Throwback: Kale Salad with Man Candy and Roasted Tomato Bruschetta

kale salad with roasted bruschetta 1 - My Daughter and I

Hey there,
Well we’ve been a bit distracted around here by fires burning all around us. It’s hard to get anything done when you’re constantly checking the news, Ham radio, responding to sweet phone calls and texts etc. So I completely forgot to do Monday’s post. Here it is a bit late-

Several weeks back, after dropping Travis off at school, Jordan and I had an epic food afternoon. First we stopped at this amazing bakery called SweetItaly (their website must be brand new, but the address and phone number are at the bottom) and had a cannoli and an eclair. They were both delicious and worth the drive to Point Loma. Not only were the desserts delicious, but the atmosphere was great – we felt like we had been transported to Italy. Needless to say, we plan to visit that bakery again.

So onto the main course. We headed to Liberty Station to see if we could find some dinner. I know weird – we ate dessert first. Ok, really it’s not that weird for us! We found this cute place called The Fig Tree Cafe. It was adorable. We both loved the interesting decor. We were there a bit early so we had the inside to ourselves. Several people were outside enjoying the patio. We decided to split the kale salad and split the bruschetta- it was the perfect amount of food. The kale salad had something called man candy on it. It is bacon that is cooked with brown sugar and cayenne pepper. I knew we had to try this at home (if nothing else because of the name. I mean, come on- how could you not want to know more?? ;)) It also had a light vinaigrette dressing on it that was just delicious and perfect with the other flavors. The roasted tomatoes on the bruschetta were so sweet and flavorful – it was just an amazing meal. Normally I don’t dream of salads and roasted tomatoes, but have been dreaming of this meal and was excited to recreate it at home. So below is my version of that incredible meal. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. This recipe was enough for two of us for lunch. We gobbled up the leftover man candy after we finished our salads.

kale salad with roasted bruschetta 2 - My Daughter and I

Kale Salad with Man Candy Bacon
Kale, washed and torn into bite sized pieces – approximately 4 cups
4 to 6 slices of man candy, recipe below
1 green apple, thinly sliced
1/8 -1/4 cup Manchego cheese, thinly sliced. Manchego is a slightly sharp sheep’s milk cheese. If you can’t find it, I would substitute fresh Parmesan, sliced.
Citrus vinaigrette dressing, recipe below.

Wash and tear kale and put into a medium sized bowl.

Start cooking bacon. Put slices into skillet and cook over medium heat until one side is completely cooked. Flip bacon over and top with brown sugar, cayenne pepper combo. I just mixed 1/4 cup brown sugar with 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper. Using a teaspoon I carefully coated the top/cooked side of the bacon. I continued to cook the bacon, not turning it again. Remove from pan and place on a plate until you’re ready to use it.

While bacon is cooking, slice apple and cheese. Prepare citrus vinaigrette dressing. Once all the elements are ready, toss kale with dressing and serve onto two plates or in two bowls. Top with chopped man candy, sliced apples, sliced cheese. Enjoy!

Citrus vinaigrette dressing
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together in a jar and shake to mix.

kale salad with roasted bruschetta 3 - My Daughter and I

So the second part of our delicious meal was the roasted tomato bruschetta. When you roast tomatoes they get so sweet and wonderful, but I don’t like to overcook them. They tend to get sort of mushy. With the toasted french bread this was a wonderful addition to our salad lunch.

Roasted tomato bruschetta
4 slices French bread
1 pint grape tomatoes
1 T olive oil
1 tsp. minced garlic
A bit of salt
Basil
Balsamic vinegar

Wash and slice tomatoes. Put into oven safe pan. Add olive oil, garlic and salt and mix well. Cook at 450* for about 10 to 15 minutes until tomatoes soften and sort of pop. Stir and check frequently.

Remove from oven and add about 1 -2 T fresh chopped basil and about 1 T balsamic vinegar. Give it one more quick stir. Serve immediately over freshly toasted, warm fresh bread.

To prepare the French bread, slice 4 thick hunks of french bread from a loaf. I just picked mine up at Walmart, nothing fancy. Mist with a bit of olive oil and put in oven or toaster over until just slightly crisp. You don’t want this to be hard and crunchy- it will be too difficult to eat. Just watch carefully as it is toasting.

Top with the fresh tomato bruschetta mixture along with additional fresh basil if desired and a bit of fresh Parmesan shavings.

This was wonderful with our salad, but would have been a great appetizer on its own.

Cindy & Jordan 

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Blueberry Cobbler Bars

Happy Memorial Day Weekend! Here’s a post from Memorial Day two years ago to celebrate! It’s officially BBQ and pool party season, and this recipe is perfect for all of those potlucks!

My Daughter and I Blueberry Cobbler Bars (photo 12)

Hey, Happy Day-After-Memorial Day. I hope you are enjoying the long weekend. Travis is home for the summer from college and Alex came home for the weekend- it’s so nice to have all three kids home. We had a fun BBQ to attend Sunday for a friend’s son who enlisted in the Marine’s reserve program. Wow! How exciting! Yesterday we had a pool party to attend. I love weekends like that. Tons of delicious food and hanging out with good friends!

This recipe is great for a BBQ or pool party. It’s hearty and can be served just on napkins- no fork required. Unless you serve it with ice cream or whipped cream! I was in charge of dessert for Bible study the other night and wanted to try something new. I had just picked up some blueberries from the store so that was my inspiration. I also had a pint of fresh blueberry jam that someone had given me, so I was set. I basically just changed up my raspberry bar recipe a bit and voila – blueberry cobbler bars.

My Daughter and I Blueberry Cobbler Bars (photo 22)

I doubled the recipe and put it in a 9×13″ pan. It made it a bit difficult/messy to mix up the ingredients in the mixer, so I would probably do that a bit differently if I wanted to double the recipe again. However, the finished results were delicious and a bit unusual with the jam and fresh berries and the hearty crumble topping. The recipe below is for a single 8″ square pan recipe.

Blueberry Cobbler Bars

2 sticks butter, softened
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 cup old fashioned oats, or rolled oats
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup blueberry jam
1 generous cup fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. I just used the excess butter leftover on the butter wrapping, and smeared it around or spray with cooking spray.

Add the flour, both sugars, oats and salt to a bowl in your stand mixer. Add in the butter and egg and beat at low speed. Stop the machine and scrape the bowl down a couple of times. Keep processing until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Keep 2 cups crumb mixture aside.

Press the remaining crumb mixture on the bottom the prepared pan. Spread the Blueberry jam over the top of the crust and then sprinkle the fresh blueberries over that. Crumble the rest of the oat mixture over the blueberries.

Bake until lightly browned, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

We served ours with a bit of whipped cream, but it would be great with ice cream or just on its own.

Cindy

Throwback: Mojito Pie

Today marks the end of my freshman year of college, so I thought it was only right to celebrate with a perfect summer throwback recipe! Hope you enjoy!

My Daughter and I Mojito Pie

Hey! Happy Monday! I made this tangy and refreshing pie awhile back for my friend Monica. She loves mojitos – so I was sure she would love this pie – and she did! What a special treat! It was Monica’s birthday so a group of us wanted to do something special for her. We went to Coronado for lunch at a great Thai restaurant and we did some thrift store shopping and went to the Hotel Del. It was such a fun day!

The pie turned out creamy and delicious and a bit unusual. It seems like a fun summertime recipe to keep handy. I didn’t add the rum to my pie but next time I’d like to try it. I found this recipe at Gimme Some Oven.

My Daughter and I Mojito Pie 2

Mojito Pie

Graham Cracker Crust Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups finely-ground graham cracker crumbs
2 Tbsp. sugar
5 Tbsp. butter, melted

Filling Ingredients:
1/2 cup lime juice (preferably fresh)
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, loosely packed
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
4 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons rum (optional)

Optional topping:
2 cups whipped cream
lime zest
mint leaves
Method

To Make The Graham Cracker Crust:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Stir together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a bowl until evenly combined. Press mixture evenly onto bottom and up side of a 9-inch (4-cup) pie plate. Bake crust on the middle oven shelf for 10 minutes, then remove and let cool.

To Make The Filling:

While the crust is baking, make your filling. Combine mint leaves and lime juice in a shaker or glass. Use a muddler (or the end of a large wooden spoon) to muddle the mint into the lime juice. Then strain out the juice and discard the mint leaves.

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the condensed milk and egg yolks in a bowl until combined. Add the minty lime juice and rum (if using) and whisk by hand for 1 minute until combined and slightly thickened.

Pour filling into crust and bake on the middle oven shelf for 15 minutes. Transfer pie to a cooling rack, and let sit until it reaches room temperature. Then refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or until chilled and set.

Add optional toppings just before serving, if desired.

 

Cindy

Throwback: Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies

My Daughter and I Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies 1

These oatmeal cookies are so delicious- they are chewy and are so rich. I thought the brown sugar gave the cookies a butterscotch-like taste. These are totally purist oatmeal cookies. Don’t get me wrong- not purist in the sense that they are in any way healthy, but purist because they are so simple. And flawless 🙂

My Daughter and I Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies 2

I got this recipe from The Pioneer Woman website and I didn’t make any changes. Next time I may try adding some cinnamon or chocolate chips, or raisins (if that’s your thing).

Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 whole eggs
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3 cups Old Fashioned oats

Preheat oven to 350*. Beat together the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl after each one. Mix together the flour, salt and baking soda in a separate bowl and add it to the creamed mixture in 2 or 3 batches, mixing until just combined. Mix in the oats until just combined.

Scoop onto a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper spacing them a couple inches apart, and bake them for 12 – 13 minutes. Let them cool slightly on the pan then transfer to a plate or cooling rack.

Using my cookie scoop, I made 3 dozen cookies.

Cindy

Throwback: Chicken Sausage Kebabs + Roasted Cauliflower

My Daughter and I- Chicken Sausage Kebabs + Roasted Cauliflower

So I mentioned awhile back that we were eating a bit differently lately. While I feel like I’m mostly healthy eater, I enjoy pizza, pasta and bread often! And don’t even get me started on beer!

The gym where Jordan and I work out offers these weight loss challenges on a regular basis and even though I’ve worked out there for almost three years, I’ve never taken part in one – until now. However, I didn’t do it to lose a bunch of weight. I did it to see if I could actually do it, and also to try something new with my eating. I went through a difficult period of time where I was bedridden due to chronic pain issues. After months on pain meds and more tests and doctor appointments then I care to recall, I was still in pain and my liver was damaged due to the meds. After months of pain, tests and meds; one doctor suggested that I might have an autoimmune disease. By then I was so over doctors and I decided to do something different. I started moving more – moving even though I was in agony, and you know what? It worked! I’m off all meds and feeling really well. I remember about four years ago going to my first stand up paddle board class and crying because I was able to do it. It was such a turning point for me. I started walking slowly around our house, and then eventually adding more distance and speed and after almost a year of that I got up the nerve to join a boot camp for one month on a Groupon. I was weak and so afraid to get hurt, but I kept going. It’s been the best thing for me. I love it and I feel like it has made such a huge difference in my overall health.

Over the past several months I have really increased my training. I still go to boot camp four mornings a week but I started incorporating yoga once or twice a week along with some serious hikes. Jordan and I are heading out on the JMT in July and I needed to get trail ready. We did a portion of the JMT last summer, but our goal this year is to do the whole thing. So I needed to get myself ready. One of the ways I am doing it it is by eating as healthy as I possibly can – fueling my body well for all the hard workouts. We cut all processed sugar, flour, grains, pasta, beans etc. I was a little worried if I’d be able to do it, but it was easier than I thought and the results have been amazing. I feel so much better. I don’t have the stomach aches that I had before, my energy level is higher and I’m drinking less coffee. My pain levels are much lower too. The six week challenge ends this week, but I plan to keep up a lot of the dietary changes. I will still eat pasta, bread and pizza – but just not as often as I did before the challenge.

DSC_0455

So with all of that said – here is a recipe I made the other day to go along with our new way of eating. We roast a lot of veggies, eat a lot of salads and grill fish and chicken. But I got it in my brain that I wanted to make kebabs but with sausage pieces. I found some amazing and delicious chicken sausages at Costco that were organic, gluten free and nitrite free. They were flavored with spinach and red peppers and were delicious.

Chicken Sausage Kebabs
1 bell pepper (any color), cut into 1″ pieces
1 red onion, cut into large pieces
1 package sausage of your choice

Thread the chicken, peppers, and onions onto water soaked wooden skewers. Spray lightly with olive oil or coconut oil spray and grill until everything is heated and has a bit of grill marks on it.

You can add any veggies you like such as squash, mushrooms etc. Because the sausage is precooked, this meal just takes minutes to heat on the grill.

Roasted Cauliflower

You can make this recipe with almost any veggie – it is definitely a favorite around here. I have made a yummy combination of cauliflower and broccoli before and we also follow this basic recipe when roasting asparagus, Brussels sprouts and even butternut squash.

I started the cauliflower first and got it roasting so everything would be ready at the same time.

1 head cauliflower, cut into chunks.
Minced garlic
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Creole seasoning
Parmesan cheese

Preheat over to 425* and put the oven rack on the upper third of the oven. Line a baking sheet with foil. Put washed, cut veggies on tray. Drizzle with olive oil and then sprinkle on the garlic, seasonings of your choice, grated Parmesan cheese. Toss to cover and stick into a preheated oven. Stir veggies after about 10 minutes and keep checking on them. You want them to brown up a bit – but don’t over cook them. I usually cook mine for about 20 minutes.

 

Cindy