Copycat Farmer’s Market Salad + Getting Back to the Dinner Table

CopyCat Farmer's Market Salad

So you want a healthier lifestyle for yourself and your family. Maybe you purchase organic produce?  Scrutinize food labels?   Chosing foods wisely for your family is a noble endeaver. Today I want to discuss a way to add value to your meals that maybe you haven’t thought about, and it  ties into this month’s  Recipe Redux theme: getting back to the dinner table.

Food is meant to be shared and enjoyed.  It may come as a surprise,  but  when we gather around the kitchen table in  North Carolina, my family looks forward to the salads I serve .  How do I know? If it’s not on the table, they ask for it! Even their friends come for my salad.  Today I ‘m making one inspired by my recent trip to Maine. The first meal I had in Portland, shared with blogger friends, (Regan Jones RD, Deanna Seagrave- Daly RD  and Kita Roberts ) was  a farmer’s market salad along with flatbread pizza. Today’s recipe is  my rendition of that spectacular summer salad : organic arugula, cucumber, wild blueberries, feta cheese, and a ginger vinaigrette.  My version isn’t any healthier than what’s served at the Flatbread Company in Portland,  Maine. But here’s an idea to add value to this salad, or any food for that matter: enjoy it together.   The benefits of family/shared meals go far beyond the fact that they are more likely to be nutritious. Please consider the research that suggests:

• Kids who eat regularly with their families, are less likely to snack on unhealthy foods and more likely to eat fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

• Children having frequent dinners with their parents  are less likely to smoke, drink or use other drugs.

• Family meals positively impacts the development of lifelong healthy eating behaviors for youth.

• Family meals are associated with better academic performance.

The beginning of the school year is a perfect time to start making family meals a routine.  Don’t get discouraged if you can’t sit down every night.  Benefits can be reaped by sitting down together on occasion. Please visit the links at the bottom of this post for more inspiration for getting back to the dinner table!

CopyCat Farmer's Market SaladIMG_farmer'smarketsalad

Copy Cat: Farmer’s Market Salad

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients ( serves 4)

  • 5 oz package organic arugula
  • seedless cucumber, sliced
  • feta cheese, 1/2 cup
  • blueberries, 1 cup

for the vinaigrette

  • 1 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

1. In a large bowl or on a plater, arrange fresh arugula. Top with slice cucumbers, feta cheese and blueberries.

2. Combine ingredients for vinaigrette. Whisk and drizzle over salad. Toss. Serve immediately.

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Something to Anticipate: Chocolate Cookie Bars with Creamy Filling

Anticipation

n. noun the act of expecting or foreseeing something; expectation or presentiment.

If you’ve been following this blog you are aware that I am, along with my colleagues, anticipating the #BlogBrûlée. Woo Hoo! We’ve been tweeting, blogging  and instagraming for weeks now about this inaugrual event taking place over the weekend of Sept 12 in beautiful Vermont. Why? Because anticipation is half the fun! The same goes for eating. Love your food! Instead of settling for the easiest option (something straight out of a bag or box), add a little pizazz to the lunch or bento boxes of your loved ones with the promise of something homemade, fresh and flavorful. Maybe like this…Chocolate Cookie Bars with Creamy FillingI made these  chocolate cookie bars with creamy filling in response to this month’s Recipe Redux challenge. The theme for August: Bars and Bites for Brown Bags,  is timed just right for back to school.Chocolate Cookie Bars with Creamy Filling

 I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid and carried a bagged lunch everyday, I always anticipated that one special surprise mom would tuck in. She loved to bake, so I  had the best desserts.  Well, thanks to Mom, I always had first draft picks when it came to bartering for food in the school cafeteria! One of the nicest thing about baking your own goodies is you can pack a little more nutrition into something homemade.  Homemade items are also tastier. These cookie bars evolved from Chocolate Cookie Bars with Creamy Filling  a chocolate drop cookie I made little healthier by substituting Unknown-7Greek yogurt  for some of the butter (see the cheat sheet on the right for more ways to use Greek yogurt to reduce fat in baking), and boosting  the fiber and phytonutrients by swapping  white whole wheat for half of the all purpose flour. The filling is identical to the filling  in my Oatmeal Bars with Creamy Ricotta Filling, except I replaced the lemon zest with pistachios. The result was everything I had hoped for, moist, chocolatey with  a sweet and salty middle. Please see the links at the bottom of this post for more nutritious ideas that will have  your loved ones anticipating their bagged lunches like never before.

Chocolate Cookie Bars with Creamy FillingChocolate Cookies Bars with Creamy  Filling

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour, sifted
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup low fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

for the filling

  • 16 oz part skim ricotta cheese or low fat cottage cheese, drained
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup chopped pistachios

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Line a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with non-stick aluminum foil.

3. In a large bowl sift together the flours, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

4. Cream yogurt, butter,  brown sugar, and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in vanilla.

5. Beat in flour mixture a little at a time, until well blended and smooth.

6. Set aside 1 cup of dough and refrigerate.

7. Spread the remainder of the dough into the prepared baking pan using a spatula or the bottom of a measuring cup to press the dough into a even layer.

8 Make the filling by adding ricotta cheese, sugar, egg, honey to a medium bowl and stirring to combine.

9. Spread filling evenly over the bottom layer of dough.

10. Take out out the reserved dough from the refrigerator and using a grater, shred dough over top of filling creating third layer, or simply crumble reserved dough on top.

11. Bake 40 to 50 minutes. Allow to cool completely before cutting. Store in the refrigerator. Pack in lunch or bento boxes with a lunch box freezer pack or next to a bottle of frozen water.

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