Simple combination with an explosion of flavors! I first experienced this appetizer (or salad) at a restaurant with my friend, Jan. It was amazing and, yet, so simple. It was easy to replicate at home with four ingredients: watermelon, goat cheese, pecans and balsamic reduction. Done!
Watermelon Goat Cheese Appetizer
Cubed Seedless Watermelon
Crumbled Goat Cheese
Balsamic Reduction (I used purchased balsamic reduction but you can make your own)
Juicy, fresh pears are such a treat! For the past few years, I’ve treated myself to Harry and David pears. The grandkids beg for sliced pears like it is candy.
In addition to enjoying the pears by themselves, this Pear Salad is to die for. The combination of blue cheese and candied, or spiced, nuts it wonderful. The dressing is light and a perfect compliment to the salad. My pears are almost gone but I’ll savor every remaining bite!
ROYAL RIVIERA PEAR SALAD
1 head Butter or other lettuce, washed and dried 2 Pears, peeled, cored and sliced (or diced) 2/3 cup blue cheese (if you despise blue cheese–replace with a cheese you like) 2/3 cup candied nuts (I use my homemade spiced pecans)
1/4 cup Champagne vinegar 1 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard 1 Tbsp. honey 1/2 tsp. sea salt 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper 3/4 cup walnut oil (or canola)
To create dressing, whisk together the first 5 ingredients. Gradually whisk in the walnut oil.
Gently tear lettuce into bite-sized pieces. Arrange on four chilled plates.
Breakfast oatmeal in a bar or cake form is my favorite. Most of this year I’ve been eating my Breakfast Oatmeal Bars, but a favorite fall flavor of pumpkin and maple is calling my name. Daughter, Megan, told me about these bars and made a batch for me a few weeks ago. They are absolutely delicious and the original recipe was posted by IowaGirlEats, a website my girls and I love!
Since I didn’t have Pumpkin Spice, I made my own from a recipe on Taste of Home.
I like my breakfast bar with a dollop of Greek yogurt and fresh fruit on the side with hot coffee! It doesn’t hurt to warm the Breakfast Bar for a few seconds in the microwave, either. Healthy and delicious breakfast!
Maple Pumpkin Oatmeal Breakfast Bars
2-1/2 cups gluten-free old fashioned oats, divided
1 cup milk, any kind (I used unsweetened almond milk)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup (not pancake syrup)
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons chia seeds
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup pecan halves, roughly chopped (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees then spray an 8×8″ baking pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
Add 1 cup old fashioned oats to a food processor or blender then process until oats have turned into flour. Set aside. (Alternatively you could use a scant cup oat flour.)
Add milk, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, coconut oil, egg, and vanilla to a large bowl then whisk to combine. Add remaining 1-1/2 cups oats, oat flour, chia seeds, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt then stir to combine. Fold in chopped pecans then pour batter into prepared baking pan.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and the center has set. Check on the bars at the 25 minute mark – if the edges are browning too quickly, place a piece of foil on top of the baking pan. Cool before slicing into bars then store in the refrigerator, or individually wrap bars in saran wrap and freeze.
Autumn brings cooler weather, falling leaves and wonderful vegetables. I’ve become a huge fan of roasted vegetables and loved the idea of combining squash with Brussel sprouts. Adding cherries, nuts and honey were the icing on top of the vegetables.
This is a wonderful dish for a potluck, holiday and just an ordinary night at home.
ROASTED BRUSSEL SPROUTS
4 cups Brussel Sprouts, ends trimmed, yellow leaved removed, halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste
ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH
1.5 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and dubbed into 1 inch cubes (about 4 cups)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons honey (or maple syrup)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans or halves
1/2 cup dried cherries (or Craisins)
optional: 2-4 tablespoons honey or maple syrup (I did not add additional honey)
Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease the foil-lined baking sheet.
In a medium bowl, combine halved Brussel sprouts, 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt (to taste) and toss. Place on foil-lined baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 20-25 minutes. During the last 5-10 minutes of roasting, turn them over for even browning. The cut sides should be nicely browned and partially charred.
Roasted Butternut Squash
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a foil-lined baking sheet.
In a medium bowl, combine cubed butternut squash (peeled and seeded), olive oil, honey, and cinnamon. Toss to mix.
Place butternut squash in even layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning once half-way through baking, until squash is softened.
NOTE: You can roast both the Brussel sprouts and the butternut squash on 2 separate baking sheets at the same time .
In a large bowl, combine the roasted Brussel sprouts, roasted butternut squash, pecans, and cherries (or cranberries) and mix to combine.
OPTIONAL: For more sweetness, add 2-4 tablespoons or honey or maple syrup…add slowly to desired amount of sweetness.
Quinoa is a staple in my pantry and I’ve been anxious to try a quinoa breakfast dish. Pecan Quinoa Breakfast Bowl has, again, been in my stack of ‘must make’ recipes and it didn’t disappoint. It’s slightly sweet and protein-rich.
I believe this recipe could easily be adapted to Vegan/Vegetarian by using almond milk (or water) and vegan butter.
The leftovers will be saved for another day…cold or reheated.
PECAN QUINOA BREAKFAST BOWL
2 cups 1 percent low-fat milk
1 cup quinoa
1/2 cup dried craisins or raisins
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
1 tablespoon honey or brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Bring milk to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in quinoa, cranberries and butter.
Cover, reduce heat and simmer until quinoa is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.
Remove from heat. Stir in pecans, honey, salt cinnamon and nutmeg.
Spoon quinoa mixture into four bowls. Top each serving with additional chopped pecans, milk, honey or brown sugar.
Serves four. Recipe from Relish.com and the Georgia Pecan Commission
A potluck to go to and what to fix? I had beautiful fresh peaches, greens from my garden and avocados. Why not a salad mixing these ingredients topped with nuts? After reviewing several recipes, I combined a few to make this my own and it is now on my favorite summer salads list. Can’t wait for Colorado peach season later this summer!
MIXED GREEN SALAD WITH FRESH PEACHES, AVOCADO & PECANS
1/2 pound mixed greens
1 cup sliced peaches
1 avocado, diced
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup champagne or white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons minced green onions
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and fresh ground black pepper
In a blender, combine the vinegar, honey, onions, mustard and garlic. Puree until smooth, 10-15 seconds.
Slowly drizzle the olive oil into the blender until the dressing is smooth.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Refrigerate until ready to use (up to a week).
In a bowl combine the greens, peaches, and avocado. Drizzle with 1/2 of the dressing. Add more to taste. Toss the salad and serve immediately.
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
Dump Cake is NOT a low cal dessert but it is easy and delicious. My buddy, Jan, again shared this recipe with me. Somehow this recipe escaped me all these years and I wanted to research it’s origin. Research points to the original Heloise for this recipe, although I couldn’t confirm nor deny this fact.
What I can confirm…this is a decadent pleasure to enjoy ‘once in a blue moon.’
1 can (21 ounce) cherry pie billing (or apple)
1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple
1 box yellow cake mix
1 stick margarine
1 cup chopped pecans
Place pie filling and pineapple in 9×13″ cake pan.
As daughter Sarah and I planned for appetizers for their wedding reception, we found this Grape and Goat Cheese Bite appetizer. What’s not to like…goat cheese, pecans and grapes. Simple. Luscious. And, again, a Pinterest find.
GRAPE AND GOAT CHEESE BITES
Finely chop pecans in a food processor.
The hardest part of this recipe is rolling the goat cheese into balls. Only take a small amount of goat cheese from the frig at a time since it is easier to roll when cold.
Roll room temperature goat cheese balls in chopped pecans (so nuts will easily stick to goat cheese).
Put goat cheese ball on a toothpick and top with a fresh, washed green grape. Voila!