Moonstone Salad

Happy Fall, friends!!
I am kicking off the cold weather with a fantastic spinach salad inspired by my recent trip to California with my mom & sister. We spent some time in San Fran, drove down the coast through Big Sur, and visited with my cousins in Santa Monica. The California coast is breathtaking, and apparently September is the time to go because it felt rather deserted. Everyone kept warning me  to expect throngs of cars and tourists on Highway One, but we saw very few other people.

If I had to pick ONE favorite place, it would be Cambria. It’s a quiet little town right on Moonstone Beach south of Big Sur. We stayed in a cute seaside apartment with a porch and view of the ocean.  I woke up before dawn to run along Moonstone Beach, but I kept stopping to pick up & examine stones and stuff them down my shorts, which made running difficult… Can you blame me? Look at the colors of these stones!

moonstones
One night we picked up some gorgeous fresh salads from a local restaurant and picnicked on the balcony while watching whales spouting far off in the distance. My first whale sightings ever!Thus the Moonstone salad was born. I tried to guess all the ingredients, so this is my take on it. I have made this salad 5 times now and am still not tired of it, so trust me, this is a keeper….

The grapefruit and pumpkin seeds make it kind of Fall-ish, and a perfect Thanksgiving dish to  balance out all that buttery goodness and turkey! I am feeling extra grateful for so many simple things this year: my health, my family’s health, plentiful food, a roof over my head and being able to spend time together and break bread. These are all things we easily take for granted until they are taken away from us…

May your Thanksgiving be full of gratitude, family time, and delicious food.

In love and health,

Lydia

 

Moonstone Salad

Serves 5
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 40 minutes
Meal type Main Dish, Salad
Misc Serve Cold
This colorful salad is a nice compliment to the Thanksgiving table.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups spinach
  • 1 small red onion (sliced in thin rings)
  • 4 tablespoons pumpkin seeds (roasted and salted)
  • 6oz salty feta cheese (crumbled)
  • 1/2 grapefruit (peeled and sectioned)
  • 1 avocado (peeled and sliced thinly)
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate arils
  • salt and pepper to taste

Citrus Vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup champagne or white wine vinegar
  • 1 small shallot (chopped finely)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions

Step 1
Slice the red onion thinly and saute in 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat for 15-20 minutes until caramelized and dark. Set aside to cool.
Step 2
Assemble the spinach on plates and top with the caramelized onions, feta cheese, sliced grapefruit, and avocado.
Step 3
Combine the orange juice and other vinaigrette ingredients in a jar and shake until well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve drizzled over the salad.
Step 4
Sprinkle pomegranate arils and pumpkin seeds over the salad and serve with the vinaigrette.

Green Bean Tomato Salad

Garden Summer 2015

 

The garden has been exploding with tiny wild cherry tomatoes and jade green beans this year. If I sit quietly, I can see so much activity going on:tiny baby anoles climbing the hop vines, wasps buzzing about the bolting basil, honeybees on the squash flowers, earthworms in the soil.   The single most important thing we have learned gardening each year is to create an environment that attracts beneficial insects like wasps and ladybugs that will ward off pests. So we keep flowers and flowering herbs like salvia, dill, mint, thyme, cilantro and basil mixed in with the vegetable plants to attract the beneficial insects . This year, so far, we have had no aphids or caterpillars. Additionally, we use a copper powder once every two weeks to ward off fungus and blight due to wet conditions.

Now I am not a huge green bean fan, but these beans are different! They are called “jade beans” and seem to just keep on growing more beans for months on end.

We tend to eat really simply in the summer to let the fresh ingredients shine , and this recipe was born from a surplus of beans and tomatoes one night.

If you get your hands on some fresh green beans, then give this one  a try. It will be on the table in 20 minutes!

Happy Summertime.

 

Green Bean Tomato Salad

Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 3 minutes
Total time 13 minutes
Dietary Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Meal type Lunch, Salad, Side Dish

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh green beans
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Bulgarian feta
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Directions

Step 1
Wash green beans and then bring a pot of water to a boil. Blanch the beans 2-3 minutes in the hot water and then dunk into a bowl filled with ice cold water.
Step 2
Combine vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and mustard in a bowl and whisk until combined.
Step 3
Combine green beans, fresh tomatoes, and feta in a salad bowl and toss with prepared dressing.

 

 

 

 

Summer Frittata

Ahhhh, summer in Savannah.

Tybee Island July 4th

beach days, sangria , guacamole, bumper crops of tomatoes, eggplant, peppers,  squash, fresh watermelon juice,  perusing the farmer’s market, waking up 6 days a week at 5:00 a.m. to squeeze in a workout before it hits 90 degrees, and melting in an  old house that won’t dip below 80 degrees

 

It has its pluses and minuses.

 

One of the pluses is creating recipes that do not require an oven. I love coming home, warming up charcoals on the grill, tossing on some veggies and burgers and keeping the kitchen oven OFF( in addition to making milkshakes and eating ice cream, but let’s stick to HEALTHY today, shall we?)

An influx of 5  pounds of tomatoes out of the garden, as well as a potluck with 150 hungry runners called for only one thing: frittata.

I  turned the oven on and sipped my ice cold green tea while the temperature in my house reached 89 degrees. But it was worth it.

The picture below does not do it justice because it was snapped with my phone as I was rushing around trying to label food before the runners arrived.Sorry:-( I wasn’t going to even post it, but you need to see what a frittata looks like, don’t you?

You may opt to leave off the fancy blue labels that I like to call sticky notes, but it adds to the overall charm. ‘Twas my last-minute idea, obviously.

For those of you who whine, “Eating healthy is so expensive“. Observe.

Eggs: free-range $5 or free if you have your own chickens= $0

Tomatoes grown at your house=$0

1 bag frozen spinach=$2

fresh thyme from your garden=$0

6-8 oz Feta cheese=$3.50

salt and pepper=$0 (Let’s hope  you have that in your house already.ok?)

water from the sink=$0

 

Total cost if you have your own eggs & tomatoes: $5.50, cost per serving ~$1.10

Now go start planting your own mini garden!

I leave you with an a recent , incredibly interesting blog post from my favorite healthy eating blogger Sarah B at My New Roots on the little known  health  benefits of eggs. Egg yolks can improve your vision,too, and we could all use more foods to keep peepers peepin’! Sarah’s article will encourage you to put the egg-white fad to rest and jump on the egg-yolk bandwagon again. If you want to lighten it because you are concerned about calories, replace 1/2 of the yolks with an additional 6 egg whites.

Enjoy, friends. (Excuse the Instagram, less- than -perfect  photos today. …)

 

Summer Veggie Frittata

Serves 4-5
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 45 minutes
Total time 55 minutes
Allergy Egg
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Breakfast
Misc Freezable, Serve Cold, Serve Hot
A summery, colorful, and cheap frittata recipe.

Ingredients

  • 8oz feta cheese
  • 1 2 eggs, free range is possible
  • 1/2 cup plain almond milk or milk
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes (sliced in half)
  • 1 bag bag of frozen chopped spinach
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme (chopped finely)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • .5 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

Step 1
Scramble all the eggs in a large bowl until combined and yolks are mixed well.
Step 2
Season with salt and pepper.
Step 3
Add in milk,crumbled feta, spinach and thyme. Stir until combined.
Step 4
Pout mixture into a greased, 9 by 13 inch pan.
Step 5
Sprinkle the cherry tomato halves over the mixture evenly.
Step 6
Bake at 350 degrees until entire mixture puffs up and the center is not runny or moving when you shake the pan. approximately 30-45 minutes. It will vary.