Arugula, Beet, and Blood Orange Salad

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So the Super Bowl was yesterday and blah blah blah. I may offend many of my fellow Americans when I say this, but what the hell¬†is with everyone and football? Grown men darting around in Spanx, fighting to the death over a¬†charmingly-named “pig skin”, bashing heads like they’re auditioning for Braveheart? Um, hello?

Can you tell I never played sports?
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Kale and Quinoa Salad with Ginger Sesame Vinaigrette

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It’s not in my nature to forget to eat a meal or just not be hungry. I usually think those people who “never feel like lunch” or “had a really big dinner 4 weeks ago” are kidding themselves and would gnaw off my arm out of blind hunger if I blinked for a half second too long. But, over the last weekend, I became (briefly) one of those weirdos. I was on a baking extravaganza, crafting 200 cupcakes and multiple cakes between two separate events, when I plum just….didn’t feel the need to eat. Or drink water. Or think about much other than piping tips, pastry bags, and gigantic blocks of 80% dark chocolate.

It got ugly after day 2. BUT, it was a wonderful weekend and I had the pleasure of bringing tasty joy to a few people, so I really can’t complain. And I can’t resist sharing a photo of the wedding cake and cupcakes I did for my dear friend Lauren, who tied the knot this weekend:

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Yea. I meant two pictures.

The point being that my diet over the last few days has been worse than that of Honey Boo-Boo’s entire family, so I had to shock it back into health with something green and leafy. “Welcome, welcome, delicious kale. Oh, you brought a friend? Some toasted seaweed? Quite spiffing, my dear boy! Good show!” It went something like that when I looked in my fridge. Remember: I’ve been quite dehydrated. Talking to an ice box filled with dying plants is just the tip of the iceberg.

I did some research, bought some avocados, and found a delightful mix of dressing and veggie goodness that spoke to my deprived gut. The outcome was filling, delightfully salty with a hint of sushiness (thanks to the nori), and wham-bam good for you.

Kale and Quinoa Salad with Ginger Sesame Vinaigrette

3 c fresh kale, ribbed and chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 carrot, shredded
1 avocado, chunked
handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 c toasted sunflower seeds
1/2 c nori, sliced thin
1/3 c mandarin orange slices
1 c dry quinoa
2 T olive oil
2 T sesame oil
1 shallot, minced
1 t fresh ginger, grated fine
3 T rice vinegar
2 T balsamic vinegar
1 T honey
1 T soy sauce
dash lemon juice

In a large salad bowl, whisk together oils, ginger, shallot, vinegars, honey, soy sauce, and lemon juice. Toss in the kale and set aside. Cook the quinoa per directions. Meanwhile, toss the avocado, carrot, tomatoes, orange slices, and sunflower seeds in with the kale. When the quinoa is done and slightly cooled, mix in with the kale. Right before serving, mix in the nori.

Note: this makes a good amount of dressing, so feel free to only use half, a tablespoon, whatever your heart desires. Just mix in more if desired and see where the wind takes you.

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Roasted Eggplant Salad

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Like many out there, I tend to fixate on one ingredient for a few weeks and act like the world revolves around that single creation of nature.

“Why don’t you want to try my salmon skin milkshake? Are you seriously telling me that you’ve reached max capacity for Omega-3s today? Chug-a-lug, brah.”

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I haven’t gotten sick of chick peas yet, which have been my recent light-of-my-life, love-of-my-world item. Baked, fried, mashed, sauteed, pureed; wherever the wind takes you with these gold nuggets is heavenly, so I keep my shelves stocked with 5-6 cans. More if I can eat other things to make way for cases upon cases of garbanzo bliss.

This salad is great on toast or with any additionals you have lying around. The original recipe didn’t call for chick peas or avocado (which was just crazy talk), so I took the liberty of adding liberal amounts of both.

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Roasted Eggplant Salad with Chick Peas, Avocado, and Goat Cheese

adapted slightly from The Kitchn

3 small eggplants
salt
3 T cider vinegar
1/3 c olive oil
1 T honey
1 t paprika
1/2 t cumin
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 T lemon juice
2 T soy sauce
3/4 c toasted almonds, or smoked, coarsely chopped
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 oz goat cheese, crumbled
1 avocado, diced
2 scallions, sliced finely

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Peel and chop the eggplant into 1-in cubes. Place in a strainer in the sink and sprinkle generously with salt. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, honey, paprika, cumin, and garlic. Pat the eggplant dry and transfer to a large bowl. Pour the marinade over the eggplant and stir to coat evenly, then spread evenly onto two baking sheets (use parchment paper for easy clean up). Bake for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Remove and let cool. Whisk together the lemon juice and soy sauce, then pour over the eggplant in a large bowl and stir to coat. Add the beans, almonds, cheese, and avocado; stir to combine. Sprinkle with the scallions and serve warm.

It’s kind of like crack, but you didn’t hear it from me.

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