Braided Puff Pastry Chocolate

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Oh, hello! I realize the past few months flew by without a peep from me, but I promise it’s not for lack of cooking! I’m happy to share that I recently began a new job, and while I am loving the challenge, it also means I have little time to do the blogging I love so much. After some extensive badgering  “reminders” from friends and family (“WHEN are you posting the recipe to insert dish here?!”), I decided it was time to get back into the swing of things, so be on the lookout for new, fun, fresh recipes.

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Tropical Turmeric Smoothie

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Bam! Wow! That’s what my taste buds and immune system said after concocting this doozy of a smoothie. I’ve known for awhile that turmeric is a great immunity booster as well as aiding digestion and reducing inflammation*, but I hadn’t figured out how to incorporate it into my diet. A smoothie seemed the perfect opportunity to try it and it worked in spades! Test it out for yourself and let me know what variations you enjoy. Continue reading

Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Chilean Grapes

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Why I haven’t followed more grocery stores’ twitter feeds until recently is crazy to me. If you ever are in need of dinner inspiration, go straight to your favorite grocery establishment’s social media feeds, not the least of which being Whole Foods, New Seasons, Trader Joe’s and Fred Meyer. This brussels sprouts recipe came from Freddy’s, and I’ve recreated this side dish on multiple occasions. Grapes are usually available, but for the more seasonal foods focused people out there, replace the fresh grapes with raisins or even dried cranberries. Want a meat-friendly alternative? Fry up some bacon – a beautifully salty pairing with the sweet grapes and goat cheese. Continue reading

Persimmon, Pomegranate, Celery Salad

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The winter season often leaves me in a rut for colorful, light food, so when I come across something that’s both in season and not heavy on the root vegetables, I’m quite excited to try it.

New Seasons Market is a Portland grocery store that not only has a ton of wonderfully organically and locally grown produce, but they always have super delicious samples to pass out (I promise that’s not the only reason I shop there). Recently I can across this persimmon, pomegranate and celery salad, which completely won me over. Between the sweetness of the persimmons, pomegranate tang and celery crunch, this salad is beautiful as a side dish or a meat dressing. I paired it with a peach bourbon glazed salmon (which basically is 4 tbsp of Aunt Becky’s Peach Bourbon jam on 2 lbs of salmon steak, baked at 350 for 25-35 min) and quinoa, of which there were absolutely no leftovers to speak of. Continue reading

Coconut Pineapple Green Smoothie

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Friends, I’m in love. While coconut has always had a place in my heart, I have had little admiration for coconut water. Until now. Thanks to Whole Foods, I learned about a new way to prepare a green smoothie, and it’s one that I’ll likely be making weekly. Summer will never be gone as long as this bad boy (or girl, no judgement) sticks around! Continue reading

Creamy Tortellini Soup

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Fall doth arrive, and with it my incredible urge to cook up a storm. While I’ve been remiss in posting frequently the past few months, I promise it’s been for good reason: I’ve been working and cooking hard! As the weather turns to cool, my attention turns from salads to heartwarming soups. This recipe has been on my Pinterest board for many months, and now finally has a chance to shine. Continue reading

Chard and Garbanzo Bean Salad

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For something with so few ingredients, it really packs a flavorful punch. I was so pleased to share this dish with a friend recently, and she gave me the best compliment of all: entire shock at how tasty it was! Let this be your meal’s main feature, or partner with roasted chicken or pork. If your experience is anything like mine, you’ll be adding this salad to your cooking rotation tout suite! Continue reading

Roasted Vegetable and Brown Rice Salad

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Inspired by the Picnic House‘s brown rice salad, this side dish is a big hit at potlucks, lunch and dinner side dishes. Happily, the recipe is simple, limited effort and absolutely delicious – hot or cold.

Roasted Vegetables and Brown Rice Salad

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium skinned, cubed sweet potato
  • 2-3 carrots, quartered and cubed
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into small flowerettes
  • 1/4 cup roasted hazelnut vinaigrette (I prefer Lucini, found at New Seasons)
  • 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • cilantro for garnish

Directions

Most of the “work” for this dish is taken care of while the vegetables are roasting, which can be done the night before and then kept cool until serving. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a baking sheet, toss cauliflower, carrots and sweet potatoes with 2 tbs of olive oil, some salt and pepper. Roast the vegetables for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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While the vegetable roast, warm over low heat the remaining tbs of olive oil in a pot, then add the brown rice and let simmer for 1-2 minutes. Add water and cook to package instructions (usually around 25 minutes).

Once the rice has finished, remove from heat and let cool, stirring occasionally to release the heat. If you would like this to be a warm salad, immediately start mixing together the roasted vegetables and rice, add hazelnuts, cilantro, and vinaigrette. For a cold salad, let the rice cool completely before adding all the ingredients together.

Yup, that’s pretty much it! You may like to add more salt and/or vinaigrette to the salad, but regardless, you won’t be disappointed in the outcome!

Leftover tip: heat the leftover salad over medium heat with just some water, then break an egg and scramble. Makes for an awesome breakfast!

Cranberry, Apricot and Nut Oat Granola Bars

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For those longer hikes and backpacking trips, it’s important to have protein and energy-packed snacks at your chewing disposal. But let’s face it, healthy snacks can be expensive, plus there’s all that extra packaging, and who knows what really goes in them if you didn’t make it yourself, right?

I faced a similar dilemma while prepping for my annual Ladies’ Backpacking Weekend, and decided to take matters into my own hands. Instead of loading up on Kind bars and Soy Joys (though I do love them), I tried my own homemade granola bars and a sweet treat. Thanks to Minimalist Baker for this awesome 5 ingredient recipe, which both accommodates great taste and easy creation. Continue reading

Sriracha Avocado Coleslaw: A New Fan Favorite

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As far as I’m concerned, there are two camps when it comes to coleslaw preferences: mayo-based and vinegar-based. Both have their virtues and vices, though one seems to be missing something from the other. I’m a mayo fan. Always have been, plan to always be, but I find I miss out on the bite of the vinegar sauces, but when I have them, I miss out on the creamy. :-/ What’s a girl to do? How about creamy and bite in one? Thus, the Sriracha Avocado Coleslaw was born. Continue reading