Spinach, Strawberry & Avocado Salad

I’ve recently seen a similar salad making it’s way around Pinterest, and wanted to give it a try.  I’m not a big poppy seed fan, however, and that is the dressing on the other–it does look good overall, but a little bland for my taste buds.  I altered a few things, added some new flavors, and came up with this:SpinachStrawberry1

Spinach, Strawberry & Avocado Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette

  • 3 Cups Fresh Baby Spinach
  • 1/2 Pint Fresh Organic Strawberries (maybe a bit more), washed & sliced
  • 1 Avocado, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/4 Sweet Red Onion, thinly sliced
  • About 1/2 Cup (little less) sliced raw almonds
  • 1/4 Cup Goat Cheese, Crumbled

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Strawberry Vinaigrette Dressing

  • 1/2 Pint Fresh Organic Strawberries, washed
  • 2 TBS Champagne Vinegar
  • 1/4 lime wedge, skin removed
  • 1 TBS Organic Sugar
  • 3 Large stems Fresh Mint, chopped

I like blending my greens with the dressing prior to adding the other ingredients, as it softens the spinach leaves and blends the dressing through the whole salad.  This is such a nice Summer Salad!  Hope you all enjoy!

For the Love of Your Life!

Angie

Sea Bean Salad

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Yes, you read right….  SEA BEANS!

Not a bean.  Not seaweed.  These little sea-vegetables are in a category all their own!  And what an odd little veggie!  Some people call Sea Beans “Sea Asparagus,” and while they used to be considered seasonal, they’re now found year round.

Sea beans are a great source of Vitamins A & C, as well as Iron & Calcium.  They can be eaten raw, steamed, sautéed, blanched or baked.  I tried them in Whole Foods the other day, in a salad made with simple, fresh ingredients, and immediately loved them.  A new veggie! It’s the little things that get me excited!

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While they’ve always grown wild, sea beans are now cultivated on the desert coasts of  the Sea of Cortez where, grown in pure seawater, they absorb the nutrients of the sea.  Sea beans are ultra salty so however you prepare them, you definitely won’t need to add salt!

I was told by the kind woman at Whole Foods to soak these in cold water for about five minutes prior to eating them raw.  I think it softens them a bit and possibly releases a bit of the saltiness… though they were still incredibly salty!  For the blend below, I happened to have just thinned some  spinach and swiss chard in my garden, so decided to add those.

Sea Bean Salad BlendSeaBean4

  • 1 cup pre-soaked sea beans, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 Tbs chopped, fresh chives
  • 2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Squeeze from half of a fresh lemon
  • 1/4 Cup fresh Baby greens (or other blended chopped greens
  • 3 Good sized stems of fresh basil, leaves chopped fine
  • 1 large stem of fresh mint, chopped fine

SeaBean5Blend above ingredients well to fully coat with olive oil & lemon

  • Add 2 large Vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped
  • Top with a tsp or so of (vegan optional) Parmesan Cheese

Serve with fresh seafood, such as a Coconut & Lime Grilled Tilapia, and Enjoy!

SeaBean6For the Love of Your Life!

Angie

Greens… it continues!

My greens obsession is in full swing!  In fact, I’ve finally had time for my garden to begin, and have planted rows and rows of healthy, nourishing greens.  I can’t wait! The great thing is, my kids are almost as excited as I am.

Today I was playing around with some new combinations of flavors and came up with a great Kale Salad.  I’ve done a few, all with some delectable blends that are sure to nourish and enliven your palate!

Kale & Pancetta SaladKaleBeatPearFig

with Beet, Pear, & Fig

  • One bunch of Dino or other Green Kale, chopped
  • One bunch of Red Kale, chopped
  • 3 Green Onions, chopped
  • 1/4 Purple onion, sliced very thin
  • 1/4 Cup Cubed Pancetta
  • 2 Tbs Olive Oil and 1/2 Lemon, squeezed
  • 1/2 Cup cooked and marinaded beets (I’m crazy for the Love Beets that Whole Foods now carries)
  • 1 Pear, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Handful of Pine Nuts
  • 4-5 Figs, chopped
  • Chèvre Goat Cheese Crumbles
  • Tessemae’s all Natural Lemonette Dressing

Prior to adding the beets, pear, and cheese, blend the first half of the ingredients, and add about  2 Tbs Olive oil, and a hefty squeeze of lemon.  Take your time massaging the oil and lemon into the salad.  Add course sea salt and pepper to taste and keep massaging.  When the salad is tender the the touch, and the taste seems just right to you, add about 1/4 Cup Tessemae’s all Natural Lemonette Dressing.  Then top with beets, pear, and Chèvre.  A touch more salt and pepper if needed, and you’re all set for nourishing your body in a way that will also nourish your taste buds!

For the Love of Your Life!

Angie

“Brain Food”

As many of you have heard (enough of, I’m sure!) last week was a monumental week for me.  I finally…  after putting it off for six years, passed the NCE (National Counselor Examination)!  This was a frightening task for me, as I’ve been out of grad school since 2006, have had babies, raised babies; and my brain sometimes feels as if it’s been through the extra-hot wash cycle on my dishwasher about 100 times over. Fact-retention has never been my unique ability, let’s just say.  So I was beyond thrilled to see a high passing score on this exam!

During my study time, I felt like I could feel the neural connections in my brain–and body–literally going through cycles that I imagine muscles going through during intense workouts.  It was as if every neural connection made or strengthened required massive amounts of nourishment for optimal functioning and recovery.  And I sounded like I’d been doing intense workouts–everyday, I heard myself stating, “God, my brain hurts!”

Thankfully, I have some sense of how the food I eat impacts my brain potential…  and I know that feeding brain cells–mitochondria–Is really important to a happy healthy brain and body.  So I made a point of focusing on my self-care A LOT during the intensity of crazy study hours, days & weeks!  My food was–and is–my fuel for thinking, reasoning, problem-solving, Mindfulness, self-soothing, and ultimately for my ability to relate well with others.  When I’m practicing good self-care, I can ultimately nourish my relationships with a healthy, grounded perspective–and the energy to back it up!

As time would have it, I was preparing for this exam during the final days of my lovely garden growing season.  The last of many greens and veggies were finding their way into unique food combinations so that I could use every last bit!  This year, I grew beets for the first time and, WOW!  I love beets in salads!  Especially salads with a sweet and savory blend.

I made the following recipe during a study break–I felt like I was so craving the physical practice of nourishing myself, and these ingredients just seemed to make their way into my bowl together in a way that was completely satisfying, in both the creation process and the indulgence in taste sensation!

I will mention that the EVOO & Balsamic came from a really wonderful little store in downtown Littleton, Colorado called EVOO–it’s literally a “tasting bar” for olive oils and balsamic vinegars!  Amazing.  If you can’t find anything similar, just keep the flavor combinations in mind.  My mouth waters just thinking about it!

Arugula, Beet & Fresh Fig Salad

Ingredients:

3 Cups fresh, organic baby arugula

4-5 Medium-large fresh Beets, boiled for about 30 minutes and peeled, then cut into quarters

5-6 Large fresh Figs, ends cut off and quartered

4 Green onions, chopped

¼ Purple onion, thinly sliced

About ¼ Cup roasted pumpkin seeds

Top with crumbled goat cheese

Dressing:

½ Cup Butter-infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil

⅛ Cup Cranberry Pear White Balsamic

½ tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp dried Shallots

Salt & Pepper to taste

Enjoy!

I do hope this salad is one that people will explore and share over and over.  Maybe because I have such positive feelings regarding how nourished it felt to me during intense anxiety…  I definitely think this one’s a keeper!

 

PROSCIUTTO & FIG SALAD

Ahhh…..  the tiny bit of free time I’m experiencing with the kiddos in school is definitely allowing some breathing room!  Today, I took advantage and after teaching my dance class, found myself wondering around Old Town Littleton, as I needed to stop by my favorite spice store, Savory.  Just after I picked up a few of my favorite herbs and spices, I found a lovely shop next door, called EVOO Marketplace—filled with fragrant and rich flavored Olive Oils and Balsamic Vinegars.  And they’re a tasting shop!!  Lucky me!

The dressing that was inspired by a few taste combinations lead to a perfectly paired salad that I can’t seem to get enough of!  Here it is… 

Prosciutto & Fig Salad

With Pomegranate, Candied Pecans & Goat Cheese

Salad:

2 Cups Mixed Greens (Arugula works very well, mixed with some other rich, leafy greens)

4-5 Diced Green Onions

¼ thinly Sliced Purple Onion

About 8 Fresh Figs, cut into small pieces

4-5 Slices Prosciutto, chopped

Pomegranate seeds—from approximately ½ of a whole pomegranate

1/4 Cup Crumbled Goat Cheese

Large handful of Candied Pecans

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I “bathe” my pecans in olive oil + (vegan) butter, brown sugar, salt, & a bit of maple syrup, and roast in the oven on a cookie sheet for about 15 min. on about 400 degrees

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Dressing:

¼ Cup Organic Butter Infused Olive Oil (completely vegan—from EVOO Marketplace)

2 TBS Cranberry Pear White Balsamic Vinegar (EVOO Marketplace)

½ tsp Dijon Mustard

½ tsp Cantanzaro Herbed Seasoning Salt (Savory):  (This particular blend includes garlic, lemon peel, marjoram, basil, Mediterranean thyme, rosemary and oregano)

½ tsp Freeze Dried Shallots (Savory)

A few drops of fresh lemon juice

Mix Salad ingredients, top with dressing, add salt & pepper to taste and ENJOY!! 

Pork & Pear Salad

Visiting my sister and her family in Wisconsin, I was sharing my passion for making salads from a variety of fresh, healthy ingredients that might nor normally sound “right” together yet would make a great light Summertime meal.

We’d grilled some boneless pork tenderloins the night before, that had been marinated Greek style (olive oil, a little lemon juice, plenty of garlic, oregano, a bit of parsley, salt & pepper).  And I was craving a light meal with the fresh Bartlett Pears my sister had just purchased.

This is what I came up with and it turned out to be great!

Ingredients:

This is Don…  the wonderful and wise farmer who reminds me of my Dad, with my sister Martha.  Don works these crops from dawn ’til dust seven days a week.  The guy’s a gem!

Fresh greens, chopped (these we picked at the farm where my sister volunteers here in New Berlin, WI. ).

Green onions, diced (also fresh from the farm)

Bartlett Pears, cored and sliced (skin on)

Chopped Raw Almonds

Pork tenderloin, warmed slightly and sliced

Topped with crumbled feta and a small handful of hemp seeds

Dad’s Greek Dressing:

(Now, I need some agreement here….  My Dad, who’s 76, isn’t thrilled about having his recipes online.  Honestly, he doesn’t really understand what “online” is, so we’ll just keep this between us!)

2 Cups Olive Oil

1/2 Cup Red Wine Vinegar

6-7 Cloves Garlic

Tbsp Greek Oregano

1/2 tsp dried mustard

(Shhhhhh!!!!)