Thursday, March 13, 2014

Beet & Goat Cheese Salad with a Blood Orange Vinaigrette

Sounds very gourmet-ish doesn't it? I love blood oranges, not necessarily to eat on their own but for sauces and vinaigrettes or even cakes. They're in season now so I usually get a bag of them and squeeze the juice out of each of them and either whip something up or freeze the juice in ice cube trays for later. This time I decided to make a vinaigrette.

Here's my thoughts on making a salad. If I make a fruity dressing, I don't usually pair it with tomatoes or cucumbers, stuff that you have in a typical green salad. Instead I will add goat, feta or blue cheese and then either some fruit, like strawberries or orange segments or caramelized onions, beets or even butternut squash. Then I top it off with some chopped nuts. It's a nice change to your regular green salad. Hope you enjoy!

Beet & Goat Cheese Salad with Blood Orange Vinaigrette

1 pkg or 4 cups of baby salad greens, cleaned and dried
1 pkg or 6-8 small cooked or roasted beets (I buy them already cooked), chopped into 1 inch pieces
8 oz. goat cheese
1/4 cup chopped nuts (I used the "Slightly Sweetened" Walnuts from Trader Joe's)

Blood Orange Vinaigrette

5-6 small blood oranges, juiced - should have about 1 - 1 1/2 cups
1 tablespoon unfiltered honey
1/2 cup oil some unflavored oil since you want the taste of the oranges to come through. (I use less oil than the typical dressing recipe which is 1 part acid to 3 parts oil)
1 tablespoon champaign vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard (I love the Amora French mustard above)
salt and pepper

In a large mixing bowl, add your clean greens, beets, and goat cheese (torn into small pieces). Add a couple of spoonfuls of vinaigrette to the salad and mix lightly. Taste a green to see if you have enough dressing. If not add a bit more. Add nuts and mix well. Serve immediately.

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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Kahlua Hot Chocolate

Need something that will warm your belly and make you feel good all over. I've got it for you. This hot chocolate is not for wimps. It's rich and chocolately with a touch of coffee liquor to take it over the top. 

I think it's because of all the rain lately but this morning after lunch, a cup of hot chocolate sounded so good to me. I'm trying not to eat cow dairy except small amounts of butter or cream. Sounds strange but it works. As such, I had to get creative. My mom and I bought some Unsweetened Chocolate Almond Milk over the holidays as she had seen a really good recipe for Hot Chocolate that she wanted to try. I bought some knowing I'd find something to do with it. The key is "unsweetened". There is also the Sweetened Chocolate Almond Milk. Don't go there. My version has a lot less sugar in it.

I was going to do my taxes today but instead I'm watching the Oscars and enjoying a cup myself right now. I find it amazing that it's on the entire afternoon and into the evening this year. It's definitely Oscarmania!  Take a breather and enjoy a cup yourself!

Kahlua Hot Chocolate

1 cup Unsweetened Chocolate Almond Milk
1/4 cream (can use Half & Half or milk)
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tablespoons Kahlua (can do 1T if don't want to taste the alcohol)
2 squares bittersweet chocolate bar, chopped (like Ghirardelli) and a little extra for garnish
1 tablespoon sugar
pinch salt
Whipped cream (homemade or from the can)

In a small saucepan, add all of the ingredients except the whipped cream. Bring the mixture to the brink of boiling, stirring often. Then turn off the heat. Pour into cups. Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Enjoy. Makes two small cups or 1 large cup.