a summer melon salad

a summer melon salad with arugula, watermelon, cantaloupe, goat cheese, and a honey-lime dressing

a summer melon salad with arugula, watermelon, cantaloupe, goat cheese, and a honey-lime dressing a summer melon salad with arugula, watermelon, cantaloupe, goat cheese, and a honey-lime dressing

Wow y’all, I just got through my last weekend in Minneapolis. I didn’t realize until this point how much I’ve come to love this city – it’s fresh and young while also holding onto that Midwest charm that fills its residents with kindness and pride. There are so many people living their best life and sharing what they have to offer with the community here and it has been so wonderful to be a part of that. There are of course things that I will miss here – getting my weekend coffee and alone-time at Spyhouse, wandering over to the farmer’s market on Saturday mornings, summer walks by the lakes, evenings at the many local breweries, the memories of my first winter snow, and the many people who have come into my life in this city. Before I get overly emotional about leaving this city, let’s focus on the things ahead! Like the fact that I’m moving to California this week! LIKE WHAT. Who ever thought that was going to happen?? I’m excited to explore the west coast and finally visit all those places that I’ve saved to my “places to visit” tab on Instagram – seriously, there are a lot on that list in Cali. 

While I was a bit apprehensive about moving to Sacramento, (what are the right hashtags for the city? #visitsacramento? #sactown?) after visiting two weeks ago I was super stoked to discover that one of the city’s claims to fame is being the farm-to-fork capital of America. I’m all about the local foods movement and am so excited to be in a city that really really lives out that idea. One of the best things I ever came to realize was that eating in-season foods is always a good idea. Not only is it better for your grocery budget, you’re also getting produce at its peak and getting to experience its true flavor. And that’s how this salad came to be.

a summer melon salad with arugula, watermelon, cantaloupe, goat cheese, and a honey-lime dressing

a summer melon salad with arugula, watermelon, cantaloupe, goat cheese, and a honey-lime dressing

a summer melon salad with arugula, watermelon, cantaloupe, goat cheese, and a honey-lime dressing a summer melon salad with arugula, watermelon, cantaloupe, goat cheese, and a honey-lime dressing

I love melons. Like a lot. 

I eagerly await all April and May for watermelons to show up at the grocery stores and once those striped green fruits show up I officially declare it summer. I go through one of those giant Texas watermelons every two weeks in the summer and those are the best months of the year. While I am obsessed with watermelon, I wanted to use it in a different way other than eating big cube chunks out of a giant bowl. I picked up a plump cantaloupe and honey dew melon in addition to a perfect watermelon, got a little scooper and went to town putting together these little melon balls to top a bed of greens. I think a melon-baller may be my new favorite kitchen tool. TBH this salad is one of those non-recipe recipes, and it is almost too easy. It’s so delicious, perfect for warm summer days, and also gets rid of that sweet tooth I always seem to have. The dressing is also just as easy so get to work! Getcho self a melon baller and some greens and fill up!


summer melon salad

serves 4
time :: 10 minutes prep

ingredients ::

1 small cantaloupe
1 small honeydew melon
1/2 a large watermelon
1 box of arugula
4 oz of crumbled goat cheese
a few loose mint leaves
2 tablespoons of finely chopped mint leaves
2 tablespoons of honey
1 tablespoon of olive oil
juice of 1 and 1/2 limes
salt and pepper to taste

directions::

  1. using a melon baller, ball the cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and watermelon – set aside. (use the leftover fruit from the melons in juice or a melon granita!)
  2. in a large bowl or on a large platter, set the arugula leaves. add the melon balls, goat cheese, and mint leaves.
  3. in a mixing bowl, add the chopped mint leaves, honey, olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper. mix to combine and pour over the salad leaves and melon. toss lightly.
  4. serve up!

cucumber and daikon noodle salad

the makings of a cucumber and daikon noodle salad

Guys I think spring is officially here. We had a rough patch for a while where it was constantly damp outside and then we had a freak snow day after a weekend of 80 degree weather. I’m blaming the inconsistent weather changes for my getting sick a couple of weeks ago, but I’m finally back at 100% and I think MPLS finally got the memo too! It’s been gorgeous out the last couple of weeks and it’s finally light out until 8pm which means it feels like an actual full day and I get my full share of sunshine. So if you didn’t know this about me, I LOOOOOOOVE natural light. My office building has wall to wall windows with blinds and if the blinds are closed when I come in in the morning I’m the crazy person who goes down the row and opens them all. There’s just something so wonderful about getting those sun rays into your day – I fully believe that we draw from that energy and put that zeal into our days. I could get all philosophical and deep about how when we eat plants we are really getting energy from the sun, but I’ll spare you that lecture this time around.

vegetable noodle salad with minty sauce

a yummy cucumber and daikon noodle slaad

There’s been a lot of ideas spinning around my mind with what I want to do with this space and how I can really share all the ideas I have in my ever-growing list with y’all, and I think things are starting to come together. When I started the year, I wanted this to be the year that I really commit to my creative side and being able to create things, like the recipes I share here with you. Stick around – I think you might like what I have in store. (:

NOW.

Onto more important things – like this salad recipe. It’s kind of a non-recipe recipe, because it really involves just some veggies in a yummy sauce, and you can totally incorporate your favorite flavors and swap out veggies for what you have on hand. If you don’t have a spiralizer, you could use store-bought spiralized noodles, or you could really just mandolin some ribbons out of the cucumber and daikon here. The sauce is a super yummy, zingy, and slightly warm dressing which I think goes perfectly with veggies that don’t have much flavor on their own. You could easily swap for your favorite vinaigrette or peanut sauce. What I love about recipes like this is that it really is just a source of inspiration, as most recipes are. I’m not one of those people who has to follow recipes to the T – I like to use recipes more as guidelines that open up different possibilities. Hopefully you see this recipe in the same light.

a cucumber and daikon noodle salad with sweet potatoes and avocado a cucumber and daikon noodle salad with sweet potatoes and avocado

cucumber noodle salad


cucumber and daikon noodle salad
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup cucumber noodles
  2. 1 cup daikon noodles
  3. 1/2 cubed avocado
  4. sesame seeds, cilantro, lime wedges for garnish
for the mint chutney:
  1. 1/2 cup packed chopped mint leaves
  2. 1 cup cilantro, packed
  3. juice of 1 lime
  4. 2 tbsp honey
  5. 1/4 - 1/2 jalapeno, chopped
  6. 1 tsp cumin, ground
  7. 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  8. 1/4 tsp salt and pepper
  9. optional - 1 tbsp greek yogurt
for the sweet potatoes :
  1. 1 cup cubed sweet potatoes
  2. 2 tbsp olive oil
  3. 2 tsp ground cumin
  4. 1/2 tsp red chili powder
for the mint chutney:
  1. add all of the ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth, adjust flavors based on taste.
  2. store in an airtight container in the fridge up to 1 week.
for the sweet potatoes:
  1. preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. lay the sweet potatoes on a lined sheet pan and top with the olive oil and spices. combine and lay in one even layer.
  3. bake for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.
to assemble the salad:
  1. add the veggie noodles to a large mixing bowl and toss with the mint chutney a couple of spoonfuls at a time until evenly coated.
  2. top with the sweet potatoes, avocados, and garnishes. serve room temp.
this brown kitchen http://www.thisbrownkitchen.com/

chickpea and pomegranate seed salad

Guys I’ve been on such a big reading kick lately. I have that problem where I go out to the store to by x, y, and z, and somehow convince myself to just swing by the book department and “just look” at the new arrivals and then I always leave with at least two books in my cart. I really need help. But in all honesty, can one ever have too many books? Here’s what is currently piled up on my bedside table waiting to be read:

Why Not Me? – Mindy Kaling
Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert
The Happiness Project – Gretchen Rubin
Mastering the Art of French Eating – Anh Mah
Me Before You – Jojo Moyes

This does not include the pile of cookbooks I have that I still need to read because I am the person that reads cookbooks like a novel. Are there any other books y’all think I should add to my ever-growing list?

I was trying to think of some clever tie-in between books and this salad, but couldn’t find one. [book pages are like ruffage for the mind??] I’ve been trying to bring healthier lunch options to work so I don’t end up buying a croissant and coffee every single day from the coffeeshop across the street. It’s a tough lifeworking across the street from an eatery whose pastries are uber delicious, and to be honest who would really pick a salad over a muffin or slice of pumpkin bread? That’s where this salad comes in.

If I’m going to subject myself to eating a salad:

1. the salad must fill me up
2. the salad must be so freaking flavorful
3. the salad must be quick to make
4. the salad must make everyone else want to try it

I think this bowl of leafy greens meets all of the above requirements. The chickpeas make the salad hearty enough to where it staves off hunger for a while, the chaat masala and tamarind sauce add a punch of flavor, the veggies can be mixed up ahead of time, and everyone who sees it wants to know what’s in the salad and what it tastes like with all the spices mixed in. Check, check, check, and check!

Give it a try and mix up your weekday lunch routine! Happy Tuesday!


chickpea & pomegranate seed salad

directions:

1. slice spinach leaves into thin ribbons and place in a serving bowl

2. in a small bowl, mix the diced cucumber, tomato, green onion, and cilantro with 1/4 tsp of the chaat masala

3. in a separate bowl, mix the yogurt and remaining chaat masala 

4. heat up olive oil in skillet to medium heat, then add the ginger and garlic and cook until lightly golden brown. add the drained chickpeas and 1 tbsp tamarind sauce and cook until the chickpeas are tender. let cool

5. once chickpeas are cooled, add to serving bowls. top with the cucumber/tomato mix, drizzle yogurt and remaining tamarind sauce for the dressing. sprinkle salad with pomegranate seeds.

yield: serves 2

time: 10 minutes prep, 10 minutes cook

ingredients:

2 cups spinach leaves, sliced
1 seedless cucumber, diced
1 tomato, diced
1 green onion stalk, thinly sliced
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp chaat masala, divided
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger, minced
1 16oz can chickpeas, drained
2 tbsp tamarind chutney, homemade or store-bought, divided
pomegranate seeds


table runner, ceramic bowl, wooden spoons provided by kettle & brine