Tag Archives: goodeats

STRAWBERRY JALAPENO SPINACH SALAD with a very special dressing too!

We can’t always explain why we are the way that we are.  We can’t usually find reasons to explain our behavior…. Some  days are good, some are not as good and some are just not good.  It happens.  Well, at least it does to me.  When I get like that it’s no ones problem but my own so I have to find a soloution.  To the kitchen we go….

Something new, summery, and delicious, found it’s way into my menu tonight.  For years I’ve enjoyed my Mommy’s awesome Spinach Salad.  I’ve made it many times and I’ve blogged it here before.  I needed some fresh basil and feta for another dish so I was racing to the grocery store for probably my 3rd trip this week (my organization skills blow chunks)  I walk in and all the fruit was glorious AND….. on sale!  Strawberries were calling my name as were the glorious BC cherries.  KIWIS!! oh and 3 bananas and seriously, these are the largest grapes I’ve seen in my life!!  How lucky to live in such a great place with so much healthy crisp produce. Woooo Hooooo.  Who wants to come visit me??  I’ll feed you!

juicy giant grapes. I am not a lion!!! Big right!

juicy giant grapes. I am not a lion!!! Big right!

With a cart full of fruit and the rest of the stuff I needed, homeward bound.  I’ve always wanted to add strawberries to a spinach salad but never had the push to do it.  Well its go time now and I’m super excited.  Then the flavour profile I’ve been desiring came to me!  Oh but wait.  I don’t have what I need and I just got back!!!  In a grocery store, I am easily distracted.  Always sure to forget something or things, so I make lists… and even then I fail.  I’m not going back…. so after begging Hubby to go once, twice, 4 or 5 times.. pouted around for a bit…. he put down his tools and ran to the market to get me some Jalapenos.

K so maybe you know your peppers, and you’ve looked at the pics from this post and you know those are not jalapenos in my photos.  Well the little market up the street didn’t have good looking jalapenos…. they were old and wrinkled and worthy mind you but for photos… nope.    Serranos are a great sub for jalapenos but 3 times hotter FYI….

Serrano Chili Peppers are the thinner of the 2, where as a Jalapeno Pepper is the girthy one. *wink wink*

Ladies, I mean chefs…. pick your preference… haha

The idea in my head comes to life and I’m very pleased with how it turned out.  Photos by me, House Of Haley Photography

Here is my Strawberry Jalapeno Spinach Salad with a very special dressing.  Strawberry Jalapeno Balsamic Red Wine Vinegar Dressing.  Try saying that after a few glass of wine… or bottles for some of you.  Hey, I don’t judge, you do you, its cool!

I’m pretty sure I could have come up with a much more simple name but when I’m looking for a recipe or when i’m wanting to make something it frustrates me having to read through a recipe to try and figure out the flavour profile from it.  The title says it all!

And here is the dressing.  Almost as cute as Strawberry Shortcake LOL.   Seriously made him go to the store for the pepper for this shot.  Let me add in another “LOL”  OMG i’m howling, I’m sorry if that’s not as funny to any of you as it is to me!  Thanks Hubs
STRAWBERRY JALAPENO BALSAMIC RED WINE VINEGAR DRESSING

♥ 2 CLOVES GARLIC
♥ 1 C. RED WINE VINEGAR
♥ 2 T. JALAPENO WHITE BALSAMIC VINEGAR
♥ ½ C. OLIVE OIL
♥ 1 TSP. SALT
♥ 1 TSP. SUGAR
♥ 1 TSP. GRAINY MUSTARD
♥ ½ TSP. GROUND BLACK PEPPER
♥ 1 WHOLE STRAWBERRY

Combine and blend/pulse for just a few seconds till the garlic is no longer whole and vinegars and oil have blended. DO NOT OVER DO IT. Trust me….. Just for a few seconds.

The Jalapeno White Balsamic Vinegar was a Christmas gift from Sister In-Law and it’s a great addition to many meals.  I use it mostly when I do any type of roasted potatoes.  With the right seasonings, its a great way to brighten up the flavours.

vinegar

I certainly don’t expect you to have this Jalapeno White Balsamic Vinegar, nor do I expect you to go out and buy some.  Althought, it’s totally recommended for your pantry fo sho!  This one is from Evoolution out of Edmonton, Alberta, CA.

Let’s get to it shall we!

Words can’t explain what it’s like to cook upstairs…. renos are coming along… thats all i can say.   So cool!  Look at the way that natural daylight casts across all that divine good-for-you food up there.  haha  It’s the simple things in life.

dressingI’m a hardcore #clasher Clash of Clans junkie… game always on… always creepin.  LOL

Again I’m using my new immersion hand blender and the mixing vessel it came with to make this.  You can use a blender but you’ll end up with most of it on the sides.  Use a battery operated whisk or just chop up the strawberry and garlic before you make the dressing, put it all in a jar and shake the crap out of it.

I peeled 2 cloves of fresh garlic.  Its hard for me to use such a little amount, but 2 cloves is just right.

Add in the vinegar’s and then the oil.  If you find after it’s all done that it’s too thick… add in some more vinegar and whisk it up.  If you over blend this you’ll end up with a strawberry like mayonnaise.

Next add in the S+P, sugar and mustard.  The mustard is crucial to the flavour of this dressing.  I’ve used mustard powder before but I find French’s Bold & Spicy Deli Mustard to be the perfect one.  I’m actually addicted to this mustard.  So so so good I could eat it with a spoon.

Now blend.  I’m going to be straight up honest here… I bombed this the first time, hence my warnings…. DO NOT OVER BLEND hahaha.  Pulse a few times, The strawberry is obviously going to thicken it up quite a bit.  I’ve increased the amounts of vinegar to hopefully compensate.  This is why I say recipe blogging is tricky.  So as always, make it your own.  Do what you feel is right and adjust to your liking.  We are all different.

STRAWBERRY JALAPENO SPINACH SALAD

♥ 1 BAG BABY SPINACH, FRESH AND WASHED
♥ HARD BOILED EGGS, COOLED AND SLICED (1 PER PERSON)
♥ MUSHROOMS, FRESH AND SLICED
♥ STRAWBERRIES, SLICED AND SLICED
♥ BACON, COOKED AND CRUMBLED
♥ 2 T. GREEN ONIONS, FINELY CHOPPED
♥ 2 TSP. JALAPENO OR SERRANO PEPPER, FRESH AND DICED

Make this salad up just before you’re ready to eat. Plate it per person rather than in a large salad bowl. I find that the ingredients are at such different weights that you don’t get a proper serving. Person 1 will get all spinach and egg, while the last person gets all the bacon onion and pepper. LOL Just my opinion.

This is where you get to do your fancy…. BE FANCY Plate it up per person, make it pretty, show you care. Then you can give yourself those extra slices of strawberries and bacon. Haha shhhhhhhh….

Use about a handful of spinach leaves per person. Layer in individual salad bowls or plates and drizzle with a little of our Strawberry Jalapeno Dressing from up above.

It was delicious to eat.  Looks pretty cool too.  Each bite held a yummy little mouthful.

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Blackened Fish Tacos with Chipotle Cilantro Dressing (salmon or cod or whichever fish you want)

Finally, this post is done. I still consider myself a beginner food blogger even though this blog has recently had it’s 3rd anniversary. Blogging recipes takes work. Writing an accurate recipe takes work. It’s work but it’s work I enjoy. I just wish I could do nothing but cook, take pics, and blog… Haha True story.


Been talking about these a lot, I know, I apologize for the redundancy. Finally got all the components together….

You’re going to need to check out my last 2 posts!

Click this photo to get this recipe!

Click on the photo to the left to get this yummy Chipotle Cilantro Dressing recipe for these Blackened Fish Tacos that we’re about to make.

Click this photo to get this recipe!

Click this photo to see the ingredients needed to make the Blackened Seasoning that will crispify (is that a word?)the fish to a nice golden crunch on the outside and give it a deep savory flavour.



BLACKENED FISH TACOS
♥ 2 BAGS COLESLAW
♥ 1½ C. CORN KERNELS
♥ SALT + PEPPER
♥ FLOUR TORTILLAS
♥ 1 BIG SALMON FILET or 4 LARGE COD FILETS
♥ HIGH SMOKE POINT OIL FOR FRYING (i used Canola Oil)
1 BATCH OF BLACKENED SEASONING
1 BATCH OF CHIPOTLE CILANTRO DRESSING
♥ AVOCADO, FRESH, CHOPPED
♥ CILANTRO + LIME FOR GARNISH

Saute the coleslaw and corn with salt and pepper until just tender.
Set aside, but keep warm.
Heat oven to low temp and slowly warm the tortillas. I like em just before they get toasted.
Cut salmon or fish into large pieces suitable for frying.
Heat oil, just above medium, not too hot or the fish won’t cook thoroughly and not too cold or the fish will soak up to much oil and become soggy.
Fry till dark and golden on each side.
If you’re using salmon you may have to do the ends too. Use tongs. They work best.
When they are done gently remove from hot oil onto a papertowel lined dish to remove excess oil.
Let cool for about 5 minutes and break into good chunks.

THE ASSEMBLY
Warmed Tortilla
Sauteed slaw and corn
Blackened fish
Drizzle with some Chipotle Cilantro Dressing
Top with chopped fresh avocado, cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime juice


Place the Blackened Seasoning in a shallow flat bottom container of some sort so you can press the fish into it.  Coating every inch of it.  The better it’s coated the better the crisp.

You don’t want to over cook the cabbage, or it will lose all it’s structure.  You want to saute it till it just starts to wilt.  Keeping it warm will also allow it to keep cooking so with the pan on medium heat, just keep an eye on it.
This is the cod I used last night.  Seasoned all over every surface of fish with the Blackened Seasoning.

Fried in some oil till golden and delicious. I use a large cast iron flat bottom deep dish for frying. Allows maximum room for the fish to fry properly without over crowding the pan.   The heavy duty cast iron can withstand the high temperatures and will maintain it’s heat better when you drop in the fish.

I fried the fish in 2 batches to ensure it cooked evenly and properly. Or you can use a deep fryer but I’ve only used one once and I didn’t like it…. it was too small for what I needed and I don’t want a big greasy appliance kicking around here. I fry as little as possible.
Frying foods took a lot of practice for me over the years.  So many times chicken or potatoes or whatever it was I was cooking, was either undercooked or well well well done. Practice makes perfect.

Frying can be very unhealthy if done incorrectly.  When done the right way you are using the least amount of oil to get that desired crunch and crispiness.

✰ Oil thats too hot will scortch the food on the outside while leaving it raw inside. ✰

✰ Oil that isn’t hot enough won’t seal the food as it should when you drop it in. ✰

(Rather it will sit and soak up the oil.  This results in that drippy soggy mess we’ve gagged on one too many times.

The first time I made these I used some fresh plump salmon and they were to die for! This time around i used cod. I preferred the salmon over any white fish but both were really good.


BLACKENED SALMON TACOS

Here are some pics from the salmon ones I made last week!  These ones were my favourite!

Since the photos were taken down in my temporary basement dungeon kitchen they aren’t of the greatest quality.  We can only go up from here my friends ☺

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Blackened Seasoning

Hi guys, I posted some pics of the Blackened Salmon and Blackened Fish Tacos to my Cooking With Hay Facebook page, and the requests came in for the recipe. As well as the request for me as your personal chef. Thank you for that! It actually is much easier to make the food than to blog the recipe… just in case you were curious. LOL so much time spent running a photoshoot and a kitchen at the same time. I love it tho and anxious to spend more time doing it. The balance between stoning the front of the fireplace and installing bathroom sinks… or blogging…. its a tough one….

I’m quite pleased with the photos from recent photoshoots. I’m working partially upstairs while I can get the good natural daylight and partially still down in the dungeon, errr, I mean, basement. Natural daylight makes for much more appetizing food pics. Less shadows and more true to life colouring of these meals. After all, we taste with our eyes and our noses before the food even hits our tongue or tummies.



I’ve laid out all the ingredients that I used to make the Blackened Seasoning, on this fancy bamboo KitchenAid cutting board that Hubby came home with for me! *SMILES* This is the seasoning for the Blackened Salmon Tacos and Blackened Fish Tacos that I’ve been mentioning. (Blog posts to follow guys!)

I pulled this from a website a while back, I haven’t altered anything except that I use whole wheat flour instead of white flour. It actually just adds to the crispy factor we’re going for here! Yummy


Don’t confuse T (tablespoon) for TSP (teaspoon)!!
Oh come on, like you haven’t done that before.

The original image said 2 T. Chili Powder… LOL its got to be 2 TSP. Teaspoons
I made the same error when I first made Butter Chicken. That was a hot hot hot meal. Great tho. Just a real kicker that’s for sure.

BLACKENED SEASONING

♥ 2 T. FLOUR (I use whole wheat)
♥ 2 TSP. CHILI POWDER
♥ 1 TSP. PAPRIKA
♥ 1 TSP. BROWN SUGAR
♥ ½ TSP. ONION POWDER
♥ ½ TSP. GRANULATED GARLIC
♥ ½ TSP. CUMIN
♥ ½ TSP. CAYENNE
♥ ½ TSP. SALT
♥ ½ TSP. PEPPER

Mix together well. Store in an air tight container.


↓ This made enough to do a big slab of salmon or 4 large cod fillets. If you’re doing more you may want to double this recipe. Or to save you some prep time on the next go around, make up a big batch now.

↑ I made one batch of this seasoning and mixed it in this shallow plastic container. All ready to go so I can just lay the piece of fish or meat or whatever it is that you’re going to use, onto the seasoning.
This works great for everything, even prawns and scallops. Try it out and I hope you like it.  I’ve made it 3 times this July.  Cuz it’s that good.  LOL yum!


Blog Post with recipe and pics COMING SOON!

Blog Post with recipe and pics COMING SOON!

Blog Post with recipe and pics COMING SOON!

Blog Post with recipe and pics COMING SOON!

Blog Post with recipe and pics COMING SOON!

Blog Post with recipe and pics COMING SOON!




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CHIPOTLE CILANTRO DRESSING or dip

Hi Guys, How is summer???  EEEEEK I’m super excited.  As many of you know my house is still under reno’s and just recently got my new Caesarstone counter-tops installed.  I’m ecstatic!  They are flawless and beautiful and exactly what i’ve wanted for oh so long now.  Now my foodblog pics have a higher quality look to them.  I’m so pleased.  Time to fine tune my Canon Rebel T3i camera and get to work!

Last week I made some Blackened Salmon Tacos.  There are no words for this easy recipe and there was also no room…. no room to eat as much as I could have, that’s for sure!  Wow, great way to enjoy some tender flaky juicy fish this summer. The recipe for the Blackening Seasoning will be my next blog post.  This is the dressing that I always make and it was great on the fish tacos.

Hope you like!


CHIPOTLE CILANTRO DRESSING OR DIP

♥ 1½ C FAT FREE SOUR CREAM
♥ 1 T LIGHT MAYO
♥ 1 T MILK
♥ 1 T CHIPOTLE PUREE
♥ 1 TSP CUMIN
♥ ½ TSP CRUSHED BEE POLLEN
♥ HANDFUL FRESH CILANTRO
♥ JUICE OF ONE LIME

Blend together using an Immersion/Hand Blender or a Food Processor.
Chill in the fridge until its time to serve.


↑ I love me some chipotle! I buy chipotle peppers in small cans in adobo sauce and puree them with a hand blender or food processor. Chipotles pack a punch let me tell ya. The heat from these peppers is potent and smoky and is great for everything.
**If you don’t do heat. Use a very small amount, like 1-2 teaspoons of pureed chipotle for this recipe instead of the requested amount.**

↑ If you don’t have canned chipotles in adobo sauce then you can certainly use a dry powder version, there are many out there. I have these 2 in my pantry. Remember that the longer the dressing sets for the more the flavour is enhanced, and therefore making it much much much hotter the longer it sits.

↑ My Immersion Blender came with this cool mixing vessel. What I love about this machine compared to a hand mixer or hand beater is that it will stand up inside the vessel and not topple over. Flat bottom makes it easy to leave it standing and use both hands to if you need to pause to get an ingredient or whatever. Anything to help keep the counters less messy.

↑ Bee Pollen is one of Mother Natures little goodies. I add a little to every salad dressing I make. You can add it to anything though; soups, sauces, whatever you like. The flavour is like a flower. Its got a floral taste when it hits your tongue. It comes in the natural foods section of your grocery store and looks like little gold nuggets. I grind them down with a mortar and pestle. I have a small one that I use for spices and such. Another inexpensive way to make your kitchen/cooking life a little easier.

Here’s some info on Bee Pollen I picked up from http://www.mercola.com

What Is Pollen?
Pollen is the male seed of flowers. It is required for the fertilization of the plant. The tiny particles consist of 50/1,000-millimeter corpuscles, formed at the free end of the stamen in the heart of the blossom. Every variety of flower in the universe puts forth a dusting of pollen. Many orchard fruits and agricultural food crops do, too.

Bee pollen is the food of the young bee and it is approximately 40% protein. It is considered one of nature’s most completely nourishing foods. It contains nearly all nutrients required by humans. About half of its protein is in the form of free amino acids that are ready to be used directly by the body. Such highly assimilable protein can contribute significantly to one’s protein needs.

To view the full article, please click here.

↑ Place all the ingredients into the mixing vessel and blend away. Lift the machine up and down to get it good and blended. Oh so easy I want to blend everything in sight.

photo 9

↑ ❤ Immersion Hand Blender! ❤ NEW TOY! LOL ❤

↑ COMING UP NEXT → Blackened Fish Tacos, using this dressing!
Stay Tuned and if you’d like…. FOLLOW MY BLOG

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Oriental Salad

I’m getting back into the swing of food blogging…. Hard to believe that besides these last 3 posts…. the last one was in May or 2014!!!  Wow…

Oriental Salad – This is a fantastic salad that I remember my mom making back when I lived at home.  Back when I had no taste buds or basically didn’t like food or flavour…. boy…. all those wasted years… ugh!!!  What was wrong with me?  Why! Why! Why! 

Popped my mom an iMessage and asked her for her recipe… I wanted something to go with my Chicken Satay with Coconut Peanut Thai Sauce, and a traditional coleslaw just didn’t seem up to par for this dish.   She hit me back with the deets and I went shopping!  I had never before purchased bean sprouts so that was number one on my list.  Always excited to buy new things… yea I know, as if I’ve never bought bean sprouts, LOL ___________________________________________________

ORIENTAL SALAD

• 1 BAG COLESLAW MIX

• 1 BAG BEAN SPROUTS

• SLICED GREEN ONION

SLICED MUSHROOMS (fresh)

• CHICKEN FLAVOURED ICHIBAN SOUP (uncooked, reserve seasoning pack for dressing)

• CHOW MEIN NOODLES (uncooked)

• TOASTED SESAME SEEDS

• TOASTED SUNFLOWER SEEDS

TOASTED SLIVERED ALMONDS

This makes a lot of salad!  If it’s for a smaller group or if you plan on eating it for a few nights, only make up what you’lll use for that night as it doesn’t make very good leftovers…. (soggy noods…😩)

Toss all the ingredients in your salad bowl, use as little or as much of each as you want.  We like less noodles, and lots of veggies and seeds.  I actually didn’t even use chow mein noodles when I made mine.  Still just as good… less crunch I suppose. 😜

___________________________________________________

DRESSING

• SEASONING PACKET FROM ICHIBAN SOUP

• 1/2 CUP OIL

• 4 TABLESPOONS SOY SAUCE

• 3 TABLESPOONS VINEGAR

• 1 TABLESPOON SUGAR

• SALT AND PEPPER

Combine all ingredients into a jar and give it a good shake.  Only use as much as you need for the night, as mentioned above, this makes a large salad.  If you’re making a smaller salad you may want to half this dressing recipe.  You don’t want soggy noods…

 Thanks Mommy, for another good recipe!  I will be making this scrumptious one again soon I know it.  Doesn’t it look pretty with the little pops of colour from the coleslaw mix 😜  Serve it up along side something yummy for your tummy and enjoy this bowl full of goodness.❤️ Thanks for visiting, if you liked this blog please click LIKE below. If you want to follow my blog please scroll to the bottom, click the FOLLOW button and enter in your email address. 

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GARLIC & CHILI PEPPER HUMMUS

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GARLIC & CHILI PEPPER HUMMUS
1 CAN CHICK PEAS, rinsed and drained
1/4 CUP TAHINI
2 TBSP. LEMON JUICE
1 1/2 PRE MADE HOMEMADE GARLIC BALLS
2 TBSP. OLIVE OIL
WATER

I mix everything together in my food processor, except the olive oil. I once read that olive oil in a food process or more specifically, a blender, can turn the oil bitter and also cloud the bowl of the food processor. Well I love my food processor so I don’t take the chance. Once everything is smooth and creamy I transfer it to a mixing bowl and stir in the olive oil. Then if it’s thick, I add water until its’s the proper consistency.
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Of course, you can use as much or as little, garlic, as you want.
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Chopped up the remaining fresh veggies that I had in the crisper drawer to go with.
Actually, switch that around, I made the hummus so I had something to go with the veggies. As much as I love my breads, pita, naan, mmmmm naan…. this was a refreshing option.
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Kinda well needed after a not so healthy weekend. Ugh….
I wasn’t going to blog this one as I’m pretty sure most of you make hummus often, however, it just looked so nice and yummy, especially on the new surface prop Hubby made me! This is a classic dish and always a favorite. I do have some other Hummus recipes to show you. Some that are completely the opposite of classic. Hope you come back to visit. Stay tuned!
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QUINOA STUFFED BELL PEPPERS

Have any of you made these before? I’ve seen them around for a few years now I think, but I had yet to try them. Or try quinoa for that matter. I wasn’t sure if I would like it or not or how to cook it so that I would like it. I came across this on one of my boards and immediately decided it was time. If you are a big quinoa fan please leave me a comment below this blog post or comment on the facebook post please. Turns out I do really like it and want to find more ways to make it.
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QUINOA STUFFED BELL PEPPERS
20 minutes to cook the quinoa
30 minutes to bake the stuffed peppers
Makes 6
Done in less than an hour! OH Yeah!

HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
3 CUPS QUINOA, cooked
1 SMALL CAN DICED GREEN CHILIES
1 CUP CORN
1 CAN BLACK BEANS, drained and rinsed
1/2 CUP FINE DICED TOMATOES, remove the seeds,
1/2 CUP MONTERAY JACK CHEESE, grated
1/4 CUP LIGHT FETA CHEESE, crumbled
3 TBSP. FRESH CILANTRO, chopped
1 TSP. CUMIN
1 TSP. GARLIC POWDER
1/2 TSP. ONION POWDER
1/2 TSP. CHILI POWDER, or more to taste
GROUND SEA SALT to taste
GROUND FRESH PEPPER to taste

6 BELL PEPPERS, tops cut, stemmed and seeded

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO DO:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
1. Place parchment paper on the bottom of a shallow baking dish.
2. Mix all the ingredients gently in a big bowl, except for the peppers obviously.
3. Spoon the filling into the pepper bowls. Tap them on the counter to get everything to the bottom.
4. Gently stuff.
5. Place them in the parchment lined baking dish.
6. Bake for about 40 minutes. I baked mine with the “tops” on but as you can see in the pics, they wrinkled. Bake them without the tops until the filling is hot inside.
7. Eat em up right away!

Quinoa is usually found in the same section of the grocery store that the rice is found in.
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1 cup of uncooked quinoa will equal 3 cups after it’s cooked
For every 1 cup of uncooked quinoa use 1.5 cups water or chicken broth
Rinse and drain quinoa in a fine mesh strainer
Bring liquid to a boil, and add in the quinoa, give it a stir and then reduce the heat to a med-low temp. Put the lid on it and let it simmer for 15 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.
Put the lid back on it and remove it from the heat. Set it aside for 5 minutes.
Fluff it up with fork
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I recruited Hubby to help me out with the next 3 shots. It gets awfully challenging trying to hold that massive camera and operate a sharp knife. Here you want to cut the top portion of the peppers off to create the ‘tops’
Use a sharp knife and slice down the edge of the ribs of the pepper following down towards the base of the pepper but not cutting through!!
Pop out the seed pack in the middle and knock out any seeds.
Using that handy melon baller {I like it better than a spoon because it has sharper edges} scrape out the remaining bits of the ribs until you have some nice little pepper bowls!
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They are super cute. I think I can find other reasons to use this type of ‘vessel’ for dips and sides in the future.
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Ok mix up all those ingredient, minus the peppers, in a nice big mixing bowl. Toss it all together gently.
I think this is the first time I’m using feta cheese in something other than a greek meal. I find this highly intersting and can’t wait to see what it tastes like.
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Once you have the filling all together you can simply put it in a casserole dish with a lid on it and just bake it that way if you don’t want to go through the effort of the pepper. I think the next time I will omit the pepper bowl if it’s just Hubby and I, and maybe leave the quirky presentation to when I’m preparing it for guests. It’s just alot of pepper for us. I like my peppers much more tender. Too the point of fully softened mush. Mmmmmm nummy yummy
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Here’s where you get to fill the pepper bowls up with that yum yum quinoa filling. I sprayed my baking dish as I ran out of parchment paper at christmas time and never replaced it. This caused my filled pepper bowls to slide around. I’m thinking the parchment would keep them in place better. Scoop and stuff the peppers and put them in the lined dish. The original recipe that I saw did not seem to bake the peppers with the “tops” on. I did and the “tops” came out quite wrinkled. I think for a better presentation, I would bake them without the “tops” and then just pop them on after you take them out of the oven. I also added a few shreds of the monteray cheese to the top of the filling before baking. gives them a nice finished look. Then I meant to sprinkle them with fresh chopped cilantro but I forgot and had already taken the pictures…. LOL #foodbloggerproblems haha.
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I baked these in a preheated 350 F oven for about 40 minutes. Check them at 30 minutes. You want the filling to be hot throughout. I think they look cute with the wrinkled tops, but not that cute, oh well. They were absolutely scrumptious! Even Hubby liked them.
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I served these with butterflied, grilled chicken breast. Seasoned them with sea salt, fresh ground pepper, garlic and a slight sprinkle of chili powder, with a side of a homemade chipotle dip {fat free sour cream, a wee bit of light mayo and as much chipotle puree as you can handle}
Yay for the second bbq this year! I just love the flavour that a bbq or grill can bring to the food and to the table 😉
Now I know it’s not a Green Egg bbq or anything like that or a nice old fashioned one but it does the job. It may actually need to be replaced this year. We’ve been saying this for the last 2 years so we’ll see.
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And since I’m suffering from severe post vacay depression….. I’ve posted a small collection of pics from House Of Haley Photography, from our time in Mexico a few weeks ago. You can find them at the bottom of this post.

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CRISP CUCUMBER SALSA

As promised yesterday, here is another super delicious recipe involving…. a cuke!
I saw this and it looked like a neat thing to try seeing as tho I just made a traditional salsa a few days ago. I already had all the ingredients needed in the fridge and I just love when that works out. Now, when I say, “this just may be the very best salsa in the world!” well, this is one of those times that you need to believe me! But you don’t have too. Give me just a few more minutes to tell you how to make it, then you give it a try and you be the judge. Seriously, if you like to cook or make stuff in the kitchen, heck ya you’re going to love it. If you’ve never made anything, then this is a perfect way to start. Regardless, please just try it.

Hubby had barely walked in the door yesterday and I had put it in front of him. He couldn’t stop eating it and he’s really not a big salsa guy. “Yes, success!”
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HERE’S WHAT YOU’RE GOING TO NEED:
2 CUPS CUCUMBER, PEELED, DESEEDED, FINE DICED
1/2 CUP ROMA TOMATOES, FINE DICED
1/4 CUP RED ONION, FINE DICED
1 JALAPENO PEPPER, DESEEDED, MINCED
4-1/2 TSP. MINCED CILANTRO
1/2 A SMALL PRE MADE HOMEMADE GARLIC BALL {or 1 clove minced garlic}
1/4 CUP FAT FREE SOUR CREAM
1-1/2 TSP. LEMON JUICE
1-1/2 TSP. LIME JUICE
1/4 TSP. CUMIN
1/4 TSP. SEASONING SALT
ORGANIC GLUTEN-FREE TORTILLA CHIPS, NO SALT

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HERE’S WHAT YOU’RE GOING TO DO:
In a mixing bowl add the cucumber, tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, cilantro and garlic.
In a seperate bowl combine the sour cream, lemon and lime juice, cumin and seasoning salt.
Add the sour cream mixture to the veggie mixture and gently toss to combine.
Enjoy with organic gluten-free tortilla chips.
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Last but not least, low sodium YO! The is mostly cucumber rather than tomatoes like a traditional salsa. Sure there’s seasoning salt in it but there is salt in traditional salsa also so this is definitely a win win.
Can’t wait for summer bbq’s with this one.

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CUCUMBER & GARLIC SALAD DRESSING

Oh so many wonderful things you can do with a cucumber…… 😊
Head out of the gutter!
Here is 1 fun thing, and tomorrow I’ll share another! Thanks for visiting and please help me out by clicking LIKE and SHARE on Facebook

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WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
2 CUCUMBERS {PEELED, DESEEDED AND PUREED, I used my food processor, and include the juice from the cucumbers}
1/4 CUP CHOPPED PARSLEY
1/4 CUP CHOPPED CHIVES
1/2 PRE MADE HOMEMADE GARLIC BALL {or 2 cloves minced garlic}
1 CUP FAT FREE SOUR CREAM
1/2 TSP. SEA SALT
1 1/2 TSP. GROUND PEPPER
WATER OR MILK TO THIN {optional}

WHAT TO DO:
I use a melon baller to deseed cucumbers but you can use a small teaspoon if you don’t have a melon baller. I then pureed the cucumbers in my food processor. Dump the pureed cukes and it’s juice into a mixing bowl.
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Add in the chopped herbs. Now if you’re like me and still learning to cook…. you might not use chives all that often. I bought freeze dried chives so that I don’t waste anything. Once you add them in they will soften and be just the same as if they were fresh so not to worry.
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Add the garlic to the mixing bowl. Cucumber, parsley, chives, and garlic. Starting to look like something the dog puked up? K then we’re on the right track. LOL
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Stir in the sour cream, salt and fresh ground pepper.
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Using a funnel and a rubber spatula, {how did I ever live without a funnel?} pour/scrape every drop of this easy, healthy homemade salad dressing into some type of pretty decanter. I picked up this glass beauty from my local $ store. 🙂 Garnished it with a cucumber peel twist 🙂
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Now, whip up a fresh salad with all those leftover veggies you have in the crisper drawer before they spoil and Hubby scowls at you….. not that that happens here or anything…. 🙂 JUST MAKE SURE TO USE UP ALL YOUR VEGGIES. I made up a great salad with romaine lettuce, mushrooms, cucumbers, celery, carrots, tomatoes and peppers.
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Serve this after it’s chilled up a little bit in the refrigerator. Then, sit back and enjoy clean eating and healthy living. Between my Chipotle Southwest Dressing and my Mom’s, MARIANNE’S HOMEMADE CAESAR SALAD DRESSING I doubt I will ever buy salad dressing again. Knowing exactly what we are putting into our bodies is comforting when it’s food like this.

I’m going to be completely honest and maybe a little vain but I am smiling…. I’m smiling because I’m proud of the change we are making. We were always conscious of the crap food we would eat but we let our tastebuds make the decisions. We can do this, we can continue this.
Today this blog passed 7000 views. I just can’t believe that it’s been looked at over 7000 times. Today my Facebook page, Cooking With Hay, reached a new high as well. Over 100 people have kindly LIKEd my FB page. Thank you Thank you Thank you. The higher these numbers grow, the more inspired and eager I get. I’m constantly browsing for new things to try and yet they are things that are quite basic, fairly common, and well, really good. But it’ real food for real people. When I start whipping up Crown Roasts….
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…then it’s a whole different kinda ballgame. {Although I hear they aren’t as hard as they look… 🙂 }
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This dressing came out with a thicker consistancy that most salad dressings. We like it this way but it was pretty thick. You can thin it with a little bit of water or skim milk if it’s too heavy for you. I’m going to leave mine as is and use it as a dip for the rest of the remaining veggies, as it’s just the perfect consistancy for a dip as well.

Found on Pinterest from Taste Of Home

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NOOCH POPCORN ~ Butter-Free Goodness

All my life I’ve loved popcorn. Just the smell of it alone can make me smile. I know alot of you feel this way too. Walking into the theatre and you get hit with a wave of buttery yummyness. Ok, nevermind the theather, it hits you when get to the parking lot.
However, a night at the movies has been a thing of the past around here. We simply can’t go see the newest flick and NOT have that buttery-fresh-hot-mouthwatering-tongue dribbling, popcorn. So we choose not to go. I’ve ordered it without butter and that just doesn’t go over very well. Plus then you get so thirsty that water doesn’t cut it…. blah blah blah… then I came across a blogger who was writing about butter-free popcorn and her and her friends were addicted and since it uses….. NUTRITIONAL YEAST, they call it NOOCH POPCORN. I like it. I like it alot. The name and the snack.
Some of you may think we are a bit crazy but these are the sort of sacrifices WE need to make it life. Healthy eating, healthy body, healthy happy people. We feel better for doing it, and when those “I don’t care I want it” nights come about… and they do….. then we don’t feel so guilty.

This last christmas, one of my sisters gave me some natural items to try. Bee Pollen and Nutritional Yeast. Both are outstanding healthy products, in fact they are said to be superfoods. This recipe today features the nutritional yeast. So if you like your popcorn and you want to try something that isn’t terrible for you, or perhaps you’re a vegan…. no butter here 🙂 then check this out. I had never heard of nutritional yeast on popcorn before and yes I know that some of you have known forever, so please bear with me while I explore these new avenues in our quest for healthier eats.

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WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
1/2 TBSP. OIL {high heat oil – coconut oil, grapeseed oil, canola oil, etc.} see below for more info!
1/4 CUP POPCORN KERNELS
2 TBSP. NUTRITIONAL YEAST {adjust to your tastebuds}
1-2 TSP. SALT
OLIVE OIL SPRAY
CAYENNE PEPPER {totally optional of course and only a little… burn your lips off}

WHAT TO DO:
Heat the oil in a large pot over high heat.
When the oil is warm, add the kernels.
Shake the pan so that they form a single layer on the bottom of the pot.
Put a lid on it.
Shake it every 15-30 seconds until there is no more popping.
Remove from heat.
Spritz with olive oil spray.
Sprinkle with yeast and salt and if you feel brave, a tiny dash of cayenne.
Put the lid back on and shake it up.
Put it in a clean bowl.
Put the butter-free goodness in your belly!

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I did some digging on what the best oil to use on popcorn and here’s what I found on realsimple.com

*Coconut or palm oil gives you the taste of movie popcorn, since those cholesterol-raising oils are what theaters used exclusively until 1994. That’s when the Center for Science in the Public Interest blew the lid on the movie corn’s fat content―about 80 grams of fat for a large tub. For something less artery-clogging, try canola oil. Its mild, clean taste doesn’t overwhelm popcorn’s natural flavor, and it has a medium to high smoking point, so there’s little chance of scorching. It’s also inexpensive. Most important, canola oil is low in saturated fat and high in monosaturated fat, which helps reduce levels of (bad) LDL cholesterol. You might want to try olive oil, a nutritional equivalent of canola oil, because it is high in good monosaturated fat and gives popcorn a richer flavor, but olive oil has a low smoking point and tends to burn quickly. Corn and other vegetable oils don’t offer the same nutritional advantages as olive or canola.*

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