My name is Shandra and I love food. I think I need to go to a AAA for foodies. I am sure my love for food borders on an addiction. I pretty much eat, drink, sleep food. My job revolves around food, grocery sales, menu plans, food blogs, creating new recipes, teaching cooking classes, shopping for food, experimenting in the kitchen with food, throwing parties with food, planning events with food. You name it, if food is involved you can bet my name is attached to that party. Don’t get me wrong. My family, relationships and my religion come way before food of course. However, food seems to make all of those aspects of my life even better 😉 j/k

If any of you are feeling like you are wanting to kick start a New Year’s resolution I have come up with some ways that I am going to try and be healthier and keep food in it’s proper place in my life. I have five things I am going to work on and be diligent at in the year 2014. I hope if I tell them to you, we can help each other and encourage each other to do better. At the end of the year I will check back in and keep you posted as to how I did (scary!).

Here are my new life changes for 2014 (I’m not calling it a diet…just a new way of living):
1-Don’t bake treats, desserts, sweet breads or muffins Monday thru Friday (unless it’s a birthday of course) This is a HUGE life change for me. There are few days that go by that I don’t bake something yummy, gooey or homemade. This will be the hardest for me. I have instead been focusing on healthier dinner recipes to share with each of you through the week. My kids think this is a cruel joke but hopefully we’ll all get used to it after awhile.
2-NO seconds..man that is hard for me! When food tastes so great it’s hard not to go back for more 🙂
3-Stop eating after dinner–preferably before 6:30 or 7 p.m.
4-Don’t make sweet breakfast items except for once a week on the weekend (you know..like the cream filled crepes, pancakes with butter syrup…those sort of delicious recipes 🙂
5-Exercise 5 times a week (thanks to my love for chatting with friends this one I’m actually good at 🙂

How does that sound? I am sure many of you are much more capable and informed on how to be healthy but at this point in my life I have to start somewhere, and that is cutting back on my time in the kitchen. Sometimes I wish my hobby was painting or horseback riding. That would sure make some things easier, wouldn’t it?

Alright, that was long winded. Feel free to skip all that if you are just wanting this ultra healthy and delicious recipe. I am a big fan of quinoa and all of it’s health benefits. This salad can be a salad or a salsa-like dish. I love it as-is but it is also great with tortilla chips. This is a great meatless meal option if you are wanting to cut back on your meat consumption and calories. The pineapple and jerk seasoning adds such a tropical, fresh flavor that it is unlike any quinoa salad you have probably had. Healthy, fresh and fabulous!



Caribbean Quinoa Salad
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup quinoa
  2. 2 cups water
  3. 1 can black beans, drained
  4. 1 can pineapple tidbits, drained and juice reserved
  5. 3 stalks green onions, sliced
  6. 1 red bell pepper, diced
  7. 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
Dressing
  1. 1 Tbls. jerk seasoning (homemade is best)
  2. 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  3. 1/4 cup oilve oil
  4. 1/3 cup pineapple juice
  5. 1/2 tsp. salt
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Instructions
  1. Bring to a boil the quinoa and water, and then place the lid on the pot, turn to low and let simmer for 10-15 minutes or until fluffy. Once quinoa is cooked, remove from the heat and let begin to cool. Once it is cool, pour it into a bowl and then add the black beans, pineapple tidbits, sliced green onions, red bell pepper and chopped cilantro.
  2. Whisk together the dressing ingredients until smooth and then pour over the quinoa mixture.
  3. Keep salad in the fridge until ready to serve.
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