Friday, May 6, 2011

Quinoa Salad and Southwest Wraps

Last night as we were sitting down to dinner I told Braden that I felt like such a GOOD mom by serving my family something as healthy as this meal and the best part?? It had SO much flavor!

Quinoa Salad:

  • Quinoa
  • Black beans 
  • Red Pepper
  • Fresh Mango
  • Oil (you can use Olive or whatever you have, I used peanut oil)
  • Fresh Lime
  • Salt 
  • Pepper
  • Cilantro
 Cook Quinoa as directed on package. Drain and RINSE black beans. Cut up red pepper and mango into bite sized pieces. Mix quinoa, red pepper, mango and beans in bowl.
 Add about equal parts oil and fresh squeezed lime juice until desired taste. Add salt and pepper. Last, sprinkle with fresh cut cilantro. Mix all together and REFRIGERATE for a couple of hours (or more, it taste better the longer it sits)!


Whole wheat SW Chicken Wraps
  • Whole wheat tortillas (or whatever wrap you choose, pitas would be good too)
  • Chicken
  • Seasoning
  • Hummus
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumber
  • Tomato
  • Other veggies if you desire
I cheated and used a package of pre-cooked and seasoned chicken but next time I'll make my own! This is my favorite brand of hummus and next time I'll try a different flavor to change it up. This one is Greek Style and SOO yummy, they also have a cracked red pepper one that looks delish too.
 Chop Veggies
 Spread the hummus on tortilla-top with a little chicken for protein and a TON of veggies!
Wrap and Enjoy with a scoop of salad on the side!

This is such an easy meal! I made the salad early in the day during nap time (takes about 30 minutes with quinoa cooking time) and the wraps took about 5 minutes. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Dinner Biggest Loser Style

On this season of  The Biggest Loser, they showed one of my favorite recipes as a side or main dish... QUINOA SALAD . My MIL Jane introduced this super food to me a few years ago and although I haven't dived into strict quinoa regimen, I do love a good salad. It is a very summer-y feeling food! Tonights dinner will be whole wheat southwest chicken wraps w/ humus and quinoa salad. 

Recipe and Pics tomorrow!

So Little $$, SO many ideas!

I have been following this blog ClothedMuch for a little while now. She has great taste in clothes and is in exactly the same state of mind I am... not a lot of $$, not a lot of clothes but A LOT of GREAT ideas! My goal for Saturday is to spend some quality time ALONE without my kids and get my shop on! I live in such a great area! Fancy neighborhoods close by that cast off their last season clothes to D.I., Goodwill, and Value Village where I can get them at a steal and work it! Next week I'll post some of my finds and outfit ideas for you to help me judge!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

Tried and True Tuesday.... Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

This recipe was found over at Gimme Some Oven and made for a simple Easter dinner dessert. I couldn't find strawberry cake mix so I used a lemon cake mix, pureed some strawberries to add to the mix and left out the lemon juice. The frosting I stayed true and to finish the cupcakes since I had some lemon and some strawberries leftover I sliced them and sprinkled them with some sugar and lemon zest and placed a slice on each strawberry.

Enjoy! Let me know if you try them and what you think!

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes(Adapted from Hello Cupcake and Chow)
Cupcake Ingredients:
1 (18.25 oz.) strawberry cake mix
3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/4 cup (4 Tbsp.) lemon juice
  • 4 eggs
Frosting Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup pureed strawberries (made from fresh or frozen strawberries)
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 – 4 cups powdered sugar (adjust to achieve desired consistency)
To Make Cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.
Add the cake mix, buttermilk, oil and lemon juice to a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed until moistened, about 30 seconds.  Add eggs one at a time, until the batter is well-mixed. Increase speed to high and beat until thick and fluffy, 2 minutes longer.
Pour or scoop the batter into the paper liners until they are 2/3 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cupcakes cool on a wire rack.
To Make Frosting:
Cream butter in an electric mixer on medium-speed until smooth and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  Then add in the strawberries, vanilla and lemon juice, and mix on low-speed until combined.  Gradually add in the  powdered sugar and mix until combined.  Then beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, another 3-5 minutes.  (Add in more powdered sugar if consistency is too thin.)

Best Salad on Earth (in my opinion)

Tried and True Tuesday... CAFE RIO

Since leaving Utah almost 2 years ago, I have tasted a few different Cafe Rio knock-offs (because there are a TON of them out there...) and this is by far my favorite. The cilantro ranch will knock your socks off and most likely keep people away for a few days with the amount of cilantro but it is WORTH it!!

I found this recipe on Favorite Family Recipes and now recommend it to all! Enjoy!

Cafe Rio Pulled Pork Salads (or Burritos)

6 large Tortillas
Shredded cheese, Mexican blend

Cafe Rio Rice 
Cafe Rio Black Beans 
Cafe Rio Sweet Pork )
Lettuce (NOT iceberg, use leafy green or Romaine)

Diced tomato, onion, and cilantro (pico de gallo)

Sour cream
Tortilla Chips
Cotija cheese, crumbled (or you can use Parmesan)

Cafe Rio Cilantro Ranch 

Lay a tortilla in the bottom of the pan, sprinkle cheese on it, and put in the oven at 375 for about 5 min or until the cheese is melted. Remove from oven, add beans, rice, pork, then lettuce and a little scoop of diced tomato and onions (pico de gallo). Add guacamole (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED) and sour cream. Add crushed tortilla chips, a shake of Parmesan cheese, and top with a few cilantro leaves. Serve with the cilantro ranch or vinaigrette dressing and there you have it! (makes about 6 salads)

(scroll down to see the rice, beans, pork, and ranch recipes all together...)

2 pounds pork (we like to use boneless pork ribs)

3 cans Coke (NOT diet)

1/4 c. brown sugar
dash garlic salt

1/4 c. water

1 can sliced green chilies
3/4 can RED enchilada sauce (I used Old El Paso brand, medium spiciness)
1 c. brown sugar

Put the pork in a heavy duty Ziploc bag to marinade. Add about a can and a half of coke and about 1/4 c. of brown sugar. Marinade for a few hours or overnight.

Drain marinade and put pork, 1/2 can of coke, water, and garlic salt in crock pot on high for about 3-4 hours (or until it shreds easily, but don't let it get TOO dry). Remove pork from crock pot and drain any liquid left in the pot. Shred pork.

In a food processor or blender, blend 1/2 can Coke, chilies, enchilada sauce and remaining brown sugar (about a cup, you can add a little more or less to taste..). If it looks too thick, add more Coke little by little.

Put shredded pork and sauce in crock pot and cook on low for 2 hours. That's it!


1 c. uncooked rice

1 tsp. butter or margarine
2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. freshly squeezed lime juice

1 can (15 oz) chicken broth

1 cup water

1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice

2 tsp. sugar

3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro

In a saucepan combine rice, butter, garlic, 1 tsp. lime, chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low 15-20 minutes, until rice is tender. Remove from heat. In a small bowl combine lime juice, sugar and cilantro. Pour over hot cooked rice and mix in as you fluff the rice.


2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. ground cumin
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/3 c. tomato juice

1 1/2 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. fresh chopped cilantro

In a nonstick skillet, cook garlic and cumin in olive oil over medium heat until you can smell it. Add beans, tomato juice, and salt. Continually stir until heated through. Just before serving stir in the cilantro. (**NOTE** we added a can of corn, drained, to the beans with a dash of cumin and chili powder, it was AWESOME! We recommend doing this even though it's not "traditional Cafe Rio")


1 packet TRADITIONAL Hidden Valley Ranch mix (not BUTTERMILK)

1 c. mayonnaise

1 c. buttermilk

2 tomatillos, remove husk, diced

1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro

1 clove garlic

juice of 1 lime

1 jalapeno (we like it SPICY so we kept the seeds in it, if you like it mild, just remove the seeds)

Blend all ingredients in food processor or blender


Monday, May 2, 2011

Tomorrows Post...

Tried It Tuesday.
Recipes that I have tried, tasted and loved!

Tomorrows recipe... Cafe Rio pulled pork salads and Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes.

Stay Tuned!

Money Saving Monday- Homemade Soap

Saving $$ Never Smelled So Good!

Homemade soaps. So Green.

Sounds so 19 Kids and Counting or Depression Era but I love saving a buck AND love love the benefits of making my own cleaners to use daily around my house.
Since I have little grabby hands around me all day and teething gums gnawing on everything, I want my home to be as kid friendly as possible.
 About a year ago I found all these ideas online to make your own cleaners and I started with the easiest one: vinegar and water, and have explored different paths until I came to my favorites.

Here are three examples of what I use on a daily basis:

Scouring Powder:
   -Baking soda (I add a few drops of lemon essential oil because I am of the belief that all cleaning supplies should smell like lemon.)
   -Parmesan cheese canister (I buy them at the dollar store)
Uses: sinks, toilets, tile floors, stove tops, etc

All-purpose Disinfecting Spray:    **I USE THIS ONE EVERY DAY** It's about $1.00 a bottle (if not less)!
   -1 Tbs Castile soap (I use Dr. Bronner's. Can be found on Amazon for around $20 for a 32oz bottle and if you're an Amazon Prime member... Free Shipping!) Castile soap is vegetable based and biodegradable.
   -20 or so drops of Tea Tree Oil (a natural antibacterial and antiseptic and can also be found on Amazon for free shipping)
   -2 cups of water
   -Spray bottle (I buy mine at the dollar store)
When I use a large spray bottle I double the recipe and I also add a few drops of lemon essential oil because of my lemon smelling beliefs!

Uses: I mainly use it for my kitchen and bathroom surfaces. Can also be used on walls and floors.

Vinegar and Water:
   -Equal parts water and vinegar, mix in spray bottle.
Uses: I mainly use mine for windows and mirrors. If you have young kids and they like to help like mine do then give them a paper towel and spray a few pumps on a sliding glass window and let them go to town! My little man loves it and the vinegar smell dissipates SO quickly.  Can also be used on hardwood and/or vinyl flooring.

One last $$ saving tip for the day:
 Invest in some Foaming soap dispensers. I have 3, one in each bathroom and the kitchen. They are a little pricey at checkout but once they are gone you can refill them for SUPER cheap. Use a bottle of soap refill (without lotion) and add about 4 Tbs of soap and fill the rest with cold water. Leave enough room for the dispenser head, twist and shake! Viola, more hand soap!

Well littlest man woke up so back to the mommy world!