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How to Make Kale and Quinoa Salads – Fruit vs Greek

The Hard Hat Belles will show you how to prepare two delicious salads with Quinoa and Kale as base. Quinoa contains about 15% of protein and Kale is known for its detox properties. Combining these two turns them into the dream food for any vegetarian (and even if your not!). You are sure to enjoy these salads this summer!

Hi Y’All!

With summer coming on we decided it would be very refreshing to show you how to make some unique salads using kale and quinoa.  I have to say that KALE is my new go to salad leaf.  So, grab your drink and a seat and let’s make some salads.

Tea for two


When Wiebke and I started looking for a different type of salad to create for you – I had a very reluctant reaction to the thought of using the kale.  Why you ask?  Well, it all started a few years ago when my husband was diagnosed with cancer and we were trying to do all things healthy.  We got a special juicer and did research on the best produce for the best juices.  Kale was at the top of the list.

Unbeknownst to us was that the stomach flu was making it’s vicious way through our family.

You guessed it!  The day we decided to start off with a very healthy  CLEANSING kale juice (and of course it had to be a large 20 oz), and the flu decided to collide.  Let’s just say it wasn’t very pretty around our house for about a week and everything reeked of kale….ugh.

So, when Wiebke found some kale and quinoa recipes and we discussed them – I was very hesitant.   But she was very interested to experiment with kale and combine it with quinoa.  I have to say these two salads really changed the way I think about kale and quinoa now.  Kale really is the new lettuce in my household and I am besotted with quinoa.  I am completely converted .  Still not sure I’d try another kale juice though. . .

Hail The Kale

Once we learned the magic of making kale more tender and beautiful to boot it was up hill from there.  You’ll have to read the recipes to discover the magic yourself.  To me, kale has a flavor  similar to fresh spinach, however, it is much milder.  The other bonus that I love – is that it lasts so much longer than ice berg, Romaine, or Leaf lettuce in your refrigerator.

I have had it on homemade pizza, tacos, nachos, sandwiches. . .  anything and anywhere I might use lettuce.  I am totally sold and we hope you will be too.

Why Kale?

The potential health benefits of kale are amazing and really worth the effort to investigate.  The US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health’s scientific article on . . . Green Vegetable Juices suggests that kale may even be beneficial in the role of preventing degenerative diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular diseases.  For additional  information and a different perspective on kale, check out the Kale: Health Benefits, Uses and Risks  article written by dietitian Megan Ware, RDN,LD.  Even if you are not looking for health benefits the evidence has shown that kale can help with weight loss as well.  I am anticipating my own weight loss eating more kale and drinking more water with our Motivational Water Jug! Let’s go get our KALE fix!

Quinoa – The Ancient Protein Wonder

Quinoa has been around for thousands of years and is gluten-free, packed with protein and according to the Ancient Harvest website a nutritional powerhouse.  To me it is a healthy alternative to calorie packed pasta and rice.  I like the nutty type flavor quinoa has and it adds a wonderful texture to salads.  I can’t wait to try it in place of pasta and rice in some of my recipes. To learn more watch the video below.

Take a tour of the Ancient Harvest website to get tons more information on quinoa – from the history on quinoa to recipes and where to buy it.  You can also hop on over to the  Authority Nutrition website to read an article – 11 Proven Health Benefits of Quinoa (No. 1 is Best) May 2016, by Kris Gunnars, BSc (Bachelor’s degree in medicine).  He talks about 11 reasons why we should embrace quinoa into our diets from health benefits to losing weight.

Another good source of information is Jen’s Reviews post on quinoa.  You will find some more facts and delish recipes to try out.

To learn more about powerfoods that are easy to use with awesome benefits visit the cookingdetective.com and read their article on 23 Superfoods To Add To Your Diet For A Healthy Life.

Psst. . . I didn’t realize it until Wiebke showed me how, but quinoa is so easy to cook and much quicker than rice! Just look at the pictures below to tell when it is cooked.

Raw uncooked quinoa on the left. The germ has popped on the right, which means the quinoa is cooked.
Raw uncooked quinoa on the left. The germ has popped on the left which means the quinoa is cooked.

Kale & Quinoa Salads

Do you want to know how to get more kale and quinoa into your everyday meal menu?  We have a start for you!  It is with these two awesome salads!

Fruit-Nut Salad:Kale & Quinoa Salad

Ingredients: Kale, quinoa, apples, mandarins, dried cranberries, blueberries, honey, lime juice, olive oil

  • Rinse 1 cup Quinoa under running tap water, place in pan, add 2 cups water and boil for 15 minutes. You’ll know the quinoa is done when the germ pops out and the quinoa has a translucent color. Cool off the quinoa.
  • In a small bowl mix lime juice, honey and olive oil. Add this to the chopped and de-stemmed kale.  Massage the dressing into the kale (see video).  **See magic note below.
  • Add cranberries, mandarins, apple, blueberries and almonds (or anything that suits your fancy).
  • Finally, add the cooled off quinoa and toss all ingredients together.  Absolutely delish!

Greek Salad:Quinoa and Kale Greek Salad

Ingredients: 2 cups water,1 cup quinoa, 1 cup baby kale (or regular), stems removed, ½ cup cherry tomatoes, quartered, ½ cup cucumber, diced, ¼ cup red onion, minced, 2 tablespoons kalamata olives, 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped, 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, ⅛ teaspoon salt , ⅛ teaspoon pepper, feta cheese for topping

  • Rinse 1 cup Quinoa under running tap water, place in pan, add 2 cups water and boil for 15 minutes. You’ll know the quinoa is done when the germ pops out and the quinoa has a translucent color. Cool off the quinoa.
  • In a small bowl mix lemon juice, and olive oil. Add this to the chopped and de-stemmed kale.  Massage the dressing into the kale (see video). **See magic note below.
  • Add chopped cucumbers, diced tomato, chopped parsley, sliced olives, diced red onion.
  • Add the cooled off quinoa and toss all ingredients together.
  • Finally, top with crumbled Feta Cheese. And the Greek Quinoa Kale Salad is ready to enjoy!

**Magic Note: This is how the kale is transformed from a cabbage texture to a softer one.  When I am using kale in other recipes or with other food, such as sandwiches, I simply use a small portion of extra virgin olive oil and massage away.

Note: Disclaimer

And there you have it! Two delish kale and quinoa salads to chose from.  For more delish THHB recipes click here. Let us know which one you preferred in the comments below.

To watch more of our crazy videos check out our YouTube channel “TheHard Hat Belles” or click  The Hard Hat Belles to go directly there.  Once there like and subscribe to receive notifications of the latest video releases. Or simply subscribe here to see each of our videos within our blog stories. . . .  You’ll be getting two for the price of one!

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May Your Day Be Spent

Inspiring Hope

Bible Verse Proverbs 15:17

Love & Hugs,

Denine & Wiebke


Healthy Grilled Avocado & Cheese Panini


Hi Y’All!

We have been so busy at The Hard Hat Belles cooking up some yummy sandwiches.  Grab your drink and a seat and we’ll get down to the nitty gritty details on how to make a healthy Panini sandwich by using your waffle iron, George Foreman (or similar), or sandwich maker.Tea for two

My Introduction to the Panini

I was introduced to the home made Panini when I started hanging out with Wiebke.  I have had a Panini at the Panera Bread restaurant before, but since Wiebke has been making a very healthy Panini during most of our shoots I have to say hers are just AWESOME!!  I am totally  hooked and I am never going to look back.

Equipment Needed for the Perfect Panini

Griddles and Grills

When I started paying attention to the way Wiebke makes her grilled Panini I was amazed at how simple it was.  The little grill she uses was purchased by her husband as a gag gift from the Salvation Army.  Her family has a Christmas tradition that involves a trip to the Salvation Army every year.  Their tradition involves a set amount of dollars spent and contingencies on the item purchased.  I know one of the years revolved around the gifts being a certain color (I think red).  Another year they had five minutes to find the gift;  I believe that is the year she received the grill. 

Needless to say, you don’t have to purchase a special Panini Sandwich maker like the ones Kohl’s sells to make these delish Panini.  You can just use your existing George Forman or similar (which is what I use) or some waffle griddles you have around the house. 

More Panini Ideas & Suggestions

Grilled Avocado and Cheese PaniniAbove is the picture of our Avocado & Cheese Panini, but your imagination is the limit.  Wiebke often times make a Panini out of cheese, tomato, healthy lunch meat and onion.  I have even made a few myself , yes me! My personal favorite recipe is Tuna fish mixed with cheddar cheese sauce – yummylisous! The point is that you can use your imagination and add or remove ingredients that appeal to you. 

Make sure to check out our Pinterest site for our recommended Panini ideas and below are a few more suggestions (Although these sandwich recipes below are cooked on top of the stove  try using Wiebke’s Panini method and add a few twists yourselves).  Be prepared to be blown away with texture and flavor!

  • Pepperoni, mozzarella, pizza sauce, Parmesan, whole-grain bread by Rachel Gurk
  • Smoked Salmon, dill, goat cheese, ciabatta by Deanna Samaan
  • Goat cheese, prosciutto, Dijon mustard, whole grain bread, goat cheese, Anjou pear by Lia Huber
  • Cooked peeled sweet potato, Havarti, kale, granny smith apple, whole-grain bread by Maria and Josh Lichty
  • Brie, dark chocolate, raspberry jam, raspberries, sourdough by Monique Volz

The Grilled Avocado & Cheese Panini Recipe

Panini Recipe

  • No need to use any kind of oils, butter or margarine on the Panini bread on non stick grills as this is the healthy aspect of Wiebke’s Panini
  • Preheat your grill
  • Lay out the bread slices on the cutting board (we used 9 grain)
  • Place a slice of cheese onto each slice of bread
  • Remove pit and slice the avocado
  • Slice tomatoes
  • Add sliced avocado, sliced tomatoes and salt & pepper to one half of the bread and cheese slices.
  • Top with remaining slices of cheese and bread.
  • Set the timer for approximately 3 minutes
  • Allow to cool for about a minute then slice
  • Disclaimer

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For words of encouragement (just because we know life can be tough) check out our Inspiring Hope page.

Bible Verse

Love & Hugs,

Denine & Wiebke




Hi Y’all,

We are just having a huge laugh here at The Hard Hat Belles and we are glad you can join us.  Go get that cup-o-stuff that gets you through the day and grab a seat and let’s watch Wiebke at her April Fool’s Day pranking best.

Tea for two

April Fool’s Day Prankster

Wiebke loves April Fool’s Day as it allows her to get even crazier than her normal fun loving crazy.  I was out of town last year, but I am sure she has something waiting for me this year.  So, I plan to be on the lookout!

I have to say that I feel for her husband, Kevin and her son, Sidney.

Cereal and Bug Prank
Wiebke literally put bugs in and resealed the bag and box

Wiebke has told me about some of her past antics and it just cracks me up.  The one I love the best is the amazingly look alike dog poop prank she found on Pinterest.  Wiebke and

Cereal and bugs galore
Poor Sidney

her sister, Burni took cardboard toilet paper inserts and made them to look like dog poop.  They preformed this maniacal act the night before while all in the house were safely (or so they thought) tucked in bed.  As they created their magic dog poop prank in the quiet of

Eggs and vegetables made with a few simple ingredients
Eggs and vegetables made with a few simple ingredients

the night there were no witnesses to be found as to why they constantly snickered.

After creating their devious magic dog poop and adding some water for extra effect, they placed it right next to the refrigerator.  Wiebke (April Fool’s prankster #1) knew her husband’s routine so well – so she placed the evidence where he wouldn’t quite notice it, but where it would be within his foot traffic.

A Family Breakfast
Family meal of fake  chicken wings, baby carrots and celery

When Kevin got up for work the next morning and went to the refrigerator ……. yep………he stepped in it.  Well, let’s just say that their poor dog got the first brunt of his reaction (verbally), while Wiebke laid in bed rolling with laughter.

Over the years she has pulled her April Fool’s Day pranks on her family and any susceptible victims she could and can find.

This year we wanted to share this very quick and easy fake bacon and egg meal with you.  This is guaranteed to be a hit with your family after you prank them with it!

VeeBee and Ddenine eating fake eggs

April Fool’s Day Fake Egg Prank Recipes

For the white chocolate miniature eggs you need:

White chocolate egg
Miniature white chocolate and yellow M&M Peanut egg

White chocolate candy melts or bark, yellow M&M’s (we used the peanut M&M’s, but they now have these really big over sized M&M’s), spoon, wax paper or parchment paper, baking sheet, microwavable bowl, and  a microwave oven.

  • Cover a baking sheet with wax paper.
  • Add ½ cup white chocolate melts (or bark) to a microwavable glass bowl.
  • Next, stick the bowl into the microwave for 30 seconds on high, stir and repeat at 20 second intervals until all chocolate has melted – you want it to be a very liquid texture (warning – be careful not to overcook it).
  • With a spoon, apply a mound of white chocolate onto the wax paper. Making sure it is shaped like a fried egg.  We swirled the white chocolate to shape (as no egg is perfectly centered-or at least not mine).White chocolate egg white
  • Add a yellow M& M for the yolk slightly off to the side pressing lightly.

Place M & M into Fake egg white chocolateWhite Chocolate Fake Egg Prank

  • Wait for the chocolate and M&M to get firm then remove carefully.April Fool's Day Prank removing fake egg

For VeeBee’s healthy April Fool’s egg you need:

Yogurt & apricot egg
ŒYogurt & apricot egg

A plate, a spoon, some Greek yogurt, and canned apricot halves.

  • Spoon the Greek yogurt onto a plate, shaping it into a fried egg white shape.
  • Place the apricot half on the “egg white” shape.  You will want to look for the best “egg yolk” looking apricot half.

Special Bonus: Fake Bacon Recipe

You will need:

Caramels and mini Tootsie Rolls (adapted from Pinterest pin-stop in here to get the link – they have awesome step-by-step pictures to show you).

  • Take one caramel and one Tootsie Roll.
  • You can warm them up or let your hands do the job.
  • Place the caramel on top of the Tootsie Roll.
  • Roll them together.
  • Slice them lengthwise.
  • Place them together side by side
  • Roll them one final time
  • Form them to look like bacon.

April Fool's Day Prank with fake bacon

Extra Special Bonus: Miniature Fake Egg Recipe for Peonie

A super small skillet or plate (or even put them on cupcakes!), a spoon, some Greek yogurt, and mini yellow M & M’s.

  • Spoon the Greek yogurt onto a skillet or plate, shaping it into a fried egg white shape.
  • Place the the mini yellow M & M on the “egg white” shape slightly off to the side for a real look.

Fake egg with M & M's and Greek yogurtPeonie's April Fool's Day Prank fake egg


Whether you plan to trick, prank or just have fun with your family and friends (big, little, or super little), these recipes are sure to be a hit once they get over the fits of laughter.

To watch more of our crazy videos check out our YouTube channel “TheHard Hat Belles” or click  The Hard Hat Belles to go directly there.  Once there like and subscribe to receive notifications of the latest video releases.

Please subscribe to our blog here or above so we can keep you up to date on what we have been doing.

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Please let us know how your April Fool’s Day pranking went below in the comments or you can post them to our Facebook page by clicking here.

Prv 8:11

Love & Hugs,

Denine & Wiebke


Quick & Easy 5 Ingredient Bird Seed Ornament Recipe

Matthew 6:26

Hi Y’all!

We are grateful that you have blessed us with your sweet presence. Grab that beverage and a seat as we chat about feathered friends today.

Tea for two

Do you love to watch and feed your wild feathered bird friends?  Do they look at you hungry when the bird feeder is empty? We have the perfect solution for you and your feathered friends! You’ll want to try this healthy recipe for those birds and the kicker is………It’s very simple and quick to make.

Peonie and birdseed ornaments

Here in Michigan it is February and normally we have really cold (freezing)  weather.  We have been so blessed with receiving some beautifully warm days here and there in Michigan; about 30-50 degrees Fahrenheit, just enough to give us a peek at spring. We are starting to see more and more birds gracing us with their sweet chattering and plumage.

Soon, Wiebke will be checking her cool Hummingbird radRed Breasted Hummingbirdar on the computer to find out where in the United States the Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds are week-by-week:  http://www.learner.org/jnorth/humm/index.html.  She likes to see when they will make their way here to Michigan. Both her and her husband are avid bird watchers and enjoy finding sightings of the different birds.

At the beginning of each of our blog posts we insert Psalms 86:11a picture with a verse inserted into it. All those pictures are taken by Wiebke – she has TONS of bird pictures (psst….I think she is a pretty good noBible Verse Proverbs 18:24n professional photographer too!). We have been looking for a way to share the beauty of them with others and what better way to do that than to glorify God by inserting a verse.


For me – I like birds. They’re okay. I mainly like the colorful ones, but I am by no means a bird watcher other than when they get in my way when I am driving and end up in the grill of my car (sorry Wiebke). Speaking of that – Does anyone else have this problem – For some reason whenever I get into a car I seriously think birds that want to commit suicide band together and decide I look like a good target and work to fly into the road right in front of my car (gross).

I do have to say that my favorite bird is the Robin.  It has been a longstanding Michigandering folklore that when they start migrating back – we can start anticipating spring around the corner.  (Picture an accent – From Wiebke: “Actually, according to ornithologists – professional bird experts –  the Red-winged Blackbirds are the REAL sign spring is here to stay. Some Robins don’t even leave Michigan if it is a warmer winter, or if they do migrate, they don’t migrate too far”). Even if her professional bird experts are right it is still the Robins Michiganders rely on for signs of spring (Even though shes been here for years she’s originally from South Africa anyway and she is still a Michigander in training).

So let’s celebrate those birds (Wiebke calls them feathered friends), that stuck it out through the winter and those who will soon migrate here!  We decided to treat them to some healthy birdseed – the bonus……..they can double as an ornament while they feed the birds. You get two beautiful visuals for the work of one!

This recipe is so easy and only takes 5 ingredients.  Just a note of caution though……… When Wiebke and I were filming we had a guest on site and we talked too much and too long…… and the blessed birdseed mix was much more difficult to put into the molds and didnt’ want to stick together.  We recommend that you leave the talking until done with this recipe.  Also,mix the recipe all at once and put into molds immediately to insure success!

Bird Seed Recipe Ingredients

  • Mix together the flour, water, gelatin and corn syrup in a large mixing bowl. Stir until well-combined.
  • Next add the birdseed to the mixture, blend until well coated. We put half in and mix then added the other half.
  • Spray the insides of your mold(s) with cooking spray, and spoon birdseed mixture into each mold. Pack it down and smooth it out, using the bottom of the measuring cup.
  • If you want to hang them like a Christmas ornament try using a drinking straw to make a hole through top part of each birdseed mold, making sure it goes all the way through. Wiebke got her’s to work – I did not. You may want to try something a little bit more sturdy.
  • Leave the birdseed mixture in the molds for two to three hours.
  • Then, remove the straws (or whatever you decided to use in anything) and lay them out on a sheet of waxed paper. Gently remove the hardened ornaments from the mold, and place them upside down on the wax paper.
  • Allow them to dry for at least two to three more hours, or overnight.

Birdseed heart mold

  • When they have dried, cut the ribbon and carefully put it through the hole, making a loop and tying a knot. I just went ahead and wrapped the string around the whole thing…seemed to work pretty good for me. We also put a couple of them in empty bird suet holders.  Those worked awesomely.

Peonie and hung snowman

When you have completed this project please comment and let us know how things turned out.  You can also post on our Facebook page (icon floating around somewhere) and post your project as we’d love to see it!

To watch the tutorial on how to do it please click our video here or watch it below.

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To watch more of our videos check out our YouTube channel “TheHard Hat Belles” or you click   The Hard Hat Belles here to go directly there.  Once there like and subscribe to receive notifications of the latest video releases.

If you have any comments about how your birdseed ornaments turned out or other ideas for us to try, please let us know below in the comments.  We’d love to hear from you – truly.

Love & Hugs,

Denine & Wiebke

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