Red Pear, Goat Cheese, and Candied Pecan Salad {with Raspberry Vinaigrette}

easy button pear salad 2ed 600We could also call this “The Best Ever ‘Easy Button’ Salad” too.

Because it is.

My friend Lara said to me once, “I totally pressed the Easy Button today and bought a rotisserie chicken for dinner”, and that got me thinking. . . . Yes. Easy button foods are good. Especially for this time of year.

So, we’re pressing the Easy Button here, because when we press it, it’s like a big breath of stressed air gushes out and relief replaces it.

I’m serious about this salad. Add it to your holiday dinner menu.

Continue reading

Farro and Herb Roasted Mushroom Salad Bowl

Farro and Herb Roasted Mushroom Salad Bowl

The September edition of BH&G came in the mail the other day.

It’s the Stylemaker issue.

I’m pretty sure this is supposed to excite and giddify me. I’m probably supposed to be eagerly anticipating the next great inspiration for the mantle I don’t have.

I think “they” expect that I’ll be all amped up and ready to do something great and colorful to my “space” with paint, because it’s the easiest and cheapest way to do any and all things wonderful to said space.

But I was born with a decorating defect, because all it did was make me feel like hyperventilating and scavenging for chocolate covered espresso beans.

Oh. And screaming too. It made me do lots of internal screaming as my blood pressure blew past the stratosphere.

I kept flipping pages faster and faster, frantically hoping to find other things. Food things. “Dear God, where is the flipping food?! Where are the recipes?!”

Lawd help me.

I am not a de-coh-rah-toor.

This is so much more my speed (If you ♥ Anthropologie and a good snort-laugh, this is a must-read. Be forewarned though – there’s an eensie bit of swearing that takes place.) because I am a Boho gal at heart. It must be because I’m totes ok with throwing a bunch of nonsense together and calling it good.

We’ve lived in our house for 12+ years. . . .

I’ve re-arranged the furniture . . . once.

Basically, I’ve thrown it together and called it good for one big, fat, swollen decade.

I’ve been thinking about making changes. Things I’d like to do. It’s just that actually doing them. Well, now. That takes thought. And know-how. And work.

Oh. And money. It takes money.

And what’s that other thing it requires? Ooooooh. Yeah. Time.

It takes time. Which I obviously have, because I’m wisely stewarding my spare minutes reading magazines that make me hyperventilate (sarcasm intended).

And then, I started reading this. Because I quickly skim Nesting Place on a fairly regular basis.

Mostly I look at the pictures, and read if something captures my attention.

I’ve noticed she has a book out now though, and I’ve been curious about it, just not $18-ship-it-to-my-door curious. (Reminder: the prospect of interior-design, by me, for my own home, plagues me with nervous sprints to the bathroom.)

BUT, and mine’s a big one, Amazon was running a crazy-good special on the Kindle version, and all of a sudden, it sounded fun (like bungee jumping or sky-diving fun, which, c’mon – can’t really be fun, but it’s a challenge and when you’re done, if you’re not dead, you can be like, HEEEEY!!! I JUST SKY DIVED AND DIDN’T DIE! I’M AWESOME!! . . . AND ALSO, I’M NOT DEAD!!)

So I jumped.

Or dove.

Whatever.

And I now  ♥ her book and her style.

Let me show you why:

“Imperfection is a sign of maturity.” (Hallelujah! I’m a Golden Girl in that case!!)

“Housekeeping done incorrectly still blesses the family.” (quote via The Fly Lady, Marla Cilley in her book, Sink Reflections) Oh, yes! I am a blessing fiend!!

“At times, good enough and done is a smarter choice than perfect. . . ” (Amen, Sister.)

“. . . if a neighbor walked in and saw a trail of mud, I wouldn’t need to be embarrassed. It’s just proof of lives being lived, and houses are for living. My home is a reflection of our life, and life’s messes can be gloriously beautiful.” (Ahhhh. I’m breathing without a bag.)

 

The amazing thing, Friends, is that it’s awakened my dormant and gun-shy decorating bug – with a tickle of excitement instead of a looming cloud of doom.

I’m debating.

I’m debating about showing you my “space”.

Maybe a before and after.

And the budget.

But this is a food blog – (well, sometimes other stuff too, but mostly food) –  and is that cool, or annoying?

Hmmm. Tell me, do. (Then hand me a brown paper bag!!)

Baby steps, Folks. Baby steps.Farro and Herb Roasted Mushroom Salad Bowl 2 550 b

And food.

Back to food, because, like I said *ahem*, this blog is mostly about food.

So, we have a salad bowl today.

A salad to bring us back to our senses and balance out the decorating-panic-induced chocolate covered espresso bean binge.

We have farro, which might be my new whole grain bestie.

Why did it take me so long to try you, Farro? You’re so good, it’s like you could be Egyptian royalty or something. Wait a minute. . . .

We have crisp-edged, oven roasted, thyme and oregano mushrooms snuggied up with red onions (which turn so crispy and delicious they might give bacon a run for their money. #forreals.)

We have feta cheese.

And we have avocado. What I really wanted to call this dish was, “Farro and Herb Roasted Mushroom Salad Bowl Plus Avocado Because Always and Everywhere All Things Are Better with Avocado”.

But I thought that title was too wordy.

Opinions?

I made this with a creamy avocado dressing too, which – don’t get me wrong – kind of made my eyes roll as far back as they could reach with yum!!, but it’s totally not a deal breaker if you don’t have time. I’d say a splash of good olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lime juice, plus a crack of pepper and pinch of salt would be just as good to top this bowl off.

And bonus – these components, stored separately, keep really well for multiple lunches later in the week. Like 3 days in a row. Because you won’t get tired of this and you’ll be counting down the minutes till lunch time.

My friend said to me one time, “What do vegetarians even eat?!”

This. They eat stuff like this. And then they high-five each other for mushrooms well roasted.

Who needs meat when you have exciting little salad bowls parked and waiting in your fridge for you at 11:59 AM?

Farro and Herb Roasted Mushroom Salad Bowl

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 4 salads

Farro and Herb Roasted Mushroom Salad Bowl

This salad is full of pleasing flavors and textures. I've written the recipe to serve 4 - so share it with your family and friends, or save it for lunches throughout the week. With a glass of wine, it'd make for a nice light dinner to come home to after a busy day as well. Keep leftovers as separate components in sealed containers, and refrigerate for up to three days.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup dry Farro
  • For the Mushrooms:
  • 1 8oz package sliced button or baby portabello mushrooms
  • 1/3 medium red onion, sliced thin (vertically)
  • 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh chopped oregano
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • Splash of dry white wine (optional)
  • For the Dressing:
  • 1/4 of a fresh, soft Hass avocado
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (about 1/2 a lime)
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh chopped oregano
  • pinch of fresh thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse Kosher salt (to taste)
  • Fresh cracked pepper (to taste)
  • 2-4 teaspoons water (as much as you want to thin dressing to desired consistency)
  • Additional ingredients for the Salad
  • about 8 cups Arugula or other salad greens
  • 3/4 avocado, sliced thinly, lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup Feta cheese crumbles

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet by lining with parchment paper or a silpat mat (silpat will give you crispier edges on your mushrooms).

Prepare the Farro according to package directions.

Meanwhile, For the Mushrooms:

In a large bowl, toss the sliced mushrooms and onions with the olive oil. Use enough oil so the mushrooms are evenly coated. Add in fresh herbs, salt, and wine. Toss again. Spread mushrooms and onions out evenly over parchment-lined (or silpat-lined) baking sheet. (Make sure there is room between your veggies - space is what allows them to crisp as they roast, instead of steam to soft oblivion.) Bake mushrooms for 20-30 minutes. If necessary, remove onions first, so they don't burn. Set aside until ready to assemble salad.

For the Dressing:

To a small food processor, (I used a Magic Bullet), add all ingredients except the water. Blend for about 30 seconds. Check for consistency, add desired amount of water. Blend again. Check for taste and adjust accordingly. (If you don't have a small food processor or Magic Bullet, I'm guessing you could use a sumbersion blender here, or just mash the avocado as finely as possible, then whisk the ingredients together with lots of elbow grease!)

To Assemble the Salad:

Place 2 cups of arugula on each of 4 plates.

Divide farro, mushrooms, and avocado evenly among the 4 plates.

Add 2 tablespoons of crumbled Feta cheese to each plate.

Drizzle with avocado dressing and serve.

Source

Sara| Home is Where the Cookies Are

http://www.wherethecookiesare.com/2014/09/08/farro-and-herb-roasted-mushroom-salad-bowl/

Stacked Heirloom Tomato Salad with Pistachio Balsamic Vinaigrette

Stacked Heirloom Tomato Salad With Pistachio Balsamic Vinaigrette

Let me tell you what not to do.

Don’t let yourself erase any photographs you ever use on your blog. Ever.

Because then probably, by some yet-to-be discovered law of the internet, the one set of photos you can’t find from April 2012 will attract the attention of a buyer – a real flesh-and-blood breathing person who wants to pay you cold hard cash for the rights to use them in an online promotion this October.

And then you’ll start to daydream about all the things you could pay for with cold hard photograph cash. Then boom! You’ll shed a tear or two because somehow. SOMEHOW those are the only missing photos from the last 800 or so days of your life.

It just doesn’t seem fair.

And I’m sure there is a lesson in here somewhere, I’m just trying to figure out which one it is. Because so far, I’ve thought of about 16.

Just sayin.

The other thing you shouldn’t do? Binge on pizza and chocolate chip cookies this weekend after you’ve been religiously working out for like, a whole 5 days.

6 Week 6 Pack, yo.

Here I come.

The thing Jeezy MicCheezy doesn’t tell you though, is that your six-pack will be buried under that floppy layer of skin left behind from that time you grew a human in your belly. Times four. *sigh*.

My belly tells my story. Of love and wholeness and 4 fantastic little shorties I’d never trade for rock hard abs. That would only be a 4 pack anyway. Which would be totally weird and incomplete.

Something else one must never do – experiment with super short razor lengths when cutting one’s husband’s hair.

You might get a good chuckle out of it.

He will not.

The fourth thing you must not ever do – we’re going with a double negative here: You must never not make this dressing.

Serious.

If you are a balsamic vinegar lover, consider making it, like – this exact moment.

Unlike most vinaigrettes, it’s thick and dipable (Ranch replacement anyone??).

It’s lighter, healthier, and cram packed with lightning bolts of flavor.

Pistachios.

??

Pistachios are the magic ingredient.

They are the thickener that is not mayonnaise and the super subtle smoky salty flavor that is not bacon.

Why not just go with bacon?

Well, that is an excellent question, since bacon is probably the best food ever known to man.

(On an off-note here, we had breakfast this spring with a man who said he never eats bacon. Ever. It’s like death fried as a stick – that as a child his mother always preached the horrors of bacon. He just cannot fathom putting it in his body. . . . This, he told us as we brunched with bacon infused Bloody Marys in our hands – garnished with gigantic, thick slices of crispy bacon. . . .*Ahem*.)

The most truthful answer is fourfold: 1. Let’s go meatless, and 2. Let’s not dirty more dishes frying bacon, 3. Let’s be healthy, 4. Let’s be speedy.

Done, done, done, and done.

Actually, I guess it’s fivefold: 5. Let’s make it so delicious you want to lick your plate clean.

Done.

Stacked Heirloom Tomato Salad with Pistachio Balsamic Vinaigrette

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: about 3/4 cup

about 2 tablespoons (but you'll want more!)

This dressing is lick-your-plate good. Typically, a serving size of dressing is 2 tablespoons. You certainly could abide by that here - it's packed with flavor. However, it's also very light, so if you feel like you want to pile on a little more? Go ahead - without the guilt!

Ingredients

    For the Salad:
  • 2-4 large Heirloom tomatoes (consider 1 whole tomato per person)
  • Parsley and fresh ground black pepper for garnish
  • For the Dressing:
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 cup dry roasted, salted, (shelled) pistachios
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • 3 large, fresh basil leaves, washed, dried, and torn
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt to taste (I used about 1/2 teaspoon)
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Directions

For the salad: Wash tomatoes. Slice them into rounds a little thicker than 1/4". Stack them, varying colors, and garnish with parsley. Sprinkle with fresh cracked pepper.

For the dressing: In a small food processor, blender, or Magic Bullet, add the vinegar and pistachios. Blend until pureed and smooth. Add in smashed garlic, and torn basil. Whir again until smooth. Add in olive oil and whir until thickened. Taste, and add in desired salt and pepper.

Serve right away, drizzled over stacked tomatoes, or refrigerate for later.

Source

Sara| Home is Where The Cookies Are

http://www.wherethecookiesare.com/2014/05/27/stacked-heirloom-tomato-salad-with-pistachio-balsamic-vinaigrette/

Shaved Broccoli and Parmesan Crostini

Shaved Broccoli and Parmesan Crostini

I feel like my food tastes are a little bit messy. A little indefinite. A little. . .  uncommitted.

I am seemingly fully committed though, to traipsing all over the food map, to trying a little of this and a little of that, to one day be a vegetarian then another day be a meatatarian, to then another day eat nothing but banana cake and pepperoni slices straight from the package.

Paleo? Sure, I’ll try it. Vegetarian? Yup, that too. Vegan? Eh, I guess – I’m sure it can be delicious, but really, could I ever give up dairy forever?? I think not. Continue reading

Pulled Pork and Red Cabbage “Tacos” with Quick Pickled Cucumbers

Pulled pork and red cabbage tacos. Quick to prep, easy, DELICIOUS slow cooker recipe. {Paleo}

4:19 AM.  Little Gal decides it’s time to wake up. I stumble into her room, groggey-eyed and tripping over train pieces and headbands. I try to convince her it’s way too early to get up, but I have to say, “It’s way too late“, because early and late are transposed in her mind. I’m silently praying, no – silently BEGGING – that she will go back to sleep and we won’t have a fit on our hands.

It’s too late to get up”. “No you can’t have juice”. Please don’t cry please don’t cry please don’t cry.

Then I have an idea.

“Hey! remember how Dad is traveling? He’s not in his bed, so you can sleep with me for a little bit. But you HAVE. TO. SLEEP. And we can only do this if Dad isn’t home”.

I already feel like backpedaling the offer – I know I’m potentially starting a bad habit.

But she confirms with me: “Yeah. I can only sleep in your bed if you are gone or if Dad is gone but not on usual nights”. Huh. Maybe she gets it.

“Yup. Right. But you HAVE TO SLEEP”. Did I say that already?

“Ok mommy. I will”.

So we traipse back into my room. I plop her on Dad’s pillow and slide into my side. We hold hands, and, after tossing, turning, giggling, eye-ball poking, and tucking her under the soft side of her blankie until it is just perfectly, exactly, uncontestably right, after all that – twenty-eight or so loooooong minutes later – she’s asleep.

I drift off.Slow Cooker Pulled Pork in Red Cabbage "taco shells", topped with quick pickled cucumbers and Buffalo Ketchup.

5:15 AM: My alarm.

Ba-dum-tshh.

Sometimes that’s just the way the cookie crumbles. Or the way the cake falls. Or the way the turkey gobbles. Or the way the stupid alarm stubbornly sticks to it’s pre-programed schedule. Stupid alarm. Who set that thing anyway?

Let’s eat pork tacos with perfectly tangy quick pickled veggies and buffalo ketchup.

Let’s do it because this meat is so darn easy to throw together.

Minimal work goes into the slow cooker, awesome meat comes out.

I dare you to tell me it gets better than that.Red Cabbage Leaves stuffed to the brim with slow cooker pulled pork and topped with quick pickled cucumbers and spicy buffalo ketchup

And don’t let the accoutrements stop you if you’re not into having to prep those. Just skip them and make the meat anyway.

It’s good in cabbage leaves, but equally as good in tortillas or on a hard roll.

You get it.

It’s weeknight food, it’s football food. It’s food that’s easy to prepare on limited sleep.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork and Red Cabbage “Tacos” with Quick Pickled Cucumbers

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 5 hours

Total Time: 5 hours, 20 minutes

Yield: 10(ish) Servings

This pork is SO EASY. With no browning or pre-cooking necessary, it pops into the slow cooker within a matter of minutes - which leaves you with plenty of time to quickly throw together the pickled cucumbers and store them in the fridge for later. The Buffalo sauce is certainly a treat for topping, but not necessary if you don't want to go to the trouble. A few spatterings of Frank's Original is fantastic in a pinch too, and honestly - the pickled veggies add enough perfect tang/sweet/crunch to the tacos that you may find you don't even want any extra sauce. My point? The meat is darn good. Don't let a lack of sauce stop you. Just go ahead and do it anyway!

Ingredients

    For the Slow Cooked Pork:
  • 4 pound pork roast ( I used two 2 lb roasts), cut into 4 evenly sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup dry white cooking wine (optional - you could sub water or chicken broth here)
  • 1/4 cup Frank's Red Hot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlitc powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
  • dash of ground allspice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • For the Quick Pickled Cucumbers:
  • 2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow or orange bell pepper, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 of a medium sized red onion, peeled, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (rubbed between palms)
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • For the taco "shells"
  • 1 small head red cabbage, carefully peeled to preserve the individual leaves without tearing, rinsed, and dried
  • For topping:
  • 1 recipe Buffalo Ketchup

Directions

For the Pork:

Rinse pork and pat dry.

Place in the slow cooker.

In a medium bowl, all ingredients except the bay leaves.

Stir well to combine.

Pour sauce evenly over meat.

Add bay leaves to the slow cooker.

Cover, and cook on high for 4-6 hours, or low for 6-8.

When the meat is cooked and easily falls apart with a fork, it's done. Remove it to a cutting board and shred with a fork. Pour all but about two cups of the cooking liquid out of the slow cooker and into another bowl and set aside for later use if necessary. Place shredded meat back in the slow cooker and stir to cover with cooking liquid. Cover, and set slow cooker to warm and allow meat to reheat. Serve when ready.

For the Quick Pickled Cucumbers:

Add all ingredients to a large bowl and toss to combine.

Cover, and chill for several hours.

Source

Sara| Home is Where The Cookies Are

http://www.wherethecookiesare.com/2013/11/15/pulled-pork-and-red-cabbage-tacos-with-quick-pickled-cucumbers/

Spicy Peanut Cabbage Slaw

Spicy Peanut Cabbage Slaw

I’m pretty sure I just toxified a detox salad in two easy steps:

1) added peanut butter

2) added peanuts.

Whatevs.

It’s going to make us eat cabbage.

Over and over again. Continue reading

Zucchini Pizza Salad

Zucchini Pizza Salad - zucchini, tomato, red bell pepper, fresh mozzarella, salami, pepperoni, homemade vinaigrette, olives, croutons

“This is the best salad you’ve ever made for me.”

Say wha??

Shaved zucchini? Tomato puree in the dressing? Shallots and fancy tiny mozzarella balls?

Again I say, shaved zucchini?!

And it’s my husband’s favorite salad I’ve ever given him. Ever. Continue reading

Chinese Chicken & Broccoli Salad with Fresh Ginger Sesame Dressing

Chinese Chicken and Broccoli Salad with Fresh Ginger Sesame Dressing

So. . . .

I’ve officially done an unofficial study on what happens if you eat a half a piece of apple pie for breakfast and then spend the rest of the day at home.

You eat.

Stupid stuff.

Like Cheez-It snack mix and mini dark chocolate Hershey’s bars. Continue reading