Recipes, Salads and Dressings

Quick Quinoa Salad

That pretty purple pepper from my Purples and Greens post found its way into this salad last week. I made this salad with what I had on hand. Quinoa is such a versatile salad base. You can add whatever is fresh from your garden – squash, cucumber, cooked limas – all kinds of veggies would taste great in this salad. Here’s what I used:

Quick Quinoa Salad

1 cup quinoa, cooked to package directions and cooled
1/2 can black beans
1 small onion, chopped
1 small bell pepper, chopped
1 small tomato, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Vinaigrette of your choice

1. Prepare your quinoa according to the package directions. I use my rice cooker on the white rice setting. Just one cup of dry quinoa expands to make quite a bit once cooked. I do keep a close eye on the rice cooker as it cooks, sometimes the quinoa sticks if I don’t catch it in time. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and allow it to cool in the fridge.

2. Add your chopped veggies and beans and toss thoroughly.

3. Add your vinaigrette. I recommend an Asian style dressing like a sesame soy, but even vinegar and olive oil with a little salt and pepper would work. I used Whole Foods 365 Soy Sesame Vinaigrette (not sure of the exact name.) Whatever dressing you use, be generous while careful – the quinoa will absorb quite a bit, but take care not to saturate it. It won’t be nearly as yummy if it’s soggy. You can always add more, but you can’t take it out very easily. Now I sound like my mom. šŸ™‚

When all was said and done, I used about a 1/2 cup of dressing. Mix your salad and dressing together, and place it in the fridge to chill just a bit more. This actually tastes even better the next day. Enjoy!

Desserts and Baked Goods, Recipes, Salads and Dressings

Shhhh…Don’t Tell My Arteries.

I’m a from-scratch kind of girl. If I make it from the beginning, I know what’s in it. Simple as that. Normally I eschew all forms of box mixes except a select few that I know are all natural.

I’m also an artery-conscious kind if girl. Both my husband’s cholesterol and mine have a tendency to dance in the danger zone, so I’m usually very aware of the saturated fats in what I make.

Normally and usually. But not this past weekend. Shhhhh. Don’t tell anybody. This weekend I pulled out my Amish cookbook I mentioned back in the Jello postĀ and found some more recipes to try. This little Amish lady loves her saturated fats and box mixes, apparently.

First, I did another round of layered jello, this time going with a Hawaiian Punch theme using raspberry, pineapple and lemon flavors in the layers.

Next up was Lettuce Bacon Salad. Oh my. Hold on to your hats.

Lettuce Bacon Salad

1 large head iceberg lettuce
1 head cauliflower
1 small onion
2 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1 lb. bacon, fried and cut fine (I just couldn’t bring myself to make this much. I just fried up about 6 slices and used that.)

Wash and cut up lettuce in a large bowl. Break up cauliflower into small pieces and put on lettuce. Add chopped onion, cover with mayonnaise. Add sugar, then sprinkle with cheese. Add bacon and cover. Set in refrigerator overnight. When ready to eat, mix everything together.

Next, Triple Chocolate Cake Roll. Holy Box Mixes, Batman! Actually, this one could be adapted to scratch by making your own cake and frosting recipes. But I went mixes all the way on this one, just to see how it would turn out.

Triple Chocolate Cake Roll

1 pkg. chocolate instant pudding
1 3/4 cup milk
1 pkg. chocolate cake mix
2 eggs
1 12 oz. bag chocolate chips
1 tub chocolate frosting

Prepare pudding with milk as directed on box. Combine cake mix, eggs, pudding and chocolate chips. Pour into greased jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Cool and fill with your favorite icing and roll up. Put chocolate icing on top (I used powdered sugar instead.)

Recipes, Salads and Dressings

Balsamic Vinaigrette

We’re back from vacation and I’m happy to report that I’m just about unpacked (I’m still avoiding the beach bag full of sandy towels sitting in the laundry room.)

While we were at the beach, we ate at a restaurant on the boardwalk which served the most yummy balsamic dressing. My first order of business after restocking our fridge and pantry with groceries today was to try to recreate that dressing for our salads tonight. I didn’t quite duplicate the dressing I had at the shore, but it turned out quite yummy in its own right! Here it is (along with a pretty photo of my dinner plate – LOL – I gotta hand it to my resident photographer hubberman, balsamic dressing isn’t the easiest thing to photograph, but hopefully you get the idea!)

Balsamic Vinaigrette


1/3 cup Balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup olive or canola oil
2 tbsp minced shallot
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp mustard (I used honey mustard)
1 tbsp agave nectar
2 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste


Whisk together all ingredients except oil. Slowly drizzle in oil, whisking vigorously to emulsify. I use a hand held immersion blender (love that thing!) and not only does it perfectly emulsify the oil with the other ingredients, it also blends in the shallots so that they are not chunky/crunchy in your dressing.

Taste test and add more sugar, salt or pepper to taste.