Black Bean Quinoa Cilantro Salad

Before Sweet Pea came along and Boo was really young, her and I would spend our days reading and learning about things that little minds need and love to learn about.

I taught her the colors, she learned her numbers, and she sang the ABC’s 845 times a day.

She was an extremely fast learner and would pick up on practically any song, dance, letter, and/or number that we would teach her. I have to admit that she made me one proud mama, and I loved having her perform and repeat the things she learned to others.

Recently though, Boo’s ability to ‘pick up and learn things’ at an extremely fast rate has somewhat made me wonder if we are destined for trouble in the future. And more often than not, I would much rather she not repeat the things she’s learned..from whatever sources they have come from.

If your wondering what types of things Boo has been saying or doing, I can give you a brief synopsis…

I also must add that I’ve been told to knock it off several times a day…

I’m at a loss for words…

And on days when I ask Baby Boo what she wants for lunch and her response is simply, “Nobody Cares…”

Well then I make what I want and don’t consider whether or not she’s going to like it.

How Rude.

Black Bean Quinoa Cilantro Salad

Makes 5 cups

Ingredients:

2 c. veggie broth

1/2 c. dry quinoa

1 c. cooked corn

1 can black beans drained and rinsed

1 red bell pepper diced

1 large tomato diced

2 avocados diced

(For the dressing)

1/4 c. onion

2 garlic cloves

1 tomatillo

1 bunch cilantro

juice of 1 lemon

1 tsp. dijon mustard

1 tsp. agave

1 TB. olive oil

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/4 tsp. salt/dash of pepper

Directions:

1. In a pot add veggie broth and quinoa. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cook quinoa until fully cooked for about 20 minutes. For better directions on how to cook quinoa, click HERE.

2. While the quinoa is cooking, make the dressing. Process dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor until combined, like so:

3. Once the quinoa is done and cooled down, add it to a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and fold in the dressing. Top with crushed tortilla chips! :) Or use tortilla chips to scoop it out! :)

I was completely confused as to where Boo was learning these not so nice phrases until I sat down with a big bowl of this for lunch and turned on my recorded episode of Housewives.

One of the ladies shouted, “What the He!!”, and Boo quickly responded…

Ya. You get the picture.

Tomato Basil Quinoa Salad

I have this problem with saying no to buying things when they are on sale.

Whether it’s a good sale or bad, I will somehow find a way to convince myself that it’s worth buying because I’m saving money. (Although I’m not taking into consideration that I probably wouldn’t buy that item normally…)

That’s right. You can bet that I still have yet to find a place for that life sized green butterfly wall decor that I bought on the sale rack at Pier 1, or the ugly lamps that my neighbor was selling for a STEAL, and don’t forget to mention a grey chair sitting in our living room with an unquestionable wet stain right on it…

But the worst part of my problems happens when I buy food that’s on sale. Like when I saw a sign off the side of the road for a  huge box of tomatoes, let’s say maybe 30 to count the size of baseballs, for 6 dollars.

Let me remind you our household is only 2 1/2…and one of those persons passionately hates tomatoes. (Hubbers.)

So by the time those tomatoes are gone I’m either going to have one heck of a stomach ache, or turn red and round like a tomato…I’m hoping for the latter.

Unless of coarse you want to come over and pick up some tomatoes? I’ll do a free trade, maybe for a huge pillow? One that would most likely cover that stain…yuck.

But if whole tomatoes aren’t your thing, maybe dicing them up and throwing them in a salad is. And if that’s the case, consider your self lucky!

Tomato Basil Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:

2 c. prepared quinoa

1 can navy beans, drained and rinsed

3 1/2 c. – 4c. diced tomatoes

2 c. spinach

1 c. packed basil

Dressing:

2 TB. balsamic vinegar

1 TB. olive oil

2-3 cloves garlic finely diced

zest of one small lemon

salt and pepper to taste

(parmesan cheese:optional)

Directions:

1. Whisk the dressing ingredients together and set aside. 

2. In a food processor, finely chop basil leaves and spinach. Set aside

3. In a large bowl add quinoa, beans, tomatoes, chopped greens, and dressing. Mix until combined, and add more salt and pepper to taste.

4. Set in fridge until ready to serve.

If you want, feel free to add parmesan cheese on top.

This would be a great side dish, main dish, or a healthy snack! I had it for lunch, and ate it on top of pita chips:

Now I’ve got to work on my other ‘problem’, which is making excessive messes in the kitchen…

Either that, or I’ve got to some how find someone willing to buy that stained chair…

Some idiot will buy it, right?

Top Posts of 2012

This has been an extremely blessed, successful, and full of happiness kind of year which I am forever grateful for! Of coarse I’m sad it’s coming to an end, and that my littles are growing up faster than beyond my control, but I am excited for the new adventures that next year will bring! (A new job/state/friends/far away from loved ones/etc.)

To add to that, this blog in general has grown beyond my imagination and I can’t even begin to thank and send virtual hugs to those that have been readers, sent kind emails, comments, tweets, etc. my way. I want you to know I read and appreciate every.single.one!

In honor of the blog, I thought I would share and take a look back at some of the ‘Top Posts’ over the coarse of 2012, ranging between foodie to non foodie! Thanks again for all your support and love! Without you guys, none of this would be possible!

1. Lemon Quinoa Cilantro Chickpea Salad

2. Homemade Diva Ding Dongs

3. Hearty Whole Grain Basil Bread

4. Peanut Butter Pong Balls

5. S’mores Milkshake

6. Butternut Squash Pizza Crust

7. Crock Pot Indian Spiced Lentils

8. Chickpea Salad Sand Which (2 kinds!)

Strawberry Basil & Regular

9. Cinnamon Rolls

10. Grain Free Sugar Free Single Serving Chocolate Chip Cookie

11. 15 Minute Lemon Parsley Spinach Salad

12. Hearty Chicken Tortilla Soup (Or Chickpea Soup!)

1. All about Green Drinks 101                                           2. The Healthy Grocery List

3. Chia Seeds 101                                                                   4. Toddler Food and Picky Eaters (Pt. 2 is coming!)

1. Magnetic Makeup Board/Brush Holders                    2. Boo’s First Birthday-Vintage Circus

3. Boo’s Second Birthday-Minnie Mouse Themed

4. Introducing Sweet Pea

Also friends, if there is anything new you want to see hear on the Diva Dish I would LOVE LOVE LOVE your input! :) XOXOXO

 

A Giveaway and a Pasta Salad Recipe!

A few weeks back, Hodgson Mill contacted me about a recipe contest they were having and asked if I would be interested in participating. I haven’t really ever done a recipe contest, so I jumped on the opportunity excited about trying something new.

I was so excited when a big box arrived at my doorstep full of a variety of pastas, ranging from Bow Tie to Angel Hair.

What I really love about their pastas was that there wasn’t a bunch of added nonsense ingredients, it was all simple and natural!

Another great thing is that the pasta cooks BEAUTIFULLY! I’ve noticed with many whole wheat pastas that the texture can be somewhat hard and chewy, but this wasn’t at all. A great substitute for a non-wheat pasta without sacrificing the taste.

So when decided what to make with the pasta, I thought about one of the most popular recipes on the blog. Many of you may recognize this Lemon Quinoa Cilantro Chickpea Salad:

It’s such a summery dish full of flavor! Not to mention it has veggies, healthy fats, grains, and protein. What’s more to love?! So I decided to take the inspiration from that dish, and transfer it into a pasta salad. Perfect for summer and for BBQ’s!

Lemon Cilantro Avocado Pasta Salad

Adapted from: Lemon Quinoa Avocado Salad

Makes: 5-6 cups

Ingredients:

2 1/2 c. dry Hodgsen Mill’s bowtie pasta

2 c. spinach

1 bunch cilantro

1/4 c. onion finely diced 

2 garlic cloves finely chopped

2 avocados diced

1 can chickpeas (or navy beans) drained and rinsed

1 c. cherry tomatoes cut in half

(For the Dressing:)

Juice of 1 med/lg or 2 small lemons

zest of 1 lemon

2 tsp. olive oil

1 tsp. agave

2 tsp. dijon mustard

1/2 tsp. cumin

dash of salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Fill a pot with water and a sprinkle of salt and bring to a boil. Cook pasta until done, about 7-9 minutes. Once done, drain pasta and set aside and let cool.

2. Using a food processor (or a really good knife), process cilantro and spinach until it becomes chopped, like so:

3. Add greens to a medium bowl and fold in diced garlic and onion. Next fold in tomatoes, avocado, and beans. Toss in cooked pasta, then pour dressing on top and fold into salad until coated.

4. Set in fridge for at least 10-15 minutes to let flavors set. 

Soon this recipe will be up on Hodgson Mill’s pinterest site, where you will be able to like my photo. I’ll keep you posted on that!

UPDATE:

Click HERE to be taken to the Pinterest site and Vote! :) All you have to do is like the photo!

And as a special thank you, Hodgson Mill is sponsoring a giveaway of $25 worth of Hodgson Mill products!

Leave a comment below for a chance to enter! :)

Giveaway ends Monday July 2nd! :)

Thanks again friends! Be back later this week with a HUGE post on grocery shopping list/pantry staples! :)

*I was not paid to review this product. Any and all opinions are personally mine.

CONTEST CLOSED!! ;)

Healthy Living Class, Green Drinks, Sweet Eats, and Salads!

Last night I taught a healthy living class.

And like always, as the guest were arriving, I was behind on everything…

I had friends making Peanut Butter Pong Balls(made with almond butter instead), made my dad run to McDonalds to get some ‘samples’ (of no-no’s), and I was busy making sure things were set and ready to go…Oh and repeating in my mind the things I was going to say.

I decided to do a display table of ingredients I love that I think everybody should include in their daily eating lifestyle. Each had a little note card with info about the ingredient.

That, and I figured I would most likely forget to talk about them…so they were there for people to look at.

My mom asked why some of the notecards read, “Super Sexy” and “Totally Awesome” in which I basically replied, “That’s how I talk Maaaaoooommm DUH.”

When it came time, everybody crowded around me waiting to hear what I had to say. Pretty much through my whole presentation I was scatterbrained.

(This is a GREAT picture of me!)

“So these are Chia Seeds, they are full of Omega-3′s! Oh wait! Let’s talk about lunches!”

What the?

I’m also pretty sure in the beginning my voice shook like thunder due to nerves, and I sounded like I wanted to cry. I also said the phrase, “I could pound it when it came to eating…”

My grandma that was there had NO idea what I was talking about…

All together though, I had such an amazing time. It meant the world to me to have the people that I loved, look up to, and even leaders who taught me, be there and support me and my passion.

I tried my best to get my message across, and I am praying tonight that people understood more than, “Uh dummm…I like Spinach. It’s tasty…I like to drink it too.”

:-)

Besides that, I wanted everyone to know that this world that God has created for us brings forth so many amazing whole, fresh, and natural foods. We need to stop feeding our bodies packaged, processed, mass produced, and an excess of animal products.  We need to start giving our body the wholesome food that it deserves and needs to survive, which are things like grains, fruits, veggies, nuts, legumes.

I also figured if anything,  I could win over there hearts with samples.

My first sample was a green smoothie, which if you know me is an obvious choice for a sample. :-)

I really wanted to get across that adding a green smoothie into your every day lifestyle will do wonders in it self. Your giving your body things that you would most likely not eat on its own, especially in its raw state (not cooked, doused with dressing, etc.).

They are great for babies, toddlers, kids, AND adults. Not to mention, they are SO versatile. If you follow me on facebook, you might have heard that a smoothie made with milk, spinach, kale, chard, cocoa powder, cherries, and bananas is like dessert! (Something that NO one would complain about :-) )

But I have to say I am kind of mean. I didn’t just do an original green drink. I made it hard core and beefed it up with tons of greens…

I really wanted them to like me.

Everything Green Smoothie

*This smoothie makes quite a bit and could easily serve two adults. Unless your like me and can eat for two, then you could drink it all on it’s own. It could also serve 2-3 kids, one mama and 2 children…etc.. :-)

Ingredients:

1 C. non dairy milk(I used almond milk-coconut milk would be good too!)

handful of spinach (about 1 c.)

handful of kale (just the leaves-no stems)

handful of swiss chard

1 green apple

1/2 medium cucumber (diced)

1 frozen banana

1 TB. chia seeds

1-2 tsp. sweetener of choice(agave or maple syrup works best) You could even throw in a few dates

Ice (about 1 1/2 C.)

Directions: Blend until creamy and delicious

I could tell people were a little worried when it came to try it.

That’s ok, I made sure I shoved one down everyones throat whether they liked it or not. :-)

Next came a little something sweet:

Peanut Butter Protein and Energy Balls. (I made them with almond butter instead though.)

Everyone really enjoyed these. They were something sweet that you could pop in your mouth if you wanted to satisfy your sweet tooth. OR, if you need a boost during the day, wanted a snack after a workout, or even something for your kiddos after school. Naturally sweetened, full of healthy fats, proteins, and made with….Love…

Awe.

Up next we had a Lemon Quinoa Cilantro Chickpea Salad.

Yet again, I was mean and didn’t make their sample with quinoa. I actually was thinking later that night that throwing in some grain would definitely add more “Va Va Voom” to this meal, so the next day I made it again.

You get your protein from the beans and quinoa, some good grains from the quinoa, healthy fats from the avocados, veggies from the spinach and tomatoes, and delicious-ness from the tasty dressing.

Lemon Quinoa Cilantro Chickpea Salad

Adapted from: Ohsheglows

Ingredients:

1/2 C. dry quinoa

2 C. vegetable broth

1 can garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed)

1 c. cherry tomatoes cut in half

2 avocados diced

2 C. spinach

1 bunch cilantro

1/4 C. onion

2 small cloves garlic

For the dressing:

Juice of 2 lemons

zest of 1 lemon

2 tsp. dijon mustard

2 tsp. olive oil

1 tsp. agave nectar

1/2 tsp. cumin

dash of salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Make your quinoa first. Soak the quinoa in a pot in the veggie broth for about 15 minutes. After that, turn on the heat to medium high and let the quinoa come to a boil. Once it boils, reduce heat to medium/low and let quinoa simmer. Stir every so often, and cook quinoa for about 20-25 minutes just until the liquid absorbs. You don’t want it completely dried out, so when there is just a TINY amount of liquid left in the pot, remove it from heat and put a lid on it. Set it aside, and make the rest of the salad.

Your quinoa will look similar to this when it’s all done:

2. In a food processor, add your spinach and cilantro. Make sure to wash you greens.

I found an unpleasant surprise in my cilantro.

Yuck. Dirt is so disgusting.

3. Process the greens until they are finely diced. You can do this by hand as well if you don’t have a food processor.

4. Add the greens to a bowl, and set aside. Next take your onion and garlic and finely dice those (I do this in the food processor to), and add to the greens mixture. Next add your chickpeas and stir until everything is combined and coated. If the quinoa is cooled, you can add it to the chickpea mixture next.

5. Make your dressing by whisking all the ingredients together. Pour over salad, and mix until combined. Add in tomatoes and avocado and mix. Set in fridge for about 10-15 minutes before serving so the flavors set.

This is hands down one of my favorite salads to date!

Everything turned out to be such a success! I am so grateful for those that came out to support me!

And of coarse, none of this would be possible without you guys!! Thanks for coming back each and every day and supporting me…

I know things tend to get a little “Cray Cray” over here some times…

Come back Friday and see what Baby Boo is eating off those beaters. :-)!

Salads

Chickpea Salad Sandwhich-Vegan

Minty Kale Salad-Vegan,Vegetarian

Lemony Kale Salad-Vegan, Vegetarian

Lemon Quinoa Cilantro Chickpea Salad-Vegan, Vegetarian

Seasonal Salad w/ Apple Cinnamon Pomegranate Dressing-Vegatarian/Vegan Option

Tomato Basil Quinoa Salad-Vegetarian, can be Vegan

Recipes

 

4 Minute Green Microwave Breakfast Muffin

60 Second Chocolate Chip Muffin-(Vegan option if you use a flax egg)

Acai Parfait.

Apple Cider Quinoa Breakfast Cereal-Overnight-Vegan options

Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Snack Cake Bars-Vegan

Apple Maple Cinnamon Quinoa Parfait-Vegan(if using soy yogurt)

Baked Pumpkin French Toast

Banana Scramble Patties-Vegan

Berries N’ Cream Crepes

Birthday Cake Pancakes-Vegan Options

Buttermilk Pancakes-Vegan

Chocolate Avocado Donut with Peanut Butter Avocado Frosting-Vegan

Chocolate Protein Breakfast Cake Bars-Vegan

Coconut Cream Oatmeal-Vegan

Cinnamon Rolls-Vegan

Date Muffins w/ Strawberry Whipped Cream Frosting-Vegan

Eggless Sweet Potato French Toast-Vegan

Green Pancakes

Egg, Pear, Avocado Breakfast Sandwich

Peanut Butter Oatmeal and Strawberry Parfait-Vegan

Pesto Egg Breakfast Burritos-Freezable

Pumpkin Chai Chia Pudding with Cinnamon Raspberry ‘Ice Cream’-Vegan

Rosemary Sweet Potato Goat Cheese Egg Muffins

Sundae Pancakes with Chocolate Sauce-Can be vegan

Strawberry Lime Pancakes-Vegan

Stovetop Potato & Kale Dish-Vegan

Sweet Potato Breakfast Casserole-Vegan

Sweet Spirulina Green Fruit Bowl-Vegan

Tomato Basil Quiche w/ Whole Wheat Pastry Crust

Quick Homemade Strawberry Jam

Whole Wheat Cranberry French Toast

Whole Wheat Peanut Butter  and Banana Waffles-Vegan

 

Check our my posts that I wrote during a series called Kids Week:

Why to Feed Your Kids Healthy and Where to Begin

Stocking a Healthy Pantry for Kids

Baby Food 101 : Pureeing In Bulk

Baby Food 101: 6-12 Months

Toddler Food and Picky Eaters

Healthy On the Go Kid Pregnant Mama Friendly Snacks!

4 minute Microwave Green Breakfast Muffin

Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Snack Cake Bars

Apple Pear Cinnamon Oatmeal

Banana Pudding

Carrot Orange Juice

Carrot Pumpkin Quinoa

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies (contains garbanzo beans)

Chocolate Fudgesicles (With Beets!)

Deconstructed Omelette 

Egg Pie-Tomato Basil Quiche

Eggless Sweet Potato French Toast Sticks

Green Spinach and Carrot Nuggets

Lemon Parsley Spinach Salad

Peppermint P(e)atty Green Drink

Princess Bliss Avocado Smoothie

Purple Pancakes

Strawberry Basil Chickpea Sandwich

Strawberry Broccoli Salad 

Super Soft and Chewy Baby Cinnamon Graham Cookies

Turkey Meatballs over Cooked Spaghetti Squash

Vanilla Cupcakes-Egg Free, Dairy Free, Sugar Free

Whole Wheat Peanut Butter and Banana Waffles

 

Fizzy Lemon Drink

Fresh Summer Green Juice

Ginger Juice

Grapefruit Green Juice

Honey Sweetened Limeade & Raspberry Limeade 

Morning Metabolism Booster Drink

Orange Carrot Juice

Pink Guava Smoothie

Pumpkin Hot Chocolate with Maple Coconut Whipped Cream-Vegan

Pumpkin Spice Drink

Sparkling Strawberry Lemonade

Sweet Blackberries Juice

Watermelon Milkshakes-Bakthing Suit Approved

 

Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Snack Cake Bars

Avocado Banana Bread-Oil Free

4 Minute Microwave Green Breakfast Muffin

60 Second Chocolate Chip Muffin-(Vegan option

Chocolate Avocado Donut with Peanut Butter Avocado Frosting-Vegan

Coco-A-Nana Bread-Vegan

Date Muffins w/ Strawberry whipped cream frosting-Vegan

Detox Chocolate Raspberry Banana Muffins-Vegan, Gluten

Egg Nog Scones-Vegan

Hearty Whole Grain Basil Bread

Homemade Hamburger Buns

Mini Chocolate Banana Zucchini Muffins

Oatmeal Banana Muffins

Pumpkin Banana Bread-Vegan

Simple Herbed Cornbread Stuffing-Vegan

Whole Grain Carrot Cake Loaf-Vegan

Whole Wheat Banana Spice Mini Muffins-Sugar Free, Vegan

Whole Wheat Cranberry Loaf Bread

Zucchini Bread-Vegan

 

Check out my Green Drink 101 post for all the info needed to create a green drink! :-)

Green Smoothie Video Tutorial

Beginners Green Drink

Carob Cherry Green Drink

Carrot Cream Green Smoothie

Carrot Green Smoothie

Chocolate Cherry Green Drink

Chocolatey Chocolate Green Smoothie-Household Favorite!

Chocolate Covered Berry Smoothie

Coconut Vanilla Chai Green Drink Milkshake-Vegan

Creamsicle Green Drink Smoothie

Everything Greens Smoothie

My Favorite Fresh Green Juice Recipe

Peanut Butter and Blueberry Green Smoothie

Peppermint P(e)atty Green Drink-Great for Babies and Kids!

Pink Guava Smoothie

Princess Bliss Avocado Green Smoothie-Great for Babies and Kids!

Pumpkin Green Smoothie

Red Velvet Smoothie

S’mores Green Drink-Vegan (with Vegan Marshmallows)

Tropical Cream Green Drink

 

 

Healthy On the Go-Kid and Pregnant Mama Friendly!

Apple Butter 

Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Snack Cake Bars-Vegan

Beet Hummus-Vegan

Chocolate Maple Almond Butter

Chocolate Peanut Butter Breakfast Banana Bars-Vegan

Cilantro Hummus-Vegan

Cranberry Avocado Salsa (Dip)-Vegan

Cranberry Date Nut Breakfast Banana Bars-Vegan

Double Chocolate Walnut Almond Butter-Vegan

Hint of Lime Kale Chips

Lemon Tahini Roasted Brussel Sprout Dip-Vegan

Nutty Granola-Vegan

Original Hummus-Vegan

Peanut Butter Apple Sand which-Vegan

Peanut Butter Fiber Bars

Pretzel White Chocolate Peanut Butter

Protein Cookies-Vegan

Pumpkin Butter

Pumpkin Rosemary Crackers-Vegan

Pumpkin Spice Almonds 

Pumpkin Spice Almond Butter

Ranch Dressing-Can be Non/Dairy

Salt and Vinegar Kale Chips-Vegan

Strawberry Jalepeno Salsa

Sweet and Salty Chocolate Covered Pumpkin Seeds

White Bean Sun Dried Tomato Hummus

Whole Wheat Garlic and Herb Soft Pretzels

 

Almond Sesame Tofu

Asian Noodles w/ Peanut Sauce

Blueberry BBQ Sauce, Chicken/chickpea Sandwiches

Brussel Sprout Burger w/ Strawberry Jalapeno Salsa & Balsamic Reduction

Butternut Squash Pizza Crust-Vegan, Gluten Free

Butternut Squash Spaghetti Sauce-Vegetarian

Chickpea Salad Sandwhich-Vegan

Chicken Spring Rolls with Crunchy Almond Butter Dipping Sauce

Chili Cornbread Casserole-Vegetarian

Colorful Quesadilla-Vegetarian

Creamy Avocado Taquitos

Crockpot Indian Spiced Lentils-Vegetarian

Crockpot Tempeh Veggie Chili-Vegetarian

Goat Cheese Black Bean Burger-Vegetarian

Grilled Lemony Dill Veggie Sand which-Vegan, Vegetarian, Can be Gluten Free

Green Goddess Honey Cilantro Stir Fry w/ Quinoa

Hugh Jass Burrito-Vegan

Layered Cous Cous Eggplant and Zucchini Casserole-Vegan

Lemon Parsley Spinach Pasta (15 minutes)-Vegetarian, Vegan

Lemon Pasta Cilantro Avocado Salad-Vegan, Vegetarian

Lightened Up Butternut Squash Enchiladas-Meat/Veg/Vegan Options

Nut Butter Coated Sweet Potato Fries-Vegan

Orange Glazed Chickpeas with Sesame Grilled Zucchini-Vegan and Meat eaters options

Pesto Roasted Veggie Nut Pizza-Vegan

Pretzel Crusted Chicken

Protein Garlic Mashed Potatoes-Vegan

Pumpkin Macaroni N’ Goat Cheese-Vegan option

Roasted Tomato Basil Spaghetti Sauce-Vegan

Roasted Quinoa Bean Burger-Vegan

Simple Roast Chicken-How To

Squash Pockets-Vegetarian

Strawberry Basil Chickpea Salad Sandwich-Vegetarian,

Summer Salmon Salad w/ Honey Dijon Dressing

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burgers-Vegan, Vegetarian

Sweet Potato Boats-Vegan, Vegetarian

Swiss Chard Veggie Wrap-Vegan, Vegetarian

Taco Salad-Vegan, Vegetarian

Tandoori Chicken with Cilantro, Curry, and Honey Yogurt Sauce

Tomato Basil Quinoa Salad-Vegetarian, can be Non-Dairy

Tomato Basil Quiche w/ Whole Wheat Pasty Crust

Turkey Burger, BEST recipe!!

Turkey Meatballs over Cooked Spaghetti Squash 

 

 Blueberry BBQ Sauce-Chicken/Chickpea Sandwiches

How to Roast a Chicken

Baked Pumpkin French Toast

My Husbands Favorite Salad-Mexican Grilled Chicken Quinoa Salad-Vegetarian options!

Simple Turkey Meatballs over Cooked Spaghetti Squash

Summer Salmon Salad W/ Honey Dijon Dressing

                                                                                                        

Baked Acorn Squash Rings (Compared to Onion Rings)

Cilantro Lime Grilled Corn on the Cob-Vegan/Vegetarian

Coconut Lime Brown Rice-Vegan

Herbed Cornbread Stuffing-Vegan

Maple Sage Glazed Carrots w/ Maple Toasted Pistachios-Non Diary

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Gravy-Vegetarian

Sesame Grilled Zucchini-Vegan

Spiced Seasoned Parsnip and Carrot Fries with Kale-Vegan/Vegetarian

Chocolate Chili-Veggan, Vegetarian

Coconut Curry Soup-Vegan

Zucchini, Sweet Potato, and Cilantro Soup-Vegan

 

Chickpea Salad Sandwhich-Vegan

Minty Kale Salad-Vegan,Vegetarian

Lemony Kale Salad-Vegan, Vegetarian

Lemon Quinoa Cilantro Chickpea Salad-Vegan, Vegetarian

Guacamole Kale Salad-Vegan

Mexican Grilled Chicken Quinoa Salad-Vegetarian options-My Husbands FAV salad

Seasonal Salad w/ Apple Cinnamon Pomegranate Dressing-Vegatarian/Vegan Option

Strawberry Broccoli Salad 

Summer Salmon Salad w/ Honey Dijon Dressing

Tomato Basil Quinoa Salad-Vegetarian, can be Vegan

 

Check out this post:6 Ways to Kick Those Sugar Cravings to the Curb!

3 Ingredient Homemade Samoas 

60 Second Chocolate Chip Muffin-Vegan option

Apple Pie w/ Spelt Pie Crust

Anytime Veggie Cookies

Avocado Peanut Butter Chocolate Pudding-Vegan

Banana Cake w/ Chocolate Fudge Frosting

Banana Cream Pie w/ Coconut Almond Crust- Vegan

Caramel Sauce

Carrot Cake Coconut Cream Pie-Raw, No Bake

Carrot Cake Milkshake-Vegan

Chewy Chocolate Easter Egg Truffles

Cherry Chocolate Milkshake-Vegan

Chocolate Avocado Donuts with Peanut Butter Avocado Frosting-Vegan

Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Avocado Frosting-Vegan

Chocolate Cherry Basil Ice Cream-Vegan

Chocolate Chip Banana Chunk Cookies(with Stevia)-Vegan

Chocolate Chip Bars

Chocolate Chip Bean Cookies-Sugar Free

Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Chocolate Fudge Brownies

Chocolate Fudgesicles

Chocolate Peanut Butter and Ganache Cake

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream Pretzel Pie-Vegan, no sugar

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cinnamon Cupcakes with Chocolate PB Honey Cinnamon Frosting

Chocolate Pudding Pie w/ Coconut Whipped Cream-Vegan

Chocolate Raspberry and Lemon Blackberry Macaroons-Vegan

Chocolate Sun Butter Pretzel Cups-Vegan

Chocolate Tart with Maple Almond Crust-Vegan

Cinnamon & Caramel Swirl Ice Cream made w/ Greek Yogurt

Citrus Cookie Dough Balls-Vegan

Cinnamon Sugar Cups

Coconut Vanilla Chai Milkshake-Vegan

Cookie Dough Layered Fudge Brownies-Vegan

Cookies N Cream Bark

Cinnamon Rolls-Vegan

Date Puree-Sugar/Sweetener Alternative

Double Carob Sunflower Cookies-Vegan

Fudge Balls-Vegan, Gluten Free

Fun-fetti Cupcakes-Vegan

Chocolate Chip Cookies-Grain Free, Sugar Free, Vegan, SINGLE serving

Grain Free Peanut Butter Cookies PLUS Why I Love Coconut Flour

Homemade Diva Ding Dongs-GLUTEN free, Vegan

Layered Peanut Butter Crisp Bars

No Bake (Or Bake) Anytime Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

No Bake Dark Chocolate Almond Balls

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Ice Cream-No Machine Required!

Peanut Butter Balls-Vegan

Pomegranite Fudge Cookies-Vegan

Pumpkin Spice Bars-Vegan, Vegetarian

Pumpkin Spice Bars w/ Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin Spice Cashew Cream Frosting-Vegan

Rich Chocolate Banana Bread with Diced Strawberries-Vegan options

Roasted Peaches N’ Cream Ice Cream w/ Caramel Sauce-Vegan

Single Serving  60 second Chocolate Fudge Cake

Shamrock Milkshake (Mint Shake)-Vegan/Non dairy

S’mores Balls-Vegan(with vegan marshmallows)

S’mores Milkshake-Vegan

S’mores-(Not the average S’more)

Sugar Cookies-Vegan, no refined sugar, whole grain

Sweet and Salty Chocolate Covered Pumpkin Seeds

Sweet Potato Cupcakes w/ Maple Cream Cheese Frosting-Vegan

THE BEST Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Vanilla Cupcakes-Egg Free, Dairy Fre, Sugar Free

Watermelon Milkshakes-Bathing Suit Approved

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies-Vegan Option

 

 

Diva Adventures: True Food Kitchen

I always love reading about healthy places others go to eat, especially since restaurants like these are hard to come by!

So I knew this week when I was visiting my family in California, I had to share with everyone a natural foods restaurant we ate at! Just in case you are ever in the neighborhood… :)

True Food Cafe, where do I begin! My mom and dad ate here a few months ago and right away my mom told me she wanted to take me there! It’s located in the heart of Orange County at Fashion Island Mall, if you’ve ever been there it’s well…it’s a little heaven on earth!

The restaurant’s atmosphere was fantastic and so fun and inviting. Everything was so bright, fresh, and natural!

One of my things when judging on whether a restaurant is good or bad is how full it is during ‘meal times’, and trust me…There were a lot of people waiting to get in!

The first thing we did when we sat down was look at their Natural Refreshments they had to offer, and this is where the excitement really started to kick in! I LOVE restaurants that offer fresh juices and drinks, but as many of you know this isn’t something you find often..If ever!

Our drinks were:

Hangover Rx: Coconut Water, Pineapple & Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice (Pictured Left)

Ruby Moon: Ruby Grapefruit, Yuzu, Agave, & Soda (Pictured Right)

Kale Aid: Kale, Apple, Cucumber, Celery, Lemon, & Ginger

Usually for Boo I always order water, but I really really wanted to try their Honey Lemonade :)! Unfortunately the little gal was being quite possessive over it, so I had to sneak little drinks here and there when she wasn’t looking!

The menu was beyond…how do I put this…beautiful! :) Everything was full of nutrients, veggies, handmade, fresh, and totally Diva-Approved! I have to add that my husband would totally try most items on the menu, which is saying a lot. They had a selection of meaty sandwiches, pizzas and burgers, which any husband would love!

Our second order was the appetizer, and shocker…we chose the hummus :)! It was one of the BEST hummus plates I’ve ever had, and that says a lot coming from a hummus whore like myself. It was topped with a greek salad of olives, feta cheese, cucumber, and seasonings. If you want the recipe, check out the Cookbook, which features tons of other recipes from the restaurant!

For the main coarse, I wanted to try everything on the menu. (At this point having a table with 20 friends would have been ideal, that way I could try everyones food!) My mom and I both ordered salads, but now I wish I would have ordered something different so I could have tried it!

Mediterranean Chopped: Cucumber, Olive, Cherry Tomato, Quinoa, Feta, Marcona Almond & Lemon Oregano Vinaigrette (Topped with Salmon)

I have to take a second to talk about the Kids menu…

Hands down, one of my favorite parts of this meal! It was SO relieving to read a kids menu that didn’t include Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, or frozen chicken nuggets! Every item on the menu was fresh, kid friendly, and something that I would be extremely happy to feed my child!

Almond Butter, Apple & Banana Sandwich with Grain Nut Bread and Carrot Sticks (Wish the BEST homemade Dill Ranch!) (Pictured Left)

Spaghetti Squash Casserole: Fresh Mozzarella, Organic Tomato & Zucchini (Pictured Right) My sister in law ordered this and it was one of my favorite dishes! It was so comforting and full of veggies,which is a plus!

Harvest Chopped Salad: Squash, Apple, Pomegranate, Walnuts, Goat Cheese & Balsamic Vinaigrette (Topped with Chicken)

So would I ever go to True Food Kitchen again if I had the chance?

That’s like asking if I would like a piece of chocolate cake…Yes!Yes!Yes!

And it’s right next to a large selection of shopping, which well, makes it the perfect stop for anybody! :)

 

 

 

Stocking a Healthy Pantry for your Kids!

Sometimes the grocery store can be a scary place, especially for my husband.

It’s not because he has a hard time finding fairly easy food items which are always located in the back of the store such as MiLk..But more so because he has a minor panic attack every time I come home with groceries and hand him the bill…

He usually cries.

And no, it’s not because I finally broke down and bought him that stupid box of strawberry poop tarts he’s been asking me for, but the real reason being I spent $$$$$ to get back at him more making me buy them.

Poop Tarts=Mucho Dinero Hombre.

 But besides wondering if you should really break down and buy a bag of juicy grapes for 2.99 a pound, stocking up your pantry and fridge can be a nightmare, especially when you are trying to stock up on healthy AND tasty ingredients…

That everyone will eat…

And that everyone will like.

I’m sure many of you have come home with a bag of vegetables, only for it to go to waste in a matter of a few days because no one touched them, and the animal crackers taste so much better than carrot sticks, and gosh darn by golly if there was a tub of ranch dressing maybe eating those carrot sticks would go down a lot easier .

Well my friends, today your in luck. I’ve made a few lists of  foods to stock your fridge and pantry that every family should have on hand for healthy, natural, and hearty meals for the children. You don’t have to have everything, this is just a basic guide line of different varieties of food to have.

My next post we will be talking about what ages will be eating what foods, as well as some recipes so don’t worry if you don’t know what some of these foods are and how to prepare them. Through out the week be sure to try and talk about everything I can!

Okay, let’s begin shall we!

*Side note: Whether you are a meat and dairy eater, vegetarian, vegan, or have certain allergies, you can modify the list according to your families lifestyle and diet.*

There are so many vegetables out there with a wide variety of benefits for kids and thier growing bodies. A lot of kids, and even adults, have strong dislikes for these bad boys, so they can be somewhat of a struggle to get your kiddos to eat. I’ll go further into picky eating on another day and ways to get kids to eat their veggies, but for now focus on picking out, or even growing veggies as a family. It’s best to shop at farmers markets where produce can be somewhat cheaper, your supporting local farmers, it’s not sprayed with pesticides, and it’s a fun family outing! Always buy what is in season, and if possible organic or not sprayed with chemicals.

-Greens: This can be spinach, kale, swiss chard, lettuce greens, etc…

-Potatoes: Sweet, red, white etc. Potatoes last forever, and are great for pureeing.

- Squash(yellow, acorn,butternut, spaghetti) and Zucchini : Easily shredded and pureed, great for adding into baked goods

-Carrots and parsnips: Great dippers for yummy sauces

-Tomatoes and Cucumbers: for mini sandwhiches, dippers, etc.

-Peas, corn

-Bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower

-Beets

-Vegetable stock

*There are definitely a lot of vegetables out there, and you don’t have to have every single one in your fridge. Although, it’s always best to have a wide variety to have on hand when you need them. Some of these make great purees that can be frozen and used at a different time in the future.

From natural sweeteners, to perfect snacks and sweet cravings, and perfect puree for little ones, fruits are all around amazing. A long with veggies, they are best to be purchased at a famers market, or at least buy them organic when they are in season. 

-Apples

-Pears, nectarines

-Berries

-Avocados

-Bananas

-Apricots, plums, prunes

-Peaches

-Dates

With the right kind, grains can be a hearty wholesome carb that keep you full and give you energy, protein, and good amount of fiber. Make sure you switch up your grains, and just don’t stick with brown rice. There are a lot of tasty grains out there that want to be loved too! :-) (Most of these grains and be ground into fine cereals for your little baby too!)

-Brown Rice

-Quinoa

-Amaranth

-Millet

-Barley

-Spelt

-Whole wheat pastas

-Whole wheat, grain breads. (Ezekial is my favorite)

-Flours: Whole wheat pastry, spelt, almond, coconut flour, garbanzo flour, etc..*You don’t have to stock up on every type of flour. Buy one to try, and when that one is done, try another flour. Start with whole wheat pastry since it’s pretty similar to AP flour when cooking, then later on experiment with other grains.*

Holy Canoli! I love beans!! :-) Amazing source of protein, fiber, antioxidants, etc.!! Great for adding into foods, pureeing for little ones, and quick snacks for toddlers when seasoned deliciously! Have a variety in your pantry to throw into any meal! Also, if you buy dried beans, they are WAY cheaper than buying canned!

-Lentils

-Black

-Pinto

-Navy

-Garbanzo

- Split peas

If you can’t have dairy, there are some great alternatives to use. Even though some of us in out household aren’t allergic to dairy, we still mainly eat/drink non dairy foods. Everything in balance. Also, always buy animal dairy products organic, due to less added preservatives. 

-Greek Yogurt

-Full Fat cottage cheese

-Full fat milk (for young babies)

-Tofu-hard and silken  (Not dairy, but a great substitute)

-Non dairy milks: soy, almond, coconut, hemp, rice, etc. *We buy a variety of non dairy milks and switch it up each week, that we get a nice balance of different essential vitamins, minerals, and proteins that each milk offers.

-Non dairy yogurts or plain yogurts

-Full fat cheese or non dairy cheese

-Eggs

If you don’t eat meat than you can skip this section. If you do, then make sure to buy meat organic, local, and eat it sparingly. 

-Lean meats, fresh from the deli

-Salmon

-Avoid bacon, sausages, packaged deli meats, etc..Get lunch meats from the deli where it’s freshly cut.

-Chia Seeds

-Cocoa powder

-Nuts and nut butters

-Flax Seeds

-Mild seasonings like cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin etc…

-Flax oils

-Wheat Germ

-Coconut oil

-Hummus

-Fresh herbs

-Honey, Maple Syrup, Agave

-Onion, lemons, limes, and garlic to taste

-Salt and pepper for taste

Wait! What about packaged/boxed/frozen foods?

I’m a mom…and I’m not crazy. (Despite popular belief..)

If I could make every single meal every day by hand, well then by golly miss Molly I’m freaking amazing! But then, sometimes dishes wouldn’t get done, I wouldn’t get to snuggle with my hubby for a movie, and well, I wouldn’t always be able to shower. I understand life is crazy, and with kids it get’s crazier. Some days you don’t have time to make something homemade, and that is understandable. If needed, buy organic, natural products. Make sure you know what each of the ingredients are listed on the box. And when in doubt, add pureed veggies to things like mac n’ cheese!

I hope this post helped somewhat! If I forgot anything, please feel free to add it into the comment section below! Stay tuned for the next post where we will finally get into some recipes!! :-)

Baby/Toddler/Kid Friendly Food

 

Check our my posts that I wrote during a series called Kids Week:

Why to Feed Your Kids Healthy and Where to Begin

Stocking a Healthy Pantry for Kids

Baby Food 101: 6-12 Months

Toddler Food and Picky Eaters

Healthy On the Go Kid Pregnant Mama Friendly Snacks! 

 

 

 

4 minute Microwave Green Breakfast Muffin.

Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Snack Cake Bars

Apple Pear Cinnamon Oatmeal

Banana Pudding

Carrot Pumpkin Quinoa

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies (contains garbanzo beans)

Deconstructed Omelette 

Eggless Sweet Potato French Toast Sticks

Green Spinach and Carrot Nuggets

Lemon Parsley Spinach Salad

Peppermint P(e)atty Green Drink

Princess Bliss Avocado Smoothie

Purple Pancakes

Strawberry Basil Chickpea Sandwich

Turkey Meatballs over Cooked Spaghetti Squash

Whole Wheat Peanut Butter and Banana Waffles