Simple Quinoa Recipe – The Foodie Patootie

We’re back from vacay, but I’m so not ready to come back to blog-land jussst yet. And my fave foodie friend [also a real life friend!], Jennifer, offered to post a yummy recipe while I was still in vacation mode. Bless her. Make sure to visit her at The Foodie Patootie!

Foodies and Friends! Jennifer's bachelorette cruise - 2013

Foodies and Friends! Jennifer’s bachelorette cruise – 2013

As a food blogger (100% shameless plug to my blog here: The Foodie Patootie), it’s hard to guest post. I want to have continual content on my site so when that content goes elsewhere, I have a small panic alert. It’s the same reason I make my husband eat dinner at 3pm so I can make sure to capture the good, natural light for photos. It’s the same reason I save a container of the dish I made if I absolutely have to cook after sundown (so I can take pictures the next day, of course!). Every single recipe is precious because, let me tell you, it’s not fun to have a dish that didn’t work out, or photography that didn’t come out, and you realize that you’ve spent hours composing a recipe and food styling that, ultimately, you have nothing to show for it.

When Nichole asked if I wanted to guest post, there wasn’t a doubt that I would, but it took me a while to decide on a recipe to feature that I was okay with letting go of and having live on someone else’s site. Then, it was simple. My friend Brooke emailed me a quinoa recipe a couple of weeks ago, knowing I was trying to eat healthier since I spent 2014 cooking through the national food holidays (see for yourself) and I know that people come to Nichole’s site for Whole 30 and healthy (or at least healthier) recipes. Perfect!


So let’s talk quinoa, mmkay? This is what I know about quinoa:

  1. It’s fun to say.
  2. It’s healthy.
  3. You’re fuller longer after eating it.
  4. It’s a grain.

Do you need to know anything else? Probably not. If you’re a quinoa lover, welcome to my world. If you aren’t, make this recipe and turn into a believer in approximately 35 minutes.


This recipe is super simple, representing my cooking style ON MY BLOG (the caps means you should visit me). I like to let ingredients shine. And it’s amazing what a squeeze of lemon juice can do for you too, right? Oh, and cheese. Mmmm. This recipe makes about 4 servings, but don’t be surprised if you have your serving and then continue to eat right out of the pot like I did. Whoops. Or, actually, no whoops. I make no apologies for lovin’ up on some grains. Some dishes just aren’t meant to be shared. ;)

Simple Quinoa Recipe
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
  • Half a yellow onion, chopped
  • Half a red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth (even better if you buy organic)
  • 1 cup of fresh spinach, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ cup + 4 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese (shred it yourself!)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. In a medium pot over medium heat, add olive oil and let heat up. Sauté onion in olive oil for one minute. Add red bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté onion and red bell pepper together for about five minutes.
  2. Add quinoa. Toast for about two to three minutes, but be careful not to let burn.
  3. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to medium low and cover. Simmer for about fifteen minutes, or until liquid is absorbed.
  5. Uncover and add spinach, lemon juice, and cheese; cook for an additional minute until cheese is melted and spinach has wilted.
  6. Season with additional salt and pepper, if needed.
  7. Serve topped with an additional tablespoon shredded Parmesan cheese, if desired


Visit Jennifer: Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


Spinach Berry Salad with Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing

Happy Spring, my friends! I thoroughly enjoyed my own Spring Break {a recap to follow}, last week and am currently detoxing after consuming all the foods and drinks.

Spinach Berry Salad with Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing

This salad is so very tasty; packed with sweet berries, fresh spinach, and a homemade poppy seed dressing with fresh lemon and raw honey, that is perfect this time of year!

Head over to The Flair Exchange now to snag the full recipe!



Paleo Chicken Salad from Ryan @ Loved and Lovely

Today, we’re coming home! I can’t wait to share our cruise recap with you all. I have a few more wonderful guest bloggers to show off, first. I have never met Ryan in person, but I just know should we ever meet for real, we’d get along so well! I love her honesty, adorable photos of her baby girl, and watching her transform as she continues to drop weight! Ryan is so beautiful, inside and out, and I am so glad she agreed to guest post for me today.
Hey y’all! I’m Ryan from loved and lovely, and I’m dropping in while Nichole is on vacation. I’ll admit, I’m sometimes tempted to check out when I see guest posts, but trust me, friends: this recipe is worth sticking around for.
But first, I suppose I should tell you who in the heck I am.I’m a Texas girl. Patent litigation attorney by day, wife and mommy by night. My little corner of the internet is devoted to a little bit of everything: my adventures raising the prettiest little wildflower you ever saw; beauty products and fashion; the love story I’m still writing with my high school sweetheart; and my struggle to make consistently healthy food choices.About six months after I had my daughter, I decided I was going to get rid of the 75 pounds (!!) I gained while I was pregnant. And then I went for it. Last July, I did my first Whole30 (inspired by Nikki!), and it has changed my life. I don’t always remain as faithful as I’d like to the Paleo lifestyle, but I’m taking it one day and one delicious meal at a time.
And that’s where this chicken salad recipe comes in. I’m a chicken salad fan from way back, you guys. I mean, aren’t we all, really? During my Whole30 last July, it occurred to me that, at its core, chicken salad is really full of healthy delicious things. Chicken, herbs, and fruit (if you’re so inclined to include fruit, and I will attempt to make the case that you should be). But store-bought mayo is generally loaded with all kinds of stuff that I could do without. Plus, store-bought mayo is strictly prohibited on the Whole30. (And it smells icky.)
But no one said I couldn’t make my own mayo.

If you’ve never made your own mayo, you’re just going to have to trust me on this one. It’s so, so, so, so, SO much better than store-bought. Like, exponentially better.Alright, so let’s get to it. (And, for the record, I’m not at all a true food blogger, so have mercy on my pitiful pictures. It’s not easy making chicken salad look appetizing.)

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Paleo Chicken Salad


1 lb. free range chicken breasts or tenders, cooked and shredded

3 whole green onions, sliced

1.5 to 2 cups grapes, halved

2 stalks celery (optional), chopped

1/4 cup fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1 T. fresh dill, chopped

2 T. dried cranberries (no sugar added, optional)

1 cup homemade Paleo Mayo (I use this recipe)

juice of one half of one lemon

salt and pepper to taste


Combine ingredients; served chilled.

Yep, it’s really that simple. All of your effort will be devoted to prep: cooking your chicken, making your mayo, and chopping everything up. After you do those things, it’s really just a matter of throwing it all into a bowl and mixing it up.

To cook my chicken, I just threw a pound of tenders in a 9 x 13 baking dish, drizzled with olive oil, and seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika on both sides. I baked them in a 350° oven for 20 minutes or until juices run clear and chicken is cooked through..

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Then, whip up your mayo. I use this recipe, and it’s virtually fail-proof. It’s imperative that you start with room temperature mayo, and don’t skimp on the lemon juice. It gives it the perfect flavor.
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The other trick is drizzling in your olive oil (NOT extra-virgin – buy the “light” tasting kind) in a super thin stream. I mean, so thin that you start getting arm cramps because it’s taking so long to pour it all in.

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Then, once the mayo is done, and the chicken has been cooked, cooled, and shredded, start chopping up your veggies. You may be tempted to leave out the grapes, but it really does add the most perfect burst of sweetness.

Throw it all into a big bowl.

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And then fold in that mayo.

Add plenty of salt and pepper. The salt is really crucial to bringing out all the flavors.

Chill for at least an hour. (I usually make this in the evening, let it chill all night, and eat it for dinner the next day.)

And then you’re done!

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I like eating mine over baby spinach with a side of sliced tomatoes and (more) fruit. So fresh you can pretend it’s summer.

So there you have it. This recipe is completely Whole30 friendly if you can find no sugar-added cranberries (or just leave them out).

Thanks so much, Nichole, for letting me hang out today. And thanks to you guys for sticking around. Go make yourself some chicken salad. 

Find Ryan: Blog | Facebook | Instagram

Hausfrauing with Steph [Guest Post]


Today, we’re in Nassau where I plan to channel my inner twenty-one year old and drink like I’m on Spring Break [oh wait. I am on break!! But sadly I can’t hang like I used to]…Steph is one of my fave bloggers as she keeps it SO real, and is the QUEEN of organizing/cleaning her casa. I hope you all love her as much as I do. Cheers!


Hello friends of Casa de Crews! I’m Steph and you can normally find me over at Life According to Steph blogging about cooking, books, my three pugs, things that annoy me, hausfrauing, my card of a husband, and life in general live from Philadelphia. I’m grateful my friend Nichole has lent me a small corner of Casa de Crews today to introduce myself to you and talk about the very glamorous and interesting topic of hausfrauing (that’s cleaning for those who don’t see me use that term all the time).

We’re a mere two days from the official calendar start of spring on March 20. Most of us use this as a time to get our houses in order. I’m a weekly hausfrau. I work off of a weekly cleaning schedule and I tackle jobs like baseboards and windows quarterly, so I typically use spring cleaning as a time to straighten up, reorganize, and make things fresh. Eleventy billion spring cleaning lists exist, and I’m not sure exactly why…basically the term typically means walk into a room and clean everything, am I right?

Here are my top five tips for spring cleaning:

1. Show the dust who’s boss. Use fabric softener sheets to clean your baseboards – they trap the dust and make this hated (for me at least) chore bearable. Use pillow cases to clean your ceiling fans – they pull the dirt off into themselves, which you can then shake off over a trash can and throw the pillow case in the wash. Use the vacuum for hard surfaces, with the brush for walls, and with the extension for couches and under furniture. Microfiber clothes for anything else. Done and dunzo.

2. A place for everything, and everything in its place. If something you own doesn’t have a place, find one for it, donate it, throw it out, or recycle it. Look around at what you have in your home. Of each item, ask these three questions: Is it useful? Is it beautiful? Do I love it?  If the answer isn’t yes to all or at the least one of these questions, it’s time to get rid of it. In addition to everything having a place, you also need spaces that are empty. This tip from Real Simple magazine is so spot on I photographed it when I saw it last year:

 3. Use a laundry basket during your cleaning and organizing. I never ever talk about cleaning without mentioning this tip. Put whatever doesn’t belong in that room in the basket to be transferred to other rooms instead of running back & forth while you’re in the middle of cleaning. You can tote your cleaning supplies in there too. I hate running around like a chicken with my head cut off and this elminates that. 

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4. Keep your eyes on the prize. Don’t dilly dally or get side tracked. Don’t sit down until everything you meant to accomplish in that time period is completed. If you’re going to commit to cleaning, really clean your house. Wipe down walls, dust off light bulbs, clean the things that are often overlooked.

5. Freshen up your space. I am a huge fan of Marshalls and HomeGoods and my patronage has ensured I have a lot of interesting pieces in my house. In the spring I move stuff around on surfaces and on the walls to freshen up my space with things I already own. It’s surprising how different an article can look in new surroundings. Things are always in rotation at my casa!

Now that it’s clean, keep it that way! In order to keep my house in good working order, I stick to my Daily Dos:

1. Wipe down kitchen counters

2. Wipe down bathroom sinks and toilets

3. Assess laundry and do as needed

4. Pick up around the house for 10 minutes in the morning or evening. I typically do it at night. I like to set the house to rights before I go to sleep.

5. Assess floors and do a quick sweep/vac as needed. AKA always because of three pugs.

6. Make the bed. I can’t leave the house without at least pulling the blankets up and straightening things out.

Do you engage in spring cleaning? What are your best tips?

Thanks so much to Nichole for lending me some space on Casa de Crews today!


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