Monday, April 10, 2017

This Week's Kitchen Sink Trip Salad

This is one of those posts that's going to be all "I threw everything in this salad cause I didn't want it to go bad".

There, now that that has been cleared up. You got it, I threw everything from the veggie draw into this salad.

This post is fun simply because this is how I used to make salads all the time after a long week or running about and not being able to swing into the grocery store. Okay - or I was too lazy to run to the grocery store. I've been insanely busy the past few weeks with wrapping up my JLS organization, working through the first and helping my parent pack up their house to move. It's been so busy that I've had issue keeping up with my Paleo challenge. A very hard time. When my mom makes a sandwich or BLTs, they're hard to pass up!  

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Creamy Paleo Broccoli Salad

Hey salad friends! 

This recipe is bomb. There I spoke the truth. It's honestly so good though. As in, I took a bite and was in pure heaven. It's just a little spicy (from the garlic) and chock-full of all the good stuff. Like, alllllll of it. Did I mention, it's not ONLY dairy-free but also Paleo!

Here's what I'm loving and craving right now: crunchy, filling, savory and nutty. If you love and are craving all of those items, this is the salad for you. 

Broccoli salad has a beautiful Sunday afternoon feel to it. I think it's similar to potato salad, where it was brought by someone to any barbecue or picnic for church or gatherings with friends. It's always there and it was always so ... sweet. I'm not a fan of the sweet broccoli salad so that sweet was cut down in ten-folds. #sorry #notsorry

I love bringing this to work on days I know I'm not going to be able to leave my desk because you don't have to warm it up. It's served cold. It's also great for when you do go to a picnic or a barbecue because it travels really well. I would triple this batch for a party of 12. I made one batch and used it as my main meal and it only got me through 3 days at work. Just some food for thought.  

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Garden Wedge Salad with Bacon and Paleo "Blue Cheese" Dressing

Happy Spring, everyone! It looks nothing like Spring in our Emerald City. Every day has been gray skies with showers everyday. I know outsiders believe it rains all year in Seattle but this year, it feels as if they're right! It's as if Fall and Spring have gone to war with Winter and the frost just keeps winning. I think Game of Thrones buzz words have really gotten to me.

So, let's talk salad, shall well? This iceberg wedge has a small vegetable garden surrounding it: raw carrots, cherry tomatoes, green onion and pine nuts. Lightly dropped on top of a slightly runny faux blue cheese dressing, which happens to be paleo!

I did grab this organic iceberg lettuce from my neighborhood co-op but everything else was bought at the grocery store down the street. This salad makes me want to create my own little herb garden for the spring. I was doing some reading on growing herbs and veggies that can be planted together. I will say the the main issue with planting in the city (urban planting, if you will) is finding the space and remembering to water them. The other issue is keeping up with the maintenance and knowing when it's time to trim or start anew. I love the idea of giving them as gifts to friends for housewarmings or thank yous throughout the summer.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Eggs for Breakfast, An iphone story

This is a love story. An ode to all of the breakfast photos on my phone from the past year.

A "thank you", if you will, for allowing me to dine happily in the presence of such beautiful, savory and delicious company.

Mornings are not my forte, believe it or not. I am, what some call, "not a morning person". I don't believe people should speak to me until I've had an hour or so to process that its a new day and, of course, to think about breakfast. That thought doesn't normally happen til about 9:30/10. Perhaps its the way I grew up, late Sunday morning brunches after cartoons with my Dad. Those were the best days. Regardless of the reason, I know with out a doubt, and with about 500 evidence photos in my phone: I love breakfast.

Half of these, I made myself! The other half are from adventures and places I've always wanted to try.

So let's start the roll call, shall we?

(Top Image) Homemade: Sunnyside up over Spinach with Ham - Another instagram photo I took last weekend while I finally got a lazy Saturday morning all to myself. These slightly runny eggs gave me life and filled me up enough to read my book in peace and finally run out and do my errands for the day. This very simple lightly fried egg approach on top of a bed of spinach with left over ham is super easy to do. Just make sure you get extra thick ham!

Edible Canada, Vancouver BC: Avocado Toast & Poached Eggs - from the brunch menu which consists of: mushrooms, sourdough, roasted tomatoes and hollandaise (opted out of). I was so genuinely pleased by our meal, the service and the all around friendliness of the restaurant is bustling and brewing. There were so many excited locals anxiously waiting on their perfect meals. This booming restaurant was a mere 30 minute wait in the heart of Granville Island. It's right next to the market and has it's own shop inside that sells amazing maple syrup (which you can sample) and other tasty treats. I'll be going back on my next trip north, for sure.

Hi-Spot Cafe, Madrona, Seattle: Sammy Sue - Grilled rustic sourdough spread with aioli & stacked with fried egg, bacon, lettuce, tomato & provolone (opted out) with cup of fruit. I was honestly super surprised by how great everything was at the Hi-Spot. I was originally suppose to meet a girlfriend  at another location, in Madrona, but she was running late and we got our directions crossed. Therefore, timing was super late and the only place in Madrona still serving brunch was the Hi-spot. They serve til 2:30pm! This cute Victorian house was turned into a gourmet cafe over 30 years ago. They have beautiful art that's always on display (for purchase) and an impressive loose tea collection, for the connoisseur. It's a place that's after my own heart. I'll be back there and you should check it out as well! 

Secrets Silversands Riviera Cancun, Cancun, Mexico: Room Service - Okay, bare with me friends. I will try to clear this up because I am really not a pretentious person. In short, I was invited to go to Cancun with a girlfriend of mine who earned a trip through her work. Another example to show how my best friends in Seattle truly are the best. Never have I ever been to an all-inclusive and for that reason alone, this photo makes the list because I was in paradise and could order my food to my room when I didn't want to go downstairs to a buffet. A super simple meal of eggs, bacon, fruit and a nugget of hashbrown (which I dare call a tater tot). This picture is at the height of our trip and I couldn't be happier looking at it. If you are ever fortunate to experience an all-inclusive, I highly recommend the room service.

Homemade: Spinach and Chicken Scramble - Easy to mix up with my secret weapon. Are you ready for it? Mayo. Yep, that's right. I'm crazy but because I'm without dairy it's my go to substitute for creamy eggs. I warm up the spinach in just a little bit of oil. In my mixing bowl, I mix the mayo and eggs together until smooth and add it to the spinach on the skillet. Then I add the chicken after a short time. Mix, Mix, Scramble. Add some avocado and you're in breakfast heaven!

Homemade: Eggs with Rosemary Toast - If you follow me on instragram, you'll know I love making breakfast. It's such a treat for myself with I am able to put pieces together from my pantry and just make things work out. This meals was a simple rosemary artisan toast with a lightly fried egg,  non-dairy creamy hollandaise sauce topped with basil. It doesn't take a whole lot to make me happy in the mornings but any type of thick artisan bread topped with egg, avocado or even jam will make me jump out of bed smiling

What are your favorite egg breakfasts?

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Coconut Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Balls

Coconut Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Balls in a floral bowl by a window

World's easiest recipe, kid friendly, kind of fun, mostly sticky but a whole latta good-for-you.

Protein Balls. These little guys are something I even up eating for breakfast every morning come Spring. I know we're not there yet, guys but I am dreaming of sunshine and sand all ready. When I'm in the early months of the year it's hard for me grasp that it's technically still winter. Especially when Spring fashion has already started. It's absolute torture.

These protein packed snacks give me a little taste of summer mornings that I need to get through the dreary PNW weather. For the record, I do eat these. I have many co-workers who can attest to this because they often ask for them... or the recipe. Hence, why it's going up on the blog.

You're right, it's not a salad, but it's sunshine rolled up in a ball! And who'd going to argue with that??

Shall we get down to business?

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Best Kitchen Candles from Anthropologie

Espresso, Coconut Milk Mango and Volcano candles from Anthropologie by Capri Blu, Illume and Springs Eden

Candles are a unique phenomenon that I am consistent in. If there's a fragrance that I love, regardless of memory I will return to it with the same adoration.

For a little under a decade, Anthropologie** has housed a haven of favored scented candles that I continuously come back to. The packaging can change and the sizing can vary but their savory aromas are exactly the same. This alone causes these tins, jars and decorative glasswares to be my "go to" gifts for my kitchen happy comrades.

I'd like to preference that these little gems are not strictly for the cookery. Oh no no, dear salad lovers. These candles are great from the boudoir, central living space and the guest bathroom.

Monday, January 30, 2017

First Supper Club Meeting: Bottlehouse, Madrona, Seattle

Glass of wine by candle light next to a laptop at Bottlehouse, Madrona, Seattle

We had our first Supper Club at one of my favorite little secret spots in the city. This is a local favorite, not many people know about it and it's off the beaten path a bit. You have to take the 2 all way down to Madrona park and it's a lovely 23 min commute, from downtown, when you don't have your car.

This little oasis is gorgeous in the summer and spring. I fully plan to write another post for you about them, come June. The patio will be open then and they will have little twinkling lights outside with white wine pairings and rosé that's light and crisp and fresh.... I wish it were summer!

Bottlehouse, Madrona, Seattle, in the winter is just as beautiful. The atmosphere is this light and airy feeling through out the old renovated home. It has darling chalkboards with specials written on them and promoting bands that come to play on the weekdays. The menu changes frequently to the seasons and the food. They offer full wine bottles, a glass and a taster. The staff is WELL versed in their wines and all of the cheese and meat plates are prepped to match the wines on your table, e.g. a Camembert cheese was served for the Colosi Nero d'Avola red wine I ordered. They also give a full history of the meats and cheeses and why they did the pairings!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Taco Taco, Boat Boat

Lettuce Leaf filled with ground beef, tomatoes, dairy-free sour cream, radishes, cilantro and topped with lime juice.

Aw yes, my salad friends, the infamous Taco Boat. A super easy, delicious, calorie exempt meal that'll keep you happy all through the night. I decided to post these beautiful little faux floating bites because:

1) I made them
2) Everyone asked me about them
3) The inauguration is today and what better way to avoid it by looking at these cute Taco Boats.
4) My first post Taco Boat post, I labelled them as Salad Bites and it was a very Spring inspired recipe, Pulled Pork Kalamata Apple Salad Bites. (Kind of a mouthful and more savory than fresh).
5) This recipe is not seasonal and is great all year round.

Lettuce leaves filled with taco filling on a white plate and garnished with lime.

What's special about these boats?

Sunday, January 15, 2017

How to Start a Supper Club

Clever Bottle, Seattle. Savory Pretzels on white plates with mustard, rosemary and mulled wine.

Salad Lovers! I started a supper club!

What's a supper club, you ask? - Great question. Supper club is a circle that dates back to the early 1930s where , generally, women would get together, drink a lot of wine and trade of recipe dishes to their girlfriends. In modern times, us moderns gals have revamped this idea in trying new and different restaurants in the city to recommend to family, friends and co-workers who are in town visiting, etc.

The reason I wanted to have a supper club is because there is another group of gals that have been holding a meeting once a month and these girls all became great friends outside of their group. They actively try and get together and they try to make each event new and different. I desperately wanted something similar but with a really fun event at the end of the year. So here's how I got mine started:

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Almost Classic Chicken Cobb Salad

White bowl on wooden table with ground chicken, avocado, hard boiled eggs, tomatoes, bacon and romaine

Remember, in my last post, how all I wanted something fiery and savory and spicy? I couldn't get enough heat in my life? - This salad is not that... Womp Womp! Truth be told, I had every intention of making this a spicy chicken cobb but some personal matters had me up all night and when it was time to cook, I just wasn't in the mood for spice. I still wanted something savory but also something that felt natural and ... peaceful. Ha! This is a peaceful salad, salad friends!

The inspiration for this salad came from a lunch trip last weekend. My sister and I went on an adventure to Nordstrom's The Grill. She'd never been there before. She order a delicious looking Crab Macaroni & Cheese and I ordered their Cobb Salad, hold the blue cheese. I then ordered it with a Dijon Balsamic Vin. I'd never heard of such a mix and don't know why I'd never thought of it before. So, for this Almost Classic Cobb Salad, I decided I would make my own Dijon Balsamic Vin., but creamy.

I love ideas for new recipes and new meals. It's exciting to try out, photograph and have friends try too. This afternoon, to be direct about it, I was upset and I've been going through quite a lot recently. Though I was dealing with my own feelings, one of my darling co-workers told me she forgot her lunch! I had just gotten done making mine and, for the first time all day, got excited about about being able to test it a recipe out on her. So, back to the kitchen to teach her how to make her own. Not gonna lie, hers came out gorgeous and she went home and bought ingredients to make it today.

What I love about Cobb Salads are the color combinations. I love the greens and reds. Almost as much as I love the reds with the whites from the boiled egg. Its colorful and beings joy. I'm happy to say she really enjoyed it and though she opted for my vegan ranch dressing, she was interested in my Vegan Creamy Dijon Balsamic Vin. for the future. Which says A LOT.

Now, I have the stamp of approval from four co-workers and the comments "What a gorgeous salad!" to "You MADE that?" #winning

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Two Great White Bean Turkey Chili

Close up shot of a white bowl of "Hot & Fiery Two White Bean Turkey Chili"

Hot and Spicy, that's right, I have been on a kick since I got back from the Holidays. I was out in New Mexico taking care of my beautiful Grandmother during the Christmas season. Unfortunately, I got sick!

If you've been a frequent visitor to my blog, you know I've been suffering with my health over the last quarter of 2016 and it's not normal for me. This is the third time in 2 full months that I've gotten sick. The last two times were over both major holidays. Hence my lack of posting.

While my Mom and Aunt slaved in the kitchen for Thanksgiving, I sat like a buoy on the couch unable to move without coughing and unable to breath when laying down. My senses were shot and food had lost flavor.

I thought all of my dreams had come true the next day. I got 10 hours of blissful sleep and I felt mostly human again. My Aunt had put the fixin's in for a thanksgiving turkey soup, as it had all of the left over bits, in the crockpot that morning. I dreamed of that soup all day long. When I sat down with it ... oh friends .... it was sweet. Sweet beyond words! An unnatural honeyed plague of sadness that just killed my heart. Oh, the drama! All I wanted was turkey soup that was supposed to be: warm, savory and spicy. Alas, that was shot to hell due to my failed senses.

Which brings me to this mother lovin' spicy Two Great White Bean Turkey Chili.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

A Healthy Greeting to 2017

A tomato smiling in an elevator

Happy New Years, Salad Lovers. I'm happy to say that I've gratefully ended 2016 with health, joy and thankfulness.

My absence over the past month hasn't been for lack of creative energy but from stress and sickness. My beautiful grandmother had a stroke the day after Thanksgiving and I came down with the flu for the second time in November. After carrying that flu right into December and getting better again, I was finally able to travel out to see my grandmother.

My friends, when I tell you my trip was the hardest experience of my life, I hope you'll trust me. There aren't enough words to explain my despair and heart ache of seeing her so sick and frail. My grandmother is one of the strongest women I have ever know. She's incredible. She speaks 5 different languages and understands Latin. LATIN. She's independent and determined and everything you could possibly idolize... and for her to be lost in her own mind... well, it destroyed my whole world. Suddenly we are not invincible and made of iron. Suddenly, this life isn't forever and we age and our bodies fail us.

This trip was an eye opening experience for the New Year. It brought determination to live as hard as I can for as long as I can because even if you get to 80, it'll never be enough if you aren't living a positive and happy life.

I thought it would be fun to share my New Year's resolutions with you. Without further ado:
  1.  Travel once a month
  2.  Take 30 minutes everyday to be creative 
  3.  See my Grandmother as much as I can
  4.  Join a blogging circle
  5.  Take cooking classes
  6.  Take french lessons 
  7.  Learn to be heard 
  8.  Call my family more often
  9.  Have an open heart to love
  10.  Be present 
Here's to a brand new year filled with adventures, hopes, dreams, love and happiness.

P.S. For those of you wondering about the tomato photo, this little guy was just sitting on the rail of an elevator of an apartment complex in Seattle. I don't know who's little master mind he belongs to but it certainly made me laugh and he's a reminder to be spontaneous and to take time to help others smile.

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