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simple sesame green beans

This weeks weather has been crazy!  It most definitely felt like fall at the beginining of the week, but now it is 81 degrees out!  Come on, Mother Nature, I’m ready for fall weather. 🙂

However, since it felt like summer this morning, I whipped up a cold smoothie for breakfast.

My favorite Chocolate Cherry Bomb!  With cacao nibs on top.

Lunch was AB&J on Flax Quinoa Bread from Whole Foods.  Definitely some of the best bread ever!  But, I forgot to snap a photo.  Snacks yesterday included fruit and trail mix.

For dinner, we made a special weeknight meal.  It barely took anytime at all to cook, but it felt more special due to the ingredients.

Shrimp, Green Beans and Quinoa

I started out by getting the quinoa ready, so that it would cook while we were cooking the other things.

I used a recipe from Clean Food cookbook for Quinoa with Currants, but I subbed currants for dried cranberries.  Everything else was the same, except that I just threw it all in my rice cooker to cook at once!

Into the rice cooker went the quinoa, cranberries and spices.

I added the water and set the cooker to quick cook.  I have found that the quick setting works perfect for quinoa!

Next up, simple sesame green beans.

Cut off the ends of each side.

Then, throw them in a colander to wash thouroughly.

While you are cutting and washing, boil water in a shallow pan.  Once boiling, dump in the beans and blanch for 1 minute just to take the bite off.

Place back in the colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.

Careful dry the pan and add a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.  Add the dry green beans and saute for 5-7 minutes until they look a little browned.

Add a little salt, pepper and a good pinch of sesame seeds.  Cook for 1-2 more minutes to toast the seeds.  Then, serve warm!

This is our favorite way to eat green beans.  They beans stay crisp, but are warm and delicious!

We added the shrimp to another skillet at the same time as the green beans.  Saute the shrimp over medium heat for 6-8 minutes until they turn white.  Add seasoning of choice (we used a fish seasoning from William Sonoma).

I served the quinoa with a little feta on top.

This was a delicious meal!  Very quick (preptime and cooking took about 30 minutes) for a weeknight meal.  Plenty of greens, protein and omega-3’s from the shrimp!

Served with a slice of Flax Quinoa Bread and butter.

Yum!

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snack-a-thon

Yesterday morning was another day for oats!  I kept these more simple, still cooked in the rice cooker, because I wanted to add a few fun toppings.

Into the rice cooker went the following:

  • 1/4 cup steel-cut oats
  • 1/2 chopped banana
  • 1/2 diced apple
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • splash of vanilla
  • 1 cup of water

They came out as creamy as ever!  I topped this bowl with peanut butter, rolled dates and a shake of cinnamon.

This breakfast didn’t hold me over as well as it usually does.  Maybe because of my morning run?

I feel like I snacked throughout the day on small-ish, but delicious, meals.

First up, vanilla yogurt with cinnamon and granola and a pear.

It was a crazy day at work, so the next thing I knew, it was 4 o’clock and I had missed lunch and my afternoon snack!

So, I ran out to pick up some soup – Broccoli Cheddar with a Baguette from Panera Bread.

This soup is really good, but very rich!  I need to try to make a batch at home for the winter.

Once home for dinner, I had a small serving of leftover pasta from Tuesday night.  I just wasn’t very hungry due to the late soup!

Still delicious after reheating!

After dinner, I whipped up some Super Charge Me cookies.  My sweet tooth was calling.  Served warm with milk. 🙂

These cookies are a great treat filled with healthy ingredients including, rolled oats, almond butter, raisins, spelt flour, shredded coconut, etc.

I have a yummy dinner planned for tonight. 🙂

it feels like fall!

Fall is easily my favorite season.  The crisp, cool air makes me want to be outside!  It reminds me of apple picking, pumpkins, falling leaves, running, big sweaters, oatmeal and cinnamon.  It is not too hot or too cold.  It’s perfect!

This morning was perfect running weather.  I was a little chilly when I started out in my capris and long sleeved shirt, but I quickly warmed up and found my rhythm.  Once home, my condo was filled with the aroma of my fall inspired oats!

Mmmmm….

Last night, I prepped my rice cooker by adding the following:

  • 1/4 steel cut oats
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 apple, diced
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • shake of nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup chopped raisins

It smelled amazing and tasted even better!

Topped with coconut butter and chopped pecans.

It was a perfect fall breakfast.

For lunch, I packed a random grouping of things…that actually made a healthy lunch!  (It tasted good too.)

Tuna fish (made with greek yogurt, honey + dijon mustard, celery seeds), eggplant bacon, tabouli and blue corn chips.

The eggplant bacon and corn chips made excellent scoopers!

Snacks today included grapes, a banana and a larabar – love this flavor!

When dinner time came around, I was more than ready to make a home cooked meal!  It has been weeks since I have made something other than panini’s, pasta, oatmeal, frozen burritos and other simple meals.

Tonight, I brought up my favorite website, 101cookbooks.com, and searched for butternut squash recipes.  I came up with something that sounded great and was very quick to make.

Almost Cheeseless Pasta Casserole (see recipe and instructions here)

I only made a few substitutions: added a mix of kale and spinach, added 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese, omitted olives.  Everything else turned out wonderfully!

I chopped up my CSA butternut squash.

Made the yogurt sauce.

And, oiled and zested the baking dish while my pasta cooked.

I used a pasta that we brought back from Seattle.  It is a mix of spinach, carrot and beet pasta!  And, added a lot of flavor to the dish.

Once the pasta is cooked, I mixed it with the veggies and mixed it into the yogurt sauce, then spread the mixture into the baking dish.

Topped with feta and almonds, I baked it for 25 minutes, as the recipe stated.

It came out bubbling hot and smelly great!

This was a great recipe.  The whole thing, including cooking, took less than 45 minutes.  And, it makes enough servings to last for a few meals.

Another perfect fall meal for the day. 🙂

Have a great one!

back to reality

Whether or not we like it, or plan it, vacation often takes a toll on us!  We walked a lot while in Seattle, but we also ate a lot!

We did a lot of good eating.  Everything is just so fresh and local out west.  It’s hard not to try it all!

I absolutely loved all of the food we ate while on vacation, but it is definitely nice to be back to home cooked meals, oatmeal and smoothies! 🙂

For breakfast this morning, I finally tried out the porridge setting on my rice cooker.  I have been wanting to try this out for awhile, but finally decided to give it a go after reading more about how delicious your oats turn out from Emily at The Front Burner.  She gives an excellent tutorial on How to Cook Oats in a Rice Cooker, so check it out here!

I followed Emily’s instructions and set up my oats in the rice cooker last night.

Into the rice cooker went the following:

  • 1/4 cup steel cut oats (my favorite!)
  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • splash vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla

I set my timer to have the oats ready when I woke up.

It worked!!!

It looked exactly like Emily said it would, a little soupy on top.

But, once mixed, they were perfect!

Perfectly cooked.  I topped my oats with a trio of fun:  chocolate hazelnut butter, coconut butter and raspberry jam.

These oats were delicious!  And, I didn’t need to spend 40 minutes cooking them and watching the stove this morning.  Instead, I woke up to a wonderfully filling breakfast.

These oats held me over until about 11am, when I snacked on a golden delicious apple.

Then, it was time for lunch!

I grabbed something easy today, an Amy’s Black Bean Burrito filled with black beans and veggies.  I like these for days when I don’t have time to pack a lunch.  They are filling and the ingredient list does not include anything scary.

With a few blue corn chips and salsa on the side, and some unpictured grapes.

Mid afternoon, I wanted something chocolaty, so I whipped up a smoothie.

Double Chocolate Smoothie

Serves 2

  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 heaping tbsp cacao powder
  • dash vanilla
  • 1 tbsp flax seed
  • 1 big spoonful chocolate ice cream 🙂
  • 1.5 cups hemp milk (or milk of choice)

Mix it up in your blender and enjoy!

It was chocolaty and delicious and hit the spot!

For dinner, I met a good friend at the Cheesecake Factory!  I haven’t been there in awhile and was excited to see that they offer 1/2 portions of salad now.

Still pretty big, but delicious.  I ordered a salad special with romaine, orange slices, pears, pecans, dried cranberries, feta and balsamic.

Have a great night!

puget sound cruise & the rose garden – seattle, wa

Our trip had to come to an end at some point, but we enjoyed every second of it!  On our last day, we decided to do a boat cruise around the harbor to get some more history and views of Seattle.

It was a beautiful sunny day in Seattle, so we had to take advantage of it!  We took a walk through Myrtle Edwards Park in the morning and stopped to snap some photos of the rose garden.

It was towards the end of rose season, but many of the flowers were still in bloom.

After our walk, we cleaned up and headed to the Pike Place Brewery for lunch.

Pike Place is very cool.  It is set under the market and is huge!

Apparently, I didn’t snap photos of the delicious veggie burger I had loaded with avocado, tomato, lettuce and cheddar cheese.  But, I did snap photos of Brant’s beer sampler!

Time for the boat cruise!

The views were gorgeous and the sunny day was a perfect time to be out on the water.

Look at all those boats!

Apparently, this is a grain mill.  The grain comes in, is sorted and loaded onto barges to be taken to other ports.

I will definitely be taking another trip out West to visit Seattle again!  We loved it! 🙂