Fresh Fig Green Salad


 I had this salad at my sister's house.  I've never had figs in a salad before.  They are so beautiful!  This is a great salad to break away from usual routine!

Fresh Figs, sliced
Fresh Greens (I like to use the mixed greens from Costco)
fresh basil, chopped
diced red onion
goat cheese
optional fruit (blueberries, raisins, chopped apple, pears, grapes)
pistachios (or slivered toasted almonds)

Honey Mustard Dressing:
1 garlic cloves, minced
1 c. light olive oil
2 TBS dijon mustard
3 TBS honey
3 TBS red wine vinegar (or balsamic vinegar)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Garden Greek Salad with Balsamic Glaze


We have an abundance of tomatoes and cucumbers this year!  This is a great salad to utilize that abundance.  I love adding celery to give it the extra crunch, the creaminess of the avocado, and fresh basil and chives from our garden give this salad extra delicious taste!

In a large bowl combine (in any ratio you prefer):
cherry tomatoes (yellow pear tomatoes are beautiful too in this dish--mine aren't ripe yet!)
diced tomatoes
diced cucumber
chopped celery
diced avocado
feta cheese (or you can do fresh mozzarella cut in small cubes)
fresh basil
fresh chives (or finely chopped red onion)
salt/pepper to taste
--Toss ingredients with some Olive Garden Dressing.  Garnish with sliced tomatoes and balsamic glaze.

Key Lime Cheesecake

This recipe is adapted from melskitchencafe.com.  I made use a few minor alterations from her original recipe.  It is delicious!

INGREDIENTS:

CRUST:

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 14 rectangle graham crackers, crushed)
  • 1 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted

FILLING:

  • 3 packages (24-ounces total) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream (full fat)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • Zest from 1 lime, about 1-2 teaspoons
  • 1/2 cup  tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 large eggs

TOPPING 1:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Limes or additional lime zest for garnish, optional

TOPPING 2 Option:

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Position the oven racks so one is just above the middle position and the other is in the bottom third of the oven. Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Add the melted butter and mix until the graham cracker crumbs are evenly coated in sandy in texture. Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.
  3. Bake the crust for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool while you prepare the filling.
  4. In a large bowl with an electric mixer (or in the bowl of an electric stand mixer), whip the cream cheese, sugar, cornstarch and lime zest together until smooth and creamy, 1-2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the lime juice (or lemon + lime juice) and mix until combined. Add the eggs and mix until just combined (over mixing can cause the cheesecake to crack while baking thanks to all the extra air beat into the filling).
  5. Pour the cheesecake filling over the crust and spread evenly. Place a metal 9X13-inch or similar-sized pan on the bottom rack of the oven and pour in 2-3 cups of boiling water. Immediately place the cheesecake on the upper rack and bake for 50-60 minutes until the cheesecake is set around the edges. A slight jiggle in the center of the cheesecake is fine.
  6. Turn the oven off and prop the oven door open about 4 inches. Keep the cheesecake in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove and let cool completely.
  7. Refrigerate the cheesecake overnight.
  8. When ready to serve, whip together the cream, powdered sugar and vanilla until thick and creamy. Either spread the whipped cream evenly over the cheesecake or pipe it around the edges with a large star piping tip or just dollop a spoonful on each individual piece. Garnish with lime slices or lime zest, if desired.
  9. Topping Option 2:  Server with a Berry Coullis sauce.

NOTES:

Keep in mind this cheesecake needs to chill overnight so plan ahead.

Zucchini Crisps

I've never really liked pickles, but recently I had some amazing FRIED pickles.  Oh they were amazing!  I'm not a big fan of most Southern food here in NC, but pickles were meant to be fried!
 When I saw this recipe I had to give it a try.  It is definitely not the same thing, but these are very tasty too (and of course much healthier!)

Oreo Cupcakes

Sometimes you just need a picture to inspire!

I love looking at beautiful cupcakes.  This is so simple yet fun.  This is also a post to let everyone know that I don't always make "EVERYTHING" from scratch.  It is kind of funny to find out what people thing goes on in my kitchen sometimes!  

If you have never used Dream Whip, it is AWESOME.  I basically only use two kinds of frosting:  Cream Cheese, and Dream Whip.  I love how light and fluffy the Dream Whip Pudding frosting is.  Warning:  It does take a LONG time to beat, so make sure you follow directions as stated on box which is 4-6 minutes.  There are several different recipes on the box, so make sure you use the "Fluffy Frosting" recipe that calls for  instant pudding.  I also use this to make vanilla frosting or any kind you'd like.  You just vary the pudding flavor.

No added Sugar Jam

This jam has been an awesome find.  Jam is loaded with sugar and "sugar free" options are often loaded with a bunch of things that I'd rather not eat.  This Polaner Fruit Jam is 100% fruit juice, fruit, and pectin.  I buy this at Walmart.  It comes in several flavors: Blueberry, cherry, strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, apricot, and grape.  I think blackberry and raspberry are my favorites.

May Salad Cooking Class

Here are the recipes from the May Cooking Class!  Click on Salad title to take you to recipe link.


Salad (use any combination of the following)
Romaine
napa cabbage
red cabbage
red pepper
mandarin oranges, juice drained
carrots
cucumber
green onions
sliced almonds
dry chow mien or rice noodles (or dried ramen noodles work too)
cooked breaded chicken, sliced

Dressing:
3 TBS honey
2 TBS seasoned rice vinegar
1 TBS sesame oil
1/4 cup mayonnaise
-Whisk until smooth and creamy





Spinach 
craisins 
firm pear, sliced (or apples, blueberries, oranges, strawberries)
swiss, gorgonzola or blue cheese
toasted almonds or sugared pecans
bacon, cooked and crumbled
Red onion avocado

Pomegranate Dressing:
1/4 c. pomegranate balsamic vinegar
1/3 c. light olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
14 grinds fresh pepper
1 TBS white sugar



Greens, Quinoa, Avocado, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Feta, Bacon
-Place tomato halves one side of a baking sheet, and toss with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake at 400 for 12-15 minutes until skins are blistered.
-Drizzle salad with olive oil, salt/pepper, and Balsamic Glaze



This is a recipe adapted from Cooking Light. It is delicious! Don't be overwhelmed by all the ingredients. I rarely have everything when I decide to make this, but it always tastes good regardless. I also rarely make exact measurements, so don't feel tied to the recipe. This is a PERFECT summer recipe! 

Dressing:
1 tablespoon fajita seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
5 teaspoons fresh lime juice, divided
2 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro
3/4 cup ranch dressing

Salad:
2 cups fresh or canned corn kernels (about 4 ears)
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 red pepper, diced
1/2 cup diced peeled avocado
12 cups chopped romaine lettuce
3 cups chopped skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken
1 1/2 cups pre-shredded reduced-fat Mexican blend or cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups tortilla chips, crumbled
1 cup bottled or fresh sliced peeled mango, chopped
diced cucumbers
diced tomatoes
¼ cup sliced green onions
1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes
-Combine all ingredients together in a BIG salad bowl. Enjoy! 

Ranch Dressing Demonstration:
Homemade Ranch (add extra pepper, garlic, and 1 TBS lemon/lime juice)

BBQ Ranch (add 2 TBS lime juice and ¼ c. BBQ sauce)


SIMPLE VERSION:
1 ranch dressing packet prepared using pkt. recipe*(see note)
Juice of 1 lime
½-1 bunch of cilantro
EXTRA YUMMY ADD-INS:
2-3 tomatillos (can use 1/3 c. green salsa as a substitute)
1 large clove garlic
freshly ground pepper
1 jalepeno (no seeds)--omit this if you don't like things spicy
-Using a blender, blend all the ingredients until smooth and creamy.  Serve with quesadillas, taco salad, etc.
-*NOTE:  I'm a bit picky when it comes to my ranch...this is best using 1 c. 1% milk and and 1 c. KRAFT mayonnaise (don't use low fat!)

Father's Day Gift Idea

For the man in your life...
Fun wrapping idea huh!  
If your husband is like mine, he ALWAYS needs another clamp!


Avocado Tuna Salad Lettuce Wrap

This is perfect summer fresh and light meal.  Whip this up in a just a few minutes and Enjoy!


1 7 oz can tuna, drained
1 small avocado, diced
1/4 of a red bell pepper, diced
1/4-1/2 cup chopped English cucumber
2 TBS minced red onion
1/4 c. chopped cilantro
Juice from 1/2 a lime (may want to add more if lime is small)
salt/pepper
3 TBS olive oil
-Mix together in a bowl to combine.  Spoon into Romaine Lettuce leaves and serve.