Gluten Free · Salads · Skinny · Vegan · Vegetarian

Cranberry and Mango Quinoa Salad

Cranberry and Mango Quinoa Salad is a favorite salad shared by friend, Chris, at many of our Book Club and pot luck dinners. Finally, I decided to prepare it and savored every serving.  I’ve also tried adding other ingredients to add variety, including bits of turkey or slices or fresh avocado.
This salad is great for summer meals and gatherings.

CRANBERRY AND MANGO QUINOA SALAD

2 cups of water
1 cup of quinoa
1 cup fresh kale or spinach in bite size pieces
1.5 cup fresh or frozen mango chunks (one to two fresh mangos should yield just about 1.5 cups)
1.5 c cubed melon (I used Honeydew)
1/2 cup slivered almonds (toasted/optional)
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon of honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
pinch of salt

  • Bring water to boil and cook quinoa per the instructions.  Cool.
  • Add kale (or spinach), mango, melon, almonds, and cranberries to quinoa.
  • Mix together Lemon poppy seed ingredients and pour over quinoa salad.
  • Serving Option:  Slice fresh avocado slices over top of salad.

Recipe adapted from Skinny Minz and Healthy Pursuit

New Favorite · Skinny · Vegetarian

Asparagus with Cranberries and Pine Nuts

My first recollection of asparagus was slimy canned asparagus served with school lunches.  Yuck!  My Mother would occasionally gather wild asparagus in the spring, but it was not a regular visitor to our home dinner table.

As an adult, I’ve learned to love asparagus and the many ways it can be prepared. I ran across this recipe AND I had all of the ingredients.  This recipe is so simple and quite elegant.  Tonight I paired it with salmon, always a wonderful combination.

Next time I try this recipe, I may use chopped pecans for a little different twist.

ASPARAUS WITH CRAISINS AND PINE NUTS

1 bunch asparagus
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/3 up dried cranberries (Craisins)
pinch of salt

  • Break off or trim the woody ends from the asparagus and discard. Set the spears aside.
  • Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  • Stir in the pine nuts, cranberries, and salt.
  • Cook and stir until the pine nuts start to look translucent, 5 to 6 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Add the asparagus spears to the skillet and cook, adding a little more olive oil if needed, until stalks are bright green and tender, about 5 to 8 minutes.
  • Serve on a platter and top with the cranberries and pine nut mixture.

Adapated from allrecipes.com, Asparagus with Cranberries and Pine Nuts

 

New Favorite

Cranberry Bars…perfect for your Valentine!

Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars are daughter Sarah’s favorite holiday treat. When she was a teenager I bought her a pan of Cranberry Bliss Bars for her November birthday and she was ‘WOW’d’. Before Christmas this year she was very depressed that Starbucks/Denver had sold out of Cranberry Bliss Bars and, being pregnant, she had cravings that we needed to fill.

 

Sarah found this recipe on Pinterest and we made them for the holidays. They were delicious and very close to what we experience at Starbuck’s.  Perhaps this will become a new Valentine’s tradition in our house and in yours.   XOXOXOXOX

CRANBERRY BARS

BLONDIE LAYER:
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) salted butter, cubed
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup dried cranberries
6 ounces white baking chocolate, coarsely chopped

FROSTING:
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
6 ounces white baking chocolate, melted
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13×9-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
  • Prepare the blondie layer: In a medium bowl, melt butter for one minute in the microwave; stir in brown sugar. Scrape the butter & sugar into a large bowl and let cool to room temperature. Use an electric mixer to beat in the eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon; gradually add the dry mixture to the butter mixture. Stir in the cranberries and chopped chocolate (the batter will be thick).
  • Spread the blondie batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 18-21 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean (do not overbake). Cool completely on a wire rack.
  • Prepare the frosting: In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar until well-blended. Gradually add half of the melted white chocolate; beat until blended. Frost brownies. Sprinkle with cranberries. Drizzle with remaining melted white chocolate. Cut into bars- square or triangle-shaped. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Tips:

*If you’d like to add an orange flavor to these bars, add 1 tablespoon grated orange zest to the frosting.

Recipe from:  http://www.recipegirl.com/2011/11/14/cranberry-bliss-bars/

Family Favorites

Cranberry Bread…tart, sweet and warm from the oven!

Cranberry Bread was a favorite of mine back in the day.  I would make several loaves to give as gifts for the holidays when I young, single and fancy-free in St. Joe, MO.  I’m glad to have this recipe back on my radar screen.  The kids loved it.  The tartness of the cranberries complimented by the sweet dough is wonderfully delicious warm from the oven with butter.

The bread freezes well to make ahead for holiday gifts.

CRANBERRY BREAD

2 cups flour, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon soda
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons margarine, melted
3/4 cup orange juice
1 beaten egg
1 cup raw cranberries, chopped
1/2 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)

  • Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, soda and sugar. Add the orange juice, melted butter, then add beaten egg.
  • Mix well and add the chopped cranberries. Put into greased loaf pan and fill half full of batter.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Cool for 10 minutes and then run knife around the pan to remove loaf.