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Salad Challenge

I dearly believe that children watch you, learn from you, and mimic you.  With that said, I want to be a great influence for them. Some days, my patience wears thin as I feel tired and worn out, but I strive to be an image for them that I hope will create great thinkers, adventurers, cooks, friends, and generally good people.

Meals are an important part of physical performance.  Being sensitive to my body chemistry, I can feel when I’ve had too much salt, sugar, bread, not enough water,  & not enough sleep.  Being that today marks a year since our move, I figured I’d give myself a challenge.  I already eat really well, mostly cook from scratch, extremely limit processed food items, and drink ample water each day.  Since watching FedUp, I’ve cut down heavily on the amount of sugar I was allowing; which quite honestly was not too shabby anyways…but I am trying to abide by the recommended 25 grams/day. So, what does that mean?  I figured my challenge was to have a salad a day for a month, with the aim to go longer once I hit that mark.

Having an organic garden within 30 steps from our place, this is completely feasible.  My mom is great at getting my children to taste things they would otherwise turn their nose up; if it were me suggesting it.  It’s pretty funny that kids will listen to grandparents over parents sometimes. I’m thrilled that my own parents create an environment of curiosity. They now regularly partake dandelions flowers, nasturtiums, violets, fennel fronds, alpine strawberries, arugula, uncooked green beans, sweet peas, etc. They pretty much eat their body weight in the fresh food from these 6 acres. They are always full of chagrin when they’ve spent time with my mom in the garden and are eager beavers to get busy making their own salad. There are so many salads one can make: bean salad, fruit salad, green salad, etc. Hopefully, my children will join me on my salad challenge.  Will you?

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Today’s Salad: swiss chard, arugula, nasturtiums greens/flowers, quinoa, fennel fronds, dried cranberries, avocado, & toasted pine nuts dressed with home-made Honey-Dijon dressing.

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Chilled Beet Salad

We left for Washington State on July 5th; just shy of a year ago.  It has been a bittersweet experience.  We miss our friends so incredibly much, and think of them daily.  Their companionship, conversation, laughter, shoulder to cry on, ideas to bounce back and forth, and their genuineness is something that cannot be replaced.

Our recent journey back to CA was incredible.  This recipe makes me think of one of my besties, Brianne Wells.  It was at her house, prior to her son’s birthday party, that I was asked to prepare this.  I love everything about it.  Thank you Brianne for this recipe.

I will miss gathering this year, as we have done for the last 14 years or so, to celebrate our favorite holiday alongside you and your family.  Cheers!  I’ll be eating this beet salad on Saturday, and be thinking of you guys.

Ingredients:

6 large beets or 5 1/2 cups of medium diced beets

1 cup dill pickles, mince

1/2 cup “mayo”

1/4 cup pickle juice

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. dried dill

1 tsp. sea salt or to taste

dash ground black pepper

Directions:

Steam diced beets until tender. Set aside and allow to cool.  In a mixing bowl, prepare “dressing” by combining pickles, mayo, pickle juice, garlic, dill, sea salt, and black pepper.  Whisk well.  Add the dressing to the steamed beets, and mix well.  Allow to chill for two hours.

 

 

 

Potato Salad

A brief photo of what is left of the potato salad.  It went quick. I guess that’s a good thing.

The weather was a warm 72 degrees, allowing us to bbq on the open fire pit, and enjoy summer style foods, and bask in the warmth in our bathing suits. It’s been a year since we’ve been in our CA wear. Felt great.

Ingredients:

3 large russet potatoes, large diced

1/2 cup mayo (Just Mayo: vegan substitute)

1/2 cup diced red onion

1 Tbsp. dijon mustard

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 + 1/8 cup diced pickles

2 Tbsp. pickle juice

2 tsp. dried dill

1/4 tsp. paprika

1/8 tsp. tumeric

2 tsp. sea salt

1/4 tsp. onion powder

Directions:

Boil a large pot of water, then allow to simmer with the diced potatoes until al dente. While potatoes are cooking, prep the “dressing”.  Combine the “mayo”, red onion, dijon, garlic, pickles, pickle juice, dill, paprika, turmeric, sea salt and onion powder. Set aside. When potatoes are done cooking, drain and run cold water on them to stop cooking.  Place in a large bowl and throughly coat with the “dressing” mixture.  Best served chilled.  Adjust sea salt to your liking.

 

 

Udon Noodle Salad garnished with Thai Basil alongside Tempeh-Veggie Wraps with Peanut Dipping Sauce

It started with craving tempeh. The end.

Udon Noodle Salad with Thai Basil

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp. soy sauce

2 Tbsp. mirin

2 tsp sesame oil

2 tsp. fresh squeezed lime juice

1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced

9.5 ounce bag of udon noodles

1/2 cup Thai basil, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup fresh spinach or collard greens, coarsely chopped

Directions:

Combine soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil, lime juice, and ginger(dressing) . Mix together and set aside. In a pot of boiling water, cook noodles until al dente; about 8 minutes.  Drain well.  Add dressing to the noodles and then stir in the basil and spinach. Serve hot or cold.

Tempeh Veggie Wraps

Ingredients: (makes 10-12 wraps)

Tempeh Marinade:

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 cup filtered water

3 cloves chopped garlic

1 Tbsp. minced ginger

1  8-oz bag of tempeh.

Directions: Add soy sauce, filtered water, garlic, and ginger to a bowl and whisk.  Slice the tempeh into strips and place in a sauté pan. Pour mixture over the tempeh and simmer for 20-25 minutes on low.  Set aside.

Wrap Fillings:

1 Pack of rice wraps

1/4 red cabbage, thinly sliced

1/4 green cabbage, thinly sliced

1/2 red bell pepper, sliced

12 stalks of asparagus, pre-steamed al dente

10-12 leaves of romaine

10-12 leaves of spinach

3 Tbsp. minced mint

Directions:

Place a bowl of warm water on a prep table.  Make sure there is enough room for rolling and keeping finished wraps apart from one another (they will stick together).  Soak 1 rice wrap in the warm water for 5 seconds until pliable.  Then layer with 2 strips of prepared tempeh, green and red cabbage, red bell, a stalk of asparagus, and one each of the romaine and spinach. Sprinkle with mint. Place all the ingredients into the middle of the rice wrap circle.  Fold both ends inward on top of pile of ingredients, and then roll from one side to the other. Set aside. They will be wet and not easy to work with at first, but they will dry up and stay rolled as they sit.  Complete with remaining ingredients the same as you completed the first. Serve alongside Peanut Dipping Sauce. Made to enjoy cold.

Peanut Dipping Sauce

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp. chopped peanuts or peanut butter

2 Tbsp. honey

3 Tbsp. soy sauce

1 Tbsp. water

2 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a small bowl, and whisk until thoroughly blended.

 

 

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Spinach & Strawberry Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

SPINACH SALAD

(yield: 4-6 servings)

Ingredients:

1 Head of spinach, washed

1/2 red onion, sliced thinly

1 cup of organic strawberries, sliced

1/2 cup toasted walnuts

1 avocado sliced

1/2 cup of hearts of palm- OPTIONAL, sliced

DRESSING

(yield: 1 3/4 cup)

Ingredients:

1/3 cup agave syrup

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tsp. sea salt

1 tsp. dijon mustard

1 tsp. grated red onion

1 cup safflower oil

1 Tbsp. poppy seeds

Directions:

1. In a blender, combine all ingredients until throughly emulsified.

2. Mix together all Salad components into a bowl, and serve dressing alongside.  Salad that is dressed, does not save well. This salad will hold up a second day if the dressing is served on the side.