Yum Apricot Almond Quinoa Salad

Did you know that some foods pack a more powerful nutritional punch if you eat them with other foods?

Apricots and Almonds are one of these super-food nutritional combinations because they work in concert to give you balanced calories and help you process the vitamins each one provides.  A baggie of almonds and dried apricots is one of my stables.  And then of course there is the magical Quinoa that everyone raves about for it’s high protein content!  Here is my favorite quinoa salad.  I especially love it now when the weather is warmer and I crave hearty salads.

If you want to read more about great food pairs here’s an article chocked full of other super-food combinations:


2 cups water

1 cup quinoa rinsed

1/2 cup coarsely chopped dried apricots

1/4 cup sliced green onions

1/4 cup organic extra virgin olive oil

3 tbsp. lemon juice

2 tbsp. honey (optional)

2 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme

1/2 tsp. salt

Freshly ground pepper to taste

1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted


Cook quinoa like rice and cool.  Whisk together ingredients and add to quinoa.  Season to taste.

Enjoy! It’s even better with a little time to marry all the goodies.

-Contributed by Becka Tilsen




Using Alternative Grains

The research has been in and confirmed for awhile: whole grains are better for us than white or refined grains!

A couple reasons why:

More vitamins and minerals including selenium, vitamin E and magnesium.
More phytochemicals, which wage war against disease-causing free radicals.
More appetite-quelling, heart-protective fiber.
A lower glycemic index, which reduces blood sugar spikes and, hence, diabetes risk.

So what kind of whole grains are out there (besides whole wheat bread ; )?  I want to give booty camp two options that I’ve been trying and enjoying.

1. Quinoa! We go through this like crazy and use it as a substitute for rice, so we purchase it from Costco. We also use it in salads and as a side dish. Try mixing with feta cheese & cranberries, or other spices. Gluten-free!

How to prepare:
In The Kitchen: Quinoa has a nutty, palate-pleasing taste and cooks up in only 10 to 15 minutes. Much faster than brown rice. Use a 2:1 water to grain ratio and take it off the heat when the water has soaked in and the germ unfolds like a little white tail. To intensify the flavor, try toasting quinoa in a skillet for a couple minutes over medium heat till darkened prior to boiling and add spices such as turmeric or chili powder to the cooking water. It is also best to rinse quinoa well before cooking to remove any remnants of a bitter coating called saponin.

2. Buckwheat! This is a gluten-free option, and contains a good amount of the amino acid lysine, which makes it a fairly complete protein source and helps repair & rebuild our lean muscle mass.

How to prepare:
In the Kitchen: With a 15 minute simmer time, buckwheat is quick-cooking and versatile. It can be used in pilafs, salads, stuffings, stir fries and soups or in replace of a portion of meat in burgers and meatloaf. If you find the taste a little too overpowering on its own, try mixing some buckwheat in with other grains like rice or quinoa when serving as a side dish. On the stovetop, add one cup of buckwheat to two cups of boiling water, cover, reduce heat and simmer for roughly 15 minutes.

The amount of whole grains recommended per person will vary based on your total caloric intake and dietary needs, so I can’t recommend a particular amount without knowing your diet. Keep grains in moderation, and don’t forget to load up on those vegetables 🙂

Enjoy your whole grains!

Contributed by Trainer Melissa


It’s what’s for Breakfast!

We got Ruby Red Heirloom Jasmine Rice.. or any hearty rice or grain will do.. try quinoa for max protein punch. For beauties sake quinoa comes in a red variety too! Make a big pot of grains at the beginning of the week and you are set.

Goat Yogurt is my favorite and more digestible by humans because the fat particles are naturally homogenized.

Flax Oil for those happy Omegas and its awesome nuttiness. Remember to add flax oil after the yogurt is mixed cooling it down a bit as it is very sensitive to heat.

I added slivered almonds as well.

If you need sweet add fresh or dried fruit but I love the slightly savory side that flax oil adds.



Magical Quinoa

Quinoa: A Delicious, Healthy Addition to your Kitchen

Quinoa is a grain-like crop that originated in the Andean region of South America over 6,000 years ago. Today it is appreciated for its nutritional value, and can be used instead of rice or couscous as part of a meal. Unlike rice or wheat, quinoa has a balanced set of essential amino acids, and its high protein content (12%-18%) makes it a smart choice for vegans and vegetarians. It is gluten-free, a good source of fiber, and it is high in magnesium and iron.

So what’s the catch? I really can’t think of one! Besides being super healthy, it tastes great, and is fast to cook (you can just use your rice cooker or stovetop method with the same 2:1 proportions you would use water to rice).
I usually use quinoa with black beans and any leftover vegetables I need to use to make what we call “Quinoa and Black Bean Bowls.” Top it off with a few slices of avocado, some salsa and a little bit of low fat sour cream or plain yogurt, these are a healthy, yummy, quick dinner.

Here is another recipe idea from Gourmet Magazine:

Black-Bean and Tomato Quinoa

2 teaspoons grated lime zest
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup quinoa
1 (14- to 15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 medium tomatoes, diced
4 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Whisk together lime zest and juice, oil, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4teaspoon pepper in a large bowl.
Wash quinoa in 3 changes of cold water in a bowl, draining in a sieve each time.
Cook quinoa in a medium pot of boiling salted water (1 tablespoon salt for 2 quarts water), uncovered, until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Drain in sieve, then set sieve in same pot with 1 inch of simmering water (water should not touch bottom of sieve). Cover quinoa with a folded kitchen towel, then cover sieve with a lid (don’t worry if lid doesn’t fit tightly) and steam over medium heat until tender, fluffy, and dry, about 10 minutes. Remove pot from heat and remove lid. Let stand, still covered with towel, 5 minutes (you can eliminate this step by simply using a rice cooker).

Add quinoa to dressing and toss until dressing is absorbed, then stir in remaining ingredients and salt and pepper to taste (and I like to top with avocado and salsa).

Enjoy! –  Josie