Food Crush Friday: Pom + Coconut

Aaaaand we’re back! This week’s food crush is a beverage. I first read about the wonder elixir that is Pom + Coconut in Women’s Health and was immediately intrigued. I’m not crazy about straight pomegranate juice nor straight coconut water, but this? This sounded intriguing. WH touted the great benefits of drinking this after a workout. An honorable thought, but one that I ignored. (I already have a post workout routine. And if you know me, you know it takes a lot to change my routines.) But, I figured if it’s good after a workout, it’s good after a night out! And I was right. You’re welcome. Neither too sweet nor too tart, this drink is Goldilocks, which is to say it’s just right. Move over Gatorade.

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Basically, this beverage is perfect for any occasion.

Food Crush Friday

It’s Food Crush Friday! Kind of like Man Crush Monday, but on Friday, and with food.

I am always on the prowl for a great snack to satisfy my mid-morning munchies. Once I find something I like, I fall hard and go all in eating the same thing for a few weeks until I eventually get sick of it. So I hop from food crush to food crush.

For the past few weeks that crush has been KIND bars.

Why I love them: The perfectly sized bars are satisfying and keep me from busting into my lunch at 10 a.m. The short and sweet ingredient list—things I recognize and can pronounce!

Below, my favorite three kinds. (Get it?) You can go ahead skip over the fact that two are covered in chocolate.

KINDbars

Mexican Quinoa Casserole


I was totally lost for dinner ideas last week. I had an abundance of quinoa but that was about it. A trip to the store and a few canned goods later, I had an idea. I was going to make some kind of Mexican quinoa casserole. It was great! You’ll have to forgive the loose measurements below, as I was wingin’ it.

The Food: Quinoa, Black Beans, Corn

Ingredients:

3/4 C. dry Quinoa

1 can black beans, rinsed

1 can corn, drained

1 can diced green chiles

1/2 jar salsa (I used medium)

1/2 C-ish grated cheese (I used colby jack)

Heaping spoonful fiesta ranch yogurt dip (My roommate’s concoction. Mix dry packet fiesta ranch dip w/ non-fat Greek yogurt)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

In saucepan, combine 3/4 cup dry quinoa, 1/4 t salt and 1.5 C. water. Bring to a boil then cover and reduce to a simmer for 18-20 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Stir well to make sure everything is incorporated. Pour into greased casserole dish.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown on top. I kicked the oven up to 375 for the last 5 minutes because I was getting impatient. *Optional, top with crumbled tortilla chips. Enjoy!

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The Food: Mexican Quinoa Casserole

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Lightened up Veggie Pasta Bake

What should I make for dinner? It’s probably one of the tougher questions I face on a daily basis. When last facing this decision, I stumbled upon this recipe from Better Homes and Gardens on Pinterest and knew I had a solution (at least for this week.)

The recipe doesn’t specify whole wheat tortellini, but that’s what I opted for. I also lightened it up by using almond milk and Greek yogurt instead of cow’s milk and cream cheese.

The Food: Veggies on veggies, tortellini

Ingredients:

2 9 oz packages refrigerated cheese tortellini (I found a whole wheat kind)

2 1/2 C fresh sugar snap peas, trimmed and halved crosswise

1/2 C thinly sliced carrot

1 T butter

1 C sliced fresh mushrooms

1/3 C vegetable broth

2 t  flour

1 1/2 t dried oregano, crushed

1/2 t garlic salt (I used 1/4 t garlic powder and 1/4 t salt)

1/2 t ground black pepper

1 C milk (I used almond)

8 oz package cream cheese, cubed and softened (I used plain Greek yogurt)

1 T lemon juice

1 C quartered cherry tomatoes

1/2 C coarsely chopped red or green sweet pepper

2  T grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Cook tortellini according to package directions and add peas and carrot for the last minute of cooking; drain.

While the tortellini is cooking, in a 12-inch skillet melt butter over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook until tender – about 5 minutes – then remove from skillet.

In a screw-top jar combine veggie broth, flour, oregano, garlic salt and black pepper. Cover and shake until smooth. Pour into the same skillet and add milk. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Add cream cheese (yogurt) then cook and stir until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.

Finally, stir tortellini mixture, mushrooms, tomatoes and sweet pepper into skillet mixture. Spoon it all into an ungreased 3-quart baking dish. Bake, covered, about 30 minutes or until heated through. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.

The Fare: Veggie Pasta Bake

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This was so tasty and made enough for a few meals. I topped mine with sea salt, garlic powder and crushed red pepper. You could use any number of vegetables in this recipe – spinach, zucchini, asparagus.  Next time I would also consider sautéing some minced garlic with the mushrooms for added flavor.

Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa Casserole

There’s just something comforting about devouring a warm, cheesy casserole from the oven. What’s even better is when you know it’s a slightly healthier alternative to the original.

I first spotted this recipe for a broccoli quinoa casserole on Pinterest and knew I wanted to try it. Swapping out rice for protein-packed quinoa? Genius. I made it as is the first time around and it was delicious. When I  decided to add some embellishments the second time, it was still just as delicious.

The original recipe called for 1/3 cup of mayonnaise, but I used plain Greek yogurt instead. Can’t taste a difference. I also used almond milk instead of cow’s milk because that’s all I had in the fridge. Again, no difference. The recipe calls for a can of condensed cream of broccoli or cream of mushroom soup, but I found a roasted garlic cream of mushroom soup that I prefer. (I might even toss in some minced garlic to the casserole next time for added flavor.) The original called for 2 cups cooked broccoli, but I just bought a large head of broccoli and chopped it up and cooked it. Surely a little extra broccoli can’t hurt. 🙂 Finally, I added a can of sliced water chestnuts and about 2 cups of fresh spinach.

The Food: Broccoli, Quinoa

Ingredients:

One 10 oz can condensed cream of mushroom/broccoli/roasted garlic & mushroom soup

1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons milk (I used almond milk)

1 1/4 cups shredded cheese (I used colby jack, but you could use whatever you prefer)

1/2 teaspoon sugar (or sugar substitue)

1/4 teaspoon(ish) black pepper

Dash nutmeg

2 cups (approximately) cooked broccoli

1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained

2 cups fresh spinach

1 1/2 cups  cooked quinoa

Grated Parmesan cheese

Breadcrumbs (optional)

Directions:
To cook quinoa, combine  3/4 cup quinoa with 1 1/2 cups water and a dash of salt in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover for about 20 minutes or until quinoa tails show. Fluff with a fork.

Meanwhile, place chopped broccoli in a steamer and cook 8-10 minutes until tender.

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine soup, yogurt, cheese and milk. Add sugar, pepper and nutmeg. Then add spinach and water chestnuts, broccoli and quinoa. Mix well.

Pour mixture into a casserole dish coated with cooking spray. Grate a little Parmesan cheese on top, and if you want, add some breadcrumbs for a little crunch. Bake for 35-40 minutes and enjoy!

The Fare: Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa Casserole

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Ice Cream with Raspberries and Raspberry Balsamic Reduction

There’s a fantastic spice shop we frequent at home called allspice. They have delicious olive oils and vinegars in the store that you can sample before you buy, and they are frequently getting new flavors. Over break I noticed a raspberry balsamic flavor sitting in our pantry and then this idea was born. Simple vanilla ice cream with fresh fruit is such an easy, delicious dessert, but I was thinking embellishments.

The Food: Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar, Raspberries

Ingredients:

Vanilla bean ice cream

Fresh raspberries (you could probably use frozen too)

Cocoa powder

1/4 c. Raspberry balsamic vinegar (this was enough for three servings)

Directions:

The only thing that really needs instruction is making the reduction. This can be a tricky process. I did mine in the microwave this time, but I’ve done it on the stove before too. In the microwave, I did 2 minute increments on high until it reached the right syrupy consistency. It was about 6 minutes for me, although it may have been a minute too long because it hardened very quickly. Once the ice cream has been scooped into dishes, I put a handful of berries on each and dusted cocoa powder over the top. Finally, drizzle with the reduction and enjoy!

The Fare: Ice Cream with Raspberries and Raspberry Balsamic Reduction

razzleberries

MMMMM.

Once the cocoa powder mixes with the reduction you get a nice hint of chocolate in each bite, which is really delightful. My dad loved this.

Roasted Garlic and Rosemary French Bread

There is nothing more enticing than warm, fresh-from-the-oven bread. It’s just so simple. And delicious. A few months ago, my mom made some homemade French bread, which although scrumptious, I immediately started thinking about how to embellish. So when I was home last time, we decided to get a little creative.

The Food: Rosemary and Garlic

The recipe my mom uses is a simple food-processor recipe much like this. For the garlic, we roasted 4 cloves, still in their paper, coated in olive oil and wrapped in foil at 400 for 30 minutes. Once they’ve been roasted they just slide out of the paper. We chopped up two sprigs of fresh rosemary and chopped the garlic too, (which is a little tricky because it’s sticky). We added the rosemary and garlic to the dough while kneading it, although I think we could have added it in the food processor stages. The hardest part about this recipe is the time it takes for everything to to proof and rise and bake, but the end result is totally worth it.

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The Fare: Roasted Garlic and Rosemary French Bread

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This bread was so yummy! The recipe we used yields two loaves, so next time I would add more rosemary and garlic to enhance the flavor. I used the leftovers the next day for a grilled cheese and added a little fresh rosemary inside. Homemade bread is a really exciting thing to make.