I am just going to Shake, Shake, I Shake It…

IMG_3925Shake it up that is.  I so wanted to name this salad Shake it Off Kale Salad, but really it just did not seem to make sense.  However since Little Miss Mixture is a Taylor Swift fan, I have heard this song almost as much as Let it Go recently and I cannot seem to get it out of my head.  So as I was standing in the kitchen shaking my salad this is exactly the beat the salad was created to.

I have posted a couple of kale salads now and each one is different.  That is what is so great about kale and some of the other greens. They have versatility.  I have been a fan of spinach for this reason  for a decade or so, but when we began eating kale a couple of years ago I was skeptical.  It took being a member of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) group where week after week I got bunches of greens for me to get comfortable with them and really start to enjoy eating them and cooking with them.  The thing I love most about kale is how it stands up to dressings and marinades.  I find the longer it marinates the better it taste.  Do you know what that allows you to do?  You can literally prepare a kale salad one day and enjoy it off and on throughout the next 3-4 days.

That is exactly what I do with a couple of kale salads that we enjoy.  Here is one that I put together the other day.

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Shaken Kale Salad

1 Bunch of Kale

1 Apple, cut into chunks

1/4 cup Dried Cranberries

4 Tbsp. Olive Oil

1 Tbsp Honey

3 Tbsp Lemon Juice

1/4 tsp. Ground Black Pepper

Place all ingredients in a glass bowl with a tight fitting lid.  Shake well.  Place in refrigerator to marinate for at least 4 hours.  Remove from refrigerator and shake a few times.  Enjoy.

* Since the dressing includes lemon juice the apples hold up well.  Though I do like to add some for extra crunch by the third day.IMG_3924

 

Similar related salads

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Spinach, Apple, Mushroom Salad

Kale Salad with Walnuts

Kale Salad with Walnuts

Simple Kale Salad

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Spinach, Apple & Mushroom Salad with Maple Vinaigrette & What we are Eating

DSC_0606 DSC_0604I hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend. It is officially time to put away the white pants and linen and begin to enjoy football, apples, and pumpkins. It may not be fall per the calendar as yet, but in the South we have rules.  I just love this that I found while perusing my social media last night. I guess I really am a southern girl as I do in fact live by most of these.  I will admit to continuing to wear strappy sandals and sundresses for another week or so, but really how can you not when the thermometer is inching up to the mid 90’s.  White however is a no and I completely agree with the author of this piece as I struggle with whether or not white jeans work.  Regardless of what the fashion industry said, us southern girls remember what our mom’s taught us.

So to kick our fall off, we went apple picking this weekend.  We had a great time, though I wish it had been a few degrees cooler.  It is hard to enjoy yourself and get ready for fall when you are sweating your way through the apple orchard.  Apple Cider YES please, just make it a cold one.  There is no way to enjoy hot apple cider when it is a blazing 88 on top of a mountain.  Regardless of the weather our family tradition still stands.  We had a picnic lunch, picked a bushel of apples, bought and enjoyed some apple cider, and indulged on apple cider doughnuts.  Not a bad way to enjoy the long weekend.  Now back at home the apples have been sorted and stored.  I prefer to refrigerate most of the apples as they keep for longer.

DSC_0608Tips for Storing Apples

1.  Sort apples by variety, as different varieties ripen at different rates

2.  Make sure to check apples for bruises and punctures as these apples need to be eaten first

3.  Apples will keep best if stored in a cool environment cellar or the refrigerator fruit drawer are good choices.  Most apples will keep 3-5 months when kept this way.

4.  Be sure to keep apples away from onions and potatoes as they hasten the ripening.

We have made apple picking a tradition for the past five years or so.  With about 30lbs of apples in the house  we have learned to enjoy them in a variety of ways.  Little Miss Mixtures lunch included fresh apple slices with peanut butter and honey for dipping.  Sometimes we eat them with a slice of cheese.  I baked them with cinnamon and raisins to enjoy with yogurt.  I mix them into salads, make cakes, and applesauce.  Aside from just biting into them, this is how we enjoyed our fresh Jonagold apples this weekend.

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Spinach & Apple Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

3 cups fresh spinach

2 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled

1/4 cup red onion, sautéed in the bacon fat

1/4 cup sliced mushrooms

1 small apple (jonagold, gala, or other sweet variety work best)

Maple Vinaigrette

1 oz Maple Syrup

1 Tbsp Shallots, minced

1 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar

1 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard

1 tsp garlic, minced

Combine all ingredients for vinaigrette and whisk together.  Allow to sit while you prepare the rest of the salad.

In a skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until 3/4 of the way done.  Add the sliced red onion and continue sautéing together until bacon is crispy and onion is soft.  In a large salad bowl mix spinach, apple slices, and mushrooms.  Top with bacon and onion mixture.  Pour vinaigrette over salad and toss well.  Serve and enjoy.

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* adapted from Spinach Salad with Maple Dijon Vinaigrette in Cooking Light Magazine

 

What we are Eating (August 24 – August 30)

Sunday – Italian Chicken Sausage Pepper & Onions,  Made from Scratch Sweet Potato Fries, Heirloom Tomatoes

Monday – Better than Take Out Pizza

Tuesday – Nachos with Black Bean Corn Salsa

Wednesday – Taco Salad

Thursday – Cilantro Serrano Pasta with Chicken

Friday – Anytime Salad with Chicken

Saturday – Date Night Out

Edamame Salad

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When did Edamame come about?  This is in my opinion a new food.  I only started noticing edamame about eight to ten years ago when it started showing up in recipes I read, farmers markets I visited, and restaurants menus.  In that time, it has gained some popularity and quite a bit of followers.

This family never really caught on to the squeeze the pod and eat the edamame thing.  I find it interesting how many kids enjoy doing this and really like steamed edamame.  Is it because the pods usually get some salt tossed on them and they like that flavor?  Because I really think if you are going to eat something from a pod, snap peas are a lot sweeter.  Just my thoughts.

I gave edamame a try and found it to be something I could take or leave, but then we received some in our CSA box one summer I started looking for recipes and began doing more with it than just tossing it in a random salad.  Over the years, I have come to enjoy it in recipes such as Kale, Edamame, and Quinoa Salad, ChickpeasTomatoes, and Edamame, and Edamame, Cranberry & Feta Salad.  I have also come to enjoy Trader Joe’s edamame hummus and chocolate covered edamame.  Chocolate covered edamame is a great protein rich item to toss into mixture.

In fact this salad is one that I make throughout the year as Little Miss Mixture really enjoys it.  This is a salad that is requested in lunches some weeks.  Now that makes a mom happy.

When edamame is in season it is an easy food to steam and prep for the freezer for later use.  Trader Joe’s also has fresh packaged or frozen edamame from that make this recipe simple to put together in minutes.  The recipe below is adapted from Edamame with Cranberries, Feta and Basil and while I have provided measurements, I really do not measure and in fact the salad can be made with any amount of edamame you have on hand.

Edamame, Cranberry and Feta Salad

Ingredients
16 oz. Edamame
1/2 cup Dried cranberries
1/4 cup fresh Basil leaves, chopped
1-2Tbsp olive oil
1/2 Cup Feta crumbles
pepper to taste

Directions
Cook edamame in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop cooking. Pat dry and remove from pods.
Toss edamame, cranberries, basil together.  Pour olive oil over salad, and add pepper. Gently stir in feta cheese. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Serves 4.

Simple and satisfying.

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Grilled Red, White, & Blue Potatoes

As we all look to celebrate America’s birthday, many of us turn to the grill to serve our family and friends.  so as the temperature outside gets hotter, we as a society apparently feel that is the perfect time to sweat even more by firing up the grill and cooking outside.  I am just as guilty as I love to grill but rarely will you catch me out there in temperature where I need a coat.  I would much rather grill during the summer even if preparing dinner does require another shower.

Colors have been a theme in our house this week.  Little Miss Mixture loves food for holidays.  I have been known to whip up random things last minute to get a smile from her.  Take for instance my Cinco De Mayo Smoothie.

This year she has had her mind set to make a sweet for the holiday.  After scouring several store for red and blue sprinkles, she finally agreed to be creative and use some colored sugars we already had at home.

As I look forward to her treat, I have been more focused on making sure real food is consumed.

One of the easiest ways to serve patriotic food on the 4th of July is fruit.  Watermelon, Blueberries. Raspberries, strawberries all pair well with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or yogurt.  Viola!  Easy Red, White, & Blue

Another way to take advantage of great seasonal food is potatoes.  Fingerlings can be found in most farmers markets right now in a variety of colors.  Last weekend we bought a quart of Red, white, and blue potatoes.  If you ask me they were really purple potatoes, but that is not what they are called even though they appear that color inside and out. As I was cutting them, I realized what a perfect recipe for this weeks patriotic holiday.

One meal a couple of years ago, I was grilling and wanted to simplify things so ya their than cooking inside and out, I tossed diced onions and potatoes into a small cast iron skillet.  I drizzled some olive oil over the skillet and took it to the grill.  The result one of my favorite ways to make potatoes.

Grilled Red, White, & Blue Potatoes

Fingerling Potatoes – enough to fill but still fit in your cast iron skillet allowing you to stir as needed. About 2-5 per person.

1/2 Red onion, diced

Olive oil

Fresh ground Pepper to taste

Heat grill to 400 -450 degrees.  Add all items to cast iron skillet.  Pour enough oil over potatoes and onions to moisten, but not fry the mixture on the grill.  Place skillet on the grill.  Stir potAtoes about every 10 minutes to ensure even browning as the potatoes cook.  Dish is done when potatoes are nicely browned and softened, about 30-40 minutes.  Remove from grill and be carefulness skillet will be very hot.  I tend to use the pot handle cover as well as grill safe pot holder for high temperatures, so that I can hold the pot securely and move back to a flat surface for serving.

I use a 8 inch cast iron skillet.

 

Printable Recipe & Nutrition Info

Zucchini Walnut Feta Cakes

You know there are just some things that take you by surprise.  Well that would be the night I served my version of Zucchini Walnut Feta cakes.  

I consider our family adventurous when it comes to food.  I know we each have our hang ups, but don’t we all.  In recent years we have started eating a lot more meatless entrees and we enjoy them, though I have found certain ones tend to be more appealing to Mr. Mixture.  This recipe was one on the must make list from Little Miss Mixture.  I was excited to make it, though I had thoughts that I would be scouring the refrigerator for something else to ensure the other two were pleased and went to bed satisfied.  

Imagine my shock when not one but both Little Miss Mixture and Mr. Mixture enjoyed it and even stated they would happily eat it again.  Woohoo that is getting a 4 out of 5 Truffles rating.

The recipe was adapted from Cooking light Zucchini Walnut Feta Cakes.  I actually was going to follow the recipe but then I did not have enough dill and when it comes to seasoning I tend to go heavy rather than light.  So I improvised and decided to add fenugreek.  I have no idea why as I truly have very little knowledge of this spice, except to know that every time I order something with it at the Indian restaurant I enjoy my meal.  I have to admit I am not even sure when I bought fenugreek or what I used it for, but it worked with these flavors.  The result was a nicely seasoned cake that paired well with the cucumber sauce.

Zucchini Walnut Feta Fritter

  • 1/2 Cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1/4 Cup chopped walnuts
  • 4 1/2 Cups grated zucchini (about 2 medium)
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • 1/4 Cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/2  tsp chopped dill
  • 2 tsp. Fenugreek 
  • 3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 3 oz feta cheese, crumbled (about 2/3 cup)
  • 2 Large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 container plain nonfat Greek yogurt (6 – ounce)
  • 1 cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded, and thinly sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 Cups mixed salad greens (about 2 ounces)
  • 1 tomato sliced
1. Place quinoa in a mini food processor; process 1 minute or until finely ground. Add chopped walnuts to processor; process until smooth.
2. Place zucchini in a colander, and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Toss well. Let stand 10 minutes, tossing occasion ally. Press zucchini between paper towels until barely moist.
3. Combine zucchini, green onions, dill, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, fenugreek, cheese, and eggs in a large bowl; stir to combine. Sprinkle quinoa mixture over zucchini mixture; stir well to combine.
4. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add 4 (1/3-cup) zucchini batter mounds to pan; flatten into 3-inch cakes. Cook 4 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove from pan; keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and batter to yield 8 cakes total.

5. Combine remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, yogurt, cucumber, and garlic in a small bowl. Divide greens evenly among 4 plates. Top each with a couple slices do tomato and 2 fritters.  Then add about 1/4 cup cucumber mixture and Serve