Summer Fruit Salad

SummerFruitSalad@NancyCreative.com

One of the things I love best about summer is all the fresh fruit of the season, especially berries of all kinds. And this is a great fruit salad to make in the summertime because it has blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries…mixed in with lots of other delicious, colorful fruit! Berry season is pretty much over where I live, but the berries are still available at the grocery store. Some of you may still be at the tail end of berry season–lucky you!

This salad also has some canned pineapple chunks and it’s sweetened with the pineapple juice from the can. So there’s no extra sugar, and I think the sweetness is just right. I love all the colors in this salad–it’s so bright and summery–and I wanted to post it before summer comes to an end!

SUMMER FRUIT SALAD by NancyC

Makes 10 servings

  • 1 (20-ounce) can pineapple chunks in juice (not syrup), undrained
  • 1 (11-ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 cup fresh blackberries
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries (you can use 2 cups blueberries if you don’t have blackberries)
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1 cup sliced or halved fresh strawberries  (you can use 2 cups fresh strawberries if you don’t have raspberries)
  • 3 kiwi fruit, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup halved seedless red grapes
  • 2 medium size bananas, sliced

Combine all ingredients in large bowl, tossing to coat all the fruit with the pineapple juice. Serve immediately.

If you need to make this ahead of time, combine the pineapple, mandarin oranges, strawberries, kiwi fruit, and grapes, and refrigerate. When it’s close to serving time, add the berries and bananas; gently toss all the fruit and serve.

Note: If you’re using blackberries in this salad, don’t use an enamelware bowl to serve it in–I found from past experience that blackberries can stain enamelware! 

There’s still about three weeks of summer left, but we’ve already had some fall-like days. I’m always sad to see summer end, since it’s my favorite season. Is it still feeling like summer where you live?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Simply Sundays, Sunday Features.

Low Fat Buttermilk Ranch Dressing and Dip

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Homemade salad dressings are so good–I’ve made a few of them, but have never made one of my favorites–Ranch!  I usually use low fat dressings on my salads, so I decided to try making a low fat Ranch. I adapted a recipe from Allrecipes.com, adjusting the … Continue reading

Spinach, Blueberry, and Blue Cheese Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette

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I took a short break from the internet at the end of August, and I can’t believe we are into September already! But it’s still officially summer and the weather is still warm for many of us, so I thought I’d … Continue reading

Tomato Cucumber Salad with Feta

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If you like tart and tangy, savory and salty flavors, then this is a salad you may want to try! I decided to make this when my friend Greg gave me some cucumbers from his garden. You can’t go wrong combining cucumbers with tomatoes, … Continue reading

Shoepeg Corn Salad with Honey Dressing

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I was looking through some old recipes I’d clipped from magazines awhile ago and came across one for Shoepeg Salad. It sounded like a great side dish for summer. I found some other variations on this salad at different recipe sites and ended up making my … Continue reading

Veggie Chip Salad with Avocado

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Potato chips remind me of summertime–I guess it’s because they always seem to be at picnics and cookouts! I’m not a heavy potato chip eater, and maybe because of that, the last bag of chips I bought at the grocery store about … Continue reading

Tennessee Cornbread Salad

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This Tennessee Cornbread Salad is a new favorite recipe of mine! I had heard of cornbread salad before, but never really thought about making it–after all, cornbread in a salad? I wasn’t sure what to think about that! Then Krusteaz sent … Continue reading

Super Greens Fiesta Salad and a Greens Giveaway!

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When I buy salad greens, I like buying organic. Last week, I had the chance to try some complimentary greens from OrganicGirl. This company specializes in making a variety of salad OrganicGirlblends and greens that are all organic, triple washed, and packaged in 100% recycled plastic packaging, which I think is great! I tried out a package of their Super Greens (a blend of baby red chard, baby tat soi, baby spinach, baby green swiss chard, and baby arugula), and a package of their Baby Spinach. I really liked these OrganicGirl greens–they were very fresh and tender, and worked great in the recipes I used them in. And I’ll be sharing these recipes with you!

And more good news–OrganicGirl will provide 5 giveaways of the same two packages of greens I tried out–so 5 of you can win these two healthy, tasty organic greens to try out for yourself! Organic Girl will send the greens directly to you, or you can receive coupons to get them from your local health food store if you prefer. See the end of the post for details on how to win!

Today I’ll share the Fiesta Salad recipe I made with the Super Greens. The giveaway will end on Wednesday evening at 8 p.m. (CST), and on Wednesday or Thursday evening, when I announce the 5 winners, I’ll share a recipe I made with the Baby Spinach.

I really like the variety of ingredients this Super Greens Fiesta Salad has! I found a recipe at Taste of Home and modified it a little, taking out some ingredients and adding in some other ones. I also used larger amounts, so this will make a big bowl of salad that serves about 8 people. If you need to make the salad a little ahead of time, don’t toss the dressing in until right before serving.

SUPER GREENS FIESTA SALAD by NancyCreative, adapted from Taste of Home

Makes 8 servings

  • 1 (5-ounce) container OrganicGirl Super Greens mix (about 4 well-packed cups; or substitute your favorite lettuce greens)
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1 (2.25-ounce) can sliced olives
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 2/3 cup salsa
  • 1/4 cup light sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup light Ranch salad dressing

In a large salad bowl, combine the salad greens, corn, black beans, tomatoes, green onions, sliced olives, and celery.

In a small bowl, combine the salsa, sour cream or plain yogurt, and ranch dressing; mix until well blended. Drizzle this salsa dressing over salad mixture and toss to coat. Makes about 8 servings.

Note: This dressing gives the salad a generous coating. If you or your family prefer a lighter amount of dressing, just use about 3/4 cup of the dressing mixture. Or, just toss all your salad ingredients together without the dressing and serve the dressing on the side.  You can also serve this salad with a vinaigrette if you prefer.

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OrganicGirlGIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED–winning comments were: #7, #10, #20, #24, and #33

Now for the Giveaway…if you’d like to enter to win two packages of organic greens–Super Greens and Baby Spinach–from OrganicGirl, leave a comment on this blog post between now and Wednesday evening, March 12, at 8 p.m. (CST)–the random drawings will be made from the comments on this post only (there will be 5 winners)! The winners will be chosen randomly via Random.org and announced on Wednesday or Thursday evening, March 12 or 13. Winners will be notified via email. Giveaway is limited to readers in the Continental U.S. and Canada.

NOTE: If you are a winner, your email will be given to OrganicGirl and they will contact you via email about getting your greens delivered to you. You have the option to have coupons for the product sent instead if you prefer. Winners who reside in Canada will only be able to receive the coupons.

First entry: Leave a comment on this post–it would be great to hear what your favorite greens are, or what your favorite salad is!

Bonus entry: If you are a new or existing follower or subscriber, you can leave one extra comment telling me the way (or ways) you are following.

I hope you all have the time to leave a comment or two for the chance to try out these OrganicGirl greens! And if you’re not sure where OrganicGirl products are available near you, there’s a store locator here to help you find one!

Apple Pear Pecan Salad

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It’s always fun trying out different ways to make salads–it makes salad-eating a little more interesting! In the summer months, I like adding strawberries and blueberries to my salads. So I thought I’d try making a more “wintry” salad with apples and pears, inspired by this recipe. There’s also creamy crumbles of feta cheese mixed in, along with some healthy pecans that give this salad a nice flavor and crunch! I learned recently that pecans are rich in antioxidants and contain heart-healthy mono and ployunsaturated fats. They’re also rich in fiber–a handful of pecans contain the same amount of fiber as a medium-sized apple! I had received a complimentary sample of Bergeron Pecans through the National Pecan Shellers Association, and they were a perfect addition to this salad!

APPLE PEAR PECAN SALAD by NancyCreative, adapted from Kraft Foods

Makes 6-8 servings

  • 8 cups of packaged salad mix (about a 5.5-ounce package) or coarsely chopped romaine lettuce
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries, divided
  • 1 medium or large apple, unpeeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium or large pear, unpeeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 (4-ounce) package crumbled feta cheese, divided
  • 1 cup pecan halves or coarsely chopped pecans, toasted or untoasted, divided (I used Bergeron Pecans)
  • 1 bottle of your favorite Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing (regular or lite)

In a large salad bowl, toss together the lettuce, half of the dried cranberries (1/3 cup), and all of the chopped apple and pear. Then add in half of the crumbled feta cheese and half of the pecans (1/2 cup) and toss all ingredients together. Sprinkle the remaining dried cranberries, pecans, and feta cheese on top. Serve on individual plates and drizzle each serving with Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing.

Toasting Pecans: For more crunchiness and flavor, you can toast your pecans in the oven by spreading in a single layer in a shallow baking pan; bake at 350˚ for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. To toast pecans on the stove top, place them in an ungreased skillet and cook on medium heat until golden brown, stirring frequently. To toast pecans in the microwave, place up to 1 cup pecans in a microwaveable shallow dish; microwave on high until crisp, stirring every 30 seconds.

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This salad is great with a meal–a larger serving of it can even be a meal in itself! What types of recipes do you like to use pecans in?

Linked to Tidy Mom–I’m Loving It.

Edamame Snap Pea Salad from The Lemonade Cookbook and a Giveaway!

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the-lemonade-cookbook-southern-california-comfort-foodIn 2007, Chef Alan Jackson opened what is now L.A.’s favorite modern cafeteria–Lemonade, serving up healthy comfort food Southern California-style. This popular eatery has 10 locations and is still growing. Like me, if you didn’t live in Southern California, you were missing out…until now. Chef Jackson and coauthor JoAnn Cianciulli have come out with The Lemonade Cookbook (hardcover, St. Martin’s Press), filled with 120 unique, easy-to-make, tasty recipes and lots of great full-color photos of many of these dishes.

I received a review copy from the publisher, plus a copy to give away to one of you! See the end of this post for details on how to win this book! I’ll share a little more about it here, along with a recipe I made.

In The Lemonade Cookbook, there are recipes for salads, veggie sides, unique sandwiches, soups and stews, and desserts. Some of the recipes include:

  • Fingerling Potatoes with Dill and Lemon-Saffron Vinaigrette
  • Heirloom Tomato, Crushed Basil, Fleur de Sel Salad
  • Greek-Marinated Chicken with Tzatsiki
  • Buttermilk-Baked Chicken
  • Citrus-Poached Salmon with Mustard Sauce
  • BBQ Brisket
  • Turkey with Dried Cranberry and Sage Gravy
  • Caesar Club (with Turkey, Ham, and Tomato)
  • Egg Salad Sandwich with Bacon and Heirloom Tomato
  • Creamed Cauliflower Soup
  • Mac ‘N Cheese
  • Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Lemon Drop Cupcakes
  • Caramel-Butterscotch Pudding

So you see, there’s quite a variety of recipes to try! And there’s even a chapter of recipes featuring their popular lemonade concoctions including Peach Ginger, Pear Basil, Cantaloupe Sage, and Blueberry Mint!

I decided to make one of the veggie salads, Edamame Snap Pea Salad with Sesame Vinaigrette, which was wonderful! I don’t know of many ways to serve edamame, but this is a great one! It’s easy to make and very healthy! It’s a slightly crunchy, tangy salad mix of edamame and sugar snap peas, and has a great Sesame Vinaigrette mixed in. If you aren’t familiar with edamame, it’s another word for green soybeans-it’s best to use non-GMO edamame. Here’s the recipe so you can try it out!

EDAMAME SNAP PEA SALAD WITH SESAME VINAIGRETTE from The Lemonade Cookbook

Makes 4 cups

This lean green edamame and snap pea dish adds just the right crunch, while sesame, shallot, and chive add another level of texture by coating the vegetables. The best part about this dish is it’s so simple to whip up.

  • 1/2 pound sugar snap peas (2 cups), ends trimmed
  • 2 cups shelled edamame (green soybeans), frozen, thawed, and cooked
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 1/2 cup Sesame Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
  • 1 Tablespoon black sesame seeds (I just used regular sesame seeds)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl halfway with water and adding a tray of ice cubes.

Blanch the snap peas for only about 2 minutes; they become tender very quickly. Using a slotted spoon, remove the snap peas from the water and plunge into the ice bath to “shock” them, i.e., to stop the cooking process and cool them down right away. This procedure also sets the vibrant green color of the peas. Drain the snap peas in a colander.

Put the blanched snap peas in a mixing bowl. Add the edamame, shallot, chives, and vinaigrette, tossing to coat. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds, salt, and pepper, tossing well. Serve chilled.

SESAME VINAIGRETTE

  • 1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a small mixing bowl or mason jar, combine the vinegar, sesame seeds, garlic, mustard, soy sauce, canola and sesame oils; season with pepper. Whisk or shake to blend. Keep any left-over vinaigrette covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Makes 1 cup.

the-lemonade-cookbook-southern-california-comfort-foodThe Giveaway Is Now Closed!

Now for the Giveaway…if you’d like to enter to win a copy of The Lemonade Cookbook, leave a comment on this blog post between now and Saturday, November 23, at 11 p.m. (CST)–the random drawing will be made from the comments on this post only! The winner will be chosen randomly via Random.org and announced on Sunday, November 24. Winner will be notified via email (if winner does not respond in 3 days, I’ll do another drawing). Giveaway limited to readers in the Continental U.S. and Canada.

First entry: Leave a comment on this post–it would be great to hear what your favorite kind of side dish is!

Bonus entry: If you are a new or existing follower or subscriber, you can leave one extra comment telling me the way (or ways) you are following.

This is a great book for anyone who loves trying unique recipes and using fresh, healthy ingredients! It would also make a wonderful gift! :)

Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

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If you like vinaigrette on your salads, and if you like honey-mustard flavor, then you’ll have to try this vinaigrette! It’s very quick and easy to make, and really good! This Honey Mustard Vinaigrette recipe has a great lightly-sweet and tangy taste and makes about 1 cup of vinaigrette, so if you need more you’ll want to double the recipe. The original recipe is from Colman’s, although I couldn’t find the recipe to link back to on their site.

I made this vinaigrette two ways–I tried it first with Colman’s Superfine Mustard Powder (or you can use your favorite brand of dry mustard). This was actually a mistake I made! I didn’t realize the recipe called for prepared mustard. But I like how it turned out with the dry mustard.

Then I tried it with the prepared mustard–I used a slightly sweet, grainy mustard–and I liked it that way, too. The taste of the two versions was very similar.

ncHonMustvin1nmThe main difference?  The dry mustard version separates more quickly when standing, forming an oily layer at the bottom. It needs to be shaken right before serving on your salads. The prepared mustard version has a thin oily layer on top, but otherwise doesn’t separate much. I would still stir this well before serving, but it doesn’t need to be continually shaken like the dry mustard version.

I think the best time to make this vinaigrette is right before you serve your salad, with the ingredients all freshly whisked together!

If you have any vinaigrette left over, you can refrigerate it in a container with a tight-fitting lid–when I buy fancier salad dressings, I save the glass bottles–they’re perfect for keeping your own homemade dressings in! Then just give it a good shake when you’re ready to use the vinaigrette again!

HONEY MUSTARD VINAIGRETTE slightly adapted from Colman’s Mustard

Makes about 1 cup

  • 3/4 cup Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 Tablespoon prepared mustard (I used a slightly sweet, grainy mustard) or mustard powder (Note: if you use mustard powder, you will need to shake the vinaigrette just before serving, since the mixture separates)
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

Whisk all ingredients together, blending everything well, and serve over your favorite salad.

Do you ever make your own dressings and vinaigrettes?

Juanita’s Crunchy Coleslaw

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You may have had this coleslaw or something like it at a potluck or picnic. I’ve had this side dish several times recently, and every time I have it, I think, “I need to get that recipe!” The most recent time I had Crunchy Coleslaw was when Juanita made it for a department lunch at work, and it was so good I thought I could have eaten the whole bowl of it! Juanita gave me the recipe, and so I finally had the chance to make it myself–I love, love, love this coleslaw! The crunchiness comes from the toasted sliced almonds and sunflower seeds, along with the crumbled, uncooked ramen noodles. It seems a little strange to call coleslaw yummy, but this really IS yummy…so I hope you get a chance to try it out! This tastes best the same day you make it, while everything is freshly mixed and crunchy, and since it’s so good, you probably won’t have any leftovers anyway! :)

JUANITA’S CRUNCHY COLESLAW

Makes a large bowl, about 8 to 10 servings

  • 1 small package sliced almonds (I used 1/2 cup from a larger package)
  • 1 small package sunflower seed kernels (I used 1/2 cup from a larger package)
  • 2 packages Ramen Noodle Soup, Beef Flavor, uncooked and crumbled (save the Beef flavor packets to mix with the vinegar, oil, and other ingredients)
  • 3/4 cup oil (I used olive oil)
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar (Juanita likes to add a few extra shakes, so I did, too!)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 (16-ounce) bag of coleslaw mix or shredded cabbage
  • finely chopped green onion to taste, optional (I didn’t add this to mine, but I’d recommend using about 1/3 cup)

ncCrunchyCslw1Preheat oven to 350˚F.

Toast almonds, sunflower seeds, and plain noodles (uncooked and crumbled into small pieces-save the Beef flavor packets for later) on a cookie sheet at 350˚F for 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring halfway through. Remove from oven and set aside. The mixture will look like what you see in the small photo here. NOTE: An easy way to crumble up those Ramen noodles is to hit them lightly with a hammer while they’re still in the bag–they break up really easily that way! I also lined my cookie sheet with parchment paper, but it’s not necessary to do that.

In a small bowl, mix the Beef seasoning packets from the Ramen noodles with the oil, vinegar, and sugar, blending everything together well. Set aside.

Just before serving, empty the entire bag of coleslaw mix into a large bowl. Add in the chopped green onion, if using. Then add in the toasted almond/sunflower seed/ramen noodle mixture and toss well with the coleslaw, until all ingredients are evenly incorporated.  Finally, pour the oil-vinegar mixture over the coleslaw and blend everything together well. Serve immediately while everything is still “crunchy.”

Thanks to Juanita for sharing her recipe! It’s one of my all-time favorites! Have you made a crunchy coleslaw recipe before?