Bacon Leek Rice with White Wine Butter Sauce

This bacon and leek rice is the perfect grown-up stunner that can serve as an entree or side dish. With a decadent white wine and butter sauce, plus veggies and brown rice, this comforting bowl of goodness can be easily cooked up with relatively minimal hands-on cook time, and is a good blend of healthier choices and holiday cheer.

Bacon Leek Rice with White Wine Butter Sauce Nourish Wild

If your family is anything like mine, Christmas and the holiday season brings on several pot-luck dinner events. My strategy is to always bring something that I know I want to eat a lot of, just in case the other options are not quite agreeable to my little tummy (people tend to like cheese in everything, and I ain’t about dat lactose yo). So this past weekend when I heard the main side was going to be mac-n-cheese, I knew I needed to bring something that I could pile high on my plate and be a happy (not hangry) camper for the rest of the day.

I’ve made a similar dish with pasta a few times for dinner, but I wanted to change it up and make it a little more refined, so I took the bacon and leek combo to the next level. I also know that my palate is a little different than the majority of everyone else in my family, so I wanted to up the decadence points in hopes that it wouldn’t taste too “healthy.” Enter wine and butter. If that doesn’t say “happy holidays!” I don’t know what does. Wine, butter, and bacon… Close your mouth, you’re drooling. Don’t worry, there are some peas in there for good measure.

Bacon Leek Rice with White Wine Butter Sauce Nourish Wild

This recipe is meant to be shared, so it makes a pretty decent amount of food. If you’re making it for 2-4 people, I would cut this recipe in half.

The rice I used is brown rice, and I always try to get sprouted grains for more easy digestion, but you can use any kind of rice you prefer. If I were making this for just the two of us, I would have used wild rice, but I thought that may have been a little too “out there” for a pot luck event. Do your thang, whatever that may be.

With Christmas coming up this week, the New Year is right around the corner! And we have lots of exciting things coming that you should check back for in the New Year including:

The Groundwork Guide ebook: We are really excited about this and Andrew has been hard at work putting the finishing touches on his shiny new project. If you feel like you just need a good starting point to begin your journey of living healthier, and you want tips of how to incorporate healthier choices (both nutritionally and activity-wise) into your every day life, this ebook is the perfect beginner guide.

Free 7 Day Challenge: Don’t feel ready to make a monitary commitment to a new lifestyle, but instead just want to try it out for a few days? Our 7 Day Challenge is a great choice! The first one will be coming in early January 🙂

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Bacon Leek Rice with White Wine Butter Sauce Nourish Wild

Bacon Leek Rice with White Wine Butter Sauce

  • 2 cups uncooked rice of choice (I prefer brown or wild sprouted rice) + the amount of water recommended on package
  • 5 slices of bacon, cut into 1/4 inch strips
  • 2-3 leeks, chopped into 1/4 inch strips (check out this video for a demo)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 Tbsp grass-fed butter
  • 1/4 cup stock (I used chicken stock)
  • 1/3 cup white wine (I used sauv. blanc)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook the rice according to the package. Note: you will add in the following sauce the last 10 minutes of cooking.
  2. Start making your sauce by first cooking your bacon in a medium sauce pan. Cook until the bacon is crispy.
  3. Once the bacon is crispy, add the olive oil, butter, leeks, garlic, wine, lemon juice and stock to the sauce pan with the bacon, and bring to a simmer. Let this sauce simmer until the leeks are soft and cooked down.
  4. When the rice has 10 minutes remaining to cook, add the prepared sauce and the frozen peas to the rice. Mix together, and allow to cook all together for the remaining 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Asian Stir Fry (Soy-Free, Gluten-Free)

Let’s be honest, in most homes (at least here in the US) Chinese food is a weekly staple. Unfortunately, it’s hard to come by junk-free stir fry. Until now… Soy-Free, Gluten-Free, and none of the bad stuff means you can indulge. Filled with veggies, and real stir fry flavor. Don’t worry, the leftovers are just as good as your usual take-out. 

First, let’s address the elephant in the room. It’s been a ghost town the last few months here at YAA. Andrew and I both somehow found ourselves working 3 jobs (yes, I mean 6 total) plus I was taking a class while he was studying for his Health Coach certification. Let’s just say 2015 hasn’t been the most stress-free year so far. Unfortunately, that meant letting some things slide. Things such as our little creative outlet here… and our social lives… and our sanity. Luckily, we’ve moved past that tough spot, survived, and are heading forward. Onward and upward, my friends, onward and upward. Speaking of which, our website will be changing in the next few months! With Andrew getting his Health Coach certification, it’s going to get a makeover to be more focused on his business, which is incredibly exciting! Just you wait.

So what better way to say “we’re baaaack” than with some Asian Stir Fry? I can’t even talk about how much I love Asian flavors. In college, I would say about 4 or 5 out of my 7 dinners per week were Asian flavored. Mostly because it’s relatively easy. Cook some rice, throw some veggies in a skillet, and pour some sauce over it, ta da! Dinner of champions. But ever since refocusing my eating habits and eliminating that processed shtuff that is a usual go-to (I’m looking at you, Kikkoman) I’ve been really disappointed by my Asian flavored attempts. It was never right. Coconut aminos always seemed too sweet, but I wasn’t sure where else to go with it. After pouring over “paleo-fied” Asian recipes, I finally managed a combination that is not just sufficient, it’s amazing. I’m serious. I ate this for dinner last night and for lunch today and I was really, really sad when it was gone. If I had more ingredients to make it (and if Andrew wouldn’t think I was a crazy person) I would make it again tonight.

Soy-Free Gluten-Free Asian Stir Fry

I used rice noodles because I had never used them before and thought it would be yummaayyy (I was right) but you could use regular rice, or no rice at all if you’re into that kind of thang. You could also sub different veggies, or meats. Chicken or shrimp would be perfect as well. Do whatever feels right in that Asian-inspired heart of yours. I topped it was fresh cilantro because we both lurve cilantro and I actually think the flavor adds a lot to this dish, but I know that apparently it tastes like soap to some of you, so ya know, don’t add it if that’s the case. Also, I put grass-fed butter in the sauce because it makes it thicker and creamier and silkier and delishier, but if you want it to be dairy-free, just leave it out.


Soy-Free Gluten-Free Asian Stir Fry

Asian Stir Fry

  • 1 lb grass-fed beef (flank steak works well), sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced into coins
  • 1/2 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 cup of broccoli slaw (the kind that comes pre-shredded in a bag)
  • 1/2 cup of baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup coconut aminos
  • 1/2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 Tbsp unfiltered honey
  • 2 Tbsp grass-fed butter (I use Kerrygold)
  • 1/2 of a 14 oz box of Asian style rice noodles (make sure rice and water are the only ingredients)
  • 1/4 tsp each salt, black pepper, and ground ginger
  • Avocado or coconut oil to coat skillet
  • Red pepper flakes or hot sauce to taste
  • Fresh cilantro (optional)
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine coconut aminos, fish sauce, honey, garlic, ground ginger,and butter (butter doesn’t need to be melted). Set aside.
  2. Cook rice noodles according to manufacturer instructions. Set aside. Tip: If they seem like they are going to stick together, add some water into the pot/bowl in which they are sitting until you are ready to use.
  3. Add the avocado or coconut oil to a large hot skillet. Saute the beef in the oil until barely pink, and season with salt and black pepper. Remove the meat with tongs and set aside, leaving the residual liquid in the skillet.
  4. To the skillet, add your coconut aminos mixture. Cook this sauce over medium heat at a slow simmer until it starts to thicken. (You will notice that the bubbles seem thicker, this should take about 5 minutes. Don’t let it burn, low and slow is all it needs.)
  5. To the thickened sauce, add all of your veggies (onions, bell peppers, carrots, broccoli slaw and mushrooms). Stir until the veggies are coated in the sauce.
  6. Cook these veggies at medium to medium-high heat, until they are softened to your preference. The onions should be close to translucent.
  7. Add you noodles and meat to the veggies. Toss until thoroughly combined.
  8. Top with cilantro and serve!

Makes 4 servings


Quinoa and Spinach Patties (Gluten-Free)

These meatless (and gluten-free) quinoa and spinach burgers are easy to make in a big batch and freeze. Reheat in only 15 minutes, perfect for when you don’t have time or energy to cook. Plant-based protein and greens in one neat little patty package! Meatless Monday anyone?

Quinoa and Spinach Patties (Gluten-Free). Perfect freezer meal!

These little guys are something I used to make in college a lot, mainly because they freeze and reheat like a dream, so they’re awesome for making a big batch and having them stocked up and ready to go when you don’t feel like cooking. Now, Mr. Meat-Every-Meal Andrew wasn’t through the roof about the idea of a non-meat burger, but even he said it was good, so I’ll take it. I used sprouted quinoa, which is more easily digested than non-sprouted grains, but note that we do still monitor our grain intake. They aren’t something to go overboard with if you want to keep your gut health in check. Oh, and this is also a great way to get some extra greens in!

Quinoa and Spinach Patties (Gluten-Free). Perfect freezer meal!

I particularly like these for lunch. They would pair perfectly with a big, fresh salad. Yuuummm.

Quinoa and Spinach Patties (Gluten-Free). Perfect freezer meal!

Quinoa and Spinach Patties (Gluten-Free). Perfect as a freezer meal!

Quinoa and Spinach Patties (Gluten-Free)

  •  1.5 cups of sprouted quinoa (dry)
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup white onion, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 2 Tbsp potato starch
  • 2 large handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1/4 tsp each salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and italian seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp + 1/4 cup avocado oil
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the dry quinoa and water, and cook as directed on the package until done.
  2. In a large pot, add your onion, garlic, avocado oil, salt, black pepper, red pepper and italian seasoning. Saute until the onions are translucent. Add the spinach and stir until the spinach is wilted.
  3. Once both the onion and quinoa are done, remove from heat and add the quinoa to the onion/garlic mixture in the large pot. To this mixture, add the eggs, coconut flour and potato starch. Mix until thoroughly combined. The mixture should stick together relatively well and should start to form a ball.
  4. Heat the 1/4 cup avocado oil over medium to medium-high heat in a large skillet.
  5. Drop 1/4 cup sized balls of your quinoa batter into the hot skillet, being sure to give each patty space to cook and not overcrowd the pan.
  6. Cook each patty until it is firm, and golden brown on each side. Add more oil to the pan as needed. Repeat until no batter is left.

Makes about 14 patties.

 Please note that some of the links in the above post are affiliate links that will take you to an page. If you choose to purchase a product featured in this post using an affiliate link, you will be directly supporting You’re An Animal. Thanks!

No-Bean Chili


Ah chili. The most soul-warming, hearty meal around. In college, I made chili often in the winter because it was cheap to make. I made it meatless with a store-bought packet of who-knows-what, a can of tomato sauce and a can of beans, and it was ready in 10 minutes after just throwing everything in a pot and heating it up. It got the job done, but little did I know the damage those kind of nutrient-lacking meals were doing to my body. Now, I’m cooking a tastier, healthier, heartier chili that is full of grass-fed meat and a bunch of veggies. The perfect meal to curl up next to the Christmas tree and snuggle up in a blanket with.


This is a completely customizable recipe. Change out the meat (turkey, chicken), add different veggies (squash, zucchini), make it spicier… whatever chili means for you! The reason we skipped out on the beans, however, is because beans are not that great for our intestinal system. You know what kind of reputation beans have, don’t you? Well, when a food creates an uncomfortable situation, it often is a signal that your body is having a hard time processing it. And for me, well, beans and I definitely do not get along. As we all know, all bodies are created differently, but if you’re interested in reading more about the potential harm of legumes, you can check out this write up, or do a google search about legumes and “leaky gut”!

No-Bean Chili

  • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced (check out how to prepare garlic to maximize the health benefits here)
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped to your size preference
  • 2 carrot sticks, chopped to your size preference
  • 1 green pepper (or 5 mini sweet peppers), chopped to your size preference
  • 1 cup chicken stock, or bone broth
  • 1 16oz can of tomato sauce
  • 1 8oz can of tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp dark chili powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp each: paprika, cumin, ground yellow mustard
  • 1/4 tsp each: salt, cinnamon
  • cayenne to taste
  • 2 Tbsp grass fed butter
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large sauce pot (one that has a lid) at medium/high heat.
  2. Add all chopped veggies (celery, carrot, pepper, onion, garlic) to the heated oil. Saute for 2-4 minutes, or until they just start to soften.
  3. Add the meat and all of your spices to the veggies. Brown the meat through, chopping with a spoon or spatula as it cooks to break up the meat and allow it all to get cooked evenly, and to distribute the spices. Saute until the meat is crumbled, and no pink remains.
  4. Add the chicken stock, tomato sauce, and tomato paste. Stir until combined.
  5. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and allow the flavors to meld for at least 10 minutes… but the longer it sits, the better the flavors combine.

Makes approximately 4 servings.


Autumn Salad with Spiced Pumpkin Seeds


Autumn really is a great foodie season. Getting creative with the seasonal fruits, veggies, squashes, and spices has been really fun so far, and I love having a definite theme. Also, this is an amazing benefit of trying to consciously eat seasonal and local! A couple weekends ago, Andrew and I had dinner at one of our favorite restaurants here in RVA, Stella’s. Stella’s is a Greek restaurant owned by our friend Katrina, and we are frequent visitors. And by frequent, I mean pretty much all of the wait staff not only recognize us, but also know which appetizer is our favorite must-have. But one thing I love about Stella’s is that while I do have my favorite appetizer that I always order, I almost always get a different entree. I know I’m not alone in saying that at most restaurants I find my go-to dish and never venture outside of that comfort zone. But at Stella’s, I never know what I’m getting until I hear the specials. They have new specials all the time, and they’re always amazing. So I often wait for the server to rattle off those little delicacy options before choosing my dinner. The last time Andrew and I ate at Stella’s we tried the salad special… and I loved it so much I made my own version. Stella’s version had a kale base, with butternut squash, radishes, and spiced pumpkin seeds. For my version, I swapped the radishes for apples, added my favorite Goat Cheese Balsamic Vinaigrette, and let the autumn lovin’ begin.


This salad perfectly embodies everything Fall. It’s got fresh, crisp apples, creamy butternut squash (oh hellllooooo Vitamin A… win-win-win situation we’ve got going on here), and spiced pumpkin seeds that are a treat in themselves. Add the perfect blend of tangy and savory with the goat cheese balsamic dressing, and you’ve got a winner. Hearty kale just pulls that whole thing together for a healthy, mouth watering salad. You can make this a side dish at Thanksgiving (or you know… any other meal of the season), or add some protein (chicken or turkey perhaps?) and it’s a meal in itself!

Remember how I said the spiced pumpkin seeds are a treat? Well, they are such a treat that they even get their own side recipe. Lucky little pepitas.


Spiced Pumpkin Seeds (aka Pepitas)

  • 2 cups of Sprouted Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1/3 cup of Coconut Palm Sugar
  • 2 tsp of molasses
  • 1 Tbsp grass-fed butter (I use Kerrygold)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • cayenne pepper to taste
  1. Lay out a sheet of aluminum foil or parchment paper to transfer the seeds to once done.
  2. Combine the coconut sugar, molasses, cinnamon, salt, paprika, cumin and cayenne in a small bowl. You may need to use your fingers to fully incorporate the molasses.
  3. Place the seeds in a nonstick skillet, and toast them just slightly until they smell nutty and are lightly browned.
  4. Pour the sugar spice mixture over the seeds, and stir to combine.
  5. Add the butter.
  6. Stir the mixture until the sugar and butter are melted, and the seeds are coated.
  7. Quickly transfer the seeds to the foil/parchment and spread them out as much as you can.
  8. Allow them to completely cool, then break up any chunks. Store in cool dry place, or fridge.

These pumpkin seeds are sweet and spicy, and are really what ties together this Autumn salad. They would also be perfect for a topping on pumpkin bread or muffins, or on a pie, or just eaten by themselves! Anywhere you would use spiced pecans, you can use these spiced pumpkin seeds.

The other elements of this recipe are also fantastic alone, which is why this salad is such a winner. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and the sum of its parts is already pretty bangin’. The spices from the pumpkin seeds are carried over to the butternut squash, which brings those two elements together. The tart crunch of the apples provides perfect contrast to the creamy sweetness of the squash, and that tartness of the apple is also in perfect harmony with the sour balsamic in the dressing. Seriously… have I sold you yet?


Autumn Salad

  • 3-4 large leaves of kale, de-ribbed and chopped (about 4-5 cups)
  • 1 cup of butternut squash, diced into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, diced into 1/4 inch pieces
  • Spiced pumpkin seeds (see recipe above)
  • 1/4 tsp each cinnamon, salt, cumin, paprika
  • cayenne to taste
  • avocado oil or olive oil to saute squash
  • Goat Cheese Balsamic Vinaigrette (mix all ingredients together in a mixing bowl, or shake in a mason jar)
    • 3 tbsp avocado or olive oil
    • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
    • 1/2 tbsp of soft goat cheese
    • 1/2 tsp each of salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and dried yellow mustard powder
  1. Heat avocado oil/olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add diced butternut squash to the heated oil.
  3. Add spices (cinnamon, salt, cumin, paprika and cayenne) to the squash. Stir to coat the squash in the spices.
  4. Saute the squash, stirring occasionally, until the squash is fork tender.
  5. Once the squash is cooked, assemble your salads, evenly distributing the kale, apples, squash and topping the salad with your desired about of spiced pumpkin seeds and balsamic vinaigrette.
  6. This makes either 2 entree-sized salads, or 4 side salads. Enjoy!



Please note that some of the links in the above post are affiliate links that will take you to an page. If you choose to purchase a product featured in this post using an affiliate link, you will be directly supporting You’re An Animal. Thanks!

Steak Tacos with Grain-Free Tortillas & Guacamole Broccoli Slaw


Remember that trip to Portland, Oregon that I keep raving about? Well here’s another recipe inspired by that trip! This one comes from our amazing lunch at Cultured Cavemen, a Paleo restaurant in Portland. This meal is specifically inspired by my lunch of carnitas, complete with grain-free tortillas and slaw. I took a different spin with my recipe, however, and did steak tacos instead. Plus a guacamole broccoli slaw that is the easiest thing you will ever whip up (you’ll wonder why you never thought of it), and grain-free tortillas for an amazing Taco Tuesday (or Taco Errrryday). Every element of this recipe is a star in its own right. The steak tacos are seasoned to perfection, and made with grass-fed steak which makes it wholesome and nutritious on top of being delicioso. And not to mention a great way to get that Vitamin B12 in, a critical member of the Vitamin B complex family! No need for store-bought seasoning with the added sodium and preservatives. This seasoning combo is easy to throw together with spices you likely already have in the cabinet! Then we have the guacamole broccoli slaw. A spectacularly easy way to get in the veggies without even realizing it, in perfect combination with the must-have guac. Oh and then the tortillas. You know, just a grain-free, gluten-free tortilla that is pliable, roll-able, fold-able, hold-able, and delectable. Stupid Easy Paleo nailed it with this one, so I’ve just ever so slightly adapted her recipe to complete this taco night meal. So on that note, who’s bringing the margs? I’m ready to eat!



Steak Tacos with Grain-Free Tortillas & Guacamole Broccoli Slaw

  • Taco Meat:
    • Approximately 0.75-1 lb of grass-fed steak (I use Sirloin) cut into cubes that are about 0.5-0.75 of an inch
    • About 1 tsp each of dark chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and cumin
    • Salt, black pepper, and cayenne to taste
    • Avocado oil to coat the pan
  • Grain-Free Tortillas (from Stupid Easy Paleo):
    • 4 eggs
    • 1/2 cup of your choice of starch (arrowroot, tapioca or potato)
    • 2 tsp of coconut flour
    • 2 Tbsp water
    • 2 tsp grass-fed butter, melted (I use Kerrygold)
    • 1/4 tsp each of garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper
  • Guacamole Broccoli Slaw
    • about 2 cups of broccoli slaw (I get the pre-made bagged kind, with broccoli, carrots, and red cabbage)
    • about 0.5-0.75 cups of your favorite guacamole (if I don’t make my own, I love the one Whole Foods makes)
  1. Start with the tortillas. In a large mixing bowl, combine all of your tortilla ingredients. Use an electric mixer to combine the ingredients, in order to most effectively eliminate the lumps from your mixture, until very smooth but not to the point of frothing the eggs.
  2. Use an 8-inch, non-stick skillet to make the tortillas. Heat the skillet on medium heat. Once heated, pour about 1/4 cup of the tortilla batter onto the skillet, and roll the batter around in the skillet so it is evenly coated (like making a french crepe). Cook about 1 minute on each side, until lightly browned. The edges will curl away from the pan. If you have any issues with this process, you can refer to the original recipe and instructions for these tortillas here. This will make 6 tortillas. Allow the tortillas to cool, or keep them warm in a warm oven.
  3. Next, prepare your guacamole broccoli slaw by combining your broccoli slaw with your guacamole in a medium sized mixing bowl. That’s it!
  4. Now, prepare you taco meat. Coat a large skillet with avocado oil (1-2 Tbsp) and heat the skillet over medium-high heat. Once the skillet is heated, add your cubed meat. Stir the meat in the skillet, coating the meat with the oil. Add your taco seasoning spice mix, and stir until it coats the meat and combined with the oil to make a taco sauce. The meat will cook very quickly when cubed! You only need to saute for about 1-3 minutes total, in order to keep the meat nice and tender.
  5. Assemble your goodies, evenly distributing your meat and slaw over the tortillas. Eat up!

Makes 6 tacos.



Cod Jambalaya


Oh my my. I could eat this for every meal for a week, no joke. This recipe came from our need to stretch our budget a little bit farther, as money has been a little bit tight. So instead of housing $20 worth of cod in one sitting, we decided to draw it out by putting it in this oh-so-yummy-in-my-tummy jambalaya-esque stew. Now hear me out, you Nawlins die-hards. I say jambalaya-esque because I know it is not a tried and true jambalaya recipe, and I am sure there are rules and regulations that I know nothing about when it comes to cooking a traditional jambalaya. But that being said, the flavors and composition are definitely a solid nod to the Louisiana specialty, so I will leave it at that. This stew though is one of those comfort foods that makes you want to curl up on the couch with a big ol’ bowl and watch a movie with wine and a blanket. Now if that isn’t a cozy thought, I don’t know what is. Warm, hearty, filling, and flavorful. Plus it makes a lot of food, so perfect for a family meal or for leftovers! Both Andrew and I get two full meals out of this recipe. And bonus! This is absolutely one of those meals that actually tastes even better the next day. You can easily substitute any protein in this recipe, or add sausage, chicken and shrimp for that more traditional jambalaya mix, but if you’re like us and want to get some quality seafood and make it last, I would definitely suggest sticking with the cod!

This whole week was devoted to preparing for a little obstacle race we like to call the Spartan Race. And by “little obstacle race” I mean actually one of the most physically grueling events I have ever put my body through. So in an effort to bulk up a little before the race, we ate way more carbs/grains than usual, including rice in this jambalaya. However, we found a sprouted rice trio (link in recipe below) that we loved with this meal, didn’t make our tum-tums ache, and filled us up to the brim, so it turned out well.

So… let’s talk about this Spartan Race. For those who have never heard of such a thing, maybe you should keep it that way. Just kidding, kind of. Yesterday we did the Virginia Super Spartan, which is the middle level of their 3 race options in terms of distance. The catch, however, is that this particular race happened to be at Wintergreen, which is a ski resort here in Virginia. And the race took place on the double black diamond mountains. Which means we spent 5 hours hiking/slipping up and down a muddy (it rained) 7.2 miles of mountains, with challenging obstacles strategically placed throughout. We heard several people saying this race was harder than many of the “Beast” level Spartan races, because while those races are longer in distance, they aren’t usually on mountain sides. Oh and also NBC filmed it. Which to me says it was “something special.” Yeehaw. We made it over the finish line, but just barely. Needless to say, I’m spending most of today on the couch.


Cod Jambalaya

  • about 1 lb of wild cod
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped (make sure the pepper and celery are chopped to approximately the same sized pieces)
  • 1.5 cups of Truroots Organic Accents Sprouted Rice Trio or rice of your choice
  • 8 oz of chicken stock
  • 2 cups of water
  • 16 oz of tomato sauce
  • approximately 1 tsp each of celery salt, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder and onion powder
  • approximately 1/2 tsp each of salt, black pepper, and italian seasoning
  • cayenne pepper to taste (I only use a couple dashes, but I’m not a fan of spicy foods)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle the cod with a pinch of the spice mix.
  2. Cook the cod in the oven for approximately 15 minutes, or until the cod has split open. Let rest once cooked.
  3. In a large pot with a lid, saute the onion until soft and translucent.
  4. To the pot, add the water, chicken stock, and rice. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to simmer.
  5. Cover and cook the rice for about half of the designated time on the package (about 15 minutes for the Truroots Sprouted Rice Trio).
  6. Half way through cooking the rice, add the peppers, celery, tomato sauce, and spice mix, and stir to incorporate.
  7. Replace the lid on the pot, and cook the rice mixture for the remaining time based on the package (for the Truroots trio, about 10 minutes).
  8. Turn off the heat, and add the cod, breaking it into large chunks, and folding it in.
  9. Replace the lid of the pot once again, and allow the mixture to steam, without added heat, for another 10 minutes.
  10. Most of the liquid should be absorbed by the rice, but some will remain for a thick, saucy mixture. Once done steaming, stir one last time to fluff the rice and incorporate all of the ingredients. Enjoy!



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Wilted Spinach Quinoa with Avocado Pesto (Gluten-Free)


Oh quinoa. What a trendy little tasty item you are. I know we have all caught the quinoa bug in the last couple of years, don’t even try to lie to yourself. You can’t read any quinoa recipe without attaching the word “healthy” to it, but I know some people would argue against that buzzword. Truth be told, as far as I can tell, the verdict is still out on quinoa. Is it a grain? Is it a seed? Is it here to stay, or just a passerby? Here’s my response: Who cares… it tastes good and doesn’t throw my digestive system into a tizzy. So every once in a while when I need something to throw together quickly for a hot lunch, I’ll grab the quinoa. Fifteen minutes, one pot, good to go. I do opt for the sprouted version (you can read more about sprouting in my watermelon seed post), which is meant to make digestion of seeds/grains easier (technically you’re eating a very infantile plant). So yesterday, when I was driving home and 100% focused what can I make for lunch that was quick, easy, and not a salad (hey, sometimes you can only handle so many salad lunches… I know you feel me on that) I went for the quinoa and whatever we had in the fridge. Luckily, I already had my avocado pesto made (I was serious when I said I almost always have some in the fridge), so all I needed to do was cook the quinoa, throw in some spinach while the quinoa was still hot so it would wilt, and the top it with the pesto and a little goat cheese if you want the extra creaminess and slightly sour bite. And bonus! It fed me for lunch yesterday AND today! Wowee I love when I don’t have to think about making something for lunch. Now, quinoa does have some protein in it (about 6 grams per 1/4 cup, which is one reason the healthfoodie world has rejoiced over the prevalence of quinoa), but if you want to add some more protein I say yes! Chicken or shrimp would be good with this for sure. So there ya go, your next easy meal, ready and waiting!

Wilted Spinach Quinoa with Avocado Pesto

  1. Cook the quinoa according the the package directions.
  2. Once the quinoa is finished cooking and still very hot, throw in the spinach and let the heat of the quinoa wilt the greens. Stir the spinach into the quinoa, and cover the pot if needed to let the spinach fully wilt.
  3. Stir in the pesto, until the mixture is covered in the sauce.
  4. Top with goat cheese if you choose.



Seared Ahi Tuna Salad with Goat Cheese Balsamic Vinaigrette


This salad is our #1 go-to meal when I need a quick-fix meal. Our jobs often have us working late (trainer lyyyfe), which means I most certainly do not feel like making a big, involved meal when I get home around 9pm on a Monday. It’s so simple, yet the flavors are huge: the perfect mix of salty, sweet, creamy and spicy. I actually stole this recipe idea from a meal I had at Firebirds (thanks, yo!), which uses shrimp. Because of that, I too often use shrimp in this recipe, but I just happened to want seared tuna the other night and voila! It worked like a charm! Sub any protein you can imagine, but so far I’ve really liked it with the seafood flavors. Okay, okay, enough building it up for ya, let me break it down: Starts with the greens, to make you feel especially health-nutty (or maybe just nutty?). Then it gets a nice coat of the most perfectly blended homemade dressing. Goat cheese and balsamic explosion right on those taste buds. Salty, creamy, acidic. Which just so happens to marry perfectly with some sliced strawberries. Sweet to cut the sour and all of that, ya know? And then seared ahi tuna for that tender, lean yet hearty protein. Have I sold it yet? You better just go and make it to find out for yourself what an easy yet powerful meal this is!

Seared Ahi Tuna Salad with Goat Cheese Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 1 Wild Ahi (Yellowfin) Tuna Steak
  • 2 large handfuls of greens (I use a powerblend)
  • 6-8 sliced strawberries
  • Goat Cheese Balsamic Vinaigrette:
  • 3 tbsp avocado or olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp of soft goat cheese
  • a pinch each of salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and dried yellow mustard powder
  1. Heat a grill pan on medium high heat.
  2. Place the tuna on the pan once hot, and cook the tuna steak about 2-3 minutes on each side. The middle will still be raw.
  3. Remove the tuna from the heat, and allow to cool. Once cool enough to touch, cut into slices.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the vinaigrette ingredients with a fork until thoroughly mixed.
  5. Add the greens to the dressing mixture, and toss the greens with tongs until all of the greens are coated with the dressing.
  6. You can either toss the strawberries with the greens, or plate the greens and add the strawberries on top separately.
  7. Place the tuna slices on top of the dressed greens, and serve.

This recipe makes two entree-sized salads.





Shrimp and Spinach Creamy Pesto Pasta (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)


I’ll be honest here, this is not a grain-free meal (although it could be– substitute zoodles [zuchini noodles] and voila!). I have gotten very strict about gluten-free, but we’re slightly more lenient on the non-gluten grains. Mainly these vices are sushi (brown rice, about once a week) and pasta (sprouted wild rice, about once a month). The pasta can sometimes upset my digestive system, so that’s why it’s a rarity, but sometimes it just feels NECESSARY, ya know? Pasta, comfort, yum. The necessity here was to comfort from the stress of the US World Cup came against Portugal. Stress. Alcohol. Soccer. Pasta. This happened. Also, it’s so quick and easy that it almost feels like a trap. What do you mean dinner is ready in 15 minutes? Too good to be true… but no! Easy peasy dinner, done and ready for cuddling up on the couch and yelling at our defensive line, and the ref, and Ronaldo, and whomever else needed to be yelled at. And the last 20 seconds of that game… yeah I don’t want to talk about it either. Soooo… pasta! Greens! Shrimp! Yum. Noms away.

Shrimp and Spinach Creamy Pesto Pasta

  1. Cook the pasta according to box, as many servings as needed.
  2. Cook the shrimp separately, sauteing them in avocado oil until pink and firm. seasoning with lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Make Creamy Avocado Lime Spinach Pesto as directed on separate page.
  4. Drain the pasta and return to pot, then mix in the pesto, and handfuls of spinach. Spinach will wilt slightly from the heat of the pasta.
  5. Fold shrimp into the pasta, or place on top after pasta is plated.3

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