Buddha Garden Salad

Friends, I’ve been playing around with Buddha bowls and various salad recipes all summer.

Now, with the bounty of cherry tomatoes in my garden kicked into high gear, I’ve had ample opportunity to craft the pinnacle recipe. This salad is bursting with freshness; the flavors vary from one bite to the next, but each is equally refreshing. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Buddha Garden Salad

Course Side Dish
Prep Time 25 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 7
Author Carla Anderson FIT BFFs


  • 1/4 cup dried quinoa, prepared
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup sweet corn kernels
  • 1 cup cucumber, chopped
  • 1 15 oz can garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp red onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 medium avocado, diced


  1. Combine quinoa and water in a small sauce pan, prepare according to package directions.

  2. In large bowl, combine blueberries, cherry tomatoes, corn, cucumber, garbanzo beans, garlic, onion, cilantro and lime juice. Add cooked quinoa and mix.

  3. Salad can be refrigerated at this point until served; mix in avocado just before serving.

Recipe Notes

Nutrition Info...

Calories: 147 per 1 cup serving

Fat: 4.4g. Fiber: 5.8g. Protein: 5g. Carbs: 25g. Sodium: 66.1mg.

Quinoa and Black Beans

As March winds down, I am completing work on a Nutritional Scavenger Hunt I’ve been chipping away at all month. The challenge was provided by the dietitians at my local gym and has really motivated me!

One of the tasks was to prepare some provided recipes, and when I tried this one, I knew I had to share it with you. I’ve been doing a lot with quinoa lately. I don’t know why it took me so long to get on board with it, I avoided it thinking it was complicated. Friends, quinoa couldn’t be simpler to work with and the results are delicious and nutritious!

Quinoa and Black Beans


1 tsp vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

3/4 cup uncooked quinoa

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

1 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

salt and pepper to taste

1 cup frozen corn kernels

1 – 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped


  1. Heat oil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Stir in onion and garlic to saute until lightly browned.
  2. Mix quinoa into saucepan and cover with vegetable broth. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Bring mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.
  3. Stir frozen corn into saucepan, continue to simmer about 5 minutes until heated through. Mix in black beans and cilantro.

This recipe yields ten 1/2 cup servings at 76 calories each with 2.6 grams of protein and 1.9 grams of fiber.

Quinoa and Sweet Potato Chili

Happy weekend, Friends! I’m continuing to work through the tasks of the Nutrition Scavenger Hunt happening at my local gym this month. This has motivated me to prepare another recipe provided by the Rochester Athletic Club Dietitians. I actually received this one about 4 years ago while a member in their weight-loss program, ridiculous that I waited until now to try it…better late than never!

I made this for a casual weekend lunch today with the goal of nurishing my post-workout hunger. I enjoyed the simplicity of preparation and an amazing, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, Lenten-friendly twist on a cool-weather comfort food. This would be a great recipe for meal prep too!

If you’re looking for a super food cooking adventure, look no further!

Quinoa and Sweet Potato Chili


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, chopped

5 garlic cloves, minced

1 – 6 oz can tomato paste

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon cumin

1 teaspoon oregano

1 – 29 oz can low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained

32 oz low sodium vegetable broth

1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup quinoa, uncooked

Avocado and cilantro for garnish (optional)



  1. Heat olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook until soft and lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Add tomato paste, chili powder, cumin and oregano. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring continuously.
  4. Add beans, vegetable broth and sweet potato. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, then add quinoa.
  5. Continue cooking for 15-30 minutes, stirring frequently, until quinoa and potatoes are cooked and chili has thickened. If chili becomes too thick for your liking, add water to achieve desired consistency.
  6. Serve hot and garnish with avocado and chopped cilantro, if desired.

This recipe yields six servings at 330 calories with 15 grams of protein and 14 grams of fiber!

The Garbacado Sandwich

Hey, Fellow FIT BFFs, I’m working on a cool Nutrition Scavenger Hunt that’s taking place at my gym this month. One of the tasks included is to prepare one new recipe a week from the in-house dieticians’ cookbook. I opted to modify the recipe to include the Seedtastic bread I found at Aldi last week. If you missed my excitement over that bread, you can read about it here.

It’s no secret…I LOVE avocados; this is a great meatless recipe that incorporates that love! Here’s my modified version…

The Garbacado Sandwich


1 slice Aldi Seedtastic bread, toasted

1/4 avocado

1/4 cup garbanzo beans

1/4 cup chopped cucumber

salt to taste (I used Himalayan salt)



Mash together garbanzo beans, avocado and salt, mix in chopped cucumber. Cut toasted bread in half. Place garbacao mixture on bread, enjoy open-faced or classic sandwich-style.

Contains 232 calories, 36 grams carbs, 8 grams fat, 9 grams protein, 11 grams fiber

High Protein Veggie Scramble

Hi fellow FIT BFFs! I often return from the gym famished after an intense workout. It would be easy to chow down on whatever I can quickly get my hands on, but I want to be sure to replenish my body properly. I’ve made a variety of these throw-together kind of scrambles and found this combination to be a generously portioned, relatively low-cal, high protein powerhouse. The bonus…teamed with an english muffin, my appetite is satisfied for hours!

High Protein Veggie Scrambler


1 large egg

2 large egg whites

2 tbsp red onion, diced

1/4 green bell pepper, chopped

3 oz mushrooms, diced

1/4 cup 2% shredded cheddar

1 medium Roma tomato, diced

1/4 medium avocado diced

Himalayan pink salt and pepper to taste

Non-stick cooking spray


In small bowl, beat egg/egg whites with wire whisk; place in non-stick cooking sprayed small fry pan. Mix in onion, bell pepper and mushrooms. Cook over low heat. Occasionally loosening contents from the bottom of the pan and turning, as you would scramble plain eggs. Continue scrambling until egg appears cooked. Add shredded cheddar and mix with the scramble. Once cheese begins to melt, immediately plate mixture and top with tomato and avocado. Salt and pepper to taste.

Makes one serving at 282 calories with 25 grams of protein! Add an english muffin for meal total of about 400 calories!

Refrigerator Cherry Almond Oatmeal

Jacksonville expo 3-001

Fellow FIT BFFs, back in February, a friend made this bowl of deliciousness during a race weekend getaway in Jacksonville. It was such a wonderful treat, I’ve thought about it again and again.

Well, I should be careful what I wish for…last weekend I messaged her for the recipe and although she doesn’t have one, she described her process and possible modifications. That Oatmeal Angel went on to hand deliver the ingredients to me as a heartfelt care package so I could make it right away. Julie, your kindness humbled me; many, many thanks!

Here’s the recipe for a breakfast I’ve looked forward to every morning this week…


Refrigerator Cherry Almond Oatmeal


1 cup steel cut oats

1 1/2 cups almond milk

1 1/2 cups fat free half and half

3 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup raw almonds, slivered

1/4 cup tart dried cherries


1. Mix steel cut oats, almond milk, sugar and half and half in sauce pan. Cook according to oats package instructions, mixing often until thickened.

2. Remove from heat. Mix in almonds and cherries.

3. Place in glass pan or bowl. Refrigerate. Optional: you could also spoon mixture into six smaller containers for a simple grab-and-go breakfast

4. Cut into 6 equal servings. Serve warm or cold.

This recipe yields 6 servings at 224 calories each.

Oatmeal Pancakes with Applesauce

Happy weekend, Friends! Thought you might enjoy this healthy recipe I acquired from a cooking class I recently attended with my Bolder Options mentee. It was a great class and the pancakes turned out fantastic. Because of the content variation, these pancakes are heavier, more dense than the standard recipe. I appreciate they contain oatmeal and whole wheat flour…helps us feel fuller, longer. I also like the substitution of applesauce for syrup. The true test came at home, as my husband and son both liked them. Though they used syrup instead of applesauce, I was happy I could eat the same meal with a simple, lower-calorie modification. Give this recipe a try!


Oatmeal Pancakes with Applesauce


3/4 cup quick or old fashioned oats

1 1/2 cups fat-free milk

3/4 cup enriched all purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, beaten

1 tablespoon oil, plus more for cooking

3 cups unsweetened applesauce




1. Combine the oats with milk in a large bowl, let stand 5 minutes.

2. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl, add to oat/milk mixture.

3. Beat eggs and oil together, add to mixture.

4. Stir just until all ingredients are combined; mixture will be lumpy.

5. Spread small amount of oil onto griddle or pan; heat to medium temperature.

6. Pour 1/4 cup batter onto hot griddle or pan for each pancake.

7. Turn pancakes when tops have bubbled and edges look cooked.

8. Serve sprinkled with cinnamon and topped with 1/4 cup applesauce.


This recipe yields 12 pancakes. One serving equals 1 pancake and 1/4 cup applesauce for a total of 140 calories.


Cinnamon Chia Dirty Cheese

I promise, this is the last cottage cheese recipe I’ll post for a while…not because I am tired of cottage cheese, only because it’s all gone. I’ve been experimenting all week a) to use the stuff up and b) to discover some tasty new recovery snacks. I’m all about a little extra protein lately. So without further ado…here’s another very disgusting-looking but great-tasting cottage cheese snack…


Cinnamon Chia Dirty Cheese


1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese

1 tbsp chia seeds

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1-single packet stevia


Combine ingredients, mix well. Chill before serving if desired.

Makes one serving at 130 calories

Chia PB2 Boost

I know this picture is about to gross many of you out, fellow FIT BFFs. Sorry for a less-than-delicious looking pic, but hear me out…


I’ve been exploring combinations of cottage cheese with various other items to produce a filling, power boosting recovery snack. Although its presentation is less than appetizing, I’m still calling this one a winner!

Chia PB2 Boost


1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese

2 tbsp PB2 powdered peanut butter

1 tbsp chia seeds


Combine ingredients, mix well, refrigerate one hour or more before eating.


Makes one serving at 175 calories

Chia Kiwi Power Restore

Just wanted to share a simple snack I threw together to cool down after a run. It was a tasty recovery power snack. And although it may not look all that appetizing, it sure did the trick!


Chia Kiwi Power Restore


1/2 cup lowfat cottage cheese

1 kiwi, peeled/sliced

1 tbsp chia seeds


Mix ingredients together to enjoy a quick boost!