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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

{Asian Quinoa Salad}

Two weeks ago Derek and I road tripped down to Indianapolis to attend a basketball game at my Alma Mater, Butler University (Go Dawgs)!   It was the first time I had been back to Butler for a game, and Derek’s first time cheering on the Bulldogs at Hinkle Fieldhouse!  To say I was excited for the weekend would have been a huge understatement… I was ecstatic. 

We (my sorority sisters and I) had a full weekend of fun activates planned!  Catching up while making dinner, the Butler Basketball Game (we won BTW),  checking out a few new bars on our old college stopping grounds and a fancy dinner to wrap up the weekend at Harry and Izzy’s!  It was a fun jam packed weekend!

But let’s back track and talk about Harry and Izzy’s for a hot minute, because I absolutely love that restaurant (and not even because of their steak).  I love the atmosphere, the service, and their famous shrimp cocktail.  Harry and Izzy's was the perfect way to end a perfect weekend with friends.   As part of my meal I had the most delicicous Asian Quinoa salad that I paired perfectly with my grilled salmon!  Harry and Izzy's Asian Quinoa salad was filled with edamame, red pepper, and kale and had a light dressing that was slightly sweet but absolutely magical!   After my first bite of the salad I was in quinoa heaven and knew I needed to recreate the salad at home... so I did! I guess you can say I brought a little bit of Indianapolis home with me in this recipe, I hope you enjoy! 

Asian Quinoa Salad 
Brunch N'Cupcakes - Inspired by Harry and Izzy's 
Serves 4-6 


1 Cup Quinoa Cooked According to Package Directions 
1 Cup Shelled Edamame - Thawed if Frozen 
1 Red Pepper Chopped 
2 Green Onions Chopped 
2 Cups Chopped Kale 

1 Tablespoon Low Sodium Soy Sauce 
1 Tablespoon Honey 
1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil 
4 Tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar 
1 Teaspoon Ginger - Freshly Grated 
1 Garlic clove minced 
Sesame Seeds for Garnish 

1- In a large bowl combine cooked quinoa, edamame, pepper, onion and kale.  Toss until well combined and set aside. 
2- In a smaller bowl whisk together dressing ingredients until well combined.  
3- Carefully pour salad dressing over quinoa and vegetables and toss until salad is evenly coated in dressing.  Serve immediatly. 

Note - will keep in fridge for up to a week, kale will soften as salad sits.  


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

{Chicken Sausage Skillet with Peppers and Onions}

Guys, I have a confession to make... Derek and I still have our Christmas tree up, and all our Christmas decorations!  I just haven't had the time (or energy) to take them down, and I still feel like I am playing catch up from the holidays.  Anyone else feel like that?  Or is it just me?

Anyways, these days I am all about simple meals with big flavors.  The type of meal you can make in one pan and take under 20 minutes to prepare.  That way I can spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying a lovely meal with Derek.  

This delicious Chicken Sausage Skillet with Peppers and Onions has become a favorite for Derek and I and has been making a regular appearance in my weekly menu planning.  I love how simple yet delicious this meal is and absolutely love all the bright colors this dish offers.  I use spicy chicken sausage, because I absolutely love spice and by Trader Joe's Frozen Organic Brown Rice to help keep this meal quick and simple!  

Chicken Sausage Skillet with Peppers and Onions
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
Serves 4-6

1 Package Chicken Sausage Sliced (Pack of 5, I use Trader Joe's Jalapeno Chicken Sausage) 
1 - 15 Oz Can Fire Roasted Tomatoes - Undrained
1 Yellow Pepper Roughly Chopped (or any color you like) 
1 Onion Roughly Chopped 
2 Cups Spinach 
1 Cup Black Beans 
1-2 Bags Trader Joe's Frozen Organic Brown Rice (or quinoa)

1- In a large skillet coated with cooking spray saute peppers and onions until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic to skillet and cook an additional 2 minutes. 
2- Add chicken sausage to skillet and saute for 5-8 minutes until chicken sausage is warmed through and slightly browned. 
3- Carefully pour tomatoes and black beans into the skillet and stir until well incorporated with the peppers, onion and chicken sausage.  Add paprika, pepper and chili powder to skillet and simmer for 5 minutes. 
4- Add spinach small handfuls at a time to skillet and allow to wilt.  While spinach is wilting heat rice. 
5- Serve immediately once spinach is wilted and rice is warm, spooning sausage, pepper and onion mixture over brown rice.  

Check out these other great one pot recipes from around the web:

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

{Tortellini Vegetable Soup}

Happy New Year, yes I am a few weeks behind... but better late then never!  

2016 is already off to a busy start, but I love it!  I spent the last few days of 2015 and the first few days of 2016 reflecting on where I had been and where I wanted to go in 2016.  2015 was a big year for me.... there was good, bad, happy and sad.  I married my best friend in April, transitioned to married life, started a new job, and saw successes and defeats in my running.  Derek and I celebrated new beginnings and witnessed loss but all in all 2015 was a good year. 

I opted not to make New Years resolutions this year... instead I decided to pick a few words that I wanted 2016 to be shaped by, they are strength, determination, love, and faith.  I want to use these words to define my daily actions in my relationships, career, running and personal life.  I will still set smaller monthly goals, but overall I want these 4 words to define my year and help me grow!  Will see how that goes! 

So now that I have told you where my head is at for 2016 how 'bout I share a delicious veggie packed soup that will warm you up from the inside out!  This Hearty Tortellini Soup is everything I want to eat in 2016!  The soup gets a nutrition punch from all the veggies, and great flavor from the tortellini, plus it is the perfect meal to warm up with during these chilly winter months!  The addition of chickpeas adds protein and keeps this yummy soup vegetarian!  Make a big pot on Sunday and enjoy for lunch/dinner all week!  Enjoy! 

Tortollini Vegetable Soup 
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
Serves 6-8 

1 Large Onion Coarsely Chopped 
4 Medium Carrots Peeled and Coarsely Chopped 
2 Medium Zucchinis Chopped 
4 Garlic Cloves Minced 
2 Cups Baby Spinach 
2 - 15 Oz Can Diced Tomatoes with Onion and Garlic 
4 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth 
1 - 16 Oz Package of your Favorite Tortellini (Dairy Free or Vegan - Toffuti has a variety I like)
1 Cup Chickpeas
1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning 
Cooking Spray 

1- Sautee onions and carrots in a large stock pot coated with cooking spray until tender.  Add zucchini into pot and cook 3 minutes or until zucchini is tender.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant (about 2 minutes). 
2- Carefully add canned tomatoes and broth to the stock pot with Italian seasoning.   Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer for 5 minutes.  
3- Add tortellini to the stock pot and cook tortellini according to package directions. 
4- Once tortellini is cooked add spinach and chickpeas to the pot and simmer until spinach is wilted.  Serve immediately. 

Other great recipes from around the web! 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

{Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bites}

I am constantly on the lookout for new/healthy pre-workout snack ideas!  Since becoming a person who spends the wee hours of the morning at the gym I have found that eating breakfast prior to my sweat session is not an option,  and neither is going to the gym with my fuel tank on "E"!  
I like my pre-workout snacks simple, nutritious and portable which is why I have been loving homemade energy bites and homemade granola bars! 

These Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bites are my new go to grab and go pre-sweat sesh treat!   Honey and an over ripe banana provide sweetness, oats provide healthy nutritious carbs and the peanut butter and almond flour give me a healthy dose of fats.  Plus the rich cocoa flavor is a nice little treat in the AM!

Whip up a batch Sunday night and you have a portable go to snack for the week!  Enjoy! 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bites 
Brunch N'Cupcakes
Makes 24 Bites 

2 Cups Quick Cooking Oats 
1 Cup Almond Flour (Almond Meal) 
1/3 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder 
1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds 
1 Over Ripe Banana - Mashed
1/2 Cup Peanut Butter (Natural or Organic) 
1/4 Cup Honey

1- In a large bowl combine Oats, Almond Flour, Chia Seeds and Unsweetened Cocoa Powder.  Mix well so that everything is combined. 
2- In a smaller microwave safe bowl combine honey and peanut butter.  Melt peanut butter and honey together (about 30 seconds) and stir until peanut butter and honey are mixed together well and smooth. Add mashed banana to the peanut butter/honey mixture and stir until well incorporated. 
3- Carefully pour peanut butter/honey/banana mixture into dry ingredients and stir until wet and dry ingredients are incorporated.  
4- With wet hands carefully roll dough into 24 bites.  Place in an air tight container and store in fridge. 


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

{Maple Dijon Glazed Roasted Salmon }

You guys, I miss grilling!  If there was a way I could grill year round in Minnesota and not freeze my butt off I totally would (though with the sudden warm weather again I might be able to grill outside right now)!  Salmon is one of my all time favorite things to grill, so since the weather is a not exactly grilling and chilling weather this Maple Dijon Roasted Salmon will just have to do! 

I love that this roasted salmon seems fancy (I would serve it for fish loving guests) but in reality its really super simple to whip up!  Another great thing about this dish... you only need a few pantry items to make it!  The maple syrup gives the salmon a nice sweetness while the soy sauce and dijon mustard give the dish a little pizzazz and tang.  Whip up some fresh roasted veggies and you have yourself a mouth watering meal in under 45 minutes!  Oh, and don't worry your house won't smell all fishy after you make this dish!  I promise!  

Maple Dijon Glazed Roasted Salmon 
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
Serves 4-6 

1 Lb Fresh Salmon (skin still on) 
Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder 
1 Teaspoon Dried Rosemary 

For Maple Dijon Sauce: 
3 Tablespoons Pure Maple Syrup 
1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard 
1/2 Tablespoon Low Sodium Soy Sauce

1-Pat Salmon dry, and place fish skin side down on a greased baking sheet with raised edges.  Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. 
2- Roast salmon in a 450 degree oven for 7-8 minutes.  While salmon is roasting whisk together your Maple Dijon glaze by combine the maple syrup, Dijon mustard and soy sauce in a small bowl.  Whisk well until combined.  Set aside.  
3- Remove salmon from oven and brush with maple Dijon glaze.  Place salmon back in oven and bake for an additional 2 minutes or until salmon has reached it's desired doneness.  
4- Remove salmon from oven and garnish with dried rosemary, serve immediately!  

Serve with roasted vegetables (we like carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts) or a simple green salad! 

Check out these other delicious salmon recipes from around the web! 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

{Cauliflower Fried Rice}

Winter has officially hit Minnesota, and after the very mild weather we have been having... the snow and cold sorta felt like a slap in the face!  Can we go back to the balmy 40-50 degree weather we were having just a few weeks ago?  Pretty Please?  

This is silly to say but even though I am a baby when it comes to to cold weather... the snow and cold does make it feel a little more like the Holiday season.  I know, only a crazy Minnesotan would say that... but to me the Holiday season isn't complete without the white fluffy stuff... I know I sound crazy again! 

You want to know what else is kinda crazy?  The fact that I can get Derek to eat this insanely delicious Cauliflower Fried Rice!  I know... crazy, but cauliflower is one of his favorite vegetables!  I love this fried rice for so many reasons.  But the main reason I love it so much is because it is loaded with veggies and good for you protein.  Plus it is super flavorful.  Ricing the cauliflower does take some time, but I promise you the end results are totally worth it!  To save on time rice the cauliflower the night before, or buy Green Giants riced cauliflower in the steamer bags, you can find it in the produce section with the other fresh steamer bag veggies!  So have I convinced you to make this dish yet?  Good... happy cooking! 

Cauliflower Fried Rice 
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
Serves 4 

1 Cup Match Stick Carrots 
1 Medium Bell Pepper - I like Red - Chopped 
1/2 Large Onion - Chopped 
4 Garlic Cloves Minced 
2 Large Egg Whites +1 Large Egg beaten
1 Package Organic Tempeh - I like Trader Joe's 
1 Head Cauliflower Cut into Florets - Or 2 Bags Green Giant Chopped/Riced Cauliflower 
1/4 Cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce 
1 1/2 Tablespoon Sesame Oil 
2 Tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar 
1 Tablespoon Agave 
Pepper to Taste 
1/4 Teaspoon Ginger 

1-Place cauliflower florets in a food processor or blender (I have a ninja) and pulse until cauliflower resembles grains of rice - don't over chop!  Set cauliflower aside. 
2- In a large skillet coated with cooking spray saute onions, pepper, and carrots until tender.  Add minced garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.  
3- Add Tempeh to the skillet and cook until lightly browned.  Now carefully add riced cauliflower to the skillet, stirring well.  Cook cauliflower for 5-10 minutes or until soft.  
4- Make a well in the center of skillet.  Carefully pour beaten eggs into center of the well and cook.   Once eggs are cooked carefully stir to combine eggs with cauliflower rice, veggies and tempeh.  Turn off stove. 
5- In a small bowl whisk together soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, agave and ginger.  Pour over cauliflower rice and stir until cauliflower is evenly coated in sauce.  Turn stove back on and heat for 2-3 minutes.  Serve immediately. 

I served mine with crushed peanuts, sriracha, and fresh cilantro! 


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

{Easy Chicken Chili}

With Thanksgiving being next weekend (Gasp) I really should be focused on sharing Thanksgiving inspired dishes with you... but I am sometimes a procrastinator, and the weather has turned bitterly cold (well colder then it has been)... so I thought it would be best to share this delicious White Chicken Chili recipe with you!

I am guilty of making chili once a week in the winter time, so to me I can never have to many delicious recipes to circulate and choose from.

I love this recipe because big chunks of chicken are subbed in for ground turkey/chicken, and the beans help make the chili extra thick!  I add lots and lots of veggies for added bulk and amped up the spice with a  jalapeno, omit if you would like a milder chili!  This chili really does get better with time which means this chili makes perfect leftovers!  Round out the meal with a salad, crackers or crusty bread for dipping and shredded cheese for some melty goodness!  You could even serve this chili with your favorite whole grain tortilla chips!

Easy Chicken Chili
Brunch N'Cupcakes - Inspired by My Dad
Serves 6-8

4 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth 
1 Large Onion Roughly Chopped
1 Red Pepper Chopped 
1 Jalapeno Seeded and Chopped 
1 Cup Frozen Corn 
5 Garlic Cloves - Minced
1 Cup Matchstick Carrots 
1 - 15 Oz. Can Fire Roasted
2 Tablespoons Chili Powder 
1 Tablespoon Smoked Paprika and Cumin 
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1 Cup Fresh Cilantro Minced 
About 2 Cups Shredded Cooked Chicken 
1 - 15 Oz Can Garbanzo Beans 
1-15 Oz Can Great Northern Beans 

1- In a large pot coated with cooking spray saute onion, pepper, jalapeno and carrots until tender (about 5 minutes).  Add garlic and cook until fragrant. 
2- Add chicken broth, fire roasted tomatoes, and spices to the pot.  Bring to a boil.  Once boiling add chicken and corn to the pot.  Reduce heat and let chili simmer for 20 minutes covered. 
3- Remove lid stir in garbanzo beans, great northern beans and cilantro.  Adjust seasoning as needed.  
Serve with Greek Yogurt, Tortilla Chips/Crackers/Bread, Cheese, Hot Sauce, and Avocado slices,

Check out these other great chili recipes from around the web! 
Cafe Latte Chicken Salsa Chili - Featured on Minneapolis Runner
Fast Chicken Chili - Cooking Light 
5 Ingredient White Chicken Chili - Gimme Some Oven