carrot-ginger dressing

carrot-ginger dressing

carrot-ginger dressingIt’s summer-time and that means lots of salads in my house.  I love summer salads because they’re just so easy to whip up, they’re healthy for the most part (unless you slather them with too much dressing) and they pair with just about anything.  The best part is that there’s no cooking involved, which is the perfect thing on a hot summer night.  I try to make my salad dressings from scratch when I can because homemade dressings are full of fresh ingredients, and I love that you have control over what’s going into your dressing.  With dressings you can add a little bit of this and a little bit of that, and come out with something that makes your greens or veggies taste phenomenal.  I love pairing a salad with our favorite summer pasta and some french bread, or keeping it simple and just adding some roasted chicken to the top.  Summer-time is about simple, light and refreshing meals.

Ina's summer garden pasta and saladThis dressing is a tiny bit sweet, but has a bit of a spicy kick to it from the ginger, and it’s vegan to boot!  It’s a wonderful dressing to toss in with some mixed greens, but also works well as well as a dip for fresh-cut veggies like sliced avocado, carrots, cucumbers, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower or sliced heirloom tomatoes (yum!). This dressing keeps well in a jar for up to a week, so you can make a batch of dressing and have a fresh salad every night of that week.

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farro and chicken salad with dates and cranberries

farro and chicken salad with dates and cranberries

farro and chicken salad with dates and cranberriesIt’s official, Marin mama has been slacking on the blog.  I promised this recipe to you all last week and I never posted it, so I’m sorry!  I’m still trying to manage working full-time, making quality time for the kids and friends, as well as making sure I have some time to play and enjoy life in general, because at the end you have to enjoy all the fruits of your labor, right?  Life is a balancing act that I’m trying to figure out.  What I’ve learned lately is to let go of certain things that really don’t matter at the end of the day, and to try and not control life too much.  My big lesson this spring has been to let go, go with the flow, be open to new paths and opportunities and just play more. So, I will post when I can, and there might be months where I post weekly, and months where I only post twice. I know you’re all super chill with it all, and I totally appreciate it!  I’ve been meeting a bunch of you lately as I roam out and about Marin, and I have to say that I have some of the friendliest and supportive readers ever, so THANK YOU!  You all keep me motivated to get back on this blog!

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vegan kale salad with citrus dressing

vegan kale salad with citrus dressing

vegan kale salad with citrus dressingSurprise, surprise, I’m posting another yet another kale salad recipe.  I now have 19 kale recipes on the blog with the addition of this salad. I think I may have a serious problem/addiction here, what do you think?  I mean here’s a girl who didn’t even know what kale was 4 years ago and now it’s become a total staple in my house. My weekly grocery list always consists of the staples such as eggs, milk, bread, lemons, kale, oh, and we can’t forget quinoa, because that’s become another addiction of mine, but not as bad, as I only have 6 quinoa recipes on the blog.

This salad recipe was passed onto me by my sweet girlfriend Amber.  She heard through the grapevine that I was a bit of a kale addict, so she wanted to introduce me to her personal favorite salad.  She came over for dinner one night, along with my friend Kimber, (who by the way made these amazing pomegrante cosmos) and made this salad up which I paired with my rosemary skillet chicken and rosemary and sea salt popovers.  It was such an amazing dinner, and we we’re all part of the clean plate club that night.  This is such a simple and fresh salad, and it’s so different from my other kale salads, as it doesn’t have any cheese in it.   We all know how much I love cheese, but I don’t miss it in this salad at all because the nuts, fennel and oranges really give this salad some flavor.  I would say that this salad falls under the “mommy” category though, as I made it up one night for my kids and they we’re not fans. They did appreciate the oranges in it though!  My kids tend to like kale salads that have cheese as a key ingredient, so I tend to make this one up just for me, as it’s a great salad to bring to work…. 

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quinoa wrap with black beans, feta and avocado

quinoa wrap with black beans, feta and avocado

quinoa wrap with black beans, feta and avocadoSo, I have to tell you that I’m totally obsessed with this wrap, like when I say obsessed, I mean I’ve had this wrap for lunch everyday this past week as well as dinner on a few occasions,  and I’m still craving it.  I’m just as obsessed with this wrap as I was when I first tried my lacinato kale salad, and for those of you that know me or have been following me for a while, you know that is my all time favorite salad ever!  I would put this wrap right up there in the same ballpark as my lacinato salad, and that’s saying a lot.

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roasted sweet potato and farro salad

roasted sweet potato and farro salad

roasted sweet potato and farro saladOk, so I start my new job this week as the Director of Catering for Paradise Foods.  I’m going to be in charge of growing and running the catering division for all 3 stores.  It’s a huge job to undertake and I’m a bit nervous as it’s a bit like starting a new business, but I’m good at sales and I love working with people and food, so to me it’s a match made in heaven.  BTW, I’ll be working most of the time out of the Tiburon store, so if any of you see me, please say hi!  So, since I’m going to be working outside of the home, I’ve been looking for some new healthy lunch alternatives to bring into work.  The funny thing is, I’m working at an amazing grocery store with one of the best deli’s, sandwich and salad bars in Marin, so I don’t really need to bring my lunch in, but I’m on a bit of a budget now, so a brown bagged lunch is the way to go.

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kale salad with brussels sprouts and toasted almonds

kale salad with brussels sprouts and toasted almonds

kale salad with brussels sprouts and toasted almondsSo, yes, this is another kale salad recipe, (sorry for all of the kale recipes lately folks) but it has Brussels sprouts in it, so you’re getting 2 amazing veggies in one salad!  Bonus!  My foodie friend Carolyn passed this recipe onto me and told me I had to try it.  I totally trust Carolyn, and when she tells me that I need to try something, I do, no questions asked. I was nervous to have the kids try this because Eli despises Brussels sprouts, like totally gags on them.  So the first time I made this up, I didn’t tell him that there were Brussels sprouts in it (I know, I’m a mean and sneaky mama).  He ate the salad and really liked it. I then told him after he finished that he just ate some Brussels sprouts, and you know what, he said he liked them raw mixed in with the kale!  Sometimes you just have to be a bit sneaky moms!

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kale salad with pear, toasted almonds and aged gouda

kale salad with pear, toasted almonds and aged gouda

kale salad with pear, toasted almonds and aged goudaSurprise, surprise, salad number two this week is a kale salad.  Did you really expect anything else?  I mean I already have 7 kale salad recipes on the blog, so why not add another one, right?  This salad is similar to my kale salad with delicata squash, almonds and aged cheddar.  I love the base of that salad, but wanted to make up a more kid friendly version, as my kids are not big fans of squash. They like butternut squash soup, and spaghetti squash tacos, but they don’t like cubed or sliced squash, they need it blended in something.  They’re huge fans of pears though, so I decided to add in some pears in place of the squash.  I also wanted to change up the cheese to addd some variety and I’ve heard that aged gouda pairs well with pears and apples, so I asked the cheese guy at my local market what gouda he recommended. He suggested that I use this Robusto Gouda from UnieKass. Ok, I totally loved this cheese and even found myself breaking off pieces of it to munch on while I grated the cheese.  Robusto Gouda is an aged gouda/parmesan hybrid that is creamy, nutty and sharp in flavor.  If you can’t find this particular cheese at your grocery store, then you can either ask the cheese guy at your store what type of cheese might be similar in taste in texture, or just pick up an aged gouda.  Oh, I also hear that this particular cheese pairs extremely well with beer. Hmmm….  I’m thinking this would be a great cheese to serve up with some cold beers for Sunday football.  Just saying…

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mixed greens with creamy mustard vinaigrette

mixed greens with creamy mustard vinaigrette

mixed greens with creamy mustard vinaigretteIt’s salad week at Marin mama cooks.  Yes, I’m calling it salad week because I’m posting 2 salad recipes for you all.  Aren’t you happy?  After 2 weeks of posting nothing but sweets, I figured we could all use a salad or two right?  Today I’m sharing with you all a classic salad dressing that John and I love. I used to make this salad dressing all of the time before I discovered kale that is. Mixed greens was our go-to salad and this creamy mustard vinaigrette was our go-to dressing.  I made this salad up for dinner parties, topped it with grilled chicken for an easy weeknight dinner, you name it.  I had kind of  forgotten about this salad and dressing till John brought it to my attention.  John asked me to PLEASE make up this salad as he was getting tired of eating kale salads every night.  Honestly, I don’t think I will ever tire of my lacinato kale salad as well as my kale salad with ricotta salata. I could honestly eat those two salads every night, but I know not everyone in my family feels and loves kale the way I do, so I have to think about them and add some variety to our dinner menu.

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quinoa, tuna and corn salad

quinoa, corn and tuna salad

quinoa, corn and tuna saladQuinoa, quinoa, quinoa.  I’m sure you’re seeing that word everywhere these days and that some of you are tired of seeing recipes with quinoa, but here’s another recipe just incase you’re not tired of it yet.  I admit I did go on a hiatus from cold quinoa dishes for about a year, as I was tired of eating it day after day.  I discovered new and unique ways to enjoy quinoa like sautéed in a patty or cheesy cake, perfect for lunch or as a side dish to your favorite soup or salad.  I also discovered I liked quinoa in the morning mixed in with some steel-cut oats or quinoa flakes mixed with goji berries.  In fact I’m having a bowl of my 5 minute hot quinoa cereal as I type this post, so good!… 

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Israeli couscous salad

israeli couscous salad (1 of 1)

Israeli couscous salad I love it when I find new salads or summer side dishes that can be made ahead to marinate all day or made on the fly to eat up right then and there. This salad is one of those salads that tastes great either way. This is the perfect salad to bring to a potluck, picnic or to serve up in your own backyard. It’s full of summer flavor from the fresh mint, parsley and cherry tomatoes. We love pairing this salad with chicken drumsticks and one of my kale salads for a family backyard dinner. You can really make this a year round salad by adding seasonal ingredients to the mixture, like asparagus in the spring, cauliflower or broccoli in the winter.

I made this salad up last night to bring to my friend Yvonne’s house for a girls dinner. I paired it with my grilled bruschetta with heirloom tomatoes and my kid friendly caesar salad. It was the perfect throw together summer dinner because I made everything ahead of time. I made up the couscous salad earlier in the day, made the croutons and salad dressing for the caesar salad the night before and then threw everything together at Yvonne’s house come dinner.  If you get a bunch of great side dishes, you can make a meal out of them. Here’s a photo of our backyard picnic dinner.

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