshing to try something new! Kirpala yoga focuses more on holding poses for longer periods of time, or “surrendering” to the poses. Vinyasa – which means “flow” – is much more intense and you flow from pose to pose moving with the breath. I love my Vinyasa yoga, but Kirpala was a nice change of pace. I also felt super energized after the Kirpala class so I hopped on the treadmill and ran for a solid 20 minutes. This, for me, is quite an accomplishment! We hung out for most of Sunday after the gym. Johnny was super sweet and made dinner with me!! That’s a rare occurrence that I was thrilled to take advantage of. We made mini turkey pesto meatloaves with mac &  cheese and peas. They weren’t particularly photogenic, but I may post the recipe on here soon if I make them again!

Anywho,  onto the morning munchies!!

I was up early enough over the weekend to take a little longer to prepare my breakfast. The recipe I’m sharing with you is one of my absolute favoritessssssss. I used to make it all the time when I was in college and I’ve recently revamped it a little bit – nutritionally and flavorly (because this is my blog and I can make up words if I want to). No butter, just 1 teaspoon of oil, and loadssss of flavor…and Frank’s Red Hot!

*Please be advised the amount of hot sauce in this recipe is to taste. I use a BOATLOAD of it…but you could even omit it if you don’t care for spicy and this will still be a hella cool (or hot 🙂 ) way to start your day*

Red Hot Breakfast Hash & Eggs

serves 2

  • 1 large russet potato, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 yellow (or green, or orange, or whatever) bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons Frank’s Red Hot
  • 2 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 green onion, sliced (for garnish)
  • 4 eggs (cooked to your liking)

Add the olive oil to a small skillet and heat on medium heat. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper and add to the pan. Toss the potatoes to coat with oil and then let them sit, untouched for abour 5 minutes. They will start to form a delicious, crispy, brown crust!

Add the peppers and onions to the pan, stir, and let sit for another 5 minutes. Turn the heat up to high and continue to cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes more. Add the garlic powder and Frank’s Red Hot, stirring everything to coat and combine. (You may want to stand back when you add the hot sauce…or you may suffer a coughing attack from all of the spicy goodness hitting the heat.)

Once everything is coated, turn the heat to low to keep warm. Sprinkle with cheese.

If you’re like me and you like an egg with a runny yolk – here’s how I make my eggs.

In a separate pan, spray with nonstick spray to coat and set over medium-low heat. Crack in your eggs and let cook until the white is mostly set. Add 1 tablespoon of water to the pan, cover, and crank the heat. Let cook until the yolk is set to your desired doneness. (This technique is called Steam Basting the egg…though some restaurants may do this butter or oil…the water will create steam which will cook the top of the egg. KNOWLEDGE!)

Serve your hash and eggs topped with more green onions and – you guessed it – more hot sauce!

redhothash&eggs

 

 

Happy Monday & Morning Munchies

Happy Monday, everyone!!

I love a good breakfast – I’m sure most of ya’ll have figured that out by now.

Just about every Saturday morning  (and some Sundays, too!) I  typically make my husband three scrambled eggs with American cheese, a big cup of black coffee, and two slices of buttered whole wheat toast. Although I enjoy preparing my hubby breakfast, especially when he asks me to do so ever-so-adorably,  sometimes it’s really hard to time it so that we can sit down and enjoy our breakfast together when I want something different (which is always, because I don’t care for scrambled eggs!). This weekend, though, I found a solution!

Note: I hope ya’ll have been enjoying my quinoa recipes, because here comes another one!! I  can’t help myself!! It’s so quick to cook up, so versatile, and soooooooooooo tasty! The fact that this stuff is actually good for me is the best bonus ever!

This recipe is really quite simple and I made it WHILE I had John’s eggs cooking away. By the time the toast was buttered, my breakfast was good to go, too!! It keeps great in the fridge if you make extra, too, btw! I still have some left for later this week that I can’t wait to indulge in.

Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Quinoa

makes 2 servings

  • 1 cup nonfat milk (soy or almond milk would be delightful, too, I just always have skim milk on hand)
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon honey (plus extra for drizzling as you see fit)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup apple. chopped
  • 1/4 cup almonds, chopped

Pour the milk into a small pot and bring it to a gentle boil. Add the vanilla and the quinoa, stir to combine, and cover. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let cook 15 minutes. (The milk looks scary sometimes and may bubble up to the lid. Just remove the lid and stir if this happens, it’ll all turn out fine!) Remove from heat and let sit with the lid on for 5 minutes more. Stir in the honey and cinnamon.  Serve topped with chopped apple, almonds, and more honey and cinnamon if you like! (I also poured a little extra milk on mine…I’m not sure why really…to make it like a cross breed of hot and cold cereal maybe? I just thought it was a good idea at the timebreakfast quinoa. It was. 🙂 )

 

Energy Bites and Peppermint Tea

That’s what making me happy today. 🙂

Energy bites and peppermint tea.

For those of you that know me you know that it’s exceedingly rare I ever go a day without a cup of tea…or four. But these days I do my very best to balance between the caffeinated and decaffeinated stuff.  I usually start my day with a big cup of English Breakfast tea, throw some green tea in the afternoon, and I spend my evenings drinking peppermint herbal tea. I’m telling you, even when I’m in the sourest of moods I find it pretty tough to stay angry when I take a sip of tea. Johnny even says I have a tea face…I think it looks something like this.

Anywho

Heh. Get it…because it’s an owl…

Seriously though. When I drink tea I make that face.

Now – onto the energy bites!! I, personally, am a huge fan of Larabars. They’re all natural and come in so many delicious flavors (although Central PA still hasn’t gotten it’s hands on any Carrot Cake  OR Blueberry Muffin ones *sigh*). I love the company as a whole and their dedication towards using all natural/organic/fair trade certified ingredients. HOWEVER – and I may or may not have mentioned this before – I’m poor and can’t justify spending money on them. At least where I shop they’re over $1/bar. Sooooooooo I’ve finally decided to take a crack at making a homemade version of them…with QUINOA!

When I made my Buffalo Chicken Quinoa and Cheese last week, I cooked up some extra quinoa that’s just been sitting around looking for a purpose. Why not throw some extra protein into these energy bites, right?! Right! The dates sweeten everything perfectly, the almonds are filled with protein and healthy fat, the cocoa powder will give you a dose of fiber and antioxidants, and the almond extract boosts the flavor to the next level. I adore these energy bites!

You need a food processor for this recipe and they’re a cinch to whip up! This recipe made 12 squares.

Chocolate Almond Quinoa Energy Bites

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/4 cup raw almonds
  • 1/8 cup unsweetend cocoa powder
  • 4 medjool dates
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Place the dates into the food processor and pulse until they form a sticky ball. Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor and let it wiz until everything is combined, scraping down the sides once or twice to make sure everything gets incorporated. Spread the mixture (which will be quite sticky- wet your fingers a bit to prevent it from sticking to you) onto a small pan to form an approximately 5×7 inch  rectangle about 1/2 an inch thick (I used the pan from my toaster oven).  Place in the refrigerator  to set – for at least an hour or two. Slice into squares and munch!!

Here’s what you start with…

the lineup

and here’s the finished product!

chocolate almond quinoa energy bites

Feeding My Addiction

Let me tell you a little something about myself. It’s something some of you may already know about me. Some of you may not. Some people think it’s an addiction, though many of you may even share this addiction and not even know it. I’ve known some folks that have it much worse than I do. I’ve known people who couldn’t even leave the house without having some sort of backup on hand.

I’m talking… about FRANKS RED HOT!!

Seriously…what else would I be talking about?

I LOVE this stuff. I’ll put it on eggs. I’ll put it on pizza. And I cannot say no to anything with “Buffalo Chicken” in the name!

Sadly, though, most “Buffalo Chicken” recipes – dips, pastas, and pizzas – are LOADED with fat and calories that my thighs and I just don’t feel like dealing with. Loads of butter and blue cheese (Note: I NEVER use blue cheese…or ranch…with my buffalo anything.  I want to experience the heat – I don’t want to tame it with yucky, fatty dressing. Also note…I hate blue cheese. It helps. ) or globs of ranch dressing just aren’t appealing to me.

So what’s a girl to do??

Healthify it! (Obviously.)

I recently stumbled across what appears to be a spectacularly popular food blog you may or may not have heard of – Iowa Girl Eats. Kristin’s philosophy is fantastic “Eat Well, Run Often, Travel Far.” That’s something I can totally relate to. I can also totally relate to her post – Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Mac and Cheese. And by relate to her post – I mean use it for inspiration and make my own deliciously, outstandingly, amazingly, life changing recipe you will find below.

Anyone out there never have quinoa before? It’s really quite delightful. Contrary to what some may say, quinoa is not “technically” a grain. It’s actually a seed! Whodathunkit?! It’s also the only “whole grain” that is a complete protein – which means it has all 9 essential amino acids the human body cannot produce but needs to function. *KNOWLEDGE* It has a subtle, nutty flavor when it’s plain but it’s super versatile! You can cook it up just like rice (if you’re like me that means really carefully while staring at the covered pot praying it doesn’t stick to the bottom…hopefully you’re not like me) and use it in recipes from breakfast, to salad, to THIS:

Buffalo Chicken Mac Quinoa and Cheese

·         1 ½ cups dry, uncooked quinoa
·         2 cups water or chicken stock
·         2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
·         2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts – cut into bite sized pieces
·         2 tablespoons flour (or gf flour of your choice)
·         2 tablespoons granulated garlic
·         Salt and Pepper to taste
·         4 tablespoons Franks Red Hot
·         ¼ cup nonfat milk
·         ¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese
·         2-3 scallions, chopped
Rinse your quinoa in a fine mesh strainer.
(This is what ever other basic quinoa preparation recipes  says – I don’t have a fine mesh strainer, so I lined my pasta strainer with a few paper towels so the quinoa wouldn’t fall through and rinsed it that way. )
Add  1 teaspoon of olive oil to a small pot and add the quinoa. Sauté over medium heat for 2 or 3 minutes until the quinoa becomes fragrant.  Add your water or chicken stock. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand about  10 minute with the lid on before fluffing with a fork.
While your quinoa is cooking, season your chicken with garlic, salt, and pepper. Toss with flour (or gf flour) to coat. Heat the remaining teaspoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the chicken and cook on medium high heat until the chicken is golden brown on all sides.  Reduce the heat to low and add the hot sauce. Stir to coat and add the milk to the pan. Stir everything well to combine and bring the mixture to a gentle simmer. (If you boil the nonfat milk, it may start to separate. It may even look a little funky when you first add it to the pan but it’ll all smooth out once you mix in the cheese.) Add ½ cup shredded cheese and half of the scallions to the pan. Stir everything to combine. Add  the cooked quinoa and stir everything  until the quinoa is incorporated.
Transfer to a greased oven safe baking dish (or if you’re lucky like I am and have an oven safe skillet ignore that statement completely) top with remaining ¼ cup of shredded cheese and scallions. Pop the pan under the broiler until the cheese is melted and brown.
IN THEORY this recipe makes four substantial dinner portions…unless you’re like me and hover over the pan with a fork before it’s even cool enough to eat and shovel half of it down your throat immediately. (Note – this will be hot and you will burn your mouth if you use this technique!)

Serve and rejoice in cheesy,  HEALTHY, buffalo chicken glory!

buffalo chicken quinoa