Tag Archives: summer vegetables

Rainbow Noodle Salad with Soy Tahini Dressing

Living in Arizona, I feel like allergy season is every season that it is not “the surface of the sun” hot. And for whatever reason (probably the massive amounts of rain we got this “winter”) my allergies are so bad right now. Sinus, eyes, throat and even a horrible cough, is making me curse these “cooler” temperatures and wistfully awaiting the arrival of 100 degree days. They will be here soon enough.

Continue reading Rainbow Noodle Salad with Soy Tahini Dressing

Vegetable Quinoa Pilaf

I’ve been really trying to up my protein intake without adding additional animal protein (and all the fat and cholesterol that comes with it). I found a a fairly pure protein powder, Isopure  click here to learn more and I’ve added it to my morning smoothies on strength training days. Oatmeal has 10 grams of protein per cup, and of course black beans add 15 grams of protein for each cup. Quinoa is another grain that adds protein (8 grams per cup), while not a lot, is 3 grams more per cup than rice (and it’s really interchangeable with rice in most dishes).

I played around with quinoa in this dish, instead of rice, and added some summer vegetables. This makes a great side, or double the portion and add some black beans or edamame, serve it room temperature, or chilled, for a vegetarian lunch.

Vegetable Quinoa Pilaf


3 cups cooked quinoa, or grain blend

1 small crooked neck squash, diced (about 1 cup)

1 small zucchini, diced

1 cup portabella mushrooms, diced

1/2 red bell pepper

1 medium carrot, diced

1/2 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic

1 T olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Juice of 1/2 lemon

In a medium sauté pan over medium high heat, add olive oil the garlic, onion and carrot; sauté until onion is soft. Add pepper, squash, zucchini and mushrooms, cook for 5-10 min stirring occasionally until the vegetables just soften. Remove from heat. Stir in cooked quinoa, and sprinkle lemon juice over the top. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 6.

Can be served warm, room temperature or cold.

Makes a great side, and add cooked chickpeas, black beans, edamame or diced chicken to make it an entree salad (great for a lunch)

Per serving: Cal 161, Fat 4.3 Cholesterol 0 Carbohydrates 26 Fiber 4 Sugar 4 Protein 6

How keeping a food diary helps you lose weight

Hope everyone had a happy July Fourth weekend! A friend asked me over the weekend what my number 1 nutrition tip was for someone trying to lose weight and I said, hands down, without a doubt, keeping a food diary, closely followed by meal planning. Any registered dietitian or nutrition professional will emphasis the importance of tracking your food intake on a daily basis. Most nutrition experts will ask you to track your intake for several days prior to consultations, and then ask you to maintain the diary while under their care. There are several ways that keeping a food diary helps you manage your weight. Heres a list why you should do it:

  1. Simply writing down the things you consume, including drinks and snacks, helps hold you accountable. There are several apps for smart phones that make this process so easy and convenient; Myfitnesspal or fooducate ; both are free to sign up. If you don’t have access to a smart phone, using a small notebook to jot down everything and look up the nutritional information on the internet later.
  2. Sometimes just seeing the amount of food you have consumed is enough of a surprise to inspire change. Then looking up the nutritional content, or lack thereof, can have a sobering effect.
  3. If you suspect a food allergy, or suffer food borne illness, keeping a food diary can act as guide to decipher which foods may be the culprits.
  4. For those of us who are emotional eaters (I tend to eat when I am bored), keeping track of when we eat, what we ate and how we felt when we ate it helps us self-monitor our feelings and instigate behavioral changes.
  5. Keeping track of your daily nutritional intake can help you make sure you are consuming enough vitamin, minerals and fiber to keep your body healthy and free from deficiencies. And if you do have deficiencies, it’s almost always better to get added vitamins/minerals from your diet as opposed to supplements (food products are easier for your body to utilize)
  6. When you log your daily nutrition often enough, you start to learn which food choices are better, or worse, for your diet.

Some tips to help you keep a better diary:

  1. for the first 5 days, do not alter your eating habits. During the initial phase you are tracking your diet so that you can go back and look for trends and patterns. This helps you develop behavior modifications that are appropriate for your habits.
  2. track EVERYTHING! Every drink, a piece of gum, a half a chicken nugget, 4 french fries, everything gets counted.

I keep a diary all the time because I track my macros (especially when I am training for a race or doing a lot of strength training) and I want to make sure I am getting enough fiber (25 grams a day for women, 30 grams for men). Having IBS, getting enough fiber, as well as avoiding certain food triggers, helps keep it under control without using medication.

Here’s some fourth of July goodies I served up this weekend:

Quick Pickled Vegetables

Grillable Veggie Burgers – Minimalist Baker

Summer Couscous Salad

This is a good side instead of pasta salad! Very light and refreshing and since it is oil and vinegar based dressing, works well for outdoor barbecues!


1c whole wheat pearl couscous

1c vegetable broth

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

1/2 medium cucumber, diced

1c tomatoes (either cherry tomatoes cut in half, or beef steak tomatoes, seeded and diced)

1/4c red onion, diced

handful of fresh parsley, minced

2 oz feta cheese, crumbled

1T red wine vinegar

3T olive oil

1t honey

salt and pepper to taste

  1. cook couscous according to package direction, using vegetable broth instead of water; allow to cool when cooked
  2. whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper in separate bowl
  3. mix together couscous, bell pepper, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, feta cheese and parsley together in a large bowl. Add dressing, tossing well.
  4. serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.