Kale Quinoa Salad

The original inspiration for this salad came from Smitten Kitchen. I’ve had to make several changes to accommodate the availability of ingredients in our rural area. The end result was a hit with the family and I’ve made it several times since.

Kale Quinoa Salad

Ingredients – Dressing

  • 4 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

    Kale Quinoa Salad

    Kale Quinoa Salad

  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper

Salad Ingredients

  • 1 large bunch of kale (I’ve used both the curly kale and the dinosaur (aka Lacinator) kale.
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 bunch of scallions, sliced part ways up into the green stalk.
  • 5 oz bag dried tart cherries (my daughter used cranberries instead)
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted until light brown and cool.
  • Feta Cheese – crumbled
  • Lemon zest gratings

Put it All Together

  1. Rinse the quinoa thoroughly. Place the quinoa in a small saucepan with 1 1/2 cups boiling water and a 1/4 tsp. sea salt. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until tender. Rinse quinoa well in cold water and drain. Set aside.
  2. Rinse and dry the kale. Remove the leaves from the stalks, discarding the stalks. Finely chop the kale and put in a large bowl.  (Do make sure it is chopped finely. )
  3. Add the quinoa, scallions, cherries, almonds and mix well.
  4. Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Pour over the dressing. Grate some lemon zest over the salad. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.
  5. Add the Feta cheese to the individual servings.
  6. This servers 3-4 as a meal or several smaller servings if used as a side.

Surprisingly, this salad will keep well in the refrigerator for a day.

Easy Cabbage Soup

Not much to say about this soup except that it is TOTALLY awesome. I had posted a link to the recipe on Simply Recipes on Facebook awhile back and it generated a lot of comments. This soup is incredibly easy to make, healthy, and tastes great. I tweaked a few ingredients from the original. The spices are essential to this soup, so please don’t skip them!

Easy Cabbage Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp. butter
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin seed
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds (grind them in a mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder used for spices)
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)

    cabbage soup

    Cabbage Soup

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6-7 cups packed of sliced cabbage (I make slices around a quarter inch)
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 14 oz. cans diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1-2 cups water (depends on desired thickness of soup)
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste

Put it All Together

  1. Heat the olive oil and butter on medium heat in a soup pot (8 qt).  Add the garlic, onions, and spices. Cook until onions are softened, 5-6 minutes.
  2. Add the cabbage to the onions, stirring to mix. Sprinkle with the sea salt.
  3. Add the tomatoes and juices to the onions, again stirring.
  4. Add the chicken broth. Stir and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook 25-30 minutes or until cabbage is thoroughly cooked.
  5. If soup is too thick, add additional water or broth.

This is a light soup. I have sautéed some sliced Andouille sausage for users to add to the soup at their discretion. My husband likes this addition.

Blueberry Coffee Cake with Almond Topping

I volunteered to bring a dessert for a ladies group that meets in my home town. I was going to make my Applesauce Muffins, but then I got my latest magazine of Cooking Light and stumbled across a recipe for Blueberry Coffee Cake that was loaded with blueberries and I was hooked! Made a few minor changes and served it up to family for testing. It was well received.

Blueberry Coffee Cake with Almond Topping

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries (if you use frozen, bake a bit longer)

    blueberrycoffeecake

    Blueberry Coffee Cake

  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats.
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 Tbsp. whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 Tbsp Safflower oil (or other light oil)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Put it All Together

  1. Heat the oven to 375.
  2. Wash the blueberries and drain thoroughly.
  3. In a small bowl mix 1 Tbsp flour, cinnamon, sliced almonds, and rolled oats. Pour the 2 Tbsp. butter over the dry ingredients and mix. Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix the 2 cups flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Remove 2 Tbsp. of the flour mixture and toss with the blueberries. Set the blueberries aside.
  5. In a large bowl, place the granulated sugar, 1/4 cup of butter, and safflower oil. Beat until well mixed. Add the egg and beat well.
  6. Add the buttermilk and flour mixture alternately to the sugar mixture. Begin and end with flour mixture. Stir in the lemon zest and juice.
  7. Coat a 9 inch square pan with cooking spray. Place 1/2 the batter in the pan and spread out with a spatula. Evenly put 1/2 the blueberries on top. Add the rest of the batter mixture and then top with the rest of the blueberries. Sprinkle evenly with the brown sugar-almond-oatmeal mixture from step 3.
  8. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. You may need to use the outside edges as there are so many blueberries that the toothpick always comes out pretty messy :-). I use the outside edges for the toothpick and then bake a bit longer to accommodate for the middle of the pan.
  9. Cool in pan for 10-15 minutes on a wire rack. Loose around the edges with a knife and remove from pan if you wish.

I haven’t tried it yet, but did think that substituting raspberries or blackberries would also be good — or even a mixture of berries. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream if you wish. Hope you enjoy this as much as we do!

Buckwheat Pancakes

I love Sunday morning breakfast. Church is later in the morning, and it’s fun to make a special meal when I have time to spare. Buckwheat pancakes with real maple syrup, sausage, and fresh fruit is one we really enjoy. I got the original recipe from Simply Recipes and made it our own. Buckwheat has an earthy flavor and Simply Recipes says you can substitute the wheat flour for all buckwheat (which is gluten free). I haven’t tried that.

Buckwheat Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup buckwheat flour ( use Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (again, Bob’s Red Mill)

    buckwheat pancakes

    Buckwheat Pancakes with Sausage and Blackberries

  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 rounded tsp. baking soda
  • 3 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 2 1/2 cups buttermilk

Put it All Together

  1. Heat a griddle or non-stick pan to medium heat.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
  3. Pour melted butter over dry ingredients and start mixing.
  4. Add the slightly beaten egg to the buttermilk. Slowly add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients until you get the desired consistency for the pancakes. You may need to add or not use all buttermilk.
  5. Put a small amount of vegetable oil or spray on the heated pan/griddle.
  6. Pour about 1/4 cup batter onto the griddle. Cook until bubbles appear on top (3.4 minutes). Turn for an additional 2-3 minutes or until nicely browned.
  7. Serve with warmed REAL maple syrup, the fresh fruit of your choice (we use a variety of fresh berries), and sausage or bacon if desired.

Scrambled Eggs – All Dressed Up

I’m not a huge egg fan by any stretch of the imagination, as my family will attest, but today seemed like a good day to make them for a brunch. Our church service was at 0900 instead of later in the morning this week, so we went before breakfast and ate afterwards.

If I’m going to eat eggs, they need to be amped up a bit so I don’t taste the egg too much. I add lots of veggies and cheese and then serve with toast and some fruit. (Today the fruit was clementines).

Scrambled Eggs – All Dressed Up

Ingredients

  • 7 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely minced

    eggs

    Scrambled Eggs All Dressed Up

  • 1/2 red pepper, finely chopped
  • 4-6 oz. mushrooms, thinly sliced (I like to use baby Portobella mushrooms, but pic what you like)
  • 4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese (Usually use the white)
  • 1 tsp. tarragon, dried
  • 1/4 tsp. truffle oil
  • Olive oil and/or butter

Put It All Together

  1. Prepare the garlic, pepper, mushrooms, and cheese. Set aside for the moment.
  2. Crack the  eggs into a medium bowl and add a 1/4 cup water. Mix thoroughly. An immersion blender works wonderful!
  3. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat until a drop of water spatters. Add 1-2 Tbsp of olive oil and/or butter and heat again. Add garlic, pepper, mushrooms and tarragon. Sauté until soft – about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs to the pan and then top with the cheese. Let eggs cook for a half minute. Then with a rubber or wooden spatula, gently push the eggs from the side to the center of the pan. Continue until there is no liquid left. (I find the eggs get fluffier when I add the cheese at the start of cooking).
  5. Sprinkle the truffle oil over the top of the eggs. This is optional, but it does give a delicious umami/earthy flavor to the eggs that I absolutely adore.
  6. Serve with toasted whole wheat bread and fruit.

Mango Smoothie

Haven’t written anything for awhile. Have lots of recipes and no time :-(. Anyway, thought Id get caught up a bit by posting a basic smoothie recipe we like. I could have smoothies every day for breakfast! Here’s one I really like… and it’s definitely adjustable with a variety of fruits.

Mango Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 small banana
  • 1 tsp. chia seeds
  • 1 scoop vanilla flavored whey/protein powder (I use Mercola’s Miracle Whey)

    Image

    Mango Smoothie

  • 1-2 Tbsp grated lemon or to taste. (NOTE: I put a lemon in the freezer and then grate it into the smoothie with a microplane  grater)
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 cup water or 1% milk
  • 1 cup frozen manago chunks (more or less)
  • Fresh grated nutmeg.

Put it Together

  1. Put all ingredients together in a small bowl.
  2. Grate about 1/8 tsp nutmeg over mixture.
  3. Using an immersion blender, mix the ingredients until smooth.
  4. Pour in a large cup or glass – or if you wish, put in two smaller cups for 2 servings.
  5. Grate some more nutmeg over the cup.
  6. NOTE: I leave the lemon and mango out 5-10 minutes before proceeding with grating/mixing. The lemon grates better if left out a few minutes and the mango blends better if slightly thawed.

Variations: There are lots of variations on this. I will often use frozen blueberries or mixed berries as the fruit and then use cinnamon for the spice — using about 1/2 tsp. cinnamon in place of the nutmeg. A friend uses frozen peaches and raspberries. If no yogurt, you can use milk in it’s place if desired. I’ve left the whey powder out and added more yogurt and that works just fine too. Don’t believe there are any hard and fast rules for smoothies. Use your imagination and enjoy!

My New Favorite Chicken Soup

I published a chicken soup recipe awhile back here that I’ve made for years. These past few months I’ve found a new way of making chicken soup that is much faster to put together and tastes pretty darn good!

My son has been “into” brining poultry after we brined a turkey for Thanksgiving last year. He uses a recipe where uses equal amounts of kosher salt and sugar boiled to completely dissolve and then cool. He then puts two chickens in a large container with the brine and refrigerates over night. The next day he rinses the chickens in cold water, applies an herb run and roasts them. This is absolutely delicious and there is leftover chicken for salads, sandwiches and soups for a week for three of us. Maybe I’ll get more details later and publish a full blog on Brined Chicken! You can use any type of chicken you have available for this soup, however.

chicken soup

Fast Homemade Chicken Soup.

Chicken Soup – Fast to Make

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of cut up roasted chicken
  • 8 cups chicken broth (I use 2 – 32 oz. boxes of broth – or make your own broth as noted in my original chicken soup recipe).
  • 2-4 cups hot water – depending on how much liquid you want in your soup
  • 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 tsp (generous) of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp dried thyme leaves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4-8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups onion, chopped
  • 2 cups carrots, chopped
  • 2 cups celery, chopped
  • 1 pkg frozen spinach (10 oz) – I’ve also used fresh chopped bok choy or baby spinach. Leave the spinach out for a couple hours to thaw if possible, but not necessary.
  • 3/4 cup pearled barley
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (or equivalent dried parsley)

Put it Together

  1. Heat the olive oil in a soup pot. Add garlic and sauté briefly. Add thyme, red pepper flakes, onions, carrots, and celery. Sauté until just tender – 7-10 minutes.
  2. While veggies are sautéing, warm the chicken broth in another pan until almost boiling. Add this to the original soup pan and bring mixture to a low boil. Add bay leaves.
  3. Rinse the barley in warm water for a minute or two. Add this to the broth mixture. Bring soup back to low boil and simmer until barley is done. This usually takes 35-30 minutes.
  4. Add the spinach and cook until it is thawed or add the fresh spinach or bok choy.
  5. Add chicken and parsley. Cook until hot. Let simmer a few more minutes to meld flavors.
  6. Serve with bread, crackers and/or a simple lettuce salad. Enjoy.