Autumn Salad with Roasted Pumpkin & Orange Pumpkin Seed Vinaigrette

Autumn Salad with Orange Pumpkin Seed Vinaigrette

Just because it’s November doesn’t mean you can’t eat salad… but when I look back at my recipe posts and see that I haven’t given you a salad recipe since June… JUNE!!!… I berate myself.  This might lead you to believe I only eat salad in American summer.  ‘Tis not true, friends!  I eat some sort of salad nearly every day.  However, I reckon most of them are not worthy of a whole post, …

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Kale Salad with Avocado, Cashews, & Sherry Lime Vinaigrette

Kale Salad with Avocado, Cashews, & Sherry Lime Vinaigrette

Let’s play a little game called “2 Truths & a Lie”… It’s fun & it lets you get to know me better.  I’m gonna give you 3 statements, 2 of which are true and one of which is not, and you have to pick out the lie.  Ready?

  1. In Philippines you can get a 1 hour massage for $5.
  2. I get a $5 massage every week.
  3. You should massage your kale before using it raw in a salad.

So which one is not true?…

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Spinach Salad with Pomelo & Pickled Red Onions

Spinach Salad with Pomelo & Pickled Red Onions
Back in my day, spinach salad was topped with crispy bacon, the fat of which was kept warm and whisked up as the base of the dressing.  This warm dressing was then poured over the salad just before it was served, so its heat would wilt the spinach. Nice, huh?  I associated spinach salad with fancy dinner parties I went to with my parents when I was a child.

Spinach Salad with Pomelo & Pickled Red Onions

But I always hated it.  The spinach salad, I mean, not the dinner parties themselves.  Something about that bacon fat… …

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Asian Cabbage Salad with Edamame and Creamy Sesame Dressing

Asian Cabbage Salad with Creamy Sesame Dressing

Living in Southeast Asia, I eat a lot of Asian food… like this cabbage salad with creamy sesame dressing.  But when I go home for the summer, I almost never eat Asian food.  Funny that!  I have no idea why, since I can get all most of the ingredients I need at my local grocery stores in Denver… I guess it just doesn’t sound as appealing in North America.

But here, it sounds good all the time!

Asian Cabbage Salad with Creamy Sesame Dressing

I demo’d this salad at the Asia CEO Health Summit …

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Strawberry Coconut Salad with Spicy Pecans & Fresh Strawberry Dressing

Strawberry Coconut Salad with Spicy Pecans & Fresh Strawberry Dressing

Soooo… I know half of the world is buried under at least a meter of snow, and the East Coast of the United States is just now digging out from “Snowzilla”- the blizzard that shut down airports, schools, and even US government offices for more than a day.  But over here in Philippines, we’re harvesting fresh strawberries from the highlands of Baguio.

Fresh Baguio Strawberries

I’m not being smug or anything.  I know you’ll have a “right back achta” moment as I lay panting in the heat of April & May whilst you enjoy your own fresh, cool strawberry season.  What comes around does indeed go around.  Plus, you’ll have this wonderful recipe with which to showcase your lovely fresh strawbs, while for me there will be not a berry in sight, straw or otherwise….

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Salad Seed Mix

Salad seeds

Happy Monday post-Christmas, friends!  I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas full of love and family and wonderful food.

I know that after a couple of days of indulgence in heavier-than-normal treats, I’m really craving getting back to my regular routine of green smoothies and salads.  How about you?

Salad seeds

I made up this salad seed mix earlier this month as I mowed through my Ottolenghi salad seeds that I brought back from London in November.  Folks, this mix is amazing!  Crunchy, toasty, salty, just a bit spicy… it’s everything you want on your salad without that crouton-y carb-i-ness.  And sadly, I only brought back one jar.  So I knew I had to come up with a decent replica to last me until my next trip (??) to London, whereupon I will buy at least a dozen jars to last me maybe… a month.  It’s that good.

Salad seed mix

Let me say a few words about seeds: YOU NEED MORE OF THEM IN YOUR LIFE!!  Ok?  Seeds are little powerhouses of nutrition, for the obvious reason that they contain everything necessary to fuel the growth of an entire plant- just add water and soil.  Seeds are the richest plant sources of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and fiber that you will ever find, all packed into a cute, portable package.  The trendy seeds these days are hemp and chia, but let’s not forget about the good old standbys: sunflower, pumpkin, and sesame seeds, all of which are used in this mix.  All of these seeds are excellent sources of copper, manganese, and magnesium, and sesame seeds are also a good source of calcium.  If you are vegetarian, and especially if you’re vegan, seeds are a must-do in your life.  But even if you’re not, adding seeds to your diet enhances your nutrition in every way.

Salad seed mix

Making this seed mix couldn’t be easier: just toast the seeds on a baking tray, stirring every so often to brown them evenly.  Then add your spices of choice, let it cool, and store in an airtight jar.  Done!  It makes a nice gift too, but considering how good it is, I won’t blame you one bit if you “forget” to give it away.

Salad seed mix

I promise you’ll eat salad every day, just to sprinkle pour this seed mix on it.  But don’t stop there: you can also use it to jazz up hummus or other dips, as a finishing touch over steamed or stir-fried veggies, or atop any cooked grain.  I also have been known to just pour myself a handful on my way through the kitchen.  No wonder it goes so fast…

Salad seeds

Salad Seed Mix

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 3 1/2 cups

Salad Seed Mix

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup flaked almonds
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup white sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup brown flax seeds (or black sesame seeds)
  • 1-2 T. dried chili flakes
  • 2 t. coarse sea salt
  • 1 T. freshly ground black pepper

Method

  • Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F.)
  • Place all seeds and almond flakes on a large rimmed baking tray. Bake for 12-15 minutes, stirring once or twice to ensure even browning.
  • Remove from oven and stir in chili flakes, salt & pepper. Cool completely and store in an airtight jar. Makes about 3 ½ cups.

Notes

You can use more or less chili flakes depending on how spicy you want the mix to be... 1 T. gives a very mild mix while 2 T. makes it really spicy!

http://www.thexpatdietitian.com/salad-seed-mix/

Salad seeds

Salad seeds

Fresh Cranberry Orange Relish (reduced sugar)

Hello friends!  We’re getting down to the wire before Christmas… only 4 more days!!  Do you have your holiday menus planned out?  If not (or even if you do!,) think about adding this gorgeous fresh cranberry orange relish to your table.

Fresh Cranberry Orange Relish (reduced-sugar)

I’m not too traditional about our holiday meals.  I do something different every year depending on my whims and what sounds good to me.  This year I’m making my barley & kale-stuffed squash (I might use farro because that’s what’s in my pantry at the moment), along with some honey-mustard salmon & roasted asparagus. But no matter what shows up for the main course, I always make either fresh cranberry orange relish, or cooked cranberry sauce.

To me, cranberries seem to belong to Christmas even more than to Thanksgiving, what with their beautiful festive colour and bright tart flavour.  But their real gift to us is in their fabulous nutritional benefits.  Most folks know cranberries can help prevent urinary tract infections, but let’s not sell them short- they do so much more than that!  Cranberries contain a vast array of phytonutrients, including anthocyanins and other flavonoids, phenolic acids, and other compounds which have been shown to provide anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancer benefits.  As well, cranberries can protect our hearts, boost our immune systems, and support our digestive tracts.  They’re also full of fiber and Vitamin C.  Pretty impressive for such a cute little berry!

Fresh cranberries

Of course, these health benefits are strongest when the cranberries are eaten fresh and raw.  But the growing season is short and cranberries are not available everywhere.  This makes me sad.  However, dried and frozen cranberries have nearly the same nutritional benefits as fresh raw berries, so we can rely on these products when we can’t find fresh berries.  Otherwise, ask your American or Canadian BFF to pick up a bag or 2 for you when she’s in North America over the holidays.

Fresh Cranberry Orange Relish (reduced-sugar)

I first remember eating this cranberry orange relish at my grandmother’s table at Thanksgiving dinner, and as a little girl I found it to be “too tart,” even with the 2 cups! of sugar in the original recipe.  But as I grew up, it grew on me, and now I try to keep a  batch in my fridge at all times during November & December (as long as I have cranberries… which I did this season due to Mark’s business travel this fall.)

But I did have to do something about the 2 cups! of sugar… it was just too much, both for taste and for health.  Yes, cranberries do need sweetening, but since they contain pectin (which is a natural thickening agent,) I found I could reduce the sugar to just 1/4 cup without sacrificing texture, and it is still plenty sweet.  I added a couple of tablespoons of chia seeds to help it bind.  Chia seeds pack their own nutritional punch, what with their omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and fiber.  Plus, in this recipe, you can’t tell the difference between the chia seeds and the cranberry seeds.  Win!  The whole oranges add sweetness as well.

Fresh Cranberry Orange Relish (reduced-sugar)

This recipe is super simple, requiring only 4 ingredients and 15 minutes to make.  I use the food grinder attachment on my KitchenAid mixer, but a food processor also works.  Once made, this relish has endless possibilities! It’s a fabulous side dish, especially with any lentil dish or veggie burger, but please don’t limit it to the dinner table.  It’s also fantastic as a topping for smoothie bowls, chia pudding, cereal, yogurt, or coconut ice cream.  Or try is as a chunky salad dressing (it’s amazing on any salad containing beets &/or feta)… and I must admit it is a heavenly addition to a good cheese tray, especially with hard aged cheeses such as Gruyere.  The sky is the limit with this relish, friends.

Fresh Cranberry Orange Relish (reduced-sugar)

It keeps for 2 weeks in the fridge but I’ve never had mine hang around that long.  Enjoy!

Fresh Cranberry Orange Relish (reduced sugar)

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 2 cups

Serving Size: 1/4 cup

Fresh Cranberry Orange Relish (reduced sugar)

Ingredients

  • 1 12-oz bag fresh cranberries, rinsed & picked over
  • 2 fresh oranges, rinsed & dried
  • ¼ cup organic cane sugar
  • 2 T. chia seeds

Method

  • Cut oranges in eighths, leaving the peel on. Remove the seeds and inner white membranes.
  • If using a food grinder, select the fine blade and grind the cranberries and the orange sections (including the peel.) Catch it all in a large mixing bowl.
  • If using a food processor, process the oranges (including peel) first, until the pieces are about the size of the cranberries. Then add the cranberries and process until texture is like chunky applesauce. Remove to a mixing bowl.
  • Add the sugar and chia seeds. Stir until well-combined. Refrigerate for about an hour to blend the flavours and let the mixture absorb the sugar.
http://www.thexpatdietitian.com/fresh-cranberry-orange-relish-reduced-sugar/

Asian Salmon Salad

Asian Salmon Salad

I’ve been hearing rumblings for this salad…

… and who am I to ignore rumblings??

I demo’d it last Thursday at the Asia Health Summit to show people how easy it is to make a simple salad to pack for lunch.  Bringing your lunch from home vs. eating fast food (as so many do here in Philippines) not only saves you money, but also protects an immensely more precious commodity- your health.  Fast food is excessive in calories, saturated fat, sodium, and harmful additives. But I think folks sometimes eat out simply because they don’t plan ahead, or they don’t know what to bring.  So here you go, a quick and easy main-course salad that is chock-full of beneficial nutrients.  Check it out: …

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Peach Blueberry Salad with Goat Cheese, Pecans, & Pickled Onions

Salad… oh the glorious salad…

Peach & blueberry salad with goat cheese, pecans, & pickled onions

I ask myself: Why has my blog been active for 6 weeks and in all my 15 posts I have yet to give you a salad recipe, when I eat salad ALL the time??  Some things make no sense.  I apologise, friends… I have been remiss.

So many good salads, so little time…

To me, a good salad is one that is more than just the standard lettuce/tomato/cucumber/Ranch dressing combo that languishes on many restaurant menus.  No, a good salad has something to make it sparkle, to give it zest, to make it say, “EAT ME!”  …

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