Hearty Spring Salad

Hearty Spring Salad

I like this salad for dinner with some grilled fish or chicken. It’s extra filling because of the roasted asparagus and avocado. Putting it on a platter instead of a bowl is a nice way to present it. Toss your greens with dressing before putting on the platter, add your extras, then drizzle a little more dressing on top. The skies the limit here, it IS a salad after all.

Hearty Spring Salad

serves 4-5 as a main course with lean protein

5 cups mixed greens

1 pound roasted asparagus

1 avocado, sliced

2 tangerines, sectioned

3/4 cup grapes, sliced

1/2 cup shaved fresh parmesan

1/3 cup old-fashioned dressing (see recipe below)

Wash and dry mixed greens. Place in bowl. Prepare remaining ingredients. When ready to assemble, toss salad greens with salad dressing. Place on platter. Top with remaining ingredients as seen in photo. Drizzle with a tablespoon or more of dressing. Serve. Enjoy. 🙂

roasted asparagus

To roast asparagus:Preheat oven or bbq to 400.  Snap off ends. If asparagus is thick, peel stalks.  Place on a baking sheet and drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 8-10 minutes until tender. Cut into smaller pieces and add to salad.

Old-Fashioned Dressing

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp honey

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1 tbsp mayonaisse

Mix all ingredients together in jar and shake vigorously. Refrigerate remaining dressing.

Peanut Butter Banana Muffins (with mini peanut butter cups)

peanut banana muffins

Peanut butter and banana is a classic combination, so I thought I’d try it in the form of a muffin. This creation is inspired by Grandma Harper’s much loved Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin recipe, a well-worn recipe card in our house.  I had a bag of PC mini peanut butter cups, so I used those instead of chocolate chips, added peanut butter into the batter and topped the muffins with chopped peanuts. What can I say?  I love peanuts and peanut butter. The result is a  perfectly delicious muffin, fluffy and tender– I only wish I’d thought of it sooner.

Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

makes 12 regular sized muffins

1  1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3)

4 Tbsp vegetable oil or melted butter

4 Tbsp peanut butter (use whatever you have on hand, I used a pure peanut butter, no additives)

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup PC mini peanut butter cups (or any other kind of chocolate chip if unavailable)

1/4 cup chopped peanuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line muffin tin with baking cups or grease well. Place muffin tin on baking sheet.

Beat together first six ingredients. (banana, oil, peanut butter, egg, vanilla and sugar).  In separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add to banana mixture, stirring and folding gently until just combined.  Fold in mini peanut butter cups.  Divide batter equally among muffin cups, then sprinkle with chopped peanuts, if using.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, until tester comes out clean. Let cool. Enjoy!

mix first 6 ingredients together

In separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add to banana mixture, stirring and folding gently until just combined.  Fold in mini peanut butter cups.

fold in mini peanut butter cups

Divide batter equally among muffin cups, then sprinkle with chopped peanuts, if using.

divide batter evenly

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until tester comes out clean. Let cool. Enjoy!

*These freeze perfectly.

Texas-Style Beer Bread

Oh. Ma. Gah.  I saw this recipe and it appeared so easy, I had to give it a try. This is another quick-bread, something you can throw together in literally, one minute.  This bread is delicious eaten on it’s own with some butter….or butter and cheese…peanut butter…but I think it would be great served alongside a soup, stew or chili.  I think I’ll try adding some cheddar into  the flour mixture next time, before adding the beer. EASY. GOOD. TRY IT. It comes from this amazing cookbook – one of my all-time favourites: The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather. You can find it on amazon.

Beer Bread

Texas-Style  Beer Bread

Ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1 (12-oz.) bottle good beer or ale
1/2 cup butter, melted

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously coat a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Place loaf pan on cookie sheet.

pour remaining butter on top

2) Whisk flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a medium bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in beer. Stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Do not over mix. The dough will be thick, heavy and  sticky. Pour half of melted butter into a loaf pan. Spoon clumps of dough into pan. Pour remaining half of butter on top of dough.
3) Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until golden brown. Top of loaf will be gnarled. Remove from pan and serve hot. Yield: 1 loaf or 10 slices.

the bottom - buttery, crunchy, awesome

delicious

Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette with Mixed Greens, Fruit and Cheese Salad

Maple dijon vinaigrette with Mixed Greens

Here’s what we eat for lunch and dinner practically every day, along with some lean protein. It’s a great everyday salad, everyone likes it and the dressing is well-loved by all, young and old. I’m listing my salad ingredients, but use what you have on hand, although I think our combination of ingredients is best. As well for the vinaigrette, follow the recipe, but feel free to substitute whatever vinegar you have on hand. I use rice vinegar, sherry vinegar, white balsamic, red balsamic, red wine vinegar. The maple syrup (or add sugar or honey if you don’t have real maple syrup on hand) adds just enough sweetness to balance the vinegar. This will be your new standard, so you might as well learn it by heart. I keep mine on the counter in a glass jar — good for 5 days or so on the counter (providing it isn’t too hot in your kitchen)– feel free to refrigerate if you aren’t using it daily.

Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup vinegar of your choice

2 tsp dijon mustard

2 tsp real maple syrup

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Mixed Salad

(Serves 4)

6 cups mixed greens (preferably organic)

1/2 cup red grapes, sliced in half

1 tangerine, sectioned

1/3 cup diced feta cheese

2 tbsp. toasted slivered almonds

shavings of fresh parmesan

Vinaigrette:

In a jar with secure lid, add all ingredients. Shake well. Shake again before dressing salad. For the above amount of salad, I use approx. 1/4 cup of dressing.

Salad:

Wash and spin your greens, even if it says they are pre-washed. Add the rest of the ingredients, except almonds and parmesan. Toss. Top with almonds and parmesan. Bon Apetit. Goes great with chicken, fish, burgers…everything. 🙂

everyday salad

Fast and Divine Cinnamon Buns

Cinnamon Buns

Who doesn’t love cinnamon buns? Nobody that I know of. I’ve always wanted to make Cinnamon Buns, but was deterred by the prospect of a  yeast dough, waiting for it to rise, etc.When I saw this recipe, I was motivated to try. It was super easy, you just have to make sure you gather your filling ingredients and set them aside first…then make your dough, which comes together really quickly. Anytime is a good time for these babies. Give it a whirl, you’ll look like a rock star if you have company.

Fast Cinnamon Buns

adapted from Cuisine at Home

Yields 12 buns

 Filling

1 ½ Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground allspice

ÂĽ tsp ground cloves

1 cup chopped, toasted pecans

Dough

Âľ cup cottage cheese

1/3 cup buttermilk

ÂĽ cup granulated sugar

4 Tbsp melted butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

ÂĽ tsp baking soda

For the Glaze

2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar

2-3 Tbsp cold milk

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Heat oven to 400. Grease sides and bottom of a 10 inch springform pan, or a 10 inch pie plate will do as well.

Prepare the filling:

Combine brown sugar and spices. Melt butter, do not mix in. You will be using this to spread onto your dough.  Toast pecans in a dry pan over medium heat until they begin to smell toasted. Remove from heat  and chop fairly small but not completely ground up. Keep in separate bowl.

Prepare your dough:

In a food processor, mix together the cottage cheese, buttermilk, melted butter, granulated sugar and vanilla. Process until smooth – about 10 seconds.  Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Pulse until dough clumps together. Don’t overmix or it will result in a tough dough. The dough will be soft and moist.

make the dough

Scrape the dough onto lightly floured surface and knead together a few times with your hands until smooth. Roll out to a 12×15 inch rectangle with rolling pin.

Roll out, spread with butter

Brush the dough with melted butter, leaving ½ inch border all around.

Sprinkle sugar mixture over top, patting into surface. Sprinkle nuts over sugar.

spread with filling

Starting at long edge, roll up, pinch seam to seal, leaving ends open.

With sharp serrated knife, cut into 12 pieces. Set the pieces in pan.

place in pan

Bake until golden brown and firm to touch, 20-28 minutes. Cool for 5 mins, Run a spatula or knife around the edge to remove. Transfer to serving plate. Make glaze, drizzle over top. Scarf!