Quinoa Caprese Salad

Quinoa Caprese Salad is a simple and fresh dish with bright, beautiful colors. I used a combination of red and white quinoa, cooked it in my rice cooker (the only way to cook quinoa), fluffed the quinoa with quality fresh mozzarella (none of that gross rubbery stuff), evoo, salt and pepper, tomatoes and basil. Do not skimp on the basil! Basil is the power ingredient in this dish. Without it the salad will not have the same crisp, clean and refreshing taste. To chop your basil, roll a couple leaves like a cigar and give the roll a few quick clean chops. This will help prevent bruising. Nobody likes brown basil. This is a great salad to make in a big batch and portion out for weekday lunches. Your co-workers will be jealous!

1 cup dry quinoa
8-10 oz fresh mozzarella
1 carton grape tomatoes, halved
A few tablespoons of fresh chopped basil
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

1. Using a rice cooker, cook the quinoa. It comes out perfect every time! Rinse the quinoa before putting it in the rice cooker, add two cups of water, hit start and wait. You’ll never cook quinoa on the stove again.
2. Cool the cooked quinoa in the refrigerator for at least an hour before preparing the salad. IMPORTANT!
3. To prepare the salad, slice grape tomatoes in half and cut the mozzarella into bite size pieces. Mix together. Then, add the chopped basil and cooked quinoa and give the salad a toss. Next, drizzle on the evoo and season with a little salt and pepper. Give your salad a final toss and serve cool or at room temperature.

Runner’s World Black Forest Blizzard

Living off of blended foods for the week after I got four wisdom teeth pulled turned me away from smoothies. I have tried to get into the whole green smoothie fad as a way to pack in the leafy greens, but I am just not a smoothie person. This Runner’s World recipe, for example, had been hanging on my fridge for over a year. It even has chocolate! I finally blended it up last weekend after a run. Although it is not packed with spinach and kale, the protein from the greek yogurt and antioxidants from the cherries help reduce inflammation after a tough workout. The Black Forest Blizzard is the smoothie for non-smoothie lovers, tasting more like a light milkshake. I’m still working on drinking my greens, and finally blending up this Black Forest Blizzard is a step in the right direction. If anyone has green smoothie recipes that will convert me, send them my way!

1 cup frozen, dark sweet cherries
1 frozen banana (freeze them with the peel off)
1 cup dark chocolate almond milk
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons agave syrup
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Famous Chocolate Wafer for sprinkling (optional)

Combine all ingredients (expect the wafer) in a blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. Top with crumbled chocolate wafer.