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OK, I know I said that the recipes I post here would be healthy, and the last one was loaded up with cheese...I did say it was a comfort food. Anyway I was feeling guilty,so to make up for it I am posting 2 salad recipes and using a lot less cheese.

 Mediterranean Quinoa Salad


*  2/3cup quinoa, rinsed
*  1 can low sodium chicken or vegetable broth   15 oz
*  1-2 cloves of garlic finely minced 
*  2 medium shallots chopped
*  1-2 large fresh basil leaves, finely chopped and 1-2 whole for garnish
*  1 sprig rosemary
*  10-15 cherry or grape tomatoes cut in half
*  2 stalks of broccoli, stalks removed, cut into small florettes
*  1/2 can of your favorite pitted olives...I use Kalamatra or black, cut in half or thirds 
*  2-4 oz crumbled low or nonfat feta cheese (optional)
*  1 medium Persian cucumber, chopped into small chunks to balance the size of the tomatoes
*  4-6 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped and 2-3 whole for garnish
*  juice of 1-2 lemons and 1-2 tsp zest
*  EVOO= same amount as lemon juice or to taste (I used 1/2 evoo to the amount of lemon
*  salt and pepper to taste , 
         In a small pot put the rinsed quinoa, garlic, broccoli ( you can steam the broccoli and add it with the tomatoes etc if you want a crisper veggie, 1/2 of the shallots and the chopped basil.
Pour the broth over the ingredients and stir to mix evenly.
Bring them to a boil, place the sprig of rosemary in the pot and cover with a lid, reduce the heat to a bit less than medium and cook for 15 minutes or until 95% of the liquid is gone. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
While the quinoa is cooking prepare the tomatoes, olives, cucumber, mint and lemon zest. 
In the bowl you want to use as your serving bowl whisk the EVOO, lemon juice, lemon zest, chopped mint, salt and pepper. 
Add the cooled quinoa ( toss the rosemary) to the bowl and coat evenly with the dressing. 
Fold in the tomatoes, olives, cucumbers and shallots ( if you are adding Feta cheese fold in now).
Refrigerate for 1 hour or more. Best if served slightly chilled.
 Makes 4 large or 6-8 small servings.
 This salad is a balanced meal with whole grains, protein and vegetables and can be eaten alone. Try it for lunch with tomato soup, iced tea or hot chai.
Quinoa has 8 grams of protein per cup according to Self Nutrition Data   
http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/10352/2 



                                  Waldorf Salad
* 1 lb  sweet apples of your choice, pared and chopped into bite sized pieces
* juice of 1 lime and the zest as a garnish if desired
* 1- 11/2 cup celery sliced thinly
* 2/3 -1 cup low fat mayonnaise ( I use the kind made with olive oil) or
   2/3-1 cup of soy-o-naise  ( soy mayo) or
   1/3 cup yogurt with the balance of either of the "naise" choices ( to do the salad justice it tastes
   better with the tang of the "naise" flavors... see what you like)
* 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
* 3-4 tsp honey or stevia to taste
1-2 scant tsp of apple cider vinegar
        
         Place the apples in a bowl and sprinkle with the lime juice, mix to evenly coat (this will help the apples not to brown).
Add the celery and walnuts to the apples.
In a smaller bowl mix the mayonnaise, 2-3 tsp stevia or honey and thin with a splash of apple cider vinegar.
Pour the dressing over the fruit/nut/celery mix and fold together, covering all of the mix.
Taste the salad and add more honey/stevia to taste.
Garnish with lime zest as desired..I love this added little flavor zing.
Refrigerate at least 1 hour up to 8-12 hours, best eaten the day it was made.
Serves 8, each has a full serving of fruit and walnuts are a good source of Omega 3.    

       My mother used to make this every year for Christmas- it was my Dad's favorite. The "kids" put on the holidays now and I'm not sure if they have it or not. I remember calling her to ask how it was made and marveling at the simplicity of the recipe. I have added a few twists of my own= lime juice/zest, apple cider vinegar, stevia, but it will always be Mom's recipe. I love apples, so Christmas is only one time of the year I make it. There is never any left over when dinner is complete. I meant to take a picture when I made it this time to figure out the measurements ( I eyeball most of my recipes), but it was my son's birthday and it went quickly. I would love to hear about your family favorites and maybe share them with my readers. You can leave a comment here or send your family favorite food stories to me at ashmends@gmail.com      see you soon, blissings  amber

 


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    Hi my name is amber and I've been cooking since I was about 16, but I've been eating for my whole life. I was a vegetarian for 25+ years, but now I eat a small amount of meat most weeks. I try to eat in season and choose organic when I can. My goal is to be healthy, eat food that tastes good and to be in the moment as I create meals for myself and my loved ones.

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