Apple Quinoa Kale Salad and Honey Lemon Vinaigrette

It’s fully fall here in New England… how do I know this?  I leave my house at 7am in a wool coat and come home at 5pm sweating and holding my wool coat.  New England temperature fluctuations never cease to amaze me, just be incredibly inconvenient.  But it’s all good, ya know? Especially when I have delicious food to make at home.  So, I haven’t been apple picking yet, which means I let some nice person from Whole Foods pick them for me (wink wink).  Please enjoy this quinoa salad however you wish! I served mine with oven baked spicy panko encrusted chicken, however, this would be awesome with fish or even just beans.  Luckily, kale is such a hearty beast that this salad will still taste good for lunch the next day. Our homemade dressing is as simple as it gets with just four ingredients – don’t worry all of the names are easy to pronounce!

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Apple Quinoa Kale Salad with Honey Lemon Vinaigrette

Serves: 2 with leftovers

Ingredients:

  • 5 of your leafiest Kale leaves
  • 1 large apple, chopped (use your favorite kind or whatever is seasonally available to you!)
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2/3 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  • Pepper to taste

For the dressing:

  • juice of half a lemon
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Directions:

  1. Prepare the quinoa according to package directions.
  2. While the quinoa cooks, tear the leaves off in small pieces from the kale stems, wash thoroughly, drain, and place in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the chopped apples, feta cheese, sliced green onions, and avocado.
  4. Add the cooked quinoa to the bowl once cooked and toss well.  The heat from the quinoa will help soften the kale leaves.
  5. For the dressing: squeeze the lemon and lime juice into a medium bowl and add the honey.  Whisk well until combined.  While briskly whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until fully combined.
  6. Pour dressing over salad and serve!
Ingredients!

Ingredients!

Place all ingredients in the bowl together.

Place all ingredients in the bowl together.

Honey, lemon, and lime juice mixed together.

Honey, lemon, and lime juice mixed together.

Whisking in the olive oil.

Whisking in the olive oil.

Season with a pinch of salt and pepper!

Season with a pinch of salt and pepper!

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3 Cheese Apple & Arugula Pizza

First of all, you are right, that is not whole wheat pizza dough.   I did not have good luck at the grocery store today so just do me a favor and pretend it is – please!   Whole wheat pizza dough is significantly better for you as you (hopefully) should know by now.  My white pizza dough was lacking the healthy whole grain trifecta of bran, endosperm, and germ that give you that everlasting full feeling due to the extra protein and fiber.  Regardless of the dough, this pizza is bomb.  Three different cheeses, apples, onions, and arugula  — yea, pretty much amazing.  Look at my photos for extra tips!

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3 Cheese Apple & Arugula Pizza

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (let it come to room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup part skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 apple, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup gorgonzola or blue cheese
  • thinly sliced red onion, as much as you prefer
  • 1/2 cup cooked sliced chicken (optional, mine was leftover)
  • pepper to taste
  • 2 cups arugula

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Pour 1 tablespoon of olive or canola oil on your nonstick pizza pan and rub in with a paper towel.  (You can also use cooking spray)
  3. Put the flour on the pizza pan and then place the dough on top of it. Stretch the dough out using your the palm of your hand.  Be patient and work slowly so that the dough doesn’t tear. You may find that you need extra olive oil when working on the wheat dough.  If you end up using white dough, you will need more flour.
  4. Once the dough is covering the pizza pan, gently spread the ricotta cheese on it.
  5. Sprinkle the oregano on top of the ricotta and spread the thinly sliced apples all over.
  6. Next, sprinkle the mozzarella and gorgonzola on the pizza.
  7. Spread the thinly sliced red onion on the pizza.  Add as much or as little as you like. Make sure to slice them paper thin, the crispy, caramelized taste makes it very tasty.
  8. Season with pepper and dab olive oil around the outside edges of the crust using two fingers.  This helps give it that toasted crusty look.  Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, make sure to check it around 10 minutes as everyones oven is different.
  9. Top with fresh arugula and a drizzle of olive oil, enjoy!

Pizza dough and flour. You can't tell in this photo but my pizza pan is pretty generously oiled.  Whole wheat dough will need extra olive oil to work it out.

Pizza dough and flour. You can’t tell in this photo but my pizza pan is pretty generously oiled. Whole wheat dough will need extra olive oil to work it out.


pizza dough!

This took me a full ten minutes and i’m pretty psyched with myself


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Ricotta, oregano, and mozz added!


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Dabbing the outside edge with olive oil to give it that extra crispy crust nom nom. Dabbing with your finger helps you from putting too much on there.


All cooked and fresh out of the oven - 15 minutes on 450.

All cooked and fresh out of the oven – 15 minutes on 450.


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Topped with arugula and a light drizzle of olive oil. If you have flavored olive oil like garlic or chile – now is an excellent time to use that.

Strawberry Crisp

Since you really can’t tell it’s September yet, why not hang on to the last of the fresh summer produce?!  Strawberries have been so delicious this year and I’m always looking for alternative ways to eat therm, other then shoveling them into my mouth.  I definitely have a sweet tooth; however, it’s nice when you know your dessert contains healthy ingredients like oatmeal, cinnamon, and fresh fruit.  OH, and bit of Kate’s butter makes it even better (everything in moderation, people!).  Enjoy this dessert and don’t you dare feel bad about it, TREAT YOSELF!

  


Strawberry Crisp

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chopped strawberries (You can also try peaches, blueberries, rasperries, blackberries, pears, or apples!)
  • 1/4 cup oatmeal
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Wash and roughly chop the strawberries. Equally divide between two small oven proof dishes as pictured.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the oatmeal, flour, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and butter. Mix well.
  4. Equally top both dishes with the mixture and bake in the oven for 25 minutes.
  5. Enjoy!

Avocado Farro Salad

If any of you are also experiencing this heat in not only a tiny apartment, but also with a poorly performing air conditioner unit,  you’ll understand my desire to eliminate all other sources of heat!   I’ve been avoiding my oven and using the stove only when I have to.  Grain based salads are great because not only are they easy to make, but they have a substantial amount of protein in them and make it an easy way to get in lots of veggies during the day.  If you don’t like Farro (or have the patience for it to cook – I barely do), try quinoa, brown rice, or barley too.

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Avocado Farro Salad

Serves 2 with leftovers

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Farro, dry
  • 1 15oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons tarragon, chopped
  • 1 orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup green onions, sliced
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (flavored olive oil is even better!)
  • Avocado for serving
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Cook the faro according to package directions. It usually runs 1 cup faro: 1.5 cups water. Plan ahead because this will take about an hour to cook.

2. While the faro cooks, prepare the remaining ingredients. Add the beans, feta, tarragon, peppers, parsley, and olive oil to a bowl. Mix well and season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Once the faro is cooked, add to the bowl with all of the ingredients. Mix well and serve.

* This is also great served cold the next day for lunch with salad or chicken etc.

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Curried Chicken Salad with Purple Cabbage Lettuce Wraps

Curried chicken is something I crave randomly.  I have my favorite spots to eat it and rarely bother to make it at home because, well, it just isn’t as good… until now!  I crafted this easy recipe in my own hot and steamy kitchen the other day because I just couldn’t stop thinking about it!  Hope you can enjoy it as much as I did for your next lunch!  Note some easy tips and adjustments in my picture captions! 🙂

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Curried Chicken Salad with Purple Cabbage Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients

  • 1 1lb chicken breast or tenderloins
  • 1 green onion
  • 1 small handful parsley
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 5 tablespoons plain greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 10 cashews
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries or raisins
  • Pinch of salt
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 2-4 leaves of Purple cabbage, washed

Directions:

1. Place the raw chicken breast in a medium sized pot, fill with water 1 inch above the chicken breast.  Bring to a simmer on the stove and poach the chicken breast for about 15 minutes or until the juices run clear.

2. While the chicken is cooking, finely dice the green onion, parsley, and celery and place into large bowl.

3. Measure out the greek yogurt, mayonnaise, cumin, and lemon juice an add to the bowl.

4. Chop or crush the cashews into small pieces and add to the bowl.

5. Lastly, add the cranberries and seasonings.

6. Once your chicken is finished, chop into bite size pieces and add to the bowl.  Mix well and serve immediately or refrigerate for 2 hours to chill it.

7. Serve in purple cabbage lettuce wraps or bread/pita of your choice!

Celery, green onion, and parsley!

Celery, green onion, and parsley!

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All chopped up!

Chopped cashews! Feel free to add more or substitute with your nut of choice.

Chopped cashews! Feel free to add more or substitute with your nut of choice.

Greek yogurt, mayo, cumin, lemon juice, and cashews added!  Add mayo/yogurt to your liking!

Greek yogurt, mayo, cumin, lemon juice, and cashews added! Add mayo/yogurt to your liking!

Cooked and diced chicken

Cooked and diced chicken

Ready to eat!

Ready to eat!

Ginger Sesame Almond Kale Salad

There is nothing like a fresh, homemade salad dressing!  As a person who did not grow up with it, I can truly appreciate homemade dressing and all its wonderful uses.  I can also appreciate something that so delightfully masks the bitter and mostly unenjoyable flavor of kale!  Lets be serious, it does’t taste too good if you only wash it, chop, and throw it into your bowl with a typical bottled salad dressing- not the way to go folks! Don’t get me wrong, I love to eat kale, but there are many things we can do to spice up that flavor.  I hope everyone is feeling more relieved that the Dietitian agrees that kale tastes horrible and simply needs a little TLC, nbd.  Please enjoy your next kale salad as follows!

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Ginger Sesame Almond Kale Salad

Serves: 2 (with leftovers)

Makes approximately 1 cup of dressing, Can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. 

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups washed and chopped kale
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 tbsp + 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp agave or honey
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 small garlic clove, chopped
  • 3 heaping tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 4 tsp sesame seeds
  • 3 tbsp slivered almonds
  • 3 tbsp dried cranberries

Directions:

1.  Place chopped kale in a large bowl and keep to the side.

2. Place the next 8 ingredients in a blender, blend on high for 10-15 seconds until dressing is completely combined. Please note you can also make this in a bowl with a whisk!

3. Once dressing is complete, mix in the sesame seeds.

4. Dress the kale salad to your liking and mix in the cranberries and slivered almonds.  This salad tastes best if you let it sit for 10-15 minutes prior to serving!

Blending the dressing!

Blending the dressing!

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No-Bake Peanut Butter Banana Coconut Breakfast Bars

Sometimes, mornings are hard.  I recently had an unfortunate morning that involved my phone alarm not going off, spilling a bag of coffee grounds all over the kitchen floor, and worst of all – forgetting my well packed bag of food for the day!!  I’m sure you’ve been there and its not fun!! These types of days usually result in a medley of unorganized eating patterns because a rough morning really screws with my whole day.  These 5 Ingredient no-bake bars are a great staple to keep in your freezer to grab when you’re simply on the go, in need of a snack, or having a disastrous morning!  Not too mention, the Trader Joe’s Coco Chips I used as a topping are AHHmazing.

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Peanut Butter Banana Coconut Breakfast Bars

Makes 4 Bars!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups Whole Rolled Oats
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter of your choice
  • 1 medium mashed banana
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Handful of Trader Joe’s Coco Chips on top (Can also use 2 tbsp regular shredded coconut)
  • Optional extras: cranberries, chocolate chips, slivered or whole almonds/pecans, chia seeds, flaxseeds

Direction

1. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, peanut butter, mashed banana, and cinnamon.  It works well to microwave the peanut butter for 15 seconds to soften it slightly, prior to mixing.  Mix well until thick mixture is well combined.

2. Place a large piece of plastic wrap in a loaf pan, this will allow you to easily remove the bars when finished. Press the, oatmeal mixture into the bottom and evenly flatten.  Top the mixture with the honey and coco chips.  Wrap up with the extra plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.  Slice and serve, keep in the fridge for 5 days or freeze individually wrapped!

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Individually wrapped and ready to go!

Individually wrapped and ready to go!