Inspired Recipe: Quinoa Lasagna

I love getting a new canvas. It’s so fresh and clean, not a speck on it. You wonder what will come of it. What will you paint? What colors will you use? How many revisions will it take until it’s just the way you want it? How long will you spend on it? I feel the same way when I find a new recipe. Something about starting from scratch, touching something that has been untouched by you until now. It’s even more exhilarating when you improvise a little to make it your own. That first bite is a mixture of agony and excitement.

And then…it’s delicious! And other people enjoy it, too!

This is what happened when I made the quinoa lasagna inspired by MJ and the Hungryman at my aunt’s last week. When I lived with my aunt a long, long time ago, I was always amazed and a little perplexed by all of the healthy food she ate. Now that I’m on my healthy journey, it’s fun to share these recipes with her – as she is part of a very small group of people I know who truly appreciate the whacky, healthy recipes I attempt.

I didn’t get a whole lot of pictures because we were busy visiting and eating. Actually, I only got one picture.

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The original recipe called for this:

  • 3 cups diced sweet potatoes
  • 2 cups chopped cauliflower
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cup tomato sauce or prepared pasta sauce
  • 1 (15 oz) part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbs minced fresh basil
  • 1 Tbs dried oregano
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

This is what we did:

  • 3 diced Russet potatoes – because that’s what we had
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli – again, what we had
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cup tomato sauce or prepared pasta sauce
  • 2 cups of cottage cheese
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbs minced fresh basil
  • 1 Tbs dried oregano
  • A few slices of pepper jack cheese – it’s what we had, and I put pepper jack on everything so this is no surprise

Next time, I would like to make my own pasta sauce. I can’t even comprehend making my own cheese yet, so if that ever comes, it will be much later in life.

Have you ever improvised a recipe you found? How did it turn out? Success, or total failure? The next time you find a recipe that you haven’t tried due to lack of ingredients, see if you can sub in what you have. You can Google substitutions for just about everything and if you are trying to make your favorite recipe a little more healthy, you can consult The Gracious Pantry. Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google + and Twitter for more healthy inspiration!

My Healthy Life: A Journey

my healthy life

With a couple birthdays in one week, it has been a little challenging staying on track with my healthy plan. But, I told myself a long time ago that I would not force myself to be perfect 100% of the time. Sometimes your family will have Mexican food multiple times in one week, and heck…you might feel rebellious and go for the beans and Spanish rice. As long as it doesn’t become a normal thing, and you stay active…you will be just fine. This is preparation for Thanksgiving, anyway. That said, between chasing after my baby and going on weekly walks with my friend, I haven’t seen an increase in my weight. Hooray for that!

Since this is the perfect weather for some soup, I thought I would share a couple healthy soup recipes that I got from Greatist the other day. I love soup so much, and it’s an easy way to stay healthy. The only issue can be making sure you get enough flavor. I’m pretty stoked to give these recipes a try.

Photo from Cookin Canuck

Photo from Cookin Canuck

Hearty Chicken Stew with Butternut Squash and Quinoa from Cookin Canuck – I’m literally staring at my butternut squash that I haven’t had a chance to do anything with, so this would be the perfect recipe for that. I also have some quinoa that I am always trying to hide in our meals, so it’s a double bonus! I have shared a recipe from Cookin Canuck before, so obviously I’m already a fan.

Photo from Relishing It

Photo from Relishing It

Vegetarian Lentil Taco Soup from Relishing It – I must admit, after being a vegetarian for several years (I had to stop when I got pregnant due to some issues I had and now cooking for two meat lovers, I’m vegetarian for 2/3 meals), it can be hard to get flavor out of vegetarian soups. But this taco soup looks delicious, and I think the boys might even eat it, too. Once I saw the jalapenos and cilantro, I knew I would be good. Laurie, who runs Relishing It, is a mama of two, a foodie and an organic cook. She has a lot of good recipes on her blog!

While I was on Greatist’s site, I found a Here’s to Healthy contest, that you can enter right now. All you have to do is follow Greatist on Pinterest (done) and pin things that inspire you on their #healthyishappy board (um, done). Click on the “Here’s to Healthy” link to enter!

Are you ready to take this pledge with me? To include healthy and real ingredients in our food and to remain active – no matter what the activity is? I would love to get this healthy party going. I will be sharing more and more healthy recipes, workouts and yoga routines that I feel are worth sharing, and introducing more real food bloggers. If you would like to join me on this journey, I would love to have you. Connect with me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest and share your journey with me by using the hashtag #myhealthylife or tag me in the post.

Gettin fit: Old clothes challenge

Goals: 30 min of yoga/ 30 min workout daily | Eat 2-3 clean meals daily

Well, this past week I have a slipped a little, but I’m getting back to my routine. I decided to stop posting my “365 days of yoga” challenge pictures on Instagram. I found that I was so worried about getting a shot of the pose I was on that I wasn’t fully into my routine. Today was my first practice without taking any photos, and I felt like I got a lot more out of it.

So, I have 12 weeks left of my old clothes challenge and I have about 18 lbs I would love to shed. That’s a little over a lb a week and I do believe that I can do it. I just need to stick to my goals. For those of you who want to eat a little better and workout a little more, here is some inspiration:

Image belongs to Eat Hugger

Image belongs to Eat Hugger

I’m going to attempt this Italian Quinoa tonight for dinner. I got the recipe from the 30 Day Real Food Challenge with Eat Hugger and my girl Erin Motz. The challenge is definitely a good way to get into eating real food and there are some pretty good recipes in there.

Image belongs to Greatist

Image belongs to Greatist

I have been religiously following Fitness Blender for all of my workouts thus far, but I dig this 30 minute Bodyweight Workout from Greatist. While I think I get more from following the videos since I get to see exactly how you are supposed to do each pose, I do love listening to my tunes while I workout, so these are great. Also, I can print this out and take it outside if I want to take my workout outside.

So, I’m interested to see how my family will react to the quinoa tonight. I almost want to keep my camera out to capture the excitement.

What are your favorite real food recipes and/or bodyweight workouts? Share them in the comments and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #gettinfit. If you want more health and fitness inspiration, check out my Pinterest!

my surprisingly productive day

I have a ritual of making a list every morning when I get up. I write down what I want – no, what I need – to accomplish for the day and try my best to follow the list. But the same thing always happens. Cecilia barely takes any naps and needs my attention about every half hour.

So when she had a bad day yesterday, I woke up today knowing I wouldn’t get anything done. I planned for a day of lounging in our bed and watching movies all day.

I woke up at the normal time, but Cecilia wasn’t ready to get up yet, so I decided to go back to bed until she was ready. I would need all the sleep I could get. By the time she woke up, I had the formula ready and I was wide awake. I fed her and did some yoga before even leaving our room.

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Can you spot the swing in the background?

Then she was ready for another nap, and I made some breakfast. I officially started the Clean Eating diet today and have pledged to not drink any sodas for two weeks. If I can keep that up, I will start moving away from coffee. But not quite yet. So I decided to make my own homemade creamer, with a recipe I got from Acute Designs.

I didn’t have any sweetened condensed milk so I ended up making my own. Since I’m trying to limit my sugar intake, I traded the 1 cup of brown sugar for 2/3 cup of maple syrup and increased the flour from 2 tbsps to 4 tbsps. I know flour isn’t the greatest, but I used wheat flour, so it wasn’t too bad.

I organized and ordered prints of all my pictures and got my thank you cards done, both of which were on my spring cleaning list. Then I cleaned the house, which I haven’t been able to do in a while.

IMG_3278I have been wanting to try this quinoa + white bean burger recipe from how sweet it is and I finally had all the ingredients and the time to make it, so I did. And it came out lovely! To be more clear, I think this might be my new obsession. I also made some homemade fries, with the recipe I got from Sift, Stir & Savour.

IMG_3279After Cecilia woke up from her nap, we headed outside to work on the garden and I got most of our laundry done and applied for a couple of jobs.

Kind of insane the amount of stuff I got done so far today, all without a list. Maybe it’s better without one. I’m slowly learning that I no longer have a schedule of my own, I just follow Cecilia’s schedule. Because, after all, she’s the most important.