because what is life without good food?

Posts tagged “Walnuts

Black Grape, Walnut, & Blue Cheese Salad

with Vanilla Ginger Yogurt Dressing

Black Grape, Walnut & Blue Cheese Salad with Vanilla Ginger Yogurt Dressing

I found some gorgeous big, juicy, crunchy black grapes at the grocery store the other day. I am not really much of a grape lover (unless it’s WINE!), but my kids like them, so I decided to bring some black grapes home for the teenagers. But my kids didn’t eat them. I even put some in a little container for my daughter for a before-dance snack, but she didn’t touch them. I kept reminding my son that they were there … no luck.

So it seems like I’m stuck eating the grapes. I tried to think of a way to eat them that I would actually enjoy and the first thing that came to mind is a salad. I thought if I added some crunchy walnuts and blue cheese, that would probably make them palateable. And you know what? It worked! I think I may actually start LIKING grapes …

Black Grape, Walnut & Blue Cheese Salad with Vanilla Ginger Yogurt Dressing

Black Grape, Walnut & Blue Cheese Salad with Vanilla Ginger Yogurt Dressing

Red or green grapes would work nicely in this salad too. Red ones would add more color, too!

  • Mixed greens
  • Black grapes, sliced or halved
  • Walnuts, toasted
  • Blue cheese crumbles
  • Vanilla Ginger Yogurt dressing (recipe below)

Prepare the dressing and set aside. Fill your salad bowl most of the way with mixed greens. Add a generous amount of grapes and toss to mix. Top with some toasted walnuts and blue cheese crumbles and drizzle with the Vanilla Ginger Yogurt Dressing.

Black Grape, Walnut & Blue Cheese Salad with Vanilla Ginger Yogurt Dressing

Vanilla Ginger Yogurt Dressing

  • 1/3 cup vanilla lowfat yogurt
  • 1 – 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger root
  • milk or rosewater, to thin

In a small bowl, mix the vanilla yogurt with the grated ginger root. Add milk or rosewater as needed (I used a little of each) to thin out the yogurt to the right consistency to drizzle properly.

This recipe was shared at Fit & Fabulous FridaysScrumptious SundayAll my Bloggy FriendsTuesday Talent Show, Tasty Tuesday, Newlyweds Recipe Linky, Show & Share Wednesday and Lifeologia’s Birthday Party Potluck.


Tomato Cuke Salad w Tahini Yogurt Ranch Dressing

Tomato Cucumber Salad with Tahini Yogurt Ranch Dressing

Tina at Mom’s Crazy Cooking has a monthly challenge for food bloggers. She asks all of us to make one certain thing on the 7th of each month … the idea is we are searching for the ultimate recipe for that one thing. This month it’s ranch dressing. Ranch I can do! I’ve made plain ranch, garlic ranch, avocado ranch, sundried tomato ranch … they were all really good, but this time I thought I would like to add some tahini (sesame seed paste) to the ranch and then lighten it up by cutting the amount of mayonnaise down. The tahini along with the fresh herbs adds such a complexity of flavor that you won’t even notice the mayo went away. This salad dressing makes an excellent dressing for just about any savory salad or a good dip for veggies or chips.

The tomato cucumber salad uses the fresh garden ingredients that are overflowing in my house right now: tomato and cucumber. I added some sweet onion, toasted walnuts and edam cheese because I thought they would taste wonderful with the fresh tomato & cucumber.

Tomato Cucumber Salad with Tahini Yogurt Ranch Dressing

Tomato Cucumber Salad with Toasted Walnuts, Edam Cheese & Tahini Yogurt Ranch Dressing

For each salad:

  • 1 – 2 tomatoes, that roughly match the diameter of the cucumber, cut into slices
  • 1/2 – 1 cucumber, sliced thin
  • A couple thin slices of sweet onion
  • A few thin slices of edam cheese, cut into small rectangles
  • A couple tablespoons of walnuts, toasted
  • A couple Tablespoons of Tahini Yogurt Ranch Dressing (recipe below)

Directions:

  1. First make the dressing.
  2. Then prep the salad by alternately layering slices of cucumber and tomato on your plate. If it’s a round plate, simply follow the curve of the plate, then tuck the last tomato or cucumber under the starting one.
  3. Top with sweet onion slices, cheese and walnuts. Drizzle each “row” of tomato/cucumber slices with a bit of the dressing. Garnish with fresh parsley leaves.
  4. To eat the salad, take a slice of cucumber, slice of tomato and make sure to get a little onion, cheese, walnuts and dressing on top. It’s a little messy when you’re eating it, but SO worth it!

Tomato Cucumber Salad with Toasted Walnuts, Edam Cheese & Tahini Yogurt Ranch Dressing

Tahini Yogurt Ranch Dressing

  • 1/2 cup nonfat greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons tahini
  • 1 Tablespoon light mayonnaise
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup mixed fresh herbs (I used rosemary, basil, thyme, tarragon, oregano, parsley … dill would be wonderful too, but my dill plant has died off)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon salt (start with 1/4 teaspoon and add more to taste as needed) + freshly ground pepper to taste.

In a handi chopper or food processor, blend all ingredients till the herbs and garlic are well chopped and the mixture is fairly smooth. Taste the dressing and add salt and/or pepper to taste. Store any leftover dressing in a covered container in the fridge.

This is a Crazy Cooking Challenge post. Click on the button to see all the other wonderful ranch dressings.

Photobucket

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to see all the other great Ranch Dressing recipes!

This recipe was also shared at Manic Monday, Newlyweds Recipe LinkyTotally Tasty TuesdayTalent Show TuesdayThursday’s Treasures, Weekend Potluck and Fit & Fabulous Friday.


Cantaloupe Walnut Salad w Maple Mint Yogurt Dressing

Cantaloupe & Toasted Walnut Salad with Maple Mint Yogurt Dressing

I went into the kitchen to get a cup of chai this morning. It was nearing lunchtime and when I reached into the fridge to grab the milk, the cantaloupe reached out to me. I came out of the kitchen with this salad. I got so caught up in the salad that I had to go back into the kitchen for the tea.

You must try this salad. It is pure simplicity to make, but tastes like heaven, especially if you can find yourself a really good juicy sweet cantaloupe. The sweet maple syrup with the mint and the tangy yogurt perfectly balance the juicy muskmelon and the crunch of the nuts. The mixed greens just round it all out, adding crunch, color, and variety.

Not to mention your body will love you for it. Every ingredient in this simple salad pitches in to help you feel energized and alive.

Cantaloupe & Toasted Walnut Salad with Maple Mint Yogurt Dressing

Cantaloupe & Toasted Walnut Salad with Maple Mint Yogurt Dressing

Inspired by my Maple Mint Cantaloupe Lassi

  • Mixed greens
  • Fresh cantaloupe, cut into chunks
  • Toasted Walnuts
  • Maple Mint Yogurt Dressing (recipe below)

Mix up the dresssing. Fill your bowl most of the way with greens. Add a generous pile of cantaloupe chunks. Sprinkle with a couple tablespoons of toasted walnuts. Drizzle with the Maple Mint Yogurt dressing to your heart’s content. Garnish with fresh mint leaves or edible flowers if you like. Revel in the wonderful taste of this ultra simple salad.

Cantaloupe & Toasted Walnut Salad with Maple Mint Yogurt Dressing

Maple Mint Yogurt Dressing

  • 1/4  cup plain nonfat yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • About 1 Tablespoon fresh mint leaves, chopped fine

In a small bowl, stir together all ingredients. Drizzle generously on the salad. Store any remaining dressing in a covered container in the fridge.

This recipe was shared at Newlyweds Recipe LinkyTastetastic Thursday, Fit & Fabulous Friday and Share it Saturday.


Whiskey Green Tomato Cake

Whiskey Green Tomato Cake

Last week my aunt from Florida came to visit. I don’t know how many stops she had planned on her trip, but one of them was to visit my parents … I suspected she would go see mom, but I didn’t really know until it was my turn to see my aunt.

My daughter and I drove down to meet my aunt and her artist friend for dinner. It was then that my aunt told us she had been to my parents’ place and my dad had made this green tomato cake for dessert … what?!? … my dad made a green tomato cake?! What the … ?

I thought it sounded really odd, and then when we went to see my parents this weekend, dad mentioned his green tomato cake. Mom said that it was more like a bar than a cake and Dad said the recipe he used just had too much green tomato in it. I could see the wheels turning in his head … I asked him to tell me about this green tomato cake … and he had already figured out how to make it better. I looked him in the eye and said “let’s make a cake!” … and so my dad and I set to work making a green tomato cake.

We started with our favorite carrot cake recipe, which is from The Jack Daniel’s Cookbook, but by the time we finished, I don’t think you’d even recognize the original recipe. Nonetheless, my dad was totally right (he usually is) … the cake turned out absolutely amazing. Both dad and I had two pieces of it for dessert after brunch (I NEVER have two pieces of cake …) and then later, on my way home, I brought some to my friend and had another piece of cake with her. Three pieces of cake in one day. This is totally a record for me. I’m not a cake person (unless it’s like some kind of of amazing decadent chocolate cake), and this cake isn’t even chocolate! … but it is SO worth it. The tart green tomatoes taste so much better than carrots in this (kinda pretty awesomely healthy) moist and flavorful cake.

The green tomatoes came from mom and dad’s garden. They fell off the vines while Mom was trimming the tomato plants. There was a whole bucket full of them. Their tomato plants are just thick with fruit … there will be LOADS of tomatoes this year. Only a few are ripe yet; the rest are yet to come.

Green Tomatoes for the Whiskey Green Tomato Cake

My very favorite part of the day? I got to cook with my dad. The big bonus was that it turned out to be something totally jaw-dropping awesome.

Whiskey Green Tomato Cake

Highly Adapted from The Jack Daniels Spirit of Tennessee Cookbook

  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup whiskey
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup applesauce
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups chopped green tomatoes (about 2 large green tomatoes)
  • 3/4 cup walnuts

Heavenly Frosting:

  • 2 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 oz. light cream cheese, softened
  • 4 oz. powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon whiskey

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put the raisins in a cup with the 1/4 cup of whiskey to plump them up.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients, then make a well in the center and add in the wet ingredients. Whisk up the eggs and  other wet ingredients together, then stir to incorporate them into the batter. Add the raisins & whiskey, green tomatoes and walnuts and stir just until everything is mixed up well.
  3. Pour the cake batter into a 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan and bake for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. While the cake is cooling, make the frosting by mixing the butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar and whiskey until smooth. Let the cake cool, then frost it with the Heavenly Frosting.

Whiskey Green Tomato Cake

This is a post for #tomatolove.

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to see all the other great #tomatolove posts…

This recipe was also shared at Scrumptious SundaysMade it by MondayThursday’s Treasures, Katherine Martinelli’s Tomato Bloghop and Foodie Friends Friday.


Rhubarb Salad with Gorgonzola & Goat Cheese

Rhubarb, Walnut, Goat Cheese & Gorgonzola Salad

Do you ever get bored with your ingredients? I asked my mom for some rhubarb because I wanted to make some rhubarb crisp and try chia seeds in place of the tapioca, but then that just didn’t sound good. I wanted to try something DIFFERENT with my rhubarb.

So the idea struck me … could you put rhubarb in a salad? Why not? I did a quick search on google and found a few different recipes for rhubarb salad. They all involved roasting the rhubarb in sugar or honey. Honey sounded better to me than sugar. I added some sweet onions and gorgonzola to the recipe to kick it up a bit, and a few chrysanthemum leaves to the greens to add that peppery taste and topped it off with a honey lemon ginger vinaigrette.

Rhubarb, Walnut, Goat Cheese & Gorgonzola Salad

Rhubarb Salad with Gorgonzola & Goat Cheese

Adapted from yumsugar. This amount of rhubarb is about right for a big one-person salad or two side salads.

  • Chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup rhubarb, washed and cut into chunks
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • Mixed greens (throw in a few chrysanthemum greens if you happen to have an organic chrysanthemum plant about)
  • Sweet onion, sliced and quartered
  • Gorgonzola & goat cheese crumbles
  • Honey Lemon Ginger Vinaigrette (recipe below)

Spray a small baking sheet with cooking spray. Set the walnuts on the tray and toast in the oven on the bottom rack at 400 for about 5 minutes … or until they are fragrant and slightly browned. Watch them carefully so they don’t burn. Remove the walnuts from the baking sheet.

Mix the rhubarb with the honey and place it on the baking sheet. Bake at 450 on the top rack for about 5 minutes or until the rhubarb is just beginning to soften. Let the rhubarb sit for a few minutes in the fridge to cool.

Once the rhubarb has cooled a bit, fill your bowl most of the way with mixed greens, toss in the sweet onion and rhubarb, sprinkle with the cheeses and toasted walnuts and drizzle with the vinaigrette.

Rhubarb, Walnut, Goat Cheese & Gorgonzola Salad

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 recipe was shared at Newlyweds Recipe LinkyFit & Fabulous Fridays and Summer Salad Sundays.


Walnut Date Nasturtium Salad

with Gorgonzola cheese, sweet onions and a Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette

Walnut Date Nasturtium Salad with Sweet Onions and Gorgonzola Cheese

I am totally enthralled with edible flowers … so I planted some nasturtiums this year. I soaked the seeds overnight, planted them, watered them, waited. And waited. Watered some more. Waited. Weeks passed and none of them grew. I was so disappointed … but I took the pots and planted other things.

And then one day I noticed something growing in with my celery plant. It didn’t look like a weed to me so I let it grow … and grow … and it produced a flower. A brilliant red flower.  There was a little tickle of recognition in the back of my mind, but I had never seen a red nasturtium before so I couldn’t quite figure out what this gorgeous flower was. I took a picture of it and posted it on facebook and asked my friends what it was. I was almost embarrassed when my friends pointed out to me that it was a nasturtium. Silly me! So one of my little seedlings DID grow … she just took her time doing it.

My Surprise Nasturtium

My daughter asked if we were going to eat it, but I just couldn’t bring myself to eat this lone pretty flower. I let it stay there on the plant. However, my sweet little plant heard my silent wish and made me more flowers. A bunch of them. Enough for a salad. I didn’t act quick enough and the heat killed several of them off, but still I collected enough for one salad. Maybe she’ll make me some more again? I’ll be happy either way. I’m so glad this little plant graced my life with her beauty. Her flowers tasted pretty good too. Slightly peppery, but mildly flavored. The leaves are little more peppery. I only used a few leaves; my sweet plant is just a little one and I want to let her grow. The flowers turned more orange over time.

Walnut Date Nasturtium Salad with Gorgonzola Cheese and Sweet Onions

Walnut Date Nasturtium Salad

  • Mixed greens
  • Toasted walnuts
  • Pitted Dates, sliced
  • Crumbles of Gorgonzola cheese
  • Sweet onion, sliced thin and quartered
  • Several nasturtiums (and toss in a few of the leaves too … why not!)
Fill your salad bowl 3/4 full of greens. Toss on some walnuts, sliced dates, crumbles of gorgonzola, and sliced onion. Tuck in Nasturtium flowers (the whole flower or just the petals, either way … I kept one whole and tossed the petals from the not-as-pretty flowers in there). Drizzle with the honey lemon vinaigrette (recipe below) and serve.
Walnut Date Nasturtium Salad with Honey Lemon Ginger 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. 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 recipe was shared at Weekend PotluckManic MondaysKatherine Martinelli’s Nut Bloghop and Melt in your Mouth Mondays.


Baked Strawberry Walnut Quinoa Bites

Baked Strawberry Quinoa Walnut Bites

I’ve been intrigued with the idea of baking with quinoa for a while now, so when I stumbled across this pretty muffin recipe from Poor Girl Eats Well, I really wanted to try it. They turned out a little differently what I expected, though, which is why I’m not calling them muffins. When I think of muffins, I think of something light, moist and cakey. These are not light and cakey. They are more dense, with a little crunch from the walnuts. I had my friend try them and she said they tasted like those fruit bars that you buy.

Anyway, they do have a lovely sweet vanilla taste, with juicy berries … and the quinoa adds a lot of fiber and protein, so that makes these little bites a really good breakfast … or a great snack to keep you going … especially before or after a workout.

Baked Strawberry Quinoa Walnut Bites

Baked Strawberry Walnut Quinoa Bites

Recipe from Poor Girl Eats Well. I made 6 larger “muffins” and about 20 mini-muffin-sized bites.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 medium overripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour (or quinoa flour, if you can find it)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup chopped fresh strawberries (I actually used part strawberries, part blueberries)
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts, loosely chopped
  • several strawberries, thinly sliced (for the top)

Directions
1.  Preheat the oven to 375°.  Spray a muffin or mini-muffin tin with cooking spray or use muffin liners.  In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, butter, eggs, bananas & vanilla.  Mix in the dry ingredients, stirring together until everything is well blended.

2.  Add the quinoa and mix well.  Fold the chopped strawberries (and/or blueberries) into the batter.  Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups.  Place one strawberry slice on top of each lil bite, and bake for about 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

3.  Remove from oven and cool for a couple of minutes.  Remove the bites from the pan and cool on a rack for about 10 minutes. Store any leftovers in the fridge.

Baked Strawberry Quinoa Walnut Bites

This recipe was shared at Everyday Mom’s Meals and Trick or Treat Tuesdays.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 571 other followers