avocado green goddess dressing

Avocado Green Goddess Dressing

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I had an overripe avocado I wasn’t quite sure what to do with, plus some fresh herbs in the garden. I use the term “garden” very loosely; it’s pretty much just pots on the patio. Anyway, I decided to look at recipes for green goddess dressing. I’d never made one, but I remember it being a favorite of my mom’s, probably because it originated at a San Francisco hotel. She loved anything having to do with San Francisco. Her salad dressings were rarely storebought bottles and usually involved a packet of Uncle Dan’s ranch dressing or a horrifying (sorry, Mom) mix of mayo and ketchup to pass as thousand island. It was a splurge for her to buy the Seven Seas brand of green goddess that was popular in the ’70s for special occasions.

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panzanella with white beans and feta

Panzanella with White Beans and Feta

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What we have here is basically a bread salad, and my family totally got on board with it last night, along with some grilled marinated chicken. Panzanella is, traditionally, a Tuscan salad of stale bread and tomatoes, often with other garden vegetables soaked in vinegar and olive oil. Tuscans really knew how to deal with their leftovers. I added some white beans and feta for a hearty salad that can be eaten on its own or with your protein of choice.

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ranch dip and dressing

Ranch Dip and Dressing

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This is a really basic recipe for ranch dip and dressing. I love to use fresh herbs when I have them on hand but dried herbs work well too as long as they haven’t been sitting in your pantry or cupboard for longer than you can remember… They should actually smell more like the fresh herb they once were than like the dust on the top of your refrigerator.
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kale salad

Simple Kale Salad

I know a lot of you have kale in your fridge right now. The reason I know this is because I went grocery shopping a couple days before the new year, and the produce section was jammed with people in preparation for complete body transformations. As I was wondering what the hell I was doing there, I noticed there had been, in particular, quite a run on kale. And yes, I noticed because I, too, was there to purchase some, along with various other green things. I’m not truly hoping for a complete body transformation, but it would be nice to comfortably button my jeans again.

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Quinoa, Tomato, Basil and Garbanzo Salad

It’s the first day of first grade for my girls and I’m really ready to get back on a regular schedule. I think they are too although they had distinctly different reactions to their first day. Ella came bounding down the stairs at 6:45am, fully dressed, exclaiming “I get my own desk today!”. She couldn’t have been more excited. Hailey, on the other hand, had to be drug out of bed at 7:45am so she could shower, dress and (barely) eat breakfast before leaving the house at 8:30am, all the while complaining “I don’t want to go to school, I am NOT going!”. I finally told her it was the law for all children to go to school and we could get in big trouble if we allowed her to stay home. I know, I’m a terrible mother using such scare tactics but it worked beautifully. She, of course, asked about her good friends who are home schooled and I told her they had to get special permission and, while it works for them, there was no way that would be happening with us. Ella asked “But what if you’re sick?” to which I answered “Of course you can stay home if you’re sick. But, it’s against the law to fake.” Yes, I realize that it’s not really against the law and I may have been crossing the line but I consider it preemptive action for future conduct. Payback’s a you-know-what and I was a pro at faking illness to get out of school. Those of you who know my history know I’m not exaggerating about my truancy. I’m pretty sure I’ve met my match with Hailey. Could be a long twelve years…

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grilled potato salad

Grilled Potato Salad with Bacon, Blue Cheese and Spinach

Ahhhh… School is out and we are finally ready to get in the groove of summer. The transition was kind of crazy but we managed. I never used to understand why parents were so frantic at the end of the school year. I get it now although I still can’t fully explain it. I know, that doesn’t really make sense. I may be still in a bit of a fog. I’m hoping to be better by next week.

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Spinach, Strawberry & Goat Cheese Salad with Poppyseed Vinaigrette

Spinach, Strawberry & Goat Cheese Salad with Poppyseed Vinaigrette

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I’m going to keep this brief and simple today, for you and for me. This lovely little salad comes together in just a few minutes, dressing included. provided you have your ingredients gathered. It’s a perfect summer salad with the beautiful strawberry as the star of the show and it will make you look like the superstar you are in the kitchen. Yes, you are, don’t be modest now!

There’s something about vinegar that brings out the flavor of the strawberry like nothing else and this vinaigrette is so easy! I hope it inspires you to make your own salad dressing more often. If you don’t have red wine vinegar you could substitute white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar. Balsamic vinegar is a classic pairing with strawberries but it will muddy the look of the salad so you might opt for a white balsamic if that’s what’s in your cupboard. If you do use balsamic vinegar, red or white, it will bring its own sweetness so reduce the amount of agave/honey or omit it altogether.  Let your tastebuds be your guide


Spinach, Strawberry & Goat Cheese Salad with Poppyseed Vinaigrette 

(serves 2 – 3)

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 tablespoon agave nectar or honey
salt & pepper
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 medium/large strawberries
2 – 3 cups baby spinach
2 – 4 tablespoons goat cheese, crumbled

If you are serving this salad immediately, start your dressing right in the salad bowl as shown, otherwise make it in a smaller, separate bowl and toss just before serving.

Combine red wine vinegar, agave,

making vinaigrette

 a small pinch of salt, some fresh ground pepper,

making vinaigrette

 and poppy seeds and whisk together.

making poppyseed vinaigrette

Whisk in olive oil and stir briskly until well combined.

poppyseed vinagrette

Remove stems and slice strawberries.

fresh strawberries
sliced stawberries

Add to the vinaigrette along with a few handfuls of spinach. Keep in mind the spinach will wilt down a bit.

spinach and strawberry salad

Toss to coat the spinach and strawberries with vinaigrette.

tossing spinach and strawberry salad

Add  2 – 4 TB goat cheese (as much or as little as you like). Serve and enjoy this delicious and very nutritious salad!

Spinach, Strawberry & Goat Cheese Salad with Poppyseed Vinaigrette

A happy quote to go along with a happy dish…

“I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.”
Audrey Hepburn

Quinoa Salad with Mango, Citrus and Black Beans

Happy May Day! It’s no secret to those who know me well that this is my very favorite month of the year. Besides being my birthday and wedding anniversary month, it also contains Mother’s Day, which I quite enjoy, and two of my favorite nieces birthdays (for the record, I have three other favorite nieces so don’t get all like you get!). Also, spring comes late in Central Oregon, so it’s usually in May that the trees and flowers start blooming and we have some real hope of warmer days ahead. As much as we love our snow, it’s not nearly as pretty or fun in April as it is in December.

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Ginger Peanut Salad Dressing


So, the girls are with our great friend for the day and I finally get to catch up and post a new recipe for you! I can’t tell you how ready we all are (okay, especially me) for school to start in 11 days. Ella and Hailey will be big kindergarten kids in Montessori this year which means they are required to stay until 3pm every day. I’d like to say I’ll be one of those mom’s using a box of tissues on the way home from dropping them off on their first day, but I think I’m gonna be okay. Besides, it’s only a two minute drive, three tops.
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