Monday, July 23, 2012

Summer Salads

Hey there!  How is everyone's Monday going so far?  This is one that I hope lasts as long as possible....Tripp gets his first round of shots tomorrow.  Womp wooooomp.

When my cousin was here from Hawai'i a few weeks ago, she made a DELISH quinoa salad that I decided to replicate last night.  Hers was prettier because she used red quinoa, but I already had a bunch of this stuff and it was still amazing nonetheless:

1 C dry quinoa
1 C vegetable broth
1 C water
1 mango, cubed
1.5 C dried cranberries
1.5 C sliced or slivered dry roasted almonds
1.5 C shelled edamame
1/2  medium red onion
1/4 C fresh lime juice
1/4 C balsamic vinegar

Put rinsed quinoa in a saucepan with 1 C water and 1 C vegetable broth.  Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer until the quinoa just starts to stick to the pan (approx 30 minutes).  Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.  (You can also use the brown rice setting on a rice cooker if you have one.  I don't...but my birthday is coming up.  *wink wink*)

While the quinoa is cooking, dice 1/2 of a medium red onion and mix with edamame, cranberries, mango and almonds in a large bowl.  Add the cooked quinoa and mix well.  For the dressing, add the lime juice and balsamic vinegar.  Mix well and enjoy!

This makes a pretty big batch that you can keep in the fridge for the week and have it ready to put on top of greens or just enjoy by itself. 

Karla also made an amazing kale salad that I was pretty excited about because even my Mom liked it!  Mom has always been intimidated by kale...we're bringing her over to the green side slowly but surely. :-)  She was so excited to find this recipe and send it to me today.  She's bringing it to a friend's house for dinner tonight - big step!  I haven't tried it yet, but it looks awesome. 

This recipe serves one, but can be made in a bigger batch.  Kale salads are awesome to make in large quantities because it doesn't wilt like regular lettuce, so you can have a grab-and-go salad already made for days!  (If you make this one ahead of time, add the avocado when you're actually ready to eat it.)

6-8 ounces of kale
6-8 dried apricots
1/3 C cooked beans (I would probably use pinto or kidney beans & kale don't mesh for me)
1/4 C sliced or slivered dry roasted almonds
8-10 flakes of Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 avocado, cubed
salt and pepper

Fold a piece of kale in half lengthwise and use your fingers to tear out the tough inner stem. Repeat with the other leaves of kale (you can save the stems to use in stir-fries, sauces, or soups). Tear all the leaves into bite-sized pieces and put them in a medium-sized mixing bowl.

Cut the apricots into little bits and add them to the bowl with the kale, along with the beans, almonds and cheese. Whisk together the oil and vinegar.  Pour the vinaigrette and a pinch of salt over the salad and use your fingers to toss and rub everything together. Transfer the salad to a bowl and add the avocado (or enjoy straight out of the mixing bowl as I can frequently be found doing). 

I didn't get around to my test kitchen last night for the veggie burger experiment because I hurt my back.  No idea what happened, but my lower back is super tight.  There was no moment where I turned and just felt it happen, but I'm pretty sure it has something to do with lifting weights and not having my ab strength completely back yet.  I'm also lifting a chunker these days:

His forearm rolls are becoming pretty impressive.  Hooray for mama's milk!

I'm taking it easy today to nurse my back...maybe get a massage?  Have a fantastic Monday!


Something that made me laugh hysterically last night (but it could also have been the nightcap of Bailey's that I was drinking haha):

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