Thursday, March 31, 2016

Favorite Salad~Apple-Cashew

Just before Christmas, I hosted the Children's team that I work with for brunch.  The menu consisted of a baked potato bar, yummy salads (fruit and green) and yummy gingerbread cupcakes for dessert.  So many attending graciously offered to bring something to ease the burden on me, and for that I was truly grateful.  Years ago, I would have declined and done it all on my own, only to be totally stressed out doing so.  Chalk it up to maturity!!  Accept all the help you can get.

My sweet friend said she would bring a green salad she said had become a favorite of hers (and had received rave reviews at other functions she had taken it to).  Let me tell you, the reviews were spot on!! This salad is so easy, yet so delicious.  My hubby is even claiming it to be his favorite salad EVER!!!  And that is saying something coming from my meat and potatoes husband who normally declares salad rabbit food! LOL

The dressing MAKES the salad!  Just sayin'.

Apple Cashew Salad

4 Servings

1 head red leaf lettuce, washed and torn
1 Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced
4 ounces Swiss cheese, grated
4 ounces cashews

Mix ingredients together and serve with poppy seed dressing below:

Poppy Seed Dressing (warning: you may never eat another dressing again)

1 tsp poppy seeds
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1 TBS lemon juice
1/2 C sugar
1/3 C apple cider vinegar
1 tsp minced onion
1 C vegetable oil (or canola oil)

Mix first 7 ingredients in a blender (we use our Vitamix).  Slowly add oil and mix until well blended. Store in refrigerator and shake thoroughly before serving.

We store ours in a mason jar. You will have more than enough dressing for 4 good sized salad portions.

The thing I love most about this dressing is that it is creamy enough to "stick" to the lettuce, yet isn't too heavy.

If you are concerned about using nuts, due to can eliminate the cashews.  The salad will stay taste amazing.  The cashews just give it a bit more texture.

I hope you will try it, and let me know your thoughts!


Linking up with the lovely ladies for Thoughts of Home on Thursday.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter

So much to be thankful for today!  I pray you all have a blessed day with loved ones.

Happy Easter!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Reflections~Allergy Season

And, because we went from the low 80s to 50!!! UGH!!!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Spring time, Renewal and Being Still~

I don't know about you... but with warmer temperatures, new growth; trees budding, daffodils and tulips blooming, and grass greening, I find myself so grateful for the One who created it all.  The One who gave His only Son so that our slate could be wiped clean, so that we could be a new creation. A time of renewal, newness, forgiveness and grace.  Truly blessed.

I stumbled upon this piano piece, and felt it said what I could not.  Sometimes music, a simple piano melody, says it all.


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

What's for Dinner Wednesday~One Pan Cilantro-Lime Chicken and Rice with Black Beans

Hello dear friends.  We are still enjoying the warm temps here in Atlanta.  It was in the 80s yesterday!!!  A record high.  However, with those glorious temps comes the pollen, and itchy watery eyes and runny noses.

Our youngest is home on spring break, so we have been trying out a few new recipes this week.

This one reminds us of Chipotle, and is super easy.  Another one pan dish, hooray!!

One Pan Cilantro-Lime Chicken and Rice with Black Beans


1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into 1 inch cubes
1 TBS canola oil (we prefer to use olive oil)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 green onions, chopped (keep lighter and darker portions separate) ***we omitted as they are a migraine trigger for our daughter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (if you don't have low sodium on hand, I would just omit the extra salt)
1 (4oz) can chopped green chilies
2 tsp lime zest
3 TBS lime juice
1 (14.5 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained well
2 cups minute white rice (do not use regular rice!)
1/3 C chopped cilantro


Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot add chicken, season with salt and pepper, and saute until cooked through, about 6 minutes, adding in lighter portions of the green onions and garlic at last 1 minute of cooking.  Stir in broth, green onion greens, green chilies, lime zest, lime juice, black beans and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Bring mixture to a boil, add rice, fully immerse in broth, and allow to boil 20 seconds, then remove from heat and immediately cover with a lid. Let rest 5-6 minutes.
If needed, return pan to medium heat and cook and toss 1 minute to allow rice to absorb excess moisture.  Remove from heat, toss in cilantro and let rest uncovered 3 minutes.

I think if you shredded the chicken instead of dicing it into cubes, this would also make a great burrito filling.

As always, I like to link back to the original recipe and give credit where credit is due.

Original recipe can be found here.

Sharing with the ladies for Thoughts of Home on Thursday.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Very Greek Grilled Chicken~

The weather here has been gorgeous this week, sunny and temps in the 70s! Bring on Spring!!!  However, not looking forward to losing an hour of sleep this weekend, but if that is the price to pay for more daylight hours then I guess I'll get over it (eventually).

With the warmer temps brings lighter meals on the grill. If it is still cool in your neck of the woods, most can be prepared using a grill pan or in the oven as well.

This is another recipe I found on Pinterest.  We try to alternate our proteins and have one meatless dish per week.  I have found Pinterest to be a great source for healthy, light meals using a variety of meats.

Very Greek Grilled Chicken

6-8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (adjust for how many you are serving, we used 2 but still used the entire amount of marinade for great flavor)

1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
1/3 c fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp. fresh lemon zest or 1/4 tsp. dried lemon zest (or use a little more lemon juice if you don't have lemon zest)
1 tsp. Greek seasoning (we found several brands readily available at the grocery store)
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 tsp. dried oregano
black pepper to taste

Trim all visible fat from chicken breasts.  Make small crosswise slits about 1/2 inch apart down the length of each chicken breast to help the marinade penetrate the meat.  Put chicken in a single layer in a Ziploc bag.

Combine marinade ingredients and pour over chicken.  Marinate in the refrigerator 6-8 hours or all day if desired, if you don't have that long to marinate, increase the lemon juice a bit.  (We marinated overnight, and they were quite flavorful).

Preheat grill to medium-hot and grill chicken 20-25 minutes, or until well browned and firm but not hard to touch.  Cooking time with depend on method you choose and heat of the grill/pan/oven.

The chicken would be great on a salad as well, so you might consider making the entire recipe if only cooking for 2, and get two meals out of it.

The original recipe can be found here.  While hubby and I love to cook and do come up with many of our own recipes, I do like to give credit where credit is due.

We served the chicken with Mediterranean style veggies.  Y'all these are frozen, in a bag, from Whole Foods.  Loaded with color and a great blend of flavors. It makes for a quite weekday meal.


Monday, March 7, 2016

Basil Chimichurri Grilled Shrimp~It's What's for Dinner

The sun is shining, and the temps have reached 70+.  Spring is just around the corner!  While meal planning for the week I decided to incorporate some new grill recipes.  This is yet another I found on Pinterest.

The original recipe can be found here.

Basil Chimichurri Grilled Shrimp


1 1/2 lb shrimp, cleaned and peeled (we purchased peeled and deveined)
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp olive oil

Basil Chimichurri:

1 bunch basil, leaves only
2-3 garlic cloves, grated (we used minced)
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil + more as needed
1/2 lime, juiced
Pinch of sea salt


1. Pat dry the shrimp with paper towels and add it to a large bowl.  Drizzle with a bit of olive oil over the top and sprinkle with the sea salt, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin and paprika (we mixed the spices together in a smaller bowl and then added to the shrimp so the spices would be evenly distributed). Gently toss well to coat the shrimp.
2. Thread 3-5 shrimp on each skewer and set aside on a plate for 15 minutes (we were able to thread twice as many on our metal grill skewers).
3. Meanwhile make the basil chimichurri. Add all the basil leaves to the bowl of a small food processor (we used our Vitamix, you could use a blender as well) together with garlic, olive oil and lime juice. Process until smooth.Transfer to a serving bowl and adjust the seasonings to your taste until happy (we added the pinch of salt while blending).
4. Heat a large cast iron griddle/grill pan (if cooking on a stove top) and place the shrimp skewers on top.  Cook for about 45 seconds on each side, just enough for some grill marks to form and the shrimp to start curling up. (we cooked on our outdoor grill by placing the skewers on top of a sheet of tin foil, this keeps the shrimp from sticking to the grill)
5. Transfer the grilled shrimp skewers to a serving platter and drizzle with the basil chimichurri. (we just put a dollop on our plates and dipped the shrimp in the sauce)

We served it with steamed broccoli and corn on the cob.

The chimichurri sauce is so good, fresh and green.  The lime juice gives it a bit of a kick.  This is a perfect dish for the upcoming warmer months.