Tag Archives: salad

Mediterranean Farro Salad

Though we are young at heart (i.e. super immature), my husband and I are now trying to keep up with our metabolisms that are seeming to slow down at a much quicker rate than we would like. In our 20s and early 30s, we could eat anything and not really worry about exercising and we looked fine and felt fine.

My husband turned 40 this year and I am close behind him for closing out this decade and we have noticed changes in our overall health. Which is why we are desperately trying to hold onto any remnants of our youthful selves that we can. My husband has started running everyday and I have joined a pilates studio.

My pilates instructor told me that only about 20% of a healthy lifestyle happens during your workout. 80% happens outside of the class, mostly what you put in your body. Booooo! I want to eat birthday cake every night for the rest of my life. WHY CAN’T I HAVE THIS REALITY? WHY!!!!

Okay, reality in check, the other week, we went to Costco and loaded up on bulk items. I love having a stocked pantry that you can make up all kinds of wonderful meals. In the past  year, my husband and I have started focusing on having healthier pantry items in order to be able to whip up more quality meals for ourselves. During that trip we picked up a large sack of farro to test out and a flat of canned garbanzo beans because my husband has a fabulous hummus recipe that I love. If any of you have farro recipes, send them my way!

Farro tastes like rice and barley mixed together. It has a nice chewiness to it. I made this cold salad out of it which was such a delicious side dish to grilled tri tip, but also can be eaten on its on as a lunch. Anyway, enjoy everyone.

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Ingredients

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Farro Salad

Every month we take a trip to Costco to load up on bulk items, such as flour, rice, canned beans, and canned tomatoes, etc… I have to admit, I love shopping there. Sure at first the crazed busy shopper experience got on my nerves, but now I am a pro. I know how to navigate the store, going in a counter clockwise direction around the store. This navigational trail seems to put us out of the course of frenzied craziness and only on the outskirts of traffic. If you must put yourself through the gauntlet of traffic, wait no, you want to swim upstream at this store!

Anyway, last week I picked up a large sack of farro, thinking hmmm… I have never had farro before. Looks healthy… says its organic… I wonder what that tastes like… Sold! (So if any of you have farro recipes, send them my way!)

Farro tastes like rice and barley mixed together. It has a nice chewiness to it. I made a cold salad out of it which was such a delicious side dish to grilled chicken, but also ate it on its on as a lunch. Anyway, enjoy everyone.

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Ingredients

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Mixed Vinaigrette

This vinaigrette is easy and delicious. The perfect quick dressing for a work week lunch and nice enough for company.

creative noshing

Over the past year, with all of the fresh produce available to me, I have become a salad convert. Where I use to cringe at the the thought of a salad, now I delight in the idea of creatively bringing the salad together.

First and foremost are the veggies and fruits available through my CSA and local farmers markets. This week, alongside all the apricots, plums, broccoli, celery, and fresh mixed greens were the first picks of Gravenstein apples and lots and lots of zucchini and squash, not a problem, I love these items. I chose to grill my zucchini giving it a charred smokiness. To round out the succulent smokiness, I used the tart crunchy apple and sweet plum.

When choosing a protein for my salad this week, I chose to heighten the smokiness with bacon and used a Toma cheese which is a semi-hard cheese that has a buttery flavor with a…

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Broccoli Salad

This simple little salad is so easy and delicious. Perfect as a side and a quick pre-made lunch.

creative noshing

This is a recipe that is a shout out to my Mom. It is one that she made for us all the time, be it a side dish, a snack or something to take to a covered-dish supper. As with most things with my mother, it had to be delicious but also simple, which I appreciate now that I have to replicate my childhood food memories.

As an adult, I have found myself using this as a quick complete grab and go lunch item that I can make at the beginning of the week and throw into containers in the fridge. Grab this, an apple and a water; and I am ready for a day at the office. So yes Mom, you are still feeding me, even a million miles away!

Broccoli Salad 

Broccoli Salad Broccoli Salad

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Taco Salad

What I would say about this amalgamation, is don’t knock it until you try it!

creative noshing

Normally I write about my food memories, those all important recipes that make up the fabric of my existence in one way or the other. Today, however, I am presenting you with a food memory that is all my husband.

When I married into his family, I had never heard of this concoction of ingredients, taco meat thrown into a mixed salad that was topped with crushed Doritos and doused with french dressing.  It sounded odd and hokey, I have to admit I was a little intimidated at how this southern girl was going to be able to swallow it all down with polite gracefulness. I wasn’t used to eating salad, much less something that sounded as crazy as this. My husband, though, I could see the anticipatory giddy in his eye and I knew in that moment that this would be a meal that I would have to learn how to make for him. As I…

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Easy Ranch Dressing

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Currently I am reading the book In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. It’s really a great read and has changed my way of looking at food in general. So far, the main lesson I have learned is to eat all foods in moderation, mostly plants.

The book emphasizes the idea that we should focus on trying to get our nutrition from food and not depending on supplements. In essence, there are correlations between the nutrition within the foods we eat and the makeup of the plant as a delivery system for those nutrients and how it all works together is still being researched.

Anyway, I recommend this book to anyone who is like me and gets stuck before starting a healthier lifestyle saying they don’t know enough about nutrition. Of course salads go hand and hand with eating more plant based foods. I prefer making my own dressings, since  most store bought dressings have too many preservatives and emulsifiers added to them.

Ranch dressing is one of my favorites. I love Penzey’s spices and especially their Buttermilk Ranch spice mix. It is so easy to make the dressing and I love the flavor so much that it encourages me to eat more vegetables. Win! Win!

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Mixed Vinaigrette

Over the past year, with all of the fresh produce available to me, I have become a salad convert. Where I use to cringe at the the thought of a salad, now I delight in the idea of creatively bringing the salad together.

First and foremost are the veggies and fruits available through my CSA and local farmers markets. This week, alongside all the apricots, plums, broccoli, celery, and fresh mixed greens were the first picks of Gravenstein apples and lots and lots of zucchini and squash, not a problem, I love these items. I chose to grill my zucchini giving it a charred smokiness. To round out the succulent smokiness, I used the tart crunchy apple and sweet plum.

When choosing a protein for my salad this week, I chose to heighten the smokiness with bacon and used a Toma cheese which is a semi-hard cheese that has a buttery flavor with a tangy-grassy finish. Had I had walnuts or pecans, I would have roasted those off in the oven to bring out their natural oils  and added them to the salad, alas I did not have any.

All of this information, helps me determine what sort of dressing will be made. With the smokiness from the bacon and zucchini, I knew I needed to counter that with a bright pop and with the tart apple and sweet plum, I knew it didn’t need to be too sweet. I couldn’t decide on a specific vinegar to base my dressing off of, so I mixed them together. Enjoy!

Mixed Vinaigrette

Summer Salad with Mixed Greens, Plum, Gravenstein Apples, Broccoli, Grilled Zucchini, Bacon, and Toma Cheese Topped with Homemade Croutons and Mixed Vinaigrette
Summer Salad with Mixed Greens, Plum, Gravenstein Apples, Broccoli, Grilled Zucchini, Bacon, and Toma Cheese Topped with Homemade Croutons and Mixed Vinaigrette

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Smoky Spicy Avocado Dressing

The following recipe is for a dressing with avocado as the main ingredient. It is creamy and rich, with some nice citrus notes and a yummy smoky spice from chipotle powder. If you have access to avocados, I would highly recommend giving this dressing a try.

Smoky Spicy Avocado Dressing

Late Spring Salad with Smoky Spicy Avocado Dressing
Late Spring Salad with Smoky Spicy Avocado Dressing

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Red Wine Vinaigrette

Of course, the markets are full of all those lovely produce items for salad fixins’ and now there are beautiful greens at almost every stall. Excited, I had to come home and make a homemade salad dressing for the week. To go along with the fresh spring theme, I made a light vinaigrette. If you have followed me for awhile, you know I was a prep chef in a small cafe when my husband and I first were married. I spent most of my time, as the name suggests, prepping things, including sauces, marinades, and dressings. During service, I started out cutting up vegetables and graduated up to making sandwiches and salads. I know, I know, it sounds incredibly mundane, but I enjoyed it. Having no formal training, such as culinary school, I kept my head down, paid attention and tried not to get swallowed up by the mad rush during lunch. I learned a lot about everything there, some of that included food.

Vinaigrette is a mixture of vinegar with fat. What ratio is very personal and unique to your taste. Basically, fat coats your tongue making other flavors muted a bit. If you like more tart flavors, you will need to decrease the amount of fat, if you want it much less tart, you will want to add fat to it. I, personally, like a 1:1 ratio of vinegar to fat, but please play around. Taste while you make it and determine what ratio is best for you. This recipe is very easy to double and can be used as an awesome marinade too.

Red Wine Vinaigrette 

Fresh Spring Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette
Fresh Spring Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette

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Poppy Seed Dressing

With the entrance of spring, right now is a beautiful time for using the crossover fruits and vegetables for meals. As apples are exiting the scene, strawberries are entering, so why not pair them during this rare opportunity.  That was my thought at least when making my gorgeous salad yesterday, bursting with vivid colors and various textures and flavors, it kept my taste buds interested. The perfect topping was a sweet and tangy dressing accented by pops of savory crunch provided by the poppy seeds. Enjoy!

Poppy Seed Dressing

Apple and Strawberry Salad with Bacon, Pecans, Gorgonzola and Poppy Seed Dressing
Apple and Strawberry Salad with Bacon, Pecans, Gorgonzola and Poppy Seed Dressing

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