Raw Rainbow Corn Salad

{a bowl of summer}

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August 1st.  Wow, is it just me or has this year flown by?  I honestly cannot believe it is already August.  That being said, summer is in its last month & before I know it Bryan, Chase and I will be heading out to the apple orchard for our annual fall trip.  Then we will be bundled up trudging through the snow to go pick out the perfect Christmas tree.  But just not quite yet…. There are far too many summer days to soak up & recipes to create.

Has anyone tried to freeze corn on the cob before?  I see them at the grocery store, but am thinking about trying it out so I have some of this amazing summer sweet corn for the winter.

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This summer corn has appeared in several of my recipes and oftentimes is our side dish.  Not only are they so easy to make, but there are so many ways to cook (or not) them.  I grilled the corn, which I used in the Kale & Corn Salad I posted on Paige’s site.  I also added them to my summer Shrimp & Corn Chowder.  For this recipe, I left the kernels as is, straight up raw off the cob.

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Originally, I made this salad for my sister & her husband’s going away party.  If I do say so myself, it was a pretty decent hit.  I whipped it up for one of my girlfriend’s bachelorette parties…again a successful dish.  It also makes for some great leftovers.  All of the flavors meld together & become bolder as they sit.  Another added bonus, the beautiful colors.  I used literally every color of the rainbow.. ok I didn’t use blue so I made sure to use a blue bowl for serving.  This dish is definitely eye-catching & I loved photographing it!

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If you know how to chop & you love an easy, yet crowd-pleasing dish this is your winner.  No cooking involved.  Simply chop, mix, serve.  I hope you are enjoying these beautiful (cool in MI) summer nights & taking time to cook delicious food, relax with family & truly enjoy life!  I know I am :)

Raw Rainbow Corn salad

Recipe by: Sara
Prep Time:  15 minutes   |||   Cook TIme: 0 minutes   |||   Servings: 8-10   |||   Difficulty: Very Low

Ingredients
8 ears of corn, husked & silk removed
1/2 orange bell pepper, diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 lime, juiced and zest
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chipotle seasoning
1 Tbsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
5 oz queso fresca, crumbled

Directions
1.  Remove the kernels from their cobs by placing a coffee cup upside-down in a large bowl.  Hold the cob vertically, using the base of the coffee mug as its platform.  Use your knife to slice down the cob.  The kernels will fall into the bowl.
2.  Add all other ingredients, except about 1 oz. of the cheese.  Stir together.
3.  Chill in the fridge until ready to serve & top with remaining cheese.

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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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Summer Corn & Shrimp Chowder with Bacon

{the summer soup}

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I used to hate soups.  I never was a big fan of them growing up.  Chicken noodle soup was served when you were sick, but soup was never a frequent visitor to the dinner table.  I did LOVE beef stew.  However, stew is not soup is not chowder.  In my old age, I have grown to love soups, stews, chowders, bisques, gazpachos etc etc.  They definitely appear on my dinner menu often, but in the fall & winter more.

However, I don’t discriminate soup in the summer so I add some delicious summer flavors to keep it light.  You’ve probably noticed a decent amount of posts including corn lately.  Well, it is summertime and I really cannot get enough of it.  [I will be posting a Mexican Corn Salad shortly where I use the corn straight up off the cob.]  This recipe uses the corn’s kernels and “pulp” to add creaminess to the broth.

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So what exactly is the difference between a stew, chowder, and soup?  I did some research to answer this question for you…..

  • SOUP:  Liquid is very thin.  Can be cream based or broth based.  It is majority liquid with some, if any, added pieces
  • CHOWDER:  Broth is thickened using an agent such as flour and has more “stuff” in it than liquid.
  • STEW:  Mainly solid pieces of veggies & meat cooked in a small amount of liquid (beer) cooked slow resulting in a gravy base.

Based off of these Sara-determined definitions, this is a soup because I didn’t use any flour as a thickening agent.  I am still going to call it a chowder because I like the word chowder and there is more “stuff” than liquid.

This is the ultimate summer soup.  It has many bold flavors, is light, creamy, salty, sweet, and in my chowder, spicy.  If you aren’t a shrimp fan, substitute crab or lobster – yum!  This dinner sounds a bit fancy, but it is yet another “Dinner in 20″ meal.  It requires one pot too which makes for easy clean up :)

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summer corn & shrimp chowder with bacon
Recipe By:  Sara
Prep Time:  5 minutes   |||   Cook TIme: 20 minutes   |||   Servings: 4   |||   Difficulty: Low

Ingredients:
3 slices of thick bacon, chopped
1 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme
2 garlic cloves, minced
4-6 ears of corn, husks and silk removed
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 lb shrimp, peeled & deveined, cut into pieces
1/2 cup milk [I used fat-free]
1 tsp hot pepper sauce
dash of cayenne pepper
salt & pepper
Optional:  cilantro, cheddar cheese

Directions:
1.  Cut the corn kernels off the cobs over a bowl.  Squeeze any excess “juice” from the cores.
2.  In a dutch oven or large pot, heat over medium and add the bacon.  Cook until crispy.  Remove about 2 Tbsp from the pot & set aside.  If there is a lot of grease, discard all but about 2 tsp.
3.  Add the onion and celery & saute until softened, about 6 minutes.
4.  Add the garlic & thyme and saute an additional minute.
5.  Add the corn and any pulp acquired during cutting and chicken broth.  Bring to a boil.
6.  Reduce heat to a simmer and add the shrimp.  Cook for 2 minutes.
7.  Stir in the milk.
8.  Season with salt and pepper and cayenne.
9.  Serve with cheddar cheese, cilantro and remaining bacon pieces.

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Enjoy!

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Grilled Corn & Kale Salad

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Hey everyone!  Happy Tuesday!  I am excited to announce that I will be a recipe contributor to A Dose of Paige.  What does that mean?  Well, you may remember when Paige & I swapped blogs a while back.  She shared a DIY for spices jar labels & I shared a DIY homemade taco seasoning on her blog.  We loved doing the swap and both had a ton of great feedback from our readers.  That being said, she asked if I would contribute a monthly recipe to her blog.

Be sure to check out her blog every 3rd week of the month for a delicious dose of Paige.  June’s pilot recipe features a lot of fresh ingredients while using the grill.  Grilled Sweet Corn & Kale Salad!  Yum.  Sweet & smokey corn, crunchy kale, juicy tomatoes.  Have I got you intrigued yet?  Head over to her blog to get all the details:

A dose of Paige:  Grilled sweet corn & kale salad

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it’s my birthday, I’ll eat quinoa if I want to…

…but in all reality, I definitely don’t want to.  Who eats quinoa on their birthday?? Birthdays are supposed to be about cupcakes, sprinkles, cheesecakes, drinks and whatever ones birthday heart desires to eat, right?

So yes.  Today marks the 6th anniversary of my 21st birthday:

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Or the 26th anniversary of this pretty cute DOUGHIE baby.:

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I am not a huge fan of being a grown up and having a birthday. Everyone should get their birthday off work, it be acceptable to still wear a crown, and drink all day long while carrying a Strawberry Shortcake balloon around town. Unfortunately, that’s not much of the case anymore and I am working all day instead. However, I will be enjoying a beautiful evening dining somewhere delicious with Bryan.  So back to food talk….

So don’t get me wrong.  I do really like quinoa and we already reviewed its amazing benefits here.  However, today in fact is my birthday and I choose to not eat quinoa today.

I am choosing to share this delicious quinoa salad recipe with you all.  I made it over the weekend to bring to Easter dinner at Bryan’s grandparents.  They are trying to eat really healthy and I was on the list to bring a cold, non-lettuce, salad.  At first, I thought perhaps my jicama or cabbage salad, but those didn’t have enough UMPH to be served as an Easter side dish.

My recent quinoa experience steered my brain towards a healthy grain salad.  In addition, I wanted to incorporate bright, springy vegetables considering it was going to be gorgeous spring weather.  While at the store, I bought a variety of peppers and a pop of crunchy sweet corn. I decided on a pretty simple Honey Lime Vinaigrette to marry the quinoa and veggies together.  It was very flavorful, but not overpowering and it accentuated the sweet notes of the peppers.

I am also choosing to share this post today as part of the Love Your Lunch series.  It definitely is a salad that is better the next day.  The flavors are much stronger and delicious after marinating together overnight in the fridge.  Since we had plenty of leftovers, I took a tupperware to lunch & it was so tasty and kept me full and satisfied until dinner.

My main plan was to just use the sweet corn, cilantro and the vinaigrette in this salad, but the peppers were on sale and too pretty to pass up.  The vegetables can be easily swapped for whatever is your preference or on sale at the time.  Try a combination on snap peas, red pepper, and feta cheese.  Or asparagus, eggplant and goat cheese.  The options are endless.

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So no.  I will not be eating quinoa today because I ate it all up yesterday.  Today, I am allowing myself to wander outside the office walls for lunch for some fresh air… it is Earth Day after all!

spring quinoa salad with honey lime vinaigrette
recipe by:  Sara
Hands on Time:  15 minutes   ///   Cook Time:  15-20 minutes   ///   Servings:  6-8

Ingredients:
1 & 1/2 cups quinoa
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 orange pepper
3 ears of sweet corn
1 jalapeno, minced
1 tsp ground chipotle powder
1/4 cup finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp honey
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt & pepper

Directions
1.  Cook quinoa according to package instructions then place in fridge to cool.
2.  Cut the peppers into a small dice and remove the corn from the ears.  Combine in a bowl with the chipotle seasoning and jalapeno.
3.  In a small bowl, combine the lime, honey, olive oil, and garlic with a whisk until thoroughly mixed.
4.  Season with salt and pepper.
5.  Add the cooled quinoa to the pepper and corn mixture.
6.  Pour dressing over salad and stir to combine.
7.  Stir in cheese and season salad with salt and pepper to taste.
8. Chill for 30 minutes or until ready to serve.

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