because what is life without good food?

Posts tagged “Honey

Maple Spice Pumpkin Cranberry Granola

Spiced Pumpkin Cranberry Granola

I’ve been dreaming of this granola for weeks it seems … dying to make it … looking for pumpkin seeds at the store. I thought about toasting up some out of one of these little pumpkins I have here, but I really wanted those lovely little crunchy green ones that you can get, not the big seeds you pull out of your pumpkin and roast.

I knew I saw some at the grocery store, but every time I went back, they were gone … FINALLY, this morning, I found some! Granola time, baby!

Spiced Pumpkin Cranberry Granola

So I made this lovely granola with maple syrup and pumpkin puree, pumpkin spices, honey, dried cranberries and lots of fun seeds and nuts.

But  I’m sorry to say, you’re not going to find the recipe for this delicious holiday granola here …

Spiced Pumpkin Cranberry Granola

I’ve decided it’s time for my blog to have its own space … I think we’ve outgrown the capabilities of Free WordPress and we need to move on … sooo I moved everything over to www.SumptuousSpoonfuls.com … yes, all of it, all the recipes, all your comments, everything! Tada! Isn’t that magic?

Please go over there to find the recipe for this granola (and ALL of my others!) and while you are there, I would really love it if you would click the link to follow me there. If I am can figure out a way to redirect all of you lovely people who already follow my blog, I will … and for a little while, I will post little ticklers here to remind you I’m hanging out over there now.

So what are you waiting for? Come hang out with me in my new home and get the recipe for this lovely Maple Spice Pumpkin Cranberry Granola!

Maple Spice Pumpkin Cranberry Granola ~ www.SumptuousSpoonfuls.com


Peach, Pistachio & Chicken Salad

With Goat Cheese Crumbles and a Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette

Peach, Pistachio & Chicken Salad with Goat Cheese

It’s one of the last lazy summer Sundays we have left and I’m thinking about peaches. It’s that peachy time of year when you are assaulted with their beauty every time you walk into the store and you can’t help but put some in the shopping cart. And then I get home and wonder what to DO with them all!

So of course the first thing I must make is a good salad. Fresh seasonal fruit is so lovely in salad. Peach, Pistachio & Chicken Salad with Goat Cheese Crumbles

Peach, Pistachio & Chicken Salad with Goat Cheese Crumbles

and a Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette

  • Mixed greens
  • Chicken (1 patty or breast per person)
  • Peaches (1 peach per person)
  • Goat Cheese, crumbled
  • Roasted, salted pistachios, coarsely chopped
  • Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette (recipe below)

First, make the dressing and set aside. Cook (or reheat) the chicken and chop into pieces.  (This is a good use for leftover chicken!) Make a good bed for your salad on a big salad plate or bowl.  Pit the peaches and cut into chunks. Tuck the chicken pieces and peach bits in and around the greens, sprinkle with goat cheese and pistachios, and drizzle with the dressing.

Peach, Pistachio & Chicken Salad with Goat Cheese Crumbles

Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • Juice of 1/4 of a lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons spicy brown mustard
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Mix everything except the olive oil together in a bowl till well mixed. While whisking, slowly pour the olive oil into the dressing in a small stream. Keep whisking until the olive oil is well mixed into the dressing. Refrigerate any leftover dressing in an airtight container. Before use, take it out of the fridge for a few minutes to let the olive oil “melt” again (it will solidify in the fridge) and shake well.

This is a #peachlove post.

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Click here to see all the other lovely #peachlove recipes …

This recipe was also shared at Everyday Mom’s MealsRecipe of the Week, Fit & Fabulous FridaysSummer Salad Sundays and Scrumptious Sundays.


4th of July Fruit Kebabs with Dipping Sauces

Fourth of July Red White & Blue Fruit Kebabs with dipping sauces

After the rainbow fruit kebabs we made for my daughter’s birthday, my daughter and I thought it would be fun to do a 4th of July version with red, white and blue. We were having trouble figuring out what to use for the white, though. Are there white fruits? I suppose you could use apples or bananas … at the time, we couldn’t think of any … so we ended up going with angel food cake for the white … you could also use marshmallows.

Fourth of July Red White & Blue Fruit Kebabs with dipping sauces

But then if you have cake, you want a dipping sauce, right? Something wonderful to dip it in or to drizzle over it to make it more dessert-like.

Three options occurred to me:

  1. Whipped cream: so you have a berry shortcake on a stick
  2. Strawberry (or blueberry) yogurt: a healthier option for dipping. You could even mix your own using plain yogurt and  crushed strawberries and honey
  3. Honey Ginger Lime Yogurt Sauce: oh yeah! the take-it-over-the-top, make-it-flippin-amazing option (this was my favorite … can you tell? The way the sauce soaks into the cake and contrasts with the fruit is just oh so wonderful.)

I am guessing you probably don’t need a recipe for #1 and #2, so I’ll just give you the recipe for #3. These 4th of July kebabs are a great project to do with kids … it’s a good pattern recognition exercise for little ones.

Fourth of July Red White & Blue Fruit Kebabs with dipping sauces

Red, White & Blue Fruit Kebabs with Honey Ginger Lime Yogurt Sauce

The sauce is, incidentally, the very same dressing I used on my Red, White & Blueberry Salad.

  • Blueberries
  • Angel Food Cake, cut into squares
  • Strawberries, washed and cut in half
  • Wooden skewer sticks

for the dipping sauce:

  • 1/2 cup fat-free plain yogurt
  • 4 teaspoons of honey
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • Juice of 1/2 lime

In a small bowl, whisk all of the sauce ingredients together until they are well mixed. Keep any leftover sauce in a covered container in the fridge.

Skewer the fruit and cake on the wooden skewers to make a red, white and blue pattern. My daughter says the way to do it is to start with blueberries, then cake, then a strawberry so that you end up with a strawberry on top.

Serve with dipping sauces of your choice.

Fourth of July Fruit Kebabs with a Honey Lime Ginger Yogurt Sauce

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty TuesdaysTrick or Treat Tuesdays, and Thursday’s Treasures.


Red, White, & Blueberry Salad

with Goat Cheese, Pinons, and a Honey Ginger Lime Yogurt Dressing

Red, White & Blueberry Salad with Goat Cheese & Toasted Pinons

My foodie friend Justine over at Full Belly Sisters has been making red, white and blue foods like crazy lately … which got me thinking … I need to make a red, white and blue salad! It’s been in my head for a week, waiting to come to life. I’m so glad I finally took time to make it today (even though my son was upset with me for making something for myself since we had agreed to go out for lunch today … hey, it’s just a salad!)

Besides being just the right colors for the 4th of July, it’s got just the right mix of sweet, creamy, tangy and crunchy to make a super-delicious salad. Tangy goat cheese pairs so well with berries, sweet onions kick up the flavor just slightly, the pinons add a soft crunch and a slight sweet nutty flavor, and the lime and ginger yogurt dressing takes it over the top.

Red, White & Blueberry Salad with Goat Cheese and Toasted Pinons

And you know what else? Before eating this salad, I felt tired and run down. But AFTER eating this delectable salad, my body felt so refreshed, revived, ready to go! Besides, all those gorgeous colors are a feast for the eyes …

Red, White & Blueberry Salad

with Goat Cheese, Pinons, and a Honey Ginger Lime Yogurt Dressing

  • Mixed Greens
  • Fresh Strawberries, washed and sliced
  • Fresh Sweet Blueberries, washed
  • Sweet onion, sliced  and roughly chopped
  • Pinon nuts and/or almond slices, lightly toasted
  • Goat cheese crumbles
  • Honey Ginger Lime Yogurt Salad Dressing (recipe below0
Fill the bowl most of the way full of mixed greens. Arrange/tuck a bunch of sliced strawberries and fresh whole blueberries amongst the greens, then sprinkle on the nuts and crumbles of goat cheese . Drizzle with the dressing and serve.

Red, White & Blueberry Salad with Goat Cheese and Toasted Pinons

Honey Ginger Lime Yogurt Salad Dressing

  • 1/2 cup fat-free plain yogurt
  • 4 teaspoons of honey
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • Juice of 1/2 lime

In a small bowl, whisk all of the ingredients together until they are well mixed. Keep any leftover dressing in a covered container in the fridge.

Red, White, and Blueberry Salad with Goat Cheese & Toasted Pinons

By the way, Justine at Full Belly Sisters made a Red, White & Blue Salad too! Go check out her version.

This recipe was shared at Patriotic Potluck, Summer Salad SundaysScrumptious SundaysManic Mondays and Trick or Treat Tuesdays.


No-cook Strawberry Chia Jam {a Berrylicious Post}

No-Cook Strawberry Chia Jam

I found this recipe on the blog Eating Bird Food and I was so intrigued by it. Could you really make jam without cooking, with no pectin and no sugar? Yes, you can! The chia seeds work so well as a thickener and they don’t need to be cooked at all; they just start thickening as soon as you add the liquid. And if you’re intimidated by making jam or canning it, you can skip all of that with this super simple jam!

If you’re not familiar with chia seeds, here’s a little background I found on Eating Bird Food:

“Chia is an edible seed that comes from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family that grows abundantly in southern Mexico. You may have seen chia sprouts growing on the novelty planters called Chia Pets, but historically, the seeds have been the most important part of the plant. In pre-Columbian times they were a main component of the Aztec and Mayan diets and were the basic survival ration of Aztec warriors. I’ve read that one tablespoon was believed to sustain an individual for 24 hours. The Aztecs also used chia medicinally to stimulate saliva flow and to relieve joint pain and sore skin.” – Quoted from Dr.Weil

Chia seeds are an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acid (the good kind of fat), protein, antioxidants, fiber, potassium and magnesium. 1 Tablespoon of dry seeds have about 60 calories, 5 g of Fat, 6 g of Carbohydrate, 6 g of Fiber, and 3 g of Protein. They do add a little crunch to the things you put them in, but with strawberry jam, you normally expect a little crunch from the berry seeds, so the crunch from the chia seeds isn’t even noticeable. (Not that it’s a bad thing anyway, I really love the tiny crunch of chia seeds in everything I’ve tried them in so far!)

No cooking, no canning Strawberry Chia Jam

No-cook Strawberry Chia Jam

  • 1 cup strawberries (frozen or fresh)
  • 1 Tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Honey, to taste (or other sweetener, like stevia … I used 3 teaspoons honey)

Directions:

  1. If you are using frozen strawberries, let them thaw. Mash the strawberries with a fork or blend them. If you are using fresh berries like I did, unless they’ve gotten very ripe and mushy, you will probably have to blend them because they don’t mash very well.
  2. Mix in the chia seeds, vanilla, water and honey (or other sweetener). Use the honey or sweetener to suit your own taste. I found just 3 teaspoons of honey gave it just a light sweetness and it let the fresh strawberry taste shine through, but it definitely isn’t as sweet as your typical jam.
  3. Cover the jam and put it in the fridge for at least 30-60 minutes to thicken.

That’s it! Your jam is ready to use once it has thickened up. Keep it in the fridge in a covered container and use it just like you would any other jam.

I created this post for Berrylicious. Look at these other lovely berrylicious posts!

Berrylicious Recipes

  1. Joan, Chocolate Chocolate and More – Lemon Blueberry Pound cake
  2. Charity, Foodlets – Strawberry – Banana Popsicles
  3. Jamie, Green Beans & Grapefruit – Mixed Berry & Cookie Butter Clafouti
  4. Hani, Haniela’s – Red Currant Meringue Cake
  5. Katrina, In Katrina’s Kitchen – Frozen Blueberry Basil Lemonade Pies
  6. Sue, Munchkin Munchies – English Matrimonials
  7. Bia, Rich and Sweet – Blueberry Blackberry Orange Streusel Scones
  8. Sam, Sams Kitchen – Eton Mess Mini Cheesecakes
  9. Sherron, Simply Gourmet Photography – Mulberry Syrup
  10. Ann, Sumptuous Spoonfuls –  Strawberry Chia Jam
  11. Karen, Trilogy Edibles – Meringue Nest with a Bumbleberry Compote

This recipe was also shared at I’m Lovin’ It and Weekend Potluck.


Crunchy’s Cornbread on the Grill

Crunchy's Cornbread on the Grill

It was terribly windy yesterday, but my daughter wanted chicken cooked on the grill, and how could I possibly say no to that? We don’t get many evenings when we can stay home and grill. I asked her what she wanted with her chicken and gave her a couple options. When I mentioned the cornbread, that won hands down.

I’ve been wanting to try cornbread on the grill ever since A Little Bit Crunchy A Little Bit Rock & Roll posted her recipe for it. My nickname for her is “Crunchy”. It’s kind of like pizza on the grill … it’s a little unexpected, something you might not think about grilling. I really love trying those sorts of things.

Crunchy's Cornbread on the Grill

(Ooops! My foot’s in the picture … shh! don’t tell anyone … maybe they won’t notice … )

Crunchy’s Cornbread on the Grill

Recipe from A Little Bit Crunchy A Little Bit Rock & Roll

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup bread flour
  • 3/4 cup corn meal
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • A sprinkle of nutmeg (1/8 teaspoon-ish … I didn’t measure, just sprinkled some on)
  • A dash of cinnamon (1/2 teaspoon or so … again, didn’t measure)
  • A teaspoon or two of honey (it was sitting there on the counter, so just drizzled a bit in, for fun … probably about a teaspoon)
  • A slosh of vanilla (I tried to pour in just a teaspoon, but my hand lost control and I over-did the vanilla. Ooops. I would recommend about a teaspoon … not as much as I used. It was still tasty, but a little too vanilla-ish.)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Directions:

  1. Fire up your grill and push the coals over to make a “hot” area and a “cooler” area. Set your 10-inch cast iron skillet on the grill so it will get good and hot while you mix up the batter.
  2. Mix up all the dry ingredients, then add the wet ingredients except for the butter and stir to mix everything into a smooth batter.
  3. Put the 2 tablespoons butter in the cast iron skillet and set it back on the grill to melt. Once the butter has melted, put your oven mitt on your hand, take the skillet and swirl around the butter to coat the bottom of the pan, then pour most of the butter into your batter bowl and stir it into the batter, setting the cast iron skillet back on the grill. Pour the batter into the skillet, cover and let cook for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once.
  4. Now it was terribly windy, right? So my grill didn’t get that hot. The chicken was taking FOREVER to cook … the asparagus was just lukewarm.  The cornbread cooked up okay, except the middle part wasn’t getting done. So I cheated a little and stuck the cornbread in my oven at 350 to finish. It only took about 5 minutes for it to finish in the oven and it still had that lovely smoky grilled taste. And while the cornbread was cooking in the oven, the chicken and asparagus finished up nicely too. If you get your grill nice and hot, you probably won’t need to cheat and use the oven …

My girl and I both loved the cornbread. She had a big wedge of it and polished it right off … along with her chicken, and ran off to play with her cat in the yard, leaving me on the patio with her big plate of crumbs for company.

Crunchy's Cornbread on the Grill

This recipe was shared at Thursday’s Treasures.


Chewy No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Have you ever seen a recipe online and think “I really need to make that someday” … and then seen different versions of the same thing again like 30,000 times and have that same thought every time you see one … and then one day you FINALLY do just break down and make it, and you think to yourself, “my gosh that was SO easy … why did I wait so long to make that?”

That’s exactly what happened with these granola bars. They are so simple to make, I literally threw them together while I was in a conference call (and it was one of the kind of calls I had to actually participate in, not just listen …). And they’re SO good! These granola bars are way more flavorful and chocolatey than any of those store-bought granola bars. They are nice and chewy with a little bit of contrasting crunch from the nuts.

Chewy No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Chewy No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Adapted from Couponing & Cooking. After I mixed up the peanut butter and honey from her recipe, I thought it was way too sweet, so I added more peanut butter and then up’d the amount of oats too. Also, I cut down the amount of oil. I’m not sure it’s really necessary at all, but remember this was my first attempt at making granola bars so I didn’t want to stray TOO far from the recipe!

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 Tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 cup high quality chocolate chips
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds (or other nuts)
  • 3 cups quick oats
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup finely chopped dried figs, apricots, or other dried fruit  (I used figs)

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan on medium heat, mix together peanut butter, oil and honey. Heat and stir until completely combined.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate chips and cocoa powder till the chips are melted and the mixture is smooth.
  3. Stir in the sunflower seeds, oats, and chopped fruit.
  4. Spray your pan(s) with cooking spray. I filled up 12 mini-muffin cups, then I pressed the rest into my 9×9 inch square pan. If you put this all into one 9×9-inch pan, they are going to be much thicker than your typical granola bar.
  5. Chill in the fridge for a while until they’ve firmed up, then cut into bars and enjoy! Store them in an airtight container in the fridge. (I think they’d probably be ok left out of the fridge too, but they will probably keep longer if you chill them.)

Chewy No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars

This recipe was shared at Newlyweds Recipe Linky, Katherine Martinelli’s Fig Bloghop and Fit & Fabulous Fridays.


Apricot Chicken Salad on Wild Greens

with Blue Cheese, Cinnamon Pecans, and a Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette

Apricot Chicken Salad with Blue Cheese & Cinnamon Pecans

It was a “make do with what you’ve got” kinda lunch day. I thought I would have a salad, but I didn’t have enough greens left to fill my bowl.

So I went scrounging in my yard for greens. My spinach is still too tiny to pick, so I came in with a bunch of dandelion greens and a couple flowers as well. I know, these common yellow flowers are not generally well loved. Most people don’t want them in their yard. But they do have a lot of health benefits, they cost nothing and they’re really quite tasty and beautiful. The only problem is the greens do tend to get bitter.

However, bitter greens in a salad are really lovely if you pair them with something sweet. So I went looking for something sweet. No berries left, but I did have some dried apricots and cinnamon pecans. I threw in some chopped chicken and tangy blue cheese and I had quite a nice, well rounded, tasty salad.

If you are averse to using dandelions in your salad, skip the dandelions and use different greens. Arugula mixed with some fresh spinach would be nice.

Apricot Chicken Salad with Blue Cheese & Cinnamon Pecans

Apricot Chicken Salad on Wild Greens with Blue Cheese & Cinnamon Pecans

  • Mixed greens (I used spinach and dandelion greens)
  • Cooked chicken (leftover chicken or natural chicken nuggets), chopped … I think this salad would be incredible with some apricot-glazed chicken … as you can see, I used the chicken nuggets.
  • Blue cheese crumbles (just a few)
  • Fresh or Dried apricots, chopped
  • Cinnamon pecans (recipe here)
  • Snipped green onion
  • Dandelion flower petals (optional … only use these if you have a safe, chemical-free source of dandelions)

Fill your salad bowl most of the way with greens. Sprinkle the salad with chopped chicken, blue cheese crumbles, apricots, pecans, green onion and flower petals. Drizzle with Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette.

Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • Juice of 1/4 of a lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons spicy brown mustard
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Mix everything except the olive oil together in a bowl till well mixed. While whisking, slowly pour the olive oil into the dressing in a small stream. Keep whisking until the olive oil is well mixed into the dressing. Refrigerate any leftover dressing in an airtight container.

Wild Apricot Chicken Salad with Blue Cheese & Cinnamon Pecans

This recipe was shared at Tastetastic Thursdays and Fit & Fabulous Fridays.


Tropical Trail Mix Granola

Tropical Trail Mix Granola

I am SOoooo into homemade granola! I love love love love LOVE it! Ideas for different granola flavors are bouncing around in my head like crazy. The idea for this tropical granola sprung from a peanut butter trail mix cookie I used to make with tropical trail mix (come to think of it, I need to make those cookies again sometime for the blog …)

But not today … nope no siree bob … Today it’s time for GRANOLA! The perfect sweet healthy snack to munch on when you need a little boost of energy. That wonderful crunchy mix that is so welcome sprinkled on yogurt … or in a bowl with fruit and milk.  This granola is chock full of tropical fruits, so you don’t need to even add any more fruit … unless, of course, you want to. It is awfully good with a couple fresh strawberries tossed in.

You are going to love this stuff. I just know it.

Tropical Trail Mix Granola

Tropical Trail Mix Granola

Dry ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 3/4 cup peanuts
  • 3/4 pecans
  • 4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup flaxmeal or flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup wheat bran or wheat germ
Wet ingredients:
  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt (optional … you can lower the amount of salt or leave it out for a low-sodium granola)
  • 1/4 cup honey
And then mix in …
  • 2 cups mixed dried tropical fruit pieces (pineapple, coconut, mango, banana chips, etc.)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. In a large bowl, mix the oats, flax, wheat bran and nuts. Set aside.
  2. In a separate small bowl, mash the banana very well until it’s smooth (not too lumpy). Put the banana in a small saucepan with the maple syrup, and other wet ingredients. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture is hot and bubbly. Stir in the honey and remove from heat.
  3. Pour the hot sweet sticky banana mixture over the nutty oat mixture in the bowl. Stir it all up until it’s well mixed.
  4. Spread all this wonderful stuff out into a thin layer on a large jellyroll pan (or other big flat baking pan with an edge to it). Set it in the oven and bake for about an hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. It should be browned to a lovely brown color and smelling fantastic. You can taste a little sample to see if it’s crunchy enough. If it’s not, bake it a little longer.
  5. Let the granola cool for a bit before stirring in the fruit. Store in an airtight container. It will keep for about a month or so. There’s NO way mine is going to last that long …

Tropical Trail Mix Granola

This recipe was shared on Totally Tasty Tuesdays and Newlyweds Recipe Linky.


Banana Colada Ice Cream with Spiced Fruit Compote

Banana Colada Ice Cream with Honey Spice Fruit Compote

The other day I was cruising around the blogosphere when I saw some coconut ice cream … I’m not much of a fan of that dried shredded coconut, but I love the flavor of coconut … and I thought: wouldn’t coconut ice cream be dreamy? Or better yet, coconut RUM ice cream? Oh and then you could go a step further and make it pina colada ice cream.

I didn’t want all the fat and sugar from the recipe I saw so I made up my own. It’s fruity with that creamy coconut taste and an underlying hint of banana … because frozen bananas have a luscious creaminess to them that no other fruit can quite attain.

And just for good measure (and a little color!) I added some more fruit on top.

Banana Colada Ice Cream with Honey Spice Fruit Compote

Banana Colada Ice Cream

  • 2 cups fat free half and half
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 1/2 of a can of light coconut juice
  • 1/4 cup pineapple orange juice concentrate
  • 3 Tablespoons of coconut rum

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, mix half & half & sugar. Heat, stirring frequently, until small bubbles form at the edge of the pan.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat the egg with a whisk or mixer until frothy.
  3. Slowly drizzle a stream of the hot cream mixture (about 1 cup of it) into the egg, whisking or beating constantly.
  4. Gradually add the egg mixture back into the remaining hot cream mixture in the saucepan, whisking as you go.
  5. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens slightly and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon–roughly 5 minutes.
  6. Pour the hot mixture into a blender with the vanilla, frozen bananas, pineapple orange juice concentrate and coconut rum. Blend until smooth.
  7. Put the mixture in the fridge until cool. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  8. Serve topped with the honey spiced fruit compote

Honey Spiced Fruit Compote

This makes a small batch of fruit compote, just enough for about 2-3 servings, depending on how much fruit you pile on and how big your servings are. Mix up the fruits if you like — pineapple or mango would be wonderful too.

  • 1 kiwi fruit, peeled and chopped
  • 5 – 7 strawberries, tops removed and chopped
  • 1/2 Tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • A dash of each: nutmeg and ground ginger
  • 1 banana, peeled and sliced

Mix all the ingredients and let sit for 15 minutes or so or until the fruits start juicing a bit. Pour over the frozen ice cream.

Banana Colada Ice Cream with Honey Spiced Fruit Compote

This recipe was shared on Newlyweds Recipe LinkyMelt in your Mouth MondaysFull Plate Thursdays, A Crafty Cook’s April Link Party, and Fit & Fabulous Fridays.


Homemade Maple Cranberry Pecan Granola

Homemade Maple Cranberry Pecan- Granola

I have long been fascinated with the idea of making my own granola. I don’t know why it took me so long to actually DO it. Suddenly several of my foodie friends are talking about it, so perhaps it was the power of suggestion? I don’t know. I just know that last week I suddenly felt a strong urge to make granola.

And I’m soooo glad I did. It is really quite simple to make and it just blows away the taste of store-bought granola, with the added bonus that you can control what goes into it. So it’s easy to make it healthier. This is so tasty, my parents and I munched on little handfuls of this granola all weekend. The first day I made it, I had three bowls of it with milk. The jar is disappearing quite quickly. (Which is exciting to me, because that means I get to try out my NEXT granola flavor! woo hoo!)

Maple Cranberry Pecan Granola

Maple Cranberry Pecan Granola

Slightly adapted from ChinDeep.

  • 2 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1 teaspoons coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup flaxmeal
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons unsweetened pearsauce (drain a can of pears and blend until smooth) or applesauce
  • 1/6 cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 oz. dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a very large mixing bowl, mix oats, pecans, sunflower seeds, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt, flaxmeal and nutmeg.

In a small saucepan, warm the apple or pear sauce, maple syrup, honey and oil. Combine the wet mixture with the dry mixture until completely incorporated and everything is evenly mixed. Divide the granola between two large jellyroll pans. Bake for 45-55 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes until the granola is a deep golden brown. Remove from oven. Cool completely. Mix in dried cranberries. Store in an airtight container. Keeps up to one month. But it isn’t going to last that long …

Make your Own Maple Cranberry Pecan Granola

This recipe was shared at Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays and Tuesday Talent Shows.


Double Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Bread

Double Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Bread

I was having a serious chocolate craving and nothing I had on hand was going to cut it. I was tempted to make something like a chocolate pudding cake until I saw this recipe from Rock Recipes for Chocolate Pecan Banana Bread. I couldn’t help but fiddle with the recipe, though. I reduced the fat, increased the amount of cocoa, reduced the sugar and then added honey and Nutella and substituted hazelnuts for the pecans (to go with the Nutella!).

It was just what I needed to satisfy that intense chocolate craving. Yes this is DARK, decadent chocolate. My favorite. Mmmm.

Double Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Bread

Double Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Bread

Adapted from Rock Recipes

Wet ingredients:

  • 3 medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 Tablespoons applesauce
  • 1/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1/4 cup Nutella
  • 2 teaspoons real vanilla extract

Dry ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup flax meal
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons dark cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Extras:

  • 1/2 cup good quality chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
  • Raw sugar, extra chocolate chips, and/or toasted chopped nuts (for topping)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mash the bananas with a fork, then add the rest of the wet ingredients and mix well.
  3. Add the dry ingredients and stir just until moistened.
  4. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray and pour the batter into the pan. Sprinkle with raw sugar, toasted chopped nuts, and chocolate chips, if desired.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until a knife inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Double Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Bread

This recipe was shared at Weekend PotluckMidnight Maniac Meatless MondaysTuesday Talent Shows, and Katherine Martinelli’s Bread Bloghop.


Pineapple Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese & Walnuts

and a minted honey lime yogurt dressing

Pineapple Arugula Salad with Walnuts & Goat Cheese

This is a super simple salad, but these flavors together are just divine!

Pineapple Arugula Salad with Toasted Walnuts & Goat Cheese

  • Spinach Arugula Mix
  • Fresh pineapple chunks
  • Goat cheese crumbles
  • Walnuts, toasted

Cover the plate/bowl with spinach & arugula. Arrange the other ingredients on top and drizzle with the honey lime yogurt dressing.

Pineapple Arugula Salad with Walnuts & Goat Cheese

Minted Honey Lime Yogurt Salad Dressing

  • 1/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried mint leaves (or if you have fresh, even better!)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • Juice and zest from 1/2 a lime
Whisk together all ingredients and drizzle over the salad. I was making this dressing just for me so I made a small amount … if you’re making salad for multiple people, you probably want to double (or triple or quadruple) the recipe.

Pineapple Arugula Salad with Walnuts & Goat Cheese

This post is a #greenslove post, powered by Linky Tools.

Click here to see the other great #greenslove posts.

This recipe was shared at Midnight Maniac Meatless MondaysTotally Tasty Tuesdays, Midweek Fiesta, and Tastetastic/It’s a Keeper Thursdays, Fit & Fabulous FridaysThese Chicks Cooked Whole Foods Recipe Swap and Nutritious & Delicious Potluck Party.


Honey Oatmeal Bread

Honey Oatmeal Bread

There’s something so comforting and homey about baking bread. Every once in a while I like to make an old-fashioned bread, something like my grandmother might have made when I was a little girl. Memories of her house are so full of the scent of homemade bread. Gram (as we called her) was always baking bread, buns, or pie. Of course she did it all by hand. This little wooden cutting board is one of the things I was lucky enough to inherit from Gram, along with a LOT of bread pans, including a bunch of adorable mini-bread pans that my daughter and I both love, and some regular-sized loaf pans too. In fact, I think it was one of her loaf pans that I used for baking this bread.

Honey Oatmeal Bread

Honey Oatmeal Bread

Adapted from King Arthur Flour

  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup oatmeal (the recipe calls for the old-fashioned rolled oats, but I used the quick-cooking oatmeal and it worked fine)
  • 2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups milk + a little extra

Directions:

  1. Place all of the ingredients into the pan of your machine, program machine for the dough cycle, and press Start. About 10 minutes into the cycle, check the dough and adjust its consistency as necessary with additional flour or milk–I had to add a little more milk. It should be holding together well and forming a nice ball of supple dough.
  2. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled surface, and shape it into a log. Place the log in a lightly greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan, cover the pan with a clean kitchen towel, and allow the dough to rise in a warm place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, till it’s crested 1″ to 2″ over the rim of the pan.
  3. Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 190°F or the dough sounds “hollow” when you thump the top of it. If the bread appears to be browning too quickly, tent it with aluminum foil for the final 10 minutes of baking. I didn’t need to tent it. The color came out a beautiful golden brown.

If you don’t have a bread machine, see King Arthur’s site for traditional instructions.

I used one of my new favorite bread spreads on my first slice of honey oatmeal bread … a mixture of light cream cheese and a bit of kumquat syrup. My son came home from his dad’s house today and the first thing he wanted was two slices of bread, toasted, with peanut butter and grape jelly. And a big glass of milk. He was happy I had some bread made when he got home. I’m happy he’s decided it’s okay to eat mom’s homemade bread.

Honey Oatmeal Bread

This recipe was shared at It’s a Keeper Thursdays, Full Plate Thursdays,  Tastetastic Thursdays, Thursday’s Treasures, Fit & Fabulous Fridays, and Everyday Mom’s Meals.


Cashew Salmon with Apricot Cranberry Quinoa

with a ginger, cumin & cilantro scented yogurt sauce

Cashew Salmon with Apricot Cranberry Quinoa and a Cumin Cilantro Ginger Yogurt Sauce

One of the most romantic meals of my life was on a Friday night when my date and I cooked this together. We drank wine as we cooked, I chopped the apricots & garlic & ginger and mixed up the sauce, he made the quinoa and broiled the salmon. When the salmon was done, he plated the salmon and quinoa in front of me, drizzled that heavenly sauce over it, and sprinkled on the toasted cashews … then refilled my wine glass before he plated his own. Just the way he did that totally melted my heart. Later I asked him for the recipe … and he gladly gave me the printout. I loved this meal so much I just had to make this again, wanted to share it with all of you here on the blog, and so I decided I would try making it for my children for a special Valentine’s meal. They both love salmon (my daughter moreso than my son, but he will eat salmon). I wasn’t so sure about the quinoa or the yogurt ginger sauce, but I thought I would give it a shot.

It was as I thought … while I was photographing the meal, my kids got in a fight. My daughter ran into her room. Our cat persistently tried to eat the salmon I was “shooting” and I had to push her out of the picture several times …

Cashew Salmon with Apricot Cranberry Quinoa and a Cumin Cilantro Ginger Yogurt Sauce and our CAT

We managed to coax my daughter out of her room to join the meal. They both tried the salmon. My son immediately asked for garlic toast, saying “don’t we have some bread?” So I ended up cooking up some quick garlic toast for both of them. My daughter gobbled her salmon up before I could even glance over at her. My son inhaled the garlic toast, ate a few bites of the salmon, and then declared that his sister could have the rest of his. She said, “I can’t eat all of this …”, but she did eat some of his. Neither of them touched the quinoa or would even taste the sauce.

But they were happy that I had Valentine’s chocolates for them. My son said he would have been happier with smaller pieces of chocolate since I got him the BIG Reese’s peanut butter hearts (honestly, I would too … I like my chocolates in little bites!) So he’s trading in his chocolate for some licorice. LOL. My daughter was totally entranced with her heart-shaped Dove truffles in the fancy swirly tin. At least I got one thing right!

All in all, I would say this meal is probably much better suited for a romantic dinner with your sweetheart or for a fancy dinner party than for a Valentine’s lunch with a couple picky eating teenagers. But hey, I have some delicious leftovers. And now I can share the recipe with you … frankly, I think my kids are crazy. The tastes in this meal are phenomenal.

Cashew Salmon with Apricot Cranberry Quinoa and a Cumin Cilantro Ginger Yogurt Sauce

Cashew Salmon with Apricot Cranberry Quinoa

Adapted from Eating Well

You could shortcut the prep time by making up the sauce ahead of time, toasting the cashews and pre-chopping the garlic and apricot and things. Salmon cooks in a matter of minutes, so in the time it takes you to cook the quinoa, you could have dinner on the table.

Sauce ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1 5-oz. container plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped fine
  • 2  cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or less … I don’t think it needs quite this much salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon of honey
  • 1 Tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime (or lemon)

Quinoa ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries (or add an extra 1/4 cup of apricots … I only used cranberries because I ran out of apricots! But they did add a pretty splash of red color … and I liked the taste too)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup quinoa

Salmon ingredients:

  • Salmon, cut into portions of 1/4 lb for each person. (You should have plenty of sauce and quinoa for up to 4 people. If you’re serving more, increase the recipe.)
  • Old Bay seasoning (I used this seasoning only because I expected my kids would skip the sauce and thought the fish could use a little flavor on its own … you really don’t need it at all.)
  • Salt & pepper

For garnish:

  • Roasted, salted cashews, toasted and chopped
  • Extra cilantro leaves

To prepare:

  1. First, make the sauce: Stir together all the sauce ingredients in a bowl. Don’t use your handi chopper to whir it all together–it destroys the thickness of the yogurt. You could use all plain yogurt instead of the greek yogurt if you actually STIR the sauce rather than whirring it like I did.
  2.  Next, heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the apricots, garlic, onion, ginger, and salt and sautee until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the water and bring to a boil, then stir in the quinoa. Cover, lower the heat to low, and cook until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is cooked through.
  3. Meanwhile rub the salmon with salt and pepper, sprinkle with seasoning (if using) and broil or grill until the salmon is lightly brown and just cooked through, about 3 minutes on each side.
  4. Serve the salmon drizzled with sauce, topped with cashews and a sprinkle of cilantro leaves, with the quinoa on the side.

Cashew Salmon with Apricot Cranberry Quinoa

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty TuesdaysLove your Heart MonthCast Party WednesdayThese Chicks Cooked Recipe SwapMidweek Fiesta, Newlyweds Recipe Linky, Thursday’s Treasures, Fit and Fabulous Fridays, Katherine Martinelli’s Nut Bloghop and Freaky Friday.


Teriyaki Chicken with Basmati Rice, Broccoli & Carrots

Teriyaki Chicken with Bismati Rice, Broccoli and Carrots

In Albuquerque, there is this fast food chain called Teriyaki Chicken Bowl. We called it TCB. It’s not a New Mexican thing, really, but they are all over Albuquerque. We went there a lot for lunch. It wasn’t anything fancy: just some chicken, broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower in a delicious sauce over rice. There was no ambiance or decor. Just a bit of chicken, vegetables and rice in a bowl. TCBs were always packed at lunchtime. You usually had to wait in line to get your bowl.

I haven’t been to Albuquerque in years, but I still remember the taste of that chicken.

When my son and I went to California last month, my friend served us this Teriyaki Chicken. My son loved it, and when we got home, he asked me to make Teriyaki Chicken. I was so excited that he was asking for something besides pizzas and burgers.

I found lots of recipes for Teriyaki Chicken and there were so many variations on the recipe … some were really complicated, some were overly simple. I settled on one I found at Itsy Bitsy Foodies. It seemed about right to me. And when I added the steamed broccoli and carrots, to me, it transported me right back to TCB.

Teriyaki Chicken with Bismati Rice, Broccoli and Carrots

Teriyaki Chicken with Basmati Rice, Broccoli and Carrots

Adapted from Itsy Bitsy Foodies

For the marinade:

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 2 tsp ginger, shredded (You can substitute 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger but fresh ginger is SO much better.)
  • 1-2 Tbsp oil
  • About 5 drops of sesame oil
  • 7 chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat, and cut into large chunks
  • 1/2 Tablespoon cornstarch, dissolved in 1 Tablespoon water
  • Steamed broccoli and carrots
  • Cooked basmati (or white) rice

Directions:

  1. Mix the marinade ingredients together. Put the chicken in a bowl and pour the marinade over. I then dug my hands in there and squeezed the chicken to infuse the marinade into the chicken. Besides that I just like to feel my food. I know, that’s weird, but I love to get messy in the kitchen. (Yes, I always wash my hands after touching meat.)
  2. Allow the chicken to marinade at least 2 hours or overnight.
  3. Start the rice cooking and the vegies steaming.
  4. Spray a frying pan and heat over medium-high heat.
  5. Turn the heat down to medium, dump the chicken and sauce into the pan and cook the chicken for 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
  6. Remove the chicken pieces from the heat.
  7. To the remaining sauce in the pan, stir in a drizzle of cornstarch/water mixture a little at a time, stirring constantly, until it boils and thickens.
  8. When the sauce is thickened to your liking, slide the chicken back into the pan and stir to mix.
  9. Serve the chicken on a bed of hot cooked rice, topped with steamed broccoli and carrots (and cauliflower if you like!). It’s also nice sprinkled with sesame seeds.

Teriyaki Chicken with Bismati Rice, Broccoli and Carrots

This recipe was shared at Everyday Mom’s MealsFat TuesdaysTotally Tasty Tuesdays, Wonka Wednesdays, Gooseberry Patch Inexpensive RecipesWednesday Eats,  Thursday’s TreasuresMidweek FiestaGooseberry Patch Trip Around the World and Fit and Fabulous Fridays.


Chicken & Tangerine Salad with Honey Ginger Yogurt Dressing

Chicken & Tangerine Salad with Honey Ginger Yogurt Salad Dressing

Sometimes it’s good not to have anything in the fridge to eat. It means I have to get creative if I want to have something good for lunch. I went into the kitchen at lunchtime, starving, completely ravenous, because all I had for breakfast was one of my little cranberry apricot energy balls, which seriously wasn’t enough …

So here I am digging through the fridge. The soup is gone. The ham is mostly gone … but there are two mostly-empty containers of salad greens that need to be used up … okay, then, a salad, but what to put on it? I pulled some chicken nuggets out of the freezer and looked for something to dress this up. In the fruit bowl are some forgotten tangerines … my daughter has me buy these big bags of “cuties” for her … she can eat a whole bag in one or two days, and then she wants more … but eventually she gets tired of them. At that point, there are usually a couple neglected tangerines left. This is one of those times. She has moved on to gala apples, and forgotten the tangerines.

So I settled on chicken and tangerines, and then started wondering what shall I dress this baby with? Scrounged some more and found a partly-emptied container of greek yogurt … yes! that’s it! yogurt and some freshly grated ginger … perfect.

Oh yes. Perfect.

Chicken & Tangerine Salad with Honey Ginger Yogurt Salad Dressing

Chicken and Tangerine Salad with Honey Ginger Yogurt Dressing

  • Mixed Salad Greens
  • Sliced Red Onions
  • Tangerines, peeled, separated, and chopped into chunks
  • Chicken nuggets or other cooked chicken, heated and chopped into chunks
  • Toasted almonds (yes, toast them … they are SO much better toasted!)
  • A bit of fresh dill for garnish

First make the dressing and let it set to mix the flavors while you prepare the salad.

Fill the salad bowl 3/4 full with the organic greens, and sprinkle with remaining ingredients as you please. Drizzle with the Honey Ginger Yogurt Dressing … or go ahead and DOUSE it with it if you so desire because this salad dressing is SO good for you.

Honey Ginger Yogurt Salad Dressing

There is no fat in this dressing (unless there is fat in your greek yogurt) and it has all kinds of goodness for your body. This is like the healthiest dressing EVAH, and I can’t believe it only has 5 ingredients. I never make things with only 5 ingredients!

I need to warn you: I really love ginger. I love the spicy heat of it. So I used a LOT of it in the dressing and I loved the intensity of it with the sweet tangerines and the crunchy chicken and the toasted almonds. If you are not a ginger fanatic, or if you are not sure if you are, I would recommend seriously toning down the amount of ginger in the dressing.

  • 1/8 cup plain greek yogurt (nonfat or lowfat)
  • 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly grated ginger root (if you’re not a ginger fanatic like me, cut it down to 1/2 – 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of honey

Mix all ingredients until well blended. The dressing will not be smooth because of all that yummy ginger root in there. It’s okay. Chunky dressing is a good thing sometimes.

Chicken & Tangerine Salad with Honey Ginger Yogurt Dressing

This salad was featured by Bon Appetit Magazine.

This recipe was shared on Foodie FridaysKatherine Martinelli’s DIY blog hopTotally Tasty TuesdaysKM’s Honey Bloghop and Gooseberry Patch Inexpensive Recipes.


Herbed Kumquat Honey Merlot Salad Dressing

and how the turnips ended up in the Merlot …

Kumquat Honey Merlot Salad Dressing

So my sister and I were having a glass of Merlot together as I was preparing the salad for dinner on Christmas Eve. I love making salad-scapes so the task of making the salad often falls to me …

I was cutting up a turnip from Dad’s garden to put in the salad and I noticed as I held the turnip slices up to the light, there was a beautiful pattern of lines there. I remarked on that to my sister, who said we should try soaking one in wine because that would bring out the gorgeous pattern in the turnip. She grabbed a slice from my pile of turnip bits and dunked it in her wine, pulling it out after a moment and yes, indeed the lines were more pronounced and the turnip had changed to a lovely purplish tone.

So I said to her that we should soak the turnips in wine for the salad … she said “are you serious?” … and in the wild sweet mood I am in that day, yes, of course I was. So we soaked half the turnips in a small cup of wine. The picture didn’t turn out all that well, but you can see the pattern of lines in the turnip … isn’t that just gorgeous?

Merlot-soaked Turnips

And then we turned to a discussion of salad dressing. I asked if we should do the tahini yogurt dressing again, but my sis wanted something different … A vinaigrette, she said. I didn’t want the same old boring vinaigrette, though, and that’s when she got the idea to use Kumquat juice in the salad dressing.

Now I have not ever had a Kumquat before, but apparently my aunt who lives in Florida had sent Mom and Dad a bag full of kumquats from her tree. My sister had already been experimenting with them before I got here. She told me the way to juice these tart little Kumquats is to roll the little fruit in your hands first, then slice off the top and the juice comes pouring out. She juiced three Kumquats for me and then we went to work finding things to put in the dressing. This is what we ended up with. We were really quite delighted with ourselves.

Herbed Kumquat Honey Merlot Salad Dressing

  • Juice of 3 kumquats
  • A small spoonful of honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • About 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
  • About 1/8 cup Merlot or other dry red wine
  • About 1 Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • About 1 Tablespoon fresh sage and rosemary, chopped fine
  • About 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the kumquat juice, honey, garlic, vinegar, and Merlot till thoroughly mixed.
  2. Whilst whisking the juice mixture, add the olive oil in a thin stream to combine with the juices.
  3. Stir in herbs, salt and pepper.

We served this dressing with a salad of fresh spinach leaves sprinkled with Merlot-soaked turnips, tomato, avocado, shards of fresh Parmesan cheese, and thin slices of Kumquat. It was a delicious and decidedly unique salad. We had spiral-sliced ham and scalloped potatoes as well, but if you were to ask me, I would say the salad stole the show.

Herbed Kumquat Honey Merlot Salad Dressing

This recipe was shared at Melt in your Mouth MondaysRecipe of the Week: Healthy/Low Cal Recipes, KM’s Honey Bloghop and Katherine Martinelli’s Citrus Bloghop.


Kiwi & Chicken Salad with Feta, Basil, & Mixed Greens

with Tequila Lime Vinaigrette

Kiwi Chicken Salad with Feta, Basil, and Mixed Greens

Do you see the kiwi in there? It’s a master at hide-and-seek …

Yesterday I walked into my kitchen looking for some lunch … I am trying to eat up that big tub of herb organic salad mix my mom and dad got for me, so I thought I’d make a salad. And I’m trying to clean out some of the things in the freezer, so I added some chicken nuggets. And then I found some feta cheese and a red onion from Dad’s garden. But it sounded boring … what else could I add to my salad? Aha! a bunch of kiwis my daughter hasn’t eaten yet … and some basil …

That’s how this salad came to be. I just kept finding things to put in it. Some of my best recipes are born that way.

I told my daughter that I put Kiwi in my salad today and she said yes, of course, it goes great in fruit salad. I said no, I used it in a green salad with chicken and cheese and red onions. She said that’s just weird.

Well, yes, maybe it is a little weird. But it is also really good. The taste of the crispy chicken, the sweet juicy kiwi, the salty cheese, the greens, and the herbs — it is just a really good flavor combination. You will just have to try it and find out for yourself.

Kiwi & Chicken Salad with Feta, Mixed Greens and Basil

Kiwi & Chicken Salad with Feta, Basil, and Mixed Greens with Tequila Lime Vinaigrette

  • Mixed Organic Herb Mix or Mixed Greens (including fresh dill … if it’s not in the greens I do recommend adding it!)
  • Chicken nuggets or grilled chicken or other chicken (this is a great use for leftover chicken!)
  • Red onion, cut in small chunks
  • Kiwi fruit, peeled and cut into pieces
  • Feta cheese crumbles
  • Fresh basil leaves (and flowers if you have them!)

First make the dressing and let it set to mix the flavors while you prepare the salad.

Fill the salad bowl 3/4 full with the organic herb mix, and sprinkle with remaining ingredients as you please. Drizzle with the Tequila Lime Vinaigrette.

Tequila Lime Vinaigrette (from Cooking Light Magazine)

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons tequila
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • Dash of salt

Directions:

  1. Toss all ingredients into a food processor and whir till blended. Or you can just whisk them all together in a bowl, but the food processor will chop up the cilantro really nicely. I used watermelon-infused tequila (made by soaking watermelon cubes in tequila for several  days). Cover and chill until ready to use.

Kiwi & Chicken Salad with Feta, Mixed Greens, & Tequila Lime Vinaigrette

This recipe was shared at Tastetastic Thursdays.


Herb Salad with Chicken, Feta, Pinons & Oriental Vinaigrette

Herb Salad with Breaded Chicken, Feta Cheese, Pinon Nuts and Oriental Vinaigrette

I don’t know if you noticed but I was away from my kitchen last week, travelling in California. The company I work for lives out in California … everyone else who works for this company lives in California. Most of them come into the office every day. I am the lone midwestern employee, working remotely. They give me a lot of crap about the weather. My boss loves to call and tell me when he’s wearing shorts in sunny 70 degree weather and we are up to our armpits in snow. It’s all in good fun. My son and I called them all wimps when we were visiting last week and they were shivering in their jackets while we were reveling in what (to us) was lovely weather.

We got home late Sunday night, so there was no time for grocery shopping, and work began early Monday morning, so I wondered what on earth I was going to eat. But I was in luck. My parents were here to stay with my daughter for the weekend and they left me a big, beautiful tub of organic herb salad mix.

So all I needed to do was find something to go with it. I scrounged up some frozen (natural) chicken nuggets, feta, pinons, tomatoes, onion and pulled out one of my homemade dressings and haha! I had a lovely lunch.

Herb Salad with Chicken, Feta, Pinons and Oriental Vinaigrette

  • Organic herb salad mix
  • Chicken nuggets, cooked and cut into small pieces (I used 4 for my salad)
  • Pinon nuts, toasted
  • Feta cheese crumbles
  • Chopped tomato
  • Sliced onion

Directions:

  1. Fill the salad bowl most of the way with herb salad mix.
  2. Top with remaining ingredients.
  3. Drizzle with dressing.

Herb Salad with Chicken, Feta, Pinons & Oriental Vinaigrette

Oriental vinaigrette salad dressing

Ingredients:

  • 2 T. soy sauce
  • 1/2 c. rice vinegar (or white vinegar)
  • 2 T. honey
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, chopped fine OR 1/4 t. granulated garlic
  • 1/2 t. ground ginger
  • About 10 drops of sesame oil
  • 1 T. canola oil
  • 1 T. fish sauce
  • 1 T. chinese mustard

Pour all ingredients into a bottle and shake well to blend the flavors. Refrigerate.

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Tastetastic Thursdays and  Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways.


Slow Cooker Cinnamon Pork Sliders {Guest Post from Kitchen Psycho}

I am travelling this week, so I asked my foodie friends if they would help me out, and I was just amazed, within minutes, three of my sweet friends had volunteered to help me out. Jennifer from Kitchen Psycho was the first to send me a post.

Slow Cooker Cinnamon Pork Sliders

I really really love what she says in her “about” section on her facebook page and I think this says a lot about her:

“Food is never just food. It’s also a way of getting at something else: who we are, who we have been, & who we want to be.”

– Molly Wizenberg

I think that right there says so much about the kind of person Jennifer is. She pours a lot of herself into her recipes and she has a great sense of humor, which I think you will see in this post … thank you again, Jennifer!


“Aaaack!” Eloise exclaimed in horror. “The party is THIS weekend, and I have no idea what to bring. I don’t want to take the same, old, boring dip!”

[Enter the hero.]

“Never fear! Kitchen Psycho is here! I have something that’s just right for this time of year, and your friends and family will LOVE it!”

[Kitchen Psycho and Eloise embrace]

“Oh, thank you! What would I do without you?” Eloise wonders.

“I’ve been wondering the same thing!” Kitchen Psycho quips.

[They both chuckle.]

[End of scene.]

If only it were as easy as the commercials! In my opinion, there are two types of people in the world: the kind that do things the easy way, and the kind that do it the right way. Sometimes, the two are the same. But when it comes to food, that equality is not common. Often, the easy stuff is full of preservatives, hormones, fake sugars, BLECH! How often do people fix cheese dip out of Velveeta? I rest my case. That stuff isn’t even real cheese! Food should be made with with real ingredients and from scratch! But I digress…

This week, I have dedicated one of my posts as a DOUBLE post, meaning, it can be seen on TWO blogs. Sumptuous Spoonfuls has been so kind as to grant us a small stint on their blog, and we will also post as usual on our blog at www.kitchenpsycho.com!

Over at http://www.KitchenPsycho.com, Karly and Jenny have a Secret Ingredient Cook-Off every week! For 26 whole weeks, we have used one common ingredient to make two Main Dishes, two Sides or Appetizers, and two Desserts. This week is Cinnamon Week over at Kitchen Psycho, and already, we’ve made a Moroccan Chicken Stew and Chai Banana Bread with Coffee Spice Icing. Sounds good, right?
Well, today we have an appetizer for you. It’s a super easy slow-cooker recipe, and it’s great for bringing to a get-together. I found this on http://www.allrecipes.com under the name “Cinnamon Pork”. The only improvement I would make is this: Add a few slices of bacon to the pot. Because everything is better with bacon, right?

The slider idea is purely my creation. You can choose to make a Main Dish out of this by slicing the pork tenderloin into medallions and serving with rice and a veggie, say, steamed broccoli.

Slow Cooker Cinnamon Pork Sliders

SLOW COOKER CINNAMON PORK SLIDERS

(recipe from www.Allrecipes.com)

  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 (3/4 pound) pork tenderloins, cut in chunks

Add everything to slow cooker and cook on low 4-5 hours.

 For sliders:

  • small wheat dinner rolls
  • slices of cinnamon pork
  • goat cheese, softened
  • dash of Chinese Five Spice
  • slices of tomato and lettuce

Spread goat cheese onto sliced rolls. Sprinkle with Five Spice and layer slices of pork, tomato and lettuce.

Recipe and Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Raper, www.KitchenPsycho.com


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