Satisfying Salads: Garden of Eden

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Welcome back to a satisfying salads: Garden of Eden Edition! Like the Sesame Steak Salad I crafted in June, this salad has plenty of protein to keep you full and feeling satisfied. No skimpy salads to be had.image

A cheesy introduction for a salad that isn’t cheesy in the hokey sense, but is in a Gorgonzola-and-fruit pairing fantastic one. On a trip to KC earlier this summer, I was pleasantly reunited with my favorite salad, ever. I realize I’m speaking in hyperboles beyond reason, but forgive those and believe that the Garden of Eden Salad from The Mixx restaurant in Kansas City, Missouri is special. If you like savory-sweet combinations, you’re sure to love the savory-sweet ingredients tossed in this one. We’re talking cheeses, fresh apples, pecans, grilled chicken, and a champagne-honey vinaigrette that can’t be matched.

The downside for those wanting to try this recipe at home? I’ve yet to find a recipe or substitute dressing that stands up to the deliciousness of The Mixx’s. As you’ll see in the pictures, I saved a little cup from The Mixx and brought it back home with me.

The good news is that the most comparable dressing I’ve found can be bought at Trader Joe’s, TJ’s Champagne-Pear Dressing. Very good, that one, and it comes with small chunks of bleu cheese I believe. So your cheese and nut selections for this one can range. The Mixx uses Gorgonzola and candied pecans. For my slightly less sugary version, I used slivered almonds and chopped garlic-herb cheese. I also used a fresh Fuji apple, but a Granny Smith would do, and a Pink Lady would be equally delightful.image

So simple, but just in case you need it…

Ingredients

2 cups spring greens mix or Romaine lettuce

1/2 apple, sliced into matchsticks or very thin wedges

1 T nuts (walnuts, pecans, or almonds)

1 oz. cheese (Gorgonzola, bleu, etc.)

3 oz. grilled chicken

1 oz. dressing–whatever champagne-based one you can locateimage

sprinkle of black pepper

Directions

Toss all ingredients until dressing and cheese coat the salad leaves. Or if you’re like me and prefer layers in your salad instead of a mix, start with salad base, and then top with nuts, cheese, chicken, apples, pepper, and finally drizzle dressing on top.

Easy, Fast Apple Pie Snacks

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You know me. I love fun food. If it’s even a tad creative, then I have to try it.SAM_5304

This one had been sitting on my Pinterest.com CC To-Do List board for quite some time. And once the semester had ended–my tortilla overload still under way–I decided to adapt the recipe I’d found online from Better Cookiesreplacing regular dough with, you guessd it, whole-wheat tortillas.

Ain’t nothing punnier, or truer than what I’m about to write: This quick and easy snack is now the apple of my eye. I’m not kidding. I say at this at the risk of not sounding very “American,” but the truth is that I kind of hate apple pie. Hold your fire. Be sympathetic. But I like my apples cool and crisp, not baked and spicy.SAM_5306

Not sure why I enjoyed this recipe so much, not yet at least. It could be that I left the apples a bit thicker in terms of slicing. It could be that I wasn’t overloaded with apple mush, like most apple pies. Or it could just be that it was so easy to make and kind of fun. How can you go wrong?

Ingredients
1/2 an apple
1 whole-wheat tortillaSAM_5286
1 t cinnamon
dash of stevia or 1 T honey

Directions
-Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Set aside.SAM_5298 -Prepare apple by slicing lengthwise. You can make your slices as thin as you like for more, or thicker for fewer. Know too that if you go thicker, your apple pie snacks will come out less warm and gooey like apple pie, more crisp and fresh (just how I wanted mine).
-Next, prep apples in seasonings. If you’re using the cinnamon-stevia blend, mix those two together and toss apple slices in those until coated. If you’re going the honey route, then still toss slices in cinnamon and then drizzle honey over the top.
-Cut tortilla into strips. Roll one or more strips around each apple slice. Tuck ends of strip on bottom side or into the side of the wrap so they don’t unfurl.
-Transfer to prepared cookie sheet. Sprinkle a little more seasoning or honey if desired and bake for about 8-10 minutes or until golden brown and somewhat soft.
-Serve warm, right out of the oven, and with my healthified cream cheese dip, if you like.SAM_5306

Enjoy!

Yogurt & Oat Pancakes

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Sweet breakfasts can be so good. Berry-filled crepes, French toast, pastry tarts. All of which can be healthy. All of which I’ve posted on this blog.

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But what I dislike about sweet breakfasts (only slightly…) is that they aren’t the most filling. Normally, I have to add a little peanut butter for protein and lots of fruit for fiber.

This recipe, however, is a sweet but stick-to-your-ribs kind of breakfast. The Greek yogurt and the hearty oats that can be mixed in make it very filling, enough to power you through any morning.

Ingredients

1/4 cup + 1 t whole-wheat flourSAM_4851

1 T rolled or steel-cut oats

1/4 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt (sub for coconut or almond varieties if you like)

2 T water (more or less depending on how runny/ thin you like your cakes)

1 t stevia

dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powderSAM_4841

splash of vanilla

Directions

Heat your griddle to med-low setting. Lightly coat with cooking spray. Allow to warm.

-In a small bowl, mix all dry ingredients well. Then slowly add in yogurt, then vanilla, and then water as you like. For thicker cakes, use less water. For a few more cakes that are thinner, add more water.

-Pour pancake batter on griddle to the size of pancake you like. They will probably spread a bit. At this point, if you’d like to add in other ingredients, such as berries or chocolate chips, you can drop them on top while the bottom side of the cakes cook.SAM_4849

-When the edges begin to firm up a bit and bubbles are popping up through the top side, the cakes should be solid enough to flip. Do so carefully. They should be golden brown on each side.

Topping Ideas?

Yes, I always have lots of these! For this recipe, I mixed 1 T all-natural peanut butter with 1 T yogurt and a dash of honey. Fresh apples were chopped and added, too. Berries and honey would also be delicious.SAM_4847

Enjoy!

Apple Pie Cookies

Have you ever wanted more than one dessert at the same time?

Okay, silly question. I think a lot of us probably do, right?

Well, I know I do. That’s why I really like my healthy & downsized version of Family Kitchen’s Apple Cookies.

They taste exactly like an apple pie, but in cookie form.

And since I’m not a huge fan of fruit pies, this is a sweet breakthrough for me.

Makes 4 good-sized cookies!

Ingredients

1 t vegan butter, softened

1 T stevia

1 T nondairy milk

a little egg (1/6 of one or a flax egg)

6 T white whole wheat flour

pinch of baking soda, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground nutmeg, Kosher salt

1 t chopped walnuts or sliced almonds

2 T apple, finely chopped

Directions

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Set aside.

-Combine all dry ingredients well (except nuts). Mix in wet ingredients, mixing in chopped apple last. At this point, if you want your nuts mixed in, do that. I pressed mine on top for garnish (and toasting).

-Roll into 4 or more balls. Press lightly onto cookie sheet and bake for 9-10 minutes or until golden brown and fluffy.

If yours turn out anything like mine. These were quite fluffy–almost like small muffins.

Hmm. Apple pie muffins? Sounds like another recipe to try.

Apple-Cinnamon Haystacks

I love fall! Don’t you?

I also love this single-serving recipe, one I’ve adapted from the wonderfully creative culinaire, Healthful Pursuit.

Why?

I could go on and on about its delicious flavor and warm spice aroma. But I do that all the time. AND this time is a little different…

I love this recipe because I’ve found two ways to make it.

Option 1: Bake into cookie-like balls if you want a soft crunch. (Yes, I realize that’s an oxymoron, but for this recipe it applies.)

Option 2: Microwave or bake for a few minutes in the oven, then spread over a crisp apple slice–sort of like a warm spread.

You choose your apple-icious adventure. I promise to you that both are excellent.

Makes about 3 balls or one large serving of spread.

Ingredients

2 T steel-cut oats

pinch of cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and ground cloves

1 t stevia

1 T peanut butter (or sunflower or other nut butter)

1 T applesauce

dash of vanilla

2 T chopped apple

Directions

-To bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a baking dish. Set aside.

-Mix all dry; then mix in wet. Form into balls and transfer to prepared dish.

-For cookies, bake about 10-12 minutes. For a spicy spread, bake for only 6-7 minutes.

Apple Sammies with Peanut-Butter-Yogurt Spread

Any women’s health and fitness mag will tell you, the best pre- or post-workout snack features healthy carbs and protein. A favorite go-to is the apple-peanut butter combo, but your refueling snack need not be so simple or boring.

So sandwich it!

And make the spread a little fluffier and sweetener.

Ingredients

1 apple, sliced into large rounds

1 T all-natural, salt- and sugar-free nut butter

1 T organic vanilla yogurt

dash of cinnamon

toppings of your choice (granola, dried fruit, coconut shreds, etc.)

Directions

Simply lay out the apple rounds and spread with the nut butter spread, which is just ingredients 2-4 mixed into a smooth, fluffy spread. Top however you like!

I like my apples sliced so that you can see the star in the middle. “Did you know it was there?”  That’s what my Grandma Betty would always ask when she’d slice my apples this way.

Perhaps that’s why I’m sort of partial to this recipe. It could also be the fact that the spread also makes a delicious dip for a group!

To make enough dip for a group, combine 1 cup peanut butter with 1 cup yogurt and 2 T cinnamon. Chill and serve with apples, pears, or banana slices.

Cantaloupe-Yogurt Sundae Bowl

I got this idea from one of my favorite foodie bloggers, Snack Girl.

I didn’t make many modifications to her breakfast version of this cantaloupe bowl.

Ingredients

1/2 to 1/3 cantaloupe, filled with your favorite yogurt and topped with blueberries or other fruit.

But I have a frozen little secret I’ve been sharing with friends for quite a while that turns this breakfast bowl into a sundae one!

A few nights a week, I pop a cup of Greek yogurt in my freezer, churning it with a spoon every 20 minutes or so until it reaches a frozen consistency similar to ice cream.

Pretty smart, right? It’s lower in sugar than most frozen treats you’d buy in store, plus it’s got more protein, too!

I often mix in fresh fruit as a topping. Blueberries are a regular feature in this frozen yogurt design.

But if you go for this sundae bowl, you could have a bit more fun with it…

Idea: Freeze the bowl (the cantaloupe bowl), too!

Idea: Add in a frozen banana for a real sundae effect.

Idea: Freeze into several chunks and mix with frozen fruit in a blender for a smoothie-like consistency.

Idea: Ditch fresh fruit and indulge in richer toppings (think chocolate…)

Idea: Try other frozen fruit bowls by carving out all or part of the center (of apples, oranges, pear, peach, etc.)

Fruit really does make for a delicious dessert. It’s naturally sweet, naturally the best choice.

Apple and Gouda Quesadillas

Fruit and cheese make for the best combination. Dessert, dinner, or lunch; it doesn’t matter.

Why don’t we think to pair the two more often?

I was craving a savory-sweet pairing one weekend afternoon, but it had to be warm and melty, and a boring meat-cheese panini wasn’t going to cut it.

I decided to take a classic fruit-cheese pairing, apple and gouda, and melt them between the folds of a whole-grain tortilla with a little Dijon mustard and seasoning for tasteful flair.

And if you’ve ever made a quesadilla at home, you know how quick and simple it can be. Like at-home fast food, but better.

Ingredients

-whole-grain tortilla

-2 slices smoked and aged gouda cheese (or shredded)

-apple of choice (sliced very thinly)

-1 T Dijon mustard

-pepper to taste

Directions

-Heat a griddle or skillet to medium-high.

-While you wait for the griddle to warm, assemble the quesadilla. Divide cheese into two parts. Create a thin layer on one half of the tortilla. Then layer a few apple slices. Smear mustard and season as you like. Add anymore apple slices you’d like, but not too many or the quesadilla won’t close.  Layer the rest of the cheese on, and fold in half.

-Coat griddle or skillet with cooking spray. Then, carefully transfer quesadilla. Let the first side brown and the cheese begin to melt a bit before turning over. Let the other side brown for about the same amount of time. Time will vary greatly depending on how hot your burners get, but mine only took about 3 minutes on each side.

-Carefully remove and slice into quarters. Serve with fresh spinach, extra apple slices, or a dipping sauce of your choice.