cranberry-salsa-2

Hey all! I know it’s been a while. I’ll post soon about what I’ve been up to but for now let’s talk about Thanksgiving. I had a fun (and delicious) Thanksgiving up with my mom’s side of the family. We ate until we couldn’t eat any more and then we had a 2 hour dance party! Jury’s still out on whether that was a smart decision or not – but it was a blast!

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roasted winter vegetable salad with a tomato vinaigrette  - spice & dice

Winter struck hard today. (It snowed and then it rained onto the snow. So now we’ve got about an inch of snow and another inch of ice. The highlight of the day was watching cars attempt to make it to the upper level of the office parking lot.) And when winter strikes, I crave comfort. Comfort food, cozy clothing, my warm apartment, candles, books, tea.

roasted winter vegetable salad with a tomato vinaigrette  - spice & dice

Winter almost always wreaks havoc on my dinner choices. That craving for comfort food can kill an otherwise healthy eating day. Mashed potatoes (yum!), cheesy pasta (please!), and creamy soups (right now!) are classics – but offer so very little nutritionally.

roasted winter vegetable salad with a tomato vinaigrette  - spice & dice

If it hasn’t become clear quite yet – I turn everything into a salad. (Sometimes, I even put a salad in my food.) I probably put 80% of my dinners on top of a bed of lettuce. It may be strange, but over time I’ve come to believe that almost every meal can be made healthier with a little bit of spinach.

roasted winter vegetable salad with a tomato vinaigrette  - spice & dice

(Because beets make everything red, you’ll have to take my word that there are a variety of vegetables in there!)

So between my enthusiasm for lettuce and making this coconut curry sauce at least once a week, I’ve come up with a solution to the comfort food dilemma: a winter vegetable salad with a warm dressing that’s got an incredible Indian-spiced twist. Don’t ask me how it came to this, but it just works.

roasted winter vegetable salad with a tomato vinaigrette  - spice & dice

Though beets almost always steal the show, the real rockstar of this dish is the dressing. This dressing is so good that I ate probably two spoonfuls of it while waiting for the vegetables to be done in the oven. I have so much of the dressing left over, I have a feeling that it’s going to end up on all of my meals for the next few days.

roasted winter vegetable salad with a tomato vinaigrette  - spice & dice

roasted winter vegetable salad with a tomato vinaigrette


yields: 6 servings

Ingredients:

Winter Vegetables

  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1/2 pound fingerling potatoes
  • 2 shallots
  • 2 beets
  • 3 parsnips
  • 3 carrots
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper

Tomato Vinaigrette

  • 1 bunch basil
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 4 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 5 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 tsp. coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
  • sea salt & pepper

Salad

  • a bunch of spinach

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Wash, peel and slice the sweet potatoes, fingerlings, shallots, beets, parsnips and garlic. Toss in melted coconut oil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a casserole dish and cook for 45 minutes – or until the vegetables are soft and cooked through, stirring them after 30 minutes.
  2. Combine all vinaigrette ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed, for roughly 30 seconds. If needed, add more olive oil or basil and tomatoes to reach desired consistency.
  3. Allow the vegetables to cool for 5 minutes before tossing onto the spinach. Top with the vinaigrette.

Farro Salad with Pesto, Peas, Cucumbers and Mozzarella  | Spice & Dice

It’s been getting steadily warmer these past few weeks and I’m ready for summer. I’m already craving fruit skewers, cold drinks (iced coffee, anyone?), kayaking and grilling. This weekend, I decided that it was time make a cold salad.

Here’s the kicker. I’m on a self-imposed strict budget now. I’ll be moving in 7 days (!!) which will involve a few mandatory expenses. So this salad had to be budget-friendly. Like anyone on a budget, I skipped my usual supermarket and went straight to Trader Joe’s.

Farro Salad with Pesto, Peas, Cucumbers and Mozzarella  | Spice & Dice

There, I spotted the 10-minute farro. A few weeks earlier, a close friend of mine had served some of TJ’s 10-minute farro with dinner and I made a mental note to pick some up because it was delicious. So the idea for the cold salad was born.

The idea was to eat this every day for lunch and with dinner…but then the weekend came and my plans changed. Determined to eat every bit of this salad, I put the remainder of the salad in the freezer and it’s kept just fine! I’ll probably pull it out sometime this week and eat it as a side with a grilled chicken breast.

Farro Salad with Pesto, Peas, Cucumbers and Mozzarella  | Spice & Dice

Farro Salad with Pesto, Peas, Cucumbers and Mozzarella

yields: 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. 10-minute farro
  • 16 oz. sweet frozen peas
  • 1 medium cucumber
  • 6 oz. fresh pesto
  • 8 oz. mozzarella log
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the farro according to the instructions on the bag. Set aside and let cool.
  2. Pour the frozen peas with a cup of water into a pot. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 2-3 minutes or until the peas are all broken apart. Don’t overcook or they will become mushy. Drain and set aside to cool.
  3. Chop the cucumber into small dime-sized pieces.
  4. Chop the mozzarella log into similar dime-sized pieces.
  5. Combine the farro, peas, cucumbers and mozzarella in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the pesto, sea salt and pepper. If your pesto is rather dry (mine didn’t have very much olive oil floating on top), add in up to 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil.
  6. Refrigerate and serve. The salad stays good refrigerated for up to a week in a closed container.

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins - Spice & Dice

Let me start by saying that this is not my recipe. I made these last night and they were so delicious (and easy) that I had to share. This recipe belongs to the wonderful Shannon over at Rumbly in my Tummy.

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins - Spice & Dice

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins - Spice & Dice

If these muffins look delicious to you, hop on over there and grab the recipe! You won’t regret it. They’re perfectly sweet with some satisfying sour.

Vegetable Quinoa Salad - Spice & Dice

I love quinoa. It’s a relatively new addition to my diet but I’ve grown fond of its texture and taste as well as its versatility. I’ve eaten it in breakfasts, snacks, disguised as other foods, and in salads.

Vegetable Quinoa Salad - Spice & Dice

Vegetable Quinoa Salad - Spice & Dice

This salad is perfect for works lunches. It keeps for a while in the fridge, it’s fresh and filling. I take pride in my work lunches. I’m on a strict budget and have packed a work lunch every single day since September. That’s five months that I haven’t spent a dime during a lunch break. It’s a habit that’s grown on me and now I aim to keep it going.

Vegetable Quinoa Salad - Spice & Dice

Behold. My smorgasbord of a salad: Vegetable Quinoa Salad.

This recipe makes a lot. It lasts me an entire week, sometimes longer. It’s also the perfect amount for a party dish.

Vegetable Quinoa Salad

yields: 8-10 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup feta cheese (crumbled)
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes (halved)
  • 1 1/2 cup frozen edamame (thawed/microwaved)
  • 1/2 orange pepper (diced)
  • 1/2 yellow pepper (diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 red onion (diced)
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans (washed)
  • 1 cup mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1/4 Tbsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp. pepper
  • 6 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice

Instructions:

  1. In a saucepan, bring quinoa and 2 cups of water to a boil. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, combine first 13 ingredients (through pepper). In a smaller bowl, combine the vinegar, olive oil and lemon juice. Stir the mixture into the larger bowl. Mix well. For best taste, refrigerate for an hour to allow the mixture to absorb into the vegetables.