The dog days of summer, phew it.is.hot.
The begin of summer, we had too much rain nowadays I pray’ll pray to anyones god for a little relief from the hot, hot, hot sun. My plants are thirsty, the grass is scorched, and I’m sitting in front of the AC. I cross my fingers for rain every.single.night.
Three times within the last week we have tried going to a public pool (don’t judge us, it’s hot as F%$#) but they have all been closed for crazy things like “some kid pooped in the pool”…. (ew)
Ok, scratch that.
On my most recent denial of pool usage, I detoured to the farmers market and bought more fruit than I really need – I mean, I already had peaches, kiwis, grapes, pears, and oranges laying around. A little extra fruit never hurt anybody.
FACT: Fruit is colorful so that it attracts humans to eat it. If we lived in the wild days and had to hunt and gather, we’d know what to pick and eat because of the attractive colors.
I know my eye is drawn to the beautiful colors that will keep me nourished on these sizzling hot summer days.
Since the poopy pool is a no-go, I’ve found a little activity to keep myself busy indoors (air conditioning) – I’m rummaging through old magazines and THROWING THEM AWAY because there is absolutely no reason that I need magazines from 2009. Or is there? Ok, now you know that I’m a hoarder (excuse me, Martha Stewart Living has a special place in everyone’s home, I’m sure of it). I’m tearing out all the recipes and cute little quotes that probably prompted me to keep the magazines in the first place, so then there’s THAT project. But whatever, it feels good to throw stuff (ahem, garbage) away.
I found this sweet Sprouted Quinoa Pineapple Summer Salad from Whole Living Magazine that inspired me to make this Sprouted Quinoa Mango Salad. Also, mangoes – yum. Also, I had just purchased TruRoots Sprouted Quinoa at the market. TruRoots hooked me up with a few bags of goods, but the quinoa was purchased with my own money. 1. I was stoked to find it being sold .05 miles away from my home. 2. I made TruRoots Spaghetti with a Lentil (TruRoots) Sauce. Basically, I’ve been eating good lately. (I’ll probably fall flat on my face with a waffle tonight after saying that, whatev)
If you would like to get your hands on some TruRoots Originals goodies, leave a comment on THIS POST before Aug. 17 to enter the giveaway!
In all seriousness, I’m really excited to share this recipe because I think you’re going to like it. It’s:
Has a little kick
In my belly
& will be made again in my kitchen, soon.
I used mint (from the garden!) in this salad but I had to debate between it and basil. Either way, there is no losing, Both mint or basil would perfectly compliment this salad and keep it “fresh.”
We’ve gone on a few camping trips this summer and have another trip planned at the end of the month. I love camping because it allows an opportunity to bask in the natural beauty that our outdoor world has to offer.
I love being isolated from the modern world, challenged to entertain myself with the few things I’ve packed in the car and the organic earth surrounding me.
One of the biggest challenges I face prior to a camping trip is meal planning.
A week prior to camp, I plan out each meal and make a grocery list. It’s important to know exactly how much food will be needed – you don’t want to starve out there in the wilderness but you don’t want to pack too much either – 1. there typically isn’t enough room for over-packing. 2. you may waste food if you over-pack.
After I’ve planned my meals and made my grocery list, I make a list of the tools I’ll need in order to properly prepare each meal.
On our last camping trip, we didn’t have a reserved spot so we weren’t sure if we’d be camping with a campfire or not. We challenged ourselves to prepare all of our meals without a fire and we did so with a single burner camp stove. The mini stove allowed us to make coffee in the morning, warm up oatmeal, cook rice, and warm veggies. (what more could you ask for?!)
Although I hesitated to bring a Sun Tea Jar to camp (some may consider it obnoxious), I was thankful I did – water gets boring after a while. Although it’s considered cold brew, may I recommend Sport Tea for camp? Because, electrolytes.
Let’s talk meal prep for Plant-Based Camp Meals
Here are a few rules I follow when planning out my camp meals:
1. Keep meals SIMPLE, nutritional, and filling
2. Keep ingredients to a minimum
3. Work with ingredients that can be used in multiple meals (you’ll see examples below)
4. Pack foods that won’t spoil quickly (meat, cheese, milk, fish, etc…)
5. Pack a few spices that will enhance flavor (cinnamon, salt, pepper)
1. Cold Cereal w/ Nuts & Fruit
add some chopped fruit (whatever you’ve packed) and some nuts from your trail mix for a more filling cereal. use a nut milk instead of dairy (it doesn’t spoil as quickly!)
2. Oatmeal you can make oatmeal in a variety of different ways for camp –
//instant oats cook quickly and can be mixed with fruits, nuts, cinnamon, and almond milk
//you can make steel cut oats prior to camp and warm them quickly – again, add fruits, nuts, almond milk, cinnamon
//if you have a frying pan available, sauté some sliced apples or peaches and then add oats
// blend quinoa with your steel cut oats for added nutrition, Trader Joe’s has frozen packs of oats + quinoa that work well at camp
3. Peanut Butter
add peanut butter to bread or apples for a quick, yet filling breakfast – supplement with trail mix and/or protein bars (this is what I would eat prior to an early AM hike!)
1. Guacamole & Quinoa-stuffed Bell Peppers
Cut bell pepper in half and de-seed them then stuff them with pre-made guacamole and quinoa. Top them with a few chopped tomatoes if you have them on hand.
2. Spinach Salad w/ Peaches and Lentils
Top spinach with lentils (my favorite are the Sprouted Green Lentils from TruRoots because of their nutritional value and peppery flavor) and peaches & cherries (blueberries would work well to!)
The perfect salad dressing to pack for camp is Tessemae’s Lemon Garlic because it works well with every salad I can imagine and can be used in a variety of different ways including as a marinade for veggies, or atop a rice or quinoa dish. PLUS, it keeps well whether room temp or in a cooler.
3. Chopped Veggies & Hummus
Pre-made hummus can be served with practically every veggie I can think of – chop what you’ve got and dip. If you’re a fan of crackers or chips, dip those as well! My favorite crackers are the Bite Size Everything Crackers from Trader Joe’s.
4. Carrot Soup
Carrot Soup can be served warm or chilled which makes it perfect for camp. The last time we camped, we ate it (chilled) as a side dish to 3-4 different meals, it rounded out our meals by adding additional flavor. The recipe I used is found on the Minimalist Baker blog.
5. Peanut Butter
If you have minimal time for a meal, celery dipped in peanut butter will quickly offer a burst of energy. This may be a “meal” you are eating while hiking or on a boat and can be supplemented with energy bars, trail mix, and dried fruits.
1. Rice + Veggies TruRoots Germinated Brown Rice cooks in less than 10 minutes which makes it ideal for camp (especially when you’re trying to get dinner done prior to the sun setting)! If you serve cooked rice over the top of raw, chopped veggies, and allow it to sit for a few minutes, the warmth of the rice will soften the veggies. If you prefer to cook your veggies, you can do that too. Use any veggies you like (or what you have on hand), I used broccoli and cauliflower on my last camping trip. To add flavor to your rice & veggies, use the Tessemae’s Lemon Garlic dressing.
2. Chickpea Lettuce Wraps
SO EASY! Ok, here is what you need: a can of chickpeas, a head of lettuce, some fruits (those peaches that you used for breakfast – or mango), diced cucumber, and a dressing. I used the Carrot Soup as a dressing for my lettuce wraps because I had it on hand, but I also considered making a Peanut Sauce prior to camp. (recipe for peanut sauce HERE)
3. a Quinoa Bowl
quinoa + fruits + avocado + peanut sauce – find the recipe HERE
4. Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers
Cut the tops off the bell peppers and de-seed them. Stand them upright and stuff them with chopped veggies, warm rice or quinoa, and some tomato sauce if you have it on-hand. If you have a campfire, you can wrap them in foil and allow them to “cook” – if not, allow the warm rice or quinoa to soften the bell pepper and veggies for a few minutes prior to eating.
If you look at my table setup in the photos, you’ll see that I served many of these meals together instead of singly to create more interesting and complex meals. It’s all about getting creative, using what you have, and displaying your foods colorfully!
TruRoots recently asked me to become an ambassador for them and I happily said YES after reading their story and trying their products. The TruRoots philosophy is:
TruRoots was founded on the idea that our connections to the sources of our foods are important. The people who grow, harvest and deliver these nutritious foods are just as important as the final product. In fact, without this chain of good people and wise practices, the high quality of our food simply isn’t possible.
With this approach has come not only a connection between the people and lands that these foods come from—it has opened up avenues for the sharing of cultural wisdom. Western science is just ‘discovering’ many of the principals that have been in use for centuries around the world. These ancient practices are being confirmed by science as having nutritious benefit and agricultural sustainability. And this process of learning and sharing has only begun. It is our belief at TruRoots that scientific advances and ancient wisdom can be brought together into a golden middle road which leads to not only wholesome foods, but rewarding human relationships. We have a lot to learn from each other… And the process of doing this is simply delicious!
With that philosophy and some of the best tasting grains I’ve ever eaten, TruRoots is a company that I’m excited to stand behind.
TruRoots has offered to give away 1 package of each TruRoots Originals product to one lucky PLQ winner. To enter, leave a comment on this post before August 17. The lucky winner will be randomly chosen and notified on August 18. Please share this post with any of your camping friends or with anyone who may be interested in winning some TruRoots goodies!
Although TruRoots influenced me by sending out some free product, all opinions and food ideas in this post are my own. In this post, you will also find a few affiliate links – if you click them and purchase a product, I may make a few pennies on the dollar. Thank you for taking the time to read!
Oh, and for the record – all of these photos were taken at Twin Lakes, CO. Beautiful, right?!
I had just recently moved to Colorado when I found myself at the Native Foods Cafe in Boulder rapping with a young employee about food. I mentioned this blog and he mentioned a Banana Quinoa Pudding recipe he’d found on the internet.
Choosing between a Watermelon Fresca, Lavender Lemonade, and Iced Tea at Native Foods can be tricky, but after I’d done so, I plopped down in to a seat and googled “vegan banana quinoa pudding.” Luckily, I immediately found the recipe I’d been told about.
I bookmarked that recipe for almost a year before trying it. I visited the bookmark several times throughout the year with intentions of making it. The problem is, I’ve got thousands of recipes bookmarked to try. I’d love to thank the guy from Native Foods who shared this recipe with me but sadly enough I don’t even remember what he looked like. If you’re out there reading dude, THANKS!!!
I changed the original recipe slightly, well, I beefed it up – I added peanut butter (request from the BF), blueberries (because I had them on hand) and cacao nibs (chocolate + texture). This easy-to-make, nourishing, sweet, delectable pudding is just too fabulous to not share.
1 cup quinoa (you can use red or white quinoa - I used a mix)
2 cups almond milk or coconut milk (or a combo of both)
2 ripe bananas, mashed
½ cup peanut butter (or more if you like!)
3 Tbsp agave nectar
½ tsp cinnamon
a splash of vanilla extract
a handful of cacao nibs
¼ cup blueberries
After rinsing the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer, put it into a pot with the almond milk and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat, cover, and let simmer for 15 minutes.
Mix in the bananas, peanut butter, agave nectar, cinnamon, and vanilla and stir over medium heat until thickened. Cool for about 10 minutes, then mix in the blueberries and cacao nibs just before serving.
Over the weekend, I took an impromptu trip to Austin with my BFF Laura, just for fun. We like to get away every few months and we both had some vacation time to blow so we decided to keep Austin weird for a few days. (photos from the trip on Instagram)
We had very little expectation for our trip: eat good food, shop, honky tonk, gossip, and sleep when we feel like it. Laura & I live hundreds of miles from each other so we have to travel in order to see each other. We don’t keep up much via text so when we see each other face-to-face, our mouths never stop yapping. It’s so good.
On this particular trip, our conversation was dominated by our ever-evolving relationships and what it will be like to take them to the next level. We both went from single girls to long-term relationships synonymously. History in the making, if you ask me.
We talked a lot about food, Laura and her BF focus on paleo and only eat meat once or twice a week. Patrick and I eat vegan when we are together, he eats meat when I’m not around (for now). We shared recipes and kitchen tips.
We talked about who cooks, who grocery shops, and how leftovers are handled. I’ll eat left-overs ONCE but that’s it before I’m over it – Laura is the same way. Ironically, our boyfriends will both eat leftovers for days and days on end. Seriously, I gave Patrick a large tupperware full of chili (that wasn’t my best work) and he ate it HAPPILY for 5-6 days straight. I’m thankful to have someone around who won’t allow a single bite of food go to waste because I will throw stuff away with no problem.
If you didn’t catch on by now, I’ll reiterate: I loathe eating the same meals over and over again. EXCEPT for.
Sriracha Peanut Sauce
THIS meal is one that I HAPPILY ate 4 DAYS IN A ROW!
On the 4th day, I decided to photograph it.
On the 4th day, I didn’t scarf it before I had a chance to photograph it.
I originally had a version of this quinoa bowl at Ola Juice Bar in Colorado Springs. I loved it so much, I replicated it at home the next day. and the day after that. and the day after that. you know.
Once the quinoa is cooked (make extras for tomorrow! trust me), this bowl takes no time at all to throw together. Quick & easy makes EVERYONE happy.
After having been served some excellent Thai/Chinese (fusion) food in Grand Junction, I found a Peanut Sauce recipe on love food eat – I’d decided that I needed more Peanut Sauce in my life. I kept the recipe bookmarked, knowing I’d find the perfect time to use it. Not long after bookmarking, I used the recipe to make the exact Peanut Sauce that tops this delicious Quinoa Bowl, the only adjustment to the sauce was an addition of Sriracha, for fun.
a Quinoa Bowl drizzled with a Sriracha Peanut Sauce
Author: peace. love. quinoa
1 cup quinoa, cooked
a handful or two of arugula
½ an avocado
¼ cup blueberries
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
1 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
2 tablespoons Sriracha
In a food processor or blender, combine the peanut butter, sesame oil, soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame seeds, and Sriracha until mixed well. Adjust taste accordingly (for example, add more Sriracha if you prefer your sauce to be spicier). Set aside.
Put a large heaping of quinoa in a bowl and top it with the arugula, berries, and avocado.
Drizzle with the Sriracha Peanut Sauce prior to serving.
*All measurements are approximate - adjust accordingly. You may like more avocado and less blueberries - do it up however you'd like. **I prefer the quinoa to be slightly warmed in this dish, although it can certainly be used at room temperature or even chilled.
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As always, thanks for reading. xo
If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I’m a fan of quick, easy recipes. If you haven’t read the blog, well, now you know. I like to eat good food but I don’t have time for a lot of preparation. I keep waiting for the moment that I’ll have more “free time” …but, well, my big break hasn’t come YET.
Anyway, a few weeks ago, I wrote up a post about creating quick, healthy meals using the ingredients I keep on-hand. This Carrot, Apple, Quinoa Hash concept was created simply by tossing together some leftover quinoa with a fresh, crunchy apple and a shredded carrot. (I tend to always keep carrots in the fridge because they can be added to soups, hash, wraps, juice – basically, everything) It’s a dish I whipped up in less than 20 minutes, but did not lack in flavor or substance.
I recently expressed my love (obsession) with the Opal Apple, which is the exact apple I chose to use in this hash. 1. Because I have them on-hand and 2. Even after being warmed & sautéed, they maintain a crisp crunch and they don’t turn brown. I would recommend an opal apple for this recipe, but if you don’t have access to one, my second recommendation is a Honeycrisp.
This mash can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It can be eaten warm, chilled, or at room temperature. I don’t prefer it one way over another, it’s yummy either way!
I really really enjoy eating from the salad bar at Whole Foods – in fact, there have been many nights that I’ve “gone to dinner” there. Often times, I’d rather eat that salad bar versus going to a restaurant. I remember one time my mom was visiting me in Chicago shortly after the Whole Foods in Lincoln Park opened up. I took her there to show it off as if it were a Chicago Landmark.”Look at the wine bar!! oohhh ahhhh” “Look at the salad bar!! ooooooohh ahhhhhh” “Look at the make-your-own-trail-mix-station!!!!” She’s all like “mmmhmmm….”
Anyway, the point is: I LOVE me some Whole Foods. Sometimes I make the MOST PERFECT salad combinations there and I get pissed at myself if I don’t remember what it was, when it’s THAT good I want to duplicate it, and/or share it with someone else who could totally appreciate it.On one of my recent visits, I made one of those MOST PERFECT salad combinations and DID remember all of the ingredients and now I’m sharing it with someone (you) who can appreciate it.
This salad is not complicated to make, but does require the round-up of a few ingredients. AND it requires you to curry some cauliflower, which is best to do about 1 hour before you are serving the salad.
While a buddy of mine was putting together his holiday meal plan he called to ask where he could find a QUINCE. We discussed several grocery stores that carry rare/exotic fruits but I had no idea where to direct him. He eventually found the fruit and made a badass holiday meal that included the quince. After hearing about his meal, I knew that I wanted to try the fruit as well. He suggested I make a dish that included quince and quinoa simply because it would be fun to say.
Mission accomplished. I happened to be at a grocery store I rarely visit anymore, and I stumbled upon quince. I never thought I’d find it without actually looking. Then I found this recipe which I adapted from Little Upside Down Cake and Cannelle et Vanille.
This dish could definitely be eaten for breakfast or dessert, it’s pretty sweet.
When I was in Denver, during the snow storm, I wrote a post listing off a few items I would stock in the house if there were ever a chance I might get snowed in – quinoa & fresh fruit were on that list. Well I had those items on hand in the apartment during the snow storm, and I was so happy to finally find the exact perfect morning to finally make this warm & fragrant Apple Pie Quinoa Breakfast Bowl – I’ve been eyeing this recipe for months.
The people of Denver rock my world. They are active and healthy and they eat differently than people do in the midwest. I talked with a guy who cooks his quinoa in stewed tomatoes and adds a variety of different veggies (oh, and a secret ingredient he claims) which gave me the inspiration for this quinoa dish. I have a secret ingredient too, red wine. But I think the biggest secret, the one that sets this recipe apart from others is cooking the quinoa in the stewed tomatoes.
In a food processor (or a blender), pulse the chopped tomatoes until they are a a liquid consistency (similar to salsa).
In a large pot, stew the tomatoes for 5 minutes and then add the wine. Put on low heat and continue stewing uncovered.
In a separate pan, sautee the onions and garlic in olive oil for about 5 minutes and then add them to the stewed tomatoes.
Add cinnamon, cumin, agave nectar, salt, & pepper to the mixture.
Add the quinoa to the mixture and turn up the heat until the mixture to comes to a boil and then turn the heat down and cover the pot. Simmer on low heat for 10-15 minutes or until the quinoa is thoroughly cooked.
Stir the kale into the mixture and allow it to wilt down for 2-3 minutes.
I was craving something hearty and savory this morning so I made this dish for breakfast But I’d eat it for lunch too… and then again for dinner. No matter what time of day, this dish is sure to offer warmth and comfort on a chilly autumn day.
Baby, it’s cold outside. It’s the time of year that we all crave comfort food. It’s the time of year to be spent in the kitchen cooking and baking. I spent all summer in the garden and now I’m ready to move back inside. Up early this morning (even though I was cozy under the covers), I got up to make this comforting, and fragrant breakfast quinoa. I was craving it. It felt so good to be in the kitchen clothed in my warm pj’s and fuzzy socks, ready fill my belly with warm comfort food.
This breakfast quinoa is hearty and filling, perfect for a slow, autumn morning OR a busy work day. After eating this morning, I want to curl back under the covers and take a mid-morning nap. However, I’m not saying this dish is heavy, it is high in protein, will improve your metabolism, and will offer you energy to get your day started.
⅛ cup dried fruit (cranberries, cherries, apricots)
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1-2 tablespoons honey or agave nectar
handful of almonds, halved or slivered
Heat a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, and add the Earth Balance butter.
When the sizzling begins to subside, add the plums, dried fruit, almonds and cinnamon.
Stir gently for two to three minutes until the plums begin to break down slightly.
Add the cooked quinoa.
Toss the ingredients together gently and heat through.
Drizzle with honey or agave nectar before serving.
If desired, you can add milk or yogurt.
I’ve had several discussions about QUINOA in the last week or so. Many people aren’t familiar with the grain OR have no idea what to do with it once they have it at home. Quinoa is nutty in flavor and can be used in a variety of different ways, sweet OR savory. It will pick up on any flavor you add to it. I’m digging it right now because it is an option for gluten-free dishes. Many of my friends have gone gluten-free and I’m ready to flirt with it as well.