Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Asparagus Greek Chopped Salad

Spring! Just when I think it's right around the corner, we get 3 inches of snow, and then windchill temperatures below zero, and then, just... ugh. It's not spring yet.

However.

I came down the stairs this morning at my normal time, just before 6 am, and low and behold, it was light outside. The sun is back! Spring! And then when I walked outside just an hour later, there were 2 birds perched just outside the house. AND, the trees were budding. Somehow, someway, spring found us. Even in the negative temperatures. Even in the snow.



Once March hits, I'm on the lookout for spring recipes. I don't care if it's officially spring or not. We are eating spring food. I found this recipe a few weeks ago (click here for original recipe), and could not wait to try it. We love asparagus and we love Greek salads. Of course we would love them both tossed together. This salad is way too easy, and while I'm sure it is meant as a refreshing side dish to a much meatier main course, Jeremy and I devoured the whole thing for supper. I mean like 3 bowls each of these refreshing veggies. Yum. No main dish needed.

Here's what you need.

Ingredients:
2 lbs. asparagus, rinse, and trimmed (woody part snapped off)
1 yellow pepper, cut into bite sized pieces
1 cucumber, sliced
1/2 red onion, diced (I used slightly less than this because I don't like things to onion-y)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon lemon juice (more or less)
1 cup Kalamata olives (less if you want)
Feta cheese (optional)
Sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper

Step One: Prepare the asparagus (snap woody ends off). Drizzle with 1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil and then bake at 425 degrees, F. for 12-15 minutes. 





While the asparagus cooks away, chop up your other ingredients: cucumber, tomato, pepper, red onions, and olives (I just threw the olives in whole).


When the asparagus comes out, let it cool, then chop that into about 1 inch pieces.


Mix it all together. 


I did not follow the original recipe for the dressing (I left out the garlic). I just drizzled olive oil and lemon juice over the top and then seasoned with salt and pepper. It is the easiest, simplest, tastiest way to dress up some fresh vegetables.


Top with feta cheese (if you wish).

And that's a wrap!

Tis the season for asparagus recipes. Here are a couple I've posted before.

Chicken and Asparagus Chowder
Roasted Asparagus with Garlic

Thursday, February 28, 2019

February Round Up

Chapter 2 of 12 is complete! 

February flew by! I mean, yes I know it's the shortest month, but I still can't believe that we are just a minute away from March. It's been busy for sure, but I loved looking back on this month's adventures.

Hikes

Old man winter just won't move out. Ugh. It's cold. It's damp. It's muddy. At times, it's also been frigid, windy, and overcast for days. 

But somehow, we managed to get outside, if only for a weekend. 

Day one hike. Eli and I did a short hike together. One mile through inches deep mud. 


Lex joined us on a hike the next day, again just a short ways. We walked a path by the river and through a tree lined portal into the woods. A total of 2 miles of muddy hiking in the matter of 2 days. You can read about that hike here. 

Recipes

When we get really busy, I rely on a pretty simple menu (tacos, grilled cheese, pasta, etc.), but I did manage to make some yummy new (and old dishes) this month.

Let's start with this amazing chicken pot that is literally making my mouth water, even as I write this. It was so, so, so yummy. I cannot wait to make this again! I wrote about that recipe here.


I also made this amazing flat bread. I first made it for Jeremy's birthday with one of his favorite soups, Vegetable Bisque. The flatbread was so yummy, that I made it again just a week later with my very favorite vegetable soup.


Then there was this little project. Sometime in January, I asked the boys what they wanted for their Valentines box. Eli wanted to use Lex's Monster Book of Monsters box from last year. Easy enough. But Lex wanted a Yoda box. Also easy enough. Or so I thought. I planned to paint a box green and put googly eyes and Yoda ears on it (I mean of course I mean that I was going to have Lex do that - I wasn't going to do it for him... of course). 

But then Jeremy got a hold of it. What started out as a basic outline of Yoda, with paper bag ears turned into a 2 week nightly project. For Jeremy. Not Lex. Jeremy. Not that he didn't try to get Lex involved, but once the standard was set, it just kept getting more elaborate. Lex did 2 things. He made that sign and he helped paint. I also contributed. The burlap was all my idea and the cotton hair... all me. Eli was very hands on too. But truth be told, we had so much family fun with this, even just sitting around looking at how incredibly awesome it was, and encouraging Jeremy to keep going. I wish I had taken step by step pictures of the wire framing and paper mache process, but that's okay. I absolutely love this Yoda and love that we all contributed. My office is moving to a new building next year, and I've already decided that Yoda might be going with me to live there. 

Valentine's Day also came and went. I managed to pull off Valentine pancakes and strawberries for breakfast and heart shaped ham and cheese for school lunches. I went to the Candy Factory and loaded up on all our sweet favorites the day before. Black licorice anyone? I cannot get enough. 


And finally, a review of our Sunday Selfies! 

Whew! That went fast. Here's to March and more snow in the forecast. And here's also to March going out like a lamb. 


Sunday, February 24, 2019

Herb and Sea Salt Flatbread


Spring, where are you?!? 

I blame myself for the abundance of snow, ice, and general winter weather we've received in Mid Missouri this year.  For the last several years, we've had very mild winters, barely any snow, some freezing weather that came and went really quickly, and a winter season that really didn't feel like winter at all. And I started to miss Ohio winters. The snow that sticks around from December through March, gross and black by the time it melts. I missed seeing snow or sleet each week in the forecast and hoping for snow days.  But this year in Mid Missouri, we got an Ohio winter, and I for sure got my fix. 

What I forgot about Ohio winters is that by the 6th or 7th week of actual winter weather, the walls start to feel like they're coming in on you. The house feels smaller, and nothing sounds more inviting than a 50 degree day with the sun shining. In fact, yesterday the sun came out for the first time in about 2 weeks (there was even a rainbow!) and I literally thought my eyes were getting sun burnt from the sun. It's like they forgot how to adjust. It was really ridiculous.

So I'm done with my Ohio winter and am full on ready for an early Missouri spring. Bring it. 

In the meantime, since it is only 30 degrees outside... and windy... and muddy...  well, we are still inside, trying to find new ways to be busy and creative without losing our minds.



I found inspiration for this flatbread recipe on Kevinandamanda.com. Some of my favorite recipes come from that website, including my entire 4th of July menu. But this one has been sitting on my Pinterest bread board for a while and I thought it was finally time to try it. Once I finally read through the recipe, I regretted not trying it before. It's so easy and for the rest of time, I will probably always, always make this to go with any soup we're having. 

Ingredients:
*1 can of refrigerated pizza dough (there are 2 pictured below, just because I was going to do a double batch, but didn't end up doing that).
*Sea salt (approx 1-2 Tbsp)
*Any herb, equal parts to salt (the original recipe used rosemary. I have used an Italian herb blend and also parsley) 
*Olive oil for frying (2-3 Tbsp.)


Eli used our new mortar and pestle to blend the herbs and salt, but you could also just sprinkle them on separate.


Okay, now for the very easy, steps. 

Roll out your dough.


Cut it into rectangles. 12 rectangles will give you larger squares, but you can make them smaller if you want.


Eli cut ours into a combination of small and medium squares/rectangles.


Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a skillet. Place 3-4 squares in the pan at a time, cooking for 2-3 minutes per side (watch them carefully so they don't burn!). 



As soon as they come out of the skillet, season it with your salt and herbs. 



We finished off the whole batch with a giant pot of my favorite vegetable soup. 


This goes great with soup as a bread side dish, but if you do small squares, it would also be great with a yummy dip. 

Hope you try this one. It is so easy, and so yummy!