muddy footsteps

Simple Summer Side Salad

Posted in Uncategorized by nicolejanaye on May 30, 2014

ImageWoa, that was a mouthful.

After whipping this recipe up, you’ll want a mouthful as well. In our household, we like to keep our dishes simple, easy to make, and of course keep it healthy. This salad was something I just came up with while looking through my refridgerator. I wanted a salad that had protein, was flavorful, and could be used as a delicious side to any meal or even by itself. The ingredients are easy to come by and I’ll guess that you have a majority of them already in your kitchen. Many of the ingredients can be replaced with similar ones for your preference and convenience. Try using parsley instead of cilantro, or perhaps use a blend of fresh herbs. Mix in fresh or sun-dried tomatoes to intensify the flavor of this salad. You can even make this a non-vegetarian dish but adding grilled chicken or roasted fish. There are so many ways to personalize this salad! Try this recipe out for tonight’s dinner or bring as a side to your next party.



  • 1 yellow bell pepper; chopped
  • 1 cup roasted corn; (I use the frozen bags from Trader Joes)
  • 1/2 can (8oz) of black beans; drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 large cucumber; peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 red onion; chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese; crumbled
  • 10 kalamata olives; chopped
  • 1/2 lemon; juiced and zested
  • handful of cilantro; chopped
  • 1/8 cup raw apple cider vinegar
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 TBS Annies Organic Goddess Dressing (can be omited, but is a great addition!)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt


As far as directions, just combine everything. I told you it was simple.



Grilled Romaine Salad

Posted in Food & Recipes, gluten-free, Health/Nutrition, lunch by nicolejanaye on July 27, 2012

Sometimes you just got to mix things up.

A full, raw salad just wouldn’t suffice for today’s palate. I’ve been to a few restaurants and ordered this kind of salad before and it’s a great change in flavor and texture. It’s very simple to make and with just a few key ingredients, you can transform a boring piece of lettuce into an incredible meal.

I’ll admit that I like salads loaded with ingredients from fish to strawberries, but a salad with few ingredients packed with flavor can be just as enjoyable. For this salad I whipped up a Dijon vinaigrette to drizzle on top. You can go many ways with a dressing, but the kick from the mustard seemed like a good fit.

Dijon vinaigrette

  • 2 1/2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

As for the remainder of the toppings, I used avocado, fresh basil, chopped pistachios, sun-dried tomatoes, and feta cheese. To prepare the romaine, you want to slice it in half. Brush olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place cut-side down on the grill and cook until the leaves begin to brown and caramelize. Assemble the ingredients on top of the grilled romaine and drizzle with the vinaigrette. Enjoy!

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A squirt of lemon.

Posted in Food & Recipes, Health/Nutrition, lunch, Uncategorized by nicolejanaye on January 16, 2012

It’s mid-way through January and finally feeling like winter. The sky is painted grey and a fuzzy green scarf has snaked its way around my neck. The past few days have been some of my laziest. I’ve finished three books, slept ten+ hours per night, and have been in the company of a crackling fire.

Just because it’s cold out doesn’t mean soup and hot chocolate are the only things making way to my table. I’ve been keeping up the juicing, getting back to green smoothies and making sure to add veggies to nearly every meal throughout the day. Kale, an incredible superfood that seems to have sparked a creative fire to many health conscious foodies as well as your everyday cook, made its way to my kitchen. Its abundance in vitamins, ability to adapt to many recipes, and its availability in farmers markets and supermarkets make it an excellent addition to any diet.

Some people might have difficulty with the texture and bitterness of the green. Fortunately there is a way to remove the bitterness and add a little flavor without heating and destroying the nutrients it contains. While preparing the kale, stripping it of its leaves, and rinsing the dirt from it, try adding citrus and a sprinkle of sea salt. Massage the kale with its seasongings for a few minutes. The combination of the ingredients seems to ‘cook’ the greens without actually heating them. The bitterness is removed and the fibrous texture is gone. Not only does it become a better product, but the vitamin C in the citrus fruit allows your body to absorb more of the iron in the kale. This goes for all iron-rich, dark, leafy greens. So the next time you make a meal with spinach, kale or another green make sure you’re adding your vitamin C to give your body a boost. It’s not just lemon, grapefruit and oranges that have vitamin C, but bell peppers, tomatoes, and broccoli provide an adequate amount of vitamin C as well.

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you have to push the fresh produce behind. Be creative and switch things up with a light, spring salad. Don’t forget a squirt of lemon. 

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Posted in Breakfast, coffee, Environment, Health/Nutrition, Thoughts by nicolejanaye on October 25, 2011

Oh hey! I remember you.

It’s been a while. I can admit to that. Life has been keeping my feet running and my brain pumping to its full capacity. School is in session and it’s taking a wild beating on my body and brain. I’m struggling in a few ways, where education isn’t the first of this matter. On that note, I’m actually doing really well in school. I’ve never done this well in biology, being one of the top students in a 60+ class.

I’m struggling with my life and my outlook on everything. I’m living back at home and back to the urban lifestyle. As much as I wish to admit that I’m not on the computer or watching television (like I wrote about in an earlier post) I must confide that I have been swimming in a mass of media. It’s not that I need it all for school. Heck, I spend 98% of my time with this technology just for the sole purpose of pleasure. Not that kind of pleasure.

I’m wasting my hours, days, weeks away and I can’t dig myself out of it. This is actually the first time I’m admitting all this. I’m hoping that this will spark a fire in my head and get the ball moving in the right direction. Like I said, I’m struggling. I’m struggling with my life in social terms as well as happiness. I work and do school. I workout. Eat. Sleep. Then do it all over again. I can’t say that I don’t have time for other things, because obviously I do. I’m using my free time sitting on the couch hovered over the computer, massaging my iPhone keyboard obsessing over twitter, re-winding/pausing and repeating episodes of Biggest Loser. I need to figure this out.

Needless to say, I have some priorities I need to re-arrange in my life. I feel somewhat stuck in this urban life. I’m doing great in school, finally, and saving a lot of money living at home. I’m focused here and able to succeed in my classes. But I’m not truly happy. Some people may think that college isn’t a time for happiness but determination and a difficult, demanding period in your life. I have to disagree. I think happiness is finding the balance between succeeding in school, work or whatever you are dealing with in your life, and finding peace in the rest of your life. I haven’t figured out that balance yet. I plan on doing another semester or two here and then figuring out a bigger plan for my life. I’m planning on transferring to a bigger school, moving out into my own place, and establishing myself again. I’m ready to meet new people and try new things.

I apologize for the mush of emotions and thoughts throughout this post, but I needed to get them down. They might not flow together as one would hope but I think the message comes across clear. My friend Lacey recently replied to one of my messages stating “Niki, why are you so perfect?” Oh boy, is that far from the truth. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. According to the tweet, my strength happens to be in the form of health. I’m cool with that. I’m passionate about health and it shows in the way I choose to live my life and the foods I consume. I’ve got that down. But I have so many other things I need to work on in life. As we all do.

I just need to learn to take a deep breath sometimes, step back from the computer and get outside for a walk. Sometimes you just need that fresh air to screw your head back on straight. I know I’m not going to get rid of twitter or using the computer for personal sources, but I can manage my time a bit more wisely and live my life to a fuller potential. I know this is the temporary and things will get better from here.

To end this on a slightly positive note, I’ll show you a little something I’ve been feasting on lately. This my friends, is kale. Super green filled with so many vitamins, enzymes and nutrients your body screams with excitement. When eaten in its raw state, it can provide you with a substantial amount of nutrients for optimal health. I eat this super green every single day. I have no recipes for you today but I can give you a lineup of what I eat on an average day.

Breakfast: Grapefruit & a Tofu scramble Organic spinach, organic firm tofu, carrots, garlic, onion, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper.

Snack: Carrots/Hummus & Nuts Either a small handful of raw almonds or a small serving of walnuts mixed with craisins.

Lunch: Kale salad- Huge kale salad filled with sun-dried tomatoes, sprouted lentils, sprouted quinoa, mushrooms, lemon juice, sea salt, and raw apple cider vinegar

Snack: Fruit- Usually some type of fruit, whether it’s a peach, banana, apple, or grapefruit

Dinner: Variety- Usually a combination of lunch, with cooked lentils, quinoa, spinach, and/or sweet potatoes.

That’s just a sample of what I generally eat on a regular day. Things vary but that’s the majority of it. I do make green smoothies a lot, green juices, veggie burgers, oatmeal, and hummus. I drink coffee on occasion, but it’s very acidic on the body so I try to limit myself.

Well I’m going to stop feeling sorry for myself, get my butt of this couch, sign off twitter, yahoo, wordpress and any other accounts I have and run to the gym. I’m going to try to prioritize more efficiently and make better use of my time. I’m hoping to make blog posting a bigger priority while not letting it consume a large portion of my time.

Raw Vegan Cowgirl Ranch Dressing

Posted in Food & Recipes, lunch by nicolejanaye on August 23, 2011

I’ve seen all the hype. I’ve read all the recipes about it. But for some reason, it has never hit my palate quite right. Kale. I’m not sure if it was a bad batch I tried or I followed the recipes wrong but kale never seemed to agree with me. Dehydrated kale chips were and still are the big raw vegan crave going around. I decided to give them a try and I ended up with something that was semi-good, but not quite there. I plan on trying them out again. If you’re reading and have an amazing recipe for them, I would be so grateful for you to send them my way!

I’m not sure if it’s the post-vacation detox hitting me or if I was willing to give these suckers another chance. Either way, I’m happy I did. Kale is a power house of nutrition, filled with Vitamin C, A, K, antioxidants, detoxifying qualities and a huge supply of beneficial enzymes, vitamins, and minerals.

Today I was craving something filling but also extremely satisfying for the maintenance system working hard inside my body. I combined romaine lettuce, spinach and a large handful of kale with a fresh tomato, red pepper, sun-dried tomatoes and walnuts. I was foraging through the cupboard to make a dressing, but was growing tired of my usual oil and vinegar dressing. I remembered that I had some lovely raw cashews soaking for a couple of hours. Soaking cashews opens many windows for vegan recipes. Blending these raw, soaked cashews provides a sincerely creamy texture with a blank slate where you can turn this nut into anything imaginable.

I decided to use it for my salad dressing. It’s creamy like ranch, but has a bit of a kick; makes you want to yeeeeha!


  • 1/2 cup cashews; soaked
  • 4 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • juice of 1 small lemon

Simply combine and blend all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender. Drizzle on top of a kale salad or any salad for that matter. It’s a delicious dressing that’s incredibly easy to make and good for you too!

What’s your favorite recipe for kale? Do you like it/hate it? Tell me!

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Long Day with a Lazy Dinner

Posted in Food & Recipes by nicolejanaye on December 1, 2010

When the days are long and the eyes are tired, dinner needs to be simple. For tonight’s meal, there was acai-pomegranate coconut water to wash down a very filling salad. The ingredients in these greens ranged from tofu to tabouoli and cucumbers to pinto beans. It was a hot mess of proportions, but managed to fill me up without filling me out.