Tag Archives: quinoa

NROLFW update & more mango

I’m halfway through the first stage of NROLFW and wanted to do a quick update on my thoughts/progress so far with the plan.

Stage 1 calls for 16 workouts, alternating between workout A & workout B. After 3 full weeks, I’ve completed 8 of the workouts at the “2 set” phase and just today moved into the second half of stage 1 which increases the sets to 3.

I’m not going to do any updates on measurements yet, I’ll wait until the end of stage 1 for that. Sorry, no awkward full body muscle pictures today. Winking smile 

In general, I love it! In these 3 weeks, I’ve learned to live and function in a perpetual state of soreness (in a good way!). This is the longest I’ve ever stuck with a strength training program before. I seriously look forward to each and every workout. I think a few things are contributing to that:

  • The way the program is structured it encourages you to add heavier weights as the workouts progress.
  • It gives you “beginner” moves when necessary so it’s easy to tell when you’re gaining strength because they start to feel easy and you move onto the “real” moves (push-ups are an example here).
  • I think the emphasis on dumbbells and barbells instead of machines makes it more easily recognizable when you can handle increased weight.
  • I already see a difference in muscle definition. Positive reinforcement baby!


These are me not flexing. I’m going to call them my “rolling hills” and I’m pretty sure they weren’t there before. Winking smile Well on my way to looking like the book cover.


Click here for before pictures (granted, I am flexing in those so they’re not totally comparable).

A few fun facts:

Prone jackknife is my favorite move of this stage.

Step-ups are my least favorite (boring and tedious)

-I can now do 3 sets of 10 full push-ups!

-In general this is how I feel about deadlifts:

Diet wise I haven’t been doing anything out of the ordinary besides being more cognizant of my protein intake. I will try to have a protein smoothie or something high in protein after each session. It doesn’t always happen, but I’d say about 75% of the time.


Today’s smoothie, which overflowed the second I put the camera down and which Ginger promptly licked up.

Stay tuned after another 3 weeks for a full Stage 1 recap.


Now, let’s talk about mangoes. Again.

I actually bought 2 mangoes for last week’s Mango black bean salad but only ended up using one because the other was hard as a rock. 6 days later after hanging out next to the bananas getting all ripe, it was begging to be used. After reading Jenna’s recap on her fruit detox, I had been craving fruit and couldn’t even think about “real” dinner foods. I just wanted fruit. The practical side of me kicked in though and somehow I ended up with this.


Quinoa, mango, spinach salad.


With a piece of whole wheat sunflower seed bread. Delicious, light dinner.

Quinoa Mango Spinach Salad

Makes 2-3 full dinner servings or 6 side dish servings

  • 3 cups cooked red quinoa
  • 2 cups chopped baby spinach
  • 1 mango chopped
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup pepitas
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried cherries
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of half a lime
  • juice of 1 small orange
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • salt & pepper


Rinse quinoa and toast with coconut oil before adding water and cooking normally (optional, but recommended). Combine next 6 ingredients in a large bowl. When quinoa is finished cooking, add to bowl and mix to combine. Whisk together last 5 ingredients and pour over salad. Toss. Chill in refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.


What’s the weirdest craving you’ve ever given into for dinner (or any meal)?



Filed under Dinner, Recipes, Strength training


By parents who invited us over for dinner because they knew I’d be driving past their house from the airport after a long day of travel and the last thing I wanted to do when I got home was worry about dinner.


Ginger’s tongue behind the bowl of ice cream cracks me up.

And by this guy.


Who surprised me with this when we got home.


Which was really this.


Notice the workout outfit. I had every intention of doing NROLFW last night. That flew out the window when I saw the camera. One more rest day in the grand scheme of things won’t hurt. Winking smile

Now, If you’ll excuse me I have manuals to read, software to install and lots of pictures to take…


Filed under Dinner, Family

Summer herbed stuffed tomatoes

It’s so nice to be back home in my own kitchen. I started day dreaming about what I was going to make for dinner on the plane ride home from Gainesville. I knew the weather was supposed to be gorgeous yesterday  (78 and sunny Smile) and all I could think of was something fresh, summery and light. Enter herbed stuffed tomatoes.

Here was how my thought process went down. Nice weather—>something summery/fresh—>lemon, must use lemon—>I think I have swordfish in the freezer from Trader Joe’s (love that store!)—> ok swordfish on the grill, but with what?—>I still have that darn quinoa to use up (told you he wouldn’t touch it while I was gone)—> maybe stuffed tomatoes?—>yes, I could use the quinoa as filling—>but it needs more freshness to it—>I’ll add in a ton of herbs. Perfect!


I’ve seen plenty of stuffed tomato recipes that get all cheesy, gooey, and just plain heavy. While I do love me some cheese, that wasn’t what I was going for with this recipe. Plus, usually I don’t dig cheesy things as an accompaniment to fish.

First, gather all your ingredients.


See all those pine nuts? There’s no way I was using all of them. Those babies are expensive! Call me cheap but, when you pay $9.99 for 4 oz. of those bad boys you can bet I’m gonna make them last. A good tip on pine nuts is to store them in the freezer. Since they are a very oily nut they go rancid much quicker than others when stored at room temperature.

  • tomatoes
  • lemon
  • garlic
  • shallots
  • pine nuts
  • bread crumbs
  • cooked red quinoa
  • herbs (parsley, cilantro, basil, lemon thyme, mint)

Slice the tops of the tomatoes off and gut out the insides. Careful not to tear through the bottom. I used a melon baller for this but, a spoon will work just as well.


Little side note on the melon baller… This was one of those kitchen gadgets that I used to think of as totally pointless and a waste of money. I think I bought it a few years ago to make pretty watermelon balls for a summer cook out and figured I’d never use it again. Um, wrong. I use this thing ALL THE TIME. It’s very adaptable.

Lightly oil a glass pan and place the gutted tomatoes in it. Season the cavities with some salt and pepper.


Mince garlic and shallots and quickly sauté them to take the bite out.


While that is sautéing (careful not to burn the garlic), add minced herbs, lemon zest & juice, cooked quinoa, bread crumbs, pine nuts and 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil to a bowl. When shallots & garlic are done, add them to the bowl as well. I actually toasted the pine nuts quickly in the same sauté pan as the garlic and shallots beforehand. You don’t have to do this but it definitely intensifies the flavor of the nuts. Anytime I toast nuts I always think of Rachael Ray on “3o minute meals” saying “your nose will tell you when they’re done!” Am I the only one who found that to be one of her many annoying sayings?


Salt and pepper the mixture to taste and then fill ‘em up!


Cook at 450 for about 15 minutes. I actually broiled them the last couple minutes to get a nice charred look on top. If you saved the tops of the tomatoes you can add them back on and cook them with the stuffed tomatoes. I think they make cute little “hats” so I did.


Isn’t he cute all wrinkled up?

This was perfect. Exactly what I was hoping for. Light, very lemony, and so fresh with the abundance of herbs in there. I thought I might have gone a little overboard as I literally picked every herb I have on my front steps except the rosemary but, somehow they all worked together. I did think about adding just a little grated parmesan but, that went out the window when I realized I used it all up for the husband’s birthday dinner a la Jessica. I think you could totally add some in just don’t go overboard as the idea here isn’t cheesy.

The perfect summer side dish.


Herbed Stuffed Tomatoes:

Makes 6 stuffed tomatoes

  • 6 large tomatoes
  • 1.5 cups cooked red quinoa
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/8 cup pine nuts (toasted, optional)
  • 1 lemon, zested & juiced
  • 2 small shallots, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup minced herbs (I used basil, parsley, cilantro, mint & lemon thyme)
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • salt & pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 450. Slice tops of tomatoes off and gut the insides to leave just a shell. Arrange tomato shells in lightly oiled glass pan and salt & pepper the cavities. Toast pine nuts in small sauté pan over medium heat for about 4-5 minutes. Use same pan to then lightly sauté shallots and garlic in 1 tbsp. of oil. While shallots and garlic are sautéing, add cooked quinoa, bread crumbs, pine nuts, lemon zest & juice, herbs and 1 tbsp. of oil to a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and mix. Stuff tomato shells with the mixture and add tops back on if you’d like. Bake for about 15 minutes. Broil last 1-2 minutes for charred appearance.


Filed under Dinner, Recipes, Side Dishes

My current breakfast obsession

Last week I cooked up a batch of red quinoa that I figured I could get some use out of for some meals in the next few days. Then I ended up not cooking Thursday night and going out to dinner on Friday night, so the quinoa just sat there in the fridge. I’ve made this before and loved it so I figured I could use it as inspiration for Saturday morning’s breakfast.

I put about 1/2 a cup of cooked quinoa in a bowl:



  • 1/4 cup of almond milk
  • 1/4 cup of skim milk
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • cinnamon
  • vanilla extract

and popped it in the microwave just to heat things up for about 1.5 minutes. The quinoa didn’t absorb any of the liquid since it was already cooked, so it turned out to be more of a cereal like consistency.

Then the fun part, toppings!


Do you see all the stems on those blueberries? I’m kind of OCD and had to pick off every.single.one. Wish I could get over those kinds of things because that took me a whole 2 minutes. 2 extra minutes between me and my breakfast. Any of my family or friends reading this know how bitchy crazy I can be when hungry.

The last addition was a drizzle of maple syrup on top to sweeten it up just a bit. It’s a little different than a normal breakfast and adds a nice punch of protein from the quinoa. I loved this. So much so that I’ve now eaten it 3 mornings in a row. That pretty much never happens. I need variety in my life. Usually, I don’t go more than 2 days eating the same meal. Maybe it’s because I have 4 cups of cooked quinoa on my hands and know my husband won’t touch it while I’m gone for the next 2 days for work or, maybe it is that good?  Try it and tell me what you think Smile

Currently, I’m on my way here.

Map picture


Any Gators out there?

I travel all around the country for work and have been on 100+ college campuses in the past 7 years. Two things I’ve taken away from all this travel:

  1. They put some large/flagship institutions in really remote places. How they can convince more than 40,000 students to go to places like Urbana, IL is beyond me!
  2. I don’t know why I thought picking rural Pennsylvania for my 4 years of undergrad was a good idea when places like this and this exist.

Word on the street is we’re going here for dinner and it’s supposed to be pretty good. Hopefully, the reason they still have the 2010 New Year’s Eve menu on their website is because they are sooo dedicated to the food that they forgot to update the web. Right???


Filed under Breakfast, Recipes, Travel, Work