Late Sweet Summer Quinoa

Hi there!

I missed Fun Run Friday’s post. I did it, but I didn’t have any time to post the rest of yesterday. So I suppose it will have to wait until next week!

Until then…

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I’ve had a box of quinoa sitting in my pantry for approximately two months. Don’t get me wrong. I love the grain seed. Shane, however, does not. And since we’ve been eating dinner together lately, it just hasn’t been one of the lucky ingredients chosen for dinner in the RAN household.

 

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However, I remembered a while back, the husband said he thought he might like quinoa if it were sweet. So this morning, I snuck out of bed and to the stove, where I began boiling water to cook the quinoa.

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I ever so slyly angled my back so he wouldn’t be able to see the ingredient he had once snubbed (his pre-conceived notions of weird foods are ridiculous.) I added some ingredients here and there, trying to conjure up in my mind what should be included in this sweet breakfast quinoa:

 

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and (luckily) wrote down the measurements in case it was a hit.

 

Sweet Breakfast Quinoa

serves 3

Ingredients:

1 uncooked quinoa

1 small ripe banana

3 T. Turbinado sugar

1 T. coconut

2 T. currants

2 T. golden raisins

1/2 T. pumpkin pie spice

2 T. almond butter

Cook the quinoa as directed on the box – don’t forget to rinse before cooking; it makes all the difference. Once you’re to the “simmering” part of the directions to cook the quinoa, mash the banana into the mix. Add the sugar, coconut, currant, raisins, and pumpkin pie spice, and then let simmer the rest of the duration (until all the water is soaked up.) Lastly, stir in the almond butter.

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I’m betting this would be delightful with pumpkin stirred in, but I refuse to use pumpkin before the month of September. I love summer too much to do something like that to it. However, the pumpkin pie spice did, dare I say it, excite me for the tastes of fall.

 

So what did Shane say?

“This is the best quinoa I’ve ever had!” Which…isn’t saying much, but it is progress. What did I say?

“This is a hit!!”

I hope you guys have a fabulous Saturday! I’m off to get some cleaning done, train a couple clients, and then get a pedicure with my girl Heidi. See ya tomorrow!

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Two a Day’s

Good morning. Hap, hap, happy Friday:D

Niko got all spiffed up for the weekend this morning:

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“I gots my weekend scarf on!”

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This week literally sped by! I worked at least 13 hrs every day this week, so that just might have something to do with it;) I’ve had two a days every day this week! Nope, not the work out kind, but the job kind. Can’t complain though, my clientele for personal training is increasing at an awesome rate! And I love it. It’s so rewarding, really.

Sorry for skipping out on posting yesterday. Last night I had to travel to small town about a half hour away to put on a two hour fitness and learning workshop for a group of people. The first hour I explained the basic concepts of a good fitness plan, myths, tips, and tricks. Then the second hour, we put the words to action and all did a workout from it. It was seriously a blast, and I hope to do more workshops like this, but I didn’t get home until late.
However, when I got home, I had such a hard time unwinding. It didn’t help that I watched the whole Oprah episode that the Glee cast was on when I got home. I couldn’t help myself! I LOVE GLEE! 😀

Naturally, this excitedness lead to a restless sleep. Nevertheless, I woke up in time to get a kick butt workout in. Due to my long work hours, I’ve already skipped two workouts, so I figured I’d go ahead and go anyway. Normally, I’d choose sleep over workout. At the gym I ran 3.5 miles and got in about 15 minutes of back exercises. ‘Twas wonderful!

Got home, dressed, and ready for work, and guzzeled a smoothie  with granola in a beer mug, a la Kath:

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This green monster was amazing!! Frozen bananas, frozen cherries, 1 scoop of Jay Robb, 1 scoop of Amazing Grass, maca, water, and a boat load of spinach.

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It was so filling!

Other eats throughout the day:

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Spinach, cukes, baby bellas, zuke, avocado, goddess dressing.

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New (to me?) Clif Bar. It was aight. Nothing to write home about, in my opinion!

Plus some Oikos + kashi heart to heart, a plum, and a PBJ Clif Mojo bar
After the ol’ desk job, I headed to the gym to train three clients; each went swimmingly!
When I got home I was starving, naturally, and wanted food NOW. I opened the freezer and saw a container of leftover Quinoa Confetti Casserole (a la Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan) and heated up some Quorn meatless nuggets:

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Fantastico!

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Quinoa and chickpeas freeze excellently, if you were wondering 🙂

Happy Friday, everyone! Got any fun weekend plans? I have a few clients to train, another 11 miler, and most importantly, it’s my mom’s birthday on Sunday:D

A Snow Day!

Good evening!

I’ve had myself quite the nice little day! When I went to bed last night, a big winter storm was approaching. It kept on throughout the night and early morning, and ended up bringing along with it 7 inches of snow and heavy winds!

So when Niko woke me up at 5:00 this morning, the first thing I did was all our company’s hotline, to find out…they were CLOSED! Wahoo! Well, there was a delayed opening until 10:00 a.m., but since I already had my work lap top home with me, and at 9:30 our street still hadn’t been plowed, I decided to stay inside and work from home the whole day.

And not only did I get to work in my slippers (which makes work MUCH more tolerable, by the way) but I also got to work all day with this as my chair:

 

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I’m a huge proponent of using your exercise ball as your office chair. They’re much better for your back, because the way you’re sitting, it forces you to tuck your tailbone under and have a flat back. Thus it naturally makes you to use your tranverse abdominis more in order to tuck your tail bone in. If only I weren’t too embarrassed to bring one into the office. Heck, I don’t even know if they’re ALLOWED in the office!

Besides, I couldn’t have used the computer chair if I wanted.

 

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Seat’s taken.

You wouldn’t believe how much work I got done today. In the nine hours I worked, I probably got what I would get done in two days if I were actually in the office. I was mad productive. It’d be nice to have one remote work day per week…just to catch up if nothing else.

Another perk? Being able to actually walk down to the kitchen to make lunch. It really gets old having to make and pack up a lunch the night before, lug it to work in a lunch box, and nuke it in a microwave/eat it out of Tupperware.

Today I definitely took advantage of having a stove available on a work day and made  a 1 egg + 2 egg white, mushrooms, and spinach wrap – in an Ezekiel tortilla:

 

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Sooo good. Sooo filling!

I also broke for a snack a couple hours before lunch. OK, this is my current snack obsession:

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Plain Oikos and a Nutridel cookie. It’s SO yummy – and fun to eat! I just break the cookie into fourths, and dip it into the yogurt! I don’t know what I’m gonna do when I run out of these cookies!

Around 3:00, I needed a mid-day pick me up, and decided it’d be the perfect opportunity to bust out the juicer and make a grapefruit + carrot juice.

 

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One big grapefruit and three big carrots, pulverized-style:

 

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Drank it alongside the computer, and it helped me get over the mid-day slump. And tastes SO good. The husband calls this cup my sippy cup , by the way bahaha.

I think Niko was happy I could be home with her, too:) She had a lot of fun in the snow today. I even shoveled out a little area for her, but she thought it’d be more fun to tromp around in the deepest areas of the yard.

 

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Aww. Yes, aww until she comes in and is covered with snow that will inevitable melt on the hardwood floor 😉 I honestly don’t know what she’s going to do tomorrow when the low is –11 degrees! –11!! shudders

 

Got done with work around 5:00, got in about an hour long cardio + weights workout, and got started on dinner.

On tonight’s menu was… Pumpkin Spiced Quinoa w/ Chickpeas!

 

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For the chickpeas, I just used Mama Pea’s recipe for pumpkin spice roasted chickpeas, and then I basically used the same ingredients to season the quinoa. I was craving something sweet, and this hit the spot.

 

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Deeelish!

After playing a little Mario Wii World with the husband, it’s now about 10:00. And I’ve got the lives of some Trashy Real Housewives DVR to catch up on.

Catch ya’ll lata! Happy Friday tomorrow (wahooo!!!)

Do you think you are/would be more productive if you worked remotely or onsite? I learned today that I’d definitely be more productive working remotely. And although I just listed a ton of benefits in this post, it might get lonely after a while. I’ve made so many friends at work, and I’m not sure what I’d do without some sort of people interaction after a while. Plus I’d probably get stinky, not having to shower and all. I kid, I kid 😉

The Grain that Surprised Me

 

Morning, sunshines!

How ya’ll doing this fine morning? I’m doing not too bad. Just finished a kick-bootay chest-opening yoga session, and it did wonders for the ol’ mind, body, and soul. It also felt great to my sore muscles (still sore from Sunday’s workout!)

Before I start blabbing, I wanted to share with you a few pretty hilar search terms that people typed in to get to my blog:

-running around naked

-eggplant gone bad (it’s like the vegetable of girls gone wild, duh)

-lost of virginity by running (because we’ve all been there)

bahaha! I love it! I’ve been waiting for some funny searches. They’re mostly “Jilliam Michaels,” “running around,” “running my first 10k,” yada yada yada.

So anyway, yesterday at work was a pretty typical Monday – uneventful – just the way I like my Mondays! However, there were a few cool things about Monday like…

Stylin’ my new sweater

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Curry in the car

 

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(yes, I had to eat and drive today…)

Sweet potato chips and swiss

 

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After work, I drove to the Eastland Mall…Bloomington’s finest (bahaha) to pick up the hubski a birthday present. His bday is next Thursday, but we’re celebrating it this weekend, too. The trip was a success! I didn’t go all out like I usually do, though, since we just got a new faucet and a brand new bulb for the projector for our theatre room. Those puppies are expeeennnsive! Hopefully he likes what I got him. He’ll be turning the big 2-8.

I left the mall, and fought the traffic (and the traffic won…) and got home to take Niko for a walkie just as it was getting dark – wtf daylight savings time?! Geesh.

But as I grabbed the mail before coming back in the house, I found a delightful surprise from Janetha B!

I won her 5,000th comment giveaway! She was sneaky, and didn’t even let on that it was a giveaway, but I was super pumped to win:D Anyway, she hooked me up with some loot:

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Hells yeah! Two mojo’s, two lara’s, two Justine’s, animal toys, and a grocery sack! I thought it was SO thoughtful of her to think of Niko and Clarabelle.

Clarabelle started playing with her pumpkin right off the bat:

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And as soon as I gave Niko her toy, she started playing the “I’ll growl at you until you throw this sucker, mama!” game.

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She’s very persuasive. And spoiled. Rotten 😉

 

I then came inside and did some ab work

  • 30 crunches
  • 20 side to side crunches
  • planks
  • side planks

Quinoa, Quinoa, Quinoa

 

As soon as I was done, I was ready to cook dinner. For some reason, I wanted to set myself up for disappointment yet again. Yes, I made quinoa. Again. What’s wrong with me? Is three strikes not enough?

This time, I used a boxed version (last time I scooped it out of a bulk bin) from Trader Joes

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and I got to work making Angela’s Coconut Curry quinoa. I just really want to like this stuff, as it’s SO good for you – especially if you’re a vegetarian. So, one last shot. Here we go.

I washed and drained every morsel of…coating (?) those suckers had on them before I went to work. I wanted my Quinoa and Clean-wa as can be!

I started making the sauce first, per Angela’s recipe. Luckily, I had every ingredient on hand, so I was able to follow it exactly.

 

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Then while that simmered, I cooked the quinoa, and added a couple chopped up carrots and some peas to the mix. Then when all the water evaporated, I poured the sauce over the quinoa mixture, and viola!

 

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I served it with a big piece of naan I cooked in the oven from Whole Foods which complemented the curry flavoring very nicely:

 

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The verdict: I LOVED it! What the heck?! How did it turn out good this time? Believe me, I’m not complaining, but I wonder what made it so good this time. Perhaps it’s not the grain, but the recipe surrounding the grain. Who knows, but I’ve got leftovers for a couple days, and I guarantee they won’t slip past me! I’m so glad I finally found a recipe that’s yummy:)

Well, coffee is callin’ my name folks! And green tea, and green juice, and emergen-c… I feel like I might be catching a little something again. Gotta get the big guns out!

Have a rockin’ day!

 

Has there been a food you swore you didn’t like, but gave it one last try to find that you actually did like it? Was it prepared differently? Did you palate change?

Third Time’s a Charm or Three Strikes You’re Out?

I was a crazy woman again today and woke up at 4:30 to meet my friend, Heidi at the gym. I cranked out a 3.1 mile tempo run and then did some elliptical. It was early, but it felt great! And today, I know I won’t have time to run after work, as I’m cooking The Fitnessista‘s enchiladas, then I have a jewelry/candle party to go to 😀

Now, as I write (and as a recovery drink,) I’m downing a Green Monster. I put together the ingredients last night:

I had just enough spinach left, so I piled everything in the spinach container. Also in the GM pool was a frozen banana, some ice cubes, and some organic apple juice.

I’d show you the finished product, but trust me, it tastes a lot better than it looks! Blueberries always seem to do that…

I’m very sad to say that third time’s a charm sucked just as much as the first two times. Yes, the quinoa dinner was a big fail! It was such a good idea in theory:

-toasted quinoa

-grilled eggplants

-asparagus, mushrooms, and onion in red sauce

I thought it was going to be great! I mean, it looked super pretty:D

Alas, it only made it this far:

After that, I threw the rest out. Kids, don’t try this one at home :-/

That’s it! I’m done with Quinoa 😦

So after those few craptastic bites, I opted for, you guessed it, more leftovers (had to keep with the theme today.)

I had more blueberry pancakes – the last of em!

SO good, and hey, I didn’t have to choke em down 😀

Oh well, I’ve had so many dinner successes in a row, I guess I was ready for a dinner fail 😛

Nothing a glass of Chardonnay can’t fix 😉

(Sorry for the darkness, I took it in my basement bar with my iPhone.) I enjoyed this crisp, light, wine while vegging out with the hubski. We watched Surfer, Dude with Matthew McConauhhey. It turned out actually pretty funny! OK, and a wee bit stupid. It ended up being a nice relaxing way to end the Monday – the way they all should be.

Niko even joined in on the movie night fun 🙂

-same story with the dark picture.

So now it’s time go back to work! *le sigh* Although, I’m going to be doing an experiment today at work for the blog. (Don’t worry, boss, I won’t be slacking or multi-tasking) I’ll let you all know what I’m talking about for one of tomorrow’s posts! 🙂

Have a fab Tuesday everyone!!

Is my Quinoa Clean..wah?

You know how I’ve written off quinoa?

Well I read an interesting article on the proper way to cook quinoa. Some of you let me know on your comments that it needs to be washed thoroughly in order to get rid of the bitter taste. I really think this is a major reason why it just didn’t taste good to me. I don’t think I’ll be able to convince the hubsky to give it another try, but I might just brave it out one more time.

Hey, it’s only been two strikes, right?

According an article I read in Clean Eating Magazine, washing the quinoa is key to eliminating that bitter taste. Here’s what it says:

“The bitter coating on the surface of quinoa is called saponon.
Washing or soaking the seeds before using them can easily remove saponin. Simply
place the dry, uncooked seeds in a fine mesh sieve and rinse well under cold
running water. The presence of saponin will cause soapy bubbles to appear at
first, but keep rinsing and soon the bubbles will disappear as the saponin
coating is washed away. Then cook as directed.”


Ah-ha!
So quinoa- sans-saponin – will supposedly be much better tasting than quinoa with the saponin attached. It also says you can try and toast the quinoa first for a nuttier taste. I’ll try this method, but if it doesn’t taste good this time, I’m done!

I also didn’t know that quinoa isn’t a grain, but a seed; a Chenpodium or goose-plant seed to eb exact. This seed packs more protein that any grain. And the protein in complete protein. There are all 20 amino acids in quinoa, and it packs in the calcium, vitamin, B, E, and iron! Ok, these seeds are gaining back some of their credit in my eyes.

I think one night when Shane is busy, I’ll give it another try. Have any of you tried a recipe for quinoa that you love and want to share?
Sorry for the short post. I have a super short lunch break today. I’ll post again when work is done for the day 😀

One more last, but exciting, note! Today is my blog’s one month blogversary! I can’t believe it’s already been one month and 66 posts since I started blogging. Time flies. To celebrate, I’m soon going to have a giveaway. It will probably be a 75th post giveaway, but we’ll see. It’s going to be an exciting new product giveaway too!

I hope everyone’s having a terrific Tuesday!!

Creamy Quinoa Surprise!

Good morning! So I decided to give Quinoa another chance. Sure, it was mediocre the first time I made it, but I was a quinoa virgin back then!

Tonight’s recipe was from a Betty Crocker cookbook I have (of course, with my own tweaks!) The dish is called Creamy Quinoa Primavera:

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup of uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 carrot, 5 asparagus stalks, one tomato
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 3 oz of cream cheese and goat cheese (or any other soft cheese)
  • 1 tsp basil
  • shredded parmesan cheese

Recipe:
  • Boil 2 cups of chicken broth with 1 cup of quinoa

  • Once boiling, cover, and turn down the heat. Let simmer for 15-20 minutes (or until broth has evaporated)
  • While simmering, chop up veggies

  • Eat a carrot with some hummus (totally optional ;-))

  • At about 5-7 minutes until simmering time is almost done, melt butter in a nonstick pan at medium heat; brown garlic
  • Put chopped up veggies in the pan, and cook for 2-4 minutes

  • While veggies are cooking, stir in the cheese and basil into the quinoa mix

  • Pour the quinoa mix into the nonstick pan with the veggies and garlic; dump on sprinkle with paresan cheese:



  • Serve alone

  • or with crackers!


Voila! Creamy Quinoa Primavera.

Now…drumroll pleeeease….THE VERDICT!

I’m very saddened to tell you it was, yet again, mediocre. I don’t know if I’m just not making it right, or if you have to have a certain taste to like quinoa, but I just thought it was kind of meh. Needless to say, there won’t be an attempt #3 – at least not with me as the chef.

It’s OK though, because I had two On the Glo bars for dessert 😀

What do you think? Was there a step I was missing? Or is quinoa just not for everyone??

On a better note, I’m so excited to go up to Chicago this weekend with my girl, Kim to see our girl, Destiny! We’re pretty much a trio, and haven’t all played together in a long time 😀 I wonder what shananigans we can get into this weekend 😉