Green Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Avocado and Kale Pesto + a Giveaway!

Green Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Avocado and Kale Pesto

Do I have an exciting post for you today!

You may remember my friend Julia of The Roasted Root. Julia is a health food maven and blogger extraordinaire. She’s known for her gluten-free goodies, savory stews, and kick-ass kombucha, but most of all, the girl can roast a mean root. Not a beet, carrot or tuber gets by her without being turned into something fabulous. Julia is very clearly inspired by vegetables, and so I’m over-the-moon excited about the release of her second cookbook, Let Them Eat Kale!

I can’t think of anyone more perfect than Julia to spend months in the kitchen with countless bunches of beautiful leafy greens, chopping, massaging and braising to her little heart’s content. And now you and I get to reap the benefits. Julia was sweet enough to send me a copy of her book to review (plus another to give away!). Let’s just say I think there are splotches of drool on my copy.

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Strawberry, Swiss Chard and Wild Rice Salad

Strawberry, Swiss Chard and Wild Rice Salad | coffeeandquinoa.com

We’ve been making our way through a long list of movies to watch, and this weekend was The Five-Year Engagement with Jason Segel and Emily Blunt. Have you seen it? Maybe a bit chick flick-y for Nate, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a liiiittle close to home at times, as the whole premise of the movie is that he is miserable after they move across the country for her post-doc. Had I seen it a few years ago, I probably would have been terrified to make the same move for Nate… well, more terrified than I already was! But all’s well that ends well. Our engagement is going to be a short 10 months, and I haven’t even become a sweater-knitting crossbow hunter during my time in Utah. Nope, just a running-obsessed food blogger… is that better or worse? I’ll let you decide.

Between our list of movies, Nate’s House obsession, and the World Cup going on right now, it’s shocking that our TV ever gets turned off. And I even skipped last week’s episode of The Bachelorette! That’s how you know there’s too much other TV being watched.

Strawberry, Swiss Chard and Wild Rice Salad | coffeeandquinoa.com

Speaking of The Bachelorette, have you seen this Jim Gaffigan bit about McDonald’s? Nate says The Bachelorette is my McDonald’s. I say my McDonald’s is gorging myself on peanut butter and chocolate. Or reading People magazine on the elliptical. Anyone want an update on the Kardashian wedding? I didn’t think so. That’s OK… I could have worse flaws, I think.

This salad, on the other hand, is completely virtuous. It’s got nothing in common with McDonald’s. I mean, hello – look at all that Swiss chard!

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Sun Dried Tomato and Gorgonzola Salad

Sun Dried Tomato and Gorgonzola Salad

I’m baaaack!

Back from Nashville, that is. I was there most of last week for work, and not gonna lie, I’m kinda still recovering.

Initially I was overwhelmed at the prospect of spending last Monday and Tuesday in client meetings in Salt Lake, then flying to Nashville for a conference the rest of the week. Especially after spending the previous weekend in Massachusetts! But actually, despite all the cross-country travel, the whole week was a total blast. I mean, when work consists of a few meetings in between buying cowboy boots and sitting in the second row at the Lady A concert, it’s hard not to have a good time.

Sun Dried Tomato and Gorgonzola Salad

And now, back to the real world… sigh. And back to some jeans that are a liiiiittle tighter than before All The Southern Food happened to my body.

I always (usually) have good healthy eating intentions when it comes to traveling. On this trip, I packed dinner and a snack for the plane, I refused the first round of Biscoff cookies, and I drank a huge bottle of water despite the drink vouchers in my purse.

And then.

Then I got to Nashville, where I’m pretty sure that even the “skinny eggwhite omelet” I ordered for breakfast the first morning was cooked in a vat of bacon grease. The same day, I went to a barbecue joint with my 8 male co-workers and ate a meal of macaroni and cheese, cornbread, and pickles (I think that was the “vegetable plate”). Oh and then there were the numerous free drinks that kept magically appearing. Let’s just say that on the flight back, the Biscoff cookies seemed like a health food.

Will I be recreating any Southern specialties for you? Um… not at the moment.

Sun Dried Tomato and Gorgonzola Salad

But believe it or not, this salad isn’t even my Monday attempt to make up for all of that. Nope, it’s just my recreation of the delicious Whole Foods salad I enjoyed on the flight to Nashville… again, before All The Southern Food.

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My Favorite Arugula Salad with Honey-Lemon Dressing

My Favorite Arugula Salad with Honey-Lemon Dressing
A few weeks ago my co-worker brought me some home-grown lemons. I asked you on Facebook what I should do with them. And I’m going to go ahead and give myself the boring award right now, because instead of all the fabulous things you suggested, I made salad.

In my defense:

1. It’s my favorite salad. And now it can be yours, too.

2. I was all ready to bake a lemon cake, and maybe sometime I still will, but then I made cookies. Like, a lot of cookies. And the cake option was crossed off the list.

3. Can I just tell you that you haven’t truly lived until you’ve had lemon salad dressing made with fresh-picked lemons? No, maybe I can’t tell you that; it sounds way too pretentious.

My Favorite Arugula Salad with Honey-Lemon Dressing
Let’s just get to the salad, shall we?

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Thai Red Curry Quinoa Soup

Thai Red Curry Quinoa Soup

Hiya!

Are you surprised that I want to talk about curry today?

Prooobably not. Curry seems to be all that’s on my mind lately – in popcorn, in peanut sauce, and now in soup. What can I say? I <3 curry. And I especially <3 coconutty curry as a spicy base for a veg-filled soup.

Thai Red Curry Quinoa Soup

This soup is a mix between authentic (lemongrass, Thai basil, Thai chilies) and inauthentic (quinoa and kale). I hope you guys are OK with that – I know I am. Mostly, I wanted to use red curry as a base for a soup, but then I quickly realized that I wanted to add quinoa and kale to it. Quinoa and kale happen to be my two favorite soup additions. They add such great texture, and I love that they hold up no matter how many times you reheat the soup. (You know the same isn’t always true if you’ve used, say, noodles and broccoli before.) So curry, quinoa and kale it is! A rockstar combo, if I do say so myself.

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