Fresh Quinoa Tabbouleh


  • 1 cup  quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups  water
  • 1 garlic clove
  • cups basil leaves
  • 1 cup flat leaf parsley                     
  • 3 tablespoons  extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon  kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon  black pepper
  •  medium sized cucumber
  • 1 pint  cherry and/or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced                       
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken   

1. Combine quinoa and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Let cool and fluff with a fork.
2. With a food processor running, drop in garlic to chop. Add basil and parsley and pulse to chop. ( just chop not puree like pesto) With machine running, drizzle in oil and lemon juice and process to form a coarse puree.
3. Transfer dressing to a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Fold in quinoa, cucumber, tomatoes, scallions and chicken.  
You can substitute the quinoa for couscous or even rice if wanted.   Also, this recipe is not all mine.  I took the best parts of Tabbouleh recipes I found over the years to create my own Frankenstein child.

Family Vacation

I turns out that I was lucky enough to find a good deal on a family vacation.  We promised the kids we would go on a vacation this summer but with finances being so tight we thought we might have to renege on our promise.  We are going to spend time in Wisconsin Dells and I think the kids are going to be happy when they find out.   
I know that being out and about for 4 days will be a lot of fun but I also know that it's also going to be hard on my diet.  Since we are driving to the Dells we can pack healthier food options to bring along.  It's a vacation so if someone wants an ice-cream or something they are going to get it but it'll be easier to make better food choices if they are available. 

I've gone shopping for some healthy snacks to bring with for my family and I.  Some of the things I picked up were beef jerky, organic pressed fruit snacks, pop-chips, pretzels, organic oat cookies, pouches of tuna, 1 gallon for Snapple peach tea and green tea.  A day or two before we leave I plan to go shopping to pick up string cheese, some fresh fruit, eggs (that I will hard boil to bring along) and a bag of mixed greens to make a salad on the go, my kids requested mac and cheese (the type you add water and heat, blueberry muffins and milk.  Finally, I want to bring 2 or 3 servings of  a "Fresh Quinoa Tabbouleh" and a "Mediterranean Chickpea Salad", I plan to make the nigh before we leave.

I am going to eat what ever I want for dinner while I'm gone but I want to make sure I can off set my dinner choices with better food choice during the day.  I have been working really hard on cleaning up my deit and I just don't want to see it all go to shit over night.  My diet doesn't have to be perfect, it's a vacation after all but it should be reasonable.

The recepies for the "Fresh Quinoa Tabbouleh" and the "Mediterranean Chickpea Salad" will be posted in a few days.

Veggi Taco Salad

It's Monday which means NO meat.... So what do we do?
One of my kids said Taco's Mommy and I said YA, Taco's wonderful idea!


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large red and green pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (see Tip) or frozen, thawed
  • 4 large tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked long-grain brown rice (see Tip)
  • 1 15-ounce can black, kidney or pinto beans, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/3 cup home made or prepared salsa
  • 1/3 cup home made or prepared guacamole
  • 2 cups shredded iceberg or romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup shredded pepper Jack cheese
  • 2 1/2 cups coarsely crumbled tortilla chips
  • Lime wedges for garnish


  1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion, peppers and corn; cook, stirring, until the onion begins to brown and peppers soften, about 5 minutes. Coarsely chop 1 tomato. Add it to the pan along with rice, beans, chili powder, 1 teaspoon oregano and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the tomato cooks down, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly.
  2. Coarsely chop the remaining 3 tomatoes. Combine with cilantro, salsa and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon oregano in a medium bowl.
  3. Toss lettuce in a large bowl with the bean mixture, half the fresh salsa, half the guacamole and 2/3 cup cheese. Serve sprinkled with tortilla chips and the remaining cheese, passing lime wedges and the remaining fresh salsa and guacamole at the table.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 1, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days; reheat slightly before serving.
  • Kitchen Tips: To remove corn kernels from the cob, stand an ear of corn on its stem end and slice the kernels off with a sharp, knife.
  • To cook rice, bring 1 cup water and 1/2 cup long-grain brown rice to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer at the lowest bubble until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 40 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Makes 1 1/2 cups
  • Substitutions: replace guacamole with a sliced a fresh avocado over salad, it makes for a nice presentation.

Weight vs Fat

My Confection

This after picture was taken of me in 2012, I weighed about 135ds. 
I went from being 210pds to 135pds with lots of hard work and at the time I truly
believed that once I lost all my extra weight I would be happier.
I went from sedentary to training 5 days a week and from eating junk
to eating clean, I really wanted a better life for my self.
Sadly, after all that work I wasn't happy with my body or my self. 
I felt fat in my after photo, I didn't feel good about my self. 
I now realize it was because my perception of my self was badly squid. 
I am ashamed and embarrassed to say it!
Looking back on it now I feel bad about how I treated and talked to my self,
I feel bad about feeling bad about my self......
Today, I focus much of my attention on the things I like about myself
and all the wonderful things my body has done and can do. 
I no longer feel bad about my body, how much I weight or what other people think. 
Life is to short and I won't waste another minute on what others think I should do
or look like.

Sunny Sunday

My week in review: 
On the up side:
-My family and I hit the park a few evenings this week for bike rides, which turned out to be a lot of fun.  We also hit the local pool for some fun in the sun in which I was able to sneak in some laps.  In total I swam 10 lap during two 15 minute swim brakes, go me.  My kids and I really love playing in the pool, their is something about a hot sunny day  and a pool of large icy water that just go together so well.
-On the fitness side I did manage to hit the gym all 5 days this week.  I did add 5pds to my deadlift and weighted squat and I also managed to jog 4 miles.  I was able to do good for a few people this week and it felt good to put smiles on faces.  
-I went shopping this week and bought a new work-out journal that I plan to start this Monday June 2nd.  I love my journals and I keep all of them, I still have my work-out journal from the first time I hit the gym in 2008.  It makes me feel good to look back and see ware I started, what I've done and how far I how come. 
-I also bought a shirt this week from a fitness guru I've been following for some time.  Jen Sinkler is really knowledgeable, she talks a lot about getting strong and fit and not so much on how to fit into the main stream media's idea of what a women should look like.  I have been reading her stuff for almost 3 years now and I really like her approach to fitness.  Her writing style is no frills or fuss, it get you the info you need and makes you smile and sometimes laugh a little.   I also like "Girls Gone Strong", they have a really good set up and some amazing women writing for their site.  If your looking for half naked women preening for the camera you will not find it on either site but is your looking for real life, quality information both sites are really good resources.

On the down side:
-I realized that I haven't been working on my flexibility and body weight training as much as I should have been.   I made some movements on Friday that should not have been hard but they were. It's something that I need to change this coming week, I have to make a point of working it in.
-This week I called the owner of Golden Age gym ware I worked-out for 3 months this year.  I thought it was a nice place, full of good people, honestly it was a different environment then I was used to and the change really did me good.  I called and left 2 messages for Nate Aye(owner) last week that were never returned.  I asked if he would be willing to work with me on the monthly rate since my husband and I are hurting finically right now.  Anyway, he never bothered to called me back and I'm not sure but I think it's a "NO WAY".  So, I'm on my own again. Working out on my own is nothing new considering I have been figuring this fitness thing out on my own for as long as I could remember.  I am not mad or upset and I do truly wish him and his gym the best, trying to keep a small business afloat the days is hard... I just wish he would have called me back, it's common courtesy.  Sometimes things just don't workout and that's life, I can choose to let it get me down or I can choose to make the best of it and keep moving forward.