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


    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


  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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Southwestern Patties for a Quick Dinner


I love summer for it’s spontaneity. We can go anywhere anytime.

We are entering our last week of summer here in Portland and I have a pretty good schedule laid out for the week. I’ve decided to go out with a bang – I’m going to be a really fun mom this week; at least I’m going to try. Maybe I should be boring so they actually want to go back to school. I have one that is excited to go and one who is not. I don’t think there’s any way around that. It’s also going to be a new adventure this year because I’ll have my 3-year-old with me all day without the entertainment help of another child.

What I’ll miss: easy mornings, continuous kid crafting, not having a busy night schedule, mid-day adventures, forts all over the house

What I’m excited for: time for some hobbies, watching my kids grow, going grocery shopping with only one child, not hearing arguing throughout the day


I also love summer for it’s fresh produce. I am seriously going to miss melons in a couple months. I think I just ate the best honeydew a couple days ago! But then honey crisp apples are coming back in, so that gives me a good reason to look forward to fall…and soups…and pumpkin flavored everything…and how my boots died the end of winter so I’ll be on the hunt for new ones.

Regardless of summer, end of summer, or new boots, I love quick meals. Meals are the best that I can make with simple prep, that are customizable, but combine lots of different flavors. This meals is one of our favorites…. 

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Simple Salsa with Tomatillos

Simple Salsa

Homemade salsa is one of the things I crave. After I make it, I wonder why I didn’t make it sooner. Especially since it’s gone within two day of making it. This is a super simple salsa that will win you major crowd points and you’ll want to find excuses to put it on anything and everything.

I eat it straight up with chips (my favorite are the multigrain ones from costco), on enchiladas, vegan nachos, mixed into vegan posole or black bean stew, or combined with simple hummus for an amazing dip. You’re covered with options to choose from.

This recipe is inspired from Tyler’s Grandma Eveyln. We were lucky enough to live by his grandparents when we were ungrad students at BYU. They were the first family I met when Tyler and I were dating and we visited often to play games, eat some good food, and enjoy their cozy home. It was nice having them close to us and I’ll treasure that time I got to know them. Go cougars!!… 

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How to Make Healthier Pizza


Pizza is not a common thing around our house, but sometimes it shows up. And although this looks dowsed in cheese, it’s not. This is how to make a healthier pizza. The cheese is only sprinkled on the very top – think of cheese as a spice rather than a main food. That will help with proportioning it right. And if you’re not ready to give up cheese, it will allow you to have it, but changing the way you think about cheese will change the way you use it (refrain from slicing the dubliner sharp white cheddar to snack on…that was my favorite cheese).

Pizza is crunchy and soft all at the same time. It has flexible ingredients and can be made to order. It can be heavy or taste healthy. There really are some benefits for our tastebuds here! That said, this is a sometimes food and should be made as healthy as possible.

Pizza is full of carbs, typically covered in cheese, and often has greasy components added to it.

I’m out to fight some of this.

I don’t think food needs to be greasy and thick and stick-to-your-ribs to enjoy it. Actually, the reverse is true. With food, as with a lot of things in life, less really is more; more of you feeling good. If we really think about every single thing we eat, we’ll probably get the figure we desire more easily and be a lot healthier physically. … 

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Quick Vegan Nachos

Vegan Nachos with creamy sauce and guac

These quick vegan nachos are amazing.  It’s really the fusion of textures that makes them so good. The crunchy pita chips for the base, the spiced beans combined with peppers, the creamy sauce (that was purposely not an imitation of cheese), and some homemade guacamole with cilantro to top it off.

Vegan Nachos

I like that you can eat these with your hands or if you’re not feeling up for the mess, you can also grab a fork. They are exciting for kids and especially husbands! This recipe is actually my husband’s request.

At work, Tyler often gets to sample food products that are being promoted. It’s a cool reason to eat in the cafe when the menu is always changing. At the same time, his research group will also have occasional banquet served lunches. He came home from one of these saying I had to figure out how to make some vegan nachos. Thanks for this one, Tyler. Love you babe…. 

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Cashew Kale with Peanut Sauce

Cashew Kale with Peanut Sauce \\ Carrot Bowl

I’m a sun worshipper. I love the feeling of sun-kissed skin and the hint of sunscreen that lingers with us through the day. It’s 90 degrees here today and I finally caved and turned on the air conditioning. I love the hot warmth that makes shade seem so much cooler. With the sun shining so hot this week, the last thing you want to do is stand over a hot stove. This cashew kale with peanut sauce only requires a short stove time. You could even make it in a cooler morning or evening and save it for the next day as a cold salad.

I love the peanut flavor mixed with the cashews, I love the kale all wilted in the spicy asian flavors, and for some reason the peeled carrots make this dish super exciting to me. You’ll like it and you’ll be amazed at how simple it is to make. Seriously, it’s probably about 10 minutes…. 

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