Buffalo Vegetable Quinoa (Mac) & Cheese

Well it’s officially Christmas at the Kartzman’s!

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Yes, those M&M’s have been completely eaten already by yours truly. (#IAmUncontrollable) Since the weather is getting colder but Holiday season is upon us with plenty of chances to indulge, we should be eating healthy every chance we get! I usually make healthier style comfort food during the week so we don’t feel as guilty when we eat out.


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Buffalo Vegetable Quinoa (Mac) & Cheese


  • 2 cups uncooked quinoa, rinsed & drained
  • 1 lb asparagus, chopped
  • 1 lb zucchini, diced
  • Onion
  • Garlic Salt
  • Pepper
  • Paprika
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (fresh is best)
  • 1/3 cup buffalo sauce (I used Franks)
  • 1 cup rice milk (or regular)
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups Vegetable Stock
  • Olive Oil
  • Panko or Breadcrumbs (optional)


  • Saute your vegetables in an 8 quart pot with a little olive oil, garlic salt and pepper until partially translucent
  • Add your Vegetable Stock.
  • Add additional seasoning.
  • Lower the heat and let it simmer for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is absorbed.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the milk, buffalo sauce, egg, and grated cheese. Pour in the quinoa mixture and combine.
  • Pour into a greased pan and top with breadcrumbs or more cheese (optional). I used panko and parmesan.
  • Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes depending on the depth of your dish.

Mock Mashed Potatoes


My Grandma makes the best mashed potatoes in the world. For Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and certain birthday’s she peels, chops and boils about 15 pounds of potatoes to make her family happy. I know they are loaded with butter, milk & sour cream (duh, that’s why they taste so good!) and those items combined, are things I like to “avoid” during the week. I have seen a lot of recipes floating around for cauliflower mashed potatoes so decided to give it a whirl. I think they turned out pretty well and I even got my husband to eat half of the batch. Veggies for the win.

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Mock Mashed Potatoes


  • 1 pound of cauliflower florets
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 2 tablespoons of butter (I used vegan butter that was Soy Free)
  • A splash of Low Sodium Veg Broth


  • Boil a pot of water and steam the cauliflower until tender (about 10 minutes)
  • Drain cauliflower and add to blender (or food processor) with garlic, salt, pepper, smoked paprika and butter
  • Mix until everything is smooth. Here is where I add a bit of broth to give it a creamy consistency instead of rice texture.
  • Taste for seasoning.
  • After I placed the “mashed potatoes” in the serving bowl, I sprinkled more of the Smoked Paprika on top.
  • Enjoy!


Quinoa Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies


I saw these Quinoa cookies last week and thought “Hmmm, that sounds intriguing”. I’m a big fan of quinoa but have never tried it in a sweet dish. (PS: this Bud Light commercial cracks me up every single time) I decided I was going to give these a go but that they were missing a certain ingredient. A cookie isn’t a cookie without something sweet!


Quinoa Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies


  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup raw quinoa
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup organic sugar
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (or whatever you have on hand)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (vegan or regular)


  • Add quinoa to a fine mesh stainer and rinse well before using in this recipe.
  • Add water and quinoa to a saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes. Once complete, remove from the stove, remove lid and allow to cool for a couple of minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat. Set aside.
  • Add flour, sugar, ground flax, pumpkin pie spice and salt to a large bowl. Then, measure 1½ cups of the cooked quinoa and add to the dry ingredients. Stir to coat, until all quinoa granules are covered in the mixture. Set aside.
  • Add pumpkin, oil, vanilla, egg white and honey to a small bowl and stir well.
  • Pour the wet mixture in with the dry mixture and stir to combine.
  • Fold in chocolate chips.
  • One tablespoon at a time, scoop mixture onto prepared baking sheet, leaving a small space between each cookie. They will not spread out, so you can keep the cookies close. Lightly form each cookie, as you’d like them to come out. I flattened them slightly with a spoon.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until cooked through and golden.
  • Remove from the oven, let cool on the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack and allowing them to cool for a couple of hours. Because cooked quinoa was used in this recipe, the longer you leave it to cool, the firmer your cookies will become. Leave them be and they will transform!
  • Cookies can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. (Will make about 30 cookies)



Candle 79

I teeter and totter between trying to be vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian and an everythingatarian so while I was in my “vegan phase” I begged and pleaded for Adam to try out Candle 79.


Surprisingly, he said yes!


We started off splitting the Spinach Ravioli as an appetizer


Saffron ravioli, sautéed garlic spinach, cashew vegetable cheese in a truffled tomato sauce.


I don’t think I’ve ever seen a ravioli so big! If we didn’t know any better, we would have never guessed that this was vegan. It was cheesy but not heavy like one stuffed with ricotta.


Adam ordered the carribean jerk grilled seitan sandwich. I thought it would be the most “meaty” thing on the menu and sure to fill him up. Plus, it had a habanero coulis and the man loves everything spicy! He finished the meal and it also filled him up! Maybe I could turn him Vegan?


I ordered the Grilled Kale Salad and it was HUGE. I don’t think I’d ever see the day where I would say can you box the other half of my salad up. It was delicious and I enjoyed all of the textures from the avocado, lentils and sunflower seeds.


Vegan Desserts are just as good as regular desserts so we went ahead and placed an order to split the Chocolate Chip Brownie. I personally would have chosen the Peanut Butter Mousse Pie but I gave Adam the reigns of choosing since he was a trooper for agreeing to Vegan food.


Anything drowned in chocolate sauce is A-OK in my book! It blows my mind how they can make a dessert taste just as decadent without any milk, cream & eggs.

We were both really surprised at how tasty and flavorful all of the dishes were considering they were largely vegetable/grain based. I felt that they really focused on using fresh seasonal ingredients and a variety of spices and unique flavors to make Vegan meals more appealing to a carnivore. The best part was that when I left Candle 79, after eating an appetizer an entree and a dessert, I didn’t need to unbutton my jeans. I was satisfied, but not stuffed. The best kind of full.

WIAW – Cadbury Egg Blondies

Happy Wednesday! I have QUITE the recipe for you and just a heads up — it’s NOT healthy 🙂 But first let’s get to WIAW. As always thanks to Jenn for hosting!


Breakfast: Burnt Strawberry Protein Pancake {egg whites, protein powder, ground flax, cinnamon, almond milk, strawberries and greek yogurt}

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Lunch: Mason Jar Salad {vegan dijon dressing: (evoo, dijon, agave, water) red quinoa, shrimp, cucumber, avocado & spring mix

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Dinner: Chickpea Pot Pie (cornbread topping) in the crockpot

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Dessert: Cadbury Egg Blondie


If we’re talking candy, Easter is my favorite Holiday! Reese’s eggs, Cadbury eggs (the hard ones), Chocolate Hollow Bunnies & Peeps — Everything just tastes better in egg form. When I was younger (and had a speedy metabolism) I would eat an entire package a day to myself. Since I can’t do that now, I decided to make a dessert out of them.


Cadbury Egg Blondies


  • 3/4 cup melted butter
  • 2 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cup All Purpose flour
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. coarse sea salt
  • 1 large bag of Cadbury Chocolate Eggs (hard)
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • also for garnish 1/2 cup melted chocolate chips


  • Preheat oven to 350degrees
  • Grease 9×13 baking pan
  • In medium sized bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt, whisking together.
  • In mixing bowl combine butter and brown sugar on low speed until smooth.
  • Add eggs one at a time continuing on low speed.
  • Add vanilla
  • Slowly add the the flour mixture to the butter mixture until just combined.
  • Add 3/4 bag of cadbury eggs and chocolate chips stirring with wooden spoon.
  • Spread batter into prepared pan and bake approx 25-30 minutes until they are set.
  • Toothpick will come out slightly gooey.  Be careful not to overcook.
  • When removed from oven sprinkled reserved cadbury eggs on top and drizzle with melted chocolate.


PS – I couldn’t resist cutting into these — Wait 30 minutes before slicing. The rest of them didn’t break — Only the one I took the picture of and burnt my mouth with because I’m impatient 🙂

Sunday Stuff – 3/24

via iPhone

photo (3) Couldn’t be in DC this morning so ran our own 5k in memory of my Uncle Chuck. #TEAMSCHWINK

photo (2) Refuel: Money Shot

photo (4) Temptation at Church. Adam was a sucker

photo (5)Hoboken

photo (6)Chipotle for lunch. Apparently they charge $2.15 for guacamole now — Unless you get a vegetarian salad! Score for vegetarians 🙂

photo (15) Baking

photo (9) aka making a mess

photo (8)It’s a wonder any of these even got in my batter


photo (12)Recipe on Wednesday 🙂

photo (7) Dinner Prep

photo (14)Cornbread Chickpea Pot Pie

photo (13) Very delicious even though it’s an unappetizing photo

photo (1) Pier1 is ready for Spring. WHERE ARE YOU!?

If you missed it: Weekend Post

Christopher’s Kitchen

In between the indulging we did manage to sneak in a few healthy meals. Saturday afternoon we headed to Christopher’s Kitchen for lunch outside on their patio.

030 I’m so artsy.

Christopher’s Kitchen is a raw vegan restaurant in Palm Beach Gardens. They have everything from fresh juices to tacos to ice cream sundaes. We browsed the menu for 10 minutes before making final decisions. There were so many options to choose from so I wanted to make sure we were making the best choice.


I went with the Florida Chopped salad. There is something about a chopped salad that makes it 10x more enjoyable. My salad had sunflower sprouts, sprouted garbanzo beans & lentils, kale, romaine, apple, cranberries, herbs, avocado and pumpkin seeds with dijon dressing.


Fabulous and refreshing.

Adam ordered the baby dragon bowl which had zucchini noodles, broccoli, red pepper, bok choy, cilantro, sesame seeds, almonds, and was tossed in five spice dressing.


He couldn’t wait to dig in to his vegan lunch 😉

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He surprisingly liked it (a lot!) and finished the entire bowl. It had a nice kick to it and he’s a sucker for spicy foods so I’m glad they had something to please his meat-eating palette.

Good thing the lunch was light because I wasn’t leaving there without trying dessert! We chose the Cinnamon Sundae which was cinnamon maple sauce, candied pecans, crushed caramel bark and bananas w/ vanilla ice cream. Ummmmmmm, can you even handle the description?


Vegan has never tasted so good and I can now die happy.

I also noticed they had a pastry case inside and mentally noted we needed to stop back in before heading back to New Jersey.

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On our way to the airport I picked up a few sweet treats (for myself) including 1 almond butter ball, 1 peppermint patty and 2 pieces of salted caramel chocolate bark.

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In an attempt to eat something besides dessert for dinner I also bought a freshly pressed juice (watermelon + mint) and an arugula and quinoa salad.

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Another winner in our book. The only thing I wish is that it was a bit less expensive. I don’t mind paying for good quality food but this isn’t somewhere I could eat daily on my food budget!


WIAW – Vegetable Fried Quinoa

It’s Wednesdayyyy people! In 48 hours I’ll be on the beach 🙂 Sorry to keep discussing my vacation,  but I am SO excited to leave this dreary weather behind.


My attempt to eat clean this week is going fairly well – I even passed up birthday cake from Carlo’s at lunchtime! Talk about will power…

Thanks to Jenn for hosting, as usual…here are my eats!


Breakfast: Cinnamon Protein Pancake w/ Peanut Flour Sauce & Banana Slices


Lunch:  Veggie Fried Quinoa (Recipe Below)


Dinner: Zucchini Lasagna (We used tempeh instead of meat)


Dessert: A few handfuls of this – SO addicting. (Thanks Jenn)

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OOTD: Spring Time Loving

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We made a huge batch of Vegetable Fried Rice Quinoa last week and it was so versatile with adding protein. The first time we enjoyed it with shrimp and the second time was with tilapia. I preferred it with shrimp but if I was a meat eater I think it would be great with chicken too 🙂


Vegetable Fried Rice Quinoa


  • 3 cups cooked quinoa (follow package directions)
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 1/2 bag of sugar snap peas
  • 1 cup of corn
  • 1 cup of frozen peas
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • Olive Oil Spray
  • 2 eggs
  • Sesame Seeds (I used black and regular)
  • Pepper


  • In a nonstick wok, spray oil and add the eggs and pepper and scramble a minute or two until done. Set aside.
  • Add more spray oil to the wok and add the onions (both) and the garlic.
  • Saute about 2 minutes, add the peppers, carrots, sugar snap peas, corn & peas and saute until veggies are tender (about 5 minutes)
  • Stir in all the quinoa.
  • Add soy sauce and sesame oil stir to mix all the ingredients.
  • Keep stirring a few minutes, then add cooked scrambled egg.
  • Adjust soy sauce if needed to taste and mix well another 30 seconds.
  • Sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
  • Serve with protein of choice.


 Questions: What is your favorite type of cuisine? I’d say mine is Asian.

WIAW – Roasted Corn & BBQ Shrimp Soup

Happy Wednesday! I have a little day date planned with the hubs today so this will be a quick one!



Breakfast: Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Baked Oatmeal

Breakfast made for the week - Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Baked Oatmeal. Thanks Holly!

Lunch: Roasted Corn & BBQ Shrimp Soup (Recipe at end!)

Dinner: Roasted Corn & BBQ Shrimp Soup

Dinner:Lentil Sloppy Joes


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Dessert: Thin Mint and Cookies and Cream Fro-Yo with lots of toppings

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Roasted Corn & BBQ Shrimp Soup 

(slightly adapted from Bev Cooks)


  •  3 – 4 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3 shallots, diced
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 4 cups Low Sodium Vegetable stock
  • 1 cup favorite bbq sauce (We used Hot Bone Suckin Sauce)
  • 1 tsp dried cilantro
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 cup frozen roasted corn (bought at trader joes)
  • 1 cup small pasta ( We used Orecchiette)
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


  • Season the shrimp on both sides with salt and pepper
  • Bring 2 Tbs. oil to a medium-high heat in a large pot. Add corn and shrimp – Cook til shrimp is translucent. Set aside.
  • Add another Tbs. of oil, and add the shallots; sauté about 5 minutes, until they start to soften. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about a minute.
  • Add the broth, bbq sauce, spices and pasta.
  • Simmer until the pasta is cooked through about 10 minutes. Stir frequently.
  • Add shrimp & corn last 3 minutes to warm throughout
  • Ladle into bowls and garnish with fresh cilantro if desired.

Dinner: Roasted Corn & BBQ Shrimp Soup


Questions: What was the best thing you ate yesterday?



WIAW – Veggie Skillet Lasagna

Happy Wednesday! I want to get a run in before the rain starts, so lets get to it.


Breakfast: “Cookie Dough” 3/4 cup Plain Greek Yogurt, 10 drops of NuNaturals Vanilla Stevia, 1 tbsp of Peanut Butter & 1 tbsp of Vegan Chocolate Chips

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Snack: Trader Joes Tomato & Basil Hummus with baby carrots

tomato basil hummus

Lunch: Grilled Tofu. Haricot Verts, Brown Rice & Sesame Ginger Vinaigrette

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Snack: Clif Z Iced Oatmeal Bar


Dinner: Veggie Skillet Lasagna

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Dessert: 1.5 frozen bananas, 1 tbsp Peanut Butter, 1 tbsp Vegan Chocolate Chips (Looks very similar to breakfast!)

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Workout of the Day: 

1 Clean & Press
10 KB Swings 20 lb
2 Clean & Press
10 KB Swings 20 lb
3 Clean & Press
10 KB Swings 20 lb
till you reach 10 Clean and Press

Outfit of the Day:

jcrew vest
I didn’t expect dinner to be such a hit since it came together within 25 minutes, but since Adam and I both liked it so much – I have to share!
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Veggie Skillet Lasagna 
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 8 lasagna noodles, broken into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 large zucchini, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fat -free ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella, plus more for topping
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tbsp Red Pepper Flakes (or less if you don’t like heat)
  • 1 tsp Italian Seasoning


  • In a large skillet, add olive oil and heat over medium heat.  
  • Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are translucent.
  • Stir in minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds or so until fragrant.  Remove from heat.
  • Drain the tomatoes, reserving the liquid into a liquid measuring cup.  Add water until it reaches the two cup mark.
  • Add the tomato water to the onions and garlic mixture in the skillet.
  • Add in 1 tsp. salt and stir to combine.
  • Layer the broken lasagna noodles over top.
  • Top with the drained tomatoes and spread evenly.
  • Cover and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring every so often so the noodles don’t stick, always ensuring the noodles stay submerged int the tomato mixture.
  • After 10 minutes, uncover and layer in  zucchini.  Cook for 8 minutes more until noodles and squash are tender and cooked through.
  • Add spices to taste.
  • Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup parmesan, 1/4 cup ricotta and 1/4 cup mozzarella.
  • Stir together until melted and sauce becomes creamy.
  • Top with additional mozzarella, if desired.

I calculated the nutrition for this recipe and if you eat 1/4 of the skillet it has 255 calories, 32 carbs, 9 grams of fat, 3 grams of fiber and 88 grams of sodium.