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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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.

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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

Our Growing Edge- May Roundup

I have something a little different in store for you today! Genie, the awesome blogger who runs Bunny Eats Design, contacted us a few months ago to see if we’d be interested in hosting May’s edition of Our Growing Edge! I was so honored to be asked- Genie has done a wonderful job of gathering food bloggers from all over the world into an inspiring, encouraging community.

Every month, food bloggers submit a link of one of their recent blog posts- you can make anything you’d like, the only requirement is that the recipe needs to be something new to you- a new ingredient or preparation or experience. It’s awesome to see bloggers getting out of their comfort zones- the results are spectacular!

Interested in joining in on next month’s roundup? It’s a great experience! For more information, visit Our Growing Edge.

Now that you know a little bit about what a roundup is, let’s jump right into this month’s edition!

watermelon-for-pinterestFirst up! Fa’s Kitchen tackled making watermelon juice– something I’ve never heard of, but it sounds delicious!

Grain-Free-Eggplant-Lasagna

 This recipe made my mouth water! What a creative and delicious way to substitute eggplant for pasta.

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This blog post and recipe blew my mind! Not only does Simona write in both English and Italian, she made homemade matcha noodles. So impressive!

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This looks amazing! Spinach Stuffed Flank Steak– yum!

carbonara

My favorite again- pasta! Julie made a delicious looking Carbonara dish, that we’ll have to try.

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Everyday Life Mom made some delicious Almond Butter Bars that look like the perfect post-workout snack!

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Our host, Genie, ended up with 42 figs in her fridge, and shared some beautiful photos of how she creatively used them up.

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Yum!! The Dream Baker whipped up the most delicious looking Chocolate Banana Cake that I’m dying to try.

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Kerene from The Dream Baker also submitted her recipe for Oven-roasted Char Siu (BBQ Pork)– another delicious, mouth-watering recipe.

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Saffron & Honey submitted these gorgeous photos of her recipe for Ramps Raclette. This wasn’t something I was familiar with, but her post made me want to try it out!

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Feijoa- a completely foreign type of fruit. Nom Nom Panda creatively used up her bountiful harvest in feijoa paste.

img_1918-1024x683Becky made the yummiest looking Beet Salad– looks like a perfect summer recipe!

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Chelsea recently highlighted Smorgasburg, in New York City. They stopped by and got donuts from Dough, and oh my goodness- they look amazing.

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Another alternative to pasta in lasagna! Definitely worth trying!

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Last but not least, these absolutely adorable Banana Banana Banana Cake‘s might be one of my favorite links for this month! Isabel from Sweet Loves killed it!

So that’s it! May’s round-up is complete!

our growing edge

 

Sweet Potato Hash

My Daughter and I- Sweet Potato Hash

Jordan found this recipe on one of her favorite blogs, A Beautiful Mess and we decided to try it. We made it for dinner, because we love breakfast for dinner and it was quick and easy and very delicious!

I adjusted the recipe a bit, mostly for quantity, and we all loved it- I’ve made it several times already. The recipe says you don’t need to peel the sweet potatoes and I agree. I’ve tried it both ways and it’s just not worth the time to peel them, they soften up enough while cooking.

My Daughter and I- Sweet Potato Hash 1

Sweet Potato Hash

3-4 sweet potatoes, cut into cubes

1-2 tablespoons minced garlic

6-8 pieces of bacon, cut into pieces

1 onion, chopped

Salt and pepper

Italian seasoning

 

The first thing you’re going to do is quarter up the bacon slices and throw them into the heated pan. Let them sizzle and cook and smell up your place real good. While the bacon is doing its thing, you can chop the sweet potato down to bite size pieces. When the bacon is cooked through (not all the way crispy yet) drain the grease if there is too much. You want to have a few tablespoons left in the pan. If you’d prefer, you can drain the bacon grease and add some other oil. Toss in the sweet potatoes and cover.

At this point, cut up the onion and garlic and add to the pan.I like the potatoes to cook till they brown, which can take about 15-20 minutes. It depends on how many potatoes you used/heat/pan. Add in the seasonings and stir. The recipe calls for fresh rosemary, which would be good too. Let this cook for a couple minutes. While you’re finishing the rest of the meal.

In a separate pan, you can get your eggs going, so everything is ready at once.

 

Recipe modified from A Beautiful Mess

 

Cindy & Jordan

Pasta with Roasted Butternut Squash, Goat Cheese and Bacon

My Daughter and I Pasta with Roasted Butternut Squash, Goat Cheese and Bacon

We love pasta around this house, but having been on an eating challenge for six weeks, we didn’t eat it for awhile. I mostly enjoyed my new way of eating, but this recipe was one that I was anxious to try once I was off my challenge. In fact, we made it the first day back from our challenge! It was delicious and creamy and very flavorful.

My Daughter and I Pasta with Roasted Butternut Squash, Goat Cheese, and Bacon 1

Pasta with Roasted Butternut Squash, Goat Cheese and Bacon

Ingredients
3-4 lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into ¾” cubes
1 red onion, cut into ½” cubes
3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
1 lb of pasta, we used rigatoni
8 to 10 oz. of goat cheese, crumbled
5 strips of bacon, diced and cooked to crispy
salt & pepper to taste
¾ cup of reserved pasta water

Instructions
Preheat oven to 425.
Spread out butternut squash and red onion on a baking sheet. Season with olive oil, salt, pepper. Toss to coat and spread out on baking sheet so it is in a single layer.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, until vegetables are tender.

In the meantime, heat a skillet to medium high heat. Add diced bacon and cook until crispy, stirring occasionally. {about 4-5 minutes}
Remove bacon from the pan and place on a plate lining with paper towel to soak up some of the grease.

Bring a large pot of water to boiling, add pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente {follow directions on the back of the box, usually 8-10 minutes}

Once pasta is done, reserve ¾ cup of the cooking water and set aside. Drain the rest of the water.

Add goat cheese and pasta water to pasta pot and allow the goat cheese to melt completely. Add the pasta and toss to completely coat the pasta and then add in the butternut squash, onions, and bacon and mix gently again. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Adapted slightly from http://www.joyfulhealthyeats.com

 

Cindy