ARUGULA AND QUINOA SALAD

This is a simple but really flavorful, healthy, and filling salad! It's been my go-to lately so I had to post it:) I just made a bunch of quinoa and kept it in the refrigerator and then it took me just a couple minutes to put it all together when it came time for lunch or dinner!


arugula and quinoa salad (ingredients are listed as per serving, that way it's easy for you to make exactly as much as you want!)

1/4 cup uncooked red quinoa, cooled to room temperature
1 cup arugula
1/8 avocado, diced
1 tablespoon crumbled feta
1 tablespoon slivered almonds
Fresh juice from 1/2 lemon

Just cook the quinoa according to package directions, toss the quinoa, arugula, avocado, feta, and almonds, drizzle with freshly squeezed lemon juice, and that's all there is! Like I said, this is a really easy salad to assemble quickly so if you aren't serving it to a group (in which case you'd want to multiply the listed ingredients by the number of people you're serving), then I'd suggest making a cup of quinoa and just assembling the salad when you want it. It's not too overwhelming-you'll want it for lunch and dinner two days in a row for sure. Or maybe that's just me??




SUMMER GRILLIN': LAMB KEBABS

I can't tell you why, but I've been craving grilled lamb for the last few months. I didn't even realize it- I just kept thinking of recipes I wanted to try and almost every single one featured lamb! When I finally made the connection last week, I decided to start with one of everyone's summer grilling favorites: shish kebabs! These are an easy, fun, and delicious way to celebrate summer!


lamb kebabs

1 pound lean lamb tenderloin, cut into equally sized pieces
Juice from three limes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon tumeric (or.. if you're fancy... you can use 4-5 threads of saffron- the more traditional ingredient by far! Just much more expensive too!)
1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
1/2 onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Japanese eggplant
1 zucchini
1 yellow bell pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
6-8 wood skewers
1 tomato, sliced in half
Basmati rice

Combine the lamb, lime juice, salt, tumeric, black pepper, onion, and garlic in a gallon freezer bag, seal, and shake around a bit to mix well. Marinate the meat for 24 hours, turning every once in a while to make sure that all sides of the cubes are equally marinaded. When ready to cook, soak the skewers in water while you slice the vegetables into 1"-thick slices and then toss the sliced vegetables with olive oil to coat. Then thread the meat and vegetables onto skewers. If you have vegetarians in the crowd, you can make kebabs with just vegetables too. Heat your grill to medium high and when fully heated, grill the tomatoes (cut side down) and kebabs for 4 minutes, turn the kebabs, grill for another 4 minutes, and turn once more for a final 3 minutes of grilling, making sure to keep the grill lid closed when you aren't rotating the kebabs. You can keep the tomato as is the whole time- it'll get a bit charred and wrinkly but that's what we want! When the kebabs are nicely charred, serve them and the tomatoes over a bed of basmati rice! Mmmm I already want to make these again next weekend...









2 INGREDIENT BANANA ICE CREAM
































Nothing goes better together than a delicious ice cream cone and a hot summer day. Unless of course you're lactose intolerant and in that case I'd recommend a bomb pop or homemade one of these. But back to my summer fling: ice cream. Preferably with sprinkles on top.

Now, I want to believe that an ice cream cone a day will keep the doctor at away. But that's just a silly school girl dream. The truth is, if you want to enjoy this chilly treat, you've got to enjoy in moderation OR test out a fun, healthier recipe.

I decided to go with the ladder (mostly because I used up my entire July ice cream quota before the 4th). Here is a super easy, super healthy, 2 ingredient recipe for homemade ice cream.

2 ingredient banana ice cream

2 ripe bananas, cut and frozen for at least 2 hours
1 tbsp carob powder

First cut the bananas into smaller pieces and place onto wax paper. Put on a plate and into your freezer for at least 2 hours.

Once frozen. Place banana into a food processor. Add 1 tbsp of carob powder (also great with 2 tbsp of peanut butter). Mix until smooth.

Use a spatula to scoop the "ice cream" out of the food processor. If you like your ice cream harder, put into bowl and back into freezer for 30 minutes. If you're happy with a soft serve consistency, put into bowl and top with your favorite summer fruits - and enjoy!


























top image via this rad chick's instagram

PORK CHOP FOR BREAKFAST

Yep. Pork chop for breakfast! Except it will only take you 10 minutes to make because the point of this post is to share what I always do with any great meat left over from the previous nights' dining experience. It's especially great with pork chop or steak, but I'm sure you could do the same with any other grilled meat. You know when you go out to eat and have too few leftovers for a full meal but enough that you're tempted to bring it with you? Well, if you enjoyed the meat, then bring it home and use it for breakfast! This pork chop is from Flora Farm (you must read the post!), but the situation wasn't exactly the same because their pork chops are the size of their plates! But it worked out nicely that way because we all would have fought over who got to eat it for breakfast if there hadn't been so much leftover!


pork chop for breakfast

leftover pork chop from last night's dinner (or any grilled meat!), sliced into thin strips
one tablespoon butter (you could use olive oil instead, but butter makes it sooooo good!)
eggs
toast
optional: freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice, feta cheese to sprinkle, avocado, red pepper flakes, cilantro leaves, basically whatever else sounds good for a garnish!

This is more like guidelines rather than a recipe, so adapt as you wish! But here's what I did: I melted one tablespoon of butter in a small pan over medium-high heat, added the limes, let them sizzle a bit and release some of their juices, then added the strips of meat. I seared the meat on one side for about 30 seconds, then the other for another 30 seconds. The key here, since you're using leftover meat, is to heat it up and add a bit of color to it, but to avoid cooking it for too long so that it remains tender and doesn't become too dry. Meanwhile, I toasted some bread, made a sunny side up egg, cut up an avocado, and put it all together on a plate! You don't even have to use limes or have the toast & egg- I've made hashbrowns before and eaten it with the seared meat, I think I've even eaten leftover steak on it's own! Whatever works for you! But it's easy and delicious!

 Leftover pork chop from Flora Farm!





INSPIRATION: FLORA FARM


Inspiration yes, but it's more than just that. I have such an admiration, appreciation, and maybe even obsession with this restaurant and farm. The problem: it's in the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico. Maybe that's not a problem? I seriously could use it as an excuse to go back to Cabo, it's that amazing. Okay yes, for me, realistically, it's a problem because I'll likely never be able to eat there again. Perhaps that makes it all the more magical of an experience? I'm still going to post about it though because it is worth sharing! And if you ever do find yourself in Cabo, you must make your way there!

It's about a 15 minute drive outside of the city, but you feel like you're in a different world. Farms, dirt roads, driving by the light of your headlights and the moon kind of experience. You park in their gravel lot, walk between gardens on your left and rustic patio furniture on your right, and then enter this beautiful veranda, greeted by live music, lights strung above you, and vegetable gardens surrounding you.


You stop by the bar while you wait for your table and enjoy one of the most amazing cocktails you'll ever had. Refreshing, satisfying, and effective!

From left to right we have the Farm Julep-"refreshing watermelon water with basil, mint, and light bacardi rum", the Farmtini- "wild hibiscus infused cocktail with ice cold grey goose shaken and served up", the Perro Perdido- "ice cold grey goose vodka and grapefruit juice served in a flute on the rocks", and the Farmarita- the farms "fresh take on the classic." I don't think I can justly describe the quality and charm of these drinks! But I will say that at one point during dinner the entire table, all ten of us, ended up ordering the Farmtini because it was so phenomenal!


You could spend the whole night at the bar, right next to the live musician and the gardens, but the food is not to be missed either!


So, you make your way to your table and proceed to be awed by the menu. Such fresh and diverse ingredients, all grown on the mostly hand-worked farm without pesticides or genetically modified seeds, combine to produce an elegant and comprehensive menu.


They are well known for their creative wood-fired pizza, and I have to admit I was tempted to try one. However, we had all heard about the amazing bone-in pork chop so I felt compelled to stick with that choice. But first, the salads and appetizers! This is just a representative sampling (the Seasonal Salad- "field greens, raw seasonal vegetables, and a lemon vinaigrette, the Burrata- "house made with tapenade and bread", and the Arugula Salad- "marinated beets, crispy ricotta, and a lemon vinaigrette", from top right, clock-wise). I will say that the arugula salad may have been the best salad I have ever tasted!


Now for the real deal: the Pork Chop, Double Cut- "wood oven roasted, with roasted potatoes and tomato chutney." This is the most ambrosial meat I've ever had the pleasure to enjoy. But it's huge!! Just look at the size of it on that plate! Like the drinks, I won't be able to do this pork chop justice, but I will say that if you EVER are even CLOSE to this restaurant, you HAVE to go and you HAVE to get this pork chop!



Ahh I can still taste it. It's perfectly charred and tender, and ohhhh sooo flavorful. And, since it is cooked so tenderly and it is such a massive hunk of meat, you have a wonderful breakfast waiting for you in the morning (as you'll see in the next post!) We of course had dessert too, and it was amazing, but unfortunately I don't have pictures. Probably because I was so astounded by the perfect dining experience that all I could do was savor the moment. Except.. there is one more thing! They also had a fresh produce market and a little ice cream stand! Can you believe that it could get any better than what I've already described? Maybe all of this wasn't even real and I just dreamed up the most perfect evening?! Even going to the restroom was a beautiful experience, ha! You walk behind the restaurant, essentially to a stand alone outhouse (and there's a little climbing structure and slide for kids past that!), but this outhouse managed to be one of the nicest restrooms I've ever used! Remember when I said inspiration wasn't the only appropriate word for this post? Yep, I'm definitely obsessed. I'll post the next-day pork chop next but I'm sure I'll be experimenting a bit to recreate other aspects of the meal! I'll leave the pork chop itself to Flora Farm though! Here's the website if you want to check it out! http://www.flora-farms.com/. Someday I'll find my way back there:)