Cold bean & rice veggie salad

rice and bean salad (1)

Spring is here…..well sort of. We had a few really nice days here in Wisconsin and now it seems to be hanging in the 40’s to low 50’s with sunshine. I think that it’s still way too chilly to be spring but I’ll take it. We have been outside as much as possible and beyond that it’s been a bit busy over here, so I apologize for the lack of posts. We are getting ready to move and have a baby (any day now!) so there is quite a bit to do if you can imagine .

My “free-time” has been spent packing and still nesting like crazy. Even in these last weeks of pregnancy, with my body aching and so sore, all I want to do is scrub something, anything! Everything that can be washed in the house has been washed. I went through a tub of Oxy Clean in the last couple weeks and an entire can of carpet cleaner (because I was scrubbing my vehicle mats so much, trying to get every little spot out) just to give you an idea. I just can’t stop! My whites are whiter than they have ever been and my rugs look brand new. Also, I just impulsively bought a wet/dry vacuum to better clean the floors with. Well it wasn’t super impulsive because it is the same one we got my sister-in-law for her birthday and she sold me on it. No more getting down on my hands and knees to clean the floor AND getting an even better clean?! Sold. The vacuum should come today and I am already giddy about cleaning my floors. I have been watching You Tube videos of all the infomercials about it, so excited! So if you need something cleaned bring it over, seriously. I am searching for things to clean around the house at this point. And before this post gets any lamer lets move on to this delicious, fresh salad.rice and bean salad

I came up with this concoction after buying a huge bag of mixed beans from Costco and not really wanting to make bean soup like I normally do with them. I threw some things together and then found the recipe for the dressing, which is the best part of the salad. It’s tangy, refreshing, and a tad bit sweet. The longer you let the salad sit in the fridge the more flavor the rice and beans will soak up. And the nice part about this salad is the versatility. You can pretty much toss in whatever veggies, grains, nuts, and cheeses that your little heart desires and it will still turn out great. I am going to make this again soon and add some red cabbage and sliced carrots for a little more crunch. Oh and I didn’t put this in the recipe but I threw mine on top of a bed of mixed greens with a squeeze of lemon over it and it was divine. This makes for a perfect, protein & nutrient- packed, lunch that will last you a good week in the fridge.

Cold bean & rice veggie salad
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice
  • 3-4 cups cooked beans ( I used a variety of pinto, kidney, black, yellow split peas, lima, and lentils) OR 2-3 cans of precooked beans, rinsed
  • 1 bag frozen yellow corn, thawed
  • 3-4 green onions, sliced
  • 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • ⅓ cup chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • feta cheese
  1. In a large mixing bowl combine: cooked rice and beans, corn, onions, tomatoes and cilantro.
  2. In another smaller mixing bowl, whisk together oils, vinegar, sugar, garlic, salt, cumin, chili powder, and pepper.
  3. Taste and season accordingly.
  4. Pour dressing mixture over rice and beans and toss to coat.
  5. Store in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving for best results.
  6. Add feta or any other cheese right before serving.

Happy day to you!


Quinoa Tex Mex bake

mexican quinoa bake (1)

No-fuss meals have been a staple for our family so far this year. Pregnancy is wearing me out terribly this time around. I started getting contractions at 24 weeks. No not Braxton-hicks, the lovely kind, real painful. My midwife says that is my body and baby telling me I am doing too much. Just one of the reasons why I am opting for simple recipes for my family. I have been hunting for easy recipes that keep me off my feet as much as possible. This proved challenging because if I am going to spend the time to cook dinner, I really don’t want to compromise nutrition. If I can just go through Taco John’s drive thru and pickup up food in 10 minutes, why would I spend hours in the kitchen preparing something that isn’t any better for you? It just seems hard to find meals that are easy, not super time consuming, tasty, and healthy. quiona tex mex

This casserole meets all my expectations and even has added bonuses. This dish is gluten-free, vegetarian, and uses coconut milk as it’s base. I love using coconut milk in casseroles instead of a condensed soup. You really don’t compromise any flavor by using the coconut milk , plus it just makes me feel better to know I am not putting all that condensed soup junk in my body. My kids love everything about this dish and they were begging for more. They love anything with black beans. We will definitely being having this a few more times before the baby comes, and I am sure many times after! Hopefully eating a few meals like this a week will make up for eating a lot of take-out tacos and Chinese during this pregnancy. Whoops.

  • 1½ cup quinoa, dry
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 12 oz can of corn, drained
  • 3 medium-large bell peppers, diced (any color)
  • 15 oz can of black beans, rinsed &drained
  • ¾ cup plus ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • ¼ cup plus ¼ cup green onions, chopped
  • 2 cups shredded cheese, cheddar or Mexican
  • ¾ cup coconut milk
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 packet southwest taco seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  1. Cook quinoa according to the package.
  2. Put cooked quinoa in a large mixing bowl.
  3. In a large skillet heat coconut oil. Add garlic and cook for a minute.
  4. Add corn, peppers, cayenne pepper, and half of the taco seasoning packet to the skillet and sauté for about 6 minutes, stirring just a couple times.
  5. Transfer skillet mixture to the mixing bowl with quinoa.
  6. Add black beans, ¾ cup cilantro, ¼ cup green onions, the cheese (save a little bit for topping), coconut milk, salt, and the rest of the taco seasoning to the mixing bowl and mix well.
  7. Transfer mixture to a greased 8x11 baking dish and sprinkle with extra cheese.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes and then garnish with extra cilantro and green onions.

Recipe adapted from: ifoodreal

mexican quinoa bake


2013 Favorites

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2013 was a great year for our family and for this blog! Thank you all for your visits, pins, comments, e-mails, and kind words. I wanted to share the most popular and favorite recipes of 2013 plus a few of my favorite other posts. I did not post nearly as much as I would have liked to this year, due to all the pregnancy sickness that was thrown my way, but I still really appreciate you all hanging on and supporting me! I love sharing our family’s favorite recipes, and bits & pieces of our life with you on here, it brings me great joy. God’s blessings for 2014 to all of you.

1. Sloppy Joe spaghetti bake-: My number one visited recipe of this year and one of my easy favorites! Eliminate that gluten as much as you can!sloppy joe bake (1)

2. Heirloom tomato and goat cheese tart: I have pregnancy cravings for this ALL THE TIME. Wish I would have froze some of those beauties.

heirloom tomato tart (1)

3. Gluten-free Mexican pizza: So delicious and fun to make with the kids! This recipe made Family Fun magazine this year which was uber exciting for me!mexican pizza4.Banana cream pudding: You will never appreciate the flavor in this pudding until you make it yourself. Trust me.

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5. Merlot Meatballs: This is my favorite recipe of the year. I make these regularly in the winter now with a heaping pile of mashed potatoes and veggies along side them. You can’t beat this sauce.

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My other favorite posts of 2013:

1.JS Conf 2013: This post will always remind of my battle with anxiety and how this trip changed my ability to deal with it on a daily basis. ameliaisland (26)

2. A halloween to remember: I love this post because years from now when the kids are grown, and I sit down and read it, I will be filled with so many emotions about them growing older and thankful I recorded how I felt on that very day. But I can’t even think about that right now because….pregnancy hormones. pumpkin rissotto (2)3. Holzmann party of 6: Because NEW BABY! DUH!! yay!

Remy14. Meet Ralph: A post I am glad I took some time to write about my incredible partner in life. I love our life together and it is only the beginning.REAL5. 20-week pregnancy update : I asked Ralph probably 10 times if he thought I should take out the rant about having more kids. I am so glad he told me to keep it in there. I can’t tell you how incredible all your sweet messages about that post made me feel. Sometimes the world needs a little honesty.

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Texas caviar

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The Holzmanns are based in the midwest folks. Wisconsin. Born & raised (except for a handful of years of living in CA). Bring on your preconceived stereotypes, we can handle them!

Cheese? Yeah, we love it just as much as you imagine we do. We basically add cheese to anything and everything we make. Summer sausage? Yep. Cows everywhere? Yep. In fact, just last week there was a cow blocking a downtown intersection. Midwest accents? Most of us unfortunately have them. I only recently discovered how bad mine was. Oh yaaaa.

Football? Let’s just say that we take our Packer games pretty darn serious. The day after a Packer loss people are grumpier and the night after a Packer victory, people are the jolliest. And even though we are out our beloved Aaron Rodgers for a few games and we are on our 3rd quarterback, we are still just as pumped up to cheer on our Green Bay Packers every weekend. I have to say that most of the steryotypes you hear about Wisconsin are true and we are proud of them. We love our midwest life. It very much suits our lifestyle and family.

texas caviar

Oh yes, football!

Sunday is all about appetizers in our house. We need game food and mom needs a break from making meals throughout the week. This  Texas caviar is game-time snack approved, even by the kids! And believe it or not, it’s one delicious snack that is really good for you. Those beans are packed with protein and all those yummy veggies are so tasty you won’t believe your eating a relatively healthy snack. The dressing is my favorite part. Red wine vinegar totally makes this dip work. You just have to trust me and try this one. Last time I made a big batch I took it to a housewarming party and it was a huge hit!

Texas caviar
  • 1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 can chick peas, drained & rinsed
  • 1 can mexi-corn
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced OR 1-2 tablespoons Tastefully Simple Garlic Garlic
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 4 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • 1-2 handfuls fresh cilantro, chopped
  • ¼ cup olive oil OR ¼ cup grapeseed oil
  • ⅓ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon italian seasoning
  1. In a large mixing bowl combine beans, chick peas, mexi-corn, garlic, onions, tomatoes, avocados, and cilantro.
  2. Mix to combine.
  3. Next make the dressing.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil, and italian seasoning.
  5. Pour dressing over dip and stir to coat.
  6. Store in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving.
  7. (remember to keep an avocado pit in the bowl to keep the avocados from browning before you serve it)

Thanks for your visit. I promise I will post a pregnancy update soon! I had so many ideas for pregnancy posts this time around but time is always slipping away from me. I promised myself that I would take time to really enjoy the Christmas season this year. I mean really enjoy it and take it all in. Most years we are so busy that it’s here and gone so fast and it really makes me sad because it’s the best time of the year. I vowed this year would be different, and it already is. High five self! That is why I won’t be blogging much this Christmas season, or at least not getting stressed about it.

We are slowly starting to decorate the house together as a family, our elf Wyatt has returned from the North Pole and is up to his usual shenanigans every morning, and we are focusing more on what we can do for those less fortunate than us than on the presents the kids want for Christmas. Words can’t describe the happiness it brings me to see my kids wanting to be involved in helping other children, or picking our something special for someone who would otherwise never get a Christmas present. My wish is that every year we continue to slow down, and take every special part of Christmas in together and that we are more excited about the real reason for celebration. Jesus Christ.



Crockpot fall apart ribs

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When fall rolls around the crock pot makes it’s way up from the basement and finds a temporary home in the kitchen. I use my crock so much during the fall and winter months that I leave it out on the counter. That being said, I like to look for “challenging” crock pot recipes if those even exist? But you know what I mean right? I don’t always like the recipes where you just dump some cans of condensed soup, along with some raw meat and call it dinner. Sometimes those recipes work out and are great, but a lot of them turn out rather tasteless and sloppy. I like to think you need to put a little bit of work into a meal to get good results. So while these ribs are not hard or a lot of work, in fact they are quite simple, you don’t just toss everything together in one step. I promise you it really isn’t much work at all and the results are tender and savory fall off the bone ribs.crockpot ribsYou are welcome to skip making the sauce and use store bought if you’d like! I have found myself married to a man that detests store bought BBQ sauce. I think it comes from his dislike of anything “sweet” on or near his meat. He is real manly about meat, you know how that goes. This recipe for BBQ sauce is a little more savory than sweet if you like that kinda thing.

  • 4 tablespoons paprika
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 8-9 lbs pork ribs
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1-cup raw honey
  • 5-8 drops hot sauce
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • ground pepper
  1. First make the BBQ sauce.
  2. In a large mixing bowl whisk ketchup, honey, hot sauce, dry mustard, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar and pepper.
  3. Pour sauce into a sauce pan and heat on medium until everything is incorporated.
  4. Mix together dry ingredients to create a rub: paprika, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.
  5. Cover ribs with rub on both sides and place in the crock pot on low heat.
  6. Let the ribs heat for 2 hours then pour sauce over the top.
  7. Heat an additional 4-6 hours.

Hope you are having a blessed week friends!