Tag Archives: salad

Grilled Zucchini Caprese Salad

I’ve had a change of heart…. This summer, I am embracing salads.

In the past, salads were just a way to get rid of the plethora of lettuce that fills our CSA box all summer long. And, I’ve never been a fan of lettuce. This year, though, I have realized that salads don’t have to be full of lettuce. I realize that the rest of the world embraced this concept a long time ago. I guess I’m just a bit slow. But, this realization has completely changed the way I’ve been planning meals.Continue Reading

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

I’ve recently started to really appreciate whole grains, especially quinoa. Sure, I’ve always been a fan of baking with whole wheat flour, and that’s all fine and great. But, I’m talking about cooking and eating whole grains that aren’t incorporated into baked goods.

It all started when I discovered salads made with whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and bulgur wheat. On their own, I’ve always found the grains to be somewhat dull. Given the choice between a potato or rice as a side with my dinner, I’d take the potato every time (slathered with butter or topped with bacon and cheese, preferably, but that’s a recipe for another day). When the grains stop being a side dish and become the base for a flavorful salad, though, everything changes.

I fell in love with quinoa salads a few summers ago when I attended the Big Summer Potluck where all of the food was gluten-free. The usual summer pasta salad was off the table, but it was replaced with an assortment of gorgeous salads made with quinoa (which, happens to be gluten-free). The flavorful salads were hearty enough to eat as a main dish, but still felt light and summery.

Afterwards, I set out to make my own quinoa salads at home. I came across a great salad formula in Pam Anderson’s Cook Without a Book: Meatless Meals (yes, that’s an Amazon affiliate link) cookbook, and I’ve been happily whipping up my own salad creations ever since.

This summer, I am finding that I keep going back to the quinoa salads more than ever. Trying to cook my way through our weekly CSA share while also chasing Miss Maddie around the house has proved to be a bit of a challenge. I love that I can make a batch of quinoa the night before and keep it in the fridge overnight. Then, all I have to do is chop a few veggies, make a quick vinaigrette and stir it all together the next day. This particular version, loaded with Mediterranean flavors like marinated artichokes, olives, spinach, and feta cheese is my new favorite for a quick meal. Lunch is served!Continue Reading

Blood Orange Vinaigrette

Let’s talk about salad, shall we? It seems that when January rolls around, everyone starts eating salads again. Sure, I understand that a lot of people are making resolutions and turming over a new leaf in the new year, but as someone who is not a big fan of salads, it’s always a struggle for me.

Regardless of your opinion on diets, resolutions, or even salads, though, I think we can all agree that trying to incorporate more veggies into our diets is a good thing. So, even though I’m also not big on resolutions or diets, I do find myself taking a step back after the holidays and trying to get back to more balanced eating… And, yes, that often includes eating salads.

To make salads interesting (and in my opinion, edible) in the winter months, I tend to focus on roasted vegetables and big flavors. Cold foods don’t really do it for me any time of the year (except for ice cream…), especially in January. Eating a big salad for lunch sounds like a great idea until I realize that it’s in the 20s outside and all I want for lunch is something warm.  That’s where the roasted veggies come in. Not only do they add flavor, but they also add warmth, and warmth is key. My winter favorites include butternut squash, beets, and carrots.

In addition to the warmth, I find that I want different salad dressings.  I have to keep things interesting, and the same old organic Balsamic vinaigrette that I always have in the fridge (with a spare bottle in the pantry) just doesn’t do it for me. Lately, I’ve been turning to citrus.  Most recently, I decided to whip up a fast vinaigrette with some blood oranges I picked up at the grocery store. Sadly, the oranges weren’t quite as nice as I had hoped, but they still made a tasty vinaigrette. Of course, any oranges you have on hand will work just fine!Continue Reading

Roasted Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad

I’ve heard a lot of people say they think it’s easiest to eat well in the summer… After all, there is a wide variety of fresh produce readily available and we are all supposed to just whip up a salad for lunch and dinner every day. I don’t know about you, but that’s not generally how it works at my house.  Sure, we certainly eat our share of veggies throughout the summer, but I am much more likely to use that fresh, local lettuce to garnish a cheeseburger than I am to whip up a giant dinner-sized salad. Salad really isn’t my thing.

Strangely enough, I actually find that I tend to return to healthier meals in the fall. Part of it is that I enjoy cooking in the fall… It’s much more fun to stand in front of the stove when it’s no longer 100 degrees outside. I also love the flavors of fall produce.  I could eat butternut squash pretty much all day long. I also find that I develop more of a taste for hearty whole grains in the fall. While I’m still not always reaching for the lettuce (though, I do like the fall mixes of lettuce better than giant heads of leaf lettuce), I tend to make a lot of vegetarian dishes that are full of whole grains and veggies.

On a chilly day not too long ago, I decided to put together a nice warm salad for lunch (have I mentioned that I also prefer warm food to cold food?).  I started with some butternut squash from our garden and decided to pair it with quinoa.  For a dose of some green, I wilted some arugula (one of my favorites) into salad.  Topped off with a quick Balsamic dressing, some walnuts, and gorgonzola cheese, I had a hearty and flavorful salad that both my hubby and I enjoyed. Perhaps it’s just me, but I think this kind of salad beats a bowl of lettuce and cold veggies any day.Continue Reading

Friday Favorites – Surprise Baby Shower

I’ve been taking a bit of a break from my Friday Favorites lately… My regular Friday Favorites will return later this fall (post-baby!). But, lately I just haven’t had the time and energy to get through my RSS reader each week. I suppose being close to 9 months pregnant is a good excuse, but I do really miss reading everyone’s posts each week.

This week, however, I had to put together a quick post to say thank you to all of the amazing bloggers who pulled together to throw me a surprise virtual baby shower yesterday. I am so lucky to have so many great friends out there, and I was certainly reminded of that fact as I read through everyone’s blog posts!

My day yesterday started pretty normally… Yellowdog decided to throw a tantrum about 30 minutes before the alarm was going to go off because she wanted attention… And breakfast.  Yes, having a yellow lab is good preparation for having a baby in the house.  So, when we couldn’t ignore the whining any longer, the hubby and I pulled ourselves out of bed, got the doggy her breakfast, and then took her for her morning walk. I had left my phone on the dining room table when we left for our walk, so I picked it up to double check to make sure I didn’t have any missed calls or text messages when I got home. That’s when I saw all of the tweets.

I scrolled through all of the notifications on my phone and finally realized what was going on… There was a virtual baby shower… For me! I was floored. I wasn’t expecting it at all, and I couldn’t believe how many people had taken the time to write a blog post to celebrate the little baby that will be here soon. I started to tear up a bit, and immediately ran (ok, waddled…) to turn on my computer so that I could read through everything on a regular-sized screen.

As I went through all of the posts, more and more tears came… I was blown away by all of the sweet words, well wishes, and fabulous recipes. I have always loved the way the food blogging community is so tightly knit, and, much to my surprise, I was suddenly the one on the receiving end of all of the love. I spent the morning reading everyone’s posts and trying to find the words to appropriately describe how I felt.  I never quite found the words, and I still haven’t.

The best I can do is to extend my heartfelt thanks for everyone’s love and support. I never expected that my little food blog would lead to all of this, and I am blessed to have so many great friends as a result.  So, today I wanted to pass along the links to all of the blog posts that were a part of the virtual shower. I hope that you will help me in extending my thanks… Plus, there are a lot of great recipes that you won’t want to miss!

Bluebonnets & Brownies | Raspberry Lemon Fruit Dip
Sugarcrafter | Sweet Potato Cake with Honey Buttercream
My Baking Addiction | Mini Pumpkin Pies
Simple Bites | English Eccles Cakes
Stetted | Roasted Red Pepper and Caramelized Onion Dip
Food for my Family | Homemade Pear Italian Sodas with Cardamom Cream
eat. live. travel. write. | Goat Cheese and Tomato Tartlettes
Gimme Some Oven | Creamy Caramel Apple Dippers
Dessert For Two | Caramel Apple Cookie Cups
Bake at 350 | Soft Sugar Cookies for a Baby Shower
A Thought For Food | Fingerling Potato Salad
TidyMom | Apple Pomegranate Spritzers
i am baker | Advice to a New Mommy
Healthy Green Kitchen | Guacamole with Pistachios
Tracey’s Culinary Adventures | Caramelized Onion, Gruyere and Bacon Spread
What Megan’s Making | Apple Spice Muffins
Cookin’ Canuck | Gorgonzola Cheese Cups with Pear & Hazelnut Salad
Bellalimento | Frozen Berry Shortcake
Shugary Sweets | Caramel Apple Truffles
GoodLife Eats | Coconut Lemon Banana Bread