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Spinach Chicken Salad w/ Garlic Balsamic Vinaigrette

Spinach Chicken Salad w/ Garlic Balsamic Vinaigrette

Spinach Chicken Salad w/ Garlic Balsamic Vinaigrette

It appears most of the country is either covered in snow or has crazy cold temperatures.  We did get a little on Saturday, but not nearly as bad as other parts of the country.  We had enough for a snowball fight in the backyard (I won), but not enough to use the snow blower.  I am hoping that it melts soon.  I have grown accustomed to the mild winters of Colorado.  It was in the 50′s pretty much all last week.

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Berry Almond Salad with Chia Seed Vinaigrette

Berry Almond Salad with Chia Seed Vinaigrette

Berry Almond Salad with Chia Seed Vinaigrette

I hope that everyone had a wonderful 4th of July weekend, and enjoyed a couple extra days off. We originally thought of going somewhere for a few days, but decided against it. Instead we took advantage of living 60 minutes from Rocky Mountain National Park, and did a couple gorgeous hikes. If you follow me on Facebook, you may have seen that on the 4th we hiked to the top of Mt. Chiquita. It was about a 6 mile hike, but we get up to over 13,000 feet. Then on Saturday we hiked for just over 9 miles to a few mountain lakes, and got to hike up part of a waterfall.  Then on Sunday, we went for a 30 mile bike ride on trails around Fort Collins. It was a busy and active weekend; my favorite kind!

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Thai Beef Salad

Thai Beef Salad | Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts

Thai Beef Salad | Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts

I hope that all of you Mom’s out there had a wonderful Mother’s Day!  It was a gorgeous day here in Colorado.  We drove up into the mountains and did one of our favorite hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park.  They still had lots of snow up there, so we actually got to snowshoe one last time this season.  It was a little strange to be in the 70′s and have lots of snow around.  It was a great day to spend together as a family.

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Bread Salad

Bread Salad veggies

I actually posted this salad last January as a guest post for the lovely Ann from Cooking Healthy for Me.  But as many of you know, Ann stopped blogging awhile ago.  At Thanksgiving, I realized that my salad recipe went down when she did, so I had to fixed that!  This salad is a staple at our holiday meals, so what better time to share it with you.

I think the proper chef name for this salad in Panzanella, but in my family we call it Bread Salad.  Big chucks of toasty bread, tangy balsamic vinaigrette dressing, sweet tomatoes, crunchy pumpkin seeds…..yum!  Even my picky husband will eat this (if I leave off the tomatoes and cucumbers and add avocado and walnuts).  See it is versatile too :)  You really can put whatever you want in this salad.

So if you are in need of a salad for your holiday menu, you really should consider this one.  It may look ordinary, but the dressing and the crusty bread make it anything but.  But you don’t have to wait for a holiday to make it – I could eat this any day of the week, and be a happy girl!

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Tabbouleh Salad

Tabbouleh 3

Today for Breast Cancer Week we are back on the healthy kick.  Tabbouleh is full of veggies, whole grains, and healthy fat.  Tabbouleh is made from Bulgar, or cracked wheat.  It is a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine.  It is low in fat and high in fiber.  Fiber is a big player in the fight against cancer.  Research shows that a diet high in fiber can reduce your risk of cancer.  That’s because the more fiber you eat, the less time harmful toxins spend inside your body. The other big part of Tabbouleh is the parsley.  New studies are showing that parsley can help fight cancer, by slowing the development of tumors.

I am the only person in my house who likes Tabbouleh.  So I made this for lunch one day, and enjoyed it for a few days.  It is chalk full of cucumbers, tomatoes, parsley, mint, lemon juice and olive oil.  It is so fresh, full of texture, and great flavor.  This works well for a light lunch, a side dish with dinner, a salad for a potluck, or just about anything.

I enjoyed this with a few pita slices and some hummus.  A perfect Mediterranean, veggie lunch.  You can play with the amount of parsley and mint you add.  The traditional Labenese version actually uses more parsley than bulgar, but I am not a fan of that.   And since you are making it at home, you can make it anyway you want!

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BLT Salad

BLT Salad

My cooking club is back!  We took a break over the summer since it would be nearly impossible for us to meet with kids home.  We met last Friday, and it was great to just relax, and have a wonderful lunch.  This month the theme was Tomatoes!  Oh the possibilities…..

I almost made Bruschetta.  But I saw this salad, and had to find a reason to make it.  It has tomatoes, so I figured it would work.  I am not normally a salad girl.  I mean, I like a good salad, it doesn’t even have to have all the fatty stuff on there.  But they are just never the same when I make them at home, so I am usually disappointed.  But I am glad to say, this one did not disappoint one bit!

I had tons of fresh tomatoes to put in this, and it really made them pop.  Lots of great flavor, and such a bright color.  The dressing is mayo based, so I was really nervous (I don’t like mayo at all), but it was really good.  It worked so well with the salad.  And, you know you can never go wrong when bacon is involved.  I had the leftovers for dinner the next day, and it was still wonderful.  I served the dressing on the side, so it wouldn’t get soggy.

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Bread Salad

I am honored to be posting over at Cooking Healthy for Me today.  Ann is lucky enough to be visiting family in England, and asked if I would fill in for her.  Of course!!  Given that Ann is the Queen of healthy meals, I had to make something to fit in over there.  I made my absolute favorite salad.  I think the proper chef name for this salad in Panzanella, but in my family we call it Bread Salad.  Big chucks of toasty bread, tangy balsamic vinaigrette dressing, sweet tomatoes, crunchy pumpkin seeds…..yum!  Please go tell Ann I said hi, and check out this great salad.  Even my picky husband will eat this (if I leave off the tomatoes and cucumbers and add avocado and walnuts).  See it is versatile too :)