Strawberry Tomato Basil Salad

{deconstructed tomato mozzarella}

strawsalad.jpg

It baffles me knowing that when I was younger I hated cheese.  I really don’t understand people who don’t like it.  It is one of the items I would take with me on a deserted island (given the island is thriving with assorted fruits and veggies).  I blame a portion of a little excess weight gain solely on cheese.  The devil, I swear.  It tastes just so damn good.  The whole lot:  cheddar, blue, mozzarella, brie, parmesan – I love them all.

I always thought fresh mozzarella was one of the more gross looking cheeses.  Soft, white, jiggly pieces.  They often made an appearance throughout my life and I always avoided the creepy things.  Until one day, I decided at a family Christmas party I would give it a try (this was in the midst of my growing cheese obsession).  Needless to say, I think I ate the entire platter with sliced tomatoes – something I have always loved.

Remember when I did the love your lunch series?  I shared a quick lunch idea for a Tomato Mozzarella Flatbread.  I’m pretty sure I spilled my love for this amazing combination in that post.  It has only since grown as the weather warms and sometimes just a light little lunch or dinner is needed.  After eating a late lunch the other day, I wanted to come home and prepare something very simple, quick and light.  I was craving a Tomato Mozzarella salad, but didn’t have any mozzarella on hand.  I scrounged the fridge for what I had and set to work reconstructing a unique version of my beloved salad.

Enter the characters:  Sweet, plump strawberries.  Tart tomatoes.  Refreshing basil.  Creamy feta.

IMG_4042

I started by halving the strawberries and dicing the tomatoes.  I cut the basil into julienned ribbons and mixed the three together.  A simple balsamic honey dressing was drizzled over and topped with the feta cheese.  The sweet, salty, and tart flavors create a great combination.  This salad can be made to serve at a BBQ or as a simple lunch or side dish.

strawberry tomato basil Salad

Recipe By: Sara
Prep Time:  5 minutes   |||   Cook TIme:  0 minutes   |||   Servings: 2 |||   Difficult Level:  Low

Ingredients:
1 cup strawberries, halved
1 cup tomatoes, diced
6-7 large basil leaves, julienned *see photos*
1/4 cup reduced fat feta cheese
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp honey
salt and pepper
dash of cayenne pepper

Directions:
1.  In a bowl, combine the strawberries, tomato and basil.  Stir to combine.
2.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil and honey.  Season with salt and peppers.
3.  Pour over strawberries and tomatoes, stir to combine.
4.  Sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese.

IMG_4055Enjoy

signature

dough bites: she’s alive! edition

I apologize for the lack in posts this week.  It is the first time since starting Not So Doughie that I went a full week without posting.  I just told Bryan that I feel like I am neglecting my child.  Fear no more!  Not So Doughie is back & will be regularly posting again.  Here are a few dough bites to get us through until the next foodie post.

+  It was 83 degrees today.  A few degrees over my ideal temperature when not on a beach or at the pool.  Everyone seemed to be bustling about eager to breathe the fresh air.  It’s been warm here, but we haven’t seen these temps in awhile.  Bryan and I were at lunch outside today and a man walked out of the restaurant and opened his arms to the sun like he was praising God.  I found it funny.

+  Warm weather = grill’s on.  One of our favorite summertime dinner – chicken kabobs.  I am MADE [LOLing at myself because I was editing this post and saw I wrote I am a delicious and simple marinade.  I am sitting here dying laughing.  Oh the small things…] a delicious & simple marinade for the chicken that I will be sharing soon.  Kid friendly, easy, & quick.

+  My blog got placed on the back burner for a couple reasons.  1)  we were out of town last weekend so I didn’t take time to set up any posts this week. 2)  I got “promoted” at work so have been working later.  3)  I have been going to yoga regularly during the week and so my mornings or evenings are taken up by this.  The whole yoga event turns into a 2 hour ordeal.  4)  I have had recipe block.  5)  I haven’t been “into” elaborate meals lately.  So there you have it.  All my excuses.

+  We are having a pot luck at work tomorrow.  I am smelling my cheesecake bars in the oven now…. okay it’s been 10 minutes and they are now out and in the fridge firming up.  I can’t wait to try them.  I made them up all on my own based off of a little cheesecake bar knowledge.  They are doughie, but as you know doughie items make an appearance once or twice around here.

+  I’m spring cleaning this weekend.  Who’s coming to help?  Or at least refer me to a pretty spring cleaning list so it makes it a bit more manageable…

+  Last, but not least… a few pictures of my fur children:  Tobias “Tobey” Delvin Czuba & Ma’am Ramona Czuba

Ma'am in a box

Ma’am in a box

Toby about to head out to the beach

Toby about to head out to the beach

Toby wishing he was allowed outside

Toby wishing he was allowed outside

Ma'am loves selfies

Ma’am loves selfies

Stay tuned for my chicken kabob recipe & the strawberry vanilla cheesecake bar recipe too.  num num num

xoxo

signature

Strawberry Kiwi Mojitos

 {are the new mint julep}

mojitoNSD.jpg

This weekend a lot of people will be pulling out their preppiest clothes, large hats, and sipping on mint juleps.  A few years ago, I was going to go out while the race was going on to drink and bet.  I decided it would be better that day to stay at home, make food and watch Legally Blonde.

I texted my family my winner for the horse race.  Lo and behold, my horse won.  I was so mad because I originally planned to go out and bet at some bar to win at like $50? $100? $1000?  I chose Legally Blonde & cauliflower soup or something weird like that.

Needless to say, I never fully participate in the derby festivities.  I have, however, had a mint julep.  And I wasn’t the biggest fan.  Probably because I don’t like bourbon.  Maybe I just haven’t tried a good one yet, so in the meantime I will drink other fancy drinks such as this mojito.

IMG_3976

Last weekend some people came over for some drinks & I wanted to make something to sip on that was pretty.  I love mojitos and contemplated a basic one, but I thought an added flavor twist would make it interesting.  I chose strawberries & kiwis.

The drink was very tasty.  But there were some tweeks made after a few sips/drinks in order to make the drink better.

mojitoNSD2.jpg

I pureed the kiwis and a bit of the strawberries in an attempt to make a fruit puree.  However, it ended up just separating, the kiwi seeds floating to the bottom, and a clogged straw.  I am sharing the altered recipe in order to avoid these flaws.  Feel free to use only one of the fruits if you prefer.

Strawberry kiwi mojitos

Recipe by: Sara
Prep Time:  15 minutes   |||   Servings: 6-8   |||   Difficult Level:  Low

Ingredients:
6 kiwis, peeled & quartered
1 cup strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh lime juice [1-2 limes]
1/2 cup water
2 cups rum, non-spiced
2 cups sparkling water
1/2 cup mint leaves
garnishes: kiwi slices, lime wedges

Directions:
1.  In a food processor, combine kiwis, 1/2 cup strawberries, water, and lime juice.  Pulse until completely combined.
2.  Set a sieve over a large bowl and pour mixture into sieve, press out all the liquid.
3.  Pour reserved liquid into a serving pitcher.
4.  Add rum , sugar, and sparkling water, stir to combine.
5.  Add kiwi slices and a large handful of mint leaves.
6.  Rim individual glasses with sugar.
7.  Add a small bit of remaining strawberries to bottom of each cup.
8.  Pour in rum/water/fruit mixture.
9.  Add a few mint leaves and garnish with kiwi and lime.

Be safe, enjoy a fancy drink and may the fastest horse win!

signature

Strawberry Banana Flaxseed Smoothie

{the pretty smoothie}

flaxsmoothie

I have been really into smoothie-making again.  They are just so easy to prepare and the combinations are endless.  I started making individual bags of smoothie combinations and putting them in the freezer.  I portion each for 1 smoothie, freeze it, pop into the blender, add a liquid, blend, pour, go.  The whole time change caused me to wake up a bit later so they were quite handy for a morning breakfast.

IMG_3639For these two combinations, I did the following:

#1) 3 very thin lemon slices, 1/2 cup frozen peaches, 1 handful of kale
#2) Fresh strawberries, blueberries, cherries, a handful of kale

Have you ever tried the Naked brand “smoothie” blends?  I really like them and usually cut them in half with water.  However, they are pretty calorie packed so I try to just use them as meal replacements.  I started trying different blended juices at the store and really liked the Bolthouse blends.  I tried the Carrot and Mango one – it was just OK, but the Amazing Mango one was, well, amazing.  It also is pretty thick so I cut it with water again.  I only used 4oz of the juice and the rest water.

IMG_3592

I am featuring this smoothie as a “recipe” on today’ post because I used the little addition of flax seeds.  Now, I wish I had used ground flaxseeds to reduce the seediness if you will.  So if you have a grinder, grind those babies up.

IMG_3594

So what’s the deal with flaxseed?

These seeds aren’t new to our world, they have been around for millions of years.  Us smart humans are just now wrapping our head around the health benefits of them – some of which are listed below.

+ Omega 3 essential fatty acids — the good fat that keeps our ticker healthy
+ Fiber — keep things flowin’ and our digestive system clean
+ Lignans — an antioxidant that protects against cancer-causing agents

Flaxseeds are pretty tasteless in my opinion.  I tend to add them into smoothies or sometime sprinkle over a salad.  For 2Tbsp they have about 75 calories – not bad at all for the health benefits that they punch.  A large container will last you a while too so go grab one and start using this wonder seed.

strawberry mango banana flaxseed smoothie

Ingredients:
1/2 cup strawberries
1 frozen banana
1 Tbsp flaxseeds
4 oz Amazing Mango
4 oz (or more) H2O

Directions
Add all ingredients to a blender and process until desired consistency.

IMG_3598

signature

Strawberry Banana Bread

{okay, it’s a little doughie}

IMG_3573

There’s this rack at the Kroger I frequent that has intensely marked down items.  Typically, bananas are on the shelf and are practically brown & cost about 89 cents.  Every smoothie I make has a banana in it so I buy the bushel and freeze them.  The most recent bushel I bought had about 8 bananas on it.

IMG_3554

I already had a huge stock of frozen bananas so I decided I would make one of my favorite desserts/breakfasts: banana bread.  As you can see, I am not an avid sweet eater.  I would give up sweets and sugar thirty times over before giving up salty.  I just am not that into it, which I guess isn’t a terrible thing.

However, I definitely have a few sweets that are tucked away on my favorite list.  Such items include:  cheesecake (topped with cherries), out of the oven chocolate chip cookies, a strawberry cheesequake blizzard from Dairy Queen, and banana bread.  I am not sure if I should classify the banana bread as dessert though because nothing beats a warm piece of banana bread for breakfast.

IMG_3557

Sunday morning called for just this sweet breakfast treat.  I love classic banana bread, but I wanted to give it a little bit of a twist.  Cue the strawberries.  Who doesn’t love strawberries and bananas together??  I wanted to attempt to make the recipe not so doughie, but I strongly believe that there are some recipes that need just left alone.  I am willing to try a healthier one, but after being pretty dedicated to bikram and cleaning eating, I deserved a nice slice of something doughie.

IMG_3559

I am proud to say that this is my very own recipe, completely made up by yours truly, Doughie.  For those who know me and my past baking experiences, you probably are pretty shocked right?  I know I certainly am proud & the likes and comments I have received on social media made me want to post the recipe immediately.  So here it goes!

Strawberry banana bread

Recipe by: Sara
Hands on Time:  10 minutes   ///   Cook Time:  60 minutes   ///   Servings:  8   ///   Oven Temp: 350 degrees

Ingredients:

3 overripe bananas, smashed
1 cup strawberries, small dice
3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup bread flour [if you don’t have this use 2 cups all purpose]
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs, beaten
Directions
1.  In a bowl of a standing mixer, cream the sugar and butter together for about 1 minute on medium speed.
2.  Add in the smashed bananas, Greek yogurt, vanilla and eggs.  Slowly mix together.
3.  Slowly add in the two flours, baking soda, and salt.
4.  Stir in strawberries.
5.  Grease a bread loaf pan and pour in batter.  Place a few sliced strawberries on the top.
7.  Bake for 60-65 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean.
8.  Allow the loaf to cool then slice and serve with a pat of butter.
IMG_3566
IMG_3571
Enjoy.
signature

Strawberry Banana Green Smoothie

{my green goddess}

On nights without Chase, Bryan and I either have things we know he wouldn’t like or we just have a “whatever” night.  Yes, we have coined these nights “whatever”.  Aka eat whatever you can find in the house.  I had a delicious salad from the salad bar at Whole Foods today so I wasn’t really starved for dinner tonight.  One of my go-tos is a smoothie.  I love adding kale and/or spinach to them for an added boost of nutrients.  Although I love the taste of kales and spinach for those who don’t this is a great way to eat them.  The sweetness of the fruit takes away from the taste of the veggies.  The smoothie is pretty filling so it serves as a great dinner replacement.  It also is great for breakfast!  I hope you enjoy :)

IMG_2907

 

{Click here for the recipe}

signature