So, What’s the Deal With that “Buddha Bowl” Bandwagon?

Lately, my entire Pinterest feed has turned into one continuous love letter to the gloriousness that is a Buddha Bowl. I’ve been hearing this term used more and more in wellness circles, but it’s taken me awhile to join the “Buddha Bowl Bandwagon.” Well, until last weekend anyway.

On a random Saturday night, the fiancé and I were embroiled in our usual debate: should we make dinner reservations, grab some take-out, or just raid the fridge? Laziness won out (’cause my spirit animal is a 65-year-old in threadbare sweats who calls “lights out” before 10pm), so we settled on Option #3. Then, inspiration struck—Hey…I’ll make one of those Buddha Bowl things!

So, through trial-and-error, I debunked the basic formula and concocted my own variation. And now that I’ve graduated from Buddha Bowl virgin to Buddha Bowl addict, I’m passing this formula along to you.

(WARNING: contents might cause obsession!)

how to make a buddha bowl

1.   Building Blocks—What Components Will You Need?

  • The Base: choose a whole grain like quinoa, brown rice, bulgur, wheatberry or farro.
  • The Greens: choose leafy greens like spinach, kale, arugula, chard or watercress.
  • The Protein: choose a plant-based protein like chickpeas, almonds, beans, tempeh or tofu.
  • The Extras: choose veggies like sweet potato, broccoli, asparagus, carrots or avocado (okay…not a veggie, but still delish).
  • The Dressing: choose a sauce like the flavor bomb pictured above. Wanna make it? Then, stay tuned…

2.   Assembly Required—How Do You Put It All Together?

  • The First Layer: cook the whole grains according to their package instructions, then spread onto the bottom of your bowl.
  • The Second Layer: arrange a handful of leafy greens over the whole grain base.
  • The Third Layer: oven roast the protein source (or, leave raw if desired and safe to consume), then arrange over the leafy greens.
  • The Fourth Layer: steam the veggies until tender, then arrange over the leafy greens.
  • The Top Layer: drizzle the sauce to evenly coat the veggies. Oh, and here’s that recipe I hinted at earlier…blend together 1 red pepper,       1 garlic clove2 tbsp. lemon juice1 tbsp. olive oil1/2 tsp. paprika1/4 tsp. turmeric1/4 tsp. coriander and 1/4 tsp. cumin. Viola!
buddha bowl finished product

couldn’t resist posting ANOTHER shot of my finished product in all its glory

Alrighty. That’s the gameplan, people. So, welcome aboard that Buddha Bowl Bandwagon—where dinnertime dilemmas have met their match!

Cooking with Couscous: Comfort Food Gone Global

Sorry, all you Paleo proponents out there, but this post is basically a love letter to grain. Couscous, to be exact. What…did I already give that away in the title or something? Silly me.

couscous grain spotlight

Anyway, this traditional North African staple, made from semolina then steamed until fluffy, pairs fabulously with a diverse range of flavors. From robust winter vegetables to zesty spice blends, it’s the perfect canvas for vegetarian and carnivorous dishes.

My latest kitchen creation features this ingredient as the base for an effortless weeknight meal loaded with colorful veggies and plant-based proteins, plus a sweet and savory seasoning mashup. Just watch: everyone at your dinner table will become couscous converts!

This recipe yields approximately 4 servings, and leftovers are guaranteed. So, you’ve also got a ready-made lunch the next day. #Winning.

warm butternut squash and couscous salad

Ingredients:

1 c. Dried Couscous (I used Moroccan, but Israeli works too)

1 c. Butternut Squash (peeled & cubed)

1/2 c. Chick Peas (drained & rinsed)

1/4 c. Raisins (natural & unsulfured)

1/4 c. Raw Almonds (chopped)

3 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 tbsp. Ground Cumin

1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon

Sea Salt & Black Pepper (to-taste)

Preparation:

  1. In a large saucepan, combine the Couscous with 1 cup Water and 2 tbsp. Olive Oil, then place the pan on a stovetop burner and bring the water to a rolling boil.
  2. Turn the heat down to a low setting and allow the couscous to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the water has been absorbed — about 10 minutes.
  3. While the couscous is simmering, coat the bottom of a skillet with the remaining 1 tbsp. olive oil, then place the skillet on another stovetop burner and turn the heat to a medium setting.
  4. Add the Butternut SquashChick Peas, Raisins and Almonds, then  sauté, stirring frequently, until the butternut squash has softened — about 15 minutes. 
  5. Transfer this mixture into the couscous pan and season with Cumin, Cinnamon, Sea Salt and Pepper, then thoroughly combine all the ingredients together.

couscous recipe

Serving Suggestion:

Although I’m a fan of eating this salad as a stand-alone meal (Meatless Monday, anyone?!), it’s also a versatile side dish for grilled fish, baked falafel or another Middle Eastern-inspired protein.

Creative Breakfast Ideas to Make Nutri Maqui Part of Your Morning Routine {Guest Post}

Nutri Maqui antioxidant support

Fueling your body with the health benefits of Nutri Maqui superfruit juice is an enjoyable experience for several reasons.

The essential nutrients this supplement provides – such as immune-supporting antioxidants and longevity-promoting flavonoids – will help you feel vibrant and energized throughout the entire day. So, start each morning with Nutri Maqui then simply reap the wellness rewards, no matter how demanding your schedule might be.

The rich, silky and slightly tart flavor of this naturally-formulated juice blend pairs perfectly with other nourishing noshes as well. The following recipes – packed with protein, vitamins and minerals from various fruits, leafy greens and whole grains – will turn that been-done-before breakfast into a powerhouse meal.

Just take a look at these tantalizing examples…

Nutri Maqui Energy Bowl (total prep time: 3 minutes)

Ingredients:

½ Apple (cored & sliced)

½ c. Berries (any variety, sliced)

¼ c. Cashews (raw & unsalted)

2 tbsp. Oats (whole grain)

1 tbsp. Nutri Maqui Juice

1 tbsp. Almond Butter (organic)

Preparation:

1. In a serving bowl, mix together the fruit, cashews and oats.

2. Drizzle the Nutri Maqui juice over the other ingredients and mix again.

3. Top the energy bowl with a dollop of almond butter.

Nutri Maqui energy bowl


Nutri Maqui Green Smoothie (total prep time: 5 minutes)

Ingredients:

1 c. Almond or Cashew Milk (unsweetened)

½ cup Kale (chopped)

½ Avocado (diced)

1 tbsp. Almond Butter (organic)

1 tbsp. Nutri Maqui Juice

½ tbsp. Matcha Powder (organic)

2 tsp. Oats (whole grain)

½ tsp. Stevia (organic)

Preparation:

1. Place all the ingredients together in a blender.

2. Puree until the smoothie texture is smooth and creamy.

Nutri Maqui green smoothie


Nutri Maqui Greek Yogurt (total prep time: 1 minute)

Ingredients:

1 c. Greek Yogurt (plain)*

1 tbsp. Nutri Maqui juice

2 tsp. Blue Agave Nectar (organic)

1 tsp. Cinnamon (or, to taste)

Note: Make this recipe vegan by substituting Greek Yogurt with a non-dairy alternative like Coconut Yogurt.

Preparation:

1. In a serving bowl, mix together the yogurt, agave and Nutri Maqui juice.

2. Top the yogurt with a desired sprinkling of cinnamon.

Nutri Maqui yogurt


Nutri Maqui Pancakes (total prep time: 10 minutes)

Ingredients:

1 c. Whole Wheat Flour (organic)*

½ c. Water (add more if necessary)

½ Banana or Avocado (as a binding agent)

½ c. Strawberries (for topping, sliced)

1 tbsp. Nutri Maqui Juice

1 tbsp. Almond Butter (organic)

2 tsp. Cacao Powder (raw & organic)

½ tsp. Stevia (organic)

* Note: Make this recipe gluten-free by substituting Whole Wheat Flour with a GF alternative like Flaxseed Meal.

Preparation:

1. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, “binder” fruit, cacao, stevia and Nutri Maqui juice.

2. Add water until the texture becomes smooth, like batter, and mix again.

3. Heat a skillet on a medium stove setting and coat the bottom with cooking spray.

4. Ladle ¼ of the batter into the skillet and cook until it starts bubbling.

5. Flip the pancake on its other side and cook for about the same     amount of time.

6. Repeat steps 4–5 with the remaining batter until you have 4 pancakes.

7. Top the pancakes with almond butter and sliced strawberries.

Nutri Maqui pancakes

Every morning can set the tone for embracing a wholesome, balanced lifestyle if your body gets its daily dose of Nutri Maqui antioxidant benefits.

Have these ideas inspired you to create your own breakfast concoctions? Comment with more Nutri Maqui recipes below!

Huge thanks to Nutri Lifescience, LLC, for supplying the research, content and graphics for this post.

Deliciousness Happens When Superfoods Unite!

Yeppers, kale and quinoa come together for the win in my latest kitchen creation, packed with essentials like protein, whole grains, calcium and Vitamins A & C.

Tons of nutrients, exotic Mediterranean flavors, and a simple cooking process make this recipe an instant hit. So, you know, go ahead and sneak it into your “Speedy Weeknight Dinner” rotation (shhhh…the kids won’t even know they’re eating kale!). You’re welcome.

Quick note for any vegans or vegetarians: this recipe includes scallops, which you’ll obviously need to omit when recreating in your own kitchen.

******

Kale & Quinoa Superfood Salad — yields 4 servings

scallop kale salad ingredients

Ingredients:

3 cups Kale (chopped)

1 cup Scallops

1 cup Quinoa

1/4 cup Feta (crumbled)*

1/4 cup Dates (chopped)

1 clove Garlic (diced)

1 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 tsp. Coriander (ground)

Sea Salt (to taste)

*Looking for a dairy-free feta substitute? I’d recommend trying out this vegan recipe from The Happy Herbivore

******

 Preparation:

 1. Fill a large pot with Quinoa and 2 cups Water, then pre-heat on a high stovetop setting and bring to a boil.

 2. Reduce the heat to low, then cover the pot and let simmer for approx. 15 minutes or until the moisture has mostly been absorbed.

 3. While the Quinoa is cooking, prep the Kale, Dates, Garlic and Feta (or dairy-free substitute), then set aside temporarily.

 4. Coat a small saucepan with Cooking Spray and pre-heat on a medium stovetop setting, then add the Scallops.

 5. Saute the Scallops for approx. 2-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they have cooked thoroughly.

 6. Remove the Quinoa from heat and stir in the Coriander, Garlic and Olive Oil, then combine this Quinoa mixture with the Scallops.

 7. Arrange the Kale on a serving plate, then spoon the Quinoa and Scallops mixture over the Kale.

 8. Sprinkle the Dates and Feta (or dairy-free substitute) on top, then add the desired amount of Sea Salt.

9. Allow this Salad to cool slightly (approx. 1-2 minutes) before serving. 

scallop kale salad

Quinoa & Edamame Burgers (a.k.a. Your Dinner Table’s Next Meatless Marvel)

Trivia Question: how does a self-proclaimed foodie, who really really loves veggie burgers, cope on Friday night when her boyfriend ditches her (but all is forgiven, Broski!) for some old-school Nintendo 64?

By creating a kickass recipe to satisfy said veggie burger cravings! Obvi.

I’m not vegan, but I do have a healthy appreciation for vegan cooking. So, that’s exactly what we have here — veggies, whole grains, and plant-based proteins.  Pure, nutritional deliciousness! And I can assure even the most committed carnivores out there that this burger hits the spot.

Nope. You won’t miss the meat.

Don’t believe me? Alrighty, then. Make it yourself. (I’ll just be over here, chanting: “told ya so!”)

  • Ingredients:
  1. 1/4 cup Quinoa (cooked)
  2. 1 tbsp. Mushrooms (diced)
  3. 2 tbsp. Roasted Red Peppers (diced)
  4. 2 tbsp. Edamame
  5. 2 tbsp. Rolled Oats
  6. 1 tbsp. Dijon Mustard

veggie burger ingredients

  • Preparation:
  1. Preheat a small saucepan on a medium-high stovetop setting, then cook the quinoa according to the package instructions.
  2. Preheat a small skillet on a low stovetop setting, then saute the mushrooms and roasted red peppers for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Puree the edamame in a blender or food processor until coarsely mashed, then transfer to a mixing bowl.
  4. Puree the mushrooms and red peppers in a blender or food processor until they reach the same consistency as the edamame, then transfer to the mixing bowl.
  5. Add the quinoa, rolled oats, and mustard into the mixing bowl, then stir until the ingredients combine to form a slightly “mushy” texture.
  6. Mold this mixture into patties (I made 1 large patty, but you could just as easily make 2-3 small patties), then transfer them to another skillet and turn the stovetop setting to medium.
  7. Cook the burgers for approximately 5 minutes on each side, then remove from heat and allow them to cool slightly before serving.

veggie burger before

  • Serving Suggestion:

Play off the Asian-inspired flavor of the edamame by wrapping your veggie burger in a Nori sheet (dried seaweed) instead of a traditional bun. Not only will the crisp saltiness please your palate, but it’s also a much healthier swap-out.

In fact, while we’re at it, why not continue this plant-based theme we’ve got going and substitute cheese for cashew cream? It’s a snap to whip up and makes a tasty topper for our veggie burger.

Simply soak 2 tbsp. raw cashews in 1/4 cup water for 1-2 hours (feel free to skip this step if you’re pressed for time), then drain and toss the cashews into a blender, along with 1 garlic clove, 3 tbsp. lemon juice, and a pinch of sea salt. Puree these ingredients until smooth, then spread the cream on your patty.

veggie burger after

 Aaaaaaand….Dinner is served!

10 Ingenious Ingredient Hacks that Equal Smoothie Perfection

Yeaaaah. I’m that girl, who’s best friends with her blender and thinks smoothie-making should be considered the ultimate in culinary expertise.

And, therefore, I don’t just limit myself to the standard, predictable “fruity fare.” Not that I don’t love a classic strawberry-banana combo, but experimenting with unusual flavor profiles is what keeps luring me back to the kitchen.

That’s why no liquid concoction in my repertoire would be complete without the following add-ins. Once blended all together, you might not even notice their subtle, sublime presence; nevertheless, these “superfood” ingredients boost your diet with natural, (mostly) plant-based nutrition without compromising the velvety texture and refreshing taste that you expect from a perfectly-pureed smoothie.

1. Hemp Hearts

hemp hearts

image courtesy of babble.com

 These crisp and nutty seeds are loaded with protein, iron, Vitamin E, whole grains, and Omega-3 & Omega-6 fatty acids for cardiovascular, cholesterol, metabolic, reproductive, and anti-inflammatory health.

2. Rolled Oats

image courtesy of keeperofthehome.org

image courtesy of keeperofthehome.org

This hearty and filling cereal is loaded with fiber, protein, magnesium, zinc, Vitamin E, whole grains, and antioxidants (polyphenols, carotenoids & flavonoids) for cardiovascular, cholesterol, immune, and digestive health.

3. Almond Butter

almond butter

image courtesy of amyshealthybaking.com

 This thick and creamy spread is loaded with protein, calcium, copper, fiber, Vitamin E, magnesium, and Omega-3 fatty acids for cardiovascular, cholesterol musculoskeletal, neurological, nervous, and digestive health.   

4. Leafy Greens

leafy greens

image courtesy of busterbucks.hubpages.com

These fresh and nutrient-dense veggies are loaded with potassium, calcium, iron, Vitamins A, C & K, folate, magnesium, and antioxidants for cardiovascular, circulatory, immune, and respiratory health (serving suggestions: spinach, kale, chard, collards & watercress).

5. Chia Seeds

chia seeds

image courtesy of mindbodygreen.com

These crunchy and micro-sized seedlings are loaded with protein, manganese, magnesium, calcium, zinc, Vitamin B, potassium, and Omega-3 fatty acids for cardiovascular, immune, anti-aging, energy endurance, and metabolic health.

6. Green Tea

green tea

image courtesy of webhealthjournal.com

This light and invigorating beverage is loaded with antioxidants (catechins & flavonoids) and natural caffeine for  cardiovascular, immune, dental metabolic, energy endurance, neurological, and circulatory health (serving suggestion: matcha, or finely powdered green tea).

7. Coconut Water

image courtesy of coconutwaterlife.com

image courtesy of coconutwaterlife.com

This tangy and hydrating beverage is loaded with fiber, electrolytes, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, bio-active enzymes, Vitamin B, and natural sugar (glucose) for digestive, circulatory, anti-aging, and gastrointestinal health.

8. Raw Cacao

image courtesy of iquitsugar.com

image courtesy of iquitsugar.com

This tart and chocolatey powder is rich in antioxidants (polyphenols & flavonoids), fiber, digestive enzymes, Vitamins A, B, C & E, chromium, magnesium, zinc, iron, sulphur, manganese, and Omega-fatty acids for cardiovascular, cholesterol, immune, circulatory, and neurological health.

9. Greek Yogurt

image courtesy of leanitup.com

This rich and satisfying dairy product is loaded with protein, calcium, iodine, potassium, Vitamin B, and probiotics for musculoskeletal, energy endurance, gastrointestinal, metabolic, and neurological health (serving suggestion: unsweetened variety).

10. Avocados

image courtesy of iwashyoudry.com

image courtesy of iwashyoudry.com

 These indulgent and buttery fruits are loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids, protein, fiber, potassium, zinc, copper, iron, phosphorus, folate, and Vitamins A, B, C, E & K for cardiovascular, cholesterol, anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, and circulatory health.

So, yeah. That’s my arsenal of secret smoothie superbness. Got any of your own faves worth adding to the list? Share in the comments below!

Quinoa Quesadillas (now, that’s fun to say!)

It’s Saturday night. Yours truly isn’t exactly in the mood for anything that doesn’t involve Netflix. Thus, I’m gearing up for a low-key evening in the comfort of my own humble abode [read: bed].

But…then hunger strikes. What’s a girl to do?

Crank up the stove and start experimenting, of course!

So, tonight’s creation features a mash-up of flavors a la Mexico and South America. I submit for your culinary seal of approval, my friends:

…drumroll, please

Quinoa Quesadillas!!!

Yup. These vegetarian delights are overloaded with protein, whole grains, and essential plant-based nutrients for a meal that will satisfy both your appetite and taste buds.

To utilize my limited command of the Spanish language (because, you know, just keeping with our theme), they’re fantastico.

Legitimate Spanish-speakers: is that actually a word?

Well, regardless…enjoy this delicious and nutritious recipe from my kitchen to yours!

Ingredients:

quinoa quesadillas ingredients

  1. 2 Whole Wheat Tortillas
  2. 1/4 cup Quinoa
  3. 1/4 cup Mushrooms (chopped)
  4. 1/4 cup Red Onions (sliced)
  5. 1/4 cup Tomatoes (chopped)
  6. 1/4 cup Cotija Cheese (crumbled)*

Make this recipe vegan by substituting the cheese for Silken Tofu.

Preparation:

quinoa quesadillas preparation 1

quinoa quesadillas preparation 2

quinoa quesadillas preparation 3

  1. In a medium-sized saucepan, cook the quinoa according to the package instructions.
  2. While the quinoa is simmering, prep the vegetables and cotija cheese (or vegan substitute).
  3. Pre-heat a small skillet over a medium stove top setting and coat with olive oil cooking spray.
  4. Remove the quinoa pan from heat and drain any remaining water, then set aside temporarily.
  5. Combine the mushrooms, red onions and tomatoes in the skillet, then saute them until softened.
  6. Remove the vegetables from heat after approximately 3-5 minutes and set aside temporarily.
  7. Re-coat the skillet with cooking spray and turn the stove top burner back to a medium setting.
  8. Place 1 tortilla in the skillet and spread the quinoa evenly over it, leaving 1/2″ space along the edge.
  9. Add both the cotija cheese and sauteed vegetables, then place the second tortilla on top.
  10. Cook the bottom tortilla for approximately 2 minutes, or until it sizzles, then flip to the other side.
  11. Allow the second tortilla to cook for the same amount of time before removing from heat.
  12. Once the quesadilla has cooled slightly, cut it into 8 equal-sized wedges and ENJOY, of course!

quinoa quesadillas finished product

TA DA!!!

But wait…there’s more:

Serving Suggestion:

Cored avocado halves — mashed with a fork, drizzled in lime juice, then dusted with just a hint of chili powderstevia and leftover cotija cheese — make a fabulously bold side for this Latin-inspired dish.