Citrus & Sesame Asian Style Salad

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I partly love salad nights because it is one of the fastest dinners to make, and partly because there is so much variation. It is not necessary to stick to a recipe word for word for them to come out right.

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If you prefer less bell pepper…add less. If you don’t like broccoli don’t add it at all. You can make any salad vegetarian my substituting beans or tofu instead of meat, or in the case of this salad, add chicken to make it a bit heftier.

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I’m always on the hunt for new salad recipes because we like to eat them for dinner 2-3 times a week.

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Hope you enjoy it! (P.S. Yes, that’s Grey and Greyson in the background–it was a mini photoshoot during dinner ;) )

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Citrus and Sesame Asian Style Salad

Ingredients:

Sesame Citrus Dressing:

  • 1⁄2 cup orange juice ( we just squeezed an orange)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1⁄2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3⁄4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey

Salad:

  • 2 cups edamame, shelled and cooked
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 navel orange, peeled, sectioned, and cut
  • 1 cup red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 crown of broccoli, cut into florets and lightly steamed
  • green onion, thinly sliced
  • mixed greens
  • sesame seeds

Directions:

Blend all the ingredients for the sesame citrus dressing in a blender until smooth. Set aside

In a large bowl combine all the ingredients for the salad, adjusting the amount of mixed greens and sesame seeds to your preference. Tip: adding more mixed greens stretches this salad for a larger crowd.

Pour the desired amount of dressing into the bowl and toss salad well. If there is leftover dressing save to marinate, chicken, tofu, or meat. (or make more salad!)

Love, Grey & Brianna

Lady Bug Hunting.

SONY DSCIt started innocently enough, one afternoon, as Greyson and I were sitting out in the lawn. “Look buddy there’s a ladybug!” I pointed out.  Greyson, very intrigued, wanted to pinch him between his fingers to pick him up. SONY DSCI cringed at the thought of a squished innocent ladybug, so I showed him that if he just put his hand in front of the sweet ladybird the little bug would crawl all the way up his arm. …which is what he did.

…I didn’t know then that it would start a “let’s-find-a-lady-bug-to-crawl-up-our-arm movement”….every. single. day.

When I even mention going out the garden…he traces his finger up his arm to let me know he’s thinking one thing: lady bug hunting. SONY DSCWe now have countless hours invested into flipping over leaves, looking on stalks of plants, scanning the lawn, etc. all in hopes to find a little red bug.

We usually spot one within the first twenty minutes or so on each excursion…and (cringing) I still have to remind Greyson of the “crawl up the hand” technique to pick up our spotted bug. SONY DSCMy job then is to catch the little bug, off a running toddler, before it ends up in an ear or some other place it shouldn’t be.

This is our everyday.

Love, Grey & Brianna

Quinoa Cookies

SONY DSCI don’t do a lot of dessert baking these days, just to keep us making healthy choices. Except these cookies. SONY DSCI’m not really sure if they qualify as a dessert because everything in them I would eat for breakfast …but they are a cookie.SONY DSC

You could easily make them even more delectable (than their natural peanut-buttery banana goodness) by adding any of the optional variations to them (listed below).

SONY DSCMy first choice would be dark chocolate and crushed walnuts…but I could easily see how pecans thrown into the mix would be wonderful as well.SONY DSC Just for fun, we threw in some mini semi sweet chips which got all melty and swirly twirly.SONY DSC

I made a big batch of these so we keep them in the freezer. It’s been nice to have a healthy snack/breakfast/dessert (???) on hand when we need it. I know…they confuse me too.

Hope you enjoy!SONY DSC

Quinoa Cookies 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed with a fork
  • ½ cup natural peanut butter (we like Adam’s!)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • ¼ cup 100% pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Optional variations: walnuts, mini chocolate chips, cranberries, raisins, pistachios, pecans, cinnamon, etc.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 F.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Spoon dough *about the size of a heaping tablespoon) onto a parchment lined (or well greased) baking sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes.Let cookies cool completely on a cookie rack. We kept ours in the freezer, but they would keep in the refrigerator as well.

Love, Grey & Brianna

Sunday Beet Harvest.

SONY DSCYesterday we decided to pull the beets out of the garden… so I could spend the next 4 1/2 hours pickling them. SONY DSCWe made it a family event and Greyson could not have been more thrilled about being told to pull plants up!SONY DSC ….especially when he came across some ripe strawberries! SONY DSCBeets are one of my favorite veggies to grow because they grow so well here. SONY DSCWe also pulled the volunteer red potato plant out of this bed because we’ve got summer squash plans in it’s spot.SONY DSC A fresh potato from the garden steamed with olive oil, salt, and pepper is seriously the butteriest yummiest vegetable…like ever. SONY DSC

We just had to explain that to Greyson, since he seemed to want to eat them right on the spot. SONY DSC

Back to beets…we pulled ’em all up into a giant pile…SONY DSC…composted the tops, washed them out in the garden, and put them straight into a giant pot for pickling.SONY DSC …and that’s how I spent the rest of our Sunday. SONY DSC…until evening…20150503_144724..when we went to see the new Avengers!!

Love, Grey & Brianna

Black Bean, Corn, & Cilantro-Lime Salad

SONY DSCLooking back at my meal plans for the past two weeks, things have been a little “southwestern” in the dinner department. Something about spicy, cheesy, “yumminess” has been extra appealing to me lately. I’ve tamed those cravings with this salad.SONY DSC It is perfect because I can make it ahead and store it in the refrigerator so dinner is done when I come after being out-and-about all day.SONY DSC

It’s super versatile, and can be eaten:

1 )Just like it is

2) As a salsa, because let’s face it, that’s what it looks like. Add a few tomatoes and voilà! Chips ready.

3) It can be thrown on a bed of greens and dressed up with canned salsa, cheese, and onions for a leafy salad dinner.

I see this salad making a regular appearance in our kitchen this summer because it makes dinner (and lunch) that easy.

Hope you enjoy it!SONY DSC

Black Bean, Corn, and Cilantro-Lime Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of black beans cooked rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lime juiced
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • Cilantro, washed and chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 avocado, diced into 1 inch cubes

Directions:

Combine all ingredients except avocado in a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Add avocado right before serving.

Note: This salad can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. (Just make sure to leave out the avocado until serving time!) 

Love, Grey & Brianna

April Things.

2015 GREYSON MONTH 21

1. LOVING the TV series: A.D. The Bible Continues. 

2. It was a rainy Easter

3. Getting lots done before baby gets here in just six(ish) weeks!

4. Got almost everything planted in the garden

5. It was the month of the RADISHES!

6. My sister came home for two weeks. :)

7. Did I say baby will arrive in just six weeks?!

8. Trying out a new grocery shopping schedule…to be continued. ;)

9. James 1:17

10. This strawberry pie looks so yummy. This may or may not have to make a début in our kitchen in the coming months. ;)

Love, Grey & Brianna

Lately: Homecoming, Birthdays, and Food….did I say food?

SONY DSCThere has been a lot going on around here….

Remember, about two years ago, when I announced my sister was moving out of the country? Well she has been home for the last two weeks.SONY DSC …and it has been quite lovely.SONY DSC Greyson hasn’t had lots of Auntie time with her, so in response to the question:”Greyson, what is her name?” he replies “That.”SONY DSC I’ve been enjoying that he says “that” ever so much. Weird sister love. ;)

…and…

Remember, about two years ago, when I also announced that my baby brother was turning twenty-one? SONY DSC…well if you’re doing the math, that would make him 23 years old, this year. SONY DSCYes. My baby brother turned 23 a few days ago. I’m still processing. SONY DSCBecause of all the festivities…and the fact that carbs have been sounding especially appealing lately, there has been a lot of food around…

SONY DSC….and I wouldn’t say all of it has been completely healthy….SONY DSC …but there are strawberries under all that whipped cream so…that counts for something…right?

Love, Grey & Brianna

April: What’s Going on in the Garden.

Our spring garden in really starting to take shape…..SONY DSCThere is still so much to do (before baby gets here)…like finish the new drip system.

We harvested our first beet last night for a salad…my mind is already thinking ahead for summer because of it.

SONY DSCThe smell of beets boiling a way on the stove (dirt), apple cider vinegar, and humidity are absolutely one of the summeriest smells I’ve ever smelt.SONY DSCI’ve also officially decided that fava bean plants are one of the prettiest trailing plants…like ever. We went a little overboard….In a month or two, we’re going to be in quite a fava bean predicament. SONY DSCPotatoes.

SONY DSCOnions and leeks still going strong. ;) SONY DSCWe harvested a ton of leeks to make rustic leek and potato soup and homemade rosemary olive oil bread on Friday evening. SONY DSCCucumbers.SONY DSCWatermelon.SONY DSCRaspberries.SONY DSCGround Cherries.SONY DSCOrganic Pest Control: Marigolds.SONY DSCChard.SONY DSCPeppers. SONY DSC …and a whole lot of hard work.

WHAT’S IN THE GROUND: 

  • Peppers
  • Melons
  • Chard
  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Strawberries
  • Beets
  • Ground Cherries
  • Beets
  • Marigolds
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Leeks
  • Oregano
  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • Fava Beans
  • Cucumbers
  • Radishes
  • Okra

Love, Grey & Brianna 

Up to Our Ears in Radishes….and a new respect for the mandoline.

SONY DSCOur radishes have been the star of the kitchen lately. The spicy daikons, sweet crisp purple plum, and the astounding vibrancy of our chinese red meat radishes are sprucing up our salads and sandwiches.

I made some refrigerator radish and carrot pickles on Friday which have been super yummy on homemade bread with veggies.

FYI: the mandoline is a force to be reckoned with. I got one of my worst kitchen injuries using one of these puppies of the first time. I looked down at my hand in disbelief…my face must have been some kind of funny because Greyson just laughed and laughed as I squealed and found an old rag to wrap around my hand…I still don’t like looking at it.SONY DSC

Anyways….radishes are the thing lately. In the garden and in the kitchen.  I cannot get over the prettiness of these chinese red meat aka watermelon radishes!

The purple plum were the first radish we enjoyed this season.SONY DSC

Greyson was the first taste tester of our french radishes.SONY DSC

I just love that they are a such a fast crop. Once the seed is in the ground you’ve got radishes (for some varieties) in about a month. Others take a bit longer, but they are definitely worth the wait (and still faster than most other veggies in our garden.) SONY DSCAll this radish love started with tiny seeds…then sprouts….then plants…and now…food. What a fantastic design. ;)

Love, Grey & Brianna

Split-eyes and the Tiniest Radish.

SONY DSCNow that most everything is planted, working out in the garden with Greyson is a mix of phrases like: “good job!” …..”how about we walk around the beds?”…. “let’s not dump that bucket out” etc. etc. …

If you’ve never gardened with a toddler before it is, like most everything else with a toddler, a half-hearted-split-eyeball kind of event.

What do I mean by “split eyeballs?”

Let me explain…

I’ll be pulling weeds with one eye, while checking to make sure he hasn’t pulled all the drip lines up with the other.

I’ll be thinning beets with one eye, while at the same time, watching to make sure he hasn’t found any sharp garden tools with the other eye (just once I’d like to see him pick up a shovel rather than a pitchfork.)

Split eye. It’s how a walk around most days.

The other day, while I was watering our newly planted melons, I was also keeping watch to make sure no mischief was going on. I saw Greyson walk up to our bed of baby french radishes that still have about a week or two to mature!

I let in a full breath of air to instruct him away from there…when mid breath, I realized that now was not the time to interrupt. I exhaled and watched our little man so intently pinch the stems of one tiny radish between his tiny fingers, and ever so gently lift it out of the dirt. He brushed it off on his shirt, and went in for a nibble.

He was learning.SONY DSC

It was one of those moments that made me feel like I’ve been getting it all wrong.

“Just tear it all apart!” I thought. “If all this is just for that. I’ll be happy.” I wasn’t split-eyed in that moment. I was focused on just on thing–one very important task, his task; while all the “big” items on my to do list were no where to be found.

That was a beautiful place to be, and it started with one tiny radish. A realization that someone else’s agenda might just be different than mine, and maybe more important. More him, less me=happiness–motherhood lesson number 1,208,847,333.SONY DSC

Love, Grey & Brianna