Monday, August 3, 2015

Southwestern Quinoa Salad

Thetastyalternative.com

My local Natural Food Coop has been making a fiesta quinoa salad for years (10+).  I ate it like crazy when it first showed up in the deli and would also pick some up for potlucks or for dinner.  A few years ago I started making it myself.  I remember it was a blistering hot summer, and for weeks it was over 100 degrees and I refused to turn on my oven for most of it.  Like most summers, we live off of cool meals such as avocado mint soup, salads galore, raw treats and homemade ice cream. This quinoa salad is super refreshing and it’s a favorite among my family and friends. Maybe this dish will make an appearance at your next party…or for dinner one hot summer night.  xo, –Amber 

Southwestern Quinoa Salad
 
Author:
Ingredients
Salad:
  • 2 cups uncooked red quinoa and 3 cups of water.
  • 1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup chopped sweet pepper
  • ½ cup green onions, include the white and green part
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 2 cups cooked corn
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 1 or 2 ripe diced avocados
  • ½ cup diced mango (optional)
Dressing:
  • ¼ cup walnut oil (or other oil of choice)
  • ½ cup fresh squeezed lemon/lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1½ teaspoon garlic granules
  • 1 teaspoon onion granules
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground paprika (optional)
Instructions
  1. Start by soaking and rinsing the uncooked quinoa. To a large saucepan, add the quinoa and 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then turn to low and cover. Cook for about 30 minutes. Then remove from the heat and let rest for about 10 minutes.
  2. Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl and allow it to cool. Then add in all the other ingredients. For the cilantro, add in enough to your liking.
  3. Mix together the dressing and add to the salad. Mix well.
  4. I recommend making this salad 8 to 12 hours before serving. This give the flavors time to marinate. If I am going to a potluck, I make this the night before and it's good to go the next day.
Notes
*2 cups of dried quinoa makes about 7½ cups cooked. I suggest soaking and rinsing the quinoa, as this helps alleviate the bitter taste. I soak the quinoa for about 4 hours and rinse thoroughly before cooking. HERE is a great site that talks more about cooking quinoa.

*You can use any color quinoa, I just love the red festive variety.

*I like to use an equal amount of both lemons and limes for this dressing, but you could use one or the other for your ½ cup of juice.

DSC_0017
DSC_0007

DSC_0012

Print Friendly
Posted by Amber at

Labels: allergy-friendly, grain free, salads, summer cuisine, vegan, vegetarian.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Shea & Mango Butter Lotion (with video)

DSC_0075text2top

Hello friends.  I’m super excited to share an amazing new lotion ingredient with you: mango butter!  I am in love.  Mango butter is a soft, non-greasy butter extracted from the mango kernel (not the meat) and it has a soft earthy scent.  Here are just some of mango butter’s benefits:  (1) it is rich in powerful antioxidants, vitamins (A, C, & E) and minerals that help reduce degeneration of skins cells (aka, fights wrinkles), improves elasticity of the skin, and offers protection again the sun’s UV radiation, (2) powerful anti-inflammatory agent, good for bug bites, rashes, wounds, scars, and poison ivy/oak, (3) beneficial for the scalp and hair, and (4) excellent for eczema, dry skin, and other skin conditions.   Continue reading

Print Friendly
Posted by Amber at

Labels: Holistic healing, homemade beauty products, homemade remedies, how to.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Almond Flour Blueberry Mini Muffins

DSC_0022text

Last year I finally bought myself a mini muffin pan…and I love it! I try to keep snack time creative and healthy for the kiddos and mini muffins were a perfect new addition.  I love using almond flour for the muffins, as they are packed with protein.  Any flavor combo is possible and I adore that they are easy to make, easy to pack, and easy to eat.  Today I am sharing blueberry, as blueberries are in season and such a delightful little berry.  I also use cherry, strawberry, or raspberry or any combo of each.  The kids also love banana chocolate chip, which I will share soon.  Have you ever made mini muffins?  I am addicted! Continue reading

Print Friendly
Posted by Amber at

Labels: grain free, kids, muffins, Paleo, snacks, summer cuisine, summer treats.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Winter Garden & How to Build a Basic Planter Box

DSC_0011

I was so excited about our winter garden this year and wanted to share it with you! A while ago we made some new planter boxes (a super basic and easy design – see video below).  I love doing a winter garden every year, as I have great success with peas, carrots, and lettuce. But this year I finally grew beets!  And broccoli! And cabbage!  and *sort of* onions/leeks.  I garden in a fairly small space but still we have such fun and the kids LOVE it.  I live in Northern California where we have mild winters and blazing hot summers.  In fact, summer gardens around here go until early/mid November, then I switch over to the winter crops.  But really, it’s never too late to start a garden…with a little research, you can find any crop to grow anytime of the year. Winter gardens are just so fun!  Mother nature provides the rain and those delicious root veggies grow and grow in the frosty cold weather – lettuce thrives and the peas go crazy.  And I love seeing all the green leaves popping up during those cold winter months.  I’ve included some pictures for you of my gorgeous beets (first time growing!) and a few other winter crops.  I’ve also included my video on how to build the simple planter boxes we use.  Enjoy and let me know what you like to plant during the winter…or anytime.  xo, Amber.  

Continue reading

Print Friendly
Posted by Amber at

Labels: gardening, how to.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Orange Kissed Apple Pie

DSC_0012-25282-2529

When I was a little girl I loved helping my Gramie make apple pie.  She did not play around when it came to the apples. She piled them apples a mile high in a huge mound and placed the crust on top.  When the pie cooked the apples settled and there was at least a 4 inch space from apples to the top of the crust.  I will always remember how cool it looked.  When she broke into the pie, the crust fell nicely onto the apples.  What I loved most about her apple pie, however, was the filling.  She made it thick and gooey. The liquid ran all over the place.  The apples were tart yet sharp with sweet cinnamon flavor.  I loved extra scoops of the apple pie liquid on my ice cream which was the ultimate flavor combo.  We remember those we love through food.  When I taste my apple pie it takes me right back to her kitchen – standing there next to her oven, smelling the cinnamon and drooling for that flaky crust.  I’m happy to say I’ve perfected my version of her apple pie with a dairy, gluten, and cane sugar free spin. It’s comforting to smell, taste, and physically enjoy a memory.  Food has a way of bringing us closer to those we have lost, and really, then, suddenly they don’t feel so far away. Continue reading

Print Friendly
Posted by Amber at

Labels: allergy-friendly, dessert, fall cuisine, holidays, pie, summer treats.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Allergy-Free Wednesdays Week 120: June 4, 3014

xafw.jpg.pagespeed.ic.6qzkQs0Pk7

Hello and welcome to Allergy-Free Wednesdays (AFW).

AFW is a weekly blog hop where folks can share their allergy-free cuisine, gain knowledge about allergy-related topics/issues, and connect with others living or caring for someone with food allergies.

Please read HERE for AFW guidelines before linking up. Thank you!

Continue reading

Print Friendly
Posted by Amber at

Labels: Allergy-Free Wednesdays.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Allergy-Free Wednesdays Week 118: May 21, 2014

xafw.jpg.pagespeed.ic.6qzkQs0Pk7

Hello and welcome to Allergy-Free Wednesdays (AFW).

AFW is a weekly blog hop where folks can share their allergy-free cuisine, gain knowledge about allergy-related topics/issues, and connect with others living or caring for someone with food allergies.

Please read HERE for AFW guidelines before linking up. Thank you!

Continue reading

Print Friendly
Posted by Amber at

Labels: Allergy-Free Wednesdays.

Friday, May 16, 2014

5 -Ingredient Chocolate Free & Sugar Free Frosting

DSC_0111

My son turned 5 years old yesterday!  My kids are starting to look VERY BIG to me these days. I’m loving the independence each year brings, but I would love to hold them each again as a baby (until they start crying and pooping – the fantasy ends there).  The teenage years will be here before we know it so I am ever reminding myself to treasure small moments and not let the silly stuff feel so big.     Continue reading

Print Friendly
Posted by Amber at

Labels: allergy-friendly, cake, carob, dessert, frosting, Paleo.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Allergy-Free Wednesdays Week 117: May 14, 2014

xafw.jpg.pagespeed.ic.6qzkQs0Pk7

Hello and welcome to Allergy-Free Wednesdays (AFW).

AFW is a weekly blog hop where folks can share their allergy-free cuisine, gain knowledge about allergy-related topics/issues, and connect with others living or caring for someone with food allergies.

Please read HERE for AFW guidelines before linking up. Thank you!

Continue reading

Print Friendly
Posted by Amber at

Labels: Allergy-Free Wednesdays.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Allergy-Free Wednesdays Week 116: May 7, 2014

xafw.jpg.pagespeed.ic.6qzkQs0Pk7

Hello and welcome to Allergy-Free Wednesdays (AFW).

AFW is a weekly blog hop where folks can share their allergy-free cuisine, gain knowledge about allergy-related topics/issues, and connect with others living or caring for someone with food allergies.

Please read HERE for AFW guidelines before linking up. Thank you!

Continue reading

Print Friendly
Posted by Amber at

Labels: Allergy-Free Wednesdays.