Easy Peasy Mexican Casserole
This is probably my favorite go-to recipe when I don't know what to make for dinner. I discovered Holly and her blog My Plant-based Family in 2012 when I was desperately searching for animal protein-free meals I could eat that would support my, then, new way of eating.
I was officially diagnosed with discoid lupus in early 2012 and learned new ways of eating that would help me to kick the autoimmune challenge to the curb. The first thing I really enjoyed about this recipe is that it taught me how to make my own taco seasoning, without all of the anti-caking agents and sodium found in boxed taco seasonings. Learning how to mix spices to create amazing, from scratch, seasonings was fun and exciting for me!
On her website, Holly now offers an Insta-pot and a crock-pot version of this recipe, but when I discovered it there was only the oven version and that's the one I enjoy the most. My children and my husband enjoy all three variants! I often add canned corn (fresh corn in the summer) for some extra color and I used one can of black beans and one can of kidney beans to mix up the texture and taste. This becomes our "taco meat" or filling, if you will. Our sides typically include lettuce, cheese, slices of avocado, tomatoes and/or salsa all with taco shells or tortilla chips as a taco salad.
Try it out and come up with your favorite way to prepare!
For Casserole Version
Turn Down the Inflammation Turmeric, Carrot, Ginger, and Banana Smoothie
All three of my kiddos love this smoothie! They are ages 8, 8 and 2. While I own a Hurom Slow Juicer that I really like AND it's pretty easy to clean, I don't have much time to juice my carrots these days, so I buy mine already bottled. To keep things simple I also use frozen and even canned pineapple. Same for the lemon juice. I typically use juice that is pre-bottled.
Quick and Savory Lentil & Carrot Soup
Two staples you should always have on hand are brown rice and lentils!
Lentils come in a variety of colors and are rich in complex carbohydrates - which means they boost your metabolism and help your body to burn fat! I don't know about you, but I LIKE that! Let's not forget that lentils are high in protein and are terrific sources of fiber, folate, and magnesium!
I'm not exactly sure where my mom got this recipe, but for the purposes of giving credit where it is due, she is my source! She hooked me up with this SUPER SIMPLE recipe when I was just starting out on my plant-based journey and to this day (7 years later) I'm still enjoying it and so does my family! I'm not kidding! The kids ask for seconds, even my 2 year old!!
Try it out and let me know what you think!
Saute carrots first and then add onions in vegetable oil or water for 3-5 minutes or until onions are clear. Add broth, lentils, pepper, thyme, bay leaves, and salt. Reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook until lentils are soft - about 45 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Add a little lemon juice to individual bowls before serving.
I made this for the first time this week and it was a hit! One of my 8 year-olds went back for multiple helpings and my two year-old preferred only eating the black and pinto beans! This recipe is adapted from the FIXATE cookbook and is definitely a keeper!
Four reasons you must make this salad:
- it's extremely colorful which catches the eye
- it's protein packed; thanks to the quinoa and beans
- it's plant-based - great for plant-based eaters and those who institute meatless Mondays
- it's a terrific salad for any time of year, but especially a great dish to take to a summer BBQ
I shared pictures of this on social media and got several requests to share the recipe. I modified the recipe slightly by using two different types of beans (I just didn't have two cans of black beans on hand), less salt, and little to no oil. I'm trying my best to get back to my no salt, sugar, or oil way of eating in order to crush any inflammation present in my body. You can find the complete original recipe in FIXATE.
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt) - I used about half the amount
1/3 cup olive oil - a used a small drizzle
1 can black beans (15 oz drained, rinsed)
1 can pinto beans (15 oz drained, rinsed)
4 1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
ground black pepper to taste; optional
4 cups water
2 cups dry quinoa, rinsed
1 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 medium orange bell pepper, finely chopped
1 medium yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
1 (10 oz) bag frozen corn, thawed
1 bunch fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- combine line juice, cumin, and salt in a medium bowl; whisk to blend
- slowly add oil, while whisking constantly, set aside
- combine beans, vinegar, and pepper in medium bowl, mix well, set aside
- bring water to a boil in medium sauce pan over high heat
- add quinoa, reduce heat to medium-low, cook covered for 10 to 12 minutes or until all water has been absorbed, remove from heat, cool for 15 to 30 minute, set aside
- place cooled quinoa in a large bowl, fluff with fork
- add bell peppers, corn, cilantro, bean mixture, and dressing, toss gently to blend
* most delicious when eaten immediately; keeps well for 2 to 3 days refrigerated
Enjoy! What did you think? Would love to hear how you and your guests or family enjoyed this colorful salad.
Allison Marschean is a 18-year Army Veteran and contributing author to the Women's Wellness book On Her Plate. On Her Plate reveals the intimate stories of real women sharing their health crises and what they've done to either manage or overcome them. On Her Plate will no doubt hit home with so many! Allison's story is both encouraging and uplifting and is certain to help anyone who picks up a copy.
On Her Plate introduces a conscious way of thinking about the human and earth connection. For instance, what properties can be found in nature and how closely does the human body interact with them? The book also explores everything from what vitamin and mineral deficiencies look and feel like and how to properly replenish them, to autoimmune disorders and fertility struggles.
Packed with true stories of embracing womanhood, accompanied by food science, mindfulness and fitness practices, plus super yummy recipes, it's no wonder that On Her Plate took 2nd in the Health: Diet and Exercise category in the 2019 International Book Awards.
With recipes, nutritional science, and advice, learn from many perspectives. The contributing authors are retired nurses, nutritionists, biology majors, personal trainers, and every day women.
Took some time to read today (sadly, I don’t read nearly enough- I have lofty goals, but it usually ends up with me reading the 1st chapter of something, getting distracted or falling asleep never to return to the book)....I really wanted to close my eyes for a few minutes while Jordan was napping, but decided to keep reading because I was really enjoying You've Got This Momma!
Lead author, Sabrina Greer, does an outstanding job as do the collection of author’s she’s brought together to provide support and encouragement to other mommas simply by sharing their own stories!
Several of these authors stepped out of comfort zones and their everyday roles as moms and more to co-author this book! Talk about Living their Dimensions!! Co-authoring a book! They certainly did!
3 Ideas/Thoughts That Are Speaking to Me as I Read this Book:
* Building a community filled with human connection when most people these days are so quick to google the answers to their questions or concerns.🤔...how to do it and why “google it” is usually the go to solution...
* What would I have written about had I said, “Yes!” and signed up for this particular project? What would YOU write about? What experiences about motherhood would you share to encourage other mommas and remind them that they DO have a superhero cape that’s been pushed to the back of their closet?
* Thinking back to how I cried the day Brynn and Piper started Kindergarten and I was at home by myself all day. And to think I was looking forward to the time to myself...my sorrow lasted about a week before I adjusted ;-).
GBR (Golden Brick Road) Society is a community for authors and readers alike. February marked the two year anniversary party and author and book awards presentation in Toronto! It was a quick trip, but well worth it!
The event, held on 21 February 2019, brought authors from various book projects together, many for the very first time. Several of the ladies I felt like I've know for many years, when in reality we've only ever met in our social media collaboration groups and have been collaborating since 2016. To my point, I mentioned to Sabrina Greer that she reminded me of someone only to realize moments later that she reminded me of herself!
The book I co-authored with GBR, On Her Plate, launched in the last publishing year and won the GBR Brilliance Award for it's content and how quickly it became known in the literary world relative to other publications. I, along with my fellow co-authors, was awarded the Author Growth Award for the significance of our work and contributions to the project.
Prior to the festivities were the workshops. Several speakers shared their stories and how they 'bossed-up' their lives and businesses.
Here are some takeaways and thought provoking questions I gleaned from each speaker as well as thoughts and questions that struck me. Perhaps you'll find them useful as you navigate your way through your own "boss-hood". (my term - I just made it up!) Use them to get focused so you can Live Your Dimensions!
Sarah Swain: Founder and Visionary, The Great Canadian Woman
* Make a choice about how to respond to the fear I'm feeling - the fear that can hold me back from doing great things.
Cassie Jeans: Author & Soul Whisperer
* What do I desire?
* What do I want my legacy to be?
* Why am I still beating myself up for thinks that happened eons ago? Just release it.
* How often can we step into something new in our lives? ANYTIME we want to!
* Be me and show up as me with my whole heart every day!
* Conversation and small talk starter: "What are you craving today? What do you desire today?"
Sabrina Greer: Author/ East Coast Director for Mommas Charity and YGTM Inc. Community Developer - spoke on Growth.
* Growth our professional lives can involve pain. Like a child who with growing pains - growth can hurt. It is physically uncomfortable.
* What am I doing for my growth mindset?
* What am I afraid of when it comes to growth?
Book by Carol Dweck: Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
Growth vs Fixed Mindset
Thriving vs. Surviving Mindset
Growth requires work. Excuses people give to avoid work:
1. I can't do that.
2. It's too hard.
3. It's too much work.
Question: What can I do that will make me significant? It all boils down to DOING the work. Am I willing to do the work?
The opposite of FEAR is LOVE
Dierdre Slattery: Health and Fitness Consultant/ Fitness Model/Author
* connect to what others see pouring out of you as your calling and look into that deeper.
* set a goal and ignore any shame that crops up in your mind that might keep you from seeking to attain that goal.
1. My goal for fitness and health
2. What's my timeline (set a hard date)?
3. What is the meaning and purpose of that goal?
4. Share my goal with someone I trust...accountability.
Celebrate myself and my energy!
Become a powerhouse when these three are aligned:
Jennifer Jayde: Spiritual Growth/ Speaker/ Coach/ Founder & CEO of Jennifer Jayde International Inc.
* success and self-worth are wrapped up in each other
* listen to your calling from within and get in alignment with it
* she left her 9 to 5 to follow her passion for photography
* she's a practitioner of how to turn the small voice of intuition up in volume in your life.
* Ask yourself, is this a YES for me? If the response is flat when you listen in the quiet, with no feeling then it's not in alignment with what you should be doing. IF the feeling is flat AND you feel a bit nervous about it, then perhaps it's worth considering.
"The basis of your life is absolute freedom, the goal is joy, and the result of that perfect combination is motion forward, or growth. Your goal is to find objects of attention that let your cork raise."
- Abraham Hicks
What do you think about this statement: A belief is a thought on repeat?
* practice differentiating between a thought and guidance.
Guidance will not make logical sense.
* guidance comes to us everyday 24/7
* find a way to connect with God EVERYDAY!
Here's a bit of the backstory to my trip for some lite reading!
My trip was short and I wish I could have stayed longer, but between the workshops, hanging out with my sister Kirsten, and celebrating at the awards ceremony and after-party, it was just the right amount of time. The only person missing was my mom who had not ONE, but TWO flights out of Washington D.C. canceled due to winter weather. Thanks to technology today, she and my dad were there to support via FaceTime!
I began my trek to Toronto on the 20th of February and was quite surprised that my flight hadn't been canceled considering there were about 8 inches of snow on the ground that hadn't been plowed for quite some time. It made for a slow drive to the airport on the streetlight-less back country roads here in Kansas and winding through Missouri.
The night before my trip was packed with activities and trips to Walmart and the J.C. Penny salon where I took my girls to have their hair done. Two-strand twists while I'm away always means low to no maintenance for dad! Needless to say, since I didn't begin packing earlier, it made for a short night. I got about 35 minutes of sleep and departed for the airport at 3:30 AM only to find the roads looked like they'd hardly been touched with a snow plow. . . at all. My flight was delayed, but not directly due to weather. Apparently, the local crew didn't get the "It's snowing A LOT" memo and didn't to get to the airport on time. Once the crew finally arrived, the de-icing of our neighboring plane took forever. It took a bit to get off the ground, but eventually, I made it to Toronto.
I grabbed a bite to eat and not long after dinner, my sister Kirsten and I met up. She flew in from Nashville. Upon the recommendation of the servers the dinner spot, we went two doors down for $5 CAD martini night. My litchi fruit martini was tasty! So tasty that I decided to have another. The calamari Kirsten ordered was not good. I'm not kidding, the calamari shared a likeness to a very thin rubber band and while I've never eaten a rubber band I'm pretty sure I now know what a dried out disintegrating rubber band tastes like now! Without a doubt, it was the WORST calamari I’ve ever had!
I'm glad that our server had a good sense of humor. She commented how she's actually never tried the calamari because she's vegan. She told us how people order it all the time and really enjoy it. At one point I told her I think it would be ok if she tried some because, "If I'm not mistaken, rubber is a plant." She got a kick out of that. I was laughing so hard I could hardly stand it. Tears rolling down my eyes I was cracking up all over the place! Kirsten tried to stop me from saying anything initially, but she knows me and naturally she began laughing pretty hard too!
It’s funny how others remember things about us that we probably wouldn’t recall on our own. This past week I had the opportunity to visit with a young lady (she’s 2 years younger than me - lol!) I haven’t seen since 2003. My oldest two girls were on Spring Break so we decided to make the 8 hour trek to visit one of my sisters and her family who lives in Tennessee not far from the young lady I went to visit.
Her name is Emily. I had the privilege of serving as Emily's Platoon Leader in Operation Iraqi Freedom I back when we both served in the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Emily was a linguist in the platoon. Not only did we get to meet her sweet family this week, but I also got to hear a few of Emily’s recollections of me.
She recalled how the Platoon Sergeant and I marched over to the post hospital to have words with a medical provider who was giving her a difficult time. There were a couple of humorous stories, but the one that touched me the most was when she showed me how she remembered that I am a French speaker and that the French language is my jam! (Emily learned to speak French when she was young.) She walked to her bookshelf and pulled down a copy of Le Petit Nicolas. She then proceeded to tell me that I’d given her that copy years ago. She asked if I wanted it back. I told her no. I hadn't missed it all these years and I'd given it to her. That's her memory to keep.
Had someone asked me who I gave a French language book to all those years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to answer. I would have failed that quiz. To know that On some level I added something (and maybe even several 'somethings') positive to her life holds specially meaning to me. It’s one thing for a former Army peer to share how you impacted their life, but it’s even more significant and perhaps more touching when a former subordinate calls you “friend”.
Thank you for your hospitality and spending a portion of your Wednesday night with us Emily! The girls all had a blast and so did I. Brynn begged to go back the day after and the day after that.
Which brings me to my old stomping grounds The Looking Glass Restaurant in Clarksville, TN. On this same trip, my sister Kirsten, her friend Amy, the girls and I all went to The Looking Glass for lunch. Back in 2001, I lived just around the corner from the whimsical and then eclectic cafe and quickly developed a friendship with the owner, Mrs. Eddington. I think she was the first person I'd ever met who wore an asymetric hair cut. I even planned and hosted a unit hail and farewell at the Looking Glass - it was a luau and it was a hit! I'm not one to toot my own horn, but I'll give myself some props now! Looking back, I feel sorry for the next lieutenant in the Battalion who was assigned to organize and plan the next hail and farewell! Not too sure how he/she could have topped it! Lol!
This week I learned that Mrs. Eddington passed not long ago and that I’d practically just missed her. During our visit to The Looking Glass I had the pleasure of sharing my memories of her with her son Conrad who now tends to The Looking Glass. I always remember her drinking her coffee through a straw. The reason she explained was so as not to stain her teeth! Although I never adopted the practice, it has stuck with me to this day. The recollection brought a smile to her son’s face. He then told me that she was actually laid to rest with her iced coffee complete with straw!!
The impact we have on other’s lives and the impact they have on ours may never be known. They may never even be spoken. But when they are, soak them up and be sure to share them freely!
Allison Marschean is a wife and mother of 8 year old twins girls and a 2 year old baby girl who is kicking an autoimmune disorder to the curb with food and fitness, all while living her dimensions!