Friday, February 22, 2013

Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Arugula

I just love roasted beets.  I love the color.  I love the sweetness.  I love that my kids love them!  This salad is another wonderful way to serve them.  It is filled with great texture from the soft beets, creamy avocado and goat cheese, chewy dried cranberries, and crunchy roasted walnuts.  For me, salads should have lots of varying textures.  It makes them fun and interesting.  This salad is a new favorite in my house, and so good that I am planning on incorporating it into holiday meals!  You know you've found a winner when it meets "holiday" standards.  ;)


1/8 C balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp minced shallots
1 1/2 tsp honey
3 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch red beets, roasted and cut into 1 inch pieces
7 oz baby arugula
1/4 C toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/8 C dried cranberries
1/2 avocado, cut into cubes
2 oz goat cheese, crumbled

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Combine the vinegar, shallots, and honey into a small bowl.  Whisk together.  Gradually whisk in the olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper. 
  3. Place the beets into a bowl and toss with enough of the vinaigrette to evenly coat.  Transfer the beets to a prepared baking sheet and roast until they begin to caramelize, about 12 minutes.  Stir occasionally while roasting.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
  4. Toss the arugula, walnuts, and cranberries with remaining dressing, then distribute onto plates.  Top each salad with the avocado, beets, and goat cheese and serve.

Adapted from Everyday Italian

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Fourth Birthday Party!

A few weeks ago, my oldest baby turned 4.  I can't believe how fast time flies!  Given our love of food and cooking, we decided to have a pizza-making party at my local Young Chef's Academy.  It was our first time visiting this establishment, and I was so impressed!  

The kitchen was bright and colorful, adding to the fun for the kids.  They were all set up when we arrived and I took a quick look around.

We set up the food for the adults.  We brought in sandwiches, fruit, veggies, biscotti, and mini desserts. 

The prep counter was set up with chef hats and crayons for the kids to decorate with.  Each of them had a great time drawing and customizing their own hat.

The various pizza toppings were all set out and ready for the hungry kids to add to their pizzas.

After some fun and silliness, the cooking began!  Each child got to help measure the ingredients for the pizza dough - and I didn't have to worry about cleaning up the mess!  :)

They used "magic" to skip the rising step of the dough making, and allowed the kids to get right to work.  Each child got an equal-sized portion and began kneading away.

The chef instructors went around and shaped the dough into a variety fun shapes like mermaids, butterflies, bunnies, snakes, cars, etc.  The kids LOVED that part!

Next, the toppings came out and the kids were let loose to top however they wanted.  

 While the pizzas were baking, it was time to decorate the cupcakes.  In lieu of a sheet cake, we opted to let each child decorate their own dessert.  

The kids all devoured their hard work.  :)

The finished desserts!  Everyone sang to the birthday girl, and they all enjoyed their creations.  The adults were able to relax and have fun watching their kids cook.  It was such a great experience.  I hope to find an activity just as fun for her next birthday!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Weekly Menu

I'm back friends!!  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and start to the new year.  We have been busy trying to stay healthy this flu season and hosting my daughter's 4th birthday party (post to come later this week).  It has been a long time, but the farm has finally re-opened!  I can't tell you how excited I was to get fresh, local veggies!  The store-bought stuff was just not cutting it anymore.  And to top off my excitement...the strawberries are here!!!  Along with a double batch of strawberries, I picked up some romaine, kale, carrots, purple cauliflower, and beets.  With this lovely assortment, I will be making the following dinners this week:

  • Kale and Mushroom Quesadillas with a Beet, Goat Cheese, and Arugula Salad
    • using the kale, and beets

  • Western-Style Falafel and Rustic Cauliflower Bake
    • using the cauliflower and romaine

  • Pumpkin Pizza with Crispy Sage
    • using the last of my frozen pumpkin puree

  • The carrots are for my oldest daughter's lunches and will also be roasted for finger foods for my toddler.  We will be enjoying the strawberries for dessert and with oatmeal in the morning.  The rest of the kale with be used for my Kale-slaw lunches.  

On a personal note, I have struggled trying to balance this blog and my family time, so please be patient as I try and figure out the best balance for me.  The number of posts may vary each week.  I will do my best, but my family must come first.  I hope you understand and will stick with me during this time.  I appreciate all of you who come and visit.  Thanks for going on this journey with me!