Strawberry Avocado Salad


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I have largely refrained from posting lettuce or greens based salads on here because I kind of scoff at the idea of recipes for these sorts of things.  I mean, you just layer a bunch of fresh ingredients over a bed of lettuce or other greens, and you have the dish.  Where's the need for instructions in that? 

So, why, you ask, do I post this one?  It's just so pretty!  I made this up a couple weeks ago because Drew brought home a whole gallon of strawberries from Strawberry Hill USA after taking his grandparents there and we wanted to start eating them immediately, and I saw a salad recipe that used tomatoes and avocado and somehow thought the strawberry and avocado would play together.  I was right! Oh, and bonus!  The salad is made from romaine lettuce that grew on its own from a renegade seed in our garden. 

So, it's simple.  I'll post the "recipe" below but really, just go with what you love.  Please note that because I tend to just throw salads together until I think they look pretty, measurements are anything but exact.

Strawberry Avocado Salad
serves 2 an entree sized salad

1 head romaine lettuce (or 2 cups baby greens), washed and roughly chopped
1 shallot or 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup strawberries, sliced
1 avocado, diced
1/4 cup sunflower seeds or sliced almonds
2 tb. olive oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste

In a large bowl, place lettuce.  Top with shallot, strawberries, avocado, and seeds or almonds.  In a small bowl, stir together the oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper.  Drizzle over salad.  Divide between two large plates or bowls and serve. 

*for added protein, feel free to add cooked and shredded or diced chicken- maybe even steak or tuna or white kidney beans/tofu. 

Cookies for Breakfast?


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I have always had a sweet tooth.  My sweet tooth lines up very well with today's fudge on a proper breakfast.  Look on any breakfast aisle in a grocery store, and you will find anything from cereals to instant grains to granola bars and now cookies.  Cookies for breakfast?!  Yes, please! 

I found this recipe in the January 2012 issue of Bon Appetit and market it for trial.  They passed the test!  Easy to make, tasty, lightly sweet, and semi-healthy thanks to the quinoa, they're a great breakfast or even mid-morning snack. 

Changes I made to the include the use of dried cherries rather than cranberries and a mix of whole wheat and white flour. 

You can find this one through epicurious.com, but I'll post here as well.  The recipe title is the link to the page on epicurious.com. 

Almond-Cranberry Quinoa Cookies
from January 2012 Bon Appetit

1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup cooked quinoa, cooled
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup slivered unsalted almonds

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, both sugars, and honey in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and extracts; beat until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time. Stir in quinoa, oats, cranberries, and almonds. Spoon dough in 2-tablespoon portions onto prepared sheets, spacing 1" apart.

Bake cookies until golden, 12–15 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool. DO AHEAD: Store cooled cookies airtight at room temperature for 1 day, or freeze for up to 1 month.


Salmon in Parchment With Spinach and Orange


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This is such a lame post to have not posted for two weeks!  I must apologize because I have been too busy to put together a suitable post, but this recipe is worth posting now.  It's a delicious, easy way to prepare salmon (or any firm fish) that utilizes fresh ingredients not always commonly found together.  It's titled Salmon and Spinach in Parchment and comes from the April 2012 issue of none other than Everyday Food.  Did I mention you can make this dish ahead, which is wonderfully helpful for those of us pressed for time because we're overcommitted?  Did I mention that it also tastes like you took much longer to make it than 10 minutes plus baking time?  Drew and I are the only ones who ate this, but I bet it'd be a great meal to serve to family and guests alike.

I made this recipe as is, except that I used ground ginger as a substitute for the fresh.  I know that causes me to lose some culinary points, but it's what I had, and it worked.  Also, don't skimp on the parchment.  You'll be amazed at how much room the ingredients take up pre-baking!

The recipe title is a link to the recipe and corresponding picture on the Martha Stewart Website.  I forgot to take pictures, which is why I'm a lame food blogger at times, so please forgive me.  

Salmon and Spinach in Parchment
from Everyday Food, April 2012
serves 4

8 oz baby spinach
1 Tb fresh orange zest
3 oranges, peeled and sliced into 1/4" rings
4 skinless salmon fillets (approx. 6 oz each)
2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into thin strips (or about 1/2 tsp dried ginger)
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2 Tb extra virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Cut four pieces of parchment to be 16"x16."  Divide the spinach evenly among the parchment squares.  Place on top of the spinach the orange zest, orange slices, salmon, ginger, and shallot.  Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. 

Bring long ends of paper together and fold down 3 times to make a seam. Tuck ends underneath to secure.

Place packets on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until packets are puffed and salmon is cooked through, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer packets to plates, pull open, and serve immediately.