This spicy bowl honestly knocks it out of the park. And I’m not kidding when I say that I bought the sexiest salmon filets of MY LIFE thus far just a couple of weeks ago that left me speechless when I made this the other day. They were so incredibly thick and so, SO juicy and flaky that I was over the moon thrilled when I took my first bite. Total game changer in how I choose my salmon from here on out…
Before getting on to this bowl of deliciousness though, I want to share an incredible conversation I had with one of my closest and dearest friends the other day because it’s been on my mind since and I feel like it’s a concern that a lot of us carry around. Specifically about life and social media and the rose colored glasses filter that can so easily be applied to all of it. It was such a different day and age for our generation. We grew up playing outside instead of on a screen. We called our friends on the phone instead of texting them. We had actual conversations about our feelings instead of sending emojis. We saw things as they actually happened and drew conclusions through our perceptions, instead of scrolling through idealized images of reality. It felt simpler, at least through my eyes now as a parent. Maybe not easier, but simpler.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand that times have changed and that technology is the way of the now and the future, and that social media definitely has its time and place. Especially when it comes to networking, and for many people, as a way to stay in touch during busy times. And as a grown up, I feel like I have the life experience and self-awareness to filter through what is healthy for me to read and see, and what effects me in a way that I don’t like. But what I struggle with so strongly as a parent, is where to draw the line with the exposure that my kids have/will have to the saturation of picture perfect posts that, quite honestly, set us all up for some level of inadequate feelings.
It’s inevitable that when I scroll through Instagram, I will most certainly come across images of perfectly designed homes looking crisp and clean and PERFECT. And my knee jerk reaction will be to have an anxious feeling in my gut that I’m not doing enough around my own home to make it look as picturesque. And my head will start to spin. And before I know it, the list of a million and one things that is always in my head wants to start clouding everything else on my mind. But then maybe one of the kids will come in and ask me for something, or maybe I just snap out of it on my own and realize…nope. What I’m looking at on my screen isn’t real. It’s just not. It’s staged and it took time and energy and PEOPLE to make it look that way for that moment. And I’ll come full circle and be grateful for my own personal sense of perfection which means doing the best that I can in my own actual reality. On a good day anyway…because sometimes it takes more than a minute to snap out of it.
The struggle I feel with my kids and social media, though, is that they they don’t have the life experience or awareness yet to be able to filter through what they see. They see what looks like perfection to them and think, ‘I don’t have that’ or ‘I don’t look like that’ or ‘I’m missing out on something’…and it fosters and breeds insecure feelings of ‘I’m not good enough’ on some level. I feel like it’s part of my job as a parent to teach them the importance of understanding themselves and to be aware of the outside ‘noise’ that affects how they feel about themselves. Now, to be fair, I don’t want to shelter them from being a part of something that can also foster some sense of connectivity. I just want to be sure that they have a balance of screen connectivity with ACTUAL human connectivity. I feel like I would be doing them an serious injustice if I didn’t emphasize the importance of face to face connections and compassionate conversations in a world of typing out emotion. So this balancing act I will walk in hopes of finding a tight rope long enough to hold me throughout this unpredictable life of parenting. *End thoughtful ramble*
And now onto food! I’m not even sure where to start with how good this bowl is. It’s like a mix of comfort and sassiness and ohmygod all in one place (for me anyway). I’ve been making different versions of my own fajita/taco seasoning for years now simply to remove all of the added sodium in store-bought varieties and also to have control over the flavorings. I don’t love cumin, but I do like it in small doses when it’s there but not with an overpowering presence. So making my own Mexican seasonings allows me to tweak that taste to whatever I want. I love that! As I’ve mentioned, I also LOVE bowls. I think they are so fun and beautiful, not to mention easy to eat. They have all of these delicious flavors in one place just meshing altogether…so yum. But then again I’m that girl that’s been known to mix like 5 things together on her Thanksgiving plate…
When you first glance at this bowl recipe, it looks like there are a lot of ingredients. There really aren’t. The spice rub has the most items and, to be honest, I make it in like a quadruple batch and save it in a mason jar to have on hand for whenever I want to make tacos, enchiladas, you name it. It’s a huge time saver and I recommend it if you are a person who makes Mexican meals often enough. I typed up the recipe in a way that, if you read it all the way through before starting, you’ll be able to seamlessly work your way though the kitchen and have this made in a half hour max. And I must say…this dish is just as good cold as it is hot. When I made it to photograph, I had some of it for lunch, and then the rest for dinner and was super excited about the idea of taking this down to the beach in a few months to have healthy food at my fingertips. ENJOY!
Oven Roasted Salmon Fajita Quinoa Bowls
For the quinoa
- 1 cup dried quinoa
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
- juice from half of a lime
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- salt and pepper to taste
For the salmon
- 4 salmon filets, around 5 ounces each
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
For the fajita veggies
- 12 mini sweet peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
- 1/2 medium red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- pinch of kosher salt and ground black pepper
*fresh lime, cilantro, tomatoes, and avocado for serving
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Set aside.
- Using a fine mesh sieve, rinse the dried quinoa for 2 minutes under cold water to remove the bitterness. Heat a small saucepan over medium-high heat and add the quinoa to briefly toast it. Stir consistently until most of the water from the quinoa is removed. Add in the chicken broth and smashed garlic clove and bring to a rolling boil. Once boiling, cover and lower heat to medium low. Continue simmering for 15 more minutes, then remove from heat and allow to stand for at least 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork.
- While quinoa is cooking, combine all of the herbs and spices for the salmon in a small bowl. Spray one half of the prepared baking sheet with cooking spray and place the salmon pieces next to each other leaving about 1/2 inch between. Evenly distribute the spice rub over top of each piece of salmon, and around the sides if there is extra left over.
- On the second half of the baking sheet, toss the peppers and the onion with the olive oil, salt, and pepper and spread them into an even layer.
- Place the baking sheet into the oven and roast for 15 minutes or until salmon is cooked through and vegetables are beginning to darken. Meanwhile, toss the quinoa with the lime juice and cilantro and season with salt and pepper.
- Remove the salmon and veggies from oven and set aside. Divide the quinoa between 4 bowls and place one salmon filet in the center of each. Evenly distribute the peppers and onions around each bowl and garnish with diced tomato, avocado slices, and cilantro if desired. Season with more fresh lime juice, salt, and pepper to taste. ENJOY!