Quinoa and Spinach Salad with Berries

June 1, 2011 § 3 Comments

My friend moved to Fort Collins, Colorado last year and I went to visit over the weekend. It was filled with fun and of course, delicious food. (I’ll go into more details later. For now, let’s focus on this salad.) Not only is quinoa delicious, it’s actually nutritious and easy to make.

Why it’s nutritious

“When NASA scientists were searching decades ago for an ideal food for long-term human space missions, they came across an Andean plant called quinoa. With an exceptional balance of amino acids, quinoa, they declared, is virtually unrivaled in the plant or animal kingdom for its life-sustaining nutrients.”New York Times (an article about the origins of quinoa and current dilemma in Bolivia)

Quinoa has a chewy texture with a nutty flavor. It’s often mistaken for a grain, but it’s actually related to beets and spinach. The textures and flavors worked well and it’s easy to adapt your favorite nuts and fruits to this dish.  We made it for dinner and savored every bite.

Give quinoa a try! You will be pleasantly surprised. 🙂

Serves 3-4


  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • ~2 loose cups of chopped spinach
  • 1/4 cup of cranberries
  • 1/4 cup of currants
  • 1/4 cup of azuki beans (unsweetened)
  • 2 tbsp almond slices
  • 2 small garlic cloves
  • juice from 1/2 lemon (~2 tbsp)
  • 2 tsp of maple syrup or agave
  • 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste

To Make:

Step 1: boil quinoa with vegetable broth (your package should come with instructions or follow this great video)

Step 2: in a bowl, add in all your ingredients in order listed and mix




Review: YOU BAR

May 27, 2011 § 2 Comments


YOU BAR Review Summary:

Taste: My bar tasted good. It’s hard to complain since I chose the ingredients, but I would have liked more cherries.

Cost: $22 (includes shipping and the Groupon); Roughly $1.69 per bar (normally ~$3.50/bar)

Recommendation: The quality is good. It’s also really cool to choose the ingredients and have your own label. However, without the Groupon, it’s a bit pricey for my liking. If you have the money, you should give it a try!


Earlier this month, there was a deal on Groupon (spend $10 for $25 on the YouBar website). I checked out the site and decided to give it a try.

They provide a wide selection of ingredients and a digital nutrition label on the same page which calculates every item you select. After, you can choose the name of your bar. I couldn’t think of anything more creative than “Sherene’s Bar.”

I ordered rushed shipping and then realized that they were also in Los Angeles. 13 bars arrived in a well cushioned box the next day. I wasn’t in THAT much of a rush, but it’s good to know they care about customer service. (Most people don’t make that a priority.)

Overall it was a good experience. 🙂

Ordering Process and Ingredient Choices:

Seven steps taken directly from the website.

1. Base

Choose one or two
(We recommend selecting dates with any nut butter. The combination makes for a healthy custom energy bar that has excellently balanced nutrition and texture.)

Almond Butter
Cashew Butter – Creamy & Delicious *Most Popular
Organic Dates – Fat-Free & Low Calorie
Organic Peanut Butter
Soynut Butter
Sunflower Seed Butter
YouBar Base – Almond Butter & Organic Dates *Recommended
Special Requests
2. Protein Powders
Choose up to three
(For a nutrition bar packed with more protein select extra protein and/or large bar at the top of the page.)
No Protein
Organic Rice Protein – Great for anyone with a milk or soy sensitivity.
Soy Protein – Perfect for vegans & tastes delicious.
Whey (Milk) Protein – Our most popular; high in calcium; tastes great. *Recommended
Less Protein
Normal Protein
Extra Protein
Special Requests
3. Nuts/Seeds
Choose up to two
(For a nutrition bar high in omega 3 fatty acids we recommend adding organic flaxseeds.)
No Nuts

Almonds *Most Popular
Cashews *Recommended
Chia Seeds
Organic Flaxseeds
Organic Sesame Seeds
Organic Soynuts
Pumpkin Seeds
Sunflower Seeds
Less Nuts
Normal Nuts
Extra Nuts
Special Requests
4. Dried Fruits & Berries
Choose one or two
(Unless otherwise specified, all dried fruits and berries are unsweetened.)

No Fruits or Berries
Cherries *Most Popular
Organic Black Mission Figs
Organic Goji Berries *Recommended
Organic Raisins
Organic Shredded Coconut
Organic Sweetened Cranberries
Sweetened Blueberries
Less Fruit
Normal Fruit
Extra Fruit
Special Requests
5. Sweeteners
Choose up to two
(The addition of a sweetener will ensure a great texture for your protein bar. To keep down the sugar content of your nutrition bar, choose ‘Not Too Sweet’.)

Organic Agave Nectar – The low glycemic choice
Organic Brown Rice Syrup – Great for athletes
Organic Clover Honey – Our most popular sweetener. *Recommended
Not Too Sweet
Normal Sweetness
Very Sweet
Special Requests
6. Seasonings, Chocolate, and other tasty additions
Choose up to four
(Unsweetened cocoa goes perfectly with any custom protein bar.)

No Seasoning
Carob Powder
Chocolate Chips *Most Popular
Coffee Crystals
Natural Unsweetened Cocoa
Organic Cacao Nibs
Organic Ginger
Organic Maca Powder
Vanilla Extract
Special Requests
7. Grains/Cereals
Help Choosing
Choose up to two
(Customize the texture of your custom granola bar with these three great options.)

No Grains/Cereals
Galaxy Granola – For flavorful, light crunchiness
Crunchy Rice Cereal – For crispiness. *Recommended
Oat Bran – For chewiness and high fiber.
Fewer Grains
Average Grains
Extra Grains
Special Requests
8. Infusions
Help Choosing

Choose one item, if desired:
(The All-One Vitamin Infusion is the perfect addition to any nutrition bar to ensure you get the vitamins needed to stay healthy.)

No Infusions
All-One Vitamin Infusion
Fiber Infusion
Greens Infusion (Spirulina)

Special Requests

Easy Melon Bar

May 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

melon bar with yogurt swirl

I bought these popsicle molds a year ago and finally decided to try them. I wasn’t a big fan of honeydew until I had the Korean melon pop. It’s a creamy honeydew flavored popsicle, refreshing and perfect on a hot day. 

Yesterday my mom gave me some honeydew so I decided to make my version. When I took a bite, it felt like being sprinkled with cool water on a hot day.

It’s simple and delicious! The hardest thing was waiting for them to freeze.

I bought these from Bed, Bath and Beyond. They come with sipping straws attached to the base, which have been useless. These look cooler.

Serves: 4


  • 1/4 of a medium-sized honeydew melon
  • 2 tsp of brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp of honey
  • 1/2 cup of non-fat greek yogurt

To Make:

Step 1: blend honeydew and set aside

Step 2: in a bowl, mix sugar, honey and yogurt

Step 3: pour honeydew mixture covering 80% of the mold

Step 4: evenly divide the yogurt mixture into each mold covering remaining 20%

Step 5: with a knife or stick (I used chopstick) swirl yogurt inside mold

Step 6: freeze for 4-5 hours

blending honeydew

after freezing

Enjoy! 🙂

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