The California Salad

California Salad

Light & Healthy

So light, so healthy & sooooooo delicious!  I concocted this simple, yet elegant side salad after messing around with a few different ideas.  It’s even VEGAN, and it goes with just about anything you can think of …

What’s In It?  All my favorite things!

Arugula and/or Baby Spinach – My go-to choice is Arugula, but if I’m feeling frisky, I’ll pick up some Baby Spinach instead.  OR, if you’re feeling totally rebellious, mix them together as you throw your head back and laugh manically!

Sunburst Tomatoes – For most of my life I turned my nose up at cherry tomatoes or anything that slightly resembled them.  WHAT WAS I THINKING?  Holy mother of Solanum Lycopersicum, these little golden treats pack a sweet & delectable punch!  They add a unique compliment to the tangy, slightly bitter flavors of this salad.

Avocado – I mean, really, how can you go wrong with avocado?  It’s the best and most, er, one of the most versatile fruits.  (I sat here for a good 6 minutes and argued with myself about whether an avocado or a lemon is the most versatile fruit – I’m torn!)  I could eat avocado on ANYTHING & it lends some creaminess to this salad.  Growing up in Northern & Southern California, we had avocado trees & come to think of it – why don’t I have one now?  Ok, I just decided I’m going to propagate the next pit of an avocado.

Lemon – I love lemons, too.  And I do squeeze them on just about everything, so one day when I was sick of making dressing & just wanted something light & simple, I squeezed lemon all over the salad.  Hello!?  Why had I never thought of this before?  Lightbulb!

Garlic – Yep, another one of my faves … pressed & as much (or as little) as you like!  Me?  Two big, fat cloves!  (p.s. the garlic press is nice because it gets a little garlic juice in there, but if you don’t have one, just mince the garlic.)

Olive Oil – Just a little so that it all melds together nicely.

So like I was saying … You can eat this alone, or with your best buddy if you are nice enough to share.  Kidding, I mean, you can eat this as a stand alone salad, or it accompanies pretty much anything from chicken, to turkey chili, to white bean vegan soup, to grilled salmon or even barbecue!

You’re welcome … 🙂

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Kale-ing It!

Just a little play on words for you today 🙂 So, if you remember from my last post about kale, I was never a fan & my Pescatarian buddy badgered me into giving it another chance & VOILA, whattaya know, it was really really good!

So I gave it another whirl & messed around with the dressing, and I have to say, it is really scrumptious & just feels so healthy going down my gullet. I literally feel like I’m zinging around after I eat this salad. And the other cool thing is that it is a great make-ahead dish, (and leftover dish,) because the dressing won’t wilt the kale.  Bonus!
Kale Salad | The Fairly Good Mother

What did I put in there?
Dino / Lacinto Kale
Red Onion, chopped
Avocado, diced
Persian Cucumber, sliced or diced
Baby Bottle Yellow & Red Tomatoes (I’ve also used grape tomatoes, too) cut in half
Red Pepper, chopped
Roasted Pepitas
Golden Raisins

How did I make the dressing?
I got out my mini food processor &
squeezed 1.5 – 2 lemons
1/4 cup or so of Tahini
1 – 2 cloves of pressed garlic
Fresh ground black pepper
a little olive oil, like 1 – 2 tbsp
and a little bit of water to thin it out

I massaged the dressing into the kale, (I told this to my bestie & she chuckled at the image of me giving produce a massage.)  It really is just working the dressing into the kale by gently pressing/ rubbing it into the leaves.  Also, I think it’s worth it to note that about 95% of my ingredients are organic, (the raisins were not organic, nor was the tahini – at least it didn’t say so on the bottle.)

Consider me converted!  I now really like Kale & I love this salad.

Veggie Tales … Conquering New Culinary Frontiers

Yesterday was my organic Christmas morning, (that now comes bi-monthy!)  I recently signed up to have a box of fresh, organic fruits & veggies delivered to my house, all from local farms. (The company is called Farm Fresh To You, in case you’re interested.)

The Bounty | The Fairly Good Mother

The Bounty | The Fairly Good Mother

I guess I forgot to specify that I don’t like sweet potatoes & I only wanted to try the lacinto kale,  not the curly kind.  Oh well.  The cool thing about this service is that it forces me out of my comfort zone & into new culinary territory.

I actually promised a friend of mine that I would give kale a chance, since I’ve only ever thought of kale as a garnish.   My friend is a really cool pescatarian, by the way, and actually has the life that many people envy!  She and her husband both work from home, so “home” can be anywhere & her home happens to be an Airstream trailer.  Several years ago they sold everything, bought an airstream & went on the road with their dog, Curtis.  They’ve got a blog where you can follow them along on their adventures as they tour the country in their custom Airstream.

Anyway, back to my veggie tales … I have always turned up my nose at kale, but promised to give it a try & even though it was the curly kind of kale, I still went ahead and, (per my Pescatarian pal’s suggestion,) made this salad from Oh She Glows, with a few minor substitutions.  I used golden raisins instead of goji berries, yellow tear drop tomatoes, added some yellow pepper & used pepitas instead of the hemp seeds.  As far as the Tahini-Lemon dressing goes it was amazing – so creamy & delicious, (if yours is too thick, just add more water,) but I omitted the nutritional yeast (mainly because I didn’t feel like buying a huge jug of that for $15 when I only needing a smidge,) and it didn’t seem to make a difference in either the consistency or the taste.  Perhaps the nutritional yeast is just for extra nutrients.  I don’t know, but this salad is a meal in and of itself.

Kale Salad

Kale Salad

Next up, the sweet potatoes.  I have always hated sweet potatoes ever since I was a kid & my aunt would try to make them appealing to us kids at Thanksgiving by putting marshmallows on top of them.  What to do with those?  Well, I found a scrumptious recipe for a Gingered Sweet Potato & Carrot soup from Women’s Health Magazine, (<—that link there has a ton of sweet potato recipes!)  I want to make the soup again immediately.  It was so yummy & super easy to whip together!

Gingered Sweet Potato & Carrot Soup | The Fairly Good Mother

Finally, I made a healthy Turkey Meatloaf with Sauteed Sherry Mushrooms on top.  That’s my own recipe that I am constantly tinkering with but here’s a gander at what it entails:

Turkey Meatloaf with Sauteed Sherry Mushrooms

Ingredients: 
1 lb ground turkey meat (white) *Sometimes I only use 3/4 lb & throw in some grass-fed ground beef for additional flavor
1 medium brown onion (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (pressed)
1 egg (or 2 egg whites)
half a small can of tomato sauce (reserve the other for the topping)
1 cup of breadcrumbs (panko or italian)
couple dashes of Wortsteshire sauce
1 1/2 tsp of dijon mustard
dash of nutmeg
dash of white pepper
dash of garlic powder
Loaf Topping:
2 strips of bacon (optional)
2 tbsp of brown sugar
rest of the can of tomato sauce

Mushroom Topping:
10-12 white button mushrooms, cleaned & sliced
1-2 large shallots
1 tbs unsalted butter
1 swirl of olive oil
1/4 cup sherry or red wine

METHOD:
Mix together loaf ingredients (use your hands, be sure to scrub them good afterward.) Form into a loaf shape & put into a greased loaf pan (if you don’t have a loaf pan, then shape into a loaf & put on a cookie sheet covered with foil.)  *If it seems too dry, add a little more tomato sauce; likewise, if it seems too wet, add some more bread crumbs.  Mix the brown sugar & the tomato sauce together and spread on top, then place bacon on top.  Bake for an hour at 375.  Drain & let sit for 5 minutes before slicing into it.

About 15 minutes before the meatloaf is done cooking, melt the butter & heat the oil in a saute pan on medium heat.  Add shallots & mushrooms.  Cook until they are nice and then add the sherry & lower heat until liquid it cooks off.

Turkey Meatloaf with Sauteed Sherried Mushrooms | The Fairly Good Mother

Turkey Meatloaf with Sauteed Sherried Mushrooms | The Fairly Good Mother

The Husband loved this meal … Well, of course he did, it was “light & healthy” with pretty much no dairy, (both The Husband & I are lactose intolerant, but take dairy pills to indulge.)  And then tonight he gets leftovers, (that kale salad is good for up to 3 days in the fridge apparently.)  Bon Appetite mon ami!  (and yes, that’s about all the french I know aside from a few cuss words.)