Kale Quinoa Salad

While in Aspen, CO last week for our family trip, I found myself ordering kale salad after kale salad. Our dinners where indulgent, as they should be, so I tried to counteract them with a salad here and there for lunch. And I’d be lying if I said every time I ordered, said kale salad, it wasn’t also followed by a handful of french fries. The amount of kale salads and fries eaten on that trip…

Anyway, the kale salad hoopla was a must recreate situation the second I got home. 1. because I love some good travel inspiration for my meals and 2. because how better to slide back into healthy eating post vacay than with a kale salad? It has me being healthy and reminiscent!

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Kale Quinoa Salad
serves 2 as a main, 4 as a side

1 large bunch of lacinito kale
1 medium sweet potato
1/2 cup quinoa, cooked
1/2 cup pecans
1/3 cup dried cranberries
olive oil
cinnamon

Dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. dijon mustard
1 tbsp. grainy mustard
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Chop your sweet potato into 1/2 inch cubes. Place on a roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil, salt and cinnamon. I love love love roasting sweet potatoes with cinnamon, but you can omit. Toss together and roast for 25 minutes. Check halfway through and toss around if needed. *When 5 minutes are left on the sweet potatoes, place the pecans on a roasting sheet and roast for 5 minutes making sure to watch that they don’t burn. Take out at the same time as the sweet potatoes. Roughly chop the pecans and set aside.

Now to de-rib your kale. Rinse and pat dry your kale. To de-rib, run a knife alongside the stem to detach the leaves. You can get a visual here. Layer all the kale leaves on top of each other and chop the kale into small pieces. Place in a large bowl and set aside.

In a mason jar or small bowl, add all dressing ingredients. Shake or whisk to combine.

To the bowl of kale add the cooked quinoa, roasted sweet potatoes, cranberries, and pecans. Drizzle with a good portion of the dressing. Using a pair of tongs, give everything a really good toss until everything is coated in dressing. Kale is not a lettuce you can just pour dressing over the top. Your have to mix and toss and coat it with dressing.

Plate and serve with a bit of salt and pepper on top.

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Another favorite fall kale salad is my Fall Panzanella with Cornbread Croutons!

Annie

Campfire Cookies

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I'm heading to the lake with my family later today and I was tasked with bringing the "treats." Do I go with the classic Perfect CCC's? I could. Do I take the easy way out and just buy s'more ingredients? No, because it's 100+ in Oklahoma right now and the last thing I want to do is stand around a fire. 

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So instead, I will combine the two. As if my Perfect CCC's and a s'more had a baby, I give you Campfire Cookies. The ultimate summer lake trip treat.

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They are everything you love in a Perfect CCC (hello flaky Maldon Salt) mixed with graham crackers, marshmallows, and a Hershey's chocolate bar. I can think of nothing better right now. I will also take this moment to profess my love affair with Graham Crackers. The most underrated cookie/cracker. They are the perfect after dinner snack. Shmear on a little Cookie Butter or almond butter and you are golden. Graham Crackers I love you. Campfire Cookies, I love you too!

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Campfire Cookies
yields 32-36 cookies

Ingredients:
1  cup unsalted butter, melted
3 cups all purpose flour
1 ¼ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 ½ cups light or dark brown sugar, firmly packed*
½ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, chopped
1 Hershey’s Chocolate Bar, chopped
2 cups mini marshmallows
1 sleeve Graham Crackers (9 crackers total)
Maldon Salt

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. 

Divide your graham crackers into stacks of 4 and 5. Take the 5 graham crackers and place in a large ziplock bag. Using a rolling pin crush the crackers into fine crumbs. This mixture will be added to the dry ingredients, so you want them to be very fine. Pour into a bowl and set aside. Then, take the 4 graham crackers and break them up into small pieces. Small enough to be mixed into the dough, but still in chunks. *see photo above for reference.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, fine graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl mix both sugars. *You can use light or dark brown sugar. I like a dark cookie so I prefer dark brown sugar, but I switch off depending on what I have on hand. Pour the melted butter into the bowl with the sugars and whisk until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking to combine. Stir in the vanilla.

Slowly add the dry ingredients into the butter-sugar mixture. I found a wooden spoon to be the easiest for this job. Once the dough has almost come together, add the chocolate chips, marshmallows, graham cracker chunks and 3/4 of the chopped Hershey's bar.
Reserve a few marshmallows, graham cracker chunks and 1/4 of the chopped Hershey bar for topping the balls of cookie dough.

Form 2-3 tablespoon size balls. I used a standard size cookie scoop, but overload the scoop getting a larger ball of dough. Place them on a cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Do not overcrowd the pans. I got 10 balls of dough on a pan. Take your reserved chocolate, graham crackers, and marshmallows and top each ball of dough with a little of each. Then sprinkle the top of each cookie with flaky Maldon salt. 

Bake for 9-11 minutes, rotating the pan around halfway through. Bake until just slightly golden. 

Don't fear, the marshmallows will ooze out and go all over the pan.  For a prettier cookie, take the cookies while they are still warm and using either you fingers or a knife, pull off and trim away the oozy marshmallow.You are simply just cleaning up your cookies. 

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Annie

Lite Bite: Mayo-Less Tuna Salad

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Tuna salad. Do you love it or does it make you gag? I'm on a HUGE kick right now and I'm real obsessed with my recipe so I had to share. It's free of mayo (EW) and gets tons of flavor from subbing in mustard. Makes for a perfect lunch that is satsifying and healthy!

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Mayo-Less Tuna Salad
yields 1 serving

Ingredients:
1, 5 oz can tuna packed in water, drained
1 tbsp. grainy mustard
1-2 tbsp. dijon mustard
1.5 tbsp. chopped pickles or relish
1.5 tbsp. diced red onion
salt and pepper
GG crackers, rice cake or bibb lettuce for serving

Directions:
Drain your can of tuna. In a small bowl combine all ingredients. Adding more mustard if you want it creamier. Serve with crackers, rice cakes or in little cups of bibb lettuce making it whole 30 compliant (as long as your mustard is sugar free! I like this brand, for obvious reasons)!
 

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Annie

3-Ingredient Individual Strawberry Trifles

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Just store-bought cookies, whipped cream and strawberries, how easy is that?  ;) Chaneling my inner Ina Garten for this recipe. The idea stemmed from her Mocha Icebox Cake. Taking Hampton’s own Tate’s cookies and letting homemade whipped cream soften them while chilling in the fridge. The strawberry addition is a homage to strawberry shortcake.  

This is the perfect not-too guilty dessert. Best enjoyed after a grill-out all fresco. AKA my favorite way to spend a Sunday evening. Preferably on my parents oasis of a patio. 

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3-Ingredient Individual Strawberry Trifles
yields 4-5 trifles

Ingredients:
8 oz strawberries, sliced
8 oz heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
8 Tate's Bakeshop Vanilla Cookies (available at most grocery stores)

Directions:
Whip your heavy cream using an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add sugar and vanilla extract and give a quick mix, making sure not to over whip your cream. 

Take a martini glass, start with a small spoonful of cream in the bottom of the glass. Crumble over a Tate's cookie, add a few sliced strawberries, then repeat. Continue until you have filled 4 martini glasses. I was able to stretch this recipe to serve 5, but it's best divvied up for 4. 

Place in the fridge for at least 1 hour to let the cream soften the cookies a bit. Before serving, sprinkle the tops with granulated sugar and a small sprig of mint to garnish. 

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Annie

Lite Bite: Thai Chicken Lettuce Boats

thai chicken lettuce boats

Here's the 411 on "lite bite" posts. These are recipes I came up with on the fly. Measurements are geared toward cooking for one, but can easily be upped to feed more. Any questions about conversions or recipes, never hesitate to email me annie@takeabiteblog.com.

Thai Chicken Lettuce Boats
instructions yield 1 serving

green leaf lettuce
rotisserie chicken, shredded
roasted unsalted cashews
coconut oil
fresh ginger, finely chopped
garlic, minced
Sambal Oelek chili sauce
salt and pepper
cilantro
green onion
sesame seeds
cashews

Cut the core off the end of your lettuce. Wash and pat dry each lettuce leaf. These will become your "boats." A tip I learned from my roommate Lindsay is after washing your lettuce, lay it out on long strip of paper towels. Pat dry, then roll up your lettuce in the damp paper towels and store in a plastic grocery sack in the fridge. The lettuce will stay crisp and fresh!

Heat 1 tsp. of coconut oil over medium heat. Sauté 1/2 tsp. of minced garlic (or half of a clove) and 1/2 tsp. fresh ginger for about 30 seconds. Add 3/4 cup of shredded rotisserie chicken and 1/4 cup crushed cashews to the pan. Add 2 tsp. of Sambal Oelek chili sauce to pan. Sauté and warm all the ingredients, only takes about 1 to 2 minutes. Add a pinch of salt, pepper and tear in a few leaves of cilantro.

Once everything is combined and warmed through, divided the chicken mixture amongst 3 leaves of lettuce. Top with sesame seeds, more cilantro and thinly sliced green onions. 

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I love this meal for dinner or lunch leftovers the next day. Tip: the inner baby leaves of your green leaf lettuce bunch are perfect for dipping in hummus!

Annie