Thursday, May 31, 2012

Good Morning Green Smoothie


Yes, this one has spinach and kale in it. And yes, it tastes really really good. With ingredients like pineapple, mango and coconut water, how could it not? Not to brag, but my little son guzzled this one down despite the green color.

One serving of this drink has 3/4 cup kale leaves in it, or about 1 large leaf. I used to roll my eyes at green smoothies that had one leaf of kale because it didn't seem like much. But then I realized that I pay $5 bucks for a raw kale salad at my local health food store that couldn't hold more than one large leaf in the whole container. A large leaf of kale is quite a bit if you look at it that way. Plus, you get another 3/4 cup of baby spinach in this drink as well. I decided it was definitely worth it. Coconut water is super hydrating and full of electrolytes too. I was going to need that after my crazy workout that I didn't do yesterday.


It's going to be a good morning indeed

Good Morning Green Smoothie
adapted from Paula Deen
serves 1 large or 2 smaller portions

1 banana, cut into chunks
1/2 cup frozen mango chunks
1/2 cup frozen pineapple chunks
3/4 cup slightly packed baby spinach leaves
3/4 cup slightly packed kale leaves (stem removed) about 1 very large leaf
1 1/2 cups coconut water

Blend all ingredients on high until smooth. Drink immediately.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Vegetarian Taco Salad


Welcome back to the real world after that awesome Memorial Day weekend, huh? Memorial weekend is always like the sneak peek into summer. It taunts you with it's cookouts, family, and watermelon to get you thinking it is actually Summer. Then Tuesday rolls around and you send the kids back to school for another week before the real thing.


Well, one thing I am excited about today is my guest post over at Keep Calm and Carry On where I'm sharing this easy taco salad recipe plus a few of my favorite pictures. Click over, and while you are there I wouldn't be surprised to hear that you started following her blog. No pressure or anything, but rather a warning- she sucks you in. She keeps you entertained. In short, she's awesomesauce. Just make sure you come back and visit me every once and a while!

For the recipe and my guest post, click here.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Maple-Soy Salmon

Maple Soy Salmon

Did you miss this the first time around? It's gotten quite a few views on Pinterest, so I thought I'd bring it back so my newer followers could check it out.

Maple Soy Salmon

Click here for the recipe, and please excuse the picture. Horrible lighting. Horrible, I tell you. I've learned a thing or two since I took it.

Have a happy Memorial Day Weekend everyone!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Veggie Love Panini


My In-laws treated me and my husband to a stay-cation the other night. This means that we dropped our kids off at their house for one blissful kidless night and morning. If you happen to be a DINK, this is no different from everyday life, really. But to parents of multiple hooligan-banshee kids, this is a thigh slappin', rip-roarin', helluva good time.

We went to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Bistro C.V., took an evening drive downtown, came home, drank some wine, ordered some furniture for our house and watched SNL.  Jeremy even indulged me in a quick dance in our living room when "I can't help falling in love with you" came on. Awwwww. The next morning we had time for a quick breakfast at Creekside before picking the kids up. When lunchtime rolled around, I turned to this standby veggie pressed sandwich to satisfy.

The ingredients change depending on what I have on hand at the time. Arugula can be swapped for baby leaf lettuce, the cheese can be anything, sometimes we have tomato, sometimes not. The only ingredients that are mandatory are the avocado and grilled onions. Those two make the sandwich. I only use one piece of deli cheese, or equivalent of, for a whole sandwich so it's more of an accent or way to glue the veggies together than anything else. The avocado get's warm and creamy, and the onions which are the only thing you have to cook for this sandwich, get buttery soft and seasoned. When you press it between bread with just enough cheese and fresh greens that wilt ever so slightly, it's a thigh slappin', rip-roarin', helluva sandwich. How appropriate. 

This is a quick lunch that can easily be whipped up when friends come over to clean your couch


Except I didn't make it for this friend, because I'm mean. Be kinder than me. Hey Meliss- the couch is gonna get real clean with that dog sitting right there...

By the way, if you use dish soap on a microfiber couch and scrub it with a dish brush, and then rinse and vacuum it with that Bissel green machine above, it comes out perfect!



Ahem, back to the sandwich


Veggie Love Panini
1 sandwich (serves 1-2)

Saute a couple rounds of yellow onion in one tablespoon olive oil until soft. Season the onion with salt, garlic powder, and chili powder. Cut one slice of deli cheese (I used pepper jack) into 8 thin strips and divide 4 strips evenly over a piece of bread. Top with a couple slices tomato, a half an avocado cut into thin strips, and the sauteed onion. Top with a handful of arugula or other baby green, and layer the last four slices of deli cheese evenly over the top. Press sandwich in a panini press on low. Cut in half and enjoy.

If you have the time, slow roasted tomatoes would taste great in this.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Watermelon Lime Frosty (or Margarita) and Guess What?


A few days ago, I opened the latest edition of our local Steamboat Magazine and low and behold, there I was on page 40, in full color, in all my glory, complete with an article and recipes. I am completely giddy over this and trying to find a way to adjust to my new found fame.  Yeah, I can't even write that with the words crossed out and keep a straight face.



It all started when Susan asked if she could write a small article about me and the blog for the Cuisine section of the magazine. Um, could she? I was extremely flattered that she would even think of me. Susan has followed my blog from close to the beginning and given me plenty of encouragement along the way. I've always appreciated that about her. The fact that anyone reads this blog is pretty cool to think about, let alone running into different people who tell you they tried this recipe or that, or liked what I had to say about such and's surreal and awesome and I love that I can get to know people better and have a connection point with them through this space.

Susan is a great writer. She captured our time together and conversation so well and in such few words. The photography helped too, thanks to my friend Kel who was kind enough to take the shots. To read the article click here.

When selecting a recipe for the piece, I wanted something colorful, easy, accessible and fun. And, I'd say the Watermelon Lime Frosty fit the bill pretty well, huh? And let's just cut to the chase, the fact that it's easily transformed into a margarita is the real clincher. The secret in this one is the frozen banana because it makes the whole drink creamy and thick when added to the juicy watermelon. It works really well along with the lime juice and zest to create a perfect little summer treat. Adding tequila will dilute the "frostiness" quality making the drink thinner, but tequila does wonders to make you not care about such things, so you should be okay with it.

Watermelon Lime Frosty (or Margarita)
adapted from Happy, Healthy, Life
makes 2

3 cups watermelon, cubed and frozen
1 ripe banana, peeled and frozen
2 tablespoons agave nectar or maple syrup
Zest from 2 limes
Juice from 2 limes (about 4 tablespoons)
1/2 cup water

Blend all ingredients until smooth, adding more water as needed to keep the mixture moving. For margaritas: add 3-4 shots of silver tequila

Sometimes we add more watermelon than called for to thicken this up, or to make the drink appear more pink. This has to do with how juicy or bright your watermelon is to start with and the measurements provided in the recipe is a great place to start, but it's really easy to add watermelon for your own preferences.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Skinny Birthday Cake Batter Shake and Kelle Hampton Skype!


I totally Skyped with Kelle Hampton last night! Let me tell you friends, she is awesome and even more friendly, open, fun, and cool than she comes off on her blog, if you can believe that. She even brought Nella and Lainey in to say hi at the end. They were wrapped in towels, fresh out of the bath. Cutest things ever. I was interested in her writing process and asked how the magic happened. She said she doesn't edit a whole lot, and that what she writes on the blog naturally comes out the first time. So, in short, she's crazy talented. I don't do a whole mess of editing myself, but I'm not a writer like she is. She said 1 in every 5 blog posts, she'll wake up and re-read and think I wrote WHAT?!? which leads to some edit. She also edits her pictures every single day.


Funny Story. I read the blog of this girl named Libby. One day, about a year ago, she wrote something to the effect of "I'm leaving to Naples, Florida. Be back next week". I immediately commented with

Hey, your going to Naples? You should totally stake out the Isle of Capri (A place Kelle Hampton hangs) and see if you could orchestrate bumping in to Kelle Hampton. Do you read her blog? She's my favorite. 

Well, a few days later I'm reading Kelle's blog about Nella's first birthday party, when I spot Libby in the crowd. I. Was. Mortified. Because I didn't know if they were friends or what and I completely suggested stalking her. I told Kelle this story last night and she laughed and said that Libby had told her a a few of her readers had commented about the Naples/Kelle connection. At least I wasn't alone...

And now, a random and abrupt changing of subject-


My milkshake brings all the girls to the yard, cuz they're like, it's better than yours, damn right it's better than yours, I could teach you, and I won't charge. La

My milkshake brings all the girls to the yard. Not boys. Because this milkshake is of the skinny variety.  This milkshake contains no added sugar, unless you count the rainbow sprinkles (please tell me you are not counting the rainbow sprinkles) And is vegan...again, unless you count the rainbow sprinkles, because dude, theres no nutritional info on the back of the rainbow sprinkles container and I'm not about to call up the company to ask if they are indeed vegan. And furthermore, if you are really that worried about it, I'm not sure this blog is for you. I don't worry about sprinkles. I just eat them. Butter extract is vegan. Who knew?


I get really excited about desserts that don't have added sugar because that means I could conceivably have them at any time of the day, or even for my actual lunch. I don't really recommend that, but I'm just sayin' you could, you know, if you wanted to for any reason. *I use coconut milk in this recipe, which does in itself contain sugar, so what I mean by no added sugar is, I don't add any additional sweetener to it. You could always sub an unsweetened milk if you'd rather.

To achieve a shake that tastes as true to birthday cake flavor as possible, don't change the recipe up too much. It's sort of a delicate balance. For example, if you don't have coconut butter, and you try subbing with coconut oil, it'll still taste good, but it won't be as cakey as it should be. If you don't have butter extract and leave it out, the flavor won't be nearly as cakey either. Coconut milk can be substituted for different kinds of milk, but keep in mind that something strong like soy will tweak the taste. I like plain coconut milk the best for this recipe, but unsweetened almond milk works too. I love this recipe!


The more ripe your bananas, the more flavor they will impart to your drink. So, try to peel and freeze bananas that are not too ripe so they don't take over!

Skinny Birthday Cake Batter Shake
adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie
makes 2 small, or 1 big shake

2 large bananas, peeled and frozen
4 tablespoons coconut butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon butter extract
3/4 cup coconut milk (I used Silk Pure Coconut, Original) or more as needed
Rainbow sprinkles

Add all ingredients, except rainbow sprinkles, to a powerful blender such as the vita-mix. If you don't own a vita-mix, you'll need to add more coconut milk than called for. Just add enough to get the machine running. Once everything is blended throughly (I let my vita-mix run on high for a few seconds) add in some rainbow sprinkles and blend on low until just combined. Pour into glasses, top with more rainbow sprinkles. Eyes that roll back into your head is completely normal.

Sometimes, I add more butter extract or even a smidgen of coconut extract.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Linguine with Mussels and Clams


Can I just say, I have the best friends. At the end of our first official day in our new house, our friends Brian and Danielle came by bearing really good gifts, including champagne, freshly shucked oysters on the half shell, stone crab, and plenty of cocktail sauce and lemon. As we started to dig in and say goodbye to our first day of hard work, Shawn and Melissa showed up to welcome us to the neighborhood with a blender full of fresh fruit daiquiris. We feasted and shared drinks, and when we ran out, my husband mixed up another batch to keep the impromptu party going. Except, we only had stuff on hand for margaritas. Champagne, vodka and now tequila. Then, for good measure, we ordered pizza from our restaurant for dinner. To sit amongst boxes eating really good pizza in a new house with friends and family might be one of my favorite things in the world.To say it was a fun night would be an understatement.



When it came time to finally go grocery shopping and get back to real life, it only seemed fitting that the first meal I would make in our new house should involve shellfish. Luckily, I had caught part of a "Giada At Home" episode on the Food Network during my unpacking. And what do you know? She was making a Capri, Italy inspired meal with a sumptuous looking linguini with clams and mussels for the main dish which included shallots, wine, vegetable broth and a touch of butter. I liked that she only used as much butter as was needed and didn't drench the dish with it, like so many other shellfish pasta recipes. She adds parsley, but I knew I'd be throwing in some basil too.

I love when a dinner causes my kitchen to look like this:



I used to be scared of cooking with shellfish, but theres really no good reason for it. I just didn't know how. They are actually economical too. I bought all the shellfish for this recipe for seven dollars. As long as you get your shellfish from a good source, like a meat and seafood place, you should be good go to. Another great tip is to ask which days they get their fresh seafood shipments in. I usually only buy fish on the day it comes in, and then make it that night for dinner. Freshness is key for avoiding a strong seafood flavor. If you don't care for any seafood flavor at all, just use all clams instead of the mussels. They are light and a have pleasant, mild taste. The last thing I do to ensure my dish is great, is to soak my shellfish in a mixture of flour and cool water before cooking. The mussels and clams will absorb the flour and spit out any sand that might be in their shells leaving you without any surprise grit.

Soaking the shellfish looks sort of gross, but it's a necessary step

Light, summery and flavorful and pretty dang easy and fast. Love this one!

Linguine with Mussels and Clams
adapted from Giada At Home, by Giada De Laurentiis
serves 4

1 lb linguine pasta (I used whole wheat)
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
12 large basil leaves, julienned
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large or 4 small shallots, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup white wine (recommended: Pinot Grigio)
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
12 littleneck or manilla clams, cleaned
12 mussels, cleaned

About 30 minutes before starting dinner, fill a medium sized bowl with fresh cold water and 1/4 cup of all purpose flour and stir to combine. Add the clams and mussel tot he bowl and soak for 30 minutes. During this time, the shellfish should absorb the fresh water and flour and discard any sand. Drain and rinse the shells and place in a bowl in the fridge until you are ready to use them.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the butter and parsley and toss until coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

In a large skillet or saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the hsallots and season with salt and ppper to taste. Cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds until aromatic. Add the wine and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Stir in the broth, red pepper flakes, clams and mussels. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and cook until all the shellfish have opened, about 5 to 8 minutes. Discard any unopened shellfish.

Using tongs, remove the shellfish from the pan and reserve. Season the cooking liquid with 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Pour the shellfish cooking liquid over the pasta, add the basil and toss well. Season with salt and pepper again, to taste. Arrange the reserved shellfish on top of the pasta and serve. Make sure you get a little of the broth in the bottom of your bowl. That's the best part.

For novice cooks, I'll note that when a recipe calls for clams or mussels to be "cleaned", it means the mussels beard should be pulled off (a tiny piece that sticks out from the shell. Mine were bought already done) and the shells should be run under cool water and scrubbed with a brush to remove any small sand particles. Make sure the water is cool. If it's warm, you could cause the shellfish to die. No bueno. The way you know if a shellfish is safe to eat is, when cooked, their shells will open to expose the meat inside. If one does not open, discard it. The rest of your dish will be fine.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Pita Bread Salad with Cucumber, Feta and Mint

Pita Bread Salad with Cucumber, Mint and Feta

This salad is so fun! Feta and mint anything is always my favorite. And as we all know, mint is all the rage right now. I refuse to believe it's just about the color even though I did just buy this dress and these pants and this polish (which turned out to be more aqua than mint, but I'm rockin' it anyway) and since I was clearly on a roll, I thought why not add the actual herb into the mix, eh? Anyone? Crickets. Okay.

We actually ate this as our main course for dinner one night along with a veggie and hummus spread. It was pretty tasty although I'm pretty sure my husband had a bowl of cereal later that night. Normally, I'd make my own hummus and it would probably be this cucumber mint version, but we stocked up at Trader Joe's before we left Tucson, and they have some of the best pre-packaged hummus. Plus, it made my job easier. They also have super good pizza sauce. Just a hint.

Pita Bread Salad and Hummus Dinner

The original recipe calls for watercress but I think next time, I'll use arugula. Use which ever you prefer. This is not a leafy salad anyway, but one that lets the chunkier ingredients like the cucumber and pita shine. The leaves are sort of an afterthought, even if it doesn't seem that way in the picture. I used whole wheat pita bread, but I noticed at my health food store they had a sprouted grain version of pita labeled "pocket bread" and I'll probably do that next time. I also will probably leave the celery out next time and sub more cucumber. It just didn't taste like it totally belonged. You'll see I changed the quantities up a bit, but it's just for my own preferences and you can make it either way.

Try this one on a hot night and pile your plate high.

Pita Bread Salad with Cucumber, Feta and Mint
adapted from Martha Stewart

serves 2 as a main course and 4 for an appetizer or side portion

2 pita breads, cut into 1-inch squares
3 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (I used less)
Kosher salt (about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon)
Pepper, to taste (about 1/4 teaspoon)
1 large cucumber, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 stalks celery, cut into 1/2-inch dice (or sub for more cucumber)
1 bunch fresh mint, trimmed and chopped
1/2 bunch watercress, trimmed or 1 cup arugula, slightly packed
6 oz. light feta cheese, crumbled (I used slightly less, about 4 oz)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread pita squares on a baking sheet and bake until they are crisp, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. 

In a medium salad bowl, combine toasted pita bread, celery and cucumber. Add vinegar mixture, and toss well to combine. just before serving, add mint and watercress or arugula and gently toss again. Sprinkle feta cheese over the top and season with more pepper.

As for me? I'm in the throes of moving. Pictures soon.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Old Fashioned Brownies

Great news! I got my Pinterest problem squared away, so you can now pin my recipes. Woo-hoo!

Old Fashioned Brownies

I tend to love classic, old fashioned things. Like my Mikimoto Pearls, which I inherited from my Grandma Burgos after she died. Wallpaper and mason jars, which, albeit are back in style for the moment. My great Grandmother Zuhelke's garnet ring which I was told (a bit rudely) by a local jeweler that is only plated in gold, rather than being solid, when I went to get it sized and was consequently denied becuase "plated jewelry just can't take heat."

Grandma Zuhelke's Garnet Ring

my pearls and ring
My Grandma's Ring and Pearls

This was after they told me that the same Grandma's earrings couldn't be switched from a turn screw style, to a normal backing for the same reason. Also, they couldn't change a link in my sisters watch because they were afraid it might break and couldn't replace it if they did. And my daughters gold necklace which had a knot in the chain couldn't be fixed, I'd have to buy a new one. Psssh. Can we just say, worst jewelry store ever? I once boycotted that store until my husband bought me a pair of diamond earrings from there when I had Olivia, and well, you can't very well turn down diamond earrings. I don't care who you are.

So, my Grandma's ring isn't very valuable. It doesn't make it any less special to me because it was hers and looks like the coolest cocktail ring ever. Other old fashioned favorites of mine are lemonade, card games, luncheons, sun brewed tea, pin curls, red lipstick, 5 o'clock cocktails, 1930's dresses, Chanel no. 5, capri pants, lace, Frank Sinatra, Cole Porter, Elvis, Billie Holiday, black and white movies, vintage cars, pie, cobbler, fishnet stockings, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers, Grace Kelly, Doris Day, night blooming jasmine, potato salad, picnics, fried chicken, and real brownies.

Anabelle is Danielle's daughter and she likes to help with the brownie making. Can you guess with which part?

Old Fashioned Pictures

When my friend and I needed a brownie recipe, we looked no further than Alton Brown. He had our trust, implicitely. These brownies are deep cocoa and thick, chewy, and a perfect cross between cakey and fudgey. Of course, I added lots of walnuts to my batch. Walnuts are mandatory in my brownies.

I'm mad for brownie sundaes and this recipe would stand up to ice cream perfectly. When I was pregnant with Isabella, it seems I couldn't eat enough of them. I also gained the most weight with her than any of my other kids. Go figure. With Jeremiah I craved salads. Talk about a lucky break. Then with Olivia, it was bagels and cream cheese. Dang. In my non-pregnant life, the brownie sundae is still champ. I've cooled it on the bagels, and upped my salad intake, so...It should all even out, eh?

Old Fashioned Brownies

  • Old Fashioned Brownies
  • adapted from Alton Brown
  • makes 9 brownies 

  • Soft butter, for greasing the pan
  • Flour, for dusting the buttered pan
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup brown sugar, sifted
  • 8 ounces melted butter
  • 11/4 cups cocoa, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup flour, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 to 1 cup chopped walnuts, (optional)

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Butter and flour an 8-inch square pan.

In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs at medium speed until fluffy and light yellow. Add both sugars. Add remaining ingredients, and mix to combine.
Pour the batter into a greased and floured 8-inch square pan and bake for 45 minutes (Ours took about an hour to bake) Check for doneness with the tried-and-true toothpick method: a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan should come out clean. When it's done, remove to a rack to cool. Resist the temptation to cut into it until it's mostly cool.

Dear Katie Krysh, 
I know you noticed that I have the same exact watch as you. Please know that while I did ask for a Michael Kors watch for my birthday, I picked out a different one. However, when it came, my friends who were giving it to me said the face was much too huge and blingy, and  looked a little gaudy in person. So it got returned and replaced with this one, which is better anyway. But of course, that means we have the same watch. But I figure you live in Ohio, so it's okay.
Sincerely, Krysta

Dear Everyone Else Who Reads This Blog, 
I'm sorry for the personal message above.
Sincerely, Krysta

Friday, May 4, 2012

Breakfast Pizza


Did you miss this Breakfast Pizza the first time around? Chances are you did since I had, like, 25 followers back when I originally posted it. But, I'm linking up to it again because it's one of my favorites. Guess what else I've been up to? Casey, who won my giveaway will be getting this box in the mail soon!


For the Breakfast Pizza recipe, click here

Have a splendid weekend boys and girls!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Quinoa Salad with Mango, Blueberries and Basil with Lemon Dressing

Quinoa Salad

What in the bleep is up with pinterest!? Humor me for a second. Try to pin this recipe. All the pictures disappear in rapid succession, don't they? You can't pin anything, can you? You can tell me in the comments. About to rip my hair out over this issue. Also, please ignore my button drama to the right. I'll get it squared away today.


A couple weeks ago there was a brunch at Danielle's complete with people that fell into the following categories: A) best friends B) people I'd never met C) acquaintances D) people I'm quite friendly with (is there such a category?) Quite impressive considering I was one of six people in attendance. Also, there was a spinach and goat cheese crustless quiche, fresh fruit with mint and coconut milk drizzle, and strawberry scones. "Plan A" was to blog about the scones. But the plan went horribly awry. They tasted incredible, but took like, five years to bake. I have no idea why. Some baking genius I turned out to be. So now, I humbly offer you this tasty quinoa salad instead, and really, you shouldn't be disappointed because this recipe is going to become your new go-to.

Quinoa can be boring, but when you top it with ripe fruit, chewy dried cranberries for tartness and texture, fresh basil and tangy lemon dressing, it's anything but. I didn't have blueberries the other day, so I used strawberries instead and it was delicious, so use what you have. I've made this twice to rave reviews.

I mean, look at this gorgeousness. Can you hear the angles singing?
Quinoa Salad with Mangos and Blueberries

I have to say, the basil makes it. Although mint would be a good addition or substitute if you hate basil. But, then again, if you hate basil you have far worse problems than I can help you with. 

Maybe you could invite some friends over for lunch and make this salad, instead of the brunch we had. The scene would be the same, the food different, but who really cares. It comes down to the people, right? At least that's what I keep telling my introverted self. I like to spend my time at brunches clicking pictures, eating, concerning myself with troubleshooting strawberry scones that refuse to bake, and apparently, putting people into ridiculous categories based on how well I know them.








I love people, parties, and hosting, as much as the next gal. Sometimes though, it's more comfortable for me to shrink back behind the scenes and busy myself, popping in on conversations occasionally, but not starting them myself. Especially if there are people there who I don't know very well. Not all the time though. The other half of the time in social situations, I get all kinds of chatty and outgoing...laughing, listening, telling loud, animated stories. Often, wine is involved. Both are me though. Both are great in their own ways. My friend Becca said when she first met me, she thought I was totally snobby. She has since changed her mind. It's not the first time I've heard something like it though. Whatever. If you saw me breaking it down to Justin Beiber's "Baby" in my kitchen, that "snobby" impression would go right out the window promptly replaced by "completely awesome" or "scary" depending on who you are. Please remember I have a 10 year old daughter.

Then, since you'd be standing in my kitchen, you'd probably ask me what I was making. Hopefully I'd say this quinoa salad and not strawberry scones, because if that was the case, we could be there for a while...

Quinoa Salad with Mango, Blueberries and Basil with Lemon Dressing
adapted from Veggie Belly
serves 4

For the quinoa
2 cup quinoa
4 cups water

For the fruits and veggies
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup cubed ripe mango
1 cup cubed cucumbers
3 tablespoons dried cranberries
15 large basil leaves, chopped

For the lemon dressing
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons lemon juice
zest from one lemon
salt and pepper (about 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper)

Place the quinoa and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer coveres for about 15 minutes or until the quinoa is cooked. Remove the lid, and fluff the quinoa with a fork. let it cool to room temperature.

Whisk together the dressing ingredients and reserve until ready to use.

Spread the quinoa out over a medium platter and top with the fruits, veggies and basil. Drizzle the dressing over the top. Add a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Does anyone else have Pinterest problems? It's only me, isn't it? *sigh*