Easy Greek Salad

Most days when I’m packing my lunch for work I usually just throw a bunch of different things in a Tupperware as I’m making my breakfast and hope for the best.  Instead of just winging it this week I decided to throw together an easy Greek salad that’s full of vegetables and protein to change things up.

Easy Greek SaladThe thing I love about making an easy Greek Salad is that it’s so versatile.  Want artichokes?  Toss them in there.  Don’t like olives?  (although I can’t imagine why) leave them out.  Want to add quinoa? Go for it.  The one thing this salad definitely needs is feta, so if you don’t add feta you are definitely missing out.

I made a giant bowl of this salad and then portioned it out for the week.  Healthy, easy, and reduces my lunch prep in the morning.  Wins all around.

Easy Greek Salad

Ingredients:

1 bag mixed greens (I used a kale & arugula blend)

2 cups cherry tomatoes

1 cup marinated artichoke

2 cups diced cucumbers

1 cup olives, pitted

1/2 cup raw almonds (I also used some blanched ones with rosemary from the farmer’s market)

Feta cheese for topping

Other good add ins: peppers, quinoa, avocado, tuna & chicken

Directions:

Rinse your vegetables and set aside.  Toss all your ingredients in a bowl together.

Easy Greek SaladSprinkle on your feta cheese and olive oil for extra flavor.  Add in any protein/grains of your choice.

Devour.  Repeat.

What’s your favorite easy salad recipe?

Blueberry Avocado Smoothie

Blueberry Avocado Smoothie.  Yes, the name sounds weird but when combined with a few other ingredients this smoothie is delicious and packed with omega 3′s and antioxidants.  I make this blueberry avocado smoothie pretty much every weekend, and still can’t get enough.  I promise it’s that good!

Blueberry Avocado Smoothie GlassLet’s take a look at the ingredients that make this smoothie a nutritional powerhouse; even if they do sound a bit “hippy dippy”:

Blueberry Avocado Smoothie IngredientsBlueberries – very high in antioxidants and great for digestion

Avocado – a healthy source of fat and adds a nice creamy texture to the smoothie

Hemp Seeds – loaded with omega 3′s which promote heart and brain health

Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk – a nice dairy-free alternative loaded with vitamins and minerals

Powdered Peanut Butter – a low-fat way to sneak in some extra protein (although regular PB works well in this smoothie too)

Cacao Powder – high in magnesium and iron.  Plus this skit from Portlandia.

The ingredients listed above are just the base for the blueberry avocado smoothie.  Other things such as frozen banana, honey and almond butter also make this smoothie quite delicious and add a nice natural sweetness.

Blueberry Avocado Smoothie:

Ingredients:

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1 tbsp PB2 or powdered peanut butter

1/4 avocado

1 tbsp raw cacao powder

1 tbsp hemp seeds

1/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Add ins of your choice (frozen bananas go GREAT in this)

Directions:

Place all ingredients into the blender.  Add ice.  Blend until nice and smooth.

Blueberry Avocado SmoothiePour your smoothie into a glass and enjoy.  Preferably with a fun straw.

What’s your current favorite smoothie recipe?

The Fare Trade Artisanal Basket

When it comes to food, I love supporting small businesses.  Whether it is a doughnut from Sidecar or a dark chocolate bar from Madecasse, I’m always on the lookout for unique goodies that you can’t find at a regular supermarket.  The Fare Trade is a monthly subscription service that provides food treats from small businesses, and after connecting with the company through twitter, they were kind enough to let me try The Fare Trade artisanal basket for the month of August.

the Fare trade artisanal basketThe Fare Trade works with a variety of different food curators – from chefs and culinary influencers to local farmers and small businesses to create an artisanal basket that is delivered to subscribers each month.

What sets The Fare Trade out from other gourmet food delivery boxes is not only to they pick unique items, they also include cards with a recipe for each of the ingredients in your box from the featured chefs for that month.  Subscribers can also go online and watch video tutorials from the featured chefs.  For the month of August, chefs Megan and Colby Garrelts provided a bunch of unique recipes that paid homage to their Midwest roots.

The Fare Trade Artisanal Box Recipe CardsEach basket also aims to tie in with the season, and August’s basket was full of items that would be perfect for a summer afternoon BBQ.

The Fare Trade Artisanal Box Close UpThis basket included:

Quinn Popcorn:  This Oakland based company strives to create popcorn that is free of GMOs and artificial ingredients.  While I couldn’t try the popcorn due to my allergies, my husband was quite intrigued by it.

Baia Pasta: Another Oakland company that collaborates with California farmers to grow unique durum and spelt wheat to use in their pasta.  The recipe included with this one was a crab & prosciutto pasta which I can’t wait to try!

Joe’s BBQ Sauce: This company hails from Kansas City and focuses on using all local ingredients whenever possible.

The Roasterie Bluestem Blend Coffee:  Also from Kansas City, Bluestem aims to find the best coffee beans in the world and roast them the best way possible.  The coffee ice cream recipe that came with Bluestem also looks pretty amazing.

Speckman Honey: I’m a sucker for a good jar of honey and Speckman Honey from Shawnee Kansas produces all honey from their own bee colonies to ensure quality of the product.

Overall I was really impressed by the Fare Trade artisanal basket.  If you are a big culinary enthusiast or just want to try out some new stuff AND learn some new recipes, then definitely check the Fare Trade out!

Asian Noodle Salad with Peanut Sauce

Ever since the Englishman and I got a BBQ, we’ve been grilling fanatics.  We’ve grilled chicken, ribs, pulled pork, fish, shrimp, you get the idea.  One particular evening we decided to grill some shrimp and pineapple, and what goes better with shrimp and pineapple than a delicious Asian noodle salad with peanut sauce?

The folks at Marukan Vinegar were kind enough to send me a gift pack of their rice vinegar, and I knew this salad would be the perfect way to use my new goodies.  Be sure to check out the end of this post for a special giveaway!

Asian Noodle Salad VinegarSince I can’t have many Asian-inspired salads due to the soy content, I decided to use the regular and seasoned rice vinegar mixed with some PB2, honey and water to create a delicious peanut sauce that was free of soy and other allergens.

I decided to serve the Asian noodle salad with peanut sauce cold rather than hot which was perfect for a warm summer day.  Paired with grilled shrimp, pineapple and bacon, it was the perfect summer meal!

Asian Noodle Salad with Peanut Sauce ShrimpThis salad was made with brown rice noodles, but I also made a zucchini noodles (zoodles) version which was just as good.

Asian Noodles with Zucchini Peanut SauceThanks Marukan for the recipe inspiration!

Asian Noodle Salad with Peanut Sauce

Ingredients:

1/4 cup PB2 (or regular PB of your choice)

2 tbsp Marukan Seasoned Rice Vinegar

2 tbsp Marukan Rice Vinegar

1/4 cup water

1 tbsp honey

1 cup brown rice noodles, cooked

1 cup broccoli slaw

1 tbsp sesame seeds

1 tbsp chopped cilantro for garnish

Directions:

Bring a saucepan of water to boil.  Cook your brown rice noodles for roughly 4 minutes and then drain and set aside. If you are making zucchini noodles, spiralize your raw zucchini and place in a small bowl with your broccoli slaw.

Asian Noodle Salad with Broccoli SlawIn a mixing bowl add your honey, PB2, water, seasoned rice vinegar and regular rice vinegar and mix well.  Be sure to whisk the sauce so there are no lumps from the PB2.

Asian Noodle Salad with Peanut SauceGently pour your sauce over your brown rice or zucchini noodles and continue to mix until everything is nice and coated.  Add your sesame seeds and continue to mix.

Asian Noodle Salad Sesame SeedsPlace your noodles in the fridge for an hour to chill and marinate.  Serve noodles on their own or as a delicious side and garnish with cilantro.  I had them with grilled pineapple and shrimp and they were fantastic!

Now for the fun stuff.  The lovely people at Marukan are offering one reader a chance to win a Marukan Gift Pack of Regular Rice Vinegar, Seasoned Rice Vinegar and Ponzu Sauce!  All sauces are gluten-free, organic and low in calories but loaded with flavor.

Marukan Vinegar Gift PackThis giveaway is open to US and Canada residents and runs until Thursday, August 14 at 12:00 AM PT.  Be sure to check it out!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks again to Marukan Vinegar for hosting an awesome giveaway!