Triple Green Salad with Smoked Tuna

I have to tell you about the salad I made last night.  My original intention was just to throw together something healthy, not necessarily outstanding or blog-worthy.  As soon as I took my first bite, though, I knew that I would have to share this.

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I haven’t made a salad in a while.  When it’s cold and rainy outside, a plate of raw vegetables just doesn’t appeal to me.  I’m sure many of you can relate.  I think the secrets to this salad’s beauty are the sautéed mushrooms, which add some much-needed warmth, the lick-your-fingers good savory dressing, and the hearty smoked tuna, which I discovered a while back from a small company on the Oregon coast.

tuna

Good News Tuna Company

So good.

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I’m even looking forward to eating the EXACT same thing for dinner tonight.  I hope you enjoy it too!

Triple Green Salad with Smoked Tuna
serves 1

6-7 crimini mushrooms, washed with stems removed and sliced
1 cup dandelion greens, washed and roughly chopped
1/2 Tbsp butter
pinch of salt
a few handfuls baby spinach
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, washed and dried
a few tablespoons of Duma Dressing (see recipe below)

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add mushrooms and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium, cover with a lid, and continue to sautee while you prepare the rest of the salad.  Check on it and stir it occasionally.

Place spinach and parsley in a large bowl.  Make dressing, pour a generous amount onto greens and toss to coat.  Place on a large dinner plate.

Add dandelion greens to mushrooms on stovetop.  Heat, covered, for about 2 minutes until beginning to wilt.  Place the mixture on top of the plated greens.

Flake about 4 oz tuna over everything.  Enjoy.

Duma Dressing
makes about 2 cups (you can keep in fresh in the refrigerator for up to 1 week)
adapted from Get It Ripe by Jae Steele

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup tamari soy sauce
1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
small handful of pumpkin seeds

Place all ingredients in a food processor or high speed blender.  Blend on high for about 30 seconds until smooth.

I shared this post with this week’s Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter, Full Plate Thursday, and Keep It Real Thursday.

Quick Pickled Onions

I was so excited when, at the grocery store last week, I noticed the first of this season’s walla walla onions.  For those who’ve never have them, walla walla onions are an incredibly sweet, ridiculously huge variety of onion grown in and around Walla Walla, Washington (yes, real place).  They have a short shelf life and are only available this time of year and so they are quite a treat.

I bought one without having any plans for it and proceeded to let it sit on my counter for a few days.  My favorite way to enjoy walla wallas is to grill them and put them on a burger.  But it has been way to HOT to grill, if you can believe it, and I began to worry that this precious onion would go to waste.  That’s when I got the idea to pickle it.  While red onions are usually the ones I see turned into pickles (so good on sandwiches, salad, and tacos!), I decided that the walla walla would be a perfect variation.  And I was right.

Quick Pickled Onions
adapted from Bon Appetit

Ingredients
– 1 onion, thinly sliced (walla walla or red would work well)
– 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
– 1 cup water
– 1 Tbsp sugar
– 1 1/2 tsp salt

In a large jar, mix vinegar, water, sugar, and salt until dissolved.  Add onion to the jar, place the lid on top and shake until the onion has been coated.  Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour and then refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

* I added this post to this week’s Fresh Bites Friday and Thriving on Thursday.

Harissa Chickpeas with Spinach and a *Giveaway*!

Ah, resolutions.  They are so easy to make and so hard to keep.  There are the annual New Year’s Resolutions we all make and break.  There’s the inevitable swimsuit season countdown.  And there are the (in some cases daily) promises that this will be the LAST TIME I gorge on Oreo cookies for dessert after my greasy grilled cheese dinner.  Obviously I say none of this from experience.  Obviously.

Regardless of what your health/fitness goals are, it’s hard to make changes last.  Whether it’s cutting down on soda or quitting smoking, it’s always easier to make resolutions than to keep them.   And long-term habits are what ultimately create health or illness.  Which is why I’m sharing a GIVEAWAY today from the health and fitness app/website Slimkicker.  SlimKicker is a website/app that turns your health and diet challenges into a game by giving you the tools to track your progress, reward yourself, and even compete with friends.

To win the giveaway, all you need to do is leave a comment on this post with a fun and creative health, diet, or fitness challenge.  Slimkicker will pick will pick their favorite entry, add it as a challenge to their site, and give you an Ozeri Professional Kitchen Scale.  I’m seriously jealous of excited for whoever wins this.  (This giveaway is only open to residents of the U.S. and Canada.)

source

I will be accepting entries until July 31st and then we’ll be contacting the winner.

I was thinking about what kind of challenge I would create for myself and decided it would definitely be to cook dinner at home more often.  For someone who writes a cooking blog, I do a poor job of feeding myself and my loved ones at the end of a busy day.  Even the simplest dinners cooked at home would save me tons of money and would be much healthier than take-out or (ahem) bar food.  So in honor of today’s giveaway, I’m sharing these Harissa Chickpeas with Spinach.  Fast, healthy, and affordable.  I guess there’s nothing too challenging about that!

Harissa Chickpeas with Spinach
serves 2
from Not Without Salt

Note: You can find harissa paste in many well-stocked grocery stores or online.

Ingredients
– 1 Tbsp butter
– 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
– 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (= 15oz can)
– 1 tsp harissa paste (add more for more spice)
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 1 Tbsp olive oil
– 1 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
– 2 cups fresh baby spinach
– generous scoop plain greek yogurt

1. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic and sauté about 2 minutes, until softened.  Add harissa paste and allow to cook 2 minutes more.

2. Add chickpeas and sauté until warm and softened, about 5 minutes.  Remove pan from heat and stir in mint, spinach, and olive oil.

3. Allow the residual heat to soften the spinach and divide into 2 bowls.  Top each bowl with a scoop of greek yogurt and serve with a slice of crusty bread, if you like.

* I shared this post with this week’s Fresh Bites Friday and Fight Back Friday.

Asian Kale Salad with Tofu

It wasn’t until I started using kale in salads that I realized that leafy things could really make a satisfying lunch.  In general, I have to admit to not being in love with raw vegetables.  Sure, I’ll snack on some carrots in order to feel healthy and I’ll choke down a restaurant salad if I’ve been overindulging, but the raw things just don’t really tempt me a whole lot.  But there are a few exceptions.

I ate this almost every day last week and was actually disappointed when I ran out of my ingredients.  The combination of kale, marinated tofu, crunchy spring vegetables, and mildly spicy (is that an oxymoron?) dressing made this salad one I could look forward to.  It came together in very little time, making it perfect for a busy first week of the summer school term.  And unlike salads with more delicate leafy greens, I could make this in the morning and it wouldn’t be soggy at lunch.  Excellent.

Let’s talk just a minute about kale.  Kale is a nutritional powerhouse that belongs to the cruciferous family.  It’s an excellent source of vitamins K, A, and C (obligatory nurse-y note: too much Vitamin K can actually be harmful if you’re on an anticoagulant drug like Warfarin…talk to your prescriber before drastically changing you intake of leafy greens) as well as antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.  It’s been shown to have anti-cancer properties and it can assist in lowering cholesterol.  In other words, you should eat it.

Asian Kale Salad with Tofu
serves 1
adapted from Vegetarian Times Magazine

Ingredients
– 1 tsp grape seed oil (olive oil would work, too)
– 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
– 2 tsp rice vinegar
– 1 tsp honey
– 1 tsp soy sauce
– 1/2 tsp chili garlic sauce (I used this kind)
– 3-4 leaves of green kale, stemmed and roughly chopped
– 1/2 cup shredded carrots
– a small handful fresh shelled peas
– 1/4 cucumber, diced
– 3 oz. Thai-flavored baked tofu, sliced (Wildwood brand is fantastic)

Make the dressing.  Combine sesame oil, vinegar, honey, soy sauce, and chili garlic sauce in a small bowl.  Set aside.

Place kale in a large bowl and drizzle with grape seed oil.  Using your hands, “massage” the kale for about a minute until it is softened.  Toss with dressing, carrots, peas, and cucumber.

Plate the salad and top with tofu.

* I shared this salad with Melt in Your Mouth Monday and My Meatless Mondays.

Peanut Butter White Bean Blondies

If you’ve read this blog before, you might know that I like to try to sneak healthy ingredients into my meals in unexpected ways.  I’m always happy throwing some spinach into a smoothie or having turmeric with breakfast.  Which is why I was thrilled to find Chocolate Covered Katie’s incredible recipe for Peanut Butter White Bean Blondies.

Instead of using flour, the batter is based in white beans…but you really couldn’t guess it based on the taste and texture.  In fact, I’m thinking we might want to change the name to “Dense, Gooey Pieces of Peanut Butter Heaven”.  Who’s with me?  And while you’re enjoying your decadent treat, you can feel smug about all the protein and fiber you’re eating.

Perfect for a Fourth of July picnic.  Or for my inevitable anxiety snacking as I begin my final term of nursing school with a night shift clinical rotation and impending licensure exam and job hunt.  What?  Oh I’m fine.  Just fine.  (Eats another blondie.)

Does anyone else have big plans on the horizon for the summer?

Peanut Butter White Bean Blondies
makes 1 8×8 pan
from Chocolate Covered Katie’s recipe

Note: I didn’t really make any changes from the original recipe, but katie lists a few options for how to make these.  This is the version I used.  Check out her original recipe for substitution ideas!

Ingredients
– 1 1/2 cups white beans
– 3/4 tsp baking powder
– 1/8 tsp baking soda
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 3/4 cup coconut sugar
– 2 tsp vanilla extract
– 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
– 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
– 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Blend all ingredients except for chocolate chips in a food processor until very smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.  Fold chocolate chips into batter and pour into an 8×8 inch baking dish.

Bake for 25-30 minutes.  Allow to cool and enjoy.

* I added this post to this week’s Fresh Bites Friday, Fight Back FridayPennywise PlatterFull Plate Thursday, and Wellness Weekend.

Sardine Rillettes

I am so excited to share this recipe with you today!  I know, I know…sardines.  I have to admit that this little fish came into my life only recently and with some hesitation on my part.  I knew that sardines were supposed to be one of the safest and most sustainable seafood choices on the market.  I also was aware that they were one of the best sources of healthy Omega-3 fatty acids available.  And compared to wild Alaskan salmon (another healthy and sustainable option), they are a steal.  But, still, I wasn’t sure I was ready to venture into sardine territory.

Then, canned sardines went on sale at the grocery store and I decided it was now or never.  I bought 2 cans.  The first can was used to make fisherman’s eggs, which is basically a hot dish of sardines topped with baked eggs.  It was pretty good, but I can’t say I was completely won over.  The sardine rillettes won me over.  Think of it as a pate that you can serve on crackers or toast.  It’s deliciously creamy with little bites of shallots and herbs and a nice briny flavor from the sardines.  A little bit of lemon juice freshens everything up.  That’s the fancy description.  Another way to think of the taste is that it’s kind of like tuna salad, all grown up.

I enjoyed mine spread generously on some gluten-free multi-grain bread from a local bakery.  It’s also nice to have a little sprinkle of fleur de sel for the top and perhaps some pickled vegetables (I used some peperoncini but there are probably better options).

And so, I would like to present to you…sardines that I think you will like!

Sardine Rillettes
makes about 1/2 cup
adapted from Simply Recipes

Ingredients
– One 4.3 oz can sardines, packed in olive oil (I used Wild Planet brand)
– 1/3 cup cream cheese
– 1 shallot, finely minced
– 1 scallion, finely chopped, white and light green parts only
– juice from half a lemon
– about a tsp each of fresh chives and parsley, finely chopped

Place all ingredients except sardines in to a bowl and mix with a spoon until smooth.

Remove tails from sardines, if necessary.  Split them down the center and remove the backbone.  Note: While I’ve learned that I like the taste of sardines, I can’t say the same about their smell on my hands hours after I’ve eaten them.  Try to avoid getting too much oil on your hand to avoid this problem.  Or you could use gloves if you have some.

Add sardines to cream cheese mix.  Using a fork, break them up and stir them in.  Serve immediately or chill in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Shrimp, Avocado, and Lime Salad

Monday was perhaps the hottest day we’ve had so far this year.  While I spend the majority of the winter yearning for summer to come again, I forget what it feels like to be wilting on the couch in one’s little box of the apartment (no A/C, of course), wondering just how anyone could be expected to get any work done in this heat.  That was Monday, a preview of what’s to come.

The last thing I wanted to do was fire up the stove or turn on the oven.  Luckily, I had some pre-cooked Oregon Bay Shrimp I had bought on sale from the grocery store.  According to Seafood Watch, wild-caught Oregon shrimp are the best choice for sustainability.  And since this salad required absolutely no additional heat in my apartment, I’d say it was the perfect meal for the day.  I served it on cucumber slices but it would also be lovely on tortilla chips or a green salad.

I’m so sorry for the grainy photo! I left my camera in Fort Worth and am waiting for my mom to mail it to me. Thanks, Mom!

Shrimp, Avocado, and Lime Salad
makes about 3 cups

Ingredients
– 3/4 lb pre-cooked Oregon Bay Shrimp, picked through for stray shells
– 2 small avocados, diced
– 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
– juice of 2 limes
– scant teaspoon salt (add more to taste, if needed)
–  1 tsp garlic powder
– 1/2 tsp cumin

Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and combine well.  Serve immediately or chilled with cucumber slices or other crudités.