Build Your Own Wild Rice Salad

Wild Rice Salad

Things are changing around here, I can feel it.

I’m paying more attention to the things I say yes to, knowing that when I say yes, I say no to something else. (Thanks to my friend Kristin for teaching me that.)

I’m listening to my heart and filling my day with the things that fill me up. I’m running, lifting, and doing yoga. I’m also helping in the school, organizing, and cooking. I’m trying to watch out for my literal & figurative neighbors and I’m connecting with new people. I’m taking time to think and feel and discover my center – that part of you can’t really touch. And I’m constantly trying to spend good amounts of time with my children, making sure every day they know how much I love them and want to listen to them.

Our home gym is getting a makeover - which I’ll be revealing here on Carrot Bowl this week.

Soups are starting to take over the weekly menu, thanks to the changing seasons.

Wild Rice Salad

Tyler and I are gearing up to have the “no Santa” talk with our oldest. He has brought it up several times now, but with the other kids around, and he says that no one else believes it (to which I’m assuming his friends) and “how can their really be magic reindeer, anyway.” A part of my heart feels like it has a hole ripped out even considering this. It seems like we just got to this magical time with all the kids and then it was over so fast! This isn’t fair! But at the same time, I’m trying to think of the positive, how he can help with the magic for his siblings. He’s a good boy and he will be excited about “helping,” but even so, I’m trying not to feel sad.

I want to be doing more things rather than collecting more things. I want this coming holiday season to be about the experiences we’ll be having, getting, or giving, rather than more things to shelve or stack or put away. I want to help my kids understand that these memories are way more valuable. That said, I do love legos. So there’s a contradiction for you. Ha!

Wild Rice Salad

For Carrot Bowl, I have some awesome people lined up for Dynamo and can’t wait to share their stories with you. I’m also looking forward to incorporating more fitness/workouts here, just to keep things interesting.

With all this though, I really think it’s about being positive. Some days are really long and some are even longer. Then some days can’t last long enough. With it all, with work schedules, school, soccer, homework, cleaning, cooking, etc, etc, etc, I think for me, it’s finding the happy in it. It sounds totally cliche, but then my heart is light and sees good. It makes me kinder than is necessary. Is this a change for around here, no, but it’s something I’m always thinking about.

And with this change and constant thinking, sometimes I get in food ruts. Sometimes I don’t feel creative or inspired. But that’s okay.

Today I have a change in your regular salad and you’re going to love it! It’s time to build your own salad.

Wild Rice Salad

The extra bonus with this salad is that kids will eat it. Y o u r  k i d s  w i l l  l i k e  t h i s  s a l a d ! ! Yes. Why? Because they get to make their own. Ownership over what they make make them more excited to eat it. And for parents, you know whatever they choose, they’re getting what they need.

I start with a large bowl of greens, beans, corn, and wild rice.

To make the next part super-fun, I put a variety of veggies, nuts, and seeds in bowls for everyone to top as wanted. This is fun for kids and adults and would make for a great dinner party dish. And you can feel good that whatever is chosen, everyone is getting greens, protein, and fiber.

To top off what is already good, a simple lemon garlic dressing adds some freshness and picks up the mood of the whole salad. My kids love putting this on themselves, I serve it in a bowl with a ladle and a little goes a long way.

You’re going to love this salad. It’s great when the rice has just been cooked and added to the salad and it’s good having sat in the fridge for leftovers the next day (just don’t put the dressing on it).

I hope today you enjoy the changes in your life, embrace your salad, and have a happy day.

Wild Rice Salad

Build Your Own Salad

Ingredients

    Base Salad:
  • Spinach
  • Romain Lettuce
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • Cooked wild rice blend
  • Optional toppings:
  • Diced peppers
  • Sliced mushrooms
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Chopped cucumbers
  • Sliced celery
  • Craisins
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Chopped or sliced almonds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Cashews
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Dressing:
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large clove minced garlic
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

    Salad:
  1. Combine spinach, romaine, corn, beans and wild rice in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. I serve this as a main dish, so if you're doing the same, you'll want to have a lot of this base.
  2. Toppings:
  3. Slice, dice, chop, and prepare your desired toppings and put them in individual bowls with small serving spoons. These are for people to dress the base salad however they want. If a child needs encouragement, you could tell them they have to include at least one veggie and one nut/seed.
  4. Dressing:
  5. In a bowl, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and salt. Stir with a spoon to combine. Adjust ingredients if needed. Serve this with a ladle along with the topping bowls. Make sure to instruct children to start with small scoops of dressing - a little goes a long way.
  6. Serving:
  7. Serve this meal with bowls or shallow plate/bowls. It's a fun way to make dinner exciting to have all the topping bowls floating around the table for everyone to choose from. When keeping leftovers, make sure to NOT put on any leftover dressing, store separately.
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Lettuce Turnip the Beet

Lettuce Turnip the Beet

This was one of those awesome times that I accidentally had the perfect shirt find. Don’t you love those?! This shirt is the perfect combo of fun, food, and a little sass. I love that my little guy knows what it says and tells lots of people whenever he wears it. Every time, people think it’s clever and I agree.

Graphic food shirts, yes please. I really think I need to get myself one. In case you are pining for this one, I found it at Crazy 8 and they still have some left.

There is actually a whole Etsy shop for shirts with the “Lettuce Turnip the Beet” graphic. The baseball T is looking good. Or maybe just the v-neck.

I want this “Lettuce be Happy” shirt in an adult size.

This “Hangry” shirt should probably be in all our closets. And when kids are hangry…watch out. Do your kids get crazy hangry like mine? It’s scary.

Because it’s totally random, this “Duck, Duck, Goose” shirt is kinda cool.

And because kale is so the thing right now…I know it annoys some people, but come-on, it’s way better than liver being the thing…“Thyme to raise some kale” shirt is looking pretty good.

Or these Kale shirts.

Or maybe these ones.

And still, maybe this one that I’ve had my eye on for a while.

We must like to eat because there sure are a lot of food shirts out there. Aahhh, choices. Happy food shirt day everyone!

Dynamo: Sierra

Dynamo: Sierra

THE BACK STORY:

Dynamo is a series of posts dedicated to showing real people, real power-houses, who inspire me and the people around them in their healthy living. They might not always think they do, but I believe that we each influence others more than we realize or recognize. That inspiration is empowering for others and themselves. I believe in the good of every person and I believe that this and stories to follow can change our outlook, our dedication, and our perception of the people around us. Up next in the Dynamo community, I introduce Dynamo: Sierra.

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Dynamo: Sierra

Who are you?

I think in life and in general we are many things. We aren’t just one thing. With stereotypes we get categorized as one thing but we are so much more than that. I always think about when I was in high school and college and I was into soccer a lot, the only people who asked me out were people who I played soccer with. And I was like, “did they ask me out because I’m good at soccer, is that the only reason? I’m so much more than just a soccer player!” Now I think, like everyone else, there’s so many things that we all do and we’re so much more than just one thing.

You’re a swim coach right now, have you been a swim coach before?

I coached in college. Right after high school I moved to Logan, UT and I started coaching for the summer for a club, the Bronze team. I coached all through college. I also coached a year of high school swim team as the head coach after I got home from my mission.

Dynamo: Sierra

Who has influenced your active lifestyle?

There were lots of people along the way. My dad worked for the forest service and we always went on hikes and were outside and went camping. I remember starting to swim and my sister-in-law taught lessons to me. I was 4.

I think I’ve had some amazing women mentors in my life. Which is actually kinda rare in coaching, you just see more men in general in a lot of things. My sister-in-law Shari Skabelund coached me from the time that I knew her, my brother and her were married before I was born, so she’s been coaching forever. And at a higher level too.

And Yoland Bates who I went to coach with in Logan after high school, she coached club for a long long time and has been very successful. Her and my sister-in-law swam together at BYU and she is actually from Mexico. She was on the Mexico National Swim Team. She now coaches at BYU.

Having and seeing those people in those positions, it’s something that I took for granted. Looking through my eyes now, that’s actually a rarity in having those two very strong women that were close to me to observe…. 

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Chocolate Chip Cherry Torte Bars

Cherry Chocolate Chip Bars

After running the Oregon Half Marathon two weeks ago, the watermelon at the end of the race tasted amazing. On top of that, they had a table full of snack-sized lara bars for everyone to take at will. I had several that I’d never tried before including: Sticky Bun and Chocolate Chip Cherry Torte Bars. Both were so good. I was expecting the sticky bun one to be too sweet, I mean really, it’s named like a cinnamon roll. It was surprisingly light and the cinnamon in it was perfect with the nuttiness. And the chocolate chips and cherries, yes please. I’ve been wanting to experiment with cherries in my date bars, so this pushed me over the edge. I had to make some up.

Cherry Chocolate Chip Bars

I’ve made these a couple times now and really like them. They are the perfect thing to wrap up in some parchment paper and deliver to friends. Like yesterday I took some to a friend for letting me throw a dresser in their large dumpster. (Thanks to an upcoming boy bedroom reveal and that it was simply falling apart). If you are going to make a double batch, make sure to make it in two batches so you don’t burn out your food processor. I might be saying this from experience. I had to dump some of mine out because I started to see smoke. No bueno. … 

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Smoothie Bowl Basics

Smoothie Bowl

Does anyone else have a growing pile of papers on their desk? I think it has something to do with school having started, feeling like I can’t cross off as many things on my list as I need to, and being a full-blown soccer mom for the next two months. Busy means happy for the kids though. They have a balance of school, down-time, homework, and extra activities – like most kids, they thrive on some routine. For me, all this means that I’m squeezing in food where I can. This is where knowing some smoothie bowl basics comes in handy.

This is simple people. If you are looking for something healthy, nutty, fruity, and filling = taaadaaa!! Here it is.

Here’s the super not complicated tricks to a smoothie bowl:
* make a smoothie
* pour it in a bowl
* top it with stuff
* eat it

When I make a smoothie, I like to make lots of it. I use some in that moment and pour the rest into cups that I stick in the freezer. These come in handy for my late night snacks, tomorrow’s breakfast, or maybe just 2nd breakfast. It makes a smoothie bowl even quicker if you have some prepared that you can just soften in the microwave (just make sure not to heat it, just soften).

I like to include fruit chunks in my bowl, mango and blueberries being my top choices. Banana slices will make their way there as well. I always keep frozen fruit on hand for this reason. Fresh peaches, pineapples, plums, nectarines, and kiwis would be great as well. Really, what fruit could make this go wrong? Is there any stinky ones? That would be gross. Don’t do those ones.

To give the crunch factor, I like to add sliced almonds and seeds.  I usually have sunflower and pumpkin seeds around, so that’s easy. For extra crunch, I like to add my granola or some grape nuts.

I often stop there, if it’s morning. But to be honest, if this is an evening snack there’s definitely going to be some mini chocolate chips thrown in there too.

I know I’ve talked about smoothie bowls before, but really, this is an underestimated meal/snack/get-in-my-belly-now food choice. So yah, here I am talking about it again. Cheers to green smoothies today and I hope you have a really good one!

Smoothie Bowl

And because I really believe in you and your amazingness…here’s a little reminder for the day:

magical person you are

(via my pinterest board quotes to live by)

Dynamo: Dixie

 

SONY DSC

THE BACK STORY: 
At the end of last summer my friends and I went to a nearby track to run intervals for an hour. We would get there at 6 am to run as quickly and efficiently as we could. The first time we went I was surprised to see an older woman running around the track. What was even more surprising was that she was there every time we went. I admired her dedication and drive but never talked to her.

It’s been a year and I am on the track again and she’s still there! I’ve thought of her when I’ve exercised. In her consistency, she’s discovered the key to longevity, her fountain of youth. She is a dynamo, a source of energy and inspiration for me. The daily effort we give makes up a whole life of worthy work. She is the perfect example. Last week, I decided I wanted to know her story.

I was running by myself and as I finished one of my speed laps, I ran up beside her. She was quite surprised to have me run along with her and we were both puffing from our efforts. I introduced myself and told her how amazing I thought she was and asked her if she’d be interested in allowing me to take some pictures of her and ask her a couple questions. “So long as it’s not too personal,” she said. I jumped at the chance and said I’d be there the next morning before she finished her run.

The following morning I arrived mid-run, took some pictures, and got ready to take notes. As she finished her run and wiped her brow, we walked a mile on the track together. Her name is Dixie, she’s a grandma, she’s a runner, and she’s been running the track every day for 35 years.

Dixie’s story is the first of a new theme for Carrot Bowl. I want to capture normal people who don’t even know they’re inspirational. I think every person inspires other people in ways they don’t understand or even want to recognize. That inspiration is empowering for others and themselves. I believe in the good of every person and I believe that this and stories to follow can change our outlook, our dedication, and our perception of the people around us.

Carrot Bowl is going to have a community of Dyanmos and Dixie is the beginning. With that, here’s my first Dynamo, my first power-house, I introduce Dynamo: Dixie.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

SONY DSC

Can you tell me your story?

In October 1979 my sister and my sister-in-law and I decided to go walking. We went up to JB Thomas track and we decided to run a little ways and then walk, then run, then walk until we could work up. So we gradually worked up till we got to three miles, we could run three miles. In the meantime my sister, she gave up and then my sister-in-law gave up, and then it was just me! So then I worked up to five miles and this was ‘79. I went five miles for years and years and years until this last January/February my feet were hurting so bad that I started doing four miles and that seems to be better for my feet for some reason.

Have you always run on the track?

First is was JB Thomas, then we came over to the rubberized track because someone told us to try this one. I don’t have any knee problems or nothing, just the bottom of my feet.

How old are you?

I was born in 1940, so I’m 74…. 

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