If You Love Salads Workshop

If you had a love affair with salads your whole life like I had, you would’ve loved the salads we made Monday night. What is it about salads that we love so much? Is it the crunch of fresh veggies or the tangy dressings? I am still am not sure. Not all salads are the same as we demonstrated with the 3 salads we made.

The Asian Cabbage Salad had cabbage, snap peas, carrots, lots of nuts and a tangy Asian dressing; The nuts gave it lots of crunch. The Thai Chicken Salad had cabbage, garden peas, garden cilantro, garden green onions, chopped green apple and a yummy peanut dressing; It had a lot of fresh produce going into it. The Warm Portobella Mushroom Salad was the simplest of all the salads (and one of the favorites) with spinach, sun dried tomatoes, pine nuts, Asiago cheese, and baked sliced mushrooms; It’s simple dressing was made from olive oil and balsamic vinegar that drenched the spinach and was topped with warm steak-like mushrooms.

The drawing for a  mini chopper and colander went to Sandi who drew her own name!

We had two girls from out of town: Debbie from California and Laura from North Carolina. It was a great venue to show our out-of-town guests how hospitable a little town like Loretto can be!

The evening summer weather was the perfect setting to eat our salads outdoors. Good food, good weather, good conversation: What more more could you ask for?

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A Worthy Smoothie

Wondering what to do with your aging bananas? Freeze them! Not able to finish all your strawberries? Freeze them. They make fabulous smoothies! I even buy ripe pineapples on sale. Cut them up and freeze them. You can make all kinds of things out of frozen fruit.

Hate stevia? I used to, but have learned by experimenting and found better ways to use it. I love it now. Because it’s 300 times sweeter than sugar, the key is adding a little, then tasting and making adjustments. Don’t use Stevia in the raw, it contains maltodextrin and is associated with MSG. Pyure organic stevia is one one of the only organic stevias out there. Ditch the so-called “natural” sweeteners and avoid the GMO pesticide ridden products.

Want to eat whole foods? Choose an organic full-fat Greek yogurt with no fillers. Unfortunately, the process used to reduce fat in milk products does not make them whole foods. Better yet, make your own! It’s easy and you can even use your oven. Just make sure you use a yogurt (not Greek) with live cultures as your starter.

Strawberry/Banana/Pineapple Smoothie (no sugar added)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup organic full-fat Greek yogurt (or make your own)
  • 1/2 vial full Sweet Leaf stevia drops with vanilla
  • 1 banana, cut in half and frozen
  • 6 strawberries, frozen
  • 5 chunks pineapple, frozen
  • 2 cups fresh squeezed orange juice (Don’t cheat. Packaged and frozen orange juices claim to be all natural, but contain high fructose.)

Instructions:

Add all ingredients (in the order of the ingredients) into the blender. Blend and serve,

Makes 2 large glasses of smoothies.

A Weekday Vegetarian Meal Workshop

I took the heat (literally) when I prepared the ingredients for our vegetarian workshop on Thursday. Chiles are spicy before they’re cooked. My hands were feeling the heat! Mexican food takes a lot of preparation but it’s well worth the effort. I converted my Mexican rice from tomato to roasted red peppers for a guest who cannot eat tomatoes. I wanted to make sure we wouldn’t miss the tomatoes.

The girls really enjoyed preparing the meal and sampled along the way. That’s the fun about cooking with a group. We made stuffed poblanos with enchilada sauce accompanied by Mexican rice and a farm fresh salad with a Caesar dressing.

The weather was beautiful, so we ate outside. Everyone cleaned their plates!