Raw Kale & Brussel Sprout Salad w/ Dijon Maple Dressing…

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Many people turn up their noses at kale, but when you take the time for this one quick step, it’s incredibly delicious! When using raw kale, the key is to give it a little TLC in the way of a  massage.  Wouldn’t that make you more agreeable too?

You simply drizzle with a little olive oil and add a pinch of salt and give it a good massage, scrunching it in your hands.  Don’t be gentle here…more like a deep tissue massage…. Once the kale is bright colored and fragrant, you’re ready to use any way you please.

I love this combination but change it up to make it any way you like.  You could use chopped dried apricots, white or dark raisins, chopped dried figs.  You could use toasted pecans, sunflower seeds or walnuts.

Raw Kale and Brussel Sprout Salad w/Dijon-Maple Dressing

1 bunch curly green kale
1/2 lb. brussel sprouts
2-3 T. sliced almonds, toasted
3 T. dried sweetened cranberries

Dijon Maple Dressing

2 T. white wine vinegar, cider vinegar will do
2 T. maple syrup or honey
1 T. dijon mustard
1 T. minced shallots or red onion
Pinch of pepper

1)  Tear the leaves from the thick fiberous stems and tear into small pieces.  Give a good washing and spin out the water and toss into a large bowl.  Drizzle the kale with a couple of teaspoons of olive oil and add a pinch of kosher or sea salt.  Now scrunch with both hands, massage well until the kale is bright green.  Have a small taste, it should be quite tender.  Don’t worry, you can’t over massage.
2)  Prep the brussel sprouts by washing and trimming the end of the stems and removing any discolored leaves.  Thinly slice them by hand or in a food processor with the slicing blade.  I much prefer the latter.  Add to the bowl with the kale.
3)  If you need to toast the almonds, you can do it in a skillet over medium heat, watch very closely and turn them often with a spatula.  Allow them to cool.
4)  Add the dried cranberries and cooled toasted almonds to the bowl.
5)  In a small bowl whisk all dressing ingredients together.  Pour over the salad and mix well.
6)  Now taste!  Add additional seasonings if needed.  Enjoy immediately.

I love this salad even a day or two later.




Old Fashioned Potato Salad…..

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Good morning!  I am missing sharing recipes with you!  No time like the present.  I’m going to get right to it.

Recently I’ve tasted many commercial potato salads, hoping that I’d satisfy my taste for a delicious potato salad only to be disappointed. The potatoes have a weird texture and I can’t quite figure out what the dressing is made of.  Big surprise, right?  This inspired me to make my Mom’s Old Fashioned Potato salad.

If you’re like me, you just want a small spoonful of this type of salad.  No one wants to load up on fat laden mayonnaisey salad.  I have transformed the dressing into something very delicious and guilt free.  I very much prefer a combination of real mayonnaise, non fat greek yogurt, yellow mustard and a dollop of sour cream.  I think it’s always a good idea to add more crunchy fresh vegetables.

The beauty of  this salad is that you can add whatever ingredients you love.  Why not minced jalapeno or diced roasted red peppers, or blue cheese and crisp bacon?  Make it your own go to potato salad recipe.

My Mom’s had plenty of celery, onions and radishes. The perfect contrast to the cooked red potatoes with skins and the boiled eggs.  I just love that she added radishes, I think it’s brilliant!   I’ve added parsley too.  So good!

Garnishing is key as well.  Love sliced eggs, minced chives, radishes and a sprinkle of paprika.  Beautiful!

Mom’s Old Fashioned Potato Salad

2 lbs. small red potatoes, quartered, boiled in salted water and cooled completely
6 hard boiled eggs, cooled & chopped, reserve one to slice for the top of the salad
Click here for the recipe for perfectly boiled eggs
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
1 cup finely chopped sweet onion
1 cup sliced radishes, reserving a couple for garnish
1 1/2 cups finely chopped celery
1/2 cup fresh chopped chives, reserve a tablespoon for garnish
Paprika to sprinkle over the top of the finished salad

For the dressing:

1 cup non fat greek yogurt
1/2 cup Hellman’s Real Mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1/3 cup yellow mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground celery seed
1 teaspoon kosher salt or 3/4 teaspoon table salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper

1)  Put all potato salad ingredients into a large mixing bowl.

2)  Whisk all salad dressing ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl until well blended.  Taste.  Add additional seasonings here if you wish.  It may need a little more salt and pepper.

3)  Pour dressing over salad ingredients and gently fold until completely combined.

4)  Pour into a large serving bowl.  Top with boiled egg, sliced radishes, minced chives and a sprinkle of paprika.  Refrigerate.  Serve cold.  Refrigerate leftovers.  Serves 8-10.

Enjoy, Happy July 4th!!


Lovely High Tea, Amazing Shrimp Salad!

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I had the pleasure of preparing delicate tea sandwiches and pastry for a high tea recently.  This is Georgia in her beautiful dining room.  Her table was absolutely gorgeous as you can see.  All of her guests wore hats.  So fun!

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I’ve never been to high tea. I will either host one soon or go to the Drake in Chicago for high tea.  How fun!

Here were my offerings….

1)  Chipotle shrimp salad sandwiches on white bread.
2)  Traditional English cucumber and boursin cheese sandwiches on whole wheat bread.
3)  Egg salad on mini whole wheat buns.
4)  Chicken salad with toasted walnuts and craisins on mini whole wheat buns.

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I realized after the fact that all of the pictures I took were of the dessert & sweet bread offerings.  Although I didn’t get pic’s of my sandwich offerings, I was happy that I thought to bring my camera!  Pictured above are my mini cheesecakes with chocolate gnache and fresh strawberries.

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Here you see my cream scones and blueberry streusel bread.  (made with blueberries I picked in Michigan last summer!) I also made a strawberry butter to serve with the delicate scones.

I was wracking by brain trying to think of something different to do with the shrimp salad as all of these salads are mayonnaise based and tend to have the same taste.  As always, I cut the mayo with plain greek yogurt.  Love the light less “mayonnaisey” taste.  I decided to make a chipotle shrimp salad.  I did not use much of the chipotle.  It was amazing!

Shrimp Salad with Chipotle

1 lb. shrimp, cooked and completely cooled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 medium shallot, minced
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup non fat greek yogurt
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon pureed chipotle (small can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, pureed in food processor
2 pinches salt
1 pinch pepper

1)  Prepare the shrimp.  Bring enough water to cover the shrimp to a boil, lower heat to medium and add the peeled and deveined shrimp.  Cover with lid and allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes.  Take a peek.  If they’re pink, they’re done.  Do not over cook as they will become rubbery.  Drain and allow to cool completely in the refrigerator.  Chop finely and keep refrigerated.
2)  In a  medium size mixing bowl add the rest of the ingredients and whisk to blend completely.  Taste.  If you’d like a bit more heat, add more chipotle.  Add the finely chopped shrimp.  Mix gently until all is combined.
3)  To assemble tea sandwiches, spread a very small amount of mayonnaise over the bread slices.  With a spoon, add enough salad to go almost to the crusts.  You’d want about 1/4″ of salad on the sandwich.  With a serrated knife, carefully remove the crusts.  Then cut on the diagonal into halves, then again, very carefully into quarters.  You need a very delicate touch to do this.  Refrigerate.
4)  Also incredibly delicious on a soft roll with lettuce or arugula or on a bed of mixed greens.  Makes about 2 1/2 cups of shrimp salad.



Oven Roasted Vegetable Salad With Roasted Garlic Dressing…..

orng chx slm patDSCN3042_2722I served this salad at my appetizer party a few weeks ago.  A bright vegetable salad was needed in the mix.  Forget about serving an ordinary salad, this one will be a hit!

I roasted garlic last week in olive oil and saved the oil.  This is really easy to do.  Peel a head of garlic and put the cloves into a small sauce pan.  Cover the garlic with olive oil and place over the lowest possible heat on your range.  Watch it closely.  Once the garlic is golden brown, it’s done.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the garlic.  I used the garlic in other salad dressings and I saved the oil.  You must refrigerate both the roasted garlic and the oil.  You can also buy garlic infused olive oil.

I used vegetables that required different roasting times in the oven.  Don’t let this detour you!  They can be roasted a day ahead if necessary.

Roasted Vegetable Salad with Roasted Garlic Dressing

1 head of broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces
1 head of cauliflower, cut into bite sized pieces
1 large bunch of asparagus
1 pint grape tomatoes, washed and halved (unroasted)
1 cup mozzarella pearls, drained

2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons roasted garlic olive oil
1 tablespoon honey

1)  Preheat the oven to 375′.

2)  Place the broccoli in a large mixing bowl.  Drizzle 1 tablespoon garlic olive oil over the broccoli.  Add a couple of pinches of salt and one pinch of pepper.  Toss to coat.  Place on a non stick foil lined cookie sheet.  Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, carefully give them a turn in the oven after 10 minutes.  Place into a large bowl.

3)  Prepare the cauliflower the same as the broccoli.  Roast for 30-35 minutes or until nicely browned.  Add to the bowl with the broccoli.

4)   Trim the ends of the asparagus.  Coat with the garlic olive oil.  Lightly season with salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven for 6 minutes. Remove from the oven.  Cool and slice into 1″ pieces on a diagonal.  Add to the bowl with the other vegetables.

5)  Once the vegetables are cool, add the halved grape tomatoes and pearl fresh mozzarella.

6)  Whisk the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and pour over the salad.  Toss gently to coat.  Serve immediately.  Serves 8-10 people.

*If you’re making this salad a day ahead, don’t dress it until right before serving.  Serve with crusty french bread.



Carrot and Bulgur Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts & Feta….

I’ve come up with a new salad and it’s my new fav!  I love this because the bulk of the salad is shredded carrot and other interesting tastes and textures.  You have the crunch of the carrots, richness of the pine nuts, sweetness from the raisins, a little heat from green onions, bulk and healthy fiber from the bulgur and the parsley adds the perfect earthy flavor.  Your taste buds will dance!

I love grain salads to enjoy during the week for a quick and healthy lunch, no thought required!  You must try this one, it’s totally delicious!

Carrot and Bulgur Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts & Feta

2 cups cooked bulgur, cooled completely-Add 2 cups water and 1 cup of bulgur to a medium sauce pan, bring to a boil, lower heat and cover for 12-15 minutes
1/4 cup dark raisins
4 cups shredded carrots-you can find these in most any produce department already shredded
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (place pine nuts in a skillet over low heat, shake the pan to turn them every couple of minutes.  Watch closely so they don’t burn, toast until lightly browned, cool)
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or 1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1)  Cook the bulgur until all water is absorbed.  Dump into a large mixing bowl, add the raisins.  Stir occasionally until cooled to room temperature.  (raisins are added here to soften up a bit from moisture from the cooked wheat)
2)  Add the carrots through the feta and mix well to combine.
3)  Drizzle the olive oil over the salad, stir to coat.  Season with salt and pepper.  Taste.  Add additional salt and pepper here if needed.
4)  Add the vinegar and mix well to blend.  Store in the refrigerator up to one week.



Nature’s Beauty…..

Good evening-

We thoroughly enjoyed our Michigan vacation!  Lazy mornings and hot afternoons spent on the beach of beautiful lake Michigan.

I went for a walk and picked all of these lovely flowers along the side of the road.  Aren’t they beautiful?  I remember picking wild flower bouquets for my Grandma Henderson.  She graciously accepted my gift even though she had major pollen allergies.  She was so cute!

I think it’s interesting that we (myself included) plant all non indigenous plants and try like crazy to keep them alive during extreme mid-western weather conditions.  Plants native to our area do not suffer nearly as much as the nonindigenous ones.  Even though most would consider what I picked weeds, they flourish in drought conditions and are so pretty and sweet.  Other plants that thrive in the heat are blueberry bushes.

Summer vacation would not be complete without a morning spent blueberry picking.  We ended up with about 20 pounds.   I went through them tonight and put them in the freezer.  I plan on using them to make blueberry pie, blueberry jam and tomorrow morning, blueberry streusel muffins.  Additionally, I think I’ll treat my clients to a green salad with blueberry balsamic vinaigrette, yowza!  This dressing is fantastic with toasted walnuts and blue cheese.  Do try!

I will be going to sleep tonight with blueberries dancing in my head!  Have a lovely night~



Indonesian Quinoa Salad With Peanut Dressing…..

Bring this salad to your next pot-luck or BBQ.  If you like peanut dressing you’re going to love this!  I adapted this recipe from a Cooking Light recipe for Indonesian Vegetable Salad with Peanut Dressing.  I changed it up a bit and absolutely LOVED this salad! (I changed the dressing recipe slightly with the use of natural peanut butter but that’s it)  Love it with the tofu and the quinoa but it would be equally delicious with shredded cooked chicken and pasta.  So good!

Indonesian Quinoa Salad With Peanut Dressing

For the salad:

2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled
1 cup shredded carrot
1 1/2 cups bean sprouts
1 red bell pepper seeded and chopped
2 cups English cucumber cut into slices then quartered
1 small bunch fresh cilantro, chopped

1 (14-ounce) package extra-firm tofu, drained
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup natural creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons hot water
3 tablespoons fresh or bottled lime juice
1 tablespoon lower-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste
1/4 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1)  Cook the quinoa according to package directions and place in a large mixing bowl to cool.
2)  Prepare the tofu by slicing into 1/2″ slices and place on several layers of paper towels.  Cover tofu with additional paper towels and let stand for 5 minutes.  Cut into 1/2″ cubes.
2)  Once the quinoa is cool, add the carrot through the cilantro.
3)  Heat a non stick skillet over medium heat until hot and add the canola oil.  Add the tofu and brown on all sides.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add to the salad bowl.
4)  Whisk all dressing ingredients together in a small mixing bowl.   Pour over the salad ingredients and mix to evenly coat all ingredients.  Serves 4.



Frozen Artichoke Tip and Artichoke and Fennel Salad…..

I’ve fallen in love with Trader Joe’s frozen artichokes.  I love that you only pay for artichokes and not the packing liquid as you do with the canned.

The first time I used them I tossed them with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and salt & pepper.  I roasted them (when my oven was working!) at 375′ for about 20 minutes.  Delish!  The key ingredient here in terms of the brightness of the artichoke was the addition of the lemon (or acid.)   You do not have this issue with the canned artichokes because they add citric acid to the canning liquid. 

This spring like artichoke and fennel salad is really good alongside any fish or chicken dish.   Of course, I used the frozen artichokes in my salad.  When I steamed them in water and a little salt, they came out very gray.  Interestingly, I tossed them with the lemon dressing and poof, they returned to a more appetizing state.   Clearly acid is required in the cooking process which I found interesting that directions on the package did not mention this.

Steamed Frozen Artichokes

Rinse and drain a 12 ounce package of frozen artichokes.  Put into a pot with 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of water.  Steam covered over low heat until most of the water has evaporated, about 6-8 minutes.  Drain well and cool if you’re using in the above salad.   Great in any salad or pasta.  Roast with chicken or add to soups.   The possiblities are endless!

Artichoke and Fennel Salad with Lemon Dressing

2 fresh fennel bulbs with fronds
2 cans quartered artichokes, drained or two packages frozen, steamed, rinsed and cooled
3 tablespoons parsley, washed and chopped
3 green onions, rinsed and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh or bottled lemon juice
2 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

1) Rinse thoroughly.  Trim off the bottom of the bulb and leave about 1″ of the fronds, slice thinly, place in a large bowl. Remove the tender frawns, the deep green portion, and chop coarsely. (Do not use the celery looking stalks, they are very tough, they would be great in soup.) Add parsley and green onions.
2) In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil through the pepper. Pour over vegetables and toss gently. Taste, add additional salt and pepper if necessary.

Have a great day!


Red Leaf Lettuce Salad With Raspberry Vinaigrette…..

Many years ago I was invited to my good friend Lori’s for dinner and she served this amazingly delicious salad.    The flavor combination was fantastic.  You have tender red lettuce, rich and savory pine nuts, crunch from the onions and creaminess from the feta or bleu cheese.  The best part?  The dressing.  This is my all time favorite salad dressing.

I think the key ingredient here is maple syrup.  It adds the most unique sweetness to the dressing.    I like to mix it simply in a jar with a lid, give it a shake and pour.  Then right into the refrigerator for next time.    It’ll keep for weeks refrigerated.

Lori used Boston red leaf lettuce, crumbled feta, toasted pine nuts and thinly sliced red onion.  I prefer bleu cheese so I used it instead of feta.  I can’t always find Boston red leaf lettuce so I use red leaf lettuce.  Both are tender and very good.  Top with some grilled chicken and you’ve got an amazing entree salad.  It would be awesome with mixed greens and goat cheese as well, endless possibilities!

Raspberry Vinaigrette

1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 teaspoons dried tarragon, rubbed between your fingers to release the flavor
2 pinches of salt
1 pinch of pepper

For the salad

6-8 cups Boston red leaf lettuce or regular red leaf lettuce, torn into bite size pieces
4 ounces crumbled bleu or feta cheese
Toasted pine nuts
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

1)  Put all of the dressing ingredients together in a medium size jar and shake.
2)  Assemble the salad and add the dressing sparingly, a little goes a long way.  Toss gently and serve.  Makes 4 generous servings.

Thank you Lori for sharing your recipe all those years ago!!


Asian Cabbage Salad….

I am SO addicted to this salad.  You can’t help but be happy looking at all of these beautiful colors!   Isn’t mother nature good to us?  Add any ingredients you love.  (Pea pods and shredded carrot would be great)  I start with the dressing in the bottom of the bowl.  I then toss the salad ingredients into the bowl.  Top with chopped peanuts and fresh cilantro.  Serve with simply seasoned and pan seared chicken breast and steamed rice for a fabulous simple supper!

Asian Cabbage Salad

For the dressing:

1 tablespoon cider or rice vinegar
1 tablespoon water
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 pinches salt
1  pinch black pepper


2 cups shredded red cabbage (you could also use napa cabbage)
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 green onion, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 small bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped peanuts

1)  Whisk all dressing ingredients together until well blended.  Taste.  Add additional sweet or salt if you need to.
2)  Add the vegetables to the salad bowl and toss to coat.  Serves two.


Have a great snowy weekend!!