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strawberries

Balsamic Strawberry and Chickpea Tabbouleh

I saw a version of this salad over at Prevention RD about a month ago, and bookmarked it right away. I loved the idea of combining fresh strawberries with fluffed grains.  It’s a collaboration I hadn’t really thought of before.  This, of course, is why I love food blogs.  They provide such a boost of creative inspiration! Oh, and often salvation-inciting pictures too.

The original recipe taken from Newly Wed, Newly Veg uses brown rice, and then Nicole from Prevention RD swapped that out with couscous for an extra quick salad.  I didn’t have couscous on hand, so I went with bulgur wheat, the classic grain used for tabbouleh.  It too cooks up pretty quickly, and the results of this have made me think I should start testing out other kinds of fruit in my go-to picnic item. (Which reminds me, if strawberries fly out of season before you get to try this, experiment by replacing them with cherries instead.)

I added some mint to the recipe, since my mint crop is currently playing the role of Stimpy while my scrawny-looking basil is unfortunately being forced into the Ren role.  I also veganized the grain salad by exchanging the goat cheese for cashews.  To bring out the flavor in the nuts, simply toast up raw cashews in a pan over high heat, stirring frequently, until the outer edges become brown.

So there you have it, a unique collaboration of ingredients brought together by a collaboration of bloggers.  (Thanks girls for the awesome idea!)

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Strawberry Mint Salad with Lime Coconut Vinaigrette

Sometimes a salad can taste so refreshing in the summer.  It’s crisp and rehydrating and won’t weigh you down as long as you keep the dressing in line with the lightness of the leaves.  I particularly love to enjoy salads at this point in the year when the lettuce is powering out in the garden and the strawberries are just beginning to dress themselves in that sweet, deep red.  The two make a wonderful pair, with the strawberries adding a nice fruity touch to the typical acidity of salad vinaigrette.

For this salad, I added some fresh mint to the mix and a coconut lime vinaigrette for a bowl full of summery flavor.  Be sure to run the coconut oil under warm water to loosen it up, otherwise you’ll have a dressing that won’t come together when whisked.

Strawberry Mint Salad with Lime Coconut Vinaigrette

Yield: 2 salads

Ingredients

  • For the Salad:
  • -6-8 strawberries, sliced
  • -2 sprigs of mint, julienned/chopped
  • -Feta, crumbled, 2 handfuls
  • -5-6 cups of lettuce (A buttery variety or a baby romaine)
  • -Coconut Lime Vinaigrette (See recipe below)
  • Coconut Lime Vinaigrette
  • For the Vinaigrette:
  • -Juice of one lime
  • -1 1/2-2 Tbsp. virgin coconut oil, melted
  • -1/2 tsp. sugar
  • -Small pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Whisk vinaigrette ingredients together until well-combined. Toss salad materials in a large bowl, and then drizzle with vinaigrette.
http://foodfitnessfreshair.com/2011/06/08/strawberry-mint-salad-with-lime-coconut-vinaigrette/

Classic Green Smoothie Recipe

I have in various ways mentioned green smoothies in numerous of my previous posts, but I wanted to dedicate an entire entry to this powerhouse breakfast I frequently gulp down.  Green smoothies are the emblem of the ultimate healthy breakfast.  They are loaded with nutrients.  Packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and energy, a glass of green smoothie will leave your body feeling lean, green, and just like an eco-power-filled machine.  Green smoothies are perfect for consumption at anytime:  Before the gym, after the gym, after a night of too much indulgence, as part of a breakfast for a healthy appetite, as a snack, on the go, not on the go, while reading a book…okay you get the point.

The following recipe is my standard green smoothie creation.  I also experiment with numerous other fruit and green combinations, but this recipe is almost always at the base of the concoction I whip up.  The flavors of these three basic ingredients seem to blend perfectly together.  I typically try to use organic ingredients since everything going into the blender is raw, but even so, make sure to wash the produce well before using.  Feel free to add a protein to make it a more complete breakfast/meal (such as yogurt, protein powder, flax, ground nuts, etc.).  Also, don’t be shy about including any ripe or in season fruit you have on hand!

Grace’s Green Smoothie Recipe

-3 medium collard greens leaves, hand-torn into smaller pieces (about 2 cups, chopped)*
-6-7 strawberries, frozen
-1/2 apple, chopped (preferably a sweeter variety)
-Cold water, 6-8 ounces

*Feel free to substitute kale or spinach for the kale.  Spinach will create a milder flavor.

Place apple, then strawberries into a blender.  Add torn greens on top.  Pour water over the ingredients.  Blend until smooth, pulsing to help move around any “stuck” ingredients.  You may need to stop the blender one or two times and use a long spoon to push the ingredients further down towards the blade.  Pour into a tall glass.

Other optional add-ins:  1/2 banana, a handful of frozen cherries or blueberries, 2 circles of roasted butternut squash, mint, nuts, ground flax, yogurt, orange juice, green tea, vanilla, honey