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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Waldorf Salad with Honey Yogurt Dressing

DSC_0606I decided that the perfect fall accompaniment to dinner one night would be waldorf salad. This is a salad that I remember from my childhood. It just made since with a drawer full of apples. The Waldorf Salad was first created by the Maitre’d at the Waldorf hotel in New York City.  So if I had any doubt that Little Miss Mixture would enjoy this I knew I could entice her with the fanciness of being from the Waldorf Hotel and being a New York City food.  Like many little girls she is taken by all things fancy and she absolutely loves the city.

Classic waldorf salad uses mayonnaise as the primary ingredient to bind the salad.  As a southern girl there are things that mayonnaise is definitely needed for and I do enjoy some mayonnaise, but Little Miss Mixture is not a big fan and it is not the healthiest of condiments.  So in an effort to lighten the salad and ensure everyone in the house would enjoy it, I decided to use greek yogurt.  The problem, which is not really a problem depending on your preferred taste is that greek yogurt can be tangy.  I love the tanginess of it but to create this salad and make it more traditional I needed to mask that.  I am happy to say in less than fifteen minutes I had created what I thought was a pretty good version of Waldorf Salad.  Give it a try and see for yourself.  Waldorf salad can be a light meal served atop a bed of lettuce or as a nice side salad.

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Waldorf Salad with Honey Yogurt Dressing

1 1/2 cups apples*
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cups walnuts ( chopped )
1/2 cup celery ( diced )
1/3 cup plain greek yogurt ( non-fat )
2-3 tablespoon honey
1-2 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Mix together the apples and next 3 ingredients in a medium bowl or serving dish.  In a small bowl combine the yogurt, honey, and mayonnaise.  Combine to ensure the honey is evenly distributed in the mixture.  Pour over the apple mixture and stir.  Add lemon juice atop the bowl and stir once then refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.  Stir lightly before serving.

* I used Jonagold apple, as a sturdy apple holds up best in this dish.

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Other great recipes that include apples and fall flavors.

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Spinach, Apple, & Mushroom Salad in Maple Vinaigrette (Let’s Have Mixture)

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Baked Apple Yogurt Parfait (Let’s Have Mixture)

waldorf

Kale Waldorf Salad (The Fountain Avenue Kitchen)

Apple-Pie-Panini-Recipe

Apple Pie Panini (Just a Taste)

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 Acorn Squash with Red Quinoa, Almond and Apple Salad in Maple Vinaigrette (Caroline Kaufman)

Low Country Kebabs

DSC_0532I seem to have a love hate relationship with kebabs.  I love the idea of making kebabs, I find them to be a fun twist on a meal, especially since you can customize them.  However each and every time I get them made and put on the grill I remember that I hate cooking kebabs.  I realize the idea has been around for years.  When pioneers and explorers cooked over a fire they used sticks to cook their food.  When you go camping these methods are still used.  In fact we own these extending sticks for making s’mores and such in our backyard fireplace, but there is a big difference in a light airy marshmallow and a stick full of meat and vegetables.

Obviously for even cooking one must rotate the sticks.  We see this same idea with rotisserie chicken and similar type items.  But the kebab sticks once they are loaded with items just never seem to rotate well for me.  Does anyone else have this problem?  I consider myself fairly skilled at the grill and can cook a variety of items over it, but the rotating of kebabs throws me each and every time as I never seem to be able to rotate them evenly.  And that is not the only challenge.  Once you have this beautifully grilled stick of meats and vegetables, you have to get them off when the metal is hot and hope the items land nicely on your plate. UGH!  It sounds so simple in theory.

The idea of these kebabs came from my always wanting to have a low country boil.  About 10 years ago, we were visiting friends at a nearby lake and they took us to a dive on the water to eat.  It was great. I had never had a low country boil.  The huge pot of seasoned food arrived at our picnic table.  It was dumped out and everyone started eating.  Of course most of the items are eaten with your hands, so there were rolls of paper towels on the table as well.  It was such a simple meal, yet everyone was sitting around licking their fingers and using paper towel after paper towel.  It was a blast.

I have replicated the idea once or twice with a larger group of friends and it is always well received.  On this particular occasion, it was just the three of us, so I scaled it down to this taking advantage of the lovely summer evening and cooking over the grill rather than a pot of hot water.

Low Country Kebabs

1 kielbasa or turkey sausage, cut into chunks

2-3 ears of corn, cut into 2-3 inch pieces

1/2 lb. shrimp

10 small potatoes, partially pre-boiled

Olive Oil

2 Tbsp. Low Country or Creole* seasoning

In a large ziploc bag mix about 1/4 cup olive oil and the seasoning mix.  Marinate the shrimp and corn for 20-30 minutes.  In the meantime pre boil the potatoes for about 3-5 minutes depending on their size.  Allow to cool and then build your kebabs.  Grill for 15-20 minutes, rotating every 5 minutes.  Remove from kebab sticks and enjoy.  You may serve alongside melted or clarified butter to enhance the flavor of the corn, potatoes, and shrimp.

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* I used Emeril’s creole seasoning that I had on hand.

Peach Watermelon Smoothie

Image 3I promised summer recipes this week and I am not sure you can get more summer than a recipe that involves peaches and watermelon.   You also cannot get much easier than a fresh breakfast in less than 15 minutes.

So many fruits these days are available year round in the stores. But luckily for us there are some items that are not quite as easy to transport long distances. Thus peaches are rarely seen in the depth of winter, even here in the south.

However in between late June and August the peaches are abundant at the local stores and the farmers markets. I prefer to buy any local produce at the farmers markets, but in this case I went straight to the source. We are still enjoying the peaches that we picked ourselves in July. Of course peaches have a short shelf life, so our enjoyment of them now is taking them from the freezer. They still have a great flavor and in the case of a smoothie, in order to get the right consistency you need something frozen.

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There are quite a few smoothie recipes out their that incorporate ice to get a smoothie cold and slightly slush like, but as a dietitian and having a background working with puree food, I just cannot do it.  I see no reason to water down anything and decrease the nutritional value.  If I want a icy type item sure, but when it comes to breakfast and trying to get nutrients into my family I will always use frozen fruit.  In the case of this smoothie, I needed very little liquid as I knew the watermelon would provide plenty, but I wanted to add some creaminess so I grabbed the milk container.  Almond milk would also go nicely with this combination of fruit, adding a nutty undertone and keeping it dairy free.

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This morning I whipped up this smoothie for us to enjoy.

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Peach Watermelon Smoothie

1/4 cup Skim Milk

1 Cup Watermelon, in chunks

1/2 banana

1 1/2 cups frozen peaches

Blend and enjoy.

* Please note this measurements are approximate and yielded about 20 ounces.

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Peach Cobbler Muffin

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I have been staring at a counter full of peaches this week and trying to come up with uses for them before they start to attract fruit flies or get mushy.  We have enjoyed fresh peaches in our oatmeal, grilled peaches in our salad, peach sorbet, and we just ate some.  Plain and simple.  I set to work the other morning to freeze quite a few, using this method.  Besides enjoying the taste of a peach smoothie somewhere in the midst of late October or November, I have found several other reasons to freeze the peaches.  There are some great beverage recipes that use frozen peaches that I hope to enjoy in the next few weeks in addition to breakfast smoothies.

Knowing Little Miss Mixture has a sweet tooth, I offered to let her assist with baking a peach pie or cobbler, but she wasted muffins instead.  I really liked this idea as we are nearing the end of summer, which means earlier mornings and the need to have a quick breakfast before school.  Muffins, like pancakes and waffles freeze well and are a pleasant surprise on random mornings as we head out the door.

Yesterday afternoon we made blueberry muffins, using this recipe that I found a few months ago.  It is amazing the flavor that fresh blueberries provide.

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Next up was to make a batch of peach muffins.  I recall making a peach muffin several years ago that had a streusel type topping, but I could not find the recipe, so I took the basic blueberry recipe concept and made some changes.  I love cinnamon especially when it is paired with peaches.

 

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I used brown sugar rather than white sugar and added cinnamon and nutmeg.  The muffin batter was thinner than the blueberry batter as it was hard to avoid peach juice getting into it, but the muffins cooked up nicely and once cool they were perfect.  In fact if you closed your eyes you may not know if you were eating a muffin or some cobbler.

Peach Cobbler Muffins       Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 5 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
  • 1 Large egg
  • 3/4 Cup sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 11/2 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
  • ¼ tsp. Nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 Cups all – purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup peaches chopped, fresh or frozen (if frozen, don’t bother defrosting)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a muffin tin with 10 liners or spray each cup with a nonstick spray.
  2. Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add egg and beat well, then sour cream. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt to the wet ingredients. Mix until combined.
  3. In a small bowl mix chopped peaches with 2 Tbsp. brown sugar and ½ tsp cinnamon. Coat the peaches well and allow to sit for a minute for excess juice to drain.
  4. Gently fold in your peaches, trying not to allow all the drained juice to get into the batter. Spoon or scoop the dough into the muffin tin.  Filling each muffin cup about 3/4 full.  Don’t forget to fill the empty muffin cups about 1/2 full of water so your pan does not burn.
  5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until tops are golden and a tester inserted into the center of muffins comes out clean. Let cool on rack and serve.  Be sure to enjoy at least a bite when they are warm as that is when they are definitely at their best.
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