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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Strawberry Salad

Sometimes salad sounds boring to me. That might sound weird since I’m kinda a veggie nerd (totally exists) and my kids could tell you the same. However, this summer I’ve experimented with some sweeter salad ingredients. This has kept me more interested and excited to eat my lunchy greens. On the menu today – strawberry salad.

Strawberry Salad

I’m a sucker for fresh berries, mangos, and melons. Every lunch I’ve been looking around my kitchen and topping whatever greens I’ve had with some sort of fruit. This strawberry salad is juicy and combines the perfect sweetness with crunch. On top of that, my other new favorite salad topping is sliced mushrooms. Seriously the perfect combo of sweet, soft, and crunchy. I’m not a huge raw mushroom fan, so this topping has been a bit surprising for me. The meatiness of the mushrooms has been awesome and I love their soft texture combined with something fruity…. 

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Fruit Flag

Fruit Flag

Independence has meant different things through my life. If my kids glean one thing from me, I hope it’s how to be independently strong, confident, and kind.

I loved cooking in the kitchen by myself when I was younger. It made me feel knowledgable – little did I know that you don’t cook fish chopped up into tiny little shredded pieces rather than a big chunk. My parents very graciously ate that meal. I redeemed myself by whipping up some awesome rhubarb crunch.

For almost four years I got up to play basketball at 6 am before school. This is when I was 11-14. I loved feeling the power to follow through on decisions and see myself get better through dedication. I felt independent in my hard work.

Fruit Flag

I remember at the end of high school I was really excited for college away from home (not unlike most of us – I just might have given my parents a good challenge). I was so looking forward to the independence that would come from being totally in charge of myself. I don’t even want to think about this with my children, watching them out the rearview mirror as I drive away like my mom did, not really being successful at holding in tears.

One time at school (go BYU Cougars!) I saw a girl in the middle of a path standing, crying silently, and not moving. In my independent desire for kindness, I went to her and hugged her. It sounds kinda weird, and kinda weird to be telling you this, but it was a moment. She was a stranger and I was a stranger, but for that moment she wasn’t alone. I honestly don’t remember what devastating news she had just received, she told me through muffled tears. We never learned each other’s names and never saw each other again, but for that simple moment, we declared our ability to independently come together to make each other stronger.


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Creamy Cashew Dip

Cashew Dip / good for veggies and vegan nachos

I really don’t know if anyone can love a homemade ranch dip as much as I do. Forever ago I made cilantro lime ranch that is to die for. But then I kinda went mostly vegan, so that doesn’t work very well anymore.

I’ve tried making a dill flavored dip but haven’t succeeded yet. Just you wait…just you wait.

In the meantime, I’m pretty pro at this dip. I dip my veggies in it, I use it as a sauce on salads, nachos, or enchiladas. It’s creamy, it has cilantro in it, and it holds up to the other flavors and textures in a dish.

Cashew Dip

I’m okay that I use cashews in so many sauces, they are amazing. I love discovering different foodie ideas because I had no idea that this was ever a possibility. Before I went vegan-ish, I never thought about cashews outside of their beany form. The broader I make my food spectrum and desire to experiment, the more I have to learn.

I have  s o  m u c h  t o  l e a r n. But that’s a good thing…. 

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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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