“Americans are not a perfect people, but we are called to a perfect mission.” ~ Andrew Jackson

I found another delicious salad that allows me to use my new favorite ingredient.

Quinoa.

Whats great about quinoa is that it’s very filling and pretty much takes on the flavor of the other ingredients with which it has been paired. Because of this, you can add it or serve it with most any salad or as a bed for a sauce in place of rice. It has been called the “perfect food”.

I am always finding new ways to try quinoa. I have a new recipe for a breakfast bowl that calls for it and I am dying to give it a try.

Stay tuned.

Kale Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

(adapted from Damn Delicious)

Salad

  • 4 cups chopped kale
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup blueberry craisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

Toss salad ingredients in large bowl, top with vinaigrette, toss again. Serve immediately.

** This can be made with any mixed green salad but I highly recommend keeping all other ingredients. **

Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 Meyer lemon
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Whisk together olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest and sugar in a small bowl.

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-abp

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“I like the cold weather. It means you get work done.” ~ Noam Chomsky

Brrrrr.

It’s that time of year again.

Cold.

Brutally cold.

At least in Southerners terms.

If it doesn’t get out of the 40’s, like today, I do not get out of the house.

Well, if I can help it.

Luckily, today I had nothing pressing to do outside of the home so I am staying in and have spent most of the morning in the kitchen.

It’s nice and warm in there with the oven on.

This gave me an opportunity to try a couple things that have been on my “want to do” list.

One being the very simple Pumpkin Spice Muffins.

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

  • 1 Box Spice Cake Mix
  • 1 15 oz can of pumpkin
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup chopped pecans (optional)
  • Confectioners Sugar
  • Confectioners Sugar Glaze

Preheat oven to 350º.

Mix together cake mix, pumpkin, vanilla and nuts

Scoop even amounts into a lined muffin tin.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Top with a sprinkle of confectioners sugar and prepared Sugar Glaze (recipe below)

Sugar Glaze

  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon clear vanilla extract

Stir milk into sugar. Add vanilla. Drizzle on cupcakes.

May be thickened with confectioners’ sugar or thinned with milk.

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This would be a great last minute breakfast or snack to throw together because it’s quick, simple and you could easily have all the ingredients in your pantry.

-abp

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

I have two friends that I do not get to see as much as I used to so we have tried to get together for breakfast once a month so we could catch up.  We would always meet at a restaurant but since Elizabeth has come along we have found it easier to meet as each others homes.

We first did a wonderful Christmas breakfast at one friend’s house so this time I thought I would have them to mine.

Although, we had lunch because there was no way that I would have me, Elizabeth and food ready in time for breakfast!

No lady’s luncheon would be complete without a good fluffy fruit salad. The salad of choice that day was Cherry Dream.

Cherry Dream Salad

(adapted from From Glitter to Gumdrops)

1 can Cherry pie filling (24 oz)
1 can of Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 can of Crushed Pineapple, well drained
2/3 bag Mini Marshmallows
1 cup Chopped Pecans
16-24oz Cool Whip (according to how fluffy you want it)

Combine all the ingredients except for pie filling and cool whip.
Stir in pie filling, then fold in Whip cream. Chill for at least 4 hours.

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“Trips to the dentist – I like to postpone that kind of thing.” ~ Johnny Depp

I better enjoy the last few weeks of my pregnancy and my newly found sweet tooth!!

Because once she gets here – someone is going to have to pull that sweet tooth!!

I’ve always been a fan of sweets but I would usually rather have a second helping of the savory dish at hand and pass on dessert.

Not anymore.

I had whipped up these Graham Cracker Toffee Bars last Saturday to go with the Vegetable Beef Soup and I ate my one (good-sized) bowl, pushed it aside and stuck my hand into the plate of Toffee Bars.

6 times.

Yep, I ate six, without even moving from my chair.

I know I’m having unusual cravings but seriously folks – they are THAT good!

Graham Cracker Toffee Bars

  • 24 Graham Crackers
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350º.

Line a baking pan with parchment paper (you will need 2 or 1 if you half the recipe like I did) and lay out graham crackers

In a sauce pan over medium heat, melt butter and sugar, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil – careful not to scorch. Stir in pecans.

Pour melted butter/sugar over crackers and bake for 10 minutes.

Remove and sprinkle with chocolate chips.

Allow to cool completely and the break apart.

photo-8You can thank me later!

-abp

“Don’t compare yourself with someone else’s version of happy or thin. Accepting yourself burns the most calories.” ~ Caroline Rhea

As mentioned earlier in the week – all I am craving is the “sweet stuff” but man can’t live on sugar alone (although goodness knows I could but my waistline could not) so…….

I found a couple recipes from Cooking Light I would like to try and tonights will be Walnut and Rosemary Oven-Fried Chicken.

  • ¼ cup low fat buttermilk
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
  • 4 (6 ounce) chicken cutlets
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 2 Tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • ¾ teaspoon minced rosemary
  • 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • cooking spray

Preheat oven to 425º.

Combine buttermilk and mustard in a shallow dish, stirring with a whisk.

Add chicken to mixture, turning to coat.

Heat small skillet over medium-high heat. Add panko bread crumbs to pan, cook 3 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently.

Combine panko, nuts, cheese, rosemary, salt and pepper in shallow dish. Remove chicken from buttermilk mixture and dredge in panko mixture.

Place a wire rack on a large baking sheet, coat with cooking spray and arrange chicken on rack; spray chicken with cooking spray.

Bake for 13 minutes or until chicken in done.  I served mine with wild rice and a salad.

Having this for dinner (292 calories, 9.6 grams fat/serving) made me feel better about all the Chocolate Chip Nutella Cookies I ate!

I hope to try more Cooking Light recipes soon!

Hope everyone had a great Halloween!

abp

“The secret to staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.” ~ Lucille Ball

It’s definitely starting to feel like fall around here, so like everyone else I feel like doing something pumpkiny.  I have found several recipes that look interesting but I’m a sucker for blondies/brownies so when I happened upon Pumpkin Butterscotch Blondies on the blog The Baker Chick I knew that was the one!

Oh and by the way – today is my birthday, so if I want to eat the whole pan. I can. 🙂

Tonight a group of my friends and family are going to Hokkaido Japanese Steak and Sushi Bar and I cannot wait!!!! I looooove me some fried rice!!! This will be the first time I have been since the original was destroyed in the April 27, 2011 tornado – so happy to have them back!!

Alrighty then, on to the blondies.

Pumpkin Butterscotch Blondies

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin-pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 package (12 ounces) butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 350°

Spray the bottom and sides of a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick spray.

Mix the first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.

Next cream butter and sugar on medium high speed with an electric mixer.

Then beat in egg and vanilla.

Beat in pumpkin puree.

Reduce speed to low and mix in the dry ingredients until combined.

Fold in butterscotch chips.

Spread evenly into prepared baking dish.

Cook for 30-45 minutes or until sides start to pull away and an inserted toothpick comes out with just a few moist crumbs.

Cool completely and cut into squares.

I then served it warm with whipped cream, chocolate chips and pecans.

ahhhh……the flavors of fall – you just can’t beat ’em!!

As you can see, I like a little crunch so next time I would add pecans when baking. When trying a new recipe for the first time that I am pretty sure I would like nuts in, I usually wait because pecans are pretty pricey and I want to make sure I like the recipe before I add them.  But that is just me – they are pretty awesome without nuts too!

I hope you have had a chance to sample several goodies this fall season! If you have not – this would be a great one to try!

abp