*AMBER512   207,394
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*AMBER512's Recent Blog Entries

Gluten-Free "Minestrone" Salad : Recipe & Pictures

Friday, February 18, 2011

I am shocked and excited by how many people have read my four-year Sparkiversary blog. I am so glad that I found this amazing website. I donít think I can fully explain how much it has helped me! I know I would not have reached my goals if it werenít for the people I have met here, the food and fitness trackers, and the articles and blogs that have taught me so much.

And now, since you all are so amazing, I need your help! I have been sliding back a bit into some old habits and I have learned that I need to be proactive to snip that in the bud. I am having problems getting enough protein each day without overloading on Greek yogurt.

I currently use Vegan Proteins+ protein powder and also Amazing Grass products as well. Which I love, but I donít want all of my protein to come from just yogurt and powders. Iím still eating beans and nuts regularly as well as brown rice and quinoa. I even tried hemp seeds the other day.

Which were pretty interesting, I ate them straight out of the bag to see what they tasted like.

And found that they worked well on top of a salad.

I guess Iím just looking for any advice or inspiration to get my protein in without worrying about the calories. I am eating plenty to feel full, so it feels strange trying to find ways to add protein to my day without adding unnecessary calories. I know meat-eaters probably donít have this problem, but itís a bit harder for this gluten-free vegetarian! Right now Iím getting between 50-65 grams a day, so it could be better.

What is really awesome though is this salad I had the other day.

I have no idea what inspired this recipe, but Iím sure I didnít create it on my own!

I combined:
ĺ cup quinoa pasta
1 can kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
Ĺ cup green pepper, chopped
Ĺ cup onion, chopped
Ĺ cup broccoli stalks, chopped (I used broccoli slaw)

With this dressing:
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp dried parsley
ľ tsp dried oregano
ľ tsp dried chives
ľ tsp salt
ľ tsp pepper
ľ tsp sugar

In a medium saucepan, boil the pasta according to package directions. (Drain, but do not rinse so the dressing will stick).

In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegars, sugar and spices to taste. (While I loved the spices I used, use what you like!) Add the pasta, beans, and veggies. Toss well to coat everything with the dressing.

Cover and refrigerate it for several hours to allow the flavors to blend. (I made this a day in advance and thought it brought out the best flavor!)

If all else fails in my quest for more protein, Iíll always have Chobani.

Can you tell Iím a wee bit obsessed? (Enough to also realize that is an OLD picture as their plain 0% yogurt is now blue!)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DNJEN471 2/21/2011 2:03PM

    Can't wait to try this recipe!

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AUBREYINGMAN 2/21/2011 2:02PM

    Sorry honey you know I am a meat eater so my advise is usually not helpful in this department.

This is why our refrigerator is always full. CHOBANI!

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IMEMINE1 2/21/2011 1:12PM

    The salad looks great.
I am having the protein problem myself.
Good luck.Hope we find our answers.

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MDTWEETY 2/20/2011 8:24AM

    Your salad looks so good and healthy! I wish I had a solution for your protein intake. But I am at a loss. :( What about peanut butter? But that has a lot of calories.
Hope you figure it out.

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CAMELA_55 2/19/2011 6:38PM

    The salad looks YUMMY!!!!!

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RHALES199 2/18/2011 3:46PM

    mmmm.... that salad loooks GOOODDDD!!!

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HANNAH_CALM 2/18/2011 3:01PM

    Do you drink any type of milk? I drink soy milk or nonfat cow's milk. I prefer the skim milk, because the calcium in it is more easily absorbed by my body. The soy milk is annoying to me, because of how even though you shake it up each time you have a drink, there's all this goop at the bottom. And when I drink soy milk, my teeth aren't as white! They have rice milk, coconut milk, almond milk, which I'm pretty sure should have protein. Drinking some of your calories isn't a bad thing, despite what some of the people here say. They're bogus!

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SDPOGUE 2/18/2011 2:58PM

    Have you tried garbonzo beans - and there are bean flours you can add to your gf baked goods. I think the Bob's Red Mill gf flour mixes are bean based.
Anyway - I found a recipe that uses canned garbonzo beans and bakes them to make something that is similar to corn nuts in texture. I haven't tried them because everytime I mention making them my son pretends to die.
We also eat falafel and hummus which are garbonzo bean based. We buy Mary Jane's Farm falafel mix which is vegetarian and should be vegan as well (and gf). I like falafel with a yogurt sauce so that would get your yogurt in as well.

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Quinoa Crunch Casserole : Recipe & Picture Time

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

WOW! Thank you all so much for your kind and encouraging comments on my last blog celebrate FOUR YEARS here at SparkPeople. You rock!

It had been awhile since my last blog. I thought I was still recovering from my intestinal biopsy as I had felt awful afterwards, but I apparently had the stomach flu! It lasted much longer than I had anticipated, so I wasnít getting into the kitchen to make anything more exciting to share with you than one of these.

I think the recipe instructions would be ďGrab bar from cupboard. Open package. Eat. Go back to sleep and pray for stomach flu to go away.Ē

But for now my stomach has settled and I can get back to my gluten-free eating to see if that makes me feel better again. For anyone new to my blog I was having a lot of stomach problems and the doctor told me to try out a gluten-free diet. I did for about six weeks and felt a LOT better. However, I had to back to eating gluten so that they could do an intestinal biopsy to see if I had Celiac or just gluten intolerance.

Well the results came back and I donít have Celiac (whew!!), but cutting out gluten had made me feel better before so they think I am intolerant of it. Well I have cut it out again, but so far Iím not feeling better yet. Come to find out that was probably due to the stomach flu!

There! Now weíre all caught up and can get back to food. Which is good, because Iím hungry.

When I first went gluten-free I went through a bit of a panic. Pretty much all of my regular food was out (save for fruits and veggies of course). So I spent a lot of time scouring the internet for recipes. Some of the ones I found included things I was used to (yay quinoa is gluten-free!) and some were a bit more confusing (Iím still confused as to a good flour replacement other than just buying a premade mix!)

One of the first things I tried was this quinoa crunch casserole that Caitlin did over at Healthy Tipping point.


I didnít have 3 cups of broccoli, but I did have a bag of broccoli slaw which worked just as well! I sautťed it for a few minutes on the stove and then dumped it in a medium bowl with the raw quinoa, eggs, hummus, salsa, black beans, pepper and some pasta sauce as I didnít have any hot sauce.

After mixing all of the ingredients together I poured them into a greased loaf pan.

Yes, it was the weirdest looking thing ever! Like a quinoa soup with green twigs. But trust me, baking it makes it look much more appetizing!

Okay so it still looks a little weird, but see perfectly normal. While my husband happens to love meat (ewww) I amÖless than a fan. So I was a little concerned as to what he would think of this loaf. Certainly not meatloaf, but maybe it could be good? Well he had two thick slices.

So Iím thinking thatís a big thumbs up! It is a bit dry without extra pasta sauce or even ketchup if you dare. Ainít nuttiní wrong with that!

For the full recipe you can click on the link above and you can check out Caitlinís other recipes as well here:


Thatís all I have for now! Now I have to go find something good to eat. Although I think Iím craving my banana bread.

Mmmmm emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    I love your blogs/recipes! I am a meat eater but considering tapering off and exploring new ideas/recipes of 'clean eating'.

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AUBREYINGMAN 2/21/2011 1:38PM

    MMMM It was much better then I expected it to be when I first saw it.

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HAPPYWALKER 2/16/2011 6:50PM

    My evening treat is a cup of green tea and a Larabar - it's divine!! Thanks for sharing the quinoa recipe - I'm always looking for more ways to incorporate this healthy grain.

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DNJEN471 2/9/2011 10:49PM

    Thanks! I will give this one a try. We have bags of quina that need to get used.

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HANNAH_CALM 2/9/2011 9:15PM

    I'm glad you had Lara bars when you were sick! Loved the recipe for them, hehe!

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MDTWEETY 2/9/2011 6:42PM

    So...what does that diagnosis (gluten intolerant) mean for you? Do you cut out gluten completely, or just cut back? I hope you have more flexibility now that you've found out it's not celiac, meaning maybe you can have some of your old favorites/standbys occasionally?
I hope you are feeling better!! :)

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QUETZALGIRL 2/9/2011 5:27PM

  P.S. when the recipe says "raw quinoa" does that mean not to soak it?

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QUETZALGIRL 2/9/2011 5:25PM

  Thanks for posting this. One of my new goals, as of yesterday, is to look for lots of little ways to add extra nutrition to things. I have quinoa around all the time, but I don't use it like I should.

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LYNNANN43 2/9/2011 2:57PM

    I have a huge bag of quinoa that I got at Costco for quinoa stuffed peppers and didn't know what to do with the rest. I printed out the crunch casserole recipe to make this weekend when my vegetarian daughter comes home from college.

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FITNESSWORKS48 2/9/2011 1:25PM

    Just bought some quinoa for the first time and was hoping to find some good recipes. This looks really yummy. Can't wait to try it. Thanks for sharing.

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Sparkiversary - What I've Learned with Pictures

Monday, February 07, 2011

So it kind of snuck up on me. SparkPeople informed me that today is my Sparkiversary. Itís funny because a couple of weeks ago I knew it was coming up and thought, ďhey thatís pretty cool!Ē And then itís today and I have nothing planned!

But FOUR years ago today I joined SparkPeople and my life changed.

I went from eating this:

A typical Amber meal involving bread, starch, and wait, French fries are veggies right?

And this:

Mmm dessert is always the best part of ANY meal.

To experimenting with new foods:

Spinach in a smoothie? EwÖwaitÖno DELICIOUS! Edited to add: This particular one has spinach, banana, strawberries, almond milk and protein powder (I switch between Vegan+ and Amazing Grass).

Oh thatís right, those are real veggies!

Wait, I can still have dessert? I like this place.

And the food certainly isnít tasteless.

Recipes for those foods and more are available on my last blog!

So what have I learned? I learned that I can do more than I ever thought possible. I learned that I can look like this if I want:

Or, I can discover that there are healthier ways to eat, portion control isnít hard once you get the hang of it and hey, exercise can be fun!

And eventually I could even do this.

And you know whatís even better?? You can do it too! Yes, you. Because if I can do it, there is no one else out there that canít. Seriously. I like food, a LOT! My favorite activities all involve me on my couch. And yet even I can make some small key changes toward a better life!


1. Decide what you want to do. What is it that you want to change about yourself? I didnít start fully tracking on SparkPeople until about a week after I joined. I played around on the website before coming up with any true goals. Only you can decide what is best for you!
2. Read success stories, read blogs, but most importantly read nutrition labels! And learn how to read them properly, so many things you think are one serving really arenít. Learn proper portion sizes, they will be a life saver. Knowledge is your power!
3. Exercise. While what you eat is such a huge part you gotta get up and move! And please donít suffer through something you hate. There are so many different forms of exercise. Yeah, you can run, or you can jump, skip, hop, slide, dance, shake it! Donít slug through an hour on a machine if group exercise is more your thing!
4. In the end, do what works for you. You can read a list of rules and follow them exactly. But if you arenít seeing progress, they might just be full of bunk! I do quite a few things that go against ďthe rulesĒ, but I have learned what works for me! Donít let some magazine or blog convince you to stop reaching for the sky.
5. Happiness is key. If what youíre doing doesnít make you happy in the end, then itís not worth doing. And notice I said IN THE END. Yeah, Iím not always smiling bright in the middle of a rough interval workout. But you canít imagine the feeling I get when Iím done. Iím smiling, I feel strong, powerful and usually in serious need of a shower. But thatís what great smelling body wash is for!

I donít think I can say DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU enough. You know what the best diet is? The one that works for you. You know want to know what worked for me? Eating less junk, eating more whole foods, exercising. Yeah, pretty basic stuff. Emotional eating was my downfall as well as getting discouraged trying to follow ďnever eat in front of the TVĒ ďnever eat at nightĒ and ďnever eat anything sweet.Ē Sorry, those ďneverísĒ donít work for me.

So I forged my own path. Eating while on the computer or watching TV slows down my eating and reminds me to savor my food? Check one for me! Having a snack a couple of hours before bed allows me to get to sleep without a grumbling tummy? Check two for me! Eating a small dessert every single night helps me turn down junk all day in anticipation? Check three, Iím done!

And if anyone tries to tell me Iím wrong, Iíll kick them in the pants!

Or make funny faces at them before throwing my water bottle and running awayÖ.You know, whatever works!


Iíll be getting back to my regularly scheduled gluten-free recipe blog soon. But I canít be bothered at the moment, Iím eating. ;)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHORTSGIRL 3/8/2011 6:45PM

    Thanks for sharing your story, you look great! Congratulations on all that you have accomplished. emoticon emoticon

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CHERYLNIELSEN 3/6/2011 11:50AM

    You are an extremely positive person! I really enjoyed your blog post and I like how you are straight and to the point. Thanks for the tips. I will have to check out your recipe blog as well. Congrats on your success! emoticon

Comment edited on: 3/6/2011 11:50:57 AM

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MYADOG1 2/27/2011 11:13PM

    emoticonSo nice to hear I'm not the only one who still enjoys dessert and eats in front of the tv or computer! Love the image of you throwing your water bottle at anyone with a "better" idea of what works. Thanks for the reminder that diets are not one size fits all

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MAYBE_SOMEDAY 2/27/2011 4:54PM

    Wow, what an inspiring journey! Thanks for the encouraging tips as well.

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AMBERLICIOUS88 2/25/2011 4:09PM

    Great Blog! From a fellow Amber too! Love your pics. Your before and afters are phenomenal! Thank you for acknowledging the fact that what works for one person, may not work for another. I guess we need to find the little things that keep us motivated and sticking to it. If that means a treat once a day, or once a week, do it! Good for you. I'm going to go stalk your sparkpage now, and add you as a friend! Go Ambers!

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MSPRIS3 2/25/2011 2:06PM

    Great Blog!!

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    emoticon emoticon Love your down to earth "what worked for you" despite the things you hear everywhere else... What matters is what works for US (as individuals) and it's obvious you found YOUR Formula!

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IMEMINE1 2/21/2011 1:36PM

    This was a real good(Great)blog.
I think you are so great.
You are truely an inspiration.
Keep up the good work.

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ANELAKANOA 2/20/2011 3:22PM

  WOW! Congrats! You look amazing and are such an inspiration!


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MRSSCHENCK 2/20/2011 9:06AM

    emoticon You look amazing! I bet you feel even better. Wow! You're truly an inspiration.

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WDWGIRLS 2/19/2011 9:21PM

    I am so proud of you for learning so much about what works for you early in life! It has taken me 60 years to finally get on the right track - lol. Thanks for taking the time to share your story and inspire sparkpeople of all ages.

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GRACEISENUF 2/19/2011 11:21AM

    Great blog...see why you got the blog award..loved it and the pics too!

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ASSYRIA1 2/18/2011 1:11PM

    i read SP blogs every single day, just for motivation, inspiration...whatever i can sap out of them! this is honestly, no BS, truly, truly the FIRST time anyone has brought me to tears. thanks man. i needed that.

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TWINSMOM0429 2/18/2011 10:46AM

  This is great and you look great! You have made great strides and the most important thing is that you did it YOUR way! You found something that works for you & stuck with it.

I love to eat & I love to snack but all in moderation, right? That's the key.

Keep up the great work.

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WEDDLEACE 2/18/2011 9:56AM

    LOVED this blog! Loved loved loved it. Thanks for the inpiration!

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MBRANDO 2/18/2011 9:52AM

    You look awesome!

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    You look great....Excellent post

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MIRACLELOVE77 2/17/2011 6:47PM

    that's awesome! congrats!! emoticon i just started SP and the hardest thing for me is knowing the portions I'm eating and cutting back on food...so I'm definitely going to check out your recipes! thanks! :)

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NANA717 2/16/2011 10:43PM

    WOW!! You are amazing!!!!!

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AML05030 2/16/2011 10:12PM

    AMEN GIRL!!!! You need to preach to the masses! I wish I had read your blog LAST week when I was flipping out over a know-it-all judging my food (I know she meant well, and I also know she had NO clue i've lost 30 pounds eating within my caloric range and eating less real JUNK).

GLuten free? HIT ME UP! My boyfriends family is gluten free!

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HAPPYWALKER 2/16/2011 6:47PM

    I loved your blog! I also think that it's important to find out what works for you - rely on our own inner wisdom and not something that worked for someone else. Congratulations on your transformation. You're beautiful, and I can tell you have a beautiful spirit inside.

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KRISTEN_SAYS 2/16/2011 10:24AM

    You look amazing! Congrats!

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LACHELY 2/16/2011 4:09AM


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TIGGERROO21 2/15/2011 7:54PM

    Wow....very inspiring! Way to go on all your hard work!!!!


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TIGGERROO21 2/15/2011 7:52PM

    Wow....very inspiring! Way to go on all your hard work!!!!


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MYSCALETIPS 2/15/2011 7:31PM

    I love it! Those "nevers" don't work for me either =) Thanks for putting this blog up because it is reassuring to know that what I am doing will work FOR ME and I dont have to feel bad about it! Great job! emoticon

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HEYPINK 2/15/2011 4:28PM

    amazing! congrats on your success and thanks for the inspiration!

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BECKY_LYNN84 2/15/2011 4:23PM

    Wow!! Congrats to you!!!

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TAGPOINTE 2/15/2011 3:31PM

    Can you give me the recipe for the smoothie?? I would love to try it.

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TAGPOINTE 2/15/2011 3:28PM

    Can you give me the recipe for the smoothie?? I would love to try it.

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BBGYRL4 2/15/2011 12:22PM

    Congratulations on your success! Loved the blog and I'm excited to check out some of the recipes, your food looks delicious!! Keep up the great work!

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NELLBELLA26 2/15/2011 12:05PM

    Inspiring blog. Congrats on the Sparkiversary!
You look great.

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LUCKYONE60 2/15/2011 11:03AM

    Wow, nice work! Great job and fun to read your blog with photos. A picture is worth a thousand words...Keep up the good work!

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LUCKEGIRL40 2/15/2011 12:06AM

    How wonderful! You are truly inspiring! Amazing...keep up the great work!

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FEISTYSHAMROCK 2/14/2011 11:52PM

    Ha!! You are AMAZING! Thanks for the inspiration, I am looking forward to checking out your blog for gluten free recipes!

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LUBAML 2/14/2011 11:00PM

    Great job! Congratulations! I'm happy for you. emoticonLuba

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CROW_AND_POPPY 2/14/2011 10:28PM

    Awesome job! and isn't it crazy looking at the 'before' food / meals and thinking "and I ate that????"

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MAGGIEROSEBOWL 2/14/2011 11:26AM

    What a great blog! You have to feel so good every time you look at yourself and realize what you have accomplished. It's a simply amazing transformation--and you're right, you have to find what works for YOU. I think you've found that formula and have achieved success! I hope that someday I can look like you do today! Altho--that probably is never gonna happen, since I'm more than twice your age. Some things, losing weight can NOT change! But I'm working to change the things I can!

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JENDOOD 2/12/2011 7:00AM

    HA!! Love it! Just what I needed!!

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ANGELOO29 2/10/2011 7:31AM

    So amazing! It reminds me why I started and provides inspiration to continue on!

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READY4LIVE 2/9/2011 11:19PM

    What a journey Wow! Good for your for finding what was good for Amber, finding zest for life, and 94 lbs loss baby!! You ROCK! Whats also awesome about you too, is you've pretty much been at goal for awhile now, but your still loggin in, tracking, maintaining your loss and spreading much encouragement! emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 2/9/2011 11:20:13 PM

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NAVYMOM133 2/9/2011 3:48PM

    FANTASTIC!!! Happy Sparkiversary to you! You are in control!


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WILDVIOLETS 2/8/2011 10:11AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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NEWJEWELS4LIFE 2/8/2011 9:09AM

    emoticon You are such an inspiration & very right!! You have to do what works for you!! Not everybody can do what the magazines and tv tell us to do. The foods looks AMAZING!! I will be checking out the blog for recipes. Happy Sparkiversary!! emoticon

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KATFOSTER11 2/8/2011 7:18AM

    Great Inspiration! Congrats on all of your success!

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JULIEANNCAN 2/8/2011 5:10AM

    emoticon and happy Sparkversary! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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AUBREYINGMAN 2/7/2011 11:51PM

    I just want you to know that I am so proud of all the progress you made. I really like the photos you included in this blog. I Love you. You inspire me every day!


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HANNAH_CALM 2/7/2011 9:44PM

    Good for you! Congratulations on your Sparkversary! You look great now, really healthy! I know what you mean about how you have to break the rules sometimes. I like to exercise before bed now and then, and they say you're not supposed to. It's silly though. I mean, you get tired, and then it's even easier to fall asleep! Keep up the good work!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LADIDAK 2/7/2011 8:37PM

    Amazing!!! You have such a simple, yet inspiring story! :)

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MT-MOONCHASER 2/7/2011 7:38PM

    Great going!!



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Recipes : Supplement to Beans, Veggies, Grains blog.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Since I have gotten some messages and comments requesting the recipes from my last blog, I decided to do a little digging. I have posted a few previous blogs that contain some of the recipes, so Iíll post links for those.
Some are recipes and some just sort of came together with what I had on hand. I know that some were inspired by recipes I have seen in magazines or online, so I donít claim to be some sort of recipe-creating genius. And while I think they are all delicious, I donít also wonít claim that you will necessarily love them too!

Iím posting these in the same order that they appeared in my last blog.

Old tried and true recipes:

Black Bean Burgers recipe and description can be found here


Black Bean salad recipe and description can be found here


Black Bean Casserole recipe and description can be found here


Sante Fe Quinoa recipe and description can be found here


Beans, Rice, Veggies recipe and description can be found here


New trying them out recipes:

Black Bean Salad
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
Ĺ lime or lemon, juiced
ľ cup fresh cilantro
Ĺ tsp cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
Garnish with guacamole or avocado if desired

Combine beans with the rest of the ingredients, adjusting spices to taste.

Whipped Red Potato
For this I just diced two potatoes, steamed them in the microwave for 12 minutes and then used a food processor to whip them with Greek yogurt, garlic, salt, paprika and pepper.

Sweet Potato and Baked Beans

This one is all Caitlinís!


Roasted Green Beans

Green beans, your favorite oil, any spices you desire, roast at 450 degrees for 15 minutes or until the texture you desire.

Sweet Potato and Bean Mash

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (or any beans you like)
1 large sweet potato, precooked and diced
Ĺ cup onion, diced
Ĺ cup bell pepper, diced
Ĺ cup tomato, diced
1 jalapeno
1 garlic clove, minced
Ĺ cup salsa
ľ cup fresh cilantro
1 tbsp fresh lemon or lime juice

In a large skillet over medium-heat sautť the onion, jalapeno and bell pepper for 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.

Add the sweet potato, tomato, salsa, black beans, cilantro, lemon juice and spices to the pan. Heat through. Salt to taste if desired.

Can be served in tortillas, lettuce leaves, or eaten directly out of a bowl. Add guacamole or sour cream if desired.

Baja Bean Quinoa

(makes enough to bring to a potluck, adjust serving size as necessary)
You can use whatever beans you like, I used three of my favorites.

4 cups cooked quinoa
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can red beans, drained and rinsed
Ĺ cup onion, diced
ľ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

ľ cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
ľ tsp salt
ľ tsp pepper
Add other spices if desired to taste: parsley, cumin, whatever you like.

Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.
Combine beans, quinoa, onions, and cilantro in a large bowl and mix well.
Pour dressing over mixture and chill in the fridge for at least two hours for flavor to fully sink in.

If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment or send me a message!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IMEMINE1 3/3/2011 8:12PM

    These all sound great.

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JANICEMC 2/14/2011 4:37PM

    Thanks! I am going to be trying all of these. :-)

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PAG2809 1/19/2011 9:47PM

    Thank you!

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STEPFANIER 1/18/2011 9:10AM

  Love, love, love these recipes. I might feature them on the dailySpark soon. :) I'll be in touch.

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Picture This: Beans, Veggies, Grains, Oh My!

Monday, January 17, 2011

As I recovered from my biopsy plus complications I got pretty lazy with my cooking. It seems like the easiest gluten-free meals include a combination of beans, veggies, and some sort of grain or starchy vegetable.

Iím eating more quinoa, brown rice, and potatoes than ever before! And yet, Iím not complaining! I am working on building up an arsenal of meals to choose from, and they all seem to border on this same theme. I have also become very aware that my favorite beans happen to be black beans.

Black bean burgers, potato wedges, steamed veggies

Black bean salad, brown rice, steamed veggies

Black bean casserole, (side salad not pictured)

Sante Fe quinoa, (side salad not pictured)

And things with super imaginative names like ďumm...beans, rice and veggies?Ē

To add to this I tried to think ďoutside the boxĒ, and I think thatís why I was having so many problems coming up with good vegetarian gluten-free dishes. I had to realize that I should stick closer to what I know!

So I started out with a new black bean salad (black beans, lime juice, cilantro, green onions, cumin and spices to taste), added steamed veggies, and whipped red potatoes.

I hadnít had a potato in what seemed like forever, so I got a bit of a kick with it. The next day I had half a sweet potato topped with baked beans (ala Caitlin of HTP) with roasted green beans on the side.

I took the leftover sweet potato and cooked up what was supposed to be a burrito filling, but I didnít find a tortilla necessary. It basically turned into a ďuse up veggiesĒ dinner. I sautťed onion, jalapeno, and garlic together and then added the leftover sweet potato with lemon juice, tomato, salsa, spices, black beans and cilantro.

But you know whatís really good? Baja bean and red quinoa salad.

Yup, more beans and quinoa. But itís delicious!

I think it might be a bit boring for other people, but I actually enjoy my ďfood ruts.Ē I get really interested in a particular dish and then I have it until I canít bear it! I have had pretty much the exact same breakfast for almost three months now. What can I say, Iím quite odd.

What kind of food ruts do you get into? Or do you change things up constantly?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JANICEMC 2/11/2011 3:29PM

    Amber: have you posted your recipes yet? Some of these look really great.

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*AMBER512 1/17/2011 11:15PM

    lol, I didn't even realize I hadn't posted what I've been having every single morning. It's super filling and starts me off with a lot of protein.

I have 1/3 cup oatmeal mixed with 1.5 oz Greek yogurt and 1/4 tsp cinnamon.

On the side of that I have another 1.5 oz Greek yogurt, 1/2 tbsp chocolate peanut butter, and a medium apple. Super filling and delicious!

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HANNAH_CALM 1/17/2011 9:00PM

    I like black beans too. I always choose them over pinto beans when I can. I love how they taste, and they never seem to make me sick and bloated like the other kinds. Hey, you didn't say what you've been eating for breakfast! Is it good? I like things to change sometimes. I also wonder what it would be like if it were always the same. I got disappointed when I went on a search for sugar-free cereals, cold cereals, at the supermarket, and found only one. Now, it's whatever I pick up. Right now, I've been eating cocoa puffs every morning. I'm not feeling too guilty about it either, because it goes in the tracker and it has a lot of vitamins and minerals.

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STEPFANIER 1/17/2011 3:36PM

  Please share these recipes and let me know when you do!!

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PAG2809 1/17/2011 2:56PM

    Amber, have you posted any of these recipes to sparkrecipes.com? Should I rephrase? Would you please post recipes? These look yummy!

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MCK0582 1/17/2011 2:35PM

    wow, all of that stuff looks amazing. i have yet to make my own black bean burgers, but seeing that one inspires me. it might be the new recipe i make this week!

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