muddy footsteps

Superfood Salad with lemon vinaigrette

Posted in dinner, Food & Recipes, gluten-free, Health/Nutrition, lunch, Protein by nicolejanaye on May 17, 2013

fooooodSuperfood Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

This seems to be the perfect dish to bring to a BBQ, picnic, or just serve as part of your dinner. It’s light but filling, loaded with health benefits like protein/fats/vitamins, and is simple to make. The lemon vinaigrette is the perfect touch to bring all the flavors together. Get your grains soaking and start making this tonight!

*Follow Kristin at Iowa Girl Eats at for amazing recipes just like this one that she came up with! Thanks Kristin!!


  • 1/2 cup dry quinoa
  • 1/3 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 orange, peeled, and segments chopped
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup pomegranate arils
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
  • salt & pepper

For the lemon Vinaigrette:

  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 TBS sweetener (honey, agave…)
  • salt & pepper
  • 6 TBS extra virgin olive oil


  1. Soak the quinoa in a bowl of water and let sit for at least 10 minutes. Once soaked, rinse quinoa extremely thoroughly!
  2. Heat up a dash of oil in a pot and add quinoa. Let the quinoa toast for 2 minutes, then add 2 cups of water and bring to a rapid bowl. Once a boil has been reached, reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot and let sit for 15 minutes. Once the quinoa is done cooking, take a fork to the quinoa and fluff it. Set aside to cool.
  3. For the lemon vinaigrette, combine all ingredients in a mason jar and shake to combine.
  4. Combine all the ingredients together in a large bowl and pour the vinaigrette on top. Mix, serve, and enjoy!

*If you don’t have pomegranate arils, you can replace them with chopped strawberries, watermelon, or even jicama!



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Pizza! Cauliflower crust.

Posted in dinner, Food & Recipes, gluten-free, Health/Nutrition, pizza by nicolejanaye on September 22, 2012

Alright so the buzz is going around and the latest thing is cauliflower crust. It’s extremely healthy, simple to make, and tasted great. I’ve been mixing up the toppings for my pizzas and they’re easily interchangeable which allows you to create all kinds of flavorful pizzas.
Langostino with veggies.

Mexican cracked egg pizza.

Gorgonzola veggie pizza.

Serving size: 2 personal pizza crusts
-2 whole eggs + 1 white
-1 flax egg (1 Tbs flax + 2 Tbs water, mix and let sit for 15 minutes)
-1/2 cup garbanzo bean flour
-3/4 cup cauliflower (chopped finely in food processor to always rice like consistency)
-herbs, spices, salt & pepper to taste


1. Pre-heat oven to 425
2. Mix ‘riced’ cauliflower with the remaining ingredients.
3. Pour half the batter on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place another piece of parchment paper on top and cook for 20 minutes.
4. Remove both pieces of parchment paper and flip over crust. Add sauce, toppings, cheese…and cook for an additional 15 minutes.




I’ve noticed that the crust becomes crispier when cooked on a baking sheet or pizza stone. After you remove the parchment, check the crust and see if it needs to go back in the oven for an additional 5 minutes just to crisp up a bit more. This recipe makes two perfect-sized pizza crusts. Load them up with tomato sauce, pesto, veggies, and an assortment of meats and cheeses. Be creative with your ingredients!

Veggie tacos with black bean and corn salad

Posted in Food & Recipes, gluten-free, Health/Nutrition, lunch by nicolejanaye on July 17, 2012

This past weekend my aunt whipped together this incredible dinner that had me going back for seconds. It was simple, easy, and delicious. The plan was to originally have fish tacos, but after cooking the fish we decided to toss it out. I don’t think it was the freshest batch at the store. So instead of fish, she grilled up zucchini, sauteed some onions, and sliced up avocado and tomatoes. The tortillas were an artisan brand that were handmade by a lady from the store. You can taste the difference, it was so much better. I topped my tacos off with some salsa and tapatio to give it a spicy kick. Along side was the famous black bean and corn salad. You would think it’s just a plain jane side salad, but it actually had a ton of flavor and the lime dressing with cayenne and garlic gave it a freshness with a kick.

Black Bean and Corn Salad

  • 2/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 4 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • hot sauce (add to your liking)
  • 3 cups frozen corn kernels
  • 2 avocados- peeled, pitted and diced
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 4 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
  • 2 mangoes, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped

Place lime juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, and cayenne pepper in a small jar. Cover with lid, and shake until ingredients are well mixed. In a salad bowl combine beans, corn, avocado, bell pepper, tomatoes, red onions, mangoes, and cilantro. Shake lime dressing, and pour it over the salad. Stir salad to coat vegetable and beans with dressing, and serve.

*I got this recipe from my aunt who found it on the internet, so this is not my own creation. Also, the recipe yields a very large portion. I would half or even quarter the recipe if you are making this for one-two people.

My Perfect Veggie Burger

Posted in Food & Recipes, gluten-free, Health/Nutrition, lunch by nicolejanaye on October 26, 2011

Today marks ‘Day One’ of better time management. I came home from school today heading straight for my room to clear all the clutter, do laundry, and clean up the bathroom. Down to the kitchen to grab a spoonful of almond butter. Eating a bit of healthy fats gives me an extra push to keep my body moving. I know fats are great and essential for our bodies, but you should take that natural energy it provides and put it to good use. My goal was to add this incredible, delicious recipe on the blog and then suit up in gym gear and get some serious sweating on.

I have a fairly decent list of food bloggers that I choose to follow. Some I follow because their page is an absolute inspiration and their photos are magnificent in a way that you crave to have them printed and mounted on your wall. They write with such beauty that you would assume they’re coming out with a novel in the coming months. Regardless of the look of some blogs, these ladies or gentlemen create mouth-watering recipes that are not only healthy but unique and tasty. I do admit that not all the blogs I follow are vegan, or vegetarian for that matter. But for the reason I initially mentioned, their blogs are beautiful and the work they portray is what inspires me to keep pushing towards my future.

One of the bloggers that I have been following for quite some time is Angela Liddon at OhSheGlows . She writes a healthy vegan blog where she not only gives the reader recipe updates almost everyday, but talks about the struggles she went through in the past, how she overcame them, and the wonderful events she keeps active in her life today. It’s not surprising when you check on her website throughout the week and see a complete new set of blog posts as well as numerous recipes that she has been concocting in her kitchen. These recipes are good. They are healthy. They make you feel satisfied and can please both vegans and non-vegans alone. Angela knows what she is doing.

One dish that I’ve been meaning to get to for a long time now was veggie burgers. As you can see on her post, Our Perfect Veggie Burger, Angela and her husband are fairly picky on what is in the burgers, the texture, the taste and different ways of cooking them. Like I said, she has it down.

My moms birthday gave me a great excuse to get in the kitchen and get these burgers flipping! I showed my mom Angela’s website a while back and her veggie burgers stood out to both of us. My mom has been kicking and screaming asking me nicely to make the burgers. Finally the day was here and I headed to Henry’s to grab some extra ingredients that I needed. I altered Angela’s recipe just a bit because my mom has celiac disease, leaving her unable to process and consume gluten. Not only did I adjust the breadcrumbs but I changed up the flour as well. I had oats at home, but no processor to grind them into flour. For some reason, I couldn’t find gluten-free oat flour at the store so I took an alternative, garbanzo bean flour. Not only is it gluten-free, but it’s higher in protein than the oat flour. I was just hoping it would provide the same texture in the burgers. I also made sweet potato and regular potato frieds to pair with the burger.

I graciously thank Angela for creating a wonderful veggie burger recipe to inspire me to make these gluten-free veggie burgers for my family and I. Thanks Angela! This is her recipe, I just made a couple tweaks to fit my dietary needs. You can find what her burgers look like at her website.

Yields: 8 burgers


  • 1.5 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • Kosher salt & black pepper
  • 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp Tamari (soy sauce) ; gluten-free
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • Flax eggs: 2.5 tbsp ground flax + 1/2 cup warm water, mixed in bowl
  • 1/4 cup parsley; chopped
  • 1/3 cup almonds; toasted and chopped
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds; toasted
  • 1/2 cup onion; diced
  • 1 cup carrots; grated
  • 1 cup black beans; cooked, rinsed, and mashed
  • 1 cup garbanzo bean flour
  • 1 1/2 cup gluten-free bagel chips. I used Glutino GF bagel chips, orignal flavor. I poured them into a zip lock bag and smashed them with a large pot. You can use a rolling-pin as well. This mixture will replace the breadcrumbs in the original recipe


1. In a large skillet, sauté onions and garlic in 1/2 tbsp oil. Mix your flax egg together in a small bowl and set aside for at least 10 mins while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

2. Place all ingredients (except spices and salt) into a large mixing bowl and stir very well. Now, add seasonings and salt to taste.

3. With slightly wet hands, shape dough into patties. Pack dough tightly as this will help it stick together. I made 8 medium patties.

4. Heat up the other 1/2 tbsp of EVOO in your skillet. Cook the burgers 5 minutes on each side.

The last bit is up to your imagination. Build your better burger with a variety of ingredients. I added lettuce, tomato, hummus, and mustard to my veggie burger and topped it off with gluten-free buns. I sautéed the buns in garlic ‘butter’ . Mix Smart Balance butter with diced garlic and microwave for 30 seconds. Rub this mixture on the buns and drop into a skillet. Heat up until the buns have turned a golden color. Serve this at your next BBQ and impress all your friends at how tasty a healthy burger can be!

Spicy Quinoa Flats

Posted in Breakfast, Food & Recipes, gluten-free, lunch by nicolejanaye on August 26, 2011

So I know I’ve been jumping back and forth a great deal on vegan food and foods regarding animal products. This is mostly in result to flying out to Europe. Generally if I’m on my own, it’s fairly easy to continue eating vegan food, whether I’m making it for myself or going to a restaurant. However, when I’m staying with a family or large group of people, I don’t want to be a hassle. I transition to vegetarianism and eat as much vegan food as I possibly can get my hands on.

Fast forward one month later and I’m back to the states and back to my comfort food. One of my favorite dishes are the Spicy Quinoa Cakes with a Sweet Mustard Sauce. The only downfall is that they are not vegan. So my quest is to veganize them. This version of quinoa cakes are a bit different. I used some similar flavors, but added cashew cream to the mixture to give it a unique texture. I made them thinner and flatter than the original version, hence the name, Quinoa Flats. They are also baked (healthier & more nutrition) instead of pan fryed. Don’t be fooled by the list of ingredients. Most of them are very common household spices. Besides the preparation of soaking the quinoa and cashews, this recipe is very simple and easy to make.


  • 3 cups quinoa; soaked 3 hours-overnight; cooked
  • 1 cup raw cashews; soaked 3 hours-overnight
  • 1/3 cup raw apple cider vinegar
  • 8 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes
  • 5 tsp diced jalapeños
  • 2 tsp olive oil; infused recommended (garlic, herbs, sun-dried tomatoes…)
  • 3 tsp tahini
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400.
  2. After your quinoa has been soaking, you want to rinse thoroughly through a small strainer. If you don’t have a strainer with small enough holes, lay a cheese cloth on top of the strainer and rinse through that.
  3. I like to cook my quinoa with a 1: 1 1/2 ratio. Some recipes call for more or less water at a desired time, but I find that this gives the grain a perfect consistency. Depending on how long you soaked your quinoa for, your measurement will be different because of the water absorption. If you soak your grains overnight, you will have a larger product of quinoa. I ended up with 3 cups of soaked quinoa. Combine your quinoa with water, according to the ratio 1 quinoa: 1 1/2 water.  Bring to a boil and then let simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Drain the cashews and rinse them thoroughly. Blend them with the water and vinegar.
  5. Combine remaining ingredients, except for quinoa and 3 tsp diced jalapeños, with the cashew mixture and liquify.
  6. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and combine quinoa and remaining jalapeños.
  7. Spoon flat cakes on lined cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes.
  8. Drizzle Sweet Mustard Sauce on top of flats.
  9. Enjoy!
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Spicy Quinoa Cakes with a Sweet Mustard Sauce

Posted in Breakfast, Food & Recipes, gluten-free, Health/Nutrition by nicolejanaye on July 18, 2011

As easy as it sounds, it’s hard for me to have days where I do absolutely nothing. I feel as if a precious day has gone by wasted, floating in the sky in a numerical assortment. I have this sense that life is so short and that I need to spend every waking second doing something I can take mental photographs of. As much as this is true, sometimes you just need a day off.

Today was that day and I did it well. Some movie watching was in order, along with remaining in my pajamas to wee hours of the evening. I did manage to make it to the gym and sweat a gallon or two. Not only was that a successful act but I created a new recipe. Something that I’ve been testing out and trying to perfect.

It’s delicious. It’s high in protein, satisfies hungry bellies and kitchen cravings, has a spicy kick and is enjoyable to any vegan, vegetarian or meat lover alike.

For me, quinoa has somewhat of a mute flavor. I prefer a nutty wild rice but the benefits of quinoa outshine any type of grain on the market. This godly grain contains all essential amino acids and is a good source of manganese, magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus. I’ve found a recipe that embraces the wonderful flavors that quinoa provides. The combination of ingredients and the cooking method gives these cakes the most desirable flavor.

I failed to mention earlier that these lovely quinoa cakes are not only packed with flavor and nutrition but they are gluten-free as well. By making homemade bread crumbs with gluten-free bread you are saving money and making the cakes easier to digest for those who are intolerant. One important thing to mention is the process of soaking the quinoa prior to cooking it. Soaking grains, nuts, and legumes not only removes the bitter flavor but it allows the body to digest the food and absorb the minerals more easily. Many grains, dried beans, nuts, and seeds contain phytic acid. This acid, also known as the ‘anti-nutrient’ bonds to certain minerals and blocks their absorption in the small intestine. Which means, all of the nutrients that you think you are getting, you are getting less of if not none at all. However, the good news is that soaking helps remove the phytic acid and increases the bioavailability of the minerals they contain. It’s best to soak your nuts/beans/grains for 12-24 hours, but 30 minutes will work if you’re in a time crunch. I prefer to soak overnight so that I can wake up and begin cooking right away.



  • 1 cup of quinoa; soaked (I prefer red but white will work or a combination of the two)
  • 1 cup of bread crumbs *
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 large red pepper
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 4 0z. diced jalapeno
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp yellow mustard
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt


  1. After your quinoa has been soaking,you want to rinse thoroughly through a small strainer. If you don’t have a strainer with small enough holes, lay a cheese cloth on top of the strainer and rinse through that.
  2. I like to cook my quinoa with a 1:1 1/2 ratio. Some recipes call for more or less water at a desired time, but I find that this gives the grain a perfect consistency. Depending on how long you soaked your quinoa for, your measurement will be different because of the absorption of water. If you soak your grains overnight, you will have a larger measurement. I ended up with 2 cups of soaked quinoa. Combine your quinoa with water, according to the ratio 1 quinoa: 1 1/2 water. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Combine quinoa and eggs and mix thoroughly in a large bowl.
  4. Add bread crumbs to the mixture and toss lightly.
  5. Next, add the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  6. Make 2 inch cakes and cook on a frying pan for 5-7 minutes on each side or until golden.
  7. For the sauce, simply combine all of the ingredients and whisk together.
  8. Drizzle the sauce on top of your cakes and dig in!

*To make your own gluten-free bread crumbs combine 8 slices of gf bread and bake in your oven at 350 for 10 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes and then process in a food processor. I like to use the ends of the bread because I think it gives a better texture but any slices will do.

Serving size: 2 inch cakes

Servings: 52

 These cakes are everything delicious. The sweet and tangy mustard sauce pairs perfectly with the spicy kick to the cakes. It’s just the right amount of heat that keeps your mouth tingling. Don’t be frightened by the list of ingredients. It’s mostly spices that can be altered to what you have in your kitchen. Quinoa is fairly inexpensive and goes a long way. Use this recipe as a start and experiment with different flavor combinations. Try cooking these up and sandwiching them in between a rustic bread for an interesting twist to a veggie burger. Or simply slice up a thick beefsteak tomato and stack on top of the cake with a drizzle of the sweet mustard sauce


Salted Maple Walnut Scones-Gluten Free

Posted in exercise, Food & Recipes, gluten-free by nicolejanaye on June 6, 2011

Before we get to this incredibly delicious recipe I should re-cap this past weekend!

I ran my first half marathon ever! I trained with ‘Team in Training’ for 6 months building my endurance and preparing myself for this day. I raised $1,700 for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to find a cure for cancer! The morning started not so bright and early at 3am. The San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon is one of the biggest races in the United States with over 26,000 runners, walkers and wheelchair athletes coming from all over the country. The course runs through downtown San Diego, Fiesta Island and ends at Sea World. One of the best parts of the race was running on the 163 freeway. It was a unique and exciting experience that not many people have the opportunity to do.

Now, let me tell you, I’m not the typical runner. I don’t really enjoy running, I prefer more physical contact sports like boxing, football and softball. When I did running in the past, it was short sprinting distances. However, running and training with TNT has brought a new light of running to me. I think the more you do it, the easier it becomes and the more you enjoy it. I never would have assumed that it was possible to run without an iPod. Hah. But I’ve developed into a runner that can truly enjoy hitting the pavement with only my thoughts going through my head. I now understand the relaxing and meditative type of feeling that regular runners feel.

I wanted to start the race out at a slower pace so that I wouldn’t get burnt out through the end. I wasn’t running to beat a time or qualify for any other races. So why shouldn’t I slow down a little and take in the entire experience? There were times when all I could do was tear up. There were times when I closed my eyes and took in a deep breath. There were times when I high-fived onlookers as well as other runners. Many athletes write on the back of their jersey’s who they run for; in honor of, in memory of… I wrote in memory of my grandfather who passed away from cancer. It was nice to be able to read the shirts and see why all of these people were out here. Some of the most inspiring shirts were the ones that read SURVIVOR, and even 3x SURVIVOR. It gave me the extra push to keep running. To be in all honesty, I never was tired. This isn’t to say I wasn’t running hard, because I was. But I was distracted from the scenery, the people , the crowds, the hundreds of volunteers and families cheering me on. I ran a negative split in my race and was able to finish faster than I started! I actually had enough in me to sprint the last mile and a half.

It was an incredible experience to be out there with thousands others doing this all for one reason; to kick cancers butt! This was my first race, but definitely won’t be my last. Team in Training raised $9,000,000 alone this year! This drastic and deathly disease will soon be cured! Soon there will be no parents having to bury their child, soon their will be no widows of husbands who lost their battle, soon we will beat this!

Now, I’m not using this post as a way to advertise but I have $245 left to raise to meet my minimum goal of $1,700. With your help, I could get there. I’ve worked my butt off training for this race and fundraising, it would be incredible to hit my minimum and help catalyze the cure for cancer! That is the link to my fundraising page where you can read a little of my story and make an online donation. Anything is appreciated! Now let’s get back to the food.

I’ve always had a yearning for the combination of sweet and salty. Chocolate covered pretzels were not a foreign treat in my childhood. Salt is added to most dessert recipes to help bring out the flavors. It is no wonder that salted caramel or other salted flavors are taking over! For those of you that eat meat, have you ever noticed that dipping your bacon or other breakfast meat in with your maple syrup from your pancakes is surprisingly delicious? It’s this satisfying combination of sweet and salty that makes your tongue dance with flavors. I created a gluten-free salted maple walnut scone. Not only is the title a mouthful but yours will be too after making these!

I had a gluten-free muffin and scone mix in my cabinet that I wanted to do something with. I want to experiment a little on creating my own scone base, but for now I’m sticking with this. I used the brand ‘Gluten-Free PANTRY’ mix and added in my own set of ingredients to transform this dull package of flours and powders to a mouth-watering, finger-licking scone. Let’s take a look.


  • Gluten-Free PANTRY muffin & scone mix
  • 1 TSP kosher salt
  • 1 Tbl dark brown sugar
  • 3 Tbl chia seeds
  • 3 Tbl ground flax
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 3/4 cup soy milk


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine all ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl.
  3. Scoop by 1/4 cup measure onto parchment-lined cookie sheet.
  4. Sprinkle brown sugar and kosher salt on the tops of the scones.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden.
  6. Once removed from the oven, drizzle extra maple syrup on the tops and serve warm!


Pre-workout meal

Posted in Food & Recipes by nicolejanaye on December 21, 2010

I generally opt for a simple, nutrient packed breakfast that leaves me satisfied but not stuffed. Days where I close at work, I need to bust in a tough workout early in the day. In that case, I need something to coat my stomach, but not leaving me ready to puke once I hit the ground running.

Toast with a sprinkling of flavor and dollop of love is the perfect choice. I went with 2 slices of gluten-free toast. The ingredients on gf bread tends to be more natural, so I don’t mind choosing this bread over the traditonal. On top of the health benefits, it’s small and compact; perfect for a pre-workout meal. I top it off with 1 tablespoon of almond butter, shared between both slices. 1 sliced up banana and a healthy dose of chia seeds does justice.

This breakfast is nutrient packed! It’s small enough to eat before any kind of workout, but energy filled enough to battle any tough routine.