Sunday, November 17, 2013

Recipe: Kale Quinoa Chicken salad with homemade dressing

Yes that is salad you are looking at. No you are not at the wrong blog. Let me begin by saying I am NOT a healthy eater. If you have been here before then you can tell by most of the recipes I post, I enjoy all things chocolaty or cheesy. So this is definitely a major improvement! 

Despite all my gluttonous cooking I do attempt to eat "healthy" most days (with a cheat day here and there...and again). We make weekly trips to the local farmer's market to stock up on a week's worth of fruits and veggies. While fruits we love, most of the time I'm hiding veggies under layers of cheese or masked in pasta sauce flavors. Then a few weeks ago, I first tasted quinoa in this Mediterranean chicken salad at a potluck lunch with friends and ended up really enjoying it; so at a recent trip to the market I thought why not try my hand at quinoa? I contacted my friend for the recipe, but she got back to me a bit late and I ended up making my own version of it which I liked even more! This was my first time trying both kale and quinoa and I can proudly say this was also my first salad making experience where I went back for seconds! I found that kale can taste bitter when eaten alone, but that's where the dressing made a huge difference, as it completely masked the bitterness while still being light enough to keep the crunch! 

Kale Quinoa Chicken Salad

2 cups water
1 cup quinoa
1 tablespoon garlic ginger paste
20 leaves kale (more or less to preference)
1/2 medium sized onion, chopped
2 tablespoon grapeseed oil 
.5 lb chicken breast

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 lemon squeezed or 2 tablespoons lemon juice
salt pepper to taste

Bring water to a boil in a saucepan. Stir quinoa into the boiling water and add garlic ginger paste, Reduce heat to medium-low, Cover saucepan and cook until water completely absorbs into the quinoa, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat and let rest covered for 5 minutes. Remove cover and allow quinoa to cool completely.

Separately heat frying pan on medium heat, add grapeseed oil. Once oil is warm, add chicken breast and pan fry until chicken is cooked through. You can choose to add salt/pepper or any seasoning to chicken, I didn't as the dressing I incorporated later on added enough flavor

Put kale into a large mixing bowl, add in onion, chicken and cooked quinoa. Toss salad to fully mix all the ingredients.

Whisk olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper together in a bowl until oil emulsifies into the mixture; drizzle over salad. 

For the dressing, my advice is start with the olive oil and keep tasting as you  go along. Everyone has their own preference for how tangy, salty, or sour they like their dressing. The best part of making it at home is you can control those factors. 

Now pour yourself a nice cold glass of Naked Peach Guava + Coconut water and enjoy! 

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Our Autumn Recap

Here's how I believe you can create autumn while it's 80F degrees outside:
Find a flower basket to spruce up your front door
(preferable one which has a bow missing, then ask for a discount which ends up saving you a dollar. Score!)

Add a bow you found at home and feel fall crafty!

Take your toddler to indoor activities such as this free KinderMusik class offered at the local library where we sang Halloween songs.

Attend a Fall festival happening nearby and get your kid's face painted like his favorite superhero.  Bonus points: get a balloon shape of the same character.

Attend ANOTHER fall festival, this time where they let kids dress up and trick or treat for candy. Bonus: Have your family pose with pumpkins, ignore the sweat dripping off your forehead this is fall fun at it's finest!

Download a free photo editing app (I mentioned here) to add a cutesy fall garland to your pictures.

The one day all month when it suddenly gets chilly (meaning 65 degrees and windy) quickly pull out your sweater and take a trip to the park! Warning: This could result in your child subsequently falling sick for the next 3-5 days thus keeping you up all night, but that 30 minutes of feeling autumn weather might just be worth it.
Pretend its too cold to go outside so you finally make time for this easy DIY project.
Our living room lamp has golden accents at the base, but it didn't at the top so I figured, why not add my own?
Even though my hands are super shaky and I didn't do a very clean job the benefit is from a normal distance it looks pretty good!

Dress up your 2.5 year old as his current superheros obsession for Halloween (ignoring how this costume is way to warm for the heat outside), prep him for the role by watching a few (million) Batman cartoons. 

End the night eating your son's trick or treating candy while forcing your husband to watch your favorite childhood Halloween movie. 

And if you haven't had enough Fall Fun yet, try your hand at these perfect autumn recipes!

More Autumn moments to come soon, til then hope your Pumpkin Spice/Salted Caramel/Peppermint Mocha latte is extra sweet!