Obsession-Worthy Brussels & Kale Winter Salad

Kale Brussels Salad with dried cherries and quinoa

Toasted hazelnuts, pickled red onion, shaved Brussels sprouts, dried tart cherries, Parmesan, quinoa, kale, and a lemon cider vinaigrette. These ingredients all join together in a perfect symphony of flavors to create an obsession-worthy salad. I’m so incredibly excited about this recipe that I think I made it four times in two weeks, and I can’t wait for you to make it too.

My man and I are in the process of looking for a house, and I’m happily baking up a storm at the Bakehouse – where my Spiced Triple Ginger Cookies recently made it onto our menu! Between the decadent pastries I bring home from work and the lavish weekend brunches to fuel up for house-hunting, I felt the need for a big, hearty dinner salad. This one is just the ticket.

Kale Brussels Sprouts salad with hazelnuts and pickled onions

The toasted hazelnuts, dried tart fruit, and salty sharp cheese bring a richness and heft to make this salad a stand-alone meal. Meanwhile, the quick-pickled onion Keep reading…

Roasted Artichoke Arugula Salad

If you’ve met me even once, you know that I’m, well, enthusiastic. Now, this carries into almost all aspects of my life…including my new blog look! What do you think?! It’s like a new hair cut for me: it doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it looks fresh and fabulous ;)

Roasted Artichoke Arugula Salad

This Roasted Artichoke Arugula Salad is also one of those things I get excited about. It’s bonkers good. I was pretty excited to make it for my fam when I was home in California last week, and it did not disappoint. For a week of next to nothing actually planned, I could not have been more enthusiastic. Cooking with my mumsy, lounging by the pool, going for a few runs along the beautiful cliffs of Southern California, hangin out at the beach, did I mention cooking?…and eating.

Really…

Your enthusiasm is scaring everyone

Cliff run with my bro!

Cliff run with my bro!

Don’t stop now. There’s more…

life is like a spin class & cucumber salad

I’m about to drop a bomb of a metaphor on you. Life is a spin class. (If you have never been to a spin class, you need to go right now and then continue reading this post.)

Cucumber Salad

When you go for the first time, you’re not really sure what the heck you’re doing. You adjust the settings, and then you get on and just go. It’s always better with some serious jams to encourage you to move along and step it up. You start to really get into it. There are going to be parts where you’re kickin ass and takin names, and then there will be a lull at some point or a slow and steady climb.

It’s always better with a friend.

Farmer's market cucs

Don’t stop. Keep reading…

Spring Has Sprung Rolls

Spring Rolls!

…Well spring is almost here. Who knows, we might get another “snow day” before it actually gets warm, but it’s things like having brunch out on a patio, sharing a coffee in the park in the middle of the day, and an evening of making spring rolls that make it feeeeeel like spring has sprung! Oh and blogging on the roof :D

Rooftop Blogging

Spring is also a time for new adult goals…at least that’s what we decided after the spring rolls. If you’re somewhere around 25, hopefully you’ve already gotten here, but these are the sorts of things that I think will make me feel more adult:

Don’t stop! Keep reading…

Easy Spicy Curry Peanut Sauce

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“A lemon press?…haha, of course you have this.”

This is what a friend of mine told me this weekend. And it’s true, I do have a lot of random kitchen gadgets. Just a few examples? – immersion blender, wine foil cutter, grapefruit knife, mandolin slicer, giant Oreo cookie mold, cupcake corer, and a bamboo steamer. I actually do a pretty good job of using these gadgets on the regular, but until this past week, I had never used the bamboo steamer! Terrible, I know. (Sorry, Mom!)

After a trip to the Chinese market, that involved me excitedly “Ooooo!!!”-ing right and left, I am now the proud owner of Sriracha, five spice, and dried shiitakes. I also made my very own chili flakes from peppers from the garden!

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Don’t stop! Keep reading…

Curried Couscous Salad – Can you forgive me?…NOW it’s fall

Ok, upfront apology- sorry bout that last post ready to say au revoir to summer. I went a little crazy thinking that the summer was over – it got a little chilly in the evenings one week – and to be fair I really really love the fall. Honestly, the real issue here is that I’m sick of all of my summer clothing, and obviously a girl gets excited with the prospect of unearthing a whole new wardrobe! Cardigans! Boots! Scarves! So much wonderful awaits.

To really give summer its proper send-off, I took a luxg vacation with Caitlyn to Hawaii! It was a dream! There were beautiful island men to replenish our umbrella-topped drinks and to turn us into pro surfers. Wait, that one really was a dream. But we did go hiking along the side of a mountain through a rainforest – passing guava, avocado, and mango trees – down past a little waterfall to the beach. It was absolutely breath-taking.

 

We also ate shaved ice, saw a FULL rainbow (!), and met the whole cast of Finding Nemo while snorkeling. True story – clown fish, angel fish, and even a sea turtle! :D And the rest of the trip was spent relaxing on the beach – ultra relaxation and “tanning.” Caitlyn is basically another race now, and I managed to achieve “golden marshmallow.” (Crayola name pending.) With pride.

 

That really was the perfect farewell to summer, and now I’m actually ready for the fall. So, to match that transitional feeling between summer and fall, Caitlyn and I made the perfect summer/fall salad. It’s a whole wheat couscous salad with a curry-yogurt dressing, currants, scallions, and carrots! The carrots and the scallions keep it fresh and snappy like summer, and the curry and couscous give it the welcoming warmth of fall foods.

Here’s what we did!

 

Curried Couscous Salad

 

*Serves 4-6

 

-4 c. salted water
-2 c. whole wheat pearl couscous

 

Boil the water. Add the couscous once the water is boiling, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook for about 10 minutes until done. (When it’s done, fluff it with a fork, and add it to a big bowl.)

 

While the couscous is cooking, prep the other ingredients and toss them in the big bowl:

 

-1 c. chopped carrots
-1/2 c. chopped parsley
-1 c. chopped fresh spinach
-4 scallions, thinly sliced (both the white and green parts)
-3/4 c. dried currants
-3/4 c. slivered almonds

 

Sautee in a pan, with a little olive oil:

 

-1/3 c. chopped white onions
-2 cloves of garlic, minced

 

Once the onions are soft and golden, transfer them to the big bowl.

 

In a small mixing bowl, mix together:

 

-1/2 c. plain nonfat yogurt
-2 t. white wine vinegar
-1/4 c. olive oil
-1 T. curry powder
-1/2 t. mustard powder
-1/2 t. turmeric
-salt and pepper to taste

 

Mix everything all together, and serve warm or cold depending on the weather that day :)

 

**French phrase for fun

 

Cardigans, et des bottes, et des écharpes, oh mon dieu!
Cardigans, and boots, and scarves, oh my!

How to Make Lentils Sexy and Other Fun Tips

I really struggled with my new recipe of the week this week, not because it was hard to find or not as delicious as I wanted it to be, but because it turned out to look, well, just brown. So this begged the question, how do I make my lentil salad recipe “sexy” – how do I make you want to read about my week and make you want to whip up this dinner recipe??

Well, first of all, I shouldn’t tell you that this isn’t the greatest date-night meal…it has curry in it…and onions. BUT maybe I should tell you how it’s incredibly flavorful – a flavor-explosion one might say! It’s got freshly grated ginger, cilantro, and lemon. Yummus, right? It’s also suuuuper healthy. Bonus! And how about I suggest that you just have this meal among friends or close family? That would definitely work. Notice I also jumped up the color by putting it on a bed of spinach and garnishing it with a little more cilantro?! (They do say you eat with your eyes first.) That was totally just for you – to catch your eye and make you think, “wow, those lentils look sexy!”

Did it work?! Do you want to make this lentil salad?

Well, either way, here are some other fun tips like I promised (a little cooking & a little life):

  1. Freeze orange juice in an ice cube tray, and use those little gems in your next round of mimosas. Seriously people, who wants a watered-down mimosa?! No one – they’ve been known to ruin a perfectly good Sunday Brunch.
  2. If you need your fresh garlic extra fine (almost to a paste), start by chopping it up finely (or putting it through a garlic press) and then add a pinch of salt to it and scrape the back of your knife firmly over it a couple times.
  3. When’s the last time you did something for the first time? Think about it. Make moves.
  4. Make an effort to do something that is going to make you really happy this week. — Whether it’s making specific plans for that trip you’ve been talking about going on or finally decorating your apartment…DO IT!
  5. Smile at a stranger. Seriously, you’ll make their day. Plus it’s like a little game- either they won’t smile back and you get to be that random friendly person (or think, “psht, fine!”) orrrrr they’ll smile back :) …Maybe I’m crazy, and this just entertains me.
  6. Don’t play games with people – just text/call him/her. Let’s not dance around it. Just do it.
  7. Lastly, wise words from the incredible Julia Child, “No matter what happens in the kitchen, never apologize.” :)

Here’s what I did with the lentils.

Ginger Curry Lentil Salad

**serves 3-4 people

Cook for about 25 minutes (or until tender but still firm) in salted, boiling water:

-Half a package of brown lentils (about 2c.)

While those are cooking, slice thinly into quarters:

-1 large white onion

Saute the onion in a little olive oil and salt over medium-high heat until they’re sweet and tender.

Then chop up:

-1/2 a bunch of cilantro
-1 clove of garlic (finely chopped)

Once the lentils are cooled a little (still warm is ideal) add to them:

-2 T. grated, fresh ginger
-the juice of one lemon
-1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
-2 t. curry powder
-the cilantro
-the garlic
-the sauteed onions
-salt and pepper to taste

Mix it all up, give it a taste, adjust your seasonings as you see fit, and serve those sexy lentils! :)

**French phrase for fun

Les lentilles peuvent être sexy.
Lentils can be sexy.

Creamy Vegan Spinach Dip

Everyone in the food co-op at work has really been upping their game…and we’ve gone raw/vegan! I’m definitely enjoying it for summertime lunches, but it certainly is quite the challenge. This week we had a beeeeautiful dehydrated tomato tart layered with spinach and an oat/nut/kale crust, also a spinach, peach, and avocado salad with a fresh ginger dressing! These ladies are really stepping up their game. Cooking raw/vegan isn’t very difficult, but it’s not something I normally think about when making a meal – were these almonds blanched?! These tomatoes were steamed before they were canned, weren’t they?! So many things I normally wouldn’t think about, but it has presented me with a brand new culinary challenge, and I’ve had some surprisingly wonderful new discoveries – this creamy vegan spinach dip being one of them!

Cashew cream has become my best friend in this new raw/vegan world. It’s divine. I first discovered it in Joy the Baker’s Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup (which I HIGHLY recommend – and I think I have previously too). You let raw cashews soak for about an hour, and then blend it up into a dreamy creamy consistency.

This recipe was originally served for my co-op lunch as “creamed” spinach atop a zucchini and cucumber salad which was also wonderful. (This is real color here, people. Real life.)

It’s so simple and so good, you wouldn’t know it’s basically a superfood.  And you only need 6 ingredients! That’s it! :D

p.s.- How great is Phsycho?!?! I don’t know why I was so worried; it was a great way to end summer Screen on the Green.

p.p.s.- Did you know peaches could get this big?!?!

Nuts! Peaches!

Here’s what I did for the spinach dip!

Creamy Vegan Spinach Dip

Soak for about one hour:

-1/2 c. raw cashews
-1/2 c. water

Drain the cashews, and add to them:

-Juice of one large lemon

Blend the cashews and lemon juice until it’s a creamy and there are no lumps left.

In a food processor (or large bowl with an immersion blender or high-powered blender) combine:

-2 bags of raw spinach
-1 large very ripe avocado
-the cashew cream
-1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
-salt to taste

Blend it all up until it’s super creamy and thick. You could serve it as a spinach pesto over pasta (you’ll probably want to add a little more lemon or olive oil so that it’s not as thick), as a side, or as a dip. Go peaches! (It’ll catch on.) It’s so good for you and so good! Your body will thank you :)

**French phrase for fun!

Bah dis donc, quelle grande pêche!
Wow, what a big peach!

Tomato and Corn Summer Salad

Still speaking of summer…just like the humidity, it’s holdin strong! :) (and just in case you’re wondering…there’s nothing quite like Florida weather to make you really appreciate DC!) And I doooo love baking, but ya just can’t argue with summertime farm-fresh ingredients. I’m trying to devote a portion of my grocery-spending towards local farms, and let me tell you – it’s worth it. I was inspired by the beautiful vegetables at the farmer’s market and the hot weather to make a tomato corn summer salad!

Would you just LOOK at those corn kernels?! Mmh! The corn was sweet and had that perfect pop. The tomatoes were unreal. UNREAL. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a tomato that dark red and flavorful. I would never fuss with such ingredients, so I settled on a cold, crisp summer salad, and decided it would be perfect to eat up on the rooftop to enjoy over a drink and good conversation with my roommate. So we did! :) It looked a little something like this:

Here’s what I did:
Tomato Corn Summer Salad
Boil a pot of water for the corn. Once it’s boiling, toss in:
-2 ears of fresh corn
Boil them for 3-4 minutes, and then immediately remove them, and put them in ice water to shock them – stop the cooking.
In a large bowl combine:
-The corn kernels (cut off the cob once it’s cooled)
-3 large tomatoes, cubed
-1 large yellow squash, cubed
-1 medium yellow onion, diced
-1 bunch of fresh basil, finely chopped
In a separate small bowl, whisk together:
-1/3c. – 1/2c. rice wine vinegar
-1 T. Dijon mustard
-2 T. extra virgin olive oil
-Salt and pepper to taste
Pour the vinaigrette over the salad, and toss to combine. Taste it, and adjust the seasonings accordingly. Keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to eat it – nice and cold on a hot day.
**French phrase for fun!
Elle a rougi comme une tomate!
She turned red like a tomato!

California Summer Salad

One of the coolest parts of my new environmental job?!…Lunch co-ops!!! Each co-op has four people- one for each day of the work week. Yes, Fridays off. What up. We each cook for each other one day a week and get to just enjoy other people’s cooking on the other three days! It makes my mornings more beautiful and relaxing. My Sunday nights are, however, somewhat of a scramble when I haven’t gone grocery shopping. But this week I was prepared! With the idea inspired by a chef, I ran with this three bean salad and totally rocked it. It was silly good, and my co-op buddies agreed whole-heartedly :)

Here’s what I did:

-A can each of organic black, red, and white beans

-One big, diced tomato

-A perfectly ripe, diced avocado

-Half of an onion, finely chopped

-An entire bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped

-The juice of one lime

-Salt, pepper, cumin, garlic powder, a dash of cayenne pepper

Mix all together and enjoy your gorgeous, healthy, Californian summer salad! (Add fresh corn too if you have it! That would be phenomenal!)

**French phrase for fun:

J’adore les salades pendant l’été.

I love salads in the summer.