Travel Tuesday: Spinach Quinoa from Westside Market NYC

This recipe from comes from the Westside Market NYC, a top market in New York, which has been in business for almost 50 years. Their market has seen a rise in the number of people purchasing quinoa at their four locations. Quinoa’s health benefits include it being a gluten free grain, boosting brain power and having high levels of iron and calcium. Maria Zoitas, wife of Westside Market’s founder John Zoitas, the creator of the “made by Maria” line of prepared foods at the market. Here is one of Maria’s healthy creations.

About Westside Market NYC:

Established in 1965, Westside Market NYC has been deeply engrained in the fabric of Manhattan’s Upper Westside life. A rare find in the food market business, Westside Market NYC is family owned and operated in the truest sense. Born and raised on a farm in Roupakia, a village on the island of Lefkada, Greece, John Zoitas arrived in the U.S. from Greece more than 45 years ago. He brought with him a love of fresh-grown produce, authentic cooking, and a steadfast commitment to service and quality. Each of our locations enjoys a remarkably loyal following, which is no surprise; it’s a direct result of the fact that the Zoitas family takes great pride in every aspect of their business. Under the tutelage of his father John, George Zoitas has taken the reigns of Westside Market NYC and made it into the premier market it is today. Our mission is simple: to become your favorite neighborhood food market and caterer of choice by offering the highest quality foods and hard-to-find products supported by friendly, personalized, efficient service. Discover Westside Market NYC, and experience the difference! For more information visit www.wmarketnyc.com

Quinoa Chicken Fried Rice Recipe

My oldest son, Alec, has been begging me to make homemade fried rice for a while. I decided to twist the basic recipe and make it with quinoa instead of rice. This Quinoa Chicken Fried Rice recipe is a hit for something new and different for your weeknight table, especially if you’re looking for something gluten-free, healthy and hearty. Feel free to substitute rice for the quinoa if you wish, but I love that quinoa is a gluten-free, nutty grain that is a complete protein which is high in fiber, low in calories and is high in iron, magnesium and calcium.

Weekend Inspiration: Recipes, Decor, Yoga

Happy First weekend of March everyone! I thought I would share some awesome inspirational favorites I saw this week via the web. But first, I thought I wanted to share (again) one of my favorite recipes for Breakfast Almond and Raspberry Quinoa which has been so highly requested. Look for big, big news on my site next week. Thanks for everyone’s continued support! Have a great weekend, Alison

Fabulous beyond words via Pinterest

Incredible Laundry Inspiration via Houzz

 Amazing Yoga Inspiration

Creamy Broccoli Spinach Soup via Gourmande in the Kitchen

Funfetti Sandwich Cookies with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting via Bakers Royale

Quinoa Salad with Almonds, Cranberries and Mint

Quinoa is one of my favorite Super Foods of 2012. I talked a great deal about quinoa this weekend at my nutrition/healthy eating seminar including how to pronounce it, purchase it and cook it. I had a lot of wonderful questions regarding this gluten-free grain. One serving of quinoa provides all 8 essential amino acids, and it is high in protein and fiber. It’s also a wonderful grain for those on a gluten-free diet, and it works wonderful for breakfast, a side, in soups and salads. I recommend buying the rinsed version to make your life even easier. I developed this recipe for Quinoa Salad with Almonds, Cranberries and Mint for Thanksgiving for Honeysuckle White and Shady Brook Farms Turkey. It makes a great side dish or salad, and my kids absolutely loved it. Add grilled chicken or shrimp if you wish for a main dish salad.

Healthy Soup Recipes & 6th Annual Acoustic Soup Event

I have been on a soup kick this month, and I am so excited to judge this year’s Acoustic Soup in Birmingham, Alabama at Workplay on January 26th. This event will feature soup from talented Birmingham chef’s and restaurants benefitting VSA Alabama, which serves children and adults with chronic disabilities through the arts. Please come and bring your families for great food and a wonderful cause. Here are some of my favorite soup recipes such as my Chipotle Vegetarian Chili (pictured above) and others from my favorite magazines and blogs such as this Tortilla Soup from Sunset Magazine and My Recipes (pictured below).

Beef and Barley Soup from Better Homes and Gardens 

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Roasted Red Bell Pepper Soup from A Spicy Perspective

Healthy Warm Lentil Soup from Ingredients, Inc

 Rustic Roasted Tomato Soup from Family Fresh Cooking

Beef, Potato and Quinoa Soup from Skinny Taste

Favorite Recipes and Healthy Blog Posts of 2011

Happy New Year everyone! It has been a blast to work on my blog this past year, and I appreciate everyone’s continued support. Breakfast Almond and Raspberry Quinoa (pictured above) was one of my top recipes of the year, and here are some other favorite blog posts of 2011 from my site:

Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Muffins

Panko Fish Sticks with Edamame Salsa

No Bake Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Saucepan Popcorn and Healthy Back to School Snacks

3 Ingredient Peppermint Milkshakes

10 Health Benefits of Blackberries

Best Foods for Runners

Health Benefits of Cherries

How To Get Lean

10 Reasons Why to Love Yoga

Top 10 Ways to Find Balance in Your Life

Happy Thanksgiving and Healthy Holiday Recipes

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Have a wonderful holiday season! I have so many things to be thankful for, and I appreciate everyone’s continued support. I want to share a Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday menu I developed for Honeysuckle White and Shady Brook Farms. I had a blast working on this project, and all of the recipes are “lightened up,” so enjoy. Check out Autumn Quinoa Salad, Rosemary Garlic Citrus Rub, Pomegranate Cider, and Lightened Up Sweet Potato Casserole, just to name a few.

Breakfast Almond and Raspberry Quinoa

I’m a huge fan of quinoa, and one of my favorite ways to enjoy it, is for breakfast. Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah) is one of the “it” or “super” grains right now, and it’s one of the best plant sources of protein with more high quality protein than any other grain. It’s loaded with protein, fiber and, best of all, is gluten-free. It is light, tasty and easy to digest, with a slightly nutty flavor. This recipe for Breakfast Almond and Raspberry Quinoa is fabulous. I had all 3 of my kids try it too, and they loved it. I love the combination of using almond milk, almonds and raspberries, but feel free to use any of your favorite fruits and toppings. Enjoy!

How to Store & Freeze Basil & Gluten-Free Recipes

Basil is a wonderful herb to use year-round, but its growth season is during the summer months. Here are some tips on how to store it for later use. Storing basil in the refrigerator isn’t a long-term solution, but it works great for short term. Just place it in a glass of water and change the water daily. Freezing is a popular method of storing basil. Place 1 tablespoon basil in an ice cube with water and freeze. When you’re ready to use it, just take out an ice cube, and use it in your recipe. Another way is to place the leaves in a food processor with a little oil, and then place it in an airtight container. See my friend, Kalyn, from Kalyn’s Kitchen for more great information on this tutorial. You can freeze basil for up to 6 months if you use a properly sealed container. Here are a few of my favorite gluten-free recipes using basil such as Quinoa with Lemon and Fresh Herbs

Kaniwa with Lemon, Basil and Tomatoes

Game Day Basil Bloody Marys

Quinoa with Lemon and Fresh Herbs

We love cooking with quinoa because it’s so healthy, gluten-free, versatile, and my 3 kids love it. My sister recently made this recipe: Quinoa with Lemon and Herbs, originally from  Giada De Laurentiis from the Food Network. It tastes a lot like orzo or pasta with fresh herbs and lemon juice. This recipe uses fresh basil, thyme and parsley, but feel free to use any combination of herbs. I added Parmesan to mine, but feta or goat cheese would work great too. This quinoa recipe makes a wonderful side dish served with fish, chicken or pork, and it can be prepared in under 30 minutes.