Recipe: Italian Veggie & Kale Quinoa Bowl

Italian Veggie & Kale Quinoa Bowl

Okay, so admittedly, this recipe was born solely from the fact that my husband was bugging me to use the big ol load of kale I got at the store on Monday and had yet to cook. So, I did a little once over of what we had in the fridge and then mentally recalled my Pepper Sautéed Kale & Veggies Quinoa Bowl and just went for it (although I was totally not in a cumin mood, so I changed this one up to be more Italian).

Before we get started: Oh. my. goodness. I learned that you can make quinoa in the RICE COOKER! Hellllllllo. I totally would have made wayyyyy more quinoa before now (which, for the record, I call the stuff Queen-waa and even though I know that’s wrong, I think I’m gonna keep my way – hehe)! Apparently though, I’m not the only one who has trouble with it…

how to pronounce quinoa

Okay, sorry for that tangent.

On to the recipe! (By the way, I post most of the recipe pics at the end of the post… most of us just want to get to the recipe, but if you are into gawking at food, then I have included the pics just for you!)

Italian Veggie & Kale Quinoa Bowl - stovetop bottom

Italian Veggie & Kale Quinoa Bowl

A little tip: As you chop and slice, combine ingredients that will go in the pan at the same time into the same prep-bowl. Bowl 1: carrots and tomatoes. Bowl 2: squash, zucchini, green onions. Bowl 3: mushrooms. Bowl 4: kale.

  • 1 carrot, cut into 2-3 inch strips
  • 2 handfuls of salad tomatoes, halved
  • 1 squash, sliced
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 5 mushrooms, sliced
  • 3-4 “stalks” of kale, cut off stems, and coarsely chopped
  • 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp Ana’s Herbs (or other Italian seasoning mix whose ingredients compare)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked

Instructions:

  1. Cook the quinoa if you have yet to do so.
  2. Bring four cups of water to a boil and then turn down to low. (You’ll need this in a minute to blanch the kale.)
  3. Heat a pan with the olive oil and saute the garlic for a minute or two then add in the Ana’s Herbs and allow to saute for several more minutes (this sorta “reactivates” the dried herbs). Add more oil to keep the herbs from burning if necessary.
  4. Add in the fire roasted diced tomatoes, mix together with herbs and let cook for three minutes.
  5. Add in the carrots and tomatoes and let them cook for three minutes.
  6. Add in the squash, zucchini, and green onions and let them cook for three minutes. {Ya seeing a pattern here yet? Hehe!}
  7. Add in the mushrooms and let them cook for… yep, three minutes!
  8. When you add in the mushrooms, pour the kale into the hot water and allow it to blanch while the mushrooms cook. No longer than three minutes!
  9. When the mushrooms are finished move the pan off of the heat, strain the kale, and combine it with the veggie mixture in the pan.
  10. Serve it over the quinoa as soon as you can because kale is at it’s best (and prettiest) when it is still bright green!

For the record: my husband said “Wow this is gooooood.” at least 7 times, which is the biblical number of perfection, so I’m going to deem this recipe a success!

And here are a few preparation pictures…

Italian Veggie & Kale Quinoa Bowl - tomatoes

Italian Veggie & Kale Quinoa Bowl - squash

Italian Veggie & Kale Quinoa Bowl - mushroom

Italian Veggie & Kale Quinoa Bowl - kale

Day 641: Protein Banana Bar

I’m not one to usually post recipes two days in a row, and if you follow The Covenant Diet on instagram, facebook, or twitter then you’ve already seen this one, so I’m posting it for those of you that are my blog-only friends!

Essentially, I have been swimming more and realized that my energy was totally tanking in the afternoons when I would swim and so I asked my friends on facebook to help me with some ideas. The consensus was: eat protein pretty quickly after workout. I like to avoid processed stuff when I can, so when my friend Kaci mentioned this idea, I tried it out and LOVED it!

protein banana bar

Protein Banana Bar

Ingredients

  • 2 bananas
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1 Tbsp shredded coconut
  • Cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter (give or take)
  1. In a shallow plate combine 1/4 cup oats, a tablespoon shredded coconut, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
  2. Cut two bananas in half and smear them with peanut butter (or almond butter would be yummo as well).
  3. Roll the bananas in the oat mixture. And bada bam bada bing… a yummy post-recovery workout bar for you and a friend!

 

Day 640: Veggie Tacos Recipe

I love tacos.

They are so flipping easy and customizable to each person’s tastes and they are just downright yummy.

But tacos, in the original sense, are categorically UNvegetarian and UNvegan. So, like I love to do… I made my own version of them vegetarian style. Of course, to make them vegan, you’d just leave out the sour cream and maybe glop on some guacamole instead.

Plus, if you have carnivores in your life then you can make regular taco meat in a separate skillet and appease everyone! They just might even try the vegetarian option and realize that maybe being a vegetarian isn’t all that bad after all! (Cause honestly, I now prefer veggie tacos to meat tacos.)  Serve these with a small bowl of my favorite Black Bean Soup recipe and you’ll DEFINITELY win them over!

veggie tacos

Veggie Tacos

Ingredients

  • Avocados (I’d suggest 1/2 an avocado per person)
  • Chopped or shredded lettuce
  • Button mushrooms, sliced (any mushroom will work)
  • Bell Pepper, sliced
  • Onion, sliced
  • Cherry Tomatoes (or regular chopped tomatoes)
  • Taco Seasoning
  • Cilantro (optional… but gosh, why WOULDN’T you use it!?!?! Hehe!)
  • Sour Cream (optional)
  • Shredded Cheese (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a skillet, saute the mushrooms and onions on medium-high in olive or coconut oil for a few minutes and then sprinkle with taco seasoning (to taste) and saute for a few more minutes.
  2. Toss in bell peppers and saute until firm-tender.
  3. Arrange in tortillas (A little trick, if you put sour cream or guacamole in the bottom of the tortilla it will help to keep the other juices from “dissolving” your tortilla) and spoon in sour cream/guacamole, mushroom mixture, lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro, cheese, and top with avocado slices!

Recipe: Ginger Tea In Crockpot

Ginger Tea In Crock Pot

Okay, okay so you might be saying “Uhhhh, that ginger looks a lot more like apples than ginger.” And you are right… well, sorta. Technically, I made Apple Ginger Tea but I just threw the apples in because my kids didn’t eat the other half of the Fuji apple I cut for them. It works with or without apple slices!

The main reason I wanted to make my ginger tea in the crockpot was because I kept having to babysit it on the stovetop, I had several boil-overs on accident, and I was losing all of the water because it kept reducing! So, I figured, give it a go in the crock pot! It keeps all the water in there, and I can even leave while it “cooks”. It worked out great! I’m trying to have a cup of ginger tea every day for a month to see if it helps with the inflammation in my hip.

Ginger Tea In The Crockpot

  • 4 cups/1 Liter water, heated to boiling
  • 2 “knobs” of ginger (see the pic below)
  • optional 1/2 Fuji apple, sliced with peels ON
  • optional 1-2 teaspoons honey, to taste
  • optional 1-2 teaspoons lime juice, to taste

Instructions

  1. While you work, heat water to boiling.
  2. Peel the ginger and then “peel-shred” it into the crock pot. (I just use the vegetable peeler and make thin slices of the ginger to get more bang for my buck.)
  3. Add in the apples if you want and then pour in the boiling water.
  4. Cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours.
  5. Pour through a sieve (or, like me, just ladel it into your teavana tea maker to strain it) and then add in honey and lime juice.

Okay, since I could never figure out in recipes what a “knob” of ginger was supposed to be (is it just part of it or the whole thing?) I decided to take a picture of the ginger I used next to a quarter so that you could see exactly what I used. Use more for a stronger tea if you’d like!

Ginger Tea In Crock Pot

Recipe: Mexican Potato Casserole

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Gotta love those recipes that are born from “What am I going to cook for dinner tonight” and “Dang, I need to use up some of that 5 lb bag of potatoes” and “What do I have in the freezer???” And once again, this is a hubby-love recipe… as in hubby loved it. He ate a bit after us but he came and found me in the bathroom while I was bathing our boys and said “Oh my goodness. THIS is really good.”

And then he told me again after his second bowl.

And again after his third.

Yep. Score.

Mexican Potato Casserole

Ingredients

  • 5 or 6 medium sized yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 can ROTEL
  • 1 can Cream of Chicken (or Cream of Potato or Celery if you are vegetarian)
  • 1 can of pinto beans, drained
  • 1 1/2 cup colby jack shredded cheese, divided
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  • 5-6 dashes Frank’s Red Hot Cayenne Pepper Sauce (or similar)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Steam the potatoes on the stovetop until “al dente”. (Can I use that term for potatoes?)
  3. Meanwhile, stir the cumin, garlic salt, and pepper sauce in with the beans and mix to combine.
  4. Mix together the corn, cream of chicken, rotel, beans, 1 1/4 cup of cheese.
  5. When the potatoes are ready, mix them in with the rest of the ingredients.
  6. Pour the mixture into a 9×13 dish and cook for 17-20 minutes.
  7. Let cool and enjoy!

Day 476: Smoothie Queen

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Several weeks ago, I was getting ready to go to Sam’s to get our monthly load of cashews, shredded cheese, almond milk, coffee, and diapers. Ya know, the necessities. Well my man walks up to me and hands me a hundy (a $100 bill… his Christmas money, I believe) and tells me to go get a Ninja blender.

I know, right?!?!? How awesome was THAT?

After he watched that documentary, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, we tried multiple times to juice but the clean up is so laborious that we only managed to last a few times. I started thinking that maybe the Ninja would be more along the lines of what would work for us since it is basically a “blend, rinse, go” kind of deal. And I thought that it would be a good birthday present for him (back in February) but alas, I figured that being such an avid musician he would probably prefer the iTrack that he asked for, like, two days before Christmas when I had already bought him all of his gifts. So, my parents got that for him for his birthday instead of a Ninja.

Perfect for him. {Sigh.} for me.

Anyway, I guess I couldn’t stop talking about it so he wanted to get one for me. But since we only have one car he wasn’t able to ever get out and surprise me. Every time he leaves I’m all Where ya going? Why? Cause we need more milk. Are you going to the store and can get some milk? Uhhhhh, sure.

Surprise… ruined. So, he figured it was just easier to let me go and get it and pick out just what I wanted.

So. sweet.
So. smart. (The whole “pick out whatcha want” thing!)

And I started making us smoothies in the morning. Truth be told, I’m not much of a breakfast eater.

Wait. Hold that. I’m a HUGE breakfast eater.

THAT’S the problem.

eggs. bacon. biscuits. pancakes. waffles. gravy. hash browns. parfait. sausage. fruit. cheesy grits. orange juice. sweet rolls. muffins. coffee.

It’s all golden. I love it. Love it ALL.

Not a good situation for a glutton.

So, breakfast is usually something kind of low-key for me… granola. fruit. yogurt. grits if I’m going crazy. oatmeal if I’m desperate.

BUT NOW… I’m the smoothie queen! I love the things! And I would love to post a bunch of recipes for you, but so far this is what all my recipes would be….

Lazy Woman’s Quick and Easy Breakfast Smoothie

Ingredients

  • Bag of mixed frozen fruit
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup Water or Almond Milk

Instructions

  1. Dump some frozen fruit in a big cereal bowl and defrost just a bit in the microwave for 30-45 seconds on 30% power.
  2. Dump it in the Ninja with a little bit of water or almond milk.
  3. Blend.

It’s just good… tastes like getting a dessert for… BREAKFAST.

But instead it’s ACTUALLY like eating a bowl of fruit for breakfast… a big bowl.

AND since I prefer to put in water or almond milk instead of juice it keeps the calories or sugar or whatever lower (I’m assuming… since I don’t count or track any of that stuff!)

Win. WIN. WIN!

Okay, so I hate to say that I have zero spiritual connection for this one… I dunno, I guess I’ll just throw this one out there for ya as an extra.

Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. Colossians 1:10

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Recipe: Quick & Easy Avocado & Tomato Salad

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One of the things about doing a Daniel Fast (essentially vegan eating) is that it makes you eat healthy real quick. Well, on Wednesday, all I wanted was to slap some peanut butter on a piece of bread and call it lunch, but… well, that’s not Daniel Fasty, so I had to come up with something else. My husband’s grandmother, Nanny, makes this tomato and avocado salad a lot that is delish and she puts something on it that I thought was balsamic vinegar, but after making my (which was also delish) that’s not it. So, once I talk to her and figure it out I’ll add that on here as well!

I know this is easy and half of the world has probably already made this before, but I thought I’d throw it on here because it might be a lunch option you had forgotten about.

Quick & Easy Avocado And Tomato Salad

(Have you noticed that almost all of my recipes say “Quick and Easy” in the title? There’s definitely a theme running through my cooking!)

  • 1 avocado
  • 3/4 cup of salad tomatoes
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped (optional)

Instructions

  1. Cut up the avocado into chunks and cut the salad tomatoes in half and sprinkle in the parsley.
  2. Pour the olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the mix and stir the salad.
  3. Eat! Really great with iced tea!

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Recipe: Easy & Light Tortellini Toss

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I really wanted to call this Found It In My Fridge Tortellini Toss because that was my inspiration… stuff in my fridge. I knew that tonight was cheese tortellini night, but lately the tortellini bake that I make has been too… heavy and greasy. So, I wanted to make something a little bit lighter and this one just sort of… happened!

What I love about it: tastes restauranty and it only took me 15 minutes, start to finish!

Easy & Light Tortellini Toss

  • 1 lb cheese tortellini (I like the tri-color kind from Sam’s)
  • 3 Tbsp butter (or olive oil if you prefer)
  • 1/4 chopped onion (frozen is okay)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1-2 tsp Ana’s Herbs (or other Italian seasoning), to taste
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 orange (yellow, or red) bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 20ish cherry (salad) tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/4 cup white wine or white grape juice
  • 1 tsp parsley OR basil, chopped fine

You could veganize this by using another kind of tortellini and using oil each time instead of butter.

  1. Cook the cheese tortellini according to package directions, drain, and lightly coat with olive oil to prevent sticking.
  2. Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a large skillet and saute the onions and garlic. Add the Ana’s Herbs, and allow to soak up the oil for about a minute or two, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add in the olive oil and then toss in the bell peppers for a minute or so, then add the tomatoes, wine, and parsley and allow to cook, stirring frequently for 3-5 minutes depending upon how firm you want the veggies.
  4. Add the cooked tortellini to the skillet and mix everything together. Serve, and enjoy!

{I wanted to show you this picture of my cut tomatoes because,
yes, there is a Nerf gun partially on my cutting board.
When you have two boys, you just never know when you might get attacked!}

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{Such an easy starter to a light pasta sauce… right here: oil, onions, garlic, and Ana’s Herbs/Italian Seasoning}

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{I knew these were gonna be pretty in the mix!}

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{This is how I finely chop the parsley… with kitchen shears! Very culinary of me, right?}

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{Look how beautiful these are in the pan sauteing!}

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{The final product… even the hubs said it looked “fancy”!}

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Recipe: Caribbean Black Beans (Crock Pot & Stove Top Versions)

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We… LOVE this recipe.

My reasons: tasty. easy. a man favorite. simple. fast to prep.
Hubby’s reasons: tasty. tasty. tasty. and ummmm, tasty.

Caribbean Black Beans (Crock Pot & Stove Top Versions)

Ingredients

  • 2 (15 oz) cans of black beans, drained (not rinsed)
  • 1 (8 oz) can unsweetened crushed canned pineapple
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion (I use frozen)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (if fasting, leave this out… you won’t even notice)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • cooked rice

Instructions For Crock Pot (5 minute prep, 4-6 hours on LOW)

  1. Put all ingredients in crock pot and stir.
  2. Cook on LOW for about 4-6 hours.
  3. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes and then serve with hot rice.

Instructions For Stove Top (5 minute prep, 30 minutes)

  1. Combine all ingredients in large soup pot on stove top.
  2. Turn to medium heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so.
  3. Remove the lid, turn to medium-low heat, and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so.
  4. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes and then serve with rice.

I got the inspiration for this version from this recipe.

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Recipe: Easy Cheesy Veggie Pasta Bake

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Easy Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake

I love this meal… and it gets double love because my husband said he loved it too… in fact, he said it twice! And then it gets triple love because it can be made ahead and refrigerated!

I got the original idea from this baked tortellini recipe over at Real Mom Kitchen.

Ingredients
• 16 oz dried penne pasta
• 1 cup frozen broccoli
• 1 cup frozen zucchini
• 1/2 cup whipping cream (not as good but will work: whole milk or half and half)
• 1 Tablespoon of Ana’s Herbs (or other Italian seasoning mix… although if you can find some Ana’s Herbs, get some… they are awesome! Their website has stores where you can find it)
• 1 1/2 cup shredded cheese (mozzarella or colby jack)
• 1 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
• 1 jar (24oz) of spaghetti sauce (I usually use a basil and garlic kind)
• 4 Tablespoons butter, divided
• 1/2 cup of Italian seasoned bread crumbs

Instructions:
1. Get out broccoli and zucchini so they can defrost just enough to separate from each other to be mixed.

2. Cook penne according to instructions until al dente. Drain and stir in a tablespoon of butter to keep from sticking.

3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine spaghetti sauce, cream, Ana’s Herbs, and 1 cup of Parmesan cheese.

4. Add in zucchini, broccoli, and penne. Stir until evenly combined.

5. Stir mixture into a 9×13 casserole dish and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, then with bread crumbs. Drizzle remaining butter, melted, over bread crumbs.

6. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes and let cool for 10 minutes. Then serve!

It’s really easy and I love that I can incorporate frozen veggies without having to remember an hour in advance to get them out to defrost.

I’d love to hear some other variations you think would be good (and easy) in here. I was thinking some pre-chopped mushrooms? What else?