An interesting twist on slaw

In an attempt to expand my salad green repertoire, I purchased a bag a pre-shredded green cabbage at Trader Joe's a few weeks ago. I figured since salad is all about the crunch for me (and since raw cabbage is so crunchy), that throwing a handful or two of cabbage into my salad mix would be a good way to get a nice dose of Vitamin C in my diet without trying (cabbage is LOADED with the stuff).

That experiment proved pretty successful except for the fact that my pre-shredded cabbage started turning brown after about 2 days in my fridge. What is a girl to do with an almost full bag of shredded cabbage? I could have made cole slaw, which I do love, but I just wasn't in the mood for it that afternoon. Instead, I decided to dive into the fridge, pull out whatever sounded good, and start making a salad. The result was so good that we have eaten it once a week for the last three weeks running. Tonight I served this with cheese toast made with sprouted grain bread and unsweetened iced tea. If sugar is a real issue for you, you can skip the raisins, but they were a nice addition. Plus, there is so much other good stuff going on in this salad that I didn't worry about it. Enjoy.

Fruit and Nut Bleu Cheese Slaw (makes 2 generous portions)

3 C shredded green cabbage or packaged cole slaw mix
scant 1/3 C raisins
1 large apple, chopped (unpeeled)
2 T chopped walnuts or sunflower seeds

Add all ingredients except nuts to bowl and toss to combine. To serve, spoon onto serving dish and sprinkle with nut of choice.

A shout out to Ange

I am posting this link on the Saltiest Foods in America as a shout out to Ange. Please read it - its shocking the amount of sodium in restaurant foods. I won't tell you how many of these atrocious meals have passed my lips in the past, but I guarantee they won't in the future.

Also, I highly recommend getting yourself on their email list. They email me a new health and nutrition article every few days and they are enlightening.

Why do we buy pre-made salad dressing?

The longer I continue this clean eating experiment, the more mystified I am at our collective buying habits. This morning I made bleu cheese dressing and it took all of 3 minutes to whip up the batch. Why in the world did I ever buy the pre-made, highly processed, junk laden stuff before? There is absolutely no reason to buy the processed junk when it is so easy to make at home.

As you can see, my fridge currently contains 3 salad dressings, all homemade. The bleu cheese is in the large container at the rear. The other two are recipes already posted (buttermilk ranch and classic cobb dressing).

Bleu Cheese Dressing (makes approx 3 cups)

3/4 c mayonnaise
1/4 c milk (or half and half)
3/4 c sour cream
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 T white wine vinegar
1 T dried parsley
1/4 t black pepper
1/2 t salt
6 oz crumbled bleu cheese

Add all ingredients, except cheese, to a bowl and whisk to combine. Add bleu cheese and toss gently. Pour into storage container and refrigerate until ready to use. Keeps up to 2 weeks in refrigerator.

Sometimes I get it right...Apple Banana Pineapple Cake with Mascarpone Cream Frosting

Last night my husband chewed me out. "You NEVER buy dessert anymore! What is the problem? I keep asking for some dessert. Buy some d**n dessert!"

He's right, I don't buy dessert anymore. I don't eat it (I am not that virtuous - I eat dark chocolate and almonds if I need a sweet fix) and he doesn't need it. He has been begging me for months to bring him a cake, a pie, anything really, but I have resisted.

After the confrontation last night I promised him I would make him a sweet treat tonight. I had intended to make a Gluten-Free Banana Walnut Cake, but in the spirit of cleaning out my fridge/pantry (in anticipation of moving), I realized mid way through the recipe that I didn't have everything needed. OK, time to improvise. I think I am getting good at this improvising thing, because this turned out pretty good. Even David, who is suspicious of anything that looks remotely healthy, gave this cake a huge thumbs up as he shoved this entire piece into his mouth in one bite.

Score one for Mommy.

Apple Banana Pineapple Cake (serves 20)

1/2 c dark agave nectar (or honey)
1/3 c canola oil
3/4 c mashed banana (about 2)
3/4 c unsweetened applesauce
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 t vanilla
2 t fresh squeezed orange juice
1 t orange zest
1 1/2 c whole wheat flour (make sure it is whole grain)
3/4 c almond meal
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1 t baking soda
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 c crushed pineapple
3/4 c walnuts, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 350. Line 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine agave and oil. Cream until light. Add banana, applesauce and beat until mixed well. Add eggs, vanilla, orange juice and zest. Mix until combined. Add all dry ingredients and stir until smooth. Add pineapple and nuts and mix gently to combine.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool for a few minutes in the pan, then lift out using parchment paper and allow to cool completely.

To serve, cut into squares and frost liberally with Mascarpone Cream Frosting.

Mascarpone Cream Frosting (makes 4 cups)

6 oz mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
3 T agave nectar (or honey)
1 t vanilla (or vanilla powder)
1 c heavy cream, chilled

Mix first three ingredients in small bowl until well combined. Set aside. In a large bowl, whip heavy cream until firm peak form. Add cheese to cream and mix lightly to combine. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

The perfect low GI summer salad - the classic Cobb

Today was cooking club and as I was the host, I got to choose the menu. We made the following:

1. Classic Cobb Salad
2. Cream of Fresh Tomato Soup
3. Good for You Zucchini Muffins (basically this recipe, but swap out 3/4 C of almond meal for the white flour)

Here is the Cobb Salad recipe that we made:

Classic Cobb Salad (serves 8)

1 head iceberg lettuce, washed and chopped
8 cups arugula, washed
2 small heads of romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
1 lb grape tomatoes
3/4 lb bacon, fried, drained and chopped
4 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
8 hard boiled eggs, chopped
4 small avocados, diced
2 cups crumbled blue cheese
2 cups (approx) Cobb Salad Dressing (see below)

Mix lettuces together. Add dressing, to taste, and toss to combine. Arrange in large salad bowl or plate.

Arrange remaining ingredients in strips on top of the greens and enjoy.

Cobb Salad Dressing (makes approx 3 cups)

1/2 C water
1/2 C red wine vinegar
1/2 T sugar
2 t freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 T + 1 t salt
1 1/2 t pepper
1 1/2 t Worcestershire sauce
1/2 t dry mustard
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 C olive oil
1 C canola oil.

Add all ingredients in large jar or other container and blend well. Mix before serving.