Saturday, September 9, 2017

Chopped Salad

This salad just sort of evolved...I've made it so many times this summer, each a little different than the last. Oh summer, how are you already giving way to fall? I love fall...but I really love summer.

And I loved tossed salads. Quinoa gives this wonderful texture and flavor to salads...if you haven't tried it, you've got to.

Really you can toss just about anything in and it would be yummy. Roasted red peppers would be great...I might need to try that next time.

The Garlic Expressions Vinaigrette is's in regular stores like Kroger but usually in a random spot, like some shelf in the produce department. But the best part is that it has whole garlic cloves at the bottom. They. are. amazing. My friend brought me this dressing when Levi was born and I've been eating it ever since.

On that note, Levi is fixin' to be 1 (do y'all say fixin'? Or is that South speech?). What in the world. He is an absolute joy.

Here is the baby, helping himself to an Asian pear we just picked. Our apples and pears have been abundant. We've made apple butter, pear butter, canned pears, applesauce, baked apples, skillet apple pie (oh my word. it was amazing)...

And yes, I will still call him "the baby" when he's 4...and 6...and probably 15.

Chopped Salad
4 oz. arugula
1 heart of romaine, chopped
1/2 cup quinoa, cooked in 1 cup water & 1/2 tsp salt until done and cooled to room temperature
15 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped small
8 oz. grape tomatoes, cut in half or thirds
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 can garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed (optional)
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 cup sliced toasted almonds
Garlic Expressions Vinaigrette (delicious) or Italian dressing...or Greek Feta dressing...whatever you like

Toss ingredients in a large bowl. Add enough dressing to moisten (but not too much!) can always add more if you need it. Serve immediately.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup January Matthew and I did a Whole30. And that was several months ago. And I'm just now getting around to posting this soup.

It is so good and I made it several times that month. It's a great Whole30 lunch...or any kind of lunch. I adore curry powder...and coconut...but I don't love butternut squash. I think it's a texture thing. It gets mushy. But it's perfect in this soup because it's pureed! The flavors are delicious together.

Also, I use the bags of frozen chopped butternut squash. It makes the soup fast and so easy. This mama ain't got time to slaughter a whole butternut squash. I've done it before and it practically takes an ax chop into that thing. So the frozen variety works great.

Here's how I did it...

Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup

1 T coconut oil
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper (cut back if you like it with less spice)
1 T curry powder
2 one-pound bags of frozen chopped butternut squash (no need to thaw it first)
1 quart chicken stock
1 can coconut milk (I use lite)

In a Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Saute the onion for 8-10 minutes until it starts to soften. Add the salt, pepper & curry and stir it around. Add the butternut squash and stock. Bring it to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes or so until the squash is tender. At this point, I use an immersion blender to make the soup smooth & creamy (but you could use a blender or food processor...just be careful not to overfill the food processor bowl). Add the coconut milk, heat through and taste for seasonings.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Kale Salad

This salad is pretty delicious, I must say. The Panera salad with roasted beets was my inspiration...but I'm not about to roast beets in my kitchen, so this is the next best thing to that salad.

I'm also loving adding quinoa to my salads this year! It's a 2017 thing.

I've made this salad a ton but apparently taking a picture of it was too much for me, so no picture this time. Just imagine the beautiful colors and delicious flavors. That's the best I've got to offer.

So delicious! Oh, and you want to dress this salad several hours before you serve it...kale needs some time to relax and become less...chewy.

Kale Salad

Juice of 2 lemons
3 T honey
3 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 bunch kale, stems removed & chopped finely
1/2 cup quinoa, cooked in 1 cup water until done
1 cup dried cranberries
15 oz. can mandarin oranges, drained
3/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
8 oz. goat cheese, crumbled

Whisk together the lemon juice, honey, olive oil, salt & pepper. Add the shredded kale and toss it to coat. Taste the kale - you may need to add a bit more honey as kale can be quite bitter. Adjust the seasonings and know that it will get better with time. You want to dress the salad several hours before eating it. Toss in the cooked quinoa and craisins and combine. On top of the salad, sprinkle the mandarin oranges and almonds and mix in just a little bit (not too much or the oranges will break up). Just before serving, sprinkle the crumbled goat cheese on top. Don't stir in the goat cheese or it will dissolve and make a mess.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

2016 In Review

I've never done a year in review post before! It sounded fun so I thought I'd try it.

In January, we found out that we were expecting a baby! #5. We've had a baby every "even" year since 2008, so why should 2016 be any different? Exactly.

In related news, I love being pregnant. Really. There is nothing sweeter than having a baby inside my belly. Nothing sweeter than telling our kids that there's gonna be another. Nothing better than filling every seat in my van.

I love it.

In March, our baby #2 turned 6. I turned 35. (!) We added a furry member to our family: Meet Ari Zebra (Mary Beth was in charge of naming him). He is a lionhead bunny. (Ari=lion in Hebrew; Zebra=black&white color to an 8-year-old). Isn't he CUTE???

In April, our baby #1 turned 8. Wow.

In May, our baby #4 turned 2, Matthew turned 35 and we celebrated 13 years of marriage! If you had told us when we got married that we would have 5 children, I would have called you a false prophet. But that's okay because I've had to eat a lot of words in my day. I'm used to it.

June started summer! I love summer. The kids literally wore nothing but bathing suits the entire month. We played in the backyard, in the sprinkler, in the baby pool, in the fields, the orchard and on the playset. We also went to the (real) pool a lot. Even as we pass the pool in the dead of winter, Sarah Kate (she's 2) still screams "pool!" Never mind that it's empty save some leaves and twigs.

In August, our baby #3 turned 4. And the big girls started school, 1st & 3rd grades. Then, in a stroke of genius, I taught my big girls how to clean bathrooms.

In September, our Levi Davidson was born! He weighed nearly 9 pounds. Sweet, peaceful, precious baby. The 4 kids are so proud. Levi excels in nursing, smiling and sleeping. (I didn't think we could birth a baby that slept in the first year of his life. Levi has proven me wrong and I am thankful!)

In November, our 13-year-old longhaired mini weiner dog went to heaven. (Most dogs do go to heaven, you know.) She slept with us every night. I still miss her. I will need to have another weiner dog in the near future.

It's rarely calm, never quiet, sometimes clean and usually fun at our house. I am thankful for another year of God's blessing on our family. Matthew and I kicked off 2017 with the Whole30! It's so much fun (well, maybe "fun" isn't the most accurate descriptor, but I'm trying to be positive). I will probably post some Whole30 recipes on here just in the event that we do this again, I'm not reinventing the wheel trying to remember what we ate for the month!

(In case you're curious, Whole30 is a 30-day elimination eating plan where you get to eat meat, eggs, nuts, fruits, vegetables & certain healthy oils (like olive & coconut). No dairy, sugar, grains or legumes. It's not a diet. It's a nutritional "reset." Or so I'm told.)

These are 2 peas in a pod...

Happy New Year, y'all!