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Showing posts from April, 2012

Seven-Layer Strawberry Salad with Homemade Poppy Seed Dressing ♥

Today's party salad: A spring riff on the traditional Seven-Layer Salad, layers of strawberries, mangoes, kiwi and avocado plus the traditional romaine and red onion. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real".
Everybody loves the Classic Seven Layer Salad, you know, that messy concoction of lettuce, bacon, cheese, bacon, tomato and hard-cooked egg. Wait, is that seven layers? Ooops, add green peas, too.

This is a summer and fruity version of that salad, substituting colorful layers of fresh fruit: strawberries, kiwis and mango plus avocado and toasted walnuts. Seven-Layer Strawberry Salad: the name alone makes me want to mix up another beautiful bowlful!

It was the crowd favorite at a party last week and would make a great contribution to the next potluck or dinner gathering.

Savory Muffins with Sweet Potato & Feta ♥

Today's "baking with vegetables" inspiration: A muffin, a real muffin, and decidedly savory, there's not a speck of sugar, even the spices are just salt and pepper, you know, savory. The best? The muffins are studded with tiny cubes of roasted sweet potato and creamy feta. For Weight Watchers, just 3 points (Old Points) or 4 points (PointsPlus)!
What in the world has happened to muffins? Is it just me or have they taken a turn to the too-too sweet and the too-too cake-like?

And okay, so cupcakes are supposed to be airy and cakey and sweet. But there are two-million-bazillion cupcake recipes, each one competing on the Cute Quotient. (I kid you not. Have you seen the baking blogs lately? Talk about CuteCupcakeOverload.) Cupcakes have their place.

But on the other end, the muffin end, how many muffin recipes are of the savory sort? Once upon a time, I did one of those get-to-know-you corporate team-building exercises. One query after another, virtually all the parti…

Thai-Style Celery & Peanut Butter ♥
(Celery with Peanut Butter for Grown-ups)

Today's quick vegetable snack idea: Celery stuffed with peanut butter with an Asian spin reminiscent of satay. Low carb. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real".
During my kid years, "fancy" food caught my attention. Think oddball stuff like half a banana upright inside a ring of pineapple (was a maraschino cherry on top? probably) and something called "ants on a log" – celery filled with peanut butter, raisins lined up all in a row on top. Fancy, eh? Let's bet: a "creative cooking for kids" book was involved.

Stirring together this kicky Thai-Style Peanut Butter, I couldn't get those "ants on a log" off the picnic tablecloth in my mind. It's still peanut butter, just amped up with the heat of chile and the brightness of lively citrus, but a step or two or a mile beyond the familiar favorite.

Could it win over people who are only so-so about peanut butter? (Who are there people and how can we be related or even friends?) Ne…

Pioneer Woman's Green Bean Casserole ♥

Today's new holiday recipe, another green bean casserole, this one from Pioneer Woman. It's made without mushrooms but almost makes up for that with crispy bacon (or ham) and a cheesy sauce.
Who knew?! Green bean casserole is holiday food. In fact, green bean casserole is favorite holiday food. Thanksgiving is the obvious occasion. But Christmas? Easter? 4th of July? and even Labor Day? Yes those too.

This is Pioneer Woman's holiday-worthy homemade green bean casserole recipe. It's made from scratch without canned mushroom soup, in fact, it's made without mushrooms. So if someone in the family hates mushrooms, this is your recipe.

Oh yeah and did I mention her casserole calls for bacon? Yeah, bacon. (Note to Vegetarians.) And cheese too. The sauce is cheesy, PW's recipe has a "mac 'n' cheese meets the green bean casserole" vibe happening. In fact, I kept wondering how this would taste with broccoli. Yeah. Broccoli. Wouldn't that be grea…