Recipe: "Dirty John" Quinoa

I bought this cookbook forever ago and even though I flip thru it every once in a while, I've yet to really make anything from it. So today while I was making a grocery list, I thought I'd give it another shot and decided on some "Dirty John" Quinoa. I'm always trying to find inventive ways to do my grains since the beau prefers meals with a little more 'substance' and I'm trying to avoid meat again. Let's hope this one is a winner. Smells delicious! 

"Dirty John" Quinoa 

2 teaspoons olive oil (optional)
1 small yellow onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained (I did more)
1 cup chopped mushrooms of your choice (I left these out)
3 cups cooked black-eyed peas or 2 (15 oz) cans, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
1 (4 oz) can diced mild green chiles, drained and finely chopped
(I used Rotel with chiles and tomatoes + some Hoppin' Joe black eyed peas)
1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1-1/2 cups vegetable broth (I doubled this)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
hot sauce, for serving

This is a condensed version of the recipe since I didn't want to have to type it out.
1. Heat oil and add minced onion -- saute until softened. Add garlic and thyme and cook for 30 seconds longer. 2. Transfer the onion mixture to the slow cooker and add the quinoa, mushrooms, black-eyed peas, tomatoes, chiles, Worcestershire sauce, paprika and the broth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on High until the quinoa is tender, about 2 hours. If your slow cooker runs 'hot', check it after an hour and a half. 3. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. Serve hot, passing around hot sauce at the table. Serves: 4 to 6 people -- I made a little extra so that I had leftovers.

I'll let you guys know how it turns out!

Smoothie Time.

So I'm out of town on vacation right now and although I'm eating a lot of really great food -- I can't wait to get home and start a healthy eating ritual again. It's crazy to think that I've gained almost 12 pounds in just under 5 months. I promised myself I was going to get my eating under control before I got married in November and was so proud of my success...just to turn around and throw it all away again! Mark my words, there will be change in the near future. Permanent change. Enjoy some smoothie inspiration via Instagram guys!


What are some of your favorite ways to maintain a healthy weight?

Salad Fever.

I'm starting to get salad fever now that the weather outside is getting nicer. I remember growing up my mom always had a fresh salad on the table for dinner every night, but unfortunately I haven't kept up with it as I've gotten older. She use to put sliced pickled beets on top -- my favorite! Hoping that once vacation is over, I'll get into a better habit of adding salads to my daily/weekly diet. Enjoy some Instagram Inspiration guys!

@almondsandavocados -- sweet potato + avocado!
@b_lynn3 (currently @mealsfullofcolor)
@bee_holiday -- peppers, apples and beans.
@divaeatslife -- mandarin oranges, peppers and tomatoes.
@freshncrunchy -- carrots, pom seeds and avocado.

What are some of your favorite spring/summer combinations?

Costco Finds!

Just wanted to show you guys a few quick finds from my Costco trip this week. Came across these Wild Chips that had Kale, Chia Seeds, Quinoa and I believe Flax in them. They actually weren't too bad on the taste buds. I also found these great little Baby Beets packages -- they came in 3 flavors per pack. I think these would be great on top of a salad or as a cold appetizer/snack. Costco didn't have much in the way of books this trip, but I did find two that were put out by the magazine, Prevention. Thumbed thru them real quick and they definitely had a lot of great information and the price was really great. Unfortunately, space is an issue at the moment, so I didn't pick these up!

Find anything fun at Costco or Sam's lately?

Cold Pressed?

I get asked about this one alot -- along with the question of whether or not blending and juicing are the same (they're not by the way, but I'll get to that another time). Most places that you can buy pre-made cleanses use the Cold Press method, like Juice.Nashville, Blueprint Cleanse and many other big names. Check out my "Need Juice?" tab to find someone local near you. Most home juicing or small time operations will use the centrifugal method since it's quick and easy -- think Whole Foods juice bar. Unfortunately though, the quality of cold pressed is MUCH better and more expensive, but you also get what you pay for. One of the best cold press juicers is the Norwalk brand and you can expect to shell out about $2500 for a brand new one -- look around though, I've found new/used/refurbished ones on Ebay and even Craigslist. There's also a third kind of juicer, known as a masticating one. The biggest brand for this kind is the Omega and even they can be pretty pricey. 

I'd personally say if you're just getting into juicing and you want a safe bet, check out the Breville Juice Fountain. I paid around $140 at Bed Bath and Beyond and then used a 20% coupon on top of it. Let's just say that it was some of the best money I could've spent as I started on my juicing journey. Now I've gotten spoiled though with the cold press over at Juice.Nashville and I'm starting to save my pennies (and dollars) for my very own Norwalk :)

What's your favorite kind of juicer?


Just a little juicing inspiration via Instagram. I'm seriously considering pulling out my juicer and blowing the dust off it -- but then again, I've been super busy (and heck, even a little lazy) and would just rather go buy some fresh pressed juice :) ENJOY!


What have you guys been running thru your juicers lately?

Spring = Farmer's Markets!

For those of you that don't live in the 12th South area, you need to make the journey on Tuesdays to go to the Farmer's Market from 3:30 - 6:30pm. It's well worth it trust me. Not only do they have several food trucks that show up, including the Grilled Cheeserie and my favorite, Juice.Nashville, but they have about 25+ other vendors that set up shop each week -- including fresh cheese, tea, coffee, pasta, chickens (yes, I said chickens lol), honey, milk, meat and so much more! Opening week was great and I can't wait to see what else pops up over the summer!

Forest Garden Growers: selling plants for you to use in your garden.
Food Truck: Biscuit Love! Check out their FB page.
Haulin' Oats -- fresh oats! YUM!
Amish Farmer selling some fresh produce and honey.
Line was super long for this place, so I didn't get anymore
information unfortunately -- looks like a great find though!
Can't believe I got my finger in this one! Fresh local honey for sale.
Fresh tea on the go -- so good!
Milk and Eggs for sale -- fresh off the farm!

Like I said, it's worth the drive over -- just make sure you bring your reusable bags and get their early, parking is kind of a nightmare. There's even a HUGE playground to take the kiddos over to and let them enjoy their fresh milk and cookies :)

Burger Up.

Today I had the opportunity to hang out in the 12th South area of town -- it's not often that I find myself over here without the kiddo! Lunch came up and a few choices got rattled off including Burger Up and I jumped at the opportunity! I've heard so much about this place. In fact I've even recommended it to other people to try out. So today, it was finally my turn and let me tell you, it was well worth the wait. I just wish now I could find more excuses to come over this way so I could eat here :)

I tried to get the best menu shot that I could, but it's always a hard thing to accomplish -- click to see it a little bit bigger. I did want to point out a few things for those that are vegetarian/vegan, they did have a few great choices. They're chopped kale salad looked pretty amazing and I almost ordered it with the marathon quinoa burger on top + some avocado on the side, but I went ahead and went with just the burger and made it 'bunless' -- gotta avoid that wheat belly! They also have the option to add a side salad to any of the burgers that you get (instead of fries) or you could always sub the regular fries out for the sweet potato fries or steamed baby spinach which would be a bit healthier. Lucky for me I was full after lunch, but that dessert menu looks off the chain!

Marathon Quinoa Burger: 'bunless' with a side salad + avocado

What are some of your favorite 12th South spots?

I Believe in Nashville.

I've recently been 'enlightened' on what Kickstarter is and I'm a HUGE fan of paying it forward for small businesses to grow and reach their full potential. I recently came across the company DCXV Clothing last year during the East Nashville Tomato Festival. They've even got an actual store over in the Porter Road area next to Pomodoro East.

They started off wanting to unite Nashville under one 'shield' as they put it and now are wanting to bring together other communities. On the list for this go around -- Austin, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Denver, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, New Orleans, Portland, Philadelphia, Seattle and San Francisco. 

This is a direct grab from their campaign: "WHY CREATE 'I BELIEVE IN US'? The funny thing about this Kickstarter is that it almost didn't happen. For us, I BELIEVE IN NASHVILLE came from a deeply personal place, to try and better Nashville by seeing if we could unite and inspire people over their shared belief in the city itself. And because of that origin, we didn't feel we could do it for other cities. However, as it spread and we had people from all over the country ordering anything I BELIEVE IN NASHVILLE we made, or visiting our shop from as far away as Australia, we kept hearing the same question: Have you thought about doing this in other cities? Specifically, "have you thought about doing this for my city". As it was explained to us by a Canadian fan of ours, I BELIEVE resonates with her because it makes her feel positive about her community and what she can offer to better it. And that was it for us. I BELIEVE IN US is an idea, and ideas are universal. Regardless of the pronoun, it can apply to anyone, to anywhere. So, if people from other cities feel there is a place for I BELIEVE IN US in their communities, then we are proud to be a part of that."

They have a whole slew of things gifts and incentives for those that decide to be backers for their cause. As of writing this, they're currently at 38 backers, $1509 of $10k raised and have another 16 days to go. For those of you that don't know how Kickstarter works, if the project doesn't raise the full amount, then they don't get funded. It's an all or nothing gig! So don't miss out. It's truly a rewarding feeling. Trust me!

Seen this mural around Nashville? This is their doing! Show some love!

So what do you believe in Nashville?


I wish I knew why the end of each week was so chaotic. I think because I know the weekend is coming, so I give myself a million things to complete before giving myself Saturday and Sunday to do fun (and sometimes) relaxing things. So I'm just passing thru to give you some Instagram Inspiration to get your 'juices' flowing before the weekend comes!

@b_lynn3 (now @mealsfullofcolor)

ENJOY and let your taste buds thank you!