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.

 

 

 

 

Spiralized Rosemary Beet Salad

Hi there friends! I spent my wondrous President’s Day off a couple weeks ago scheduling some blog posts, having lunch with an old friend and her new baby, drinking hot tea in my pajamas while roasting a fresh chicken that we raised right here at home.

Life can’t get much better than that right? I even had a slice of cake later to top it all off!

I wanted to pop in and share this because I truly cannot get enough of my new spiralizer:  zucchini, beets, yellow squash, cucumbers…ALL of these veggies become infinitely more exciting when spiralized.

Spiralizer

Spiralizer

My personal favorite , though, is spiralizing slightly cooked beets.

beet noodles

beet noodles

I have used spiralized beets in replacement of pastas in spaghetti with excellent results, but also made some really fresh salads.

I believe you can buy them on Amazon HERE. This particular one has 3 different blades and I love it.

Happy spiralizing!

Spiralized Rosemary Beet Salad

Serves 3
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 35 minutes
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Salad, Side Dish
Misc Serve Cold, Serve Hot
This spiralized rosemary beet salad is the perfect winter side dish.

Ingredients

  • 3 medium sized organic beets
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary-minced finely
  • 6oz soft goat cheese (crumbled)
  • juice 1/2 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons grated onion or shallot
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Note

Serve this salad warm or cold!

Directions

Step 1
Clean beets and boil them for about 15-20 minutes in saucepan covered with water. Drain and peel them while warm with your fingers. Spiralize the beets and place in a salad bowl.
Step 2
Combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, salt, rosemary and onion in a saucepan over medium heat and simmer 2 minutes.
Step 3
Drizzle the warm dressing over the spiralized beets and sprinkle with goat cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cucumber Salad

Hello long lost readers.

I am back to my space here  finally after a tiny hiatus. We hit the road to Virginia  with two dogs, hiking backpacks, camping gear, a cooler full of food, homemade snacks, and 2 bags of peanut M&M’s. That’s really all you need in life,  peanut M&M’s and family time.

Before we left though, our house, our yard, and our bellies were filled to the brim with cucumbers.

I had this post all ready for Farmer’s Market Friday 2 weeks ago, yet somehow in the hustle and bustle and chaos of leaving the urban farm for a week(Am I the only one who cleans like a mad woman before I leave town ?), it slipped my  mind to actually post it!

Anyhoo, this  salad really needs no recipe, : a little of this, a little of that, chop- chop and it’s ready! A 5 minute, no-fuss, light and delicious cucumber salad.

You will love the freshness and crunch- iness.cucumber salad

 

 

My other obsession before our little roadtrip : sunflowers!

In the big empty 3 acre lot next to us lies a large field of over-sized sunflowers fresh for picking. Nothing makes my heart sing like having sunflowers in little vases all over the house!

sunflower field

 I will be sharing photos  and stories of our Virginia adventures soon, friends! I sure did miss cooking last week.

In Love and Health,

Lydia

Summer Cucumber Salad

Serves 4
Prep time 5 minutes
Dietary Vegan
Meal type Salad, Side Dish
Misc Serve Cold
This refreshing and crunchy cucumber salad takes 5 minutes to prepare.

Ingredients

  • 2 cucumbers (large(6 inch long 2-3 inches diameter) , diced and seeded)
  • 1 red onion (medium, chopped finely)
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1.5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh chopped dill

Directions

Step 1
Split the cucumbers lengthwise and remove the seeds with a spoon.
Step 2
Dice the cucumber into small pieces or slice thinly.
Step 3
In a small bowl whisk together sugar, salt, red wine vinegar, and finely chopped dill.
Step 4
Toss together the cucumber and onion in a medium bowl. Pour the dressing over the cucumber mixture.
Step 5
Chill 30 minutes before serving or eat immediately.

Light Egg Salad Sandwiches

Lately I have been so tired of the same old lunch items: avocado sandwich, veggie burger pita, or leftovers. I needed something different this week.

Eggs to the rescue!

I don’t usually eat eggs for lunch, but realize they are an  even more frugal, muscle-building  alternative to  lunch  meats or cheese.

We don’t keep lunch meat in the house, so lately I have been reaching for the eggs for a quick meal. Yes, egg salad smells eggy, and your coworkers might turn up their noses at your egg sandwich but who cares? Enjoy it.

egg salad

I realize mayonnaise is not exactly healthy, but now that you can buy the kind made with olive oil and no corn syrup, a dollop here or there is not so bad.

This egg salad incorporates fresh plain Greek yogurt, boiled eggs, some olive oil mayo, and….a secret ingredient.

Tofu.

And it is delicious, y’all.

Remember tofu takes on the flavor of most anything you add it to, so some chopped tofu is really just a protein-packed filler to make the eggs go further and lower the fat content.

Although, more and more studies are showing no correlation  between eggs and cholesterol, so enjoy your fat in the yolks.

I don’t think I’ll be eating anything but this at lunch-time for a while. I apologize in advance to my coworkers, but they tempt me all day with donuts and pizza so this is just payback.

The chickens were intrigued while I was photographing the sandwich, so it was difficult to get a photo that did not have a chicken eyeing my sandwich.

Did you make that with MY eggs?-says Sage the chicken

“Did you make that with MY eggs?”-says Sage the chicken

Right now I have some “healthy” flourless blondies in the oven, and if they are not a complete disaster, I will share soon.

Light Egg Salad Sandwiches

Serves 8
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 15 minutes
Allergy Egg, Soy
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish, Salad
Misc Serve Cold, Serve Hot
This lighter twist on herbed egg salad has a secret ingredient!

Ingredients

  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 1 block extra firm tofu, drained but not pressed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil mayonnaise
  • 2-3 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  • 1.5 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh dill, chopped (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion, rinsed
  • toasted wheat sandwich bread or ciabatta
  • spinach for garnish

Note

To lighten this recipe, leave out half of the eggs yolks (after the eggs are boiled)!

Also, you can serve this egg salad on top of salad greens with a balsamic dressing for an even healthier and lighter meal.

Directions

Step 1
Bring a pot of water to a boil, and place the eggs in the water. Turn the heat to low and cover for 10 minutes.
Step 2
After 10 minutes, pour out the hot water, rinse the eggs in cold water, and fill the pot with cold water and 1-2 cups of ice.
Step 3
In 5-10 minutes, start peeling the eggs.(The cold should make the egg shrink from the peel).
Step 4
Meanwhile place your tofu in a medium-sized bowl and smash with a fork. Toss in all of the boiled eggs and mash, mash , mash it all together.
Step 5
Add in other ingredients.
Step 6
Serve atop toasted bread.