Tag Archives: vinegar

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


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.


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.



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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Chimichurri Chicken

Chimichurri… where has this been all my life? Chimichurri is an Argentinean sauce similar to a pesto with many variations for sure.  Make it your own😉

🌿I’m telling you, amazingly good and I can’t even believe how much I love it.  I had it in Jamaica and had to try it at home.  Fan-freakin-tastic.  I also made it with my Mom a few weeks ago.  We had it on some bbq’d pork chops… Hello melt in my mouth delicious!  I’m already checking the calendar to see when I can make it again!  On steak next time I think… 😊 INGREDIENTS



• 2 TABLESPOONS FRESH OREGANO LEAVES (or you can use 2 teaspoons of dried oregano)



• 2 TABLESPOONS WINE VINEGAR (red or white, I used white)





1. Pulse the parsley, cilantro, fresh oregano, and garlic in a food processor until it’s a coarse consistancy

2. Scrape down the food processor and get all that good green out into a nice little glass dish

3. Gently stir in olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and chili pepper flakes. 

💡Adjust your seasonings to your liking.  If you won’t be using all the sauce the first night, any chili pepper flakes will continue to make the sauce hotter as they marinate in the oil… Sometimes hotter is better💡

4. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving. 


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Marianne’s Fancy Chicken Salad

My first post in 2015!😮 Hello!!!!!  Oh wow it’s been soooo long since i did a blog post.  I’m sorry!   I was recently back home visiting my family and my wonderful creative mother made me this scrumptious salad for dinner!  I loved it so much that I asked for all the recipies so I could try it for myself.  I’m very glad I did as it’s now one of my favourite dishes ever.  If you like grilled chicken and fresh wholesome salads, then this is something you should try.  😋



• 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

• ½ cup apple cider vinegar

• 1 cup warm water

• 1 tablespoon sugar

• 1½ teaspoons Kosher salt

• Red pepper flakes

• Garlic


1. Combine Ingredients and bring to a bowl. 

2. Remove from heat and refrigerate for 6 hours.



• 1 to 2 tablespoons vinegar, like cider, balsamic, or red wine

• 2 to 3 teaspoons dried herbs, like thyme, oregano, rosemary, or crumbled bay leaf

• 1 to 2 tablespoons mustard, whole grain or Dijon

• 1 to 2 teaspoon garlic or onion powder, optional

• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

• 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast, each about 6 ounces


1. Put the vinegar, herbs, mustard, powders if using and oil in a large re-sealable plastic bag. 

2. Close the bag and shake to combine all the ingredients. 

3. Open the bag, drop in the chicken breast in the bag. 

4. Close and shake the bag to coat evenly. 

5. Freeze for up to 2 weeks.

I love to bbq and the flavour that grilling gives these marinated chicken breasts is so perfect, and just in time for summer.  I bbq year round because I have a covered patio off the kitchen.  So although the rain was coming down hard it didn’t stop me from getting these gorgeous cross grill marks on the chicken.   Slice each breast in 1/2 inch slices to add to your bed of greens and veggies.



• 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

• 1/4 cup white wine vinegar

• 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

• 2 tablespoons agave syrup

• 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

• 1/2 cup canola oil 

• 1 1/2 tablespoons minced shallots


1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. 

2. Gradually add oil, stirring constantly with a whisk; stir in shallots.

I kinda splurged and purchased some Jamie Oliver Pinot White Wine Vinegar because… well… I’m a fan!  It was very pricy but I’ve learned my mistake in the past by buying cheap vinegars….  I definetly recommend you buy good vinegars for your food.  You’ll notice the quality of the flavour for sure.  Well I do anyways.



• Greens/ romaine

• Carrot sticks

• Red cabbage

• Cukes

• Marinated red onions

• Toasted Pumpkin seeds

• Feta

• Grilled chicken breast

• Apple cider vinagrette

• Fresh Dill


1. Place romaine and greens on a plate. 

2. Add shredded red cabbage, carrots and cucumbers. 

3. Sprinkle with salad dressing. 

4. Top with sliced grilled chicken breast. 

5. Add marinated red onions, feta and pumpkin seeds.


Once this salad is plated it’s a vibrant flavourful delight!

I had some leftover toasted sunflower seeds and slivered almonds so I added those too and topped it off with a sprinkle of chopped fresh dill. ________________________________________

And there you have it My Lovelies, Marianne’s Fernie Chicken Salad.  Named after a similar salad that she had tried in Fernie, British Columbia.  Awesomesauce!  I hope you give it a try and if you do, I hope you enjoy it.  Please let me know what you think guys!

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Bruschetta Chicken on Spinach and Avocado Salad

20140118-220113.jpgLook at it all steaming and juicy up there. My photos are aways rushed and half assed because I’m anxious to eat it! Haha. #bloggerproblems

I made my Bruschetta Chicken again. I baked it in the oven this time, because the air is thick and the fog is heavy and I really don’t want to be out by the BBQ right now.

I make this often it seems but I added a little twist by putting it on a salad this time. It’s that good. Plus, I need to eat more green veggies.

Fresh Spinach is a favorite in our house.
20140118-220133.jpgSince I decided to do a salad with the chicken this time, I got to work on the tomatoes and dressing the day before so it had lots of time to marinade together.

Start by chopping up and deseeding 4 Roma tomatoes, into small even pieces so they stay on the chicken nicely.

Add in 2 Premade Homemade Garlic Balls or 4 or 5 minced garlic cloves.

I used 1 full packet of fresh basil and about half of another one {rolled and sliced, chiffonade style}.

But the good thing about cooking and the reason I find it so hard to post specific recipes is that… it’s always up to you, as to how much of what, you add. Your palate is different than mine and the joy of cooking is making it your own Fo Sho! Whoa, ramble, where was I? Oh ya the tomato mixture…

K, add in some coarse sea salt and about a cup and a bit more of the balsamic vinegar. Give it a good mix and then refrigerate it over night.
20140118-220141.jpgDay of dinner!

Butterfly 4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts {see how in my previous Bruschetta Chicken post done a few months ago}

I then scored them and drizzled on some balsamic and popped those bad boys in a preheated 400 degree oven for 25 minutes. After this time I cranked the heat up to 425 and left them for another 5 minutes.
20140118-220208.jpg15 minutes after you’ve put the chicken in you’ll want to prepare the basic salad. This is made up of fresh baby spinach leaves, cubed avocado {this is why we wait 15 minutes. Don’t want your avocados to brown on you.} and some more chopped up Roma tomatoes.

Next pull out your marinaded tomatoes. With a spoon take some of the liquid, the oh-so-yummy, garlicky, vinegary, tomatoey goodness, and drizzle it over your salad. Some might want to add some olive oil but I don’t see the point. It’s not needed!!

My phone starts wailing “I’m Different by 2 Chains signifying that the chicken is ready for toppings. I let it play for a few beats and jam out obviously, before taking it out of the oven.
Reduce the heat back down to 400 degrees.

Sprinkle some mozzarella cheese and heap on the marinated tomatoes. I think I get them close to an inch high. Completely cover the chicken with the tomatoes, in my opinion this is the best!

Bake in the oven again for about 10 minutes keep your eye on em.
Tomatoes stay fairly fresh and juicy.
20140118-220218.jpgWhen they’re done they look like this. I know, I can’t believe the cooking sheet actually comes clean after this, but it does, to some degree… LOL

Now, I like to find my biggest knife and chop up the chicken into lengthwise strips on a cutting board. Lift the cutting board and swipe that juicy, hot, steaming chicken onto your oh-so-fresh salad.

Need I say more? No, I thought not.
Now grab a fork and dig in.
You have waited long enough.



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Sushi with Hay


First toast your seasame seeds in a hot pan.  Just toasty not too toasty.

Rinse your uncooked sticky/sushi rice for a few minutes until the water runs clear.  This gets rid of all the starch that can burn.

2 cups of uncooked rice and 2 1/2 cups water in the rice cooker and when it’s done add about 2 tbsp of rice vinegar to season the rice.  Don’t forget this step or your sushi will taste like rice and not sushi.


Avocados, cucumber and crab meat for the California rolls.  Don’t cut your avocado too early or it will brown on you.  Cut the cucumber into strips as wide as the roasted seaweed wraps.  Cut the crab sticks in half

20140113-231321.jpgI used the big jumbo prawns.  Raw, peeled and deveined with the tails on.  Make 2 or 3 small slices on the bottom side of the prawn to help keep them straight when frying and not curling up tight like they like to do.  See the pictures above. I made my tempura batter exactly as the instructions said on the package but what I got was so thick and doughy… so I added more water but I could have added even more…. mine were awful at first and my oil was way too hot….. by the end of it they turned out much better but nothing like the picture they had…. I’ll keep practicing… Practice makes perfect after all.  Hubby says… “why are you taking pictures of the burnt ones?”  well, because, that’s what happens when you are trying something new.  You fail and then you learn how not to fail…. IMPROVE.

This is the Tempura I bought… Yup, Cock Brand Tempura…..20140113-231352.jpg

I made a spicy mayo for the Dynamite Rolls.  Very basic, Mayo and Srirracha sauce… mix it up.  Put it in a baggy for easy piping and snip the tip before using.


Wrap your rice mat with saran wrap otherwise that rice will stick to everything.  Including your hands.  A tip…. rub your hands with a bit of mayo…. like lotion,  creates a barrier and nothing for the rice to stick to.

Next place your roasted seaweed on the mat.  Cover it with some rice, I use the back of a flat wooden spoon to help smooth it out.  Then sprinkle the rice with the toasted seasame seeds.

Now you can choose to flip it so that the rice will be on the outside of the sushi roll or you can leave it and the seaweed is on the outside.  I actually like them with the seaweed on the outside more.  Make a few of each to keep the presentation pretty!

Layer with cucumber, avocado and crab.  Roll em up and roll em up tight.  Practice makes perfect for this as well.  TIGHT!!!!

Rinse a sharp knife under water or a light spray of cooking oil and slice the ends of the roll first.  then cut the main section in half and then cut those halves into smaller pieces.  Depending on your preference.  Plate them!  Yum





For the Dynamite rolls you do the same thing as before, rice on the mat, sprinkled with seasame seeds.  Now here’s where you at a squirt of that spicy mayo lengthwise to the rice, add cucumber, and avocado and I add 2 of the prawns tails out.  Roll it up, TIGHT and  cut the same way.  Ends off, then in half, then into smaller pieces.20140113-231912.jpg


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Grilled Bruschetta Chicken & Pasta

I was very excited to try tonight’s menu out.

(Tomorrow I promise I will post something other than food. My blog was not meant to just be about food but these days it seems to be. Sorry about that.)

Ok, so tonight I tried something new. Now I’ve never even had bruschetta let alone make it so this was interesting for me. First of all I wasn’t even sure I was going to like it. I am not opposed to balsamic vinegar, I just have never tried it. Remember it was only a couple of years ago that I started liking flavors of foods. Also, I have never cooked with basil or rather fresh basil. And do I like tomatoes. Cooked yes, but fresh…. I’m still not sure yet.

Basically… this ought to be interesting hey? But I wanted to try something new and more importantly, something fresh!!!

Here we go!!

Grilled Bruschetta Chicken & Pasta


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, butterflied, see pictures below
salt & pepper
1/4 C. extra virgin olive oil or as Rachael Ray calls it, EVOO. *gaaa*
1/4 C. balsamic vinegar
mozzarella cheese in slices
fresh grated parmesan cheese


2 roma tomatoes, finely diced
handful of grape or cherry tomatoes, finely diced
4 or 5 cloves of minced garlic
1 T. balsamic vinegar
10 fresh basil leaves, rolled and sliced thin
fresh grated parmesan cheese


Season chicken with S & P
Mix vinegar and oil and brush on both sides of chicken breast
BBQ the seasoned chicken breasts
Once cooked, cover with mozza slices and a sprinkle of parm


Mix tomatoes, garlic & vinegar in a bowl
Top the cheesy chicken with the tomato mixture
Then sprinkle with fresh basil & parm
Place topped chicken back on the BBQ or in a hot oven for a few minutes
I served this with pasta.
I used Farfalle pasta, better known as bowtie pasta
I made a mozza parm cheese sauce with chicken stock, tomatoes, basil & garlic for the pasta
Thanks for visiting! I hope someone tries out this recipe and let’s me know what you think.
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