Tag Archives: salad

Avocado & Chickpea Salad Cups

Happy Friday!

I’m very much looking forward to the weekend, because later today my hubby and I are heading out on a little weekend getaway. It’s a place just a few hours away from home that we’ve never been to before….

Palm Springs

Palm Springs! Just a couple of days full of what will hopefully be fun: relaxation, hiking, good food and exploring a new area. But first, onto today’s recipe!

avocado cups-3

This recipe will provide you with a good dose of produce. It’s vegan, gluten free, nutritious, and simple to throw together. Call me a nut, but it seems kind of fancy to me because it involves scooping the salad mixture back into the avocado skins. avocado cup ingredients

And speaking of nuts, recently Blue Diamond sent me a few boxes of their Almond Nut Thins to play around with. They’re gluten free nut & rice crackers, and for some reason I immediately thought of scooping avocado with them. Almond Nut-Thins

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Strawberry, Cashew & Apricot Salad with Strawberry Basil Vinaigrette

Hi friends!

Hope you that you had a great weekend. Mine was pretty low-key: did some schoolwork (got 100% on my second test!) and stuff around/for the house, went hiking, got some beach time in and just enjoyed the summertime weather.

And speaking of summer, today’s recipe is most definitely seasonally appropriate.

strawberry salad-1

I came up with this salad after having recently eaten a strawberry basil Greek yogurt. I loved the flavor combo, and when I picked up strawberries during my next grocery store run, I started thinking about pairing local strawberries with basil from my backyard for a dish.

strawberry salad-3

In general, I like to switch things up in the kitchen, but this just isn’t the case when it comes to salad dressings. My go-to dressing mix is extra virgin olive oil + fresh lemon juice + balsamic vinaigrette + mixed up salt. BOOM. I pretty much make it every time I have salad, but this time, I decided to get a little creative and make a strawberry basil vinaigrette.

Strawberry Salad

Simple enough to throw together in a jiffy, the dressing is the fresh and fruity star of this vibrant, vegan, healthy summer salad.

strawberry salad-4

5.0 from 1 reviews
Strawberry, Cashew & Apricot Salad with Strawberry Basil Vinaigrette
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
  • 6 cups of mixed greens
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 4 fresh apricots
  • ½ cup raw cashew pieces
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 2 TSP white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 TSP cane sugar
  • 2 TBSP fresh basil
  • 1½ TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ TSP sea salt
  1. Place greens in a large salad bowl.
  2. Slice strawberries and quarter apricots. Place 1 cup of the strawberries and the apricot pieces into the salad bowl. Sprinkle cashew pieces in, and toss to combine.
  3. In a food processor, combine remaining strawberries and all other dressing ingredients. Pulse until the mixture forms a smooth dressing. Drizzle on top of salad. Top to combine. Divide evenly into 2 bowls.


Questions: Do you like the combination of strawberry and basil? What’s your go-to salad dressing?

PS – If you haven’t already, don’t forget to enter my KIND healthy snack bar giveaway before it ends Wednesday!

Arugula Salad with Shaved Parmesan & Cherry Tomatoes

Hi there!

Whew, Monday came so quick. The weekend just whizzed by for me! A lot of time over my weekend was spent doing house stuff, including buying a pool vacuum – it took us a few weeks to get the pool in order but now we’re all good! – and looking for patio furniture that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. I also spent Sunday evening on the beach with this little maniac  cutie….

Harley dog beach

…and had my first tennis workout in quite awhile! My hubby is making fun of me because I’m so sore today since I hadn’t played in awhile. I always get sore when I do an unusual workout, and my forearm, hand, obliques, and back are certainly achy today!

I’d like to play tennis more often now that we live down the street from some pretty decent courts. I’m in no way a great tennis player, but I find it to be a fun way to break a sweat and get some cardio in! Hopefully I’ll improve with some practice. 🙂


Now onto food….

Arugula Salad-1

So I’m sure a lot of you will agree with me when I say that spring and summer just scream salad. It’s when some awesome veggies, like corn and cherry tomatoes, are sweet and delicious, and it’s an easy way to throw a nutritious meal together quickly.

While sometimes I throw everything but the kitchen sink into my salad creations, other times I like to keep my salads simple. This was the case one night last week when I was baking a couple of sweet potatoes and thinking of what salad to make with it. Enter today’s recipe:

Arugula Salad-2

I’m a fan of the combination of salty parmesan with earthy wild arugula & ripe cherry tomatoes, drizzled with a simple dressing of olive oil, lemon juice and white balsamic vinegar.

Arugula Salad-3

It’s a perfect side dish to eat while hanging out on your patio with a glass of wine in hand, which is exactly what I did.

Arugula Salad with Shaved Parmesan & Cherry Tomatoes
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
  • 4 cups of arugula
  • 2 oz parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes
  • 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 TBSP white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 TSP lemon juice
  • Cracked pepper & sea salt to taste
  1. Place the arugula in a large salad bowl.
  2. Shave the parmesan cheese into the bowl. (I used a vegetable peeler.)
  3. Quarter the cherry tomatoes and place into the salad bowl.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice. Drizzle over the arugula salad, and add cracked pepper and sea salt to taste.
  5. Divide into 2 bowls and serve.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 bowl, Calories: 150, Fat: 11 g, Saturated fat: 3 g, Carbohydrates: 7 g, Sugar: 2 g, Fiber: 2 g, Protein: 7 g


Questions: Do you get super sore when you do new forms of exercise? Are you an arugula fan?

Quinoa Green Bean Salad with Marcona Almonds

Hi friends!

Happy Hump Day! Hope you’re having a good one. I’m taking a little lunch break to blog today. I ran across this awesome quote earlier:


Well isn’t that a good healthy living rule of thumb?! And speaking of plants, I have quite a nutritious, delicious recipe to share today:


It all started when I happened to see a recipe with marcona almonds somewhere. It reminded me how much I love them, and all of a sudden I was on a mission to nab marcona almonds and create a recipe that incorporates them.


Once I decided that I’d make a quinoa salad, ingredient ideas just started dancing in my head.


I have a fresh mint plant that I’ve barely used recently. The other day I got a whiff of the plant while watering it. I love the smell of fresh mint, and I started thinking that I need to incorporate it into my recipes more often – starting with this one!

Besides the star ingredients of red quinoa and crunchy marcona almonds, this salad includes crunchy green beans and is packed with other produce goodness:


I topped the salad off with some mixed up salt, oregano, and a light dressing of fresh lemon juice + extra virgin olive oil + red wine vinegar.



For those of you that struggle with coming up with healthy lunch ideas while you’re at work or are looking for a new dish to add to your mix of meals to have when you’re on-the-go, this salad is a great option to make at the beginning of the week, put in individual containers, and have readily available whenever you want it during your hectic week.

Sometimes I make meals that are what I call “a little hippie dippy” for my hubby’s taste. He isn’t all that creative with food himself, but he’s a great taste tester due to his lack of pickiness and general awesomeness. Last night he declared this salad to be “good, but also kind of a bit weird” – but then I saw that he took leftovers of it to work with him today. So while I adored this salad right from the start, I think that after my manly man had a chance to get acclimated to the idea of a quinoa salad, he decided it was pretty good too!


Quinoa Green Bean Salad with Marcona Almonds
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 1½ cups quinoa (I used an Inca Red variety but any kind will work)
  • 2 cups string beans
  • 2 Persian cucumbers
  • 2 roasted red peppers
  • ⅔ cup cherry tomatoes
  • ½ cup marcona almonds (I used dry roasted & unsalted)
  • 2 cups arugula
  • ¼ cup fresh mint
  • Lemon juice from ½ lemon
  • 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 TBSP red wine vinegar
  • ¾ TBSP (mixed up) salt
  • ½ TSP oregano
  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, trim and cut green beans, and steam until slightly tender.
  3. While quinoa and beans are cooking, prep your veggies. Dice Persian cucumbers, roasted red pepper, cherry tomatoes, and mint, and place in a large bowl.
  4. Add arugula and almonds to the mixture.
  5. Once quinoa is done cooking, allow it to cool slightly, then pour it into the large bowl. Add green beans when they're done cooking as well.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil and red wine vinegar. Pour onto the salad.
  7. Add salt and oregano, mix together well, and enjoy!
Nutrition Information
Calories: 460, Fat: 19 g, Saturated fat: 1 g, Carbohydrates: 62 g, Sugar: 8 g, Fiber: 14 g, Protein: 14 g

Fruity Kale Salad with Pistachios

Up until recently, I was not a fan of kale. I was turned off by its bitterness and coarse texture.

But once I began making green juices and getting used to them, I began to not dislike kale so much. It started to not be quite as scary to me, and I wound up ordering a couple of kale salads out at restaurants…and really enjoying them.


Kale is a nutritional powerhouse. It provides you with tons of antioxidants and vitamins and is high in fiber. And while I wouldn’t say that I’m in love with it, I certainly am finding ways to incorporate it into my diet more often.

Enter this colorful salad:


One of the things I’m trying to do when I experiment with kale is find ways to make it not quite so bitter, so that I can reap the benefits of the veggie AND actually kind of like eating it too. One way to help reduce its bitterness is to soak it in your salad dressing for awhile.


I had a ripe nectarine in my fruit basket and thought it would go perfectly with my chopped kale. I also shelled some pistachios to add some crunch and saltiness, and since I’m obsessed with dried cherries lately, I also threw some of those into the mix. My dressing was a simple homemade one: olive oil, fresh lemon juice, red wine vinegar, sea salt and grated parmesan. This salad is packed with healthy goodness, and the combinations of sweet fruit, leafy kale, salty pistachios and parmesan make for a flavorful dish.


Fruity Kale Salad with Pistachios
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
  • 2 cups kale, chopped
  • ¼ cup dried cherries
  • 15 g/2 TBSP of shelled pistachios
  • 1 small nectarine, chopped
  • 1½ TBSP grated parmesan
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • ½ TBSP fresh lemon juice
  • 1 TSP red wine vinegar
  • ⅛ TSP sea salt, plus more for additional sprinkling
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, sea salt and 1 TBSP grated parmesan.
  2. Toss with the chopped kale, then let it sit for around 30 minutes.
  3. Add pistachios, chopped nectarine and cherries to the kale.
  4. Sprinkle remaining ½ TBSP parmesan over top, plus a bit more of sea salt.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 475, Fat: 23 g, Carbohydrates: 61 g, Fiber: 7 g, Protein: 10 g


A Simple & Healthy Summer Salad

Volunteering at the SD Humane Society tonight included a lot of puppy playtime! Here are a few of my favorites that I met:

Two adorable 4 month old Pitbulls

A very overweight Bulldog named Peaches

The reason why there were so many puppies there is because earlier this year, the SD Humane Society, along with the SD Dept. of Animal Services and SDPD, raided three pet stores that were treating their animals inhumanely. They confiscated over 100 animals, many of which were puppies. This past weekend, these animals became adoptable, hence why it’s puppy galore there right now! If you live in the SD area and are interested in getting a young dog, I suggest going to check them out ASAP!

Today’s Eats

Moving onto food, here is a recap of my eats today…

My breakfast included Chobani vanilla Greek yogurt with Kashi Go Lean Cinnamon Crumble cereal on top:

Lunch was a sandwich that included cherry tomatoes, lettuce, sprouts, and provolone cheese on whole wheat bread, a (very overripe) kiwi, and a few cashews:

I’ve talked before about my taste buds changing over time, and a new example of this is cashews. I never liked mixed nuts before a few years ago, when I became a fan of almonds. I just tried cashews for the first time in awhile after buying them for a recipe, and holy yum! I now love em.

My dinner revolved around this summery avocado & corn salad:

Super Simple & Healthy Summer Salad

Serves 2 as a side dish 

  • 1 ear of corn, husked
  • 1 c black beans
  • 1 heirloom tomato, sliced
  • 2 oz avocado, sliced (about 1/2 of one)
  • 1 TSP lime juice
  • Sea salt & pepper

Combine corn, beans, tomato, and avocado in a bowl. Add lime juice, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Season once more before serving.

Per serving: 215 calories, 7 g fat, 9 g protein, 36 g carbs

I paired my salad with an easy quesadilla that included 1 serving of low-fat shredded Mexican cheese with a whole grain wrap.

And lastly, my nighttime snack was an apple with a smidgen of peanut butter + a Trader Joe’s chocolate chip brownie & oats bar:

And that’s all for my food intake today… I’m off to relax with my little family before crashing for the night!

My New Favorite Summertime Salad

Hello from the West coast! I got back to San Diego last night after having a fantastic stay in Jersey. My Monday has been nonstop, and started off with me picking up my very excited puppy from the pet resort. Okay, I might have been very excited too… I missed my Harley girl the past few weeks!

A few shots from last weekend at my family’s shore house:

the whole family

with my younger siblings

I’m happy I got to spend a good amount of time with my cutie pie nephew during my trip.

The last time I saw him he was just a little munchkin! I can’t even deal with his sun outfit:

I had an amazing time with my family and friends, and I think I miss them already. But let’s face it, the past 2 weeks of my life have included too much food and booze, and not enough working out and sleep. It’s not like I didn’t eat salads or exercise at all, but I’ve been taking in too many calories and not being as active as I like to be. That’s how vacations usually go, but I’m looking forward to getting back to my healthier lifestyle. I couldn’t wait to stock my fridge today with tons of produce to get back into the swing of eating as nutritiously as possible (and perhaps NOT having drinks every night 😉 ). I was craving a monster salad tonight, so I threw together this combo. It totally hit the spot, and I think I’ll be making it again very soon!

Summertime Salad

What you need:

  • 2 c chopped romaine, or other type of lettuce
  • 1/2 c fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 1 oz sliced avocado
  • 1/2 c sliced cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 c canned black beans, drained and rinsed (I heated mine before adding to the salad.)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 slice of red onion, finely chopped
  • A handful of alfalfa sprouts
  • 1/4 c shredded Mexican cheese
  • 2 TBSP light ranch dressing
  • Mixed up salt

Nutrition stats: 400 calories, 15 g fat, 21 g protein, 51 g carbs

Well, I’m off to face plant into my bed. Good night!

Stacked Apple, Goat Cheese & Pecan Salad

Earlier I felt like creating a healthy meal that looked fun & fancy, and this is what I came up with – isn’t it pretty?!

Stacked Apple, Goat Cheese & Pecan Salad

What you need:

  • 1 apple
  • 1 oz goat cheese
  • 2 TBSP chopped pecans, toasted
  • 6 pitted dates, sliced
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1/2 TBSP honey
  • 1/2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
  • 1 TSP lemon juice
  • sea salt

Thinly slice the apple and celery stalk.

Begin to form layers – first placing the apple, then topping it with some goat cheese, pecans, dates, and celery slices.

Do this until you start to feel like you’re playing Jenga, the salad edition (ha!),  then decorate the sides of the apple tower with some of each ingredient.

Whisk the vinegar, honey, lemon juice, and sea salt together. Pour the dressing evenly over the salad.

Nutrition stats: 410 calories, 17 g fat, 8 g protein, 63 g carbs

Hope your weekend is off to a good start! I have 2 things I plan to do tonight:

1.) Resting my knees and ankles. On a hike with Harley before I totally lost my footing, fell on my butt, and twisted my legs in weird directions. They’re feeling a little achy at the moment, and probably just need a bit of R&R. The best part is that Harley just looked at me like I was crazy – so much for my dog to the rescue! I think the heat was getting to her, and she kept trying to stop and lay down during our trip down the mountain:

2.) Watching a movie. Though I’m not sure what I’m going to watch,  I do know one thing.. it’s NOT going to be a sad one. I keep unknowingly watching all these depressing flicks (last weekend it was The Descendants), and then afterwards think, Yikes, why didn’t I watch a romantic comedy?? No Debbie downers tonight! 😉

Jujubes (Not the Candy)

One of my favorite things about the Little Italy farmer’s market is that I’m always finding new fruits and veggies I’ve never made myself, eaten before, or even ever heard of. Almost every time I go, I come home with something new to try.

Last weekend, I came across a stand that had fruit called jujubes. No, I’m not talking about the artificial candy.

Also known as the red/Chinese/Korean/Indian date, the dried fruit first caught my eye because of its dark red color. After reading the chart above them that listed all their nutritional benefits, I was curious to try one. High in antioxidants and various vitamins, including vitamin C, vitamin A and vitamin B2, jujubes aren’t as sweet and sticky as the typical date. The inside of the fruit is sort of spongy.

Today I sliced some jujubes up and combined them with fennel, an apple, and toasted sliced almonds, for a super healthy salad:

When I took my fennel bulbs out of the fridge, Harley was freaking out trying to eat the wild leafy parts to them. Here’s the best shot I got of her nuttiness:

She cracks me up. Last night when I brought my surprise flowers inside and put them on my kitchen table, she kept sitting near the table, staring at them and whining. She thinks everything is for her (to eat)!

At the farmer’s market, I also got another new fruit I’d never heard of before that was heart-shaped and green:

Unfortunately, I can’t remember the name of it. The inside is white with a ton of black seeds, and it tastes really sugary like a mango, but with a uniqueness to it that I can’t really describe:

Anyone know the name of it?? This kind of stuff drives me nuts, so please share if you do!

Quinoa Salad, A Dog Fight, and Dark Chocolate Dreams

Hi friends! My random blog title is reflective of the mood I am in. Ever feel like your brain is going in 10 different directions? Then you get it! Before I get to my tasty quinoa salad dinner, here are some things I must discuss:

#1 – My Memorial Day evening hike turned out to be pretty adventurous, mainly because Harley got attacked by another dog! OK, attacked sounds sort of dramatic since there was no blood shed, but it was a bit scary at the time.

The situation: We were hiking at the toughest part of Kwaay Paay Summit, where it’s super steep and narrow, and came across a guy with his dog. Harley and I stopped a bit away to see how to go about this, as there’s no way that 2 people and 2 dogs can cross each other at this point in the hike. There’s barely room for 1 person really. The guy hopped up on this little ledge off the trail and picked his Pit Bull up and put him on the side as well. So, assuming we were getting the go-ahead, Harley and I started walking up past these hikers.

As we’re passing them, the other dog lunges past its owner and tries to attack Harley. Now, they say not to get in the middle of a dog fight, but realistically, that’s exactly what your gut reaction is… especially when your only other option is to let your dog go tumbling down a mountain with a dog who has probably 20 pounds on her trying to rip her eyeballs out.

If you can imagine it, I was trying to keep my balance on a tiny awkward dirt path while at the same time trying to break up 2 dogs who are going at it. And let me tell you, my sweet little friendly girl turned into ONE CRAZY BITCH! Her teeth were out all crazy, and she was making these horrific noises I’ve never heard her make before.

In the end, the guy regained control of his dog, and I picked up Harley and rushed past them. When I looked down at her after we were in the clear, she was looking at me like, “Let me at him mom, I can take him!” Yes, I know I personify Harley a lot, but seriously, if she could talk she would totally be saying that. 😉

So, although this was the second most scary thing that’s happened with Harley thus far (the first being her literally jumping out of my car window while I was driving one time…), I have to say, I’m kind of proud of her. It made me gain confidence that she’s my protector who would go all crazy ass on someone who tried to hurt me, and not just roll over to have her belly pet. She’s quite the character!

#2- I came across a jar of Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter at the store yesterday… and I’m already obsessed. If you see this at your food store and like PB and chocolate, you must try it!

#3 – If you’d like to check out a great collection of photos from Memorial Day, check out this. It features MDW photos from around the web, including one from my post yesterday.

#4 – I finally picked up the second Hunger Games book and have started reading it. I love it already! Speaking of books, I’m still refusing to read 50 Shades of Grey for now, as I heard the writing style sucks and am not really feeling all the hoopla surrounding the book. Oh Katniss, how I’ve missed you…

#5 – Last but certainly not least, dinner! Inspired from seeing a prepackaged quinoa salad mix yesterday, I whipped one up for dinner tonight. This salad will certainly give you your fill of produce and vitamins! I used a box of a quinoa blend from the brand Near East, which is a mix of quinoa and brown rice. You could always use plain old quinoa too, but I’m a fan of this mix:

Quinoa Salad

Serves 2

  • 1 box of Near East roasted red pepper & basil quinoa/brown rice blend
  • 2/3 c frozen fire roasted corn, thawed
  • 2 fennel bulbs, chopped
  • 1/2 c cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1-2 green onion, chopped
  • 1/2 avocado (2 oz), cut into chunks

Cook the quinoa according to package directions. After you add the spice sack to the pot, add the bell pepper into the mix.

Combine the corn, fennel, tomatoes, green onion, and avocado in a bowl.

Once the quinoa blend is done cooking, remove from heat and stir all the veggies in. Combine well.

This salad will be delish either hot or cold.

Stats per serving: 430 calories, 9 g fat, 12 g protein, 71 g carbs

Off to take Harley for a stroll!