Archive for June 2016

Black Bean Quinoa Chopped Salad


With summer officially here I find myself craving salads more and more.  This Black Bean Quinoa Chopped Salad has become a summer staple for me.  I originally found this recipe in my April 2012 “Fitness” magazine and I keep coming back to it year after year. My version has been modified from the original “California Chipotle Chopped Salad”.  I omitted the salt (since the beans I buy already have it added), chipotle chile powder, 1T of the olive oil (since I usually cook w/ spray oil) and red onion.  I increased the quinoa and added feta cheese.

I’ve talked to so many people that are intimidated by making quinoa.  I have an easy fix.  Get yourself a rice cooker. It’s the easiest thing EVER.  Pour in 2:1 ratio of water to quinoa and hit the button. (Mine has a brown rice and white rice setting. I use the brown rice setting.) Forget about it until 60-90 minutes later when it’s done!  Thank you to my mother-in-law for buying me this since it is something I never would have bought myself.  I’ll be honest, I didn’t think I would even use it that much and now it’s the only way I make rice/quinoa. The hardest part is remembering to prep it in advance of prepping the rest of the meal, which is usually no big deal.

Ingredients and nutritionals:


  • 3T extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 2T apple cider vinegar
  • 2T agave nectar
  • ¼ cup of fresh lime juice


  • 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1-2t minced garlic
  • 2T finely chopped cilantro
  • ½ cup dry quinoa – to be cooked in rice cooker
  • 1 large head of romaine lettuce
  • 1 large tomato or red bell pepper
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 cup feta cheese

cal chopped salad nutr

  1. Prepare quinoa – use ½ cup of quinoa to 1 cup of water if using rice cooker.
  2. Sauté minced garlic, black beans, and cilantro in pan sprayed w/ cooking oil.
  3. Combine lettuce, tomato, avocado in large bowl.
  4. Blend apple cider vinegar, EVOO, agave nectar, and lime juice in NutriBullet or blender.
  5. Top lettuce with black bean mixture, quinoa, feta cheese, and vinaigrette & toss to coat.


The quinoa and black bean mixture can even be prepared ahead of time and chilled, which is a nice option if you need to quickly throw dinner together.

In this salad you have the sweetness of the vinaigrette, the creaminess of the avocado, the earthiness of the quinoa, and the saltiness of the feta cheese all alongside the crisp crunchiness of the salad itself.  It’s so satisfying!   Let me know if you give it a try.

What is your favorite summer salad recipe?




My Gluten Free Eats in Dewey Beach

I recently went on vacation to Dewey Beach, DE with my family and our friends’ families.  I was planning on blogging about all of the places I went to with gluten free food. As it turned out, we ate most meals at home (which wasn’t a bad thing) so I will just let you know about the 2 places I DID go as well as a gluten free pizza crust that my friend, Brooke, made.

The first night at the beach Brooke made everyone pizza.  She had even texted me ahead of time to see if I could eat Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Crust Mix.  This may not seem like a big deal to some people, but for those of us that have a food allergy/sensitivity it means SO MUCH when someone goes out of their way to include you.  She was even mindful to roll out my dough and use the cutter first for my pizza and wash everything to avoid cross-contamination.  Thanks, Brooke!


She made me a margherita pizza which is topped with fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, and tomato sauce. It was delicious!  The crust was thicker (but there was enough that it could’ve been rolled thinner) and it had somewhat of a biscuit-like consistency.  “Bob” could’ve added some seasoning to the crust for more flavor but that is something that could easily be added to your liking.  It also made great lunch leftovers for the rest of our time at the beach!


The second night we went to Dogfish Head in Rehoboth Beach.  I used my Find Me Gluten Free app and it had said that there was not a gluten free menu but the last review was from 2 years ago.  My friends really wanted to eat here and I didn’t want to be the reason they didn’t.  I figured I’d give it a try thinking that surely in two year’s time they have come up with some gluten free options since a lot of places seem to be accommodating the gluten free crowd.  Well…I was wrong.  The waitress informed me that nothing was technically gluten free there because they use beer in almost everything they make (including their Midas Touch vinaigrette) so there is a chance of cross-contamination.  I ended up ordering the Pub Salad (spring mix, tomatoes, cucumber, and carrots) sans red onions because we are not friends.  I had to get the red wine and vinegar for my dressing because at 32 weeks pregnant I couldn’t have the homemade Caesar dressing (thanks, raw egg!) and I wasn’t feeling the goat cheese ranch, since goat cheese is not my friend either.  The salad was just OK.  The good news is that I didn’t get sick!  I was also thankful to be fueling my body with something healthy and also that there was even one option at all.  Also, Dogfish does have a gluten free bottled beer, Tweason’ale, but since I am preggers I did not indulge. (I don’t really like beer anyway.)



The third night my friend, Ryan, made some amazing pulled pork with a homemade gluten free BBQ sauce, corn on the cob, and baby potatoes.  It was amazing!  Sadly, it was so wonderful that I completely forgot to take pictures of the amazing-ness.   Womp Womp!

On our last full day we found ourselves on the Rehoboth boardwalk since it was overcast with showers. The kids wanted to go to Funland anyway for the games and rides.  Since there aren’t too many gluten free options on the boardwalk, according to my app, and some people were feelin’ pizza again, we ended up at Grotto’s.  I had wanted to try their gluten free pizza since I had heard they offered it last year.  I ordered the 9” gluten free pizza for $10.99, which I thought was reasonable.  The crust was the best I have had in my 4+ years gluten free!  It wasn’t cracker-like or too thick. It was somewhere in the middle and light and crispy.  Also, I did not get sick which means there was no cross-contamination in the kitchen while making my pizza.  The service was excellent as well.


All in all it was a fun and successful (=I didn’t get glutened) trip! Next year I hope to get to some additional places, including some breakfast/lunch/dessert places.

Where is your favorite gluten free place to eat at DE or NJ beaches?




Peanut Butter & Jelly Overnight Oats


PB& J overnight oats are my summer breakfast go-to.  I first tried overnight oats last summer.  They kind of seemed to be the latest craze on some of the blogs I read so I thought I would see what the buzz was about. I love oatmeal but I didn’t want to eat something hot in the summertime so it seemed like a great idea. Plus, when I wake up I need coffee and food immediately and it’s great to pull something out of the fridge that’s ready to eat.  This is something you can heat up during the cooler months as well, but I prefer my overnight oats cold.

It takes less than 5 minutes to prep the night before (the tricky part is remembering!) You just throw it all in a bowl, stir, and refrigerate.  I tried to get in the routine of doing it right after dinner so I didn’t forget.  It’s kind of terrible when you wake up wanting to eat your oats and you realize there’s nothing waiting for you in the fridge.  I’ve even resorted to setting a reminder on my phone (because I have to do this for EVERYTHING or things don’t get done).


This recipe from “My Whole Food Life” was the first one I tried and I LOVE it. Much like my earlier post about the banana oat yogurt muffins, when I find a tasty recipe I make it until I get tired of it and move on.  It’s such a bummer when you try a new recipe and it’s the pits. I hate wasting food, but I also hate “wasting calories” on something that doesn’t taste great.  That’s why I am using this blog to share my favorites with you!

The only changes I made were using peanut butter instead of almond butter and organic fat free cow’s milk instead of almond milk.  I really want to like almond butter, but it’s just OK.  Considering it costs twice as much as peanut butter I’m not going to spend extra on something I find mediocre tasting.  I don’t dislike almond milk, I just don’t have an issue with dairy and I prefer the taste and extra protein of cow’s milk.  You can also add fresh fruit, nuts, or protein powder to this recipe too.  I’ll be honest, I tried subbing whey protein for the peanut butter and it was not. good.  But feel free to try…you may feel differently!


Here are the nutritionals based off of the way that I make it:

nutrition PBJoats

To some of you 413 calories may seem a little steep.  I’m ok with it because I try to eat a hardy breakfast to fuel me for the morning.  Check out the 11g of fiber and 17g of protein! This fills me up for 3+ hours so I don’t need a morning snack.

Do you have a favorite overnight oats recipe? Please share in the comments below!