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

Meatless Monday: Cottage Peach Smoothie & What we Are Eating

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When it comes to making breakfast for the family, I really try and ensure it is balanced.  I know there are a lot of smoothie recipes and people who use their vitamix and juicers to make a nice beverage, but when I make a smoothie I want it to be of high nutritional content.  This is one reason you will never find a smoothie recipe I create that uses water.  As a dietitian in a nursing home you start to learn a lot about puree food.  One of the most important factors in serving puree is to ensure you give your customers the most bang for their buck.  Appetites vary so you want to make sure even the smallest appetite is getting an adequate amount of vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber.  Water is great at thinning food when you need to change the consistency but it also lessens the nutritional content.  I prefer to use juice, dairy, or dairy alternative beverage.  This was how I taught cooks and dietary aides to make puree, and I use the same concept when I feed my family a liquid meal.

In addition to a nutritional beverage I sometimes add some yogurt as well.  I love greek yogurt but I know it has a tanginess that is not always ideal in all smoothies.  The other day I found some of the peaches we picked this summer in the freezer and decided it had been a few weeks since we had that summer flavor.  When I think of peach smoothies, I tend to think sweet as they are a sweet fruit especially when perfectly ripe.  As I began to add ingredients to the Vitamix, I was torn between greek yogurt or just using fruit in addition to the almond milk.  Then it caught my eye – cottage cheese.  Recently we discussed that I have a new found love for ricotta cheese and you find it in a lot of recipes where it is made to be sweet, but cottage cheese, I was not sure.  Of course then I realized I have a great kugel recipe that calls for cottage cheese and one of Little Miss Mixtures favorite things is cottage cheese with applesauce and cinnamon, so I figured it could not be too bad.  It definitely was not bad in fact it was really good. The cottage cheese helped to thicken the smoothie slightly while of course increasing the protein and calcium content as well.

As I sit here writing about this I realize how nice these same flavors would be using apple or pumpkin instead of peaches.  A perfect Fall flavored smoothie.

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Cottage Peach Smoothie

1/4 cup Almond Milk, Vanilla

1/3 cup Cottage Cheese

1 fresh banana

1 cup Frozen Peach Slices

1/2 tsp. ground Cinnamon

 

Place all ingredients in a blender or Vitamix. Remember liquid on the bottom and frozen on top when using a Vitamix. Blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy.

 

What we are eating (September 14 – September 20) 

Sunday – Leftovers

Monday – Roasted Mushroom & White Bean Puree (Cooking Light)

Tuesday – Ground Chicken Tacos with homemade Taco Seasoning

Wednesday – A version of this Chopped Salad 

Thursday – Patty Melt with Waldorf Salad

Friday – Ham & Swiss Sandwiches, Organic Trader Joe Corn Chips, Fruit

Saturday – Night Out

Thanks for reading and have a great week.  Looking for some more Smoothies that are packed with protein.  Check these out.

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Protein Packed Smoothie

IMG_3192Protein Power Green Smoothie

 

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)

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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)

Gazpacho

DSC_0519Gazpacho is one of those things that I live for in the summer. It is the perfect meal on a hot summer night. For years it has been one of the reasons I needed a blender.  In fact there were probably a few years when I only used that trusty kitchen aid for a batch or two of this delightful summer concoction.  Of course that was before smoothies became more common in our breakfast rotation, and I broke down and got a Vitamix.  Regardless when the kitchen aid gave out last year around mid March, I knew I had to find a replacement before gazpacho season.  Thankfully when July rolled my kitchen was more than equipped to make gazpacho.

Over the years, I have tried several recipes.  For several years, I found no matter what combination of vegetables I used, I could not replicate the flavor of the wonderful bowls I would order at restaurants.  I did not like the recipes that used canned tomato juice, but found the need to try them in my search to find that perfect blend.  Then after having had a wonderful bowl at a Jose Andres restaurant in Washington D.C., I stumbled upon a recipe of his.  Funny thing was it was actually his wife recipe.  Well Thank you Patricia Andres because of you I no longer find myself searching recipes each summer, but rather I make batch after batch of this wonderfully refreshing cold soup.

I have always been a fan of gazpacho, and you will still find me ordering traditional gazpacho or other varieties when we dine out.  But I think this recipe is the one that made Mr. Mixture a believer in the soup as well.  No one complains when this version is served alongside some fresh bread.  I often toss a few cold shrimp in it as well like a gazpacho cocktail.

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GAZPACHO

Ingredients

      • 2 lb ripe red tomatoes(original recipe calls for about 10 plum tomatoes, I prefer 2-3 large red tomatoes and 1 heirloom)
      • 8 oz cucumber (about 1 cucumber or 2 kirby cucumbers)
      • 1/2 bell pepper (I prefer red, orange, or yellow)
      • 1 Tbsp sherry vinegar
      • 1 garlic clove, peeled
      • 3/4 Cup extra virgin olive oilIMG_3450IMG_3454

Directions
1. Cut out and discard the core at the top of the tomatoes, chop the tomatoes into quarters and place in blender and liquify.
2. Peel the cucumber(s) and cut into chunks. Add to the blender and liquify.
3. Cut the pepper in half, removed the core and the seeds and cut into large chunks and add to the blender mixture.
4. Once all the vegetables are liquified. Add the garlic and sherry vinegar. At this time you can taste for acidity. Based on the sweetness of the tomatoes the flavor may vary. If you think it is not balanced add a small amount more of vinegar. Sometimes I have added as much as another 1/2 Tbsp.
5. Add the olive oil and reblend to ensure it is mixed well. The original recipe calls to run the gazpacho through a strainer at this time. I have always omitted this step as I do not mind a slightly chunky gazpacho, and I find the Vitamix can liquify anything so it is the perfect texture for me.
6. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.
7. Top with any of the recommended garnishes or just enjoy plain and simple.

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You can garnish with any of the following:

          • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
          • chopped tomatoes
          • green onions or chives
          • Shrimp
          • rustic bread or croutons

* adapted from Gazpacho al Estilo de Patricia that appeared on delish.comIMG_3462

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Blackberry, Yellow Squash & Goat Cheese Salad

IMG_3216We have had some great salad meals recently.  I love salads as a main meal and summer is the perfect time to take advantage of the fresh produce and fill your bowl.  It also is a great alternative for dinner since it requires minimal cooking and the less I use the stovetop or oven in the summer the happier I am.  Fire up the grill and toss the items on a bed of greens and I am a happy girl.

I have a couple of salad combinations that I have been putting together for years.  One of my favorites in the middle of July is Grilled Peaches and Chicken.  This is a perfect entree salad when the freestone peaches are ripe.  We had this recently, but my blogger brain was not on as I forgot to snap any pictures.  However, I do have the recipe on my site – Mixed Greens with Grilled Peaches & Chicken. 

As we we browsing the farmer’s market the other day, Little Miss Mixture and I decided to make a big salad for dinner.  As I mention in the Mixed Greens and Grilled Peaches recipe, the dressing is quite versatile.  I find it to be the base of my favorite type of balsamic.  I knew blackberries and goat cheese would blend well with a balsamic, so I began gathering items to create dinner.

The blackberries are fabulous right now.  I knew I had a salad recipe that blackberries were used, so I referred to that as the base of our meal once I got home.  While at the market, I had picked up some local yellow squash, corn.  As I was preparing my balsamic, I noticed I had a brioche roll that had not been used.  I quickly cut it into 1 inch cubes, tossed it with some melted butter in a cast iron skillet and then placed them in the oven for about 12 minutes.  Homemade croutons are a great way to use up rolls or breads.

 

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Blackberry, Grilled Squash & Goat Cheese Salad

Ingredients
Mixed Greens
1 Yellow Squash, sliced lengthwise
Mushrooms (Freshly Sliced)
Goat Cheese, crumbled
fresh blackberries
Croutons
avocado, diced
Shrimp, peeled, deveined

Directions
Preheat grill to 350 degrees. Marinate shrimp in olive oil and creole seasonings. Marinate squash in olive oil and some fresh ground pepper.
While squash and shrimp are on grill. Place mixed greens in all bowls. Top with sliced mushrooms, avocado, and goat cheese.
Wash and gently dry fresh blackberries
Top salad with shrimp, grilled squash and blackberries. Top with dressing and croutons and enjoy.
Dressing should be a Dijon balsamic for best flavor