Tag Archives: side dish

Cauliflower and Herbed Barley Salad

This week Mama C was cooking up some dinner for the family and she was working on this cauliflower dish. She called me and Maggie over to give it a try because she wasn’t sure about how it tasted. As soon as Maggie and dove a finger into, we were hooked. This dish is filled with a strong lemon and garlic flavor that really took the cauliflower to another level. We couldn’t get enough of it.

So, Mama C has allowed me to share this amazing recipe with all of you 🙂 I’m telling you, you won’t be disappointed. She has somehow found a way to take cauliflower and make us WANT to eat it. Crazy.

Cauliflower and Barley Salad


3/4 Cup Quick Cooking Barley Salt
1 Tablespoon finely grated lemon zest 3 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Mayonnaise 1 Teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil Black Pepper
1 Head Cauliflower 1 15oz Can Small White Beans
1/2 Cup Parsley Leaves 1 Clove Garlic


1. Start cooking the barley in a large saucepan, according to the directions on the package. Once it is cooked, drain it and set it aside.

2. Whisk the lemon juice, mayonnaise, mustard, 3 Tablespoons of Olive oil. Finely grate the garlic clove and whisk it into the dressing as well. Finally season it with salt and pepper to taste.

3. In a large skillet, heat up apprx. 1 Tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat. Add in the cauliflower and occasionally stir it until it begins to brown in spots. It should take about 10 minutes.

4. Add in 2 tablespoons of water, then cover it and allow it to cook for 2 minutes longer, or until they are tender. Season them with salt and pepper to taste.

5. In a large bowl, add in the dressing, then add in the cauliflower, barley, beans (washed under cool water) and parsley. Toss it to coat everything and top it with the zest of lemon.

I can’t tell you how delicious this is. We had it as a side dish, but you could definitely have this as a main dish and even top it off with some sort of meat. You can also substitute the barley for quinoa or any other grains. The dressing is really simple and could compliment just about any grain.

Snowing Again!

This weekend we were hit with another storm, which was actually originally going to get up to 13 inches. But the temperature rose just enough last night to turn it into rain, and really reducing the amount of snow…and just making everything slushy.

However, that didn’t stop Bacon and Oreo from heading outside to get a spot of exercise. They have been kind of cooped up and Bacon has been staring at us begging to let him out. Colleen ended up taking the two of them out in the snow and throwing a ball around. You couldn’t have pictured any happier dogs.

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If you couldn’t tell, Oreo is back to her old self. We are trying to keep her from jumping around too much, but she doesn’t really have any interest in doing so. I took her to the vet on Friday and they came to the conclusion that it wasn’t took bad of a herniated disk because she did recover so quickly.

Hopefully the snow isn’t took bad for my flight tomorrow 🙂

Officially Pumpkin Nuts

It’s official, not even debatable, and I am willing to accept it. I have gone pumpkin crazy. I think once I open a can of pumpkin puree I feel the need to use it before it goes bad…and well…it just spirals out of control.

For dinner, I was inspired to make a Pumpkin Mac N Cheese. Seriously. Think of a light cheese topping with a twang of pumpkin and that’s what I made 🙂 Not nearly as bad for you as a typical Mac N Cheese either!



8-10 Ounces Elbow Pasta 1/2 Cup Pumpkin Puree
1/2 Cup Low Sodium Chicken Broth 1/4 Cup Non Fat Milk
1 Teaspoon Butter 1/4 Teaspoon Onion Powder
Dash of Salt and Pepper 1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg
Pinch of Cinnamon 1/4 Teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
Pinch of Ground Ginger 1/4 Cup Cheddar Cheese
Top with Parmesan Cheese


1. Boil some water and cook the elbow macaroni according to the box directions. While the pasta is cooking, heat up the pumpkin puree, chicken broth, milk, butter, onion powder, nutmeg, salt and pepper, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, ground ginger and cheddar cheese in a small sauce pan.



2. Once the pasta is cooked and the sauce is heated throughout, drain the pasta and mix in the pumpkin sauce.



This will make a solid 3 servings, if not 4. I topped mine off with some grated parmesan cheese and sprinkled some cinnamon on top. The parmesan cheese really added some texture to it. It was delicious! I would definitely make this one again.




And juuuusst in case that wasn’t enough pumpkin for the week, I ended my meal with some pumpkin pie ice cream. I wish I was kidding.



After finishing that meal, I kind of wish today wasn’t my rest day for workouts. OH WELLLLL.

I told you I went pumpkin nuts. And guess what…I have a half a can that’s open and ready to be used.

Tonight, I’ve got some costume shopping to do for tomorrow and I feel some tea calling my name. I feel a bit of a cold coming on and I really need to nip that in the butt.

What’s your favorite pumpkin flavored dish?? Is it a dessert?? Dinner meal?? Or side dish??




Summer Cucumber Tomato Salad and Lakeridge Winery

Yesterday the boys headed out to golf at Disney and Maggie and I went off to Lakeridge Winery. It is a beautiful winery in central florida and definitely worth seeing. They have free tours and free wine tastings all day because their wine is that good. You get to taste just about every wine that they have…which is about 10!

On the tour they give you a bit of history of the owners and a run through of how to make wine. These wines are made from two different types of grapes, but mainly the muscadine. They joke that the winery is on the rolling hills of FL.

We took home two wines. Both were extremely different. If you aren’t from the area, you can most likely find the wines in a larger wine shop, or you can order everything online. It’s worth a try. The southern Red and Southern White wines are the most popular but are on the sweeter side. The Chablis is what I ended up getting and it is a good combination of sweet and dry. It is a very light wine and perfect for a BBQ!

Which is exactly what we did. On the way home, Maggie and I stopped at Dunkin Donuts and grabbed a quick snack and coffee. As we were walking out Maggie was laughing hysterically at my iced coffee.

I drink EVERYTHING with a straw. And the bigger the better! I sent the picture to Brent because he really doesn’t understand either.

For the BBQ, we grilled up some fresh Venison Burgers that were given to me by a co-worker and some Omaha Steaks Tenderloin Steaks. Yumm. I didn’t have either but I know they were delicious because I have enjoyed them in the past. Omaha Steaks has some great bulk deals and all of their meat is impressively good. They even ship it right to your door.

Maggie whipped up a Summer Tomato and Cucumber Salad that was amazing and really easy to make.

In the salad is:

1 Cucumber 1 Small Yellow Onion
1/4 Cup Feta Cheese 1 Cup Sherry Tomatoes, chopped

For the dressing mix:

1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil 2 Tablespoons White White Wine Vinegar
Salt to Taste Pepper to Taste

Sooo EASY! And it was perfect for a BBQ side. I ended up having a Mango Salsa salad instead of the meat.

Overall, it was a nice little spread. We sat outside in the backyard and chowed down with some of our new wine from Lakeridge and just relaxed.

Fun! Happy Labor Day to everyone! and Happy Eating!

Sweet Potato Fries and Going Vegan

A bit of a story, on Thursday night I took Oreo down to Lake Eola in Orlando for a little walk. It is an extremely scenic walk and is just about a mile around. If you ever see pictures of Orlando, I am sure you will see the pictures of the lit up fountain in the middle of Lake Eola. On our walk around, there was a Winter Park Vet with a TV set up facing the lake playing videos of animal cruelty in slaughter houses. I don’t want to get into the details, but after talking to him for a while he had both nauseated me to the point that I couldn’t think about eating chicken ever again and also convinced me to give it a try. I want to say that he is a an extremely nice man that has no intention of imposing his views on people but rather aims to educate people on some of the things he was exposed to while going through veterinary school.

So for the past couple of days I have been giving it a try. I know friends and family that have tried eating vegan for all different reasons and each one of them has come back saying they feel like they have a lot more energy and feel overall more healthy.

Going into this, I have a couple of concerns:

  1. Not being able to eat anything. Vegans don’t eat meat, fish, eggs and milk. I eat an absurd number of eggs a week and milk is in absolutely everything.
  2. Struggling to find places to eat out.
  3. Finding foods that I will actually like eating. I’m not a big fan of hearty wheats and grains. I need flavor in my foods. And some versatility.
  4. Being that annoying friend that people struggle to find something to eat for. I don’t want my decision to eat vegan to have any effect on my friends decisions.

I really want to not change too much about my eating habits and lifestyle. I want to fit vegan eating into my taste and my current lifestyle, otherwise I will just feel like I failed and resort back to my carnivorous ways.

SOoooo, here’s just a little bit about my Monday as a Vegan. 🙂

I got up as usual at 6 to head out to the gym. Worked out for about an hour and then took the pups for a walk. When I got back I stared at my kitchen for a while. Realized I had no oatmeal, which was what I was planning on making for breakfast and stared at the cabinets for a little while longer. Eventually I came up with this:

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Nothing crazy. I used Soy Vanilla Yogurt to avoid dairy and the granola that I had made yesterday. The granola was fantastic. I absolutely love it. Breakfast was delicious.

For lunch I decided that I was going to try it out on the road and not pack anything (against my better judgement). I went to The Villages today, which is a special place in itself. If you’ve never heard of it, it is a city specifically designated for retirees. It is what they call, “A Golf Cart Community”. I am not joking when I saw the first time I went to this city I sat in my car and just stared in awe. I was the youngest person there by 50 years and everyone was driving golf carts around. Not cars. And they deck them out! I mean they go nuts! This is just one example, and it doesn’t even compare to some of them that are truck shaped golf carts with the old styled wood beds.


Anyways. If you are bored and want a good laugh…check out this you tube video of The Villages Golf Cart Drill Team. You can’t make this up.

Anyways, for lunch I literally drove all over this city looking for something I could eat. I finally settled on going into a local supermarket knowing that they had a deli attached. Again, I stared at the pre-made sandwiches. Nothing without meat. Salads…all topped off with meat. Deli menu. All meat. So I asked the lady if she would whip up a veggie wrap. “The only wraps we have are what are already pre-made.” Trying not to sound too stingy, I told her I didn’t eat meat and I was hoping she could just throw some veggies on some bread and call it lunch. She responds, “We don’t have any veggie options. I can’t even ring up a sandwich in the register that doesn’t have meat on it.” Lovely. So I asked her if she could just charge me for a meat sandwich and just leave it off. She disappeared and had to ask her manager.

In the end, I got my Veggie Wrap, which was delicious and paid for a ham sandwich.

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When I got home, I cleaned out my cabinets a bit and came across my sweet potatoes that had some serious foliage attached to them. Tonight, was sweet potato fries. Tomorrow, will be sweet potato chips!

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They were yummy! Here’s how to make them:


1 Sweet Potato 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
Salt to Taste Pepper to Taste


1. Preheat the oven to 450. Slice up your sweet potato into fries shapes. You can leave the skin on or shave the potato. Up to you. I left it on because I like the flavor that it adds.


2. Place the fries in a pile on a cookie sheet and pour the olive oil on top. Stir the fries around until they are all coated. You don’t want them soaked but you do want them all shiny. If you put too much on they won’t end up getting crispy at all and they will probably taste like oil. YUCK.


3. Now add your salt and pepper. I would say about a teaspoon would be enough salt. The pepper is up to you! The more pepper you add the spicier the flavor of the fry. So don’t be too shy with it if you like things on the spicy side.


4. Spread them out on the baking sheet so they aren’t touching one another. If they do touch, they will get a bit softer and you will miss out on the crispy crunch that we all love. Let them bake in the oven for 10 minutes and then take them out and flip them all over. Throw it back in the oven for another 10 minutes and Finito! Sweet Potato Fries!


For other options on the flavoring, try some paprika seasoning on top of them. Or maybe some garlic powder. You can’t really go wrong with these unless you try to get too fancy. The more simple the better. Sweet potatoes already have a ton of flavor, so don’t over do it. If you want a printable version of the recipe…this will do it! Recipe

I was also thinking as I was gnawing on them that they would probably be pretty good on a salad. Weird thought, I know, but I could see this working almost as an avocado does in a salad. It would bring a lot of flavor and could compliment the right salad really well.

Anyways! Let me know if you try the sweet potato fries or if you have any new vegan suggestions or hints! My goal is to stay with similar eating habits and a similar style of eating but cut out everything that vegans avoid. It should be interesting!

Happy Eating!!

Three Bean Salad for the Forth

The 4th of July is code for vacation, BBQs, and indulging in everything good in the world. It is no secret that food is one of my favorite indulgences. However, this year I’m not going to feel so guilty on the 5th of July because I made a healthy, yet delicious three bean salad! It is quick, easy and requires no cooking so you won’t be stuck in the kitchen missing all the fun!

Three Bean Salad


1 16 oz can of Red Beans

1 16 oz can of White Beans

1 16 oz can of Black Beans

1/3 cup Olive Oil

2 tbsps Red Wine Vinegar

1/4 cup Fresh Parsley

1/4 cup finely chopped Red Onion

1/4 cup chopped Green Bell Pepper

1/2 Teaspoon Ground Mustard

Salt and Pepper to taste


1.) Strain all three cans of beans in a colander. Rinse with cold water.

2.) Finely chop the red onion and green bell pepper. (I chopped the onions a little smaller than the pepper.)

3.) Whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, fresh parsley, ground mustard, salt and pepper in a separate bowl.

4.) Combine the beans, vegetables and vinaigrette in a serving dish. Toss to ensure the vinaigrette is equally distributed. Taste test 🙂 (add salt and pepper as needed).

5.) Wait approximately 30 minutes before serving so all of the flavors blend together. This dish is best served cold or at room temperature.

How easy is that?! The end result is light and fresh. The peppers and red onion add a great touch of crunch to the smooth textured beans. Besides tasting fantastic, this dish is good for you too! Averaging about 135 calories per serving, you get 8 grams of protein and 10% of your daily iron intake. Enjoy and feel great doing so!

Hope you have a great 4th of July!