Blood Orange Salad with Fennel and Goat Cheese

Its blood orange season and spring is around the corner. I call it the “sassy” fruit because it has an attitude with its dark red flashy flesh. You can basically use blood oranges any way you would use another citrus. Unfortunately, I think many shy away from it because of its dark color. Sometimes these oranges are hard to find as they blend in with all the other fruit on display at the grocery store. You may have to seek them out but it’s worth it.

I think of this salad as an on the edge of spring salad. The citrus takes it from an ordinary salad to a bright, wake up your taste buds salad. When I’m making a salad, I try to incorporate all kinds of textures and flavors to make it interesting to your tongue. I know most of us usually fall back on the lettuce, tomato and cucumber salad with bottled dressing. I hope every now and then, you’ll give something different a try. Be creative. Add some herbs and different veggies. Make your own dressing. I know you’ll love it and if you’re like me, you’ll never go back to bottled dressing!

Blood Orange Salad with Fennel and Goat Cheese

Salad Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup of blood orange juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Salt and pepper

Add all ingredients to a jar and shake to mix well. Taste for seasoning.


  • 1 head of curly romaine, washed, dried and cut or torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 fennel bulb, cleaned and sliced thin
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thin
  • 5 oz goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup fresh, chopped mint
  • 1/4 cup fresh, chopped basil
  • 1/4 cup sliced toasted almonds

Add all of the salad ingredients except the almonds and goat cheese to a large bowl and toss to mix. Add the dressing a tablespoon at a time until dressed. Sprinkle the goat cheese and almonds on top and serve immediately.…

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Peach Crisp (Gluten Free)

I almost posted another salad but I thought to be fair I should give you something else equally as delicious. I also love dessert!

I have wanted to make a gluten free crisp for a while now. Apple crisps are one of my favorites in the winter but I’m always trying get away from using flour where possible. The challenge is making it so you can’t tell you didn’t use flour, which can be challenging.

Peaches are gorgeous right now. They smell delicious and taste even better. Sometimes it’s hard to eat them though before they go bad. It seems they all ripen at the same time. This recipe works great for those peaches that are getting a little too soft.

I remember growing up my mom used to fix us sliced peaches with milk and sugar. We didn’t have it very often but it was a treat. This crisp, like the peaches and milk, is all comfort. Add some vanilla ice cream and really take it over the top. You’ll be happy you did.

Peach Crisp

Peach Mixture:
2 large peaches, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot
1-2 tablespoons sugar (depending on the sweetness of the peaches)

Crumb Topping
1 cup gluten free oats (regular, not quick cooking)
1/4 cup almond meal/flour
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold butter cut into small cubes, plus 1 tablespoon for the ramekins

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter four ramekins.

Add the peaches to a small bowl with the cornstarch and sugar. Mix well and set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the butter. Mix the ingredients with a fork. Using your hands, add the butter and incorporate the butter by working it into the crumbs to form small pieces of dough, until almost all the crumbs are gone.

Divide up the peaches and add them to the ramekins. Using your hands, add the crumb mixture to each.  Place them on a tray and place in the oven.

Baker for 15-20 minutes. Let sit another 20 minutes before serving. Great with vanilla ice cream or some whipped cream.…

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Grilled Shrimp and Summer Salad

I think I’m on a salad kick. I just realized that I’ve posted quite a few salads. I wish I looked like I eat salads all the time! I do like to make fun salads on the weekend, especially during the summer with all the fresh ingredients you can get.

It was hard to get back into things this week as I went on vacation last week. My family all met up in Idaho for a 4th of July bash and some downtime hanging out with family. It was so nice to get away and spend some time with everyone and just to be outside. The pace is slower, there’s no traffic and it is just a beautiful place.

My grandmother’s garden (yes she does have a green thumb)

I hope you’re enjoying the summer. It’s going by so fast.

I highly recommend a vacation if you can manage it! If not, make this salad and sit outside. At least you can relax for a moment.

Here’s a new widget I have added to my site call Bloglovin. Here you can see all of the blogs you follow in one place and they’ll send you an update daily with any new postings. Cool huh?! Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Summer Salad

1 large head of romaine lettuce, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 cob of corn, wrapped in a wet paper towel and microwaved for 2 minutes and then cut off the husks.
6 bocconcini (fresh mozzarella cheese)
1/4 cup sweet onion, chopped
1/4 cup basil, chiffinade

Cumin & Lime Vinaigrette

1 large lime, juiced
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/4-1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all of the salad ingredients into a medium sized bowl. In a separate smaller bowl or jar, add all of the vinaigrette ingredients. Shake or stir well to combine ingredients.

Grill up your shrimp on a grill pan or outdoors. I seasoned them with some garlic powder and salt and pepper before grilling.

When the shrimp are done, add some of the dressing to the salad and mix well. Serve with the shrimp. Enjoy!…

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Strawberry, Kale and Walnut Salad

Hey! How are you guys? Enjoying the summer I hope.

This recipe came about by accident. I was going to make my Kale and Apple Salad, however, I cut into the only apple I had and it was bad. The only alternative left was strawberries and so I went with it. As you can see, I thought it turned out REALLY good.

This dressing sounds weird and you’ll think it will taste like onion. It doesn’t. It really has great flavor and consistency. Especially if you use sweet onions. I buy a bag of Vidalia onions at Costco every summer and hide them in the coolest, darkest place in the house so they don’t spoil. They really are like candy and the only onion that I usually eat raw. Seriously, the best onions ever. I have made this with regular onions though and it’s still really good.

The summer is flying by as is every month. I feel like we didn’t really have a winter in California. It’s gone from fall to summer. It’s amazing how dry we are versus the rest of the US. If only they could send some water/rain to California.

Until next time…happy cooking!

Strawberry, Kale and Walnut Salad

Salad Dressing:
1/4 large sweet onion, chopped
1/4 cup grated parmesan or romano cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and mix until liquid in consistency.

5oz bag of baby kale, washed (any kind of kale will work, just remove any thick stems and chop it up)
1/2 cup chopped candied walnuts (you can use regular walnuts. I get the candied walnuts at Trader Joe’s)
1 pint of strawberries, cut in quarters
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all of the salad ingredients and then drizzle about half of the dressing over the mix. Toss and add more if necessary. Serve and enjoy!…

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Summer Quinoa Salad

Quinoa pronounced “keenwa” is an interesting grain. It looks a lot like couscous but has more texture and bite to it. It’s similar to any grain in that you have to add flavor as it really doesn’t have any on it’s own. The key to cooking quinoa is to make sure it comes out light and fluffy, like rice. If you add too much liquid, it can be mushy and wet and you end up with a consistency similar to oatmeal which is fine if that’s what you’re looking for. Me, not so much. To be fair though, many people do eat it for breakfast because of it’s higher protein content. One cup of uncooked quinoa has 24g of protein. It’s high in carbs like other grains so keep that in mind when serving some up for yourself.

I have finally found the right ratio of quinoa to water/stock, thanks to America’s Test Kitchen. Your quinoa will come out perfectly every time. Experiment and add anything you want like spices, fruits, veggies, nuts, and herbs. The list is endless. Here is a recipe that I saw on TV recently and changed it up a bit.

A couple of tips:
-Salt your water well as it provides some flavor to the quinoa. You’ll use less later on.
-Rinse your quinoa before using it to prevent any bitterness

Summer Quinoa Salad

1 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 3/4 cup stock or water
2 tsp. fine sea salt
1 Tbsp. olive oil

Directions: Add your olive oil to a saucepan and let it get hot. Add your drained and slightly dry quinoa and let it get hot, stirring for a few minutes. When you hear it popping, add your stock or water and salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, take a fork and fluff it a bit. Make sure the water has evaporated and it’s fluffy. If not, let it go for another 2-3 minutes. Remove it from the heat. Let it stay covered for about 5 minutes. Let your quinoa cool completely for this salad.

Salad Mixture
25 red seedless grapes, cut in half
1/2 of an English cucumber cut in 1/2 inch dice
1/2 cup of chopped mint
1/2 cup of chopped parsley
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion or green onion
1/2 cup chopped almonds (optional)
1 avocado, cut in 1 inch dice
2 limes juiced
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, add all of your ingredients except the avocado, lime, olive oil and salt and pepper to the quinoa and toss to mix. In a small bowl, add your lime juice and olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix it well. Taste for seasoning. Pour over salad and mix well. If you like your salad with more tang feel free to add more lime juice. It’s a matter of preference. I added one more lime to mine. Just keep tasting to get the balance of the lime juice and seasoning just right. Add the avocado last so it doesn’t get mushy. I only add it to the salad I’m planning on eating right away. The rest I save and add it later so it doesn’t turn brown. Hope you enjoy.

Adapted from The Kitchen
Print Recipe…

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Date Nut Cookies & The 2013 Great Food Bloggers Cookie Swap

Before I get to the Date Nut Cookies, let me share with you all the delicious cookies, biscotti and brownies I received in the 2013 Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. There’s nothing like opening a package full of cookies from all over the U.S. It’s really fun to see where they came from and to check out each of their blogs.

You might recall us having done the Great Food Bloggers Cookie Swap the past couple of years where money is raised for Cookies for Kids Cancer. This year the bloggers raised over $13,000! It’s always a challenge to get the cookies made and out in time since we have to ship them out right after Thanksgiving. I’m always scrambling the last day to ship them but it’s worth it. This year mom was here visiting me so we were able to do them together.

All of the goodies we received were delicious. Lots of chocolate! Below you’ll find a picture of each and a link to their blog. I’m taking a photography class for fun and have to turn in a portfolio of photos this weekend. Of course I chose food. I used my new friends goodies as props as you’ll see below.

I choose my grandmother’s Date Nut Cookies to send to my swap partners which were Ink Foods in Dallas, TX, Yums and Loves in Issaquah, WA, and Eat Bake Drink Cook in Washington, DC. They all have beautiful blogs.

I have very fond memories of these cookies. My grandmother always had these around at the holidays. She would usually have some in a tin or they would be in the freezer. I loved eating them right out of the freezer. They’re a little crunchier but the date filling stays soft. Here’s a step by step rundown on how to make them.

Hope you enjoy these cookies as much as I have over the years.

Date Nut Cookies 

Date Filling:
1 cup water
1 cup finely chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)
2 pounds of pitted dates, chopped
1 cup of sugar

1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
4 cups flour, sifted
2 teaspoon cinnamon
10 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups sugar

To make the filling, heat a large saucepan and add the dates, sugar, nuts and water. Stir over medium heat about 10 minutes until it all melts together and thickens.

To make the dough, cream together the sugar, butter and eggs. Add vanilla. Stir together the dry ingredients – flour, cinnamon, salt and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to the egg mixture. Once it is mixed well, freeze for at least one hour. It makes a soft dough.

To make the cookies: split the cookie dough in quarters and take one of these quarters, put the rest back in the freezer or fridge. Roll dough into a rectangle or oval and a 1/4 inch thickness. Make sure you flour the board and rolling pin to keep it from sticking. Spread a quarter of the date mixture over the dough. Roll up the dough on the long end. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in freezer for at least an hour. Do the same with the remaining quarters of dough. When you want to make cookies, preheat oven to 375 degrees, take a roll of dough out of freezer, slice the dough in 1/4 inch thickness and place on a cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Place in oven for 8-10 minutes. The cookies should not get too brown but have a slight golden color to them when you pull them out. Cool on cookie rack. Makes ~8-10 dozen cookies. You can cut this recipe in half if you want less cookies. It’s really nice to have these in the freezer though, either cooked or in a roll so that you can have/make cookies anytime you need them. Enjoy!

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