I am in awe of people with authentic - spontaneous creativity. My left brain dominated personality has a true appreciation for anything creative. Oh, I have moments of creativity but they almost always come from a place of cognitive and deliberate intention. What may seem to some as a creative and spontaneous new recipe is really a result of hours of thinking, planning and significant google research. #creativebutnotspontaneous
I've been told that to make great jambalaya - you have to open your frig - toss everything into a big pot and cook it. 😬 I have yet to make jambalaya. 🤣 I've never been one to just toss random ingredients into a bowl to see what comes out. My cooking (and my baking) is much more deliberate and intentional. Every ingredient and spice that I add to or take away from a dish has a purpose.
I may never be a spontaneous cook but I do have a compelling desire to reduce food waste which forces me to be creative. Todays leftover chicken becomes, tomorrows chicken salad or chicken tacos. Overripe fruit gets turned into chutney or sweet cobblers. Unused vegetables get turned into soups, or tossed into an orzo salad or sometimes - even become their own delicious side dish.
This Zoodle Salad recipe is a great way to use up some extra veggies or to express your creativity. You can make all kinds of substitutions to this salad (and the dressing) and really never go wrong. I'd love to hear from all of you creative zoodlers out there. What delicious recipes are you coming up with for your summer veggies?
1 zucchini, spiral sliced
1/4 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup fresh corn
1 avocado, diced
1/4 cup chick peas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup fresh mozzarella pearls
2 Tablespoons fresh basil
1 Tablespoon red onion, sliced then
1 Tablespoon white whine vinegar
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
Spiral slice zucchini.
Add tomatoes, corn, chick peas, basil, onion and mozzarella to zucchini.
Stir together to combine. Toss in avocado gently.
Toss vinaigrette with zoodles and serve.
Saturday, we went to the interactive Van Gogh exhibit in Atlanta - talk about the ultimate creative thinker. Woah! 🙃 These people that I went with - the best - and all creative in their own unique way. 🌻
If you think being a food blogger makes me some sort of dinner party hostess extraordinaire - you couldn't be more wrong. 😅 I awkwardly stumble and fumble my way through dinner parties just like a lot of you. One of my biggest challenges is coming up with menus that everyone on the guest list will enjoy. The goal is to avoid offending my guests or possibly be even worse - having them leave my house hungry. 🤣
Just like Ella Fitzgerald sings, "You like potato and I like potahto. You like tomato and I like tomahto,". Eating habits are personal and the like-dislike balancing act is even more crucial when it's not just my stomach on the line.
Coconut is a seemingly innocent fruit, but it's as polarizing as north and south. It can cause quite a conundrum. I'm a huge coconut fan and I feel like my life would be less fulfilling without it, but I recognize that the flaky texture is too much for some to bear.
I put my own feelings about coconut aside when I plan menus for guests, and I refrain from making anything with the fibrous one-seeded drupe. It's another story though when I bake for myself or close friends that I've already vetted for food preferences and allergies. Bring on the coconut cake, the macaroons, the coconut rice and the coconut chews!
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
Bake 20 minutes. Cool completely.
At the risk of offending the non-coconut lovers - these chews are the BOMB! 💣 They're easy to make, they're sweet and buttery and loaded with delightfully flaky coconut.
If you live in Georgia - you know just how iconic the Waffle House restaurant is to our great state. For those of you who don't live here - just imagine a brick shoebox shaped building wrapped in a signature yellow banner at nearly every intersection and you've got a pretty accurate picture of the number of Waffle House restaurants in Georgia. 😂 Just in case you were curious - There are 437 Waffle House locations in the Peach State.
Don't be deceived by the name. It really doesn't matter if you're a fan of waffles or if you even like breakfast food - if you live in Georgia - you are expected go to Waffle House. 🤷🏻♀️ It always astounds me that no matter what time of day (or night) I drive past the restaurant, there are always people in the booths, indulging in Southern comfort food. 🥓
I'm somewhat hesitant to admit this, for fear of being asked to leave the state, but up until a couple of weeks ago, it had been at least two years since I had walked through the doors of the iconic Georgia restaurant. It's mostly due to the fact that the Waffle House menu doesn't exactly align with my dietary goals. 😬 But, all that nutrition planning got put on hold once we found out that this super cute high school senior, and all around great kid, was working at our local Waffle House.
Even though the rest of my family adores the waffles at Waffle House - I tend to look for the "healthiest" thing on the menu. This time, in preparation for our Waffle House visit, I looked up the online menu before we left for dinner - something that my family is relentlessly teasing me about still today. 😅 I just thought I would spare everyone the agony of watching me scrutinize the menu to find something that was "relatively healthy" at a restaurant that specializes in "hearty" and no so much "healthy". 😅 🥞
You might be surprised to know that Waffle House lists a whole selection of salads on their online menu. A fact that only people who look up online menus before going to a restaurant - would know. 😂 Apparently, the menus at individual Waffle House restaurants can vary from the online version because when I asked for a salad - I got some very blank stares. It was a cross between, "No one has ever asked for a salad here" and "Why does she think we have salad?" 🥗😅
I must have had a seriously disappointed look on my face because even though there was no vegetable based foods on their menu, our awesome server offered to craft me a "salad" out of hamburger lettuce and sliced tomatoes. No dressing, no other vegetables or toppings - just a bowl of lettuce and tomatoes. 🥬🍅 How could I refuse? I like to say that I ordered a hamburger - minus the meat, the bun and the ketchup and mustard.
Salads are my jam and whether it's a simple bowl of chopped lettuce and tomatoes or a bowl full of delicious greens, fresh vegetables, lean protein, crunchy nuts, salty cheese and ripe fruits with a citrus vinaigrette - I am a fan. This is Grilled Chicken and Nectarine Salad is just about all of my favorite things in a bowl. I hope that you like it as much as I did.
Grilled Chicken and Nectarine Salad
1/4 cup olive oil
2 limes juiced and zested (or lemons)
4 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 nectarines (or peaches)
4 cups mixed greens
3 Tablespoons toasted, chopped walnuts
2 ounces crumbled goat cheese
Slice grilled chicken and add to salad.
Top with toasted walnuts and goat cheese.
While my Waffle House salad was good and I definitely appreciated the efforts of the team members who went above and beyond to meet my salad requests a reality - this Grilled Chicken and Nectarine Salad is in another league. Hope you enjoy!
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