It’s snowing pretty hard here right now, but these little bursts of warm weather we’ve been having over the past few weeks have got me thinking about spring. For some reason, tacos (and margaritas) always make me think of the warmer months so on one of those 70 degree days in February, I made tacos for dinner. A salad accompanied this and I wanted to do some sort of lime dressing. A quick Google search led me to a cilantro-lime vinaigrette on Epicurious. I had all of the ingredients so I quickly whisked a batch together.
I seriously wasn’t prepared for how delicious this dressing would be. It’s INSANELY flavorful. Just the right amount of tart with a little hint of sweetness. I definitely had seconds of salad that night (possibly thirds) and I began thinking about all of the other salads I could make with this dressing.
A few nights later, I was tossing spinach and some leftover quinoa into a bowl. I added some goat cheese, pepitas and avocado and wondered how the lime vinaigrette would taste on it. Um, ridiculously delicious. This is one of my new favorite salads. Here’s how it came together, though keep in mind that these are just estimations. With salad, I think you should add more or less of whatever you like.
Spinach and Quinoa Salad with Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette
5 cups of organic spinach
1 cup of cooked quinoa
1/2 of an avocado, cubed
A sprinkling of pepitas
A sprinkling of crumbled goat cheese
For the dressing: (from Epicurious.com)
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro (I’ve made this with and without the cilantro. While it’s better with, it’s still good without.)
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss with the dressing.
I know, I know. It’s been MONTHS since I’ve posted any new recipes. I’m still cooking and baking a lot, but I haven’t been so great about writing down what I’m doing. And then last night I realized that although I make these buffalo bites all the time, I’ve never posted about them on this blog. Which is surprising because they are SO GOOD. Flavorful and slightly crispy and not dry—everything baked chicken should be. They also call for, like, three ingredients so they’re easy to make for a quick dinner—or serve as an appetizer at your next party. And since you’re saving so many calories by baking rather than frying them, you can go ahead and dip them in blue cheese dressing without feeling guilty.
Incidentally, these are also delicious barbecue style so if buffalo ain’t your thing, replace the Red Hot with your favorite barbecue sauce.
Baked Buffalo Bites
1 package of organic chicken tenders, cut into bite sized pieces (If you don’t have tenders, you can use boneless breasts, though I think the tenders are easier to cut up)
1 cup of Frank’s Red Hot (you may need more depending on how many chicken pieces you have)
1-2 cups of panko breadcrumb
Coconut oil spray
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and spray a baking sheet with coconut oil. Pour the Red Hot and the panko breadcrumb into two separate bowls. Dip each chicken bite into the Red Hot until it’s fully coated, then roll it in the panko. Place on the baking sheet and bake for 22 minutes, or until cooked through, flipping once halfway through the cooking time. Serve with a side of blue cheese dressing.
September had yet to arrive when my Facebook feed started filling up with posts about pumpkin spice this and pumpkin spice that. (Way to rush the seasons, people.) I’m not a fan of fall flavored lattes, but once the leaves begin to turn, I do enjoy baking with pumpkin and the spices that complement it (break out the cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice!) One of my favorite seasonal recipes is this pumpkin chocolate chip bread. I made two loaves last weekend—one for us, and one to take to friends—and let me say that it is dangerous having this bread in the house. It’s hard not to eat it when it’s just sitting there on the counter, waiting to be consumed, one bite at a time. But since I’m trying to watch the sugar and carbs, clearly I needed an alternative way to get my pumpkin fix. Thankfully, I saw this recipe on the fabulous blog, Clean Food Crush, made some tweaks based on the ingredients I have/like, and within an hour, I had a healthier way to satisfy the pumpkin cravings. Bonus: my kids will eat these too (though I’m not sure I want to share them!)
Pumpkin Peanut Butter Energy Balls (adapted from Clean Food Crush)
3 cups rolled oats (not the quick-cooking kind)
1 cup organic pumpkin puree
1 cup organic peanut butter
2/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons ground flax seed
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or almonds
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life, a super clean chocolate)
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix really well. Roll into 1-inch balls and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet or baking dish. Freeze for one hour then store in the refrigerator for up to one week.