Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa + Pinner’s Conference

Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa - thefitfork.comIt’s happened more than once, I’ve tasted a quinoa salad and gone “meh” even though I know good for me. We are at the crescendo of the quinoa craze, so you too probably are aware that this ancient grain (which is actually a seed) boosts your diet with  nutrients like B-vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, vitamin E, and fiber. Additionally, quinoa is also one of only a few plant foods considered a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids — oh how I love me some protein! 

Maple Pecan Raisin Malasses Crusted Steak and Butternut Squash Quinoa

To add some flavor excitement to a quinoa recipe, I decided to mix up a dish that magnifies some of my favorite flavors that some consider “fall season” but I embrace year ’round – maple syrup and butternut squash! And hey, even though it was 105 degrees yesterday . . . we are getting closer to Autumn one day at a time! I’ve used two of my favorite products from NOW Foods, Organic Tri-color Quinoa and Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa can be served warm, room temperature or cold -- it's a healthy vegetarian side dish or salad packed with protein and wholesome energy.Anyway,my recipe for Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa is just bursting with flavor and wholesome goodness. Not only is this recipe pretty to look at, it’s a beautiful addition to a meal-prepping lineup — especially important now that it’s Back-To-School season. You can make a big batch and eat it warm or cold — it also holds up well to being packed in a lunchbox.   Of course, I like to pair mine with a big, juicy steak!

Maple Pecan Raisin Malasses Crusted Steak and Butternut Squash Quinoa

By the way, I am demonstrating this Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa coming up on Friday, September 9th at the Texas Pinner’s Conference  in the Dallas area (Arlington Convention Center). My class is called “Empowered Meal Prep – Protein for Fitness.” 

pinners conference class description

pinners conference pic 1Learn how to prepare enough protein (I’m grilling Molasses & Pepper Crusted Steaks) to make dinner with leftovers for breakfast and lunch — the other recipes are Iron-Boosting Beef & Date Spinach Salad and Steak & Plantain Breakfast Bowl. Sign up for my class, I’ll also have beef swag and lots of tasty samples!  Use the discount code FITFORK at online registration to save 10% on the very reasonable cost that allows you access to 100+ classes on food, fitness, crafts, home décor and more! Or, if you just want General Admission to shop and see the sights (no classes), you can get a free pass ($7 at door) using FREESHOPPING. RESISTER HERE

Are you a make-ahead meal prepper? What is your favorite dish to stock in the fridge or freezer? Have the kids gone back to school yet? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

 

Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa - thefitfork.com
Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa
Print Recipe
Beautiful and health-boosting, this easy quinoa recipe works well as a warm side dish or cold salad -- it packs and keeps for several days making it ideal for potlucks, lunchboxes, and make-ahead dinner planning.
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa - thefitfork.com
Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa
Print Recipe
Beautiful and health-boosting, this easy quinoa recipe works well as a warm side dish or cold salad -- it packs and keeps for several days making it ideal for potlucks, lunchboxes, and make-ahead dinner planning.
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F degrees. Toss butternut squash with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and place in single layer on rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Bake squash, stirring once halfway through, for approximately 15 minutes or until tender and turning golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool down.
  3. Meanwhile, cook quinoa according to package directions -- it should also take around 15 minutes, so you can do the squash and quinoa simultaneously to save time.
  4. When quinoa done, transfer to large bowl, fluff with fork and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  5. While quinoa and squash cooling down, prepare dressing by adding maple syrup, remaining olive oil, balsamic vinegar, thyme and salt to small bowl and whisk until combined.
  6. Add cooked quinoa, cooked squash, green onions, raisins, and pecans to large bowl, mix gently to combine.
  7. Pour dressing over top and stir to evenly distribute. Serve warm, room temperature or chilled.
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Globally Inspired Steak Recipes using Wet Rubs

Strip Steaks for Grill with Wet RubWe are just a couples weeks out from Memorial Day, the “official” start of grilling season in most parts of the country. One of the “grate” perks about living here in the Lone Star State is firing up the grill a month or so earlier thanks to near-guaranteed beautiful weather.  However,I’d bet my last bag of charcoal brickettes that even if backyards from Amarillo to McAllen were to be covered in blankets of freak snow, we meat-eating Texans would still be outside fixing up some steaks – make no mistake!

jennifer fisher I love beefI’ve known my way around the grill since knee high, from camping grub to just keeping the kitchen cool in the suumer.  However, if you need a refresher on this meaty matter, you can catch up on grilling basics at TxBeef.org. Here, you’ll find everything you need to know about making the most from your charcoal grilling, gas grilling or smoking experience and also learn just about every other cooking method invented for beef! There is no better job than spreading the grilling love on behalf of Texas cattleman — in fact, I’m teaming up to teach another Grilling 101 class this weekend.

 

Aside from the technicalities of building a fire (or turning a knob), creating memorable flavor while maintaining the juiciness tenderness of a steak is what will ensure your success as a sizzling, tong-twirling superstar at the grill. While salt and pepper always add simple flavor to a good hunk of beef, sometimes a little more “wow” is on the wish-list of dinner guests Rubs are a quick and easy way to add an endless array of flavor profiles to steak.

Globally Inspired Wet Rub Recipes for Steak

Globally Inspired Wet Rub Recipes for Steak – an easy way to add flavor without a lot of fat when grilling or pan searing.

Today, I’m sharing three wet rub recipes that will kick up your grill game in a creative cross-cultural way. The Tex-Mex inspired Mi Casa Steak Rub, Spanish-meets-California inspired Valencia Steak Rub, and Asian-centric Shanghai Steak Rub all added a little something special to steaks at my recent weekend cookout.

Mi Casa Steak Rub

Valencia Steak Rub

Shanghai Steak Rub

These steak rub recipes aren’t the dry rubs recipes you may be familiar with, made with just herbs, spices and other non-liquid seasonings. Instead, wet rubs add just a little bit of liquid, but not enough to be a marinade – the consistency is more like a paste or thick dredge. Liquids used in wet rubs would be similar to those found in a marinade (like oils, juices, wine, wet condiments), but measured in a much smaller volume. While marinades are typically applied for several hours (up to a day) to render tougher cuts less chewy, wet rubs can be used to add loads of flavor on inherently tender cuts like strip steak, tenderloin, ribeye, T-bone, flat iron and more in 15 – 30 minutes.

Tips for Wet Rub Success:

  • For quick clean up, mix ingredients in zip-top bag, add steaks and massage around until coated.
  • Or, mix in small bowl and apply to steaks with a silicone brush or fingers.
  • It is fine to leave wet rub on for more than the 15 – 30 minutes, but make sure to place in refrigerator.
  • Discard any juices that remain in the bag.
  • Feel free to double or triple recipes if grilling for a crowd.
  • Make another batch to use as a grilling sauce for skewers of vegetables.
  • Allow yourself to make substitutions, experiment and create your own signature touch –that’s the fun in grilling!

How do you prep your steaks? What is your favorite cut of steak? Which of these three rubs sounds the best? What are your weekend plans — please share in the comments below – XOXO Jennifer 

Blueberry Pecan Oat Mug Muffin – Master Mix Recipe

Blueberry Pecan Oat Protein Mug Muffin -- food prep the master mix and have breakfast read in less than 2 minutes.I’m on this mug muffin kick lately. I have a zillion iterations, from Lemon Raspberry Protein Muffin Mug to this Blueberry Pecan Oat Protein Mug Muffin that I’m sharing today. I usually mix up this protein-packed breakfast scoop by scoop in the morning, but I love this one so much that I big-batched it! Meal prep, y’all – I can’t believe I’m so organized. Haha.

Blueberry Pecan Oat Protein Mug Muffin -- food prep the master mix and have breakfast read in less than 2 minutes.

Love Grown FoodsSo, come morning, when I’m not feeling human, all that’s left to be done with my breakfast is add two liquid ingredient (egg white and almond milk) to my mix and stick in the microwave. I tried to use an egg white powder in the mix to make even more convenient, but I didn’t like that so much – plus, how is cartoned egg-white not convenient?! Other things to love  about this Blueberry Pecan Oat Mug Muffin recipe in addition to the homey taste is the wholesome nutrition – it’s gluten-free, sugar-free, low-cal and packed with protein (32 grams protein and about 240 total calories per serving).

When I say that this is a Master Mix Recipe, it means you can swap out the blueberries and pecans for the other dehydrated fruit and nuts of your choosing — bananas & peanut, pineapple & macadamia nut, raspberries & almond are just some ideas!

Blueberry Pecan Oat Protein Mug Muffin Nutrition Label

I ran the nutritional info for you tracker types!

Instead measuring out the oats, chia seeds and pecans separately, I like to just use Love Grown Foods Super Oats with Chia & Nuts – that stuff ROCKS my world.

 

Here’s a run down on most of the products I used in this recipe:

What is your go-to easy meal in the morning? If you were swapping out the fruit and nuts, what would you choose? Please share in the comments — XOXO, Jennifer 

Blueberry Pecan Oat Protein Mug Muffin -- food prep the master mix and have breakfast read in less than 2 minutes.
Blueberry Pecan Oat Mug Muffin - Master Mix Recipe
Print Recipe
Whip up a big batch of this yummy protein-packed mug muffin mix and enjoy a quick, easy and healthy breakfast all week. Microwaves in less than two minutes!
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
90 seconds
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
90 seconds
Blueberry Pecan Oat Protein Mug Muffin -- food prep the master mix and have breakfast read in less than 2 minutes.
Blueberry Pecan Oat Mug Muffin - Master Mix Recipe
Print Recipe
Whip up a big batch of this yummy protein-packed mug muffin mix and enjoy a quick, easy and healthy breakfast all week. Microwaves in less than two minutes!
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
90 seconds
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
90 seconds
Ingredients
Wet Ingredients for Cooking:
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. To make master mix, add protein powder, baking mix, oats, chia seed, pecans, stevia and dehydrated blueberries to large mason jar or storage container and shake to blend.
  2. To prepare individual serving, add approximately ½ cup mix into large mug or microwave-safe bowl. Stir in 3 tablespoons of egg white and 5 tablespoons of almond milk. Microwave on high for between 1 and 2 minutes – exact time will vary by microwave strength (the magic time at my house is 90 seconds). Mug cake will rise dramatically while cooking and then settle back down and is “done” when no longer wet and has consistency of a bread pudding.
Recipe Notes

*In lieu of these three ingredients, you can swap out with just a little skosh more than 1 ¼ cup of Love Grown Food Super Oats with Chia & Nuts

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Paleo Carrot Ginger Gazpacho – Some Bunny Loves You

Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho is perfect for light lunches, Easter brunches and as a prelude to your spring entree. Paleo, sugar free, raw, vegan and vegetarian friendly.Each time I enjoy my recipe for Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho, I want to kick off my sandals and run through the green lawn shouting “whoohoo!”  That’s because this light and lovely chilled soup captures the essence of spring, and I live for the spring . . . and summer.  Warmer weather calls for cooler food and this chilled soup is a twist on gazpacho, a classic Spanish recipe. For my version, I’ve added carrots, ginger and a coconut water base to help with hydration.  Perfect for a light lunch, Easter brunch or way to start your pool-side dinner – save a few cucumber slices for your eyes so you can feel like a pampered spa guest.

Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho is perfect for light lunches, Easter brunches and as a prelude to your spring entree. Paleo, sugar free, raw, vegan and vegetarian friendly.

 

Benefits of Ginger - TheFitFork.comWhen I serve this Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho to my family, I smile and say “some bunny loves you!”  That’s because I know how much wholesome, healthy nutrition in packed into each spoonful  of this chilled soup– loads of lycopene, vitamin K, potassium and dietary fiber to mention a few benefits.  Plus, you get all the healing benefits of ginger – it helps tame digestive issues, reduces inflammation, boosts the immune system. Plus, I personally adore the zingy taste – you can add more or less fresh ginger depending on your preference.

To optimize taste and health benefits, please use fresh ginger and not ground ginger, bottled minced ginger or ginger paste.  A little knobby length of ginger will stay fresh in your produce bin for a couple months and if you have the right grater, it’s easy and mess-free to get what you need.  Not trying to sound infomercial-y, but this Dual Gage Grater is a must-have for ginger, garlic, turmeric, citrus zest, hard cheeses and such it’s only $3! The two sides each have a different grate size and the “V” shape catches all the teeny-tiny shavings so they don’t fall all over the counter or plate – you simply tip over into the bowl and scrape off.  Plus, after you rinse off and dry, it slides back into itself for easy storage.

Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho is perfect for light lunches, Easter brunches and as a prelude to your spring entree. Paleo, sugar free, raw, vegan and vegetarian friendly.

Paleo Carrot Ginger Gazpacho -  Paleo, vegan, vegetarian, raw, sugar-free, gluten-free and more. Also, if you’re a meal-prepper, this soup that doesn’t’ need to be reheated makes a nice alternative to the standard make-ahead fare for grab-and-go healthy lunches and quick dinnersThis recipe works for many diet types including Paleo, vegan, vegetarian, raw, sugar-free, gluten-free and more. Also, if you’re a meal-prepper, this soup that doesn’t’ need to be reheated makes a nice alternative to the standard make-ahead fare for grab-and-go healthy lunches and quick dinners. Keep refrigerated in tightly sealed mason jars or plastic containers for up to five days and transfer to a lunch box with ice-pack. Enjoy. Linking up with The Fit Foodie Mama and Running on Happy – please check out!

Are you a gazpacho fan? Do you prefer warm weather or hot?  Did you run a race this weekend or have a competition? Please share in the comments below — XOXO, Jennifer

 

Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho is perfect for light lunches, Easter brunches and as a prelude to your spring entree. Paleo, sugar free, raw, vegan and vegetarian friendly.
Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho -- Paleo
Print Recipe
This chilled soup is a light and lovely prelude to any spring meal -- Paleo, sugar-free, vegan, vegetarian, raw and low-sodium.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Passive Time
2 hours
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Passive Time
2 hours
Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho is perfect for light lunches, Easter brunches and as a prelude to your spring entree. Paleo, sugar free, raw, vegan and vegetarian friendly.
Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho -- Paleo
Print Recipe
This chilled soup is a light and lovely prelude to any spring meal -- Paleo, sugar-free, vegan, vegetarian, raw and low-sodium.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Passive Time
2 hours
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Passive Time
2 hours
Instructions
  1. Add sliced carrots to microwave-safe dish and add ½-inch water to bottom. Top with lid and microwave for approximately 3 minutes or until steamed and tender, but not mushy. Remove from microwave and add to colander, rinsing with cold water. .
  2. Add carrots, cucumber, tomatoes with juice, onion, ginger, vinegar, lemon zest and lemon juice to blender. Pour coconut water on top and process until smooth, adding more coconut water if needed (or sub water, if can empty).
  3. Can serve at room temperature, but tastes better if chilled for several hours prior. Garnish with additional lemon zest, snipped mint and unsweetened shredded coconut.
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