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Monday, April 16, 2018

Rainbow Quinoa Salad

Give me all the quinoa! I love this one because you could make a giant batch and just eat it all week long. Coming from a girl that's not a huge fan of leftovers, that's saying a lot! Maybe it was the microwaved leftover spaghetti every Tuesday that scarred me for life? Sorry Mom! It was incredible the first time around I swear! This bowl of colorful goodness gets better by the day....and no need to heat it up, it's served cold. It's super easy to throw together too! 
Rainbow Quinoa Salad
3 cups of cooked quinoa (I found it best to cook the quinoa the night before and refrigerate it so it was nice and cold before adding the rest of the ingredients.)
As much of the following as you'd like....
Shelled edamame
Halved grape tomatoes
Diced red bell pepper (in retrospect, yellow would have made this more colorful!)
Diced cucumber (seeded)
Sliced red cabbage
Grated carrot
Sliced Almonds
Craisins
Green onion - thinly sliced
*Toasted sesame seeds - for topping when serving.

Dressing 
1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. of sesame seed oil
1 tbsp. of red wine vinegar 
1 tbsp. of rice vinegar
1 tsp. of tahini
1 tsp. of agave
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
1. Combine all of the ingredients for the quinoa salad in a large bowl and mix well. 
2. Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing and then pour over the quinoa salad.
3. Mix, mix, mix.
4. Serve cold, and top with toasted sesame seeds.

Enjoy!!!
#EllaApproved
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Saturday, March 24, 2018

Black Bean Quinoa Burger Salad

OMG, a recipe! I'm a little rusty, friends...so let's ease into this. I'm tired of feeling guilty every time a new recipe of mine goes unposted! Yes, I've been cooking and not sharing. My bad. Super selfish, I know! Don't get me wrong....most of our weekly menus have consisted of taco nights, pizza nights...the usual. My creative touch has been thrown in there from time to time, but maybeeeee not as much as it used to. Turns out that trying to mom, wife and school counselor (all verbs in this case) at the same time is very time consuming. Time consuming. Energy draining. Rewarding (duh). Did I say anything that indicates I'm tired yet? Oh hey there, I'm tired. Yes, all of these things. 

I'm nowhere near being on my "A-Game"....living moment to moment has been a means of survival around here for a while now. Hubby and I are nailing it (in my opinion) but it's a mess. An all over the place, mess. Love it, but mamma is tired. Hubs is too....but I couldn't do it without my other half! He rocks...and this is the time of year that he is seriously carrying the team! Okay, you feel me. Turns out the struggle IS real, but we've got this. I'll be over here enjoying the journey, and sharing when possible! 
Soooooooo, here it is! You might be thinking...."where is the meat at, Steph?" Lately we've been doing A LOT of meatless meals for a lot of reasons:
1. It's easier to not have to deal with that part of the meal - it's just a whole thing and frankly my meatless meals take much less time to prepare. 
2. I was trying to do some more budget friendly meals, and while working lots of beans and grains into the rotation it just sort of happened. 
3. I love the idea of a plant based diet. I see us fading meat out more and more...maybe not completely...but it has been happening for a while now. 

There's a new restaurant that opened up in my town, and "YAY" is all I could say. So fresh, so yummy and SO up my alley. They have a salad that is my absolute fave, and inspired this fun little dinner right here. 

I literally have NO measurements so this is a total estimate but you can't mess this up, at least I don't think you can. 
(*Just because I changed the name of my blog, doesn't mean that I changed....it's still going to always be - Never The Same Spice Twice).

Black Bean Burgers
2 cans of Black Beans drained and rinsed (I used a can and about 2-ish cups of black beans that I made in the crock pot which I'd say probably equals about 2 cans)
1.5 cups of cooked quinoa
1 cup of whole wheat panko bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
salt & pepper to taste

*Mix all of the ingredients together until the beans are slightly mushed up - but still about 40% whole  (how is that for precision?) - add more bread crumbs if you feel like you need it to stick together better. Make burger patties and then grill them in some olive oil on medium heat until slightly browned. 

Salad
Greens (I used romaine lettuce and baby kale that I had on hand but use whatevs)
Diced Avocado
Diced Tomato
Diced Cucumber
Red Onion
Sliced Red Bell Pepper

*Assemble in the typical way one would put together a salad. You've got this. 

Dressing
Red Wine Vinegar
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I usually do more olive oil than red wine vinegar)
Oregano
Salt and Pepper to taste

*Whisk it all together and mix it in with the salad. 
**Throw that yummy "burger" on top and you're done! But wait.......

Sriracha Mayo
BONUS - not pictured, but it definitely happened when I went back inside to join the family after taking food photos. Mayo mixed with as much sriracha as you could handle! OMGGGG, drizzle it over the burger....crazy good!

Can you still call this a recipe? I'm going to say "yes" and still pat myself on the back for this one. It's good, it's easy and you can't really mess it up - I promise! Enjoy! 
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Saturday, December 9, 2017

DIY Minty Scrub

The other night, my mom mentioned that she wanted to have a "little something" to give out to her friends at the end of her neighborhood Christmas party. I was thinking of making a holiday themed body scrub and figured this would be the perfect opportunity. Mom's NOT one for crafts, but this is simple enough, and I had most of these ingredients already on hand. Thanks to Amazon Prime, just two days later I had the jars and some extra coconut oil.  On Thursday night, she came over and we made these lovely little scrubs while watching Christmas Vacation. (LOVE having mom live nearby...the novelty hasn't worn off!)

All you need is.....
-Cute 4 oz. glass jars. I LOVE and have ordered these a few times (I made 12)
-2 cups of granulated sugar
-1 cup of pink himalayan salt 
-Fractionated coconut oil - 1 1/2 cups (my fave)
-12 drops of lavender oil
-5 drops of peppermint oil
-Red food coloring (optional)

Mix all of the ingredients together. Add more sugar or coconut oil if the consistency isn't to your liking. Depending on how you tweak the recipe you should be able to fill about 10-12 jars. If you would like to add a little color, then you could add a few drops of food coloring. Usually I skip this step, but mom wanted it a little more red than pink. Now that the messy part is done...time to decorate. What do you have laying around the house? Labels, some stickers, and festive ribbon...these came out just too stinkin' cute! 

You could certainly adjust the scent to your liking too! I was afraid to make these too minty! I'm BIG into Young Living essential oils, and being that these are therapeutic grade, high quality oils...they are potent! In my opinion, adding the lavender helped tone down the mint so that it doesn't leave your skin feeling too tingly! Also, it smells FANTASTIC!

( If you're interested in Young Living oils, just drop me a line! )

*Disclaimer - This product was tested on husbands. 

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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

A letter to Santa, From Ella Rose

It sure has been a while, but tonight's letter to Santa that Ella had me draft for her....was, in my "mom-opinion"....totally blog-worthy!

Dear Santa, 
Can I please have a Shimmer and Shine dollhouse and a snack and a vacation to the North Pole where you live, Santa? Thank you for bringing me toys. I want to be a genie...a REAL genie! I've been good, not bad..."nuffin" else. My name is Ella. I live in Florida. My dad is the best boy in the whole wide world ever and I like Mommy's kitchen. Emmy is the best baby sister, but she keeps following me into my room. I want...hatchimals, stickers and a car. I'll be 16, okay...I'll just pretend.
Love, Ella

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Friday, September 8, 2017

Our Pre-Irma Update

Hurricane Irma is heading our way....we live in Central Florida about an hour north of Orlando, so YES we are in the path. As you know, the projected path changes with each update, but at this point we do know for certain that we are going to be experiencing the effects in one way or another. Here are some of the specifics on our plan at the moment.....

1. Yes, we are "sticking it out"....there are no mandatory evacuations in our area, we live inland and we're about 96 feet (Boy Scout Hubs checked into this) above sea level. 
2. We have LOTS of water, and food and we have followed many of the guidelines for hurricane preparedness....did I mention Hubs was a Boy Scout...Eagle Scout actually!
3. Our family from South Florida drove up here so we're ALL going to be together. They left at 11 last night and arrived at 11 this morning. Ordinarily this trip shouldn't take more than 3.5 - 4 hours. 
4. Stephen's job announced earlier this week that they would be closed Friday (today) and Monday. My job initially closed for Monday but then Gov. Rick Scott closed all K-12 public schools and late last night I found out that the charter school I work for (and that the girls go to) was closed for today. At first this was a bummer because I have so much work to take care of in case we are out more than one day next week and we needed the girls to be in school while Hubby prepped the house. Luckily my cousin Nikki was here so she helped take care of the girls and Hubby got to do his thing! He even topped my car off with gas! WIN! I had to go to work to prep paperwork for a TON of meetings I have scheduled for next week. It was so eerie, hiding my computers and important files in my offices (yes, I have two...story for another post), and all of my favorite office supplies "just in case"!
5. My house is a wood frame home, and Mom and Dad's is a concrete block home so we just feel like it's smarter to be with everyone over there.  
6. There are FIFTEEN OF US....plus 2 dogs that will ride out the storm at my parent's house. Outside of that (before and after Irma) we also have a house we rented out nearby for spare bedrooms and showers for the So-Flo crew. We aren't sure really how long it will be before they are able to make the journey back home, so at least there's a plan in place for a possible longer-term stay. (Thanks Mal-Smiles for having a super cool family!)
7. Even with all the changes in the forecast, we feel comfortable all being together! Using the term hurricane "party" in this situation feels a little strange, being that we aren't sure what to expect...especially the family from down south is unsure of what they will be going home to....and when! However, we will certainly try to make the best of it. Tonight we kicked off our gathering with 3 rotisserie chickens and two fried chickens. It's always about the food. Starting off on a good note before we resort to eating peanut butter and crackers.
8. Dear El, you know there's a big storm coming and you're so excited about a BIG sleepover with so many people! Dear Em, you will surely be the life of the hurricane "gathering"!
Emmy braved the crowds at Publix, and she is all set for the storm! Bring it on, Irma! 
So far, it seems like the worst in our area will be Sunday night to Monday-ish. Things are changing constantly though so who knows what the impact will actually be. Waiting on the 11:00 update....hoping this turns out to be not as bad as expected. Praying for everyone in Irma's path!
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