Summer Quinoa Salad with Herbs

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Hot summer days are the perfect time to break out those refreshing salad recipes. This quinoa salad has been a go-to of mine for years! With it’s balance of crisp veg, a tangy umami filled dressing and refreshing herbs, it’s SO crave-able. Downright addictive!

I’ve been making this salad for so long, that I don’t recall where the original inspiration came from! I do know that I swapped in coconut sugar and avocado oil as healthier alternatives in the dressing. Coconut sugar is less refined that white or brown sugar and does not have as quick an impact on blood sugar levels. Avocado oil (or olive oil) is a more stable fat than vegetable oils, like canola oil. Vegetable or seed oils are fragile fats that are damaged during processing and highly inflammatory.

Quinoa is a seed that is naturally gluten free and provides a fairly good punch of protein for a plant food. Unlike most plant based foods, it contains all 9 essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. I tend to cook a whole bunch of quinoa at one time and freeze it in “salad” size portions (3 to 4 cups of cooked quinoa), so when the urge for this salad or my Curry Quinoa Salad hits, I’m one step closer to digging in!

Quinoa also is coated in saponins, a bitter tasting compound that acts as an insecticide for the plant. Rinsing your quinoa with cold water prior to cooking it will remove the saponin and prevent that bitterness from transferring to you finished product!

Feel free to mix up the veggies in this salad or omit herbs you may not be fond of (for you cilantro haters out there!). It makes a great addition to summer picnics or BBQs, as it can sit at warmer temps without spoiling.

Eat it on its own or add your favorite protein (shrimp is delicious with this) and enjoy!

Summer Quinoa Salad with Herbs

A refreshing, flavor packed salad that's great as a side or on its own!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Main Course, Salad, Side Dish


  • 1 Medium Saucepan
  • 1 Strainer (fine mesh) for rinsing quinoa prior to cooking
  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Whisk
  • Small bowl for mixing the dressing
  • Large Salad Bowl
  • Tongs or utensils for mixing salad ingredients


  • 1 & 1/3 cup Quinoa
  • 2 & 1/3 cups Water
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper diced
  • 1 English Cucumber diced
  • 1 cup Grated and Shedded Carrot
  • 2 Scallions finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup Cilantro finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp Mint finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp Thai Basil (or sub regular basil) finely chopped


  • 1.5 tbsp Avocado oil or Olive Oil
  • 2.5 tsp Red Boat Fish Sauce
  • 2 tbsp Coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes



  • Rinse quinoa throughly under cold water.
  • Add quinoa and water to saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
  • Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered with lid, until water has been completely absorbed (15 to 20 minutes).
  • Remove from heat and allow to sit with lid on for 5 minutes.
  • Remove quinoa from pot. If making the salad immediately, place quinoa in fridge to cool for 20-30 minutes before assembling salad.


  • Combine fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, salt, red pepper flakes and oil in a small bowl and whisk to combine and dissolve sugar. Set aside.


  • Combine cooled quinoa, red pepper, cucumber, carrots, scallion and herbs in bowl.
  • Pour dressing over contents of bowl.
  • Toss well to combine.
  • Chill in refrigerator prior to serving.
  • Keeps well in the refrigerator for several days.


Add a protein, such as grilled chicken or shrimp, to make this a main course salad.
There are a number of recommended quinoa to water ranges out there. Many recommend 2 parts water to 1 part quinoa. I’ve found that 1.75 cups of water for every cup of quinoa works well for me and provides fluffy, not soggy, quinoa. Start with the directions on your bag of quinoa and adjust from there. Experiment with what ratio works best in your kitchen!
Keyword dairy free, gluten free, healthy fats

Elementor #1281

Healthy Shamrock Shake

‘Tis the season of all things GREEN! 

I’ll be honest, I’ve never had the OG Shamrock Shake from the (in)famous fast food place. Not that I don’t love mint and ice cream, but the vivid, fake green color (and of course the loads of sugar) just wasn’t for me!

To honour my Irish roots and celebrate my nephew Mason and his dog “Lucky”, who both have birthdays on March 17th, I thought I’d try to recreate a healthier version of this March treat.

Sweet "Lucky"

This shake comes together in a flash! I opted to make mine “Super Powered” by adding in some baby spinach. Spinach is a great choice, as its flavor won’t overpower the mint. Feel free to experiment with other leafy greens.

You could also add some protein in the form of an unsweetened protein powder or collagen peptides.

The my optional add-in of baby spinach

Simply dump all the ingredients into your blender and mix until smooth and creamy! 

Dump and blend! Doesn't get any easier!


Once it’s all blended, taste and adjust for sweetness and “minty-ness”. Pour into serving glasses or bowls and garnish. With a full avocado and the coconut milk, this is very filling! The recipe says 2 servings, but I think you could stretch it to 3 or 4 easily!

I experimented with and without spinach. You can see the difference in color below.

Without spinach...garnished with grated dark chocolate
With spinach...garnished with raw cacao nibs

You’ll notice that I serve my smoothie with a SPOON.  Even with smoothies, it’s important to chew your food! When we chew, and move food around our mouths, our brains get important information about what type of nutrients are in the food we are eating. It is then able to trigger the release of the digestive juices and enzymes we need to properly digest and absorb the nutrients.

There are also enzymes in our saliva and, as we chew, we are allowing these enzymes to start to work on the food and lessens the work that needs to be done further down the digestive line.

Enjoy! Sláinte!


May your troubles be less and your blessings more and nothing but happiness come through your door.
Irish Blessing

Shamrock Shake

A much healthier version of the St Paddy's Day favourite, this shake is free of refined sugar and loaded with healthy fats!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Snack
Servings 2


  • 1 High Speed Blender
  • Measuring Cup
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Knife


  • 1 avocado ripe
  • 1 cup coconut milk may sub with other dairy or non dairy milk alternative
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • ~20 leaves fresh mint adjust to taste
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tsp maple syrup adjust to taste
  • Dark Chocolate or Cacao Nibs for garnish
  • See Recipe Notes for optional add ins!!!


  • Remove pit and peel from avocado.
  • Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.
  • Pour into serving glasses/bowls.
  • Garnish with grated/shaved dark chocolate or cocoa nibs and enjoy!


Optional Add-ins
  1. Make it a Super Powered Shamrock Shake by adding in 1 packed cup of baby spinach (it really ups the green quotient too!)
  2. Add in your favourite unsweetened protein powder or collagen peptides for an added Protein Kick!
  3. Swap out the maple syrup for 1/2 to 1  banana (frozen would work great here too!)
Keyword dairy free, gluten free, healthy fats, refined sugar free

How to Shop with Health in Mind

5 Tips for a Healthy Grocery Shop

As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. The holiday season is winding up for most of us and I head back to the PNW tomorrow after a wonderful, soul rejuvenating, extended visit with family in the Motherland. 6 weeks away from my regular routine is a long time and I know the first thing I need to do (after an extended snuggle-fest with my fur baby), is to stock the fridge with food!! 

I mean…you just gotta snuggle this guy!

For many, the New Year is a time to reset and recommit to those healthy habits that may have fallen by the wayside during all the holiday fun. Gyms will be popular again, google searches for cleanses will go through the roof, but the best way to support a healthy lifestyle and get back on track is to make sure you have healthy food on hand!

I’m a weirdo. I enjoy grocery shopping, but I know for many it is a CHORE! You find it hard enough carving out time to shop, let alone figuring out what you should and shouldn’t be filling your cart with!

So here’s my TOP 5 TIPS for grocery shopping with your health in mind.

1.  Is it a WHOLE food?

Most of the food we eat should whole, single ingredient foods – foods that are unprocessed, unrefined, and still recognizable as something you would find in nature! Processing can damage or strip nutrients from the food; chemical additives, like colours, flavours or preservatives, and other ingredients, such as sugar and vegetable oils, contribute to the damaging effects of processed foods as well.

2. Think Variety

Don’t get stuck in a rut! We want to be eating a wide range of foods. Mix up the selection in your fruit and veggie selections. Be daring and try something new! In our Standard American Diets, approximately 60% of the calories come from soy, wheat and corn. That’s means we are leaving A LOT of good nutrition on the table by missing out on all the phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals in colourful fruits and vegetables. 

Try to “Eat The Rainbow”. Can you get at least one fruit or vegetable from each colour in the rainbow on your plate daily?

Eating a wide variety of plant foods is also great for supporting your microbiome (the beneficial bacteria in our guts that support overall health). The more varieties of plants consumed, the more robust and diverse the microbiome.

3. Think Seasonally

Eating with the seasons is one way to increase the diversity in your diet and allow us to consume a wide range of nutrients that changes often. Choosing seasonal produce can often mean getting more nutrient dense produce. It hasn’t been stored in a warehouse for months, slowing losing its nutrient potency. A quick google search can give you an idea of what is in season in your region, so you can add some seasonal goodies to your cart!

5 Tips for a Healthy Grocery Shop
There’s some YUMMY choices on this list!

4. Think Locally

Depending on where you live, this is easier said than done. If you live in a temperate climate with long growing seasons, you are going to have an easier time sourcing local food than someone who lives under 4 feet of snow for 6 months of the year!

Farmers Markets, CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) memberships, your own garden are all great places to get fresh, local produce. Because it is freshly harvested, the nutrient density is going to be much higher than the same thing that was harvested, stored and transported many miles to reach your local grocery store.

Some extra bonuses of eating local are that you are supporting local farmers, eating what is in season on the farms and, because it hasn’t travelled long distances, it is better environmentally!

5. Think Quality

I know organic produce is expensive and, for the most part, looks exactly like its cheaper, conventional cousin.  So what’s the difference? 

Different countries have different regulations around the term “organic”. In the U.S., certified organic means annual audits are conducted to ensure the following standards are met: 

– No synthetic fertilizers or pesticides

– No antibiotics or hormones 

– No GMOs

In today’s world, we are exposed to a multitude of toxins on a daily basis. On top of just adding to our toxic load and stressing our detoxification system, many of these toxins are potential carcinogens and/or endocrine disruptors (meaning they affect our hormone balance). We don’t always have control over what we are exposed to, so it’s important to focus on areas where we CAN lessen our exposure. Eating organic is one way to do that. 

For more information about Organic Vs Conventional check out THIS post I wrote.

So how do you go about fitting organic into your budget? Do what you can with what you have.  I’d rather see someone chomping through a bunch of conventionally grown carrots than diving headfirst into a box of Oreos!  Follow the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen Lists and choose your organic produce from those that may have the highest pesticide residue.  

5 Tips for a Healthy Grocery Shop

One last tip? Whenever possible, get to know your local farmers/producers!  Many smaller farms follow all the organic standards, but simply do not have the money to get “certified”.  Ask questions about their product. If they are proud of their processes, they will be happy to share!

Go Organic or Go Home? Not So Fast….

Would you be surprised to find out that your organic fruits and veggies are often grown using pesticides? 

Go Organic or Go Home? Maybe Not So Fast...

It’s true!🤯

🤔So that begs the question – if both organic and conventional produce have pesticides, does it really matter what I buy?

🤷‍♀️ Yes, but also no…sometimes.

While both forms of farming utilize pesticides, organic farmers will utilize other forms of pest protection (like insect traps or predator insects) prior to resorting to pesticides. Prevention is the focus and pesticides/herbicides are used as a last resort, when preventative strategies aren’t working. Most pesticides used in organic farming are “natural” meaning that they are extracted from a natural source, like plants or other living organisms. This means that, in general, pesticides used in organic farming are less toxic than their conventional (synthetic) counterparts.

☠️The less toxins we expose ourselves to the better! When you take in toxins, your body shifts into damage control mode and expends precious energy and nutrients trying to clear those toxins out.

🛒💰That being said, buying solely organic produce isn’t always possible (or affordable!). There are ways to find balance:

1️⃣Utilize the EWG Dirty Dozen/Clean Fifteen Lists

Go Organic or Go Home? Maybe Not So Fast...
* Some of the sweet corn, papaya and summer squash sold in the United States is produced from genetically modified seeds. Buy organic varieties of these crops if you want to avoid genetically modified produce.(Source:

These lists determine which produce is likely to be highest in pesticides (Dirty Dozen) and should be bought organic and which fruits and veggies are lower in pesticides (Clean Fifteen), making the choice between organic and conventional less important.

Head on over to the Environmental Working Groups website for a full list.

2️⃣Buy Organic For The Foods You Eat Most Often

If you go through mountains of spinach and heaps of cucumbers in a week, spend your organic budget on these foods. For foods you eat less frequently,  conventional may be ok.

3️⃣Practice Food Safety

Wash those fruits and veg under running water, clean the edible peels of potatoes, carrots, apples etc. with a brush and scrub inedible peels to reduce pesticide residue that can enter food when cut. Discard outer leaves of foods like cabbage.

4️⃣Variety Is Key

Different crops require different pesticides, so eating a varied diet not only provides a wider array of nutrients, but minimizes the risk of overloading on a particular toxin.

5️⃣Get To Know Your Farmer

If you are lucky enough to have Farmers’ Markets near you, introduce yourself to the producers. Ask questions about their product and farming practices.

‼️Most importantly! Don’t stress over it! If you can afford organic – GREAT! If not, remember that what is most important is eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, regardless of their source.

The Environmental Working Group says: 

❝The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure. Eating conventionally grown produce is far better than skipping fruits and vegetables.❞

Do you buy only organic, solely conventional or a balance between the two? 


Dairy Free Coffee Ice Cream Bars

Summer may be winding down, but I wanted to give one last ode to the fastest season by sharing my super creamy, incredibly cooling and extra yummy dairy free ice cream with you! Since today just happens to be National Coffee Ice Cream Day, we’re brewing up a coffee version for you all!

I recently did an MRT food sensitivity test on myself and found out I had both a dairy AND a coconut sensitivity (and several others!). As I have Hashimoto’s, the dairy sensitivity wasn’t a huge surprise (it’s a common sensitivity and autoimmune trigger), but coconut…man, that was a bit of a bummer.

Since I knew I’d be removing these foods for at least 3-4 months, which coincided nicely with our hot summer weather, I wanted to find something I could have for an occasional “the heat is melting my face” treat. I scoured the ice cream aisles to no avail. Even the “cashew” ice cream had coconut milk in it or other ingredients I wasn’t too keen on.

Enter the humble cashew nut. I scoured the ice cream aisles to no avail. Even the “cashew” ice cream had coconut milk in it or other ingredients I wasn’t too keen on. So I had no choice but to go without, or make my own! You know what I chose!

Since I don’t have an ice cream maker, I went with what I did have…popsicle molds and I think they worked perfectly! If you are looking to get your own mold, I have a set similar to this one.

A quick note on the cashew milk. Most store bought brands are going to have extra ingredients, like gums and thickeners, in them. These ingredients can be hard on many people’s digestive systems. Now, you CAN make your own cashew milk. I considered this, but then I found a cashew milk concentrate online!! Just organic cashews, no extra stuff. Your simply blend 1 to 2 tablespoons of the concentrate with a cup of water and voila! Creamy, delicious cashew milk with no funny business. I’m not an affiliate, I just think it’s really cool! You can find it (and other clean nut milk options) HERE.

The recipe can’t be much easier. Add all the ingredients to your blender, blend until smooth, fill your popsicle molds and freeze! A couple of things though…you may want to wait and add the maple syrup and coffee after the first blending. This way you can add a bit, blend it up, taste it and add more depending on how sweet you want it and how strong you like your coffee!! I like a less sweet, stronger brew!

The second thing is that I fill the mold, cover it and freeze it for about 30-45 minutes. Then I remove it from the freezer and insert the popsicle sticks. This is supposed to keep them centred in place better (according to my mold instructions!). It’s not wrong to just throw the sticks in right away and forget about it – you just might end up with some wonky sticks. The treat will taste so good, though, no one will really care!

Get your summer vibes while you can and give these a try. If you aren’t a coffee person (I know you’re out there!), swap the coffee out for more cashew milk, maybe adding some cocoa powder to make fudgcicles…mmm lots of options. Play around!

Dairy Free Coffee Ice Cream

A super easy and incredibly creamy sweet treat!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8 ice cream bars


  • Blender
  • Silicon Popsicle Mold
  • Measuring Cups and Measuring Spoons
  • Popsicle Sticks


  • 8 oz Smooth, Organic Cashew Butter
  • 1/2 cup Cashew Milk (or other dairy free milk)
  • 1/2 cup Coffee, cold strongly brewed, I use decaf!
  • 1/4 cup Maple Syrup
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1-2 tbsp Coffee Grounds, coarse optional
  • 1 pinch Unrefined Sea Salt


  • Add all ingredients, except maple syrup, to blender and blend until combined (approx 2 min)
  • Pour mixture into silicon popsicle mold, filling to approx. 3/4 full. Cover
  • Place mold in freezer for 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Remove mold from freezer and add popsicle sticks to the bars.
  • Return to freezer and freeze for 4 to 6 hours.
  • Storage: Keeps well in freezer for about 2 weeks before turning icy.


If you have an ice cream maker, make the base as described and follow the instructions for your model of ice cream maker.
For non-coffee lovers, replace the coffee with nut milk or other liquid flavouring. 
Keyword cashew, dairy free, ice cream