Thursday, August 21, 2014


Billy and I have been dining out a-lot lately; breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner, you name it! 

I try to make wise food choices, but how do I turn down a buttermilk batter, fried portabella mushroom sammie topped with cheese and pesto…you tell me?!!

I feel like a big ol’ bowl of greens helps me get back in line and back on track.  Since it’s summer, fresh kale from the farmer’s market and local summer fruit are what I crave.

I used apricots and plums; but peaches, nectarines and or cherries would also be really good in Kale and Summer Stone Fruit Salad.

The dressing for this salad uses quite a lot of shallots, the shallots taste pickled in this low-fat dressing.  

Some folks massage their kale to soften it, but I’d rather receive a massage than give it (Sounds selfish, I know.) so I dress just the kale and leave it overnight in the refrigerator to soften the kale, though just a few hours will be okay.

The great thing about this recipe is that it makes a whole whack, and that the salad is fine to sit in the fridge for three or four days.  I can eat Kale and Summer Stone Fruit Salad for days and feel good about my eating again!


Serves 8 to 10


      1                     clove      Garlic, minced
¼             cup          Shallots, minced (about 2 small shallots)
1                             Navel orange, juice only
½                            Lemon, juice only
1              Tbsp.         Dijon mustard
1              Tbsp.         Honey
½             tsp.          Soy sauce
1/8           tsp.          Sesame oil (optional)
A pinch                    Dried red chili pepper flakes (optional)
2              Tbsp.        Olive oil
2              Tbsp.        Canola, grape seed, or avocado oil
                               Salt and pepper to taste

   1.        In a small bowl, whisk together the first 9 ingredients.  Pour the olive oil and canola oil into the first ingredients in a slow steady stream while whisking continually.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

*You may also just add all of the ingredients together to a jar, close the lid tightly and shake the jar for a minute or two until the ingredients are emulsified.


12              cups         Kale, washed and torn into bite sized pieces (1 bunch of kale)
1         ½             cups        Snow peas or snap peas
½                             Red bell pepper, thinly sliced
3                              Apricots, cut into thin wedges
2                              Plums, cut into thin wedges
¼                cup        Toasted, slivered almonds

   1.        In a large bowl, combine the kale with ¾ cup of the dressing and a couple of pinches of salt & pepper; toss well to coat and refrigerate for at least an hour, or even better overnight.  Marinating the kale will help to soften the tough kale; and don’t worry, it won’t be mushy like lettuce.
   2.       When ready to serve, add the remaining ingredients to the salad as well as the remaining dressing.

*Notes:  This salad will be terrific with any combination of stone fruits including fresh cherries, peaches, and nectarines.
Because of the sturdiness of the ingredients, the salad will keep well for 3 or 4 days in the refrigerator.


Thursday, August 14, 2014


Confession time!  For years and years I’ve been eating frozen veggie burgers.  Not because I like them, nor are they satisfying, but because they’re easy to make, and because I hadn’t taken the time to come up with a veggie burger recipe.

I guess it’s been about 6 months since I determined to eat little in the way of processed foods (Other than candy; in fact I’m eating a bag of  Twizzlers as I’m writing this post!), and in that time I’ve been making all kinds of veggie burgers!  I’ve learned that one of the tricks to making a veggie burger that doesn’t squish out of the sides of the bun is to not use a food processor at all; it took me a couple of tries at making burgers to figure that one out…sheesh!

Using canned beans makes easy work of veggie burger making, and for this burger I also use leftover cooked rice to give White Bean Broccoli Burgers some heft.  Leftover quinoa, freekah, or another cooked grain could easily replace the rice.  Broccoli is one of my very favorite foods (I’m a weirdo), it’s affordable and accessible; when the burger cooks some of the broccoli as well as the cheese gets caramelized which is really really yummy!

I’ve hopped aboard the “no more veggies pretending to be meat” bandwagon, and I don’t intend to get off any time soon!


Makes 4 man burgers, or 5 girl burgers

1              Tbsp.      Olive oil, plus more to for cooking the burgers
1              cup         Broccoli, finely chopped
2              cloves     Garlic, minced
½             tsp.        Dry mustard
                              Salt & pepper to taste
1-15          oz. can    Cannellini bean, drained and rinsed
¾             cup         Cooked rice, white or brown
1              cup         Grated cheese, such as cheddar, Swiss, or Gouda
3              Tbsp.      Toasted almonds, chopped
½             tsp.        Italian seasoning
   1.        Heat 1 Tbsp. of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the broccoli and garlic to the skillet, stir frequently for about 2 minutes.  Add the dry mustard, as well as a couple of pinches each of salt & pepper, continue to cook and stir until the broccoli is tender but not mushy; about 2 more minutes.  Remove to a bowl to cool.
   2.       In a medium bowl, mash just half of the beans quite well using a masher or a fork, stopping short of the beans becoming a paste.  Add the remaining beans and mash those just slightly to break up those beans.  Gently, stir in the remaining ingredients, including the cooked broccoli.
   3.       Divide the mixture into 4 or 5 patties and put them into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to set up.
   4.       Coat the bottom of a large non-stick skillet in olive oil and heat the skillet over medium to medium-high heat.  when the skillet is hot, add the burgers, and cook until both sides of the burgers are deep golden brown.

Top with tomatoes, lettuce, red bell peppers, sundried tomato pesto, roasted red pepper aioli, or Roasted Red Pepper Sauce.

 *Note:  Frozen broccoli which has been thawed may be used in place of fresh.  You will skip step 1, omit the 1 tablespoon of olive oil and just mix all of the ingredients together.

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

3                             Roasted Piquillo peppers from a jar (or 1 jarred roasted bell pepper)
¼             cup          Plain Greek yogurt, or mayonnaise
½             clove       Garlic, minced
3              Tbsp.        Fresh parsley, finely chopped
                               Salt & pepper to taste
                               Tobascco sauce to taste.

   1.        Add the roasted peppers, yogurt (or mayonnaise), and garlic to the bowl of a food processor, and process until smooth.  Add the parsley, salt, pepper, Tobascco, and pulse just until mixed in.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

   You may also like:

Cheese Stuffed Turkey Burgers

Greek Burgers

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Black Berry Farro Salad & Roasted Jalapeno Dressing

You may be thinking, “Oh no, another farro dish!”  But farro is versatile and goes with so many flavors, and it’s healthy, and mostly its' because I bought a big bag of farro at Costco! 

As I was thinking about the characteristics of this salad, I realized that it has the same characteristics that I look for in a friend.  It’s a little spicy, but not obscene.  It’s sweet, but not cloyingly sweet.  It’s a bit tart, to keep things in balance.  It’s cheesy, and cheesy is just good clean fun.  Lastly it’s healthy, but in a tasty way, not in a way that’s preachy. 

Now I wonder; if I start to compare everyone to food, what weird and possibly disturbing things will I think of? 

I don’t think I’m gonna do that!
Any hoo…Black Berry Farro Salad & Roasted Jalapeno Dressing makes for a perfect summer supper.  While I used black berries, pretty much any summer fruit (with the exception of melon) would be gosh durned tasty!
Black Berry Farro Salad with Roasted Jalapeno Dressing 

Serves 2 as an entrée, 4 as a side


5             oz.          Goat cheese
¼             cup         Toasted sliced Almonds, finely chopped
2             cups       Cooked farro
1             cup         Chick peas, drained and rinsed
1             cup         Cucumber, medium dice
1                             Avocado, medium dice
1/3         cup         Scallions, green part only, sliced
¼             cup         Cilantro, roughly chopped
Roasted Jalapeno Dressing, recipe follows
Salt and pepper to taste
6             oz.          Black berries

1.  Scoop 1 teaspoon of goat cheese and roll it into a ball, repeat with the remaining goat cheese.  Pour the almonds on to a plate and roll the balls of goat cheese, pressing lightly, in the almonds to coat.  Put to the side. 
2.  In a large bowl combine the cooked farro, chickpeas, cucumbers, avocado, scallions, cilantro, and 1/3 cup of the dressing; season with salt and pepper to taste.
3.  Pour the farro mixture onto a serving dish, arrange the black berries, avocado, and goat cheese balls in an attractive manner on the top of the salad.  Serve the remaining dressing on the side.

Notes:  * While the balls of goat cheese make for a pretty presentation, you may choose just to crumble the goat cheese and sprinkle it and the sliced almonds (in which case don’t chop the almonds) on the salad at the end.
**Swap out the black berries for any other kind of berry you like, or grapes, or peaches.
***To have this serve 4 as an entrée, serve the salad over a bed of head of butter lettuce, or a 5 oz. bag of baby spinach or baby kale; and the addition of seared shrimp or scallops would be lovely.


Makes 1 cup

2                             Jalapenos, halved, with the seeds removed
2             tsp.         Canola or grape seed oil
2             cloves    Garlic, whole and unpeeled
3                             Scallions, white part only, minced
1 ½                         Limes, juice only
2             Tbsp.      Rice vinegar
1             tsp.         Dijon mustard
2             tsp.         Honey
½             cup         Avocado oil, canola oil, or grape seed oil (you may add up to 2/3 cup oil depending on how acidic you like your dressing)
                                Salt and pepper to taste

1.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  On a small, shallow baking dish (or sheet pan) toss the jalapenos and garlic cloves in the 2 tsp. of canola oil.  Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until the skin of the jalapenos has blistered and the garlic is soft.  Remove the skin from the jalapenos and squeeze the garlic out of it's skin.
2.  In a food processor or a blender add all of the ingredients except for the avocado oil (or canola or grape seed oil).  Turn the food processor on and slowly stream the oil in through the top until completely blended; season with salt and pepper to taste. 
*Note, the spicy heat in this dressing is just enough that it tickles the back of your throat, for spicier dressing, leave the jalapenos whole when you roast them, and then remove the seeds after they’re cooked.         

You may also like:

Aprircot Quinoa Salad with Citrus Vinairgrette
Nectarine (peach) & Feta Salad

Tomato & Cheddar Pie
Farro Lentil & Vegetable Salad

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Lawdy, Lawdy, it’s been awhile!  I have been a busy little bee and just haven’t been able to get to this little blog.
We’ve got an older home, which needs plenty of work done to it so I’ve been working on a few, not so small projects.  Billy is off for the summer, andI like to spend time with my man.  And because it’s summer, there are lots of fun things to be done, and I’m doing ‘em!

But I’m here now and have one of my favorite desserts to share with y’all.  Blue Berry Peach Crisp.
I love a crisp because I can use any fruit that I have around, and even though I may be fussy at times, a fruit crisp isn’t.
This recipe uses less refined sugar than a typical crisp might.  I’ve also sneaked in a little nutrition in the topping by way of nuts and flax seed meal; you don’t even know they’re in there.

I like to top a big ol’ bowl of Blue Berry Peach Crisp with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt and just a touch of maple syrup over that.   A scoop of vanilla ice cream is always good as well, and because Blue Berry Peach Crisp is loaded with fruit and oats and is pretty much a healthy snack, you might even get crazy and have two scoops of ice cream!

Makes 4 generous servings

For the filling
2              cups       Fresh peaches, peeled and sliced
2              cups       Fresh blue berries
1                              Lemon, zest only
1              Tbsp.     All-purpose flour
3              Tbsp.     Maple syrup, you may need up 6 tablespoons depending on the sweetness of the fruit
                Pinch     Salt

For the topping
1/3         cup         Old fashioned oats (oat meal)
¼             cup         All-purpose flour
¼             cup         Chopped pecan or almonds
¼             cup         Brown sugar, lightly packed
1 ½         Tbsp.     Flax seed meal
¼             tsp          Ground cinnamon
1/8         tsp.        Ground ginger
                Pinch     Salt
3              Tbsp.     Cold butter, cut into small cubes
1              Tbsp.     Maple syrup

1.  Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.
2.  To make the filling; combine all of the ingredients for the filling in a medium bowl, and stir well, but stir gently as not to break up the fruit.  Pour the filling into an 8 x 8 x 2 inch baking dish, or your favorite dish for making crisps.
3.  To make the topping; in a medium bowl combine all of the topping ingredients except for the butter and the maple syrup, stir well.  Add the cold butter and cut it into the dry ingredients using a pastry blender or two knives, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in the maple syrup.  Distribute the topping over the fruit filling in an even layer (hands work best).  Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until the fruit filling is bubbling and the topping is deep golden brown.
4.  Serve hot with whipped cream, ice cream, or plain Greek yogurt drizzled with a touch more maple syrup.

*Note, you may omit the nuts or the flax seed meal, just replace it with the same amount of oats.

You may also like:

Fresh Blue Raspberry Croustade
Peaches & Cream Oatmeal

Banana Cream Pie, Reduced Fat
Plum Streusel Coffee Cake


Thursday, June 26, 2014


I can’t take a good Selfie, to save my life.  Actually that’s not entirely true; I’ve taken one good selfie it was of Billy and me in Key West, and I posted that sucker on Instagram, and Facebook, and Twitter…it had to be seen!

I have friends on Instagram and Facebook that know how to work that little lens on their phone.  They know how to angle their cameras, how to turn their heads, which way to flip their hair, every photo is post worthy…and they post them…a-lot!  Just sayin’.

I take a picture and I have chins where there shouldn’t be chins; my hair is fluffy (not cute like a bunny, fluffy) and my face…well I just know my face ain’t that big.  My photos are not post worthy…and I delete them…every single one them!  Except for that one!

Any hoo…It’s been hot here in FLA, and they say it’s not the heat it’s the humidity, I’m saying it’s the heat and the humidity!  

To beat the heat I made a Watermelon and Haloumi Cheese Salad.  This salad is a salad of opposites.  It’s sweet and it’s salty, it’s tender and it’s crisp, it’s hot and it’s cold; and if opposites attract, this salad is looking really attractive!

In the case that you don’t know what the heck a Haloumi is; Haloumi is a Greek cheese that can be grilled or fried and hold it’s shape, it’s a bit salty, and similar to Queso Frito.

Watermelon and Haloumi Cheese Salad is terrific for a light lunch or dinner, or to serve along-side with pretty much anything that you want to grill up!

This salad can’t take a selfie, but it sure does take a pretty picture!

Here’s what you do.

Chunks of watermelon are nice so cut the watermelon into 1 inch cubes.  

Also slice some red onion really thin, I don't like too much onion, so I only used 1/4 cup, but if you love it go ahead and add as much as your heart (or taste buds) desire!

Part of the appeal of this salad is the contrast of cold crisp salad with the hot cheese, so prep the ingredients and put them into the refrigerator before cooking the cheese, you may even like to put a your serving dish into the refrigerator.

I sampled this cheese at Whole Foods, and got totally sucked in to buying it!  

Those sample giver outers; they know what they're doing!  

This cheese is good, has a similar texture and saltiness of Haloumi and it's easy to heat (follow the package directions); but all in all, I do prefer to grill my own Haloumi cheese, old habits.  

Allow the cooked cheese to rest for about 2 minutes before cutting it into ¾ inch cubes.

Capers add a little brininess to the salad; I like to fry them in a little hot oil.  

If you haven't had fried capers, you really should!
Be sure to blot the capers on a paper towel to remove excess moisture before adding them to hot oil, this keeps the splattering to a minimum.

Cook the capers until they are a deep golden brown, like just before burnt, and allow them to drain on a piece of paper towel.

Brine packed capers will open like little flowers, but these were salt packed capers, so they really didn't open.

I also used fig flavored balsamic vinegar and lemon infused olive oil.  

If you don't have flavored oil and vinegar just use a good balsamic and extra virgin olive oil.

Dress some arugula with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of balsamic, also season with a pinch of salt and lots of pepper, keeping in mind that the capers and the cheese are both salty.

Oops, almost forgot the onions! 
Toss them in as well.

Make a bed of the arugula on a platter or shallow bowl.

Place the watermelon and the cheese over the arugula, and then sprinkle some more balsamic vinegar and the fried capers over everything.

Enjoy this refreshing salad immediately as a light lunch or dinner, or as an appetizer or a side dish to whatever you're grilling!


Serves 4

6                       oz.          Haloumi cheese (or Heat &Serve Baked Cheese)
1 ½                    tsp.        Capers, drained and rinsed
2                        tsp.        Grape seed oil
1-5                     oz.bag     Arugula
¼                      cup         Red onion, finely sliced
                     Tbsp.      Extra virgin olive oil (I used lemon flavored)
2                        Tbsp.      Balsamic vinegar, divided use (I used fig flavored)
                                      Salt & pepper to taste
20-1 inch              cubes     Water melon

1.  Heat a medium sized skillet or grill pan to heat that is between medium and medium-high.  Add the Haloumi to the hot skillet or grill pan and cook until golden brown on each side (or cook Heat & Serve Baked Cheese according to the package directions).  Allow the cheese to sit for just about 2minutes before cutting it into ¾ inch cubes.
2.  Lay the capers out on a clean piece of paper towel to remove any excess moisture.  Heat the grape seed oil in a small skillet (or you may use the skillet the cheese was cooked in) over medium-high heat.  When the oil is hot, add the capers and stir frequently.  Cook the capers until they are golden brown and the crisp.   Do not do this step in advance, or the capers will become soggy.
3.  In a large bowl, toss together the arugula, red onion, olive oil, 1 Tbsp. of the balsamic vinegar, and salt & pepper to taste. 
4.  Lay the dressed arugula and onions on a platter or a large shallow bowl.  Arrange the watermelon and cheese cubes over the greens in an attractive manner.  Drizzle the remaining balsamic vinegar over the top, and sprinkle the fried capers over everything.

*One of the keys to this salad is that the watermelon and arugula are crisp and cold, and the cheese is hot and melty.

You may also like:
Strawberry Spinach Salad with Pesto Dressing
Watermelon Tarragon Agua Fresca

Nectarine (or peach) and Feta Salad
Grapefruit and Snow Pea Salad

I shared this recipe at:

The Weekend Potluck , 
Freedom Fridays