Avocado strawberry salsa 

This is the perfect topper on any fish or chicken. In trying to add more healthy fats to our diet, avocados were an easy choice and we both enjoy them. Whether on a sandwich, salad or salsa, we love it! Below is an easy and delicious salsa to top your chicken or fish or anything you’d like!

Enjoy!



Ingredients:

2 medium avocados 

10-15 medium strawberries 

1 cup fresh pico salsa 

Grilled fish or chicken

Directions:

Roughly chop avocado and strawberries. Mix with pico. Let sit 30 mins or more. Top your grilled fish or chicken. Leftover salsa can be stored in fridge 2-3 days before it gets wilty like. 


Perfect little snack! 

I found these cute mini Brie wheels at the store today. Perfect for just a small portion of Brie when a whole wheel is too much. Pop out of the container and eat as you usually would. Wrapped in pastry, warmed so it’s soft and gooey, add preserves, slice on salads or sandwiches, etc. 

I warmed it, served with fresh fruit and crackers. Perfect snack or for lunches! 

Enjoy! 






Baked goat cheese strawberry spinach salad (clean eating)

In the latest Clean Eating Magazine I fell I love with most of the recipes. The mag is full of fresh springtime ideas and they are fabulous. One of our favorites was the baked goat cheese salad. I made a few changes but none to make any hugh difference. Here’s my recipe based on the clean eating recipe!

Enjoy!!

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Ingredients:
1-2 tbsp evoo
Gluten free bread crumbs
1 tsp chopped thyme
Fresh gr salt and pepper
2 egg whites whisked
4 oz goat cheese
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Garlic powder and dried thyme to taste
3 tbsp chopped toasted pecans
2 cups chopped fresh spinach
1 cup strawberries
6 oz grilled chicken breast roughly chopped

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425. While heating mix lemon juice, mustard and garlic powder and dried thyme to taste. Whisk well. Slowly drizzle in olive oil and whisk well. Set aside.
On a small bowl place egg whites in one and bread crumbs thyme and salt and pepper in the other. Take goat cheese one ounce at a time and make a small patty. Dredge in egg whites then in bread crumbs. Continue for all 4 patties. Freeze for 20 mins.
While patties are freezing chop spinach, chicken, pecans, and strawberries. Toss well with dressing.
Bake goat cheese in oven 6 mins per side.
Let stand one minute. Top salads with patties and serve immediately!

Enjoy!


Strawberry cream cheese tart

Our NYE dinner was a great meal, so I know there had to be a great dessert. So I immediately knew to check out Annie’s Eats! Sure enough I found a great tart that while has a lot of steps is quite easy to make. And boy was this great. Everyone raved about it!

Enjoy!

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Ingredients:
For the crust: (I used pre made as it was 82 degrees here today. Too hot to roll out dough! )
1 large egg yolk
1 tbsp. heavy cream
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
¼ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes

For the ganache:
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
¼ cup heavy cream
1 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
½ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. milk or cream

For topping:
Fresh strawberries, sliced (approximately 12 oz.)
Melted bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, for drizzling (optional)

Directions:
To make the tart shell, whisk together the egg yolk, cream and vanilla in a small bowl; set aside. Place the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Process briefly to combine. Scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture; process to cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about fifteen 1-second pulses. With the machine running, add the egg mixture and process until the dough just comes together, about 12 seconds. Turn the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and press into a 6-inch disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 48 hours.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator. (If refrigerated for more than an hour, let stand at room temperature until malleable.) Unwrap and roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to a 13-inch round. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch tart pan. Mold the dough to the sides of the tart pan and remove the excess off the top. Set the dough-lined tart pan on a large plate and freeze for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, adjust an oven rack to middle position. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Set the dough-lined tart pan on a baking sheet, press a 12-inch square of foil into the frozen shell and over the edge, and fill with pie weights. Bake for 30 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking time. Remove from the oven and carefully remove the foil and weights. Continue to bake until deep golden brown, 5-8 minutes longer. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

To make the ganache, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Let sit 1-2 minutes to melt the chocolate. Whisk together until a smooth ganache forms. If there are still bits of unmelted chocolate, microwave in 10 second intervals, whisking in between, until the ganache is completely smooth. Whisk in the butter. Spread the ganache in a thin even layer over the bottom of the cooled tart shell. Allow the ganache to set before proceeding.

To make the filling, beat together the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar in a bowl on medium-high speed until smooth. Blend in the vanilla and milk or cream. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the cooled ganache in the tart shell.

Starting from the outside and working toward the center, place the sliced strawberries in concentric circles slightly overlapping each other. Gently press the berries into the cream cheese mixture to help keep them in place. Drizzle with melted chocolate, if desired. Chill until ready to serve.


Shortcakes

Ahhh a summer staple..shortcakes. They are perfect with fresh summer fruits. Strawberries or peaches or mixed berries..all are great. I found this recipe on Annie’s Eats who topped the shortcakes with peaches. We usually do strawberries. This time I just made a ton to freeze for later use as we have had a lot of drop in guests. Since we always have berries on hand,this was an easy go to dessert esp when the cakes are already made. Just take out of freezer in time to defrost, top with fruits and enjoy!

ENJOY!

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
½ tsp. salt
2/3 cup cold buttermilk
1 large egg
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

Directions:
To make the biscuits, preheat the oven to 475F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Whisk together the buttermilk and egg in a medium bowl, then whisk in the melted butter, stirring until the butter forms small clumps.  Add the liquid ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until a dough comes together and no dry ingredients remain.  Using a greased 1/3 cup measuring cup, scoop a mound of dough and drop it onto the prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with the remaining dough spacing the biscuits about 2 inches apart.  Sprinkle extra sugar over the top of the dough mounds.  Bake until the tops are golden brown, about 12-15 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool at least 15 minutes before assembling.

When ready, top with fruits and fresh whipped cream!


Raspberry Oatmeal Squares

For the other bar I wanted to make for H work, I wanted it to include fruit since the first one included a lot of chocolate and peanut butter. I found this recipe and knew right away it was the recipe I wanted to use!

ENJOY!

Ingredients:
Oatmeal Base:
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (215 grams) light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups (175 grams) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups (180 grams) old fashioned rolled oats, divided
Filling:
1 cup rasp preserves

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter (or use a non stick cooking spray) a 9 x 9 inch (23 x 23 cm) pan.  Set aside.
Oatmeal Base:  In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 2 – 3 minutes).  Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until incorporated.   In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Add to the butter mixture and mix until well combined.  Stir in 1 3/4 cups (155 grams) of the rolled oats.  Press 2/3 of the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread preserves over oatmeal base. To the remaining dough add the remaining 1/4 cup (25 grams) of rolled oats. Crumble this mixture evenly over the top of the raspberry jam.  Bake for about 25 – 30 minutes or until nicely browned.  Place on a wire rack to cool and then cut into squares.
Makes about 16 – 2 inch squares.


Summer Strawberry Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

Mmm this is my favorite kind of salad, fruit, veggies, chicken (I added grilled chicken!!), and a great dressing that you dont need to use a lot of to get the full flavor. Found on Annie’s Eats I knew it was sure to be a hit and guess what, Annie did it again…it was fabulous, light, summery, delicious! I added grilled chicken and this became the perfect meal!

ENJOY!

Ingredients:
For the dressing:
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
¾ cup sugar
2 tbsp. minced shallot
¼ tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. light mayonnaise
3 tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice
6 tbsp. vegetable oil
1½ tsp. poppy seeds

For the salad:
Romaine lettuce, washed and dried
Strawberries, hulled and sliced
Blueberries
Mandarin orange segments
Fresh pineapple, cubed
Slices of grilled chicken breast

Directions:
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the vinegar, sugar, shallot, dry mustard, salt, mayonnaise and orange juice.  Process to blend well.  With the feed tube open and the processor on, add the vegetable oil in a steady stream and continue processing until incorporated.  Add the poppy seeds and pulse briefly just until blended.  Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.
To make the salad, chop the lettuce into bite-size pieces.  Plate individual servings of the lettuce in salad plates.  Top each serving with strawberries, blueberries, mandarin oranges and pineapple cubes as desired.  Drizzle lightly with the poppy seed dressing and serve immediately.


Wild Salmon Fillets with Sweet Strawberry and Tomato Salsa

We love salmon. We love fruit over our salmon. So this recipe from Katie’s blog was perfect for us. It was light, summery, easy to make, and we loved it! I did grill the salmon instead, but either in the oven or grilled it will be great!

**Great clean eating meal too…SCORE!!!*** 

ENJOY!

Ingredients:
Serves 4, I cut it in half for just the two of us and served it with brown rice and roasted asparagus.
four 2 1/2 inch wide salmon fillets
juice of half of a lemon-I decided to use lime juice and we love lime juice with strawberries. It paired perfectly!
salt and pepper to taste

For the salsa:
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and diced
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
4 scallions, white and light green portion diced
1 tsp chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp olive oil
drizzle of orange blossom honey
dash of salt and pepper to taste

steamed Jasmine rice for serving

Directions:
Preheat broiler on low. (We grilled ours)
Line baking sheet with tin foil, folding edges upwards to contain mess. Squeeze fresh lemon juice onto tops of each fillet and generously season each with salt and pepper. Place on the bottom rack of the oven (away from broiler) and broil on low to desired doneness, about 10 minutes dependent upon thickness of fillets. (Your fish will continue cooking when you remove it from the oven, so remove from oven when it is less done than you like and let finish cooking while resting). Meanwhile, prep remaining salsa ingredients and combine in medium bowl. Stir to cover and let sit. Remove salmon from oven and let rest while you line dinner plates with Jasmine rice (or side of choice). Using small spatula or fork, remove salmon from skin (skin should stick to the tinfoil and be easy to remove) and place on plate. Top generously with strawberry and tomato salsa and serve hot.


Fresh Fruit Tart with Pastry Cream

For the second tart I wanted to make for the pool bday party, was this gorgeous fruit tart I saw on Annie’s Eats a while back. I love just how pretty this is and she is SPOT ON when she says the pastry cream is amazing. It really was. I, like Annie, couldnt stop “taste-testing” it..LOL Surprised I had any leftover to put IN the tart!

ENJOY!

Ingredients:
For the tart dough:
1 large egg yolk
1 tbsp. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
8 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

For the pastry cream:
2 cups half-and-half
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch salt
5 large egg yolks
3 tbsp. cornstarch
4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the topping:
2 large kiwis, peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced
6-9 oz. raspberries
1/2-1 cup blueberries
Apple jelly, for glazing

Directions:
To make the tart shell, whisk together the egg yolk, cream and vanilla in a small bowl; set aside.  Place the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor.  Process briefly to combine.  Scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture; process to cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about fifteen 1-second pulses.  With the machine running, add the egg mixture and process until the dough just comes together, about 12 seconds.  Turn the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and press into a 6-inch dish.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 48 hours. 
Remove the dough from the refrigerator.  (If refrigerated for more than an hour, let stand at room temperature until malleable.)  Unwrap and roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to a 13-inch round.  Transfer the dough to a 9-inch tart pan.  Mold the dough to the sides of the tart pan and remove the excess off the top.  Set the dough-lined tart pan on a large plate and freeze for 30 minutes.  
Meanwhile, adjust an oven rack to middle position.  Preheat the oven to 375° F.  Set the dough-lined tart pan on a baking sheet, press a 12-inch square of foil into the frozen shell and over the edge, and fill with pie weights.  Bake for 30 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking time.  Remove from the oven and carefully remove the foil and weights.  Continue to bake until deep golden brown, 5-8 minutes longer.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool. 
To make the pastry cream, heat the half-and-half, 6 tablespoons of the sugar, and the salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat until simmering, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar.  Meanwhile, combine the egg yolks and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in a medium bowl and whisk until the sugar has begun to dissolve and the mixture is creamy, about 15 seconds.  Whisk in the cornstarch until combined and the mixture is pale yellow and thick, about 30 seconds.
When the half-and-half mixture has reached a simmer, slowly add it to the egg yolk mixture to temper, whisking constantly.  Return the mixture to the saucepan, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula.  Return the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until a few bubbles burst on the surface and the mixture is thickened and glossy, about 30 seconds.  Off the heat, whisk in the butter and vanilla.  Strain the pastry cream through a  fine mesh sieve set over a medium bowl.  Press plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate until cold and set, at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.
To assemble the tart, spread the cold pastry cream evenly over the bottom of the tart shell.  Arrange the fruit on top of the pastry cream as desired.  Heat the jelly in the microwave for 20-30 seconds, just until slightly melted and easy to stir.  Using a pastry brush, paint a light layer of jelly over the fresh fruit.  Serve.


Almond cake with raspberry filling

I couldnt decide on what birthday cake I wanted this year, so I decided to make 2 mini cakes so I could enjoy both! I found 4 inch springform pans at Williams-Sonoma and got straight to work. I wanted a flavorful white cake with a raspberry filing. After some searching, I found this recipe on Apple A Day and it was exactly what I was looking for. The batter is light and flavorful and pairs very well with the raspberry filling and the DELICIOUS frosting. THIS IS HEAVEN. Great for one of my birthday cakes!

ENJOY!

Ingredients:
2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 TBSP baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
12 TBSP (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract
1 c. milk
5 egg whites, at room temperature
3/4 c. raspberry preserves, melted (increase to 1 1/4 c. for cupcakes)
raspberries (optional)
1 1/4 c. sliced almonds, lightly toasted and cooled (optional)
For the cream cheese frosting:
1 lb. cream cheese, at room temperature
6 TBSP (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 c. confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp. almond extract

Directions:
Position a rack in the middle of an oven and preheat to 350ºF. Butter and flour 2 round cake pans each 9 inches in diameter and 1 1/2 inches deep.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer set on medium-high speed, beat the butter until light. Gradually add the sugar, beating until well blended. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts.
Reduce the speed to low and, dividing the flour mixture into 3 batches, beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture alternately with the milk just until combined.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer fitted with clean, dry beaters and set on high speed, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the beaten whites into the batter just until incorporated.
Divide the batter between the prepared pans; smooth with the spatula. For cupcakes, divide among 24 cups using a standard-sized scoop.
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, about 30 minutes (20 minutes for cupcakes). Transfer to racks and let cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the pan sides to loosen the cakes. Invert onto racks and let cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the cream cheese frosting: In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese and butter. Using an electric mixer set on medium-high speed, beat until smooth. Reduce the speed to low, add the confectioners’ sugar and again beat until smooth. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts until well blended.
For one layer cake, use a long serrated knife to cut each cake in half horizontally. Place 1 layer on a plate. Spread 1/2 cup of the frosting over the top, then drizzle on 1/4 cup of the melted preserves. Top with another cake layer and repeat with the same amounts of frosting and preserves. Top with a third cake layer and again repeat with the same amounts of frosting and preserves. Top with the fourth cake layer, cut side down.
For cupcakes, use either a piping tip or the cone method to fill each cupcake with raspberry preserves.
Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides. Ring the top with raspberries, if using, and press the toasted almonds onto the sides.
Serve immediately, or cover with a cake dome and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Bring to room temperature before serving. Makes one 9-inch cake; serves 10 to 12. ( I made 2 four inch cakes so I cut the recipe in half. I included the entire recipe here from Apple A Day!)