Quinoa: What is It? A Recipe Roundup

Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah) is one of my favorite healthy foods….unfortunately, most of my friends don’t even know how to pronounce it or how delicious it is. #fitpeopleproblems  Maybe some of them will read this post and decide to give quinoa
a chance. I was glad I did. Micah and I eat quinoa several times a week, and it’s a great healthy staple for your kitchen, especially if you’re on a tight budget or trying to reduce how much meat you consume. 

So, what is quinoa? Quinoa is a seed that comes from South America. It is also the only plant based protein with a complete amino acid profile. This is super important for vegetarians. So in this really tiny package, come a lot of nutritional benefits. Quinoa is also a great source of iron and fiber as well, and it is a complex carbohydrate, so this means, it will help stabilize blood sugar levels….just make sure you eat proper portions.
How to cook quinoa:
Rinse desired amount of quinoa, then boil 1.5 cups of water for every cup of dry quinoa. I like to sub a half cup of water for chicken stock, as the quinoa absorbs flavor really well. Stir and cook until liquid is absorbed. I like to fluff up the grains with a fork. Serve on the side or as a main dish.
If you’d like to buy quinoa, here is where I’ve bought it…(in order of where you can find the best deal.)

– Costco
-Grocery Stores
-Whole Foods/Health Food Stores

Here’s some quinoa recipes for you to try too!

Lime Cilantro Quinoa Salad (Sarah Jane, The Fit Cookie)


Quinoa Pizza Bake (Amy, Running Escapades

Cheesy Tuna Quinoa (Amy, Running Escapades

Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Bowl (Sarah Jane, The Fit Cookie)

No-Bake Trail Mix Cookies (Sarah Jane, The Fit Cookie)

Thank you to my fellow #girlsgonesporty , who provided these delicious recipes!

Now it’s your turn! What’s your favorite quinoa recipe! If you haven’t tried quinoa, you should!
Did you try one of these recipes? Let me know! 
Bon appetit!

Movie Review: Confessions of a Prodigal Son

This Weekend I had the opportunity to watch and review a movie with my husband, Micah. That movie was “Confessions of a Prodigal Son”.

I’ll confess…although my husband and I are committed Christians…we’re a little bit skeptical when it comes to Christian films. This is probably because he studied film and I studied music, and artists know that the greatest works of art are relatable….and unfortunately, most Christian films are the opposite.

Our story begins with Sean (Nathan Clarkson) a college student who decides to leave home and attend a university away from home so “he can live his own life”. He enters upon an English class where the professor challenges them to find the meaning of “your story”.

It is then that the struggle begins, as Sean decides to stray further and further away, at least from the mindset, of  believing that God really cares, as he rejects his father (Kevin Sorbo) and mother. He makes friends, and lives life by his own rules, until one day, what he does in good fun backfires on him and leaves him scrambling for money, and answers. This causes Sean to reflect on whether the pain he has caused himself and others is really worth living life by his own rules.

What impressed me about Confessions of a Prodigal Son is the simplicity of the story; the internal struggle was very evident in the Sean’s life. Maybe the party scenes could’ve been a little edgier, but the drug and alcohol content were far more realistic than what I’ve seen in past Christian films. The real power of the story is in the narration…which is not some, hokey dialogue but truly reveals the struggle going in on in a rebellious heart. After all, what we’re really talking about here is a heart issue. I was impressed by the acting… the natural acting of the actors made the story relatable, not like we were watching a soap opera…in fact, a couple of characters reminded us of people we actually know, which made the story even more engaging. Sean and Ali could be college kids at your local university. The parents in the film, although broken-hearted by Sean’s choices, continue to reach out to him through his rebellion. The bottom line of the story is forgiveness, grace, and freedom.

Something that the movie really captures well, is the need that we have for a father, and the impact that a father can have on their child’s life, (as we witness a conversation between Sean and Ali.)

While a retelling of the parable of the Prodigal Son, I wouldn’t exactly call this movie cliché. The fact of the matter is, any of us could be the prodigal son. I actually found myself  tearing up when Sean hits rock bottom.  And I don’t cry during movies often. You see, his circumstances are similar to people I actually know. In fact, he could’ve been me. Spoiler alert: The beauty of forgiveness and redemption is that it gives us a second chance, and Sean’s life is changed because of the love and forgiveness of his father.

I would have loved to have seen this moved filmed on a bigger budget. But for what the crew had, they did an incredible job. The southern California backdrop makes for an amazing background in several scenes, and movie has a very down-to-earth feel.  I almost felt like I was watching people I know personally… so, kudos to the actors, because that effect is not easily achieved. I also really liked the music in this movie, and I noticed while watching the credits that much of it was written by the cast. The lyrics and music really capture the heart of the story in that they’re simple, but real. I would most certainly recommend watching this movie. Although, not a riveting blockbuster, I most certainly think that this movie is one of the best Christian films on the market, and I look forward to seeing the next film from Lighting Dark Productions.

(While this post was sponsored, the opinions presented in this post are my own.)

Fat-Burning Abs Exercises and Why You Should Train Abs (Even if you aren’t going near a swimsuit this summer)!

Hi there! I can’t believe I’ve made it to Wednesday!

This week has been something else, but I’ll chalk it  personal development…hehehe

Lets talk about abs today! Ok, so everyone is talking about and looking at pictures…of abs right now…and let’s face it, even if you’re planning on being within 10 feet of a swimsuit this summer, you’ve thought about what your abs would look like in one…bikini or not. I’m not here to talk modesty…personally I lean towards the middle of the road on swimsuits, but I digress…another topic for another day.

I like to train abs second only to legs….I mean really, just look at my blog archives…
Anyway, it’s important to train your abs in order to protect your low back, which takes quite a beating on a daily basis. Your abs also help you to have better posture, lift heavy suitcases and grocery bags, and perform hundreds of other tasks on a daily basis. I threw in an exercise to strengthen the glutes and low back and stretch your hip flexors, which may cramp up during  this workout if not stretched.

Reverse Crunch: This move targets the lower fibers of the abdominals – the rectus abdominus. Be sure to exhale and contract your abs as you lift your lower back off of the floor. Beginner’s tip: Don’t let your feet touch the floor when lowering them.

Donkey Kicks: Some would argue that these are a glutes exercise, but they teach you to balance through your core, so they use the abs as well. Contract your abs and glutes throughout the exercise, don’t arch or round your back. Make it tougher: anchor a resistance band under your hands and around the arch of your working leg.
 Leg exercise slowly. You can increase your reps for time later. Exhale
as you keep your legs straight, hinging from your hips. Slowly return to the start position. Beginner’s tip: Place the ball under your knees instead of your feet and bend your knees to bring the ball towards you.

Cross Body Mountain Climbers: This is just like a traditional mountain climber, but instead, angle your knee towards the opposite elbow. Beginner’s tip: step instead of hopping feet back and forth.

Inchworm: This is an awesome exercise for your core and your entire body…sneaking in a little cardio. hehe. Be sure to walk your feet out all the way and don’t let your hips sag or pike…think good planking form. Beginner’s tip: Take this exercise slowly and do not rush when returning to standing position.

Plank with Leg Lift: This is a great  exercise for challenging core strength. Start out by lifting active leg slowly and do not hyperextend your back. Beginner’s tip: Plank from your knees.

 Do this workout as a circuit, 2-3x. Complete each exercise, then move on to the next with 10 seconds or no rest in between exercises…and 30 seconds of rest between circuits.
To print your own copy of the workout I created using Workout Labs.com, click the link below:

Awesome Abs Workout

Created using the Workout Builder at workoutlabs.com

I have a challenge for you: If this is a problem area for you, then try this workout if you can 2x a week for 4 weeks. Take your measurements. Then report your results back to the Julie Auler Health and Fitness Facebook Page and share your results with others! You just might inspire someone else to make a healthy decision that day!

Q and A’s about abs:

Can I get away with only training my abs….do I really have to train other muscle groups? The answer is no. Imagine a building that has the first three walls build perfectly, inside and out…this building looks stable and beautiful from the front and the sides….but then when we walk around, the entire back wall and structure are missing! This is true about your body too. Using compound movements will help you reach your abs goals because it will work other parts of your body but will cause dramatic gains in core strength. This workout uses compound moves.

I like working out, but I don’t really like eating veggies and lean protein…will I still see results?
Once again the answer is no. If you do see results, they will not be nearly as dramatic. If you put cheap gas in your car all the time, do you think your car won’t have problems with the ignition later on? The same is true with your body. The fuel you put on the inside will impact the results you see on the outside, and how your body performs during training. And when I say veggies…I don’t mean in a butter sauce….while that may be acceptable as a treat, there are plenty of delicious ways to cook veggies and lean protein without using loads of grease and salt. If you need ideas, see last week’s post on Fun, Healthy Dinner Ideas.

I hope this post helped you today! If you learned something new, or were inspired, please comment below or leave me a message via the “contact me” widget!

Have an awesome day!


You Asked, I Answered: Fun Healthy Dinner Ideas

I get asked a lot about what we eat for dinner…I mean, yeah, of course, sometimes it’s grilled chicken, sweet potatoes, and a salad, but usually, our meal choices aren’t that mundane. We love a lot of variety, and having a variety of healthy foods in your diet is a good thing. I asked some trusted friends their favorite healthy dinners, and here was there reply:

A One-Pot Wonder
“I browned ground turkey (93/7) and then added 1 large (10 inches or so) zucchini halved, then sliced and sliced onion and cooked until they were tender. I added salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Then, when it was done I added 1.5 cups precooked quinoa and about 1 tbls yellow mustard for flavor. Turned out delicious!” – Bethany Martin

“Zucchini slices cooked for 8-10 min on 450 (til tender crisp) and topped with favorite pizza toppings, a little sauce, and low fat mozzarella. A new favorite!” – Bethany Martin

Keep it Simple
“Steamed tilapia, with steamed cherry tomatoes and broccoli.” – Jessica Elder

“Salmon with grilled veggies!” – Megan Ortwerth

Dinner on the go!
“G-free wraps with chicken salad, made with shredded rotisserie chicken, a cup of Greek yogurt, 1/4 c. crushed almonds, and 2 tbsp. spicy brown mustard with a cup of mixed greens!” – Julie Auler

Need more dinner ideas? check out our Cheap Clean Recipe Collection!

Until Next Time!