Roasted Beet & Goat Cheese Stacks

Not very many people like beets. They definitely are an acquired taste, a taste I strongly suggest you try.  The first or second time may still gross you out, but I am telling you, try them prepared homemade or professionally (NOT FROM THE CAN) and you will be pleasantly surprised.  They are sweet, yet Earthy and rich in various nutrients.

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Last year, I was out to dinner in Chicago celebrating my sister’s Master’s graduation.  We were at a restaurant known for their chicken and waffles, which were amazing.  Our table tried the beet appetizer on the menu, most guests at the table skeptical and uninterested.  However, the stacks of deep purple goodness were welcomed and thoroughly enjoyed.  Ever since we had this recipe I have wanted to create some type of beet stack similar to this one.  Unfortunately, Bryan is not a fan and so I never buy any while at the store.

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Fortunately, Bryan’s mom planted beets in her garden this year so I received my first batch of beets last week.  You can’t get much more organic than produce from your own backyard.  I can’t wait to have a large yard one day so I can have my own garden!  So when Bryan came home with the bag of beets I knew I wanted to create a stack like the one in the restaurant.  I wanted it to be a simple bite that I could enjoy before our dinner  (Grilled Chinese BBQ Pork Tenderloin) and not be full.

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I had some delicious, creamy goat cheese in the fridge that I sliced into small medallions as the 2nd star in my stack.  A simple sprinkle of parsley from my balcony garden and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar completed my creation.  These are very easy (although a bit messy, they stain your hands pink) to prepare and very beautiful.  Prepare these stacks and encourage your guests to try them.  So don’t be shy and quickly move on to your next blog, give the beet a try!

roasted beet & goat cheese stacks

Recipe by: Sara
Prep Time:  5 minutes   |||   Cook TIme: 1 hour   |||   Servings: 4  |||   Difficulty: Medium

Ingredients:
~8 beets (2 per person, depending on size)
~4 oz goat cheese
8 garlic cloves, peeled
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp parsley, chopped
salt and pepper

Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2.  Remove the stems and greens from the beets.
3.  Place the beets on some tin foil, leaving enough room to wrap up into a pouch.  Add the garlic cloves to the beets and drizzle with olive oil.
4.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and close up the foil pouches.  Place in oven directly on the rack.
5.  Once fork tender (about an hour) remove and use a paring knife to remove the peel.
6.  Cut the beets horizontally and stack them back up alternating with the goat cheese.
7.  Sprinkle with the parsley and drizzle with the balsamic vinegar.
8.  Serve warm or chilled.

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Sweet & Spicy Salsa Duo + Homemade Tortilla Chips

Happy Monday!  Today marks the 2nd month of my recipe contribution to A Dose of Paige.

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On her blog, I share a delicious, unique twist on homemade salsa.  I created a duo that complements each other perfectly.  Sweet & Spicy – A Chipotle Black Bean & Sweet Watermelon Cucumber.  I also made my own homemade corn tortilla chips.  You’ll have to visit her site to see more pictures and get the recipe!  Click on the link below.

A Dose of Paige – Sweet & Spicy Salsa Duo

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Ode to the Jicama

{hic-a-ma}

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There are a ton of fruits & vegetables that go unnoticed at the store.  As creatures of habit, we tend to stick to the basics – lettuce, carrots, potatoes, green beans.  Next time you go to the store really look around and take in the incredible variety around you.

A few years ago, I spotted this interesting tuber-like veggie? fruit? potato?

IMG_3440I placed the ugly little thing in my shopping cart and toted it home.  It sat on my counter for a few days until I did enough research to know how it is typically prepared.

The jicama is also known as a Mexican turnip or yam.  It is typically eaten raw, paired with chili powder, cilantro, onion, etc.  Very similar to the basic ingredients in a salsa.   The texture is like that of a raw potato or crisp apple.  The taste is relatively sweet, a bit starchy, and super crunchy & fresh.

My first experience with the old jicama consisted of the basics.  I julienned it and tossed with cilantro, lime juice, red onion, salt, pepper, cayenne [ingredients similar to those in my Pineapple Salsa].  A refreshing raw salad.  This time I wanted to add a bit more umph to salad.  I had some delicious Cara Cara oranges & Meyer lemons in my fridge so I decided to create a tropical, citrus jicama salad.

It turned out to be a perfect combination of flavors: starchy, sweet, sour, spicy and tasted amazing.  I had a bottle of dried, toasted coconut pieces (typically used for baking) that brought the whole thing together.  This bottle was purchased at Home Goods.  If you can’t find something like it, I suggest just toasting some shredded coconut to put on top.

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I really enjoyed this unique salad and it made me stray from the typical fruits & veggies that end up in my shopping cart.  If you are trying to broaden your palate, start with the jicama.  Its mellow flavor isn’t something super adventurous or weird.  Although pretty high in carbs, it has a lot of vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for the body, including an abundance of your daily dose of fiber.  So next time you are at your grocery store, pass by the boring white potatoes and pick up a jicama!

tropical Citrus jicama salad
Recipe By: Sara
Hands-on Time:  15 minutes   ///   Cook Time:  0 minutes   ///   Servings: 4

Ingredients:
1 large jicama, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
2 oranges, peeled & cut into segments
1 Meyer lemon
2 Tbsp red onion, minced
2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 tsp Mango Masala sea salt [use kosher salt if you don’t buy this :)]
1 Tbsp toasted coconut pieces or chopped shredded coconut
1 tsp coconut oil, melted

Directions:
1.  In a small bowl, combine the juice from the lemon, salt, coconut oil and pepper.  Stir to combine.
2.  In a serving bowl, toss together the red onion, jicama, and cilantro.
3.  Drizzle the mixture over the jicama.
4.  Top with orange segments and toasted coconut.
5.  Chill until ready to serve.

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enjoy!

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Tomato & Goat Cheese Endive Cups

{healthy & vibrant snack}

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As you know, I am a big snack & appetizer fan.  Sometimes I get really sad when out to dinner if I accidentally max out on the appetizers.  No room for dinner!  However, it is really hard to pass up appetizers so I try to opt for healthy, less filling ones.

When we go out Bryan and I are always suckers for mussels or seared Ahi tuna bites.  If I am not having seafood for dinner, these are my go-to appetizers.  I am never left full and ready for dessert.  Veggie appetizers are few and far between so I have been experimenting with some ideas.

I have been compiling a list of some apps that I would like to serve when I host a Sip Happens party.  I am all about balance… a protein app, a sweet app, sweet & savory combo app, veggie app etc.  Since I am on a healthy and clean eating kick, using the endive leaves as scoops instead of crackers makes for a low carb, practically calorie free alternative.

This appetizer is a beautiful one to present with its vibrant colors.  The mixture can easily be adapted to your likes as well.  I love tomatoes anytime of the year so that was the main veg here.  I paired it with creamy goat cheese and thyme.  As summertime approaches, I will definitely be making this again as a caprese version!

tomato & goat cheese endive cups

Recipe by: Doughie
Hands on time:  15 minutes   ///  Servings:  about 18

Ingredients
3 endive bunches
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/4 cup of goat cheese crumbles
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp Agave nectar (or honey)
1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt & pepper

Directions
1.  In a bowl, combine the oil, vinegar, thyme and spices.
2.  Drizzle over the tomatoes.  Refrigerate until serving.
3.  Gently, remove each endive leave for the core.
4.  Add the goat cheese to the tomato mixture.
5.  Spoon a bit into each endive cup.
6.  Serve immediately.

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Simple Spicy Asian Slaw

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I may sound like a broken record, but once again I fell off the clean eating band wagon and am pulling myself back on.  This past weekend Bryan and I went out to dinner to celebrate our 3 year/Valentine’s Day.  Needless to say, I always struggle to be healthy when going out to eat especially for special occasions.  We shared an amazing caramelized bacon pimento cheese spread accompanied by homemade pretzel rolls, drank wine, and I smashed my face into a Seafood Risotto.  Langoustines & Shrimp with mushrooms and peas drizzled with a vanilla butter.  Omg.  Check out my instagram for the picture.

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The one two three glasses of wine plus a few after dinner shots at the bar lead to.. well… a difficult Sunday.  Hangover city.  The only cure.  McDonalds nuggets + fries + fountain pop.  Not so clean eating.

So here I am again, yet another week gone and still struggling to stay on the clean eating train.  But similar to every Sunday I pledged to myself to go to the store, meal plan, schedule work outs, and stop being doughie.

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I grabbed a head of cabbage (that was so cheap!!) and decided to try out an asian slaw.  I didn’t want to put too much into the slaw to keep it simple and all about the star of the show, the cabbage.  Now, I know that soy sauce contains a large amount of sodium (that’s why I used the low-sodium version, duh) and isn’t necessarily clean, but considering how great cabbage is for you it doesn’t matter.

I had the slaw as just a simple lunch and it kept me full for awhile.  It keeps well in the fridge and doesn’t even get soggy due to the thickness of the cabbage.  I ate it for several meals and even as a small snack.  Pair it as a side with any stir fry dish or pile it on top of some delicious fish tacos!  Yum.

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Simple Spicy asian Slaw

Hands On Time:  15 minutes   ///   Cook Time:  0 minutes   ///   Servings:  4

Ingredients
1/2 head of green cabbage, cut into thin slices
3 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp Sriracha (or more if you want really spicy)
3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp honey
1 Tbsp Sesame Ginger salad dressing
2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
zest of 1 lemon
salt & pepper
sesame seeds (optional)

Directions
1.  In a bowl, combine all the ingredients except the cabbage & cilantro.  Whisk to thoroughly combine and season.
2.  Drizzle over the cabbage and stir in the cilantro and sesame seeds if you are using them.
3.  Place in fridge for about 30 minutes before serving.

Enjoy.

 

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Pineapple Salsa

{take me somewhere tropical}

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In light of my intense cabin fever, I am sharing my deliciously refreshening Pineapple Salsa recipe.  I am so damn sick of winter that I cannot even deal.  The few snow storms were fun and great and yadda yadda, but enough is enough.

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 I think I officially got over the winter after a evening playing in the snow for 2 hours with Bryan and Chase.  We took a sled out and soared down the massive snow mounds in our neighborhood.  I pulled Chase in the sled for approximately 30 seconds before I keeled over thinking I was having a large heart attack.  Turns out I wasn’t, just an incredibly out of shape person.  We had a lot of fun outside, but that was enough for me for 365 days.  Bring on the sunshine.

Anyways, enough talk of this dreary winter and onto my salsa.  I first made this to go with a citrus rubbed salmon.  I had a bit leftover so it went into the fridge and tasted even better the next day.  I started making the salsa to simply eat with chips.  The sweet and spicy pair nicely and the tropical flavor gave me a small glimpse of warmer weather.

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Serve it plain with chips (like I did for the Super Bowl) or over grilled chicken or fish.

*Buyers Tip:  when deciding what pineapple to buy smell it and if it is fragrant that means it will be nice and ripe for serving.

Pineapple Salsa by doughie

Hands-on Time:  15 minutes   ///   Servings 6-8

Ingredients
1 pineapple
2 Tbsp red onion
1 jalapeno, minced
1 tomato
2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
1 lime
salt and pepper

Directions
1.  Peel and core the pineapple.  Cut into very small pieces.
2.  Cut the tomato and red onion into a very small dice.
3.  In a serving bowl, combine the pineapple, onion, tomato, and cilantro
4.  Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper.
5.  Cut the lime in half and squeeze the juice over the salsa.
6.  Mix together and allow ingredients to sit together for about an hour.
7.  Serve with tortilla chips or over chicken or fish.

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enjoy.

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Taste of Tuesday: Olive Garden Breadsticks

{a new link-up!}

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Sunday night blogging led me to stumble upon this link-up hosted by Jessica & Ashley called Taste of Tuesday.  It’s a pretty simple concept that is right down my alley.  Each Tuesday post a little something related to food, whether it is a new restaurant to try, a healthy snack, or a delicious recipe.  Those participating will linkup on their blogs.  I look forward to increased traffic with this fun new hangout.

For my first Taste of Tuesday, I am sharing with you my copycat Olive Garden bread sticks ***Warning:  this is a      D  O  U  G  H  I  E      recipe***  I mean come on, IT IS DOUGH!

I will share that I greatly despise the Olive Garden.  However, I am a fan of their salad and bread sticks.  I wanted to try to bake bread sticks for a while and did a little research before I dove in.  These really are excellent and, in my opinion, are pretty damn close to the ones the serve.  I hope you enjoy & be sure to check out Blissfully Miller & Let’s Get Bananas!

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Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups warm water (105-115 degrees, no more no less)
1 packet yeast
3 1/2 cups bread flour
2 Tbsp white sugar
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp salt

For topping
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp salt
2 tsp garlic powder
pepper
sprinkle of parmesan cheese

DIrections
1.  In a standing mixer (or bowl), combine yeast, water, and a small pinch of the sugar.  Let stand 10 minutes or until frothy.
2.  Add  1 cup of the flour, melted butter, salt and sugar.  Attach bread hook.
3.  Slow start mixing on low, adding remaining flour until combined.
4.  Allow dough to be kneaded on medium speed for about 2 minutes.  Adding additional flour if dough is too sticky.
5.  Place dough in an oiled bowl, covered tightly with plastic wrap.  Let sit in a warm area for at least an hour.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
6.  Turn dough out onto a floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces.
7.  Roll each piece into a thick snack and place on a greased baking sheet.
8.  Bake for about 8-12 minutes or until golden brown.
9.  Combine all ingredients for topping, except parmesan in a small bowl.
10.  As soon as bread comes out of the oven, use a kitchen brush to paint the butter mixture on the cooked bread sticks.  Sprinkle with a bit of Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

enjoy.

xoxosara

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