Mandarin-Edamame Salad

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You always know it is potluck season when you see me posting recipes for groups. This could be easily made into single-serving recipe though, just cut everything back. Use your best judgment.SAM_5482

I was reading around on a bunch of foodie sites I found on Pinterest.com about edamame salads. I still have a lot of shelled edamame leftover from my nutrition study, and wanted to incorporate it into this group recipe.

The funny thing was that I gave up. With salads, you can follow an exact recipe or—as anyone can read in my culinary philosophies & such—you can do a little guess work and create something you like even better. Don’t get caught up in the tiny differences. Just go with your gut. Trust what you know about flavor pairings and you’ll surprise yourself.

That’s what I did this time. I knew ginger and sesame flavors are often paired with mandarin oranges or edamame. You don’t see both together often. Overwhelming?photo (1)

Hardly. My co-workers didn’t think so either. They raved about how much they liked my salad. Part of me wonders if it was the bright contrasts in colors. I’m still a firm believer that eating is 50% visual.

But part of me thinks it was the surprise of the beans with the fruit. Americans don’t see that much, but I think edamame can be bland and so the mandarins perked it up, plus some crunch red onions and sweet red peppers for pizazz.

Hope you like it as much as my co-workers did!

Ingredients

1 large or 3 small heads of romaine lettuce

½ cup red onion, sliced into strips

½ cup fresh mandarin oranges

½ cup shelled edamame

½ red pepper, sliced into strips

Newman’s Own Ginger Sesame Dressing

Optional: sprinkling of sesame seedsSAM_5479

Directions

Prepare lettuce as you normally would and place in large glass bowl.

Around the rim of the bowl, sprinkle the onions and the red peppers evenly.

In the center, add the edamame and then the oranges.

Sprinkle with sesame seeds if you’re using those. And at this point you can drizzle the dressing on, but I wanted to be kind to fellow potluckers like myself who hate with salads are drenched in dressing. That’s gross and inconsiderate, not to mention unnecessary, really. So I left it off and let them add as they liked. I know some people, like my step-dad, like their salads drenched, while others, like myself, do not. I always let guests choose because if I go light on the dressing, I know I’ll leave some wanting more.

You can toss the salad once you’re there, but again, presentation is key. I waited, was the first one to serve and so I tossed in front of them. Maintaining the pretty contrast in colors only heightened the experience, I’m sure.

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Orange Dream Cupcake

Remember my sweet lemon solo cupcake from late August? It was delicious & zesty, yes?

Well now that we’re in the dead of winter, I figured it was high time for another fruity cake, but one more appropriate for the season.

An orange one!

And you know the fruit won’t be expensive considering most grocery stores are selling oranges by the bag for just a few dollars this time of year.

The recipe is below. I’d recommend pairing with coconut flakes or almonds. Or if you like a little sweet, cream cheese frosting. Check out my healthy Neufchatel cream cheese frosting recipe, featured earlier on my fluffy carrotcake cookies.

IngredientsCooling off in an individual silicone cupcake mold.

(makes just one cupcake)

  • 3 tbsp flour (30g) (See directions for flour notes)
  • heaping 1/16th tsp salt
  • little orange zest, if you like
  • 1 tbsp applesauce, oil, pre-melted margarine (I used French vanilla yogurt), or a combination
  • 1 tbsp nondairy milk
  • 1 t freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 to 1 1/2 packets of stevia should be about right. If you use liquid sweetener, cut back a tiny bit on the other liquid.)

Directions

-Preheat the oven to 330 degrees.If icing isn't your favorite, you can also eat this cupcake plain (more like a muffin)...

-Mix the ingredients and pour into an oiled (or sprayed) muffin pan. Smooth top of batter. Bake for about 10 minutes or so.

-Alternatively, you can cook in the microwave, in a greased mug or ramekin. (Microwave times will vary, depending on the flour you use and the strength of your microwave.

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.