Honey Dew and Tomato Salad

Are you thinking…another salad?  What is she trying to do to us?  We need, we want sugar, chocolate, and butter!!! 

Yeah, yeah, yeah…I hear ya, trust me.  You are coming in loud and clear!  And I am working on it.  Hopefully later this week, the cake I am working on will show up on this here blog.  And trust me, you will be thankful that I fed you salads. 

I found the recipe that led to this salad in my Runner’s World magazine.  I did a ‘ah-ha’ that is what I will do with the honey dew sitting – sometimes rolling – on my counter.  I was excited…only I could get excited about a honey dew.  I however, didn’t express this excitement out loud, in public, at the gym.  I simply made a mental note.  The older gentlemen next to me however, was an out loud thinker.  

He was reading a book ( not a biggy…I read too while running), but this little old man was laughing, gasping, and expressing each emotion that book pulled from him.  I don’t think he even realized that he was gawfing out loud, or lol’ing, or saying – ‘no, no, no I can’t believe i!’.  I should have asked him for the title, but he was too engrossed.  I need to thank him though.  Thank him for making me giggle and smile while pumping out my miles this morning.  He made it a bit more enjoyable.  We made quite the pair this morning…him talking to himself, and me just smiling.  Who freaking smiles while running?  Me. 

Smiling makes most things more bearable.  Like eating a salad.  You may not like salads, but eat one and smile and you will probably find that you are enjoying the salad more than you thought possible.   Give it a shot.  You will be pleasantly surprised…promise.

This salad is chock full of vegetables that most of you have hanging out in your kitchen and garden ( that is if you weren’t lazy like me and actually planted one, there is always next year I suppose…).  Make it, eat it, enjoy it…Do it.

Lets get choppin’

Don’t you love jam jars?  I do.  This retro jam jar contains Greek yogurt, salt, lemon juice, and honey.  Hint the bear.  Give it a shake to mix.  This can also be done with a small bowl and a whisk.  But I like shaking things. 

Honey dew, tomatoes, cucumber, basil, mint, feta cheese…to this vegetable loot add a red onion.  I have this uncanny ability to forget key ingredients in these types of shots.  :)

Chop, dice, slice the vegetables and honey dew.  Toss with the creamy yogurt dressing and feta cheese.  Yum!

Dish it up and whatever you do, DO NOT forget your drink with a straw.  You wanna know one thing that will always make me smile?  Straws.  Colorful straws.  It is the simple things.  If you can’t find simple things to enjoy on a daily basis…what is the point?  Big things don’t happen often enough.  But straws, they can happen daily. 

Honey Dew and Tomato Salad

Serves 4

Idea from Runner’s World

 

Ingredients

Dressing

  • 1/2 Cup Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tbsp Honey

Salad

  • 1/2 Cucumber, fancy peeled (striped), thinly sliced
  • 3 Tomatoes, cut into thin wedges
  • 1/4 Red Onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 Honey Dew, rind removed, cut into bite size cubes
  • 1/2 Cup Feta Cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Basil – cut into ribbons (chiffonade)
  • 1/4 Cup Mint – cut into ribbons (chiffonade)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

 

 

Directions

In a jar with lid or small bowl, add yogurt, salt, lemon juice, and honey.  Shake or whisk to combine – set aside

In a large serving bowl, toss together cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, honey dew, and feta cheese.  Pour over salad dressing and lightly toss to combine. 

Serve and sprinkle with basil and mint ribbons.  Finish with salt and pepper to taste. 

Enjoy!

 

Broccoli and Snap Pea Quinoa Salad with Goat Cheese

I added Boyz II Men station to my Pandora last night.  It is a-w-e-s-o-m-e. 

I love Boyz II Men.  So do you…don’t lie.  Lying to yourself isn’t healthy.  Just admit you love Boyz II Men.  There, feel better?  I knew you would.  :) 

I don’t know why it took me so long to add Boyz II Men.  I think I had forgotten about them, for a nanosecond that is.  I love me some MoTown Philly…back again. End of the Road, love it!   How about Water Runs Dry…Actually I like their version of Yesterday, and I don’t like remakes.  I normally despise them.  I like exceptions to my rules. 

What is your crazy, guilty pleasure on Pandora?  Tell me.  I know you have one.  Everyone does! 

So Boyz II Men and quinoa salad have nothing in common and there is no clean transition to be had from Boyz II Men to quinoa salad.  So, lets just jump.  On three…one, two, thr…wait, wait, wait – do we jump on three or after three?  I like jumping on three.  One, two, jump!

Quinoa salad.  Never have a quinoa salad?  Well, that is about to change.  This isn’t a salad full of leafy green rabbit food.  Nope, not here.  Now,  if you would like to add some arugala to the mix…be my guest.  It would add a nice peppery bite to the mix.  However, sometimes, though I don’t want leafy green salads, but instead I want bright, crisp vegetables along with a light vinaigrette with tangy goat cheese.  Mix in some protein packed quinoa and almonds and you have on hell of a healthy salad – no rabbit food included.  That is a glorious thing…eating healthy and nutritiously without realizing it. 

This stuff is good…seriously good. 

Broccoli and Snap Pea Quinoa Salad

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Quinoa – dry
  • 4 Cups Chicken or Vegetable Broth, or Water
  • 1/4 Cup to 1/3 Cup Vinaigrette – your favorite, I like Garlic Expressions or Balsamic Vinaigrettes
  • 1 Pint Cherry Tomatoes
  • 3 Cups Broccoli Florets
  • 3 Cups Snap Peas
  • 10 ounce Frozen Peas
  • 1 Cup Slivered Almonds
  • 6 ounces Goat Cheese, crumbled
  • Salt

 

 

 

Directions

In a medium saucepan, mix together chicken/vegetable/water with dry quinoa.  Put quinoa and water in medium saucepan and bring to boil.  Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook until all water is absorbed (10-15 minutes). When done, the grain appears translucent and the germ ring will be visible. Fluff with a fork.  Set aside

Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil.  Prepare a large bowl of iced water.  Add broccoli, snap peas, and peas to boiling water and cook for 1 minute.  Remove from water and place directly in ice bath.  Drain once cooled. 

In a large serving dish/bowl toss together – cooked quinoa, broccoli, snap peas, peas, tomatoes, almonds, goat cheese.  Dress with vinaigrette.  Serve.  Enjoy!

Pecan Sticky Buns…quick like

Sticky buns … are they really a breakfast food?  Breakfast’s dessert maybe.  Lunch and dinner have dessert, but why not breakfast?  In all reality, that’s the meal where dessert should be eaten.  I mean, it gives us the rest of the day to work off the extra sugar calories.  Right?  I am down for having a slice of cake after my eggs.  Or one of these here sticky buns. 

I know what you are thinking…aren’t sticky buns time consuming to make?  Yes, traditionally they are.  Several hours are needed for the dough to rise and all that jazz…and just between you and me, I can not wait for a snowy weekend to make those :)  But, I didn’t just mention the ‘s’ word, nope that wasn’t me, forget I even mentioned it.  Shhh…

But guess what, these sticky buns are not labor intensive.  They were prepared and baked in under an hour.  I mean how perfect right?  The trick is using store bought puff pastry.  Speeds the process up fifty fold…at least. 

Make these to spruce up any weekend brunch or to feed hungry intruders…I mean house guests.  Make sure to act like you slaved away in the kitchen while they were catching their beauty sleep.  Its what I do.  Just make sure to hide the puff pastry box…

Let’s roll.  Literally

A few pecans and a dollop of brown sugared butter, right in the bottom of the muffin cups. 

Get yourself a box of puff pastry…found in the freezer section at the grocery.  Thaw in the fridge before using.  I generally do this overnight. 

Brush on the melted butter.  Butter on butter. Awesome on awesome.

Sprinkle on the spiced brown sugar mixture.  Be generous, its good for the soul.  Then, toss on some raisins.

Roll it up…jelly roll style. 

Slice ‘em up. 

Stuff them into the muffin cups.  These remind me geoduck clams coming out of the sand…don’t Google a picture of a geoduck clam.  You will think I am crazy and you might be grossed out.  Just sayin’.

And they come out looking like this.  A cookie sheet under the muffin tin is necessary.  See all the gooey brown sugar buttery goodness…it will smoke you out of your house if it drips in your oven.  Trust me. 

Flip ‘em out.  Tasty sons a guns.

I love how this picture makes it look like I ate my sticky bun like a lady.  However, I totally scarfed mine while standing at the counter watching the end of an Indians game.  That’s how I roll. 

Pecan Sticky Buns

Adapted from Ina Garten

Makes 12 Buns

Ingredients

  • 2 Sheets Puff Pastry (1 box), thawed – but chilled. 
  • 1 Stick Butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 Cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Pecans – roughly chopped (want them to be in fairly large pieces)
  • 2 Tbsp Butter, melted
  • 3/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cardamom
  • 2/3 Cup Raisins (optional) or dried cranberries

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a small bowl, beat together 1/3 cup brown sugar and butter.   Divide the pecan pieces between the 12 muffin cups.   Spoon the brown sugar butter mixture over the pecan pieces – about 1 tablespoon each.  Set aside.

In another small bowl, stir together 3/4 Cup brown sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom.  Remove puff pastry from refrigerator.  Sprinkle work surface with flour and unfold puff pastry onto work surface.  Work perpendicular to the creases (have them open like a book).  Brush melted butter onto puff pastry, leaving  a small border.  Sprinkle 1/2  of the brown sugar mixture and 1/2 of the raisins onto the puff pastry, spreading it out evenly. 

Starting with the edge closest to you, tightly roll up the puff pastry sheet into a long tube.  With a sharp knife, cut the roll into 6 pieces.  (cut in half, and then cut each half into thirds)  Place each piece into the prepared muffin tin, pressing them lightly into the brown sugar/butter/pecan mixture. 

Repeat with second sheet of puff pastry. 

Place muffin tin on a cookie sheet (to catch drippings) and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown and firm to the touch.  Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes.  Flip them out onto a parchment paper lined cooling rack.  Scoop out any pecans/glaze that remains in the muffin cups and place a top the buns.  Let cool completely. 

Enjoy! 

 

Cherry Lime Sorbet

Sorbet.  Sounds fancy.  Its not. 

Its fruit, a bit of sugar, and maybe a little extra flavoring.  That’s it.  Simple, bright, and refreshing. 

I am slightly addicted to Whole Fruit sorbet.  Their mango, rasberry, and strawberry – all worth writing home about.   Their single serving deals even include a spoon, stuck in the lid.  Handy.   However, they are expensive and its not even a full pint any longer.  This annoys me…I’d rather pay more and get the full pint, instead of paying the same and not being told its less product.  Sneaky.   I don’t like sneaky. 

With a quick glance at the ingredients…sugar, fruit, flavoring – why couldn’t I make my own?  So I did. 

I had sweet cherries in my freezer ( I like frozen fruit as a snack), whipped up some simple syrup, juiced and zested a lime.  Tossed it all in a blender – gave it a whir, and voila – sorbet.  Well kinda, I tossed it into my ice cream maker to get it frozen quickly, but it wasn’t necessary.  I could have stuck in the freezer straight from the blender and waited until it was frozen, but being impatient when it comes to frozen treats…I used my ice cream maker.  Instant gratification is nice sometimes. 

I bet this would be really good with champagne, prosecco, or moscato poured over the sorbet…wine slushy anyone?  Glorious.

Cherry Lime Sorbet

Servings: 4

 

Ingredients

  • 4 Cups Frozen Sweet Cherries (or fresh if in season)
  • 1/2 Cup Simple Syrup (directions included)
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/2 tsp Almond Extract
  • Blender
  • Ice Cream Maker – optional

 

Directions

Simple Syrup : In small saucepan combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water.  Place over medium heat and cook until sugar dissolves.  Stir occasionally.  Remove from heat and let cool to  room temperature before using.  Tip:  Make more than 1/2 cup, store in fridge in sealed container and use in iced tea, lemonade, or mojitos…just saying.

Place frozen cherries, simple syrup, lime juice, almond extract into a blender.  Blend until smooth.  Spoon into container with tight fitting lid and freeze.  OR…spoon into ice cream maker and churn according to machines directions.  Enjoy instantly :)

If using fresh, unfrozen cherries then a ice cream maker will be necessary. 

 

 

Apple Walnut Chicken Salad

You know what’s scary?  Hummingbirds. 

Yeah, those little birds whose wings never stop beating and they beat at like a million miles a second.

 

That little thing scared the bejesus outta me.  Alfred Hitchcock like.

I was sitting on my patio, minding my own business, and this hummingbird does a Topgun fly by, Maverick style.   I literally felt the breeze from his wings as he darted by - it was a dude bird.  Dude birds are reckless like that.  

Did he not see me?  An inch to the left and I would have had a bird implanted on my forehead!  Ouch.  I am not a fan of birds to begin with and this did not earn them any points in my book. 

So I left my post on the patio, once the sight was clear, and made this here chicken salad.  It was lunch time and I was procrastinating at getting to work in the kitchen, but I normally don’t need a bird attack to get me moving….

Birds…Never met a nice one.

OK, so this chicken salad is chunky, chock-full of moist and tender chicken, sweet fruit, and crunchy veggies.  Oh and walnuts too!  It might be easier to eat with a fork than between two slices of bread.  Personally, I don’t care how you eat it, just that you do, ya know…eat it. 

Side note…I roasted chicken breasts for this here recipe, but if you are short on time, go ahead and grab one of those handy-dandy rotisserie chickens from the market and shred that bad boy up…because guess what?  When you buy chicken salad from the deli, guess what chicken they are using?  Yep.

Lets whip up some salad. 

Gather together…

Chicken, diced into nice bite sized pieces. 

Broccoli…you will blanch this.  I don’t like raw broccoli.  Gross. 

A bit of celery. 

An apple, diced.  My apple obsession of late is with Pink Lady apples.  If Frenchie, from Grease, ate apples, I would think she would eat Pink Ladies.  Its what I think of when I purchase them.  John Travolta. 

Walnuts … Pecans would be good here too, but did you know that they cost a gazillion dollars a pound?  Thanksgiving is going to be pricey.

Don’t foget the dried cranberries.  They add a nice sweet bite to the dish.  However, the thought of Cape Cod makes me hungry for a lobster roll, not chicken salad.  Sigh…

 

This wouldn’t be a salad without a creamy dressing.  This bowl contains, mayo, Dijon mustard, apple juice, salt, pepper.  Its good. 

Buttery, flaky, savory croissants are a popular delivery system of chicken salad, but if you are like me, and love your skinny jeans, then a whole wheat pita is a great substitute. 

Apple Walnut Chicken Salad

Serves: 4 to 6

 

Ingredients

  • 2 Split Chicken Breasts, skin ON
  • 2 Cups Broccoli Florets, bite sized
  • 1 Apple, diced
  • 1/2 Cup Celery (about 1 stalk), diced
  • 1 Cup Walnuts, Chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp Salt, plus extra for blanching and dressing
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 Cup Mayo ( I used light)
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 2 Tbsp Apple Juice

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Place chicken breasts on tinfoil lined baking sheet.  Coat with olive oil and sprinkle with pepper and 1 tsp salt per split breast.  Roast in oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until done ( juices will run clear and internal temperature 165°F).  Remove from oven and let rest until cool enough to handle.  Remove skin and dice into bite sized chunks when ready.

While chicken is resting, blanch the broccoli.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and prepare an ice bath in a large bowl.  Place broccoli in boiling water for one minute.  Remove from water and place directly in ice bath.  – this stops the cooking.  Leave in water until cool.  Drain. 

In a small bowl, whisk together mayo, Dijon mustard, apple juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper. 

In a large bowl, toss together chicken, celery, apple, lemon juice, cranberry, walnuts, and broccoli.  Pour dressing over and toss.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, letting the flavors meld. 

Enjoy!

 

Disclaimer:  I did not take the hummingbird picture…I was too busy taking cover.