staying hungry : mango tilapia with watermelon feta salad

Let’s cut to the chase here:

You can probably skip the mango tilapia. It’s just parchment-paper baked tilapia with a dollop of mango butter, some parsley and scallions, and a few spices. Good in theory, not terribly exciting in reality.

What is terribly exciting, though, is the salad that accompanies it.

Oh my word. I honestly don’t want to eat anything else for the rest of the summer except for this salad.

I take that back. It’s almost nectarine season. And, hello, we’re right smack dab in the peak of ice cream season.

So, basically, I’ll be eating nectarines and ice cream and watermelon feta salad until the leaves start to change.

Amen.

The journey to this salad began with this pin, which I found in, like, January.

Tabbouleh with Watermelon: Watermelon replaces the traditional tomato in this Middle Eastern salad, giving it bursts of sweetness. Goat cheese, another new add-in, provides creamy contrast, Wholeliving.com #healthylunches

pinned here via here

Having to wait a whole 6 months for it to be seasonably appropriate to make was cruel and unusual punishment.

I made a mental note to make it as soon as the temperature rose above freezing (so, yesterday), and had intended to make it sometime in the next few weeks, but luckily Annie of Annie Eats was kind enough to take this salad to a new level of supremacy. When she posted a recipe last week using quinoa instead of barley I had no choice but to make it immediately if not sooner.

I made it as a side to the fish…but it totally stole the show. So much so that I made a big batch it all by itself for dinner one night this week.

People: make this. Immediately if not sooner.

Quinoa Salad with Watermelon and Feta

slightly adapted from Annie’s Eats

Serves 4 (hypothetically…)

Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa

For the dressing:
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp. freshly lemon juice
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

For the salad:
1/4 cup crumbled feta
1 cup watermelon, diced
3-4 tbsp. minced fresh parsley
3-4 tbsp. sliced scallions
Lemon zest, to taste

Directions:

Rinse and boil the quinoa (add about 1 and 1/2 cups water to quinoa and simmer for about 15 minutes, letting sit, covered, for 5 additional minutes to soak up remaining water). Whisk together the dressing and chop salad ingredients while the quinoa is boiling. I like to fluff the quinoa with a fork, add the dressing to the quinoa (once cooled slightly), and then add the salad ingredients to the quinoa. It’s best when served chilled.

Rating: 4.5/5. A small deduction for the fact that it’s only a summer dish and I’ll spend 9 months pining for it once September comes. Other than that, this one’s a home run!

staying creative : desperate fridge dinner winner

This week’s picture comes with a recipe! It’s a 2 for 1 deal!

So last night. Dinner. Go out? No. Smoothie bowl? Been there, done that, more times than I remember…this week. Something healthy? And easy? And using up old groceries? YES.

I had frozen salmon in the freezer and quinoa in the pantry. The spinach and arugula expired a few days ago but what’s in a stamped date? Everything else was added on the fly.

Winner, winner, desperate fridge dinner!

Ingredients:

Spinach and Arugula salad base

For the quinoa:

  • 1/4 cup quinoa dry, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • sliced scallions (about 2 Tbsp)
  • fresh parsley (about 2 Tbsp)
  • fresh ground garlic salt to taste

For the salmon:

  • 4 oz. salmon filet
  • 1/2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

Directions:

Boil the quinoa until water has been absorbed, about 15 minutes. When just a little water remains, turn the heat off and let sit, covered, for another 5 minutes or so. Fluff with fork and add remaining ingredients.

While the quinoa is boiling, whisk together the maple syrup, mustard, and vinegar for the salmon glaze. Coat a grill pan with non-stick spray and heat to medium-high before adding the salmon. Cook each side for 4-6 minutes, adding glaze as you flip.

Make a bed with the salad, add the quinoa, and top with the salmon.

Healthy old groceries dinner in under 30 minutes.

As Nike would say, BOOM.

inspired : 6.17.12

summer food love from joy the baker (that strawberry pineapple crumble! oh my word!)

all about the wonderful world of southern weddings

love these colors : lagoon and lemon

how to teach your kids (or even yourself!) responsibility and discipline

9 no-bake summer desserts from fitsugar (um, yes to all of these!)

love this article about monthly challenges by 12 months of lent (SUCH a cool blog!)

the gotasks app has been a such a great find! I use tasks in google calendar for my daily to-do’s and this app syncs seamlessly.

this copy and paste recipe calculator is going to save me SO MUCH TIME

if you haven’t been on the chobani website lately, you are missing out! great content!

a catalog you can purchase from and feel great about : gifts of compassion

my affection for the packers notwithstanding, I honestly love the branding of wisconsin cheese. check out all of their outstanding websites!

a pinner after my own heart – love all of amanda’s boards!

SO inspired by katie’s story, her love for the Lord, and her outstanding website. it’s a true treasure!

pin of the week:

Cake Batter Protein Shake (190 calories and 35 grams of protein...flipping out over here)

(190 calories and 35 grams of protein. FOR REAL.)

(THANK YOU, KATIE!)

pinned here via here

staying in rochester : yotality

There was a time when I was not in love with frozen yogurt.

That time seems so distant now.

It started with Pinkberry in San Diego. Then it was 16 Handles during visits home. And now…

…it’s Yotality.

With 18 flavors of frozen yogurt and about three times as many toppings, it’s safe to say that I’ll be visiting our new little self-serve frozen yogurt paradise frequently.

Actually, it’s beyond safe to say. You can go ahead and say it. Because I’ve already been three times since they opened.

Last Friday.

(And while you’re saying things, you can also offer condolences to both my bank account and my wardrobe. They may suffer some of the more unfortunate consequences of this budding relationship.)

Seriously, ice cream is one of my favorite things about life. But since my other favorite thing is not becoming morbidly obese, I can’t eat it as often as I’d like. Which is why frozen yogurt is my BFF. It’s hardly guilt-free – there’s plenty of sugar and preservatives and artificial dyes to make it a less-than-ideal choice – but it’s at least a better option, especially at Yotality since most of the frozen yogurt flavors are either nonfat or lowfat and have between 80-120 calories per 1/2 cup. And then you have the added bonus of all of the healthy stuff already in yogurt – calcium, protein, probiotics, etc. So it’s really a decent dessert choice!

Really. Which is why I should totally go back again right now. Right?

I’m glad you agree.

good things : necessity

First things first, I may have worked all day and night yesterday, but I still had a pretty wonderful birthday:

Thank you so much, everyone! You all make my life a wonderful place to live.

In other news:

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If necessity is the mother of invention, I’m certainly glad she parented this dinner.

Necessity = making a meal on a limited pantry over the weekend because I hadn’t been grocery shopping in 2 weeks and didn’t want to face the all-consuming decision that is ordering out so I opted for making something at home instead. Which ended up being farro tossed in balsamic vinegar, olive oil, sea salt, and basil on a bed of mixed arugula topped with goat cheese.

Not a bad dinner, all things considered! It’s definitely a keeper!

I didn’t know I had it in me (or my kitchen).

Necessity: 1, Pantry Famine: 0.

beka stays real : my favorite way to eat

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Seriously.

For all of my devotion to baked goods, meals like this are my favorite way to eat: plain, simple, and healthy.

I made this for lunch on Saturday (i.e. after this and before this). With no clear cut ideas for lunch I went straight for the things I really wanted and ended up with what’s pictured above: carrots and kale with a spoonful of hummus, 1/2 a grapefruit, 1/2 an Ezekiel muffin with peanut butter and sliced banana.

Sometimes I make meal planning too complicated. This is a good solution.

Amen.

beka stays hungry : healthy layered waffles

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Decadent breakfast reserved only for birthdays.

Waistline buster.

Diet wrecker.

These waffles look like they’d answer to any of those names. But really, their given name is:

Healthy.

For REAL.

There is nothing in these waffles that should make you reconsider diving in on any day, be it a birthday or a holiday or a Monday. Here’s the deal:

  • 2 Van’s Frozen Belgian Waffles
  • 3 Tbsp 0% Fat Greek Yogurt
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • About a dozen frozen (and then unfrozen) blueberries
  • 2 strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • 1/2 Tbsp walnuts, toasted
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • Dusting of cinnamon

Step 1: Toast the waffles

Step 2: Mix the yogurt, chia seeds, and defrosted blueberries together

Step 3: Layer as follows: waffle, yogurt mixture, sliced strawberries, sliced bananas, waffle, yogurt mixture, sliced strawberries, sliced bananas, walnuts, cinnamon, maple syrup.

Step 4: Enjoy! And all for the low, low price of around 350 guilt-free calories.

Happy Monday.

Happy Morning.

beka stays hungry : weeknight enchiladas

I actually made something that did not require the use of a crock pot this week.

And I actually made it from a recipe designed for the use of a crock pot…but that also had adaptations for non-crock pot cooking.

Shock and awe!

What can I say? I was hungry and short on time! I didn’t have 6 hours to wait for dinner!

I’m sure this recipe would turn out great in a crock pot, but I’m actually glad I went with the just-stick-this-pan-filled-with-enchiladas-in-the-oven method (that’s the scientific terminology, for those of you who were wondering). The hardest part is willing the tortillas into submission without all of the filling spilling out everywhere.

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Clearly, I have some room for improvement when it comes to willing tortillas into submission.

But really, this was beyond easy. And the best part is that they really held up well all week long. I made them on Sunday night and just had one of the last ones for dinner last night, and it was as good as the first!

That’s the mark of a staple recipe, right there.

Weeknight Enchiladas

lightly adapted from the Kitchn

Serves 4-6

1/2 yellow onion, diced small
1/2 bell pepper, diced small (any color)
1 clove garlic
1 16-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed (I used Adzuki beans. I’m a rebel. And they were on sale.)
1 cup frozen corn (I used canned. See: rebel. See also: sale.)
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup cheese, shredded (I used low fat mozzarella, but I’m sure they would be great with any shredded cheese.)
1 cup salsa
6 6″-8″ tortillas, flour or corn (I used Father Sam’s Whole Wheat Wraps for the first time ever…SO good!)
Optional: 1 cup leftover meat – chicken, pork, hamburger, or shredded beef (I opted for chicken.)

Directions:

To see the real slow cooker directions, click on over to the Kitchn’s recipe here.

To make these bad boys in the oven (preheated to 400), I started by sauteing the onions, peppers, and garlic in just a little olive oil. Then I added some uncooked chicken breast strips and the seasonings and let that sizzle for about 5 minutes or so, until the chicken cooked through. Removing from heat is a good next step. Then, in a large bowl, I mixed the corn, black beans, 1/2 of the salsa, and 1/2 of the cheese. Once the pepper and onion mixture had cooled slightly I added it to the aforementioned bowl and mixed everything together. Then, with some degree of vexation, I rolled each enchilada until I had enough to fill a 9×13 pan, which turned out to be 6 enchiladas. Wonderful! Here is where I would have hypothetically put the remaining 1/2 cup of salsa on top the the enchiladas had I not forgotten. But I apparently decided to skip that step and went straight for covering the pan with foil and putting it in the oven for 20 minutes. Once 20 minutes have elapsed I removed the foil and added the rest of the cheese to my otherwise naked enchiladas and let them bake, uncovered, for about 3-5 more minutes, until the cheese was melted and tortillas were a bit toasty.

The fact that I just narrated that entire paragraph instead of giving you actual step by step directions illustrates perfectly why I will never write my own cookbook. Good luck!

But really, if you can figure those instructions out, it’s super easy and well worth trying.

Rating: 4/5, with the potential to be 5/5 if I remember to add the salsa to the top next time. Great weeknight dinner!

(But if you decide to eat them on a weekend, that’s ok too.)

good things : DIY chocolate ice cream

I’m sensing a trend here: making chocolate things out of things that are not chocolate.

I mean, isn’t that what life’s all about?

This time around, it’s a bit of a repeat, but I can’t help but share this again and IMPLORE you to try it, asap.
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This is ice cream made out of a frozen banana.

Ice cream…from a BANANA! I’m so tempted to quote Gwen Stefani right now but I’ll refrain.

And I promise – cross my heart and hope to (not) die – it’s every bit as good as any frozen dessert you’ll ever eat! It’s perfect for the upcoming warmer months. Which means it’s also perfect for fitting into things that are not sweatpants and sweatshirts while still eating ice cream.

Really…does life get any better?

Here are the basics:

Combine everything in a food processor or blender and mix until smooth, adding more almond milk if needed.

Top with anything you want! I’ve tried fresh fruit, peanut butter, granola, and pictured above is a mix of large flake coconut, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and triple berry jam.

People, if this blog gives you anything, let it be the gift of frozen banana ice cream. Your life will change for the better.

(Unless, of course, you’re allergic to bananas. In that case, please refer to my close personal friends, Ben & Jerry.)

good things part III : DIY chocolate greek yogurt

Would you like a snack that tastes like dessert and has 0% fat and at least 15 grams of protein?
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Me too!

That’s why I created this:

DIY Chocolate Greek Yogurt

Ingredients:

  • 1 Container Greek Yogurt (I used 0% fat but feel free to go crazy and use 2%! I would have if I’d had it on hand!)
  • 1 Tbsp Dark Chocolate Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1/2 Tbsp Toasted Walnuts
  • 1 tsp Honey

Directions:

Stir the yogurt and cocoa powder together until completely blended. Top with pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and honey. Enjoy!

(And yes, you can just buy flavored Greek yogurt. But it’s always filled with so much sugar! Even though this version is sweetened by honey I still feel better about it because the honey is a secondary ingredient, and one of only a few ingredients total. It’s so much better for you!)