Fruit and Veggie Salad

We love Salad around here but sometimes get sick of the same ol’ thing.

After the lovely strawberry spinach salad we had a few weeks ago I was totally inspired to try another salad that involved fruits.

I looked round for a bit online to gather some ideas and then turned to my fridge to see what I had…I don’t typically like to go out and buy specific ingredients for recipes that I want to try, and I was very happy to find that I had everything that I needed already!

Be creative and use the fruits and veggies that you like best! This is no rhyme or reason to what I chose other than having those ingredients on hand!

I also whipped up a really yummy vinaigrette for this salad that was super easy and versatile! Try it out 🙂

Fruit and Veggie Salad

Fruit and Veggie Salad

Fruit and Veggie Salad

Romaine, Arugula, Spinach or whatever leafy greens you have on hand [I used Romaine]

Apples sliced into thin discs [I picked Granny Smith and Red Delicious, but pick whatever you like]

Grapes sliced in half [Red or green, I picked Red]

Blueberries

Cucumber cut into thin discs

Broccoli

Red Onion cut into thin discs, Separated

  1. Wash and dry leafy greens in a salad spinner and put into salad bowl.
  2. Wash and cut other ingredients and arrange on top of salad.

Strawberry Vinaigrette

1/4 Cup Olive oil

3 Tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar

1 Tsp. Brown Sugar

Salt and Pepper to Tatse

And the secret ingredient: A big scoop of strawberry jam! Or Raspberry, or Marmalade. Try something new 🙂 IT WORKED LIKE A CHARM!!

  1. Throw all ingredients into a jar with a tight seal and SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE ❤
  2. Pour over salad and ENJOY!
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Caramel-Walnut, Strawberry and Blueberry Cheesecake MINIS!

I have been wanting to try this recipe for quite some time since we’ve had a giant tub of cream cheese lingering in the back of the fridge, nearing expiration, but have always been a little stand offish when it comes to cheesecake recipes from past ‘not so great’ experiences.

I went ahead and tried a cream cheese related recipe – CRESCENT CREAM CHEESE DANISH ROLLS. They rolls were AMAZING
and it gave me the confidence needed to whip up these cheesecake minis!

I used the Strawberry Jam that Momma and I made the other day, Caramel Ice Cream topping and Walnuts, and a Blueberry glaze that I whipped up from some fresh berries 🙂

After Chris stopped making giddy lil’ kiddie noises, he gave me a big smile and thumbs up on all the flavours. [Although I made him pick his favourites for future reference…he said Blueberry and Strawberry, while I really liked the Caramel Walnut!]

The recipe DOES NOT call for a “minis” springform pan, just a paper and tin baking cup!

Caramel Walnut, Strawberry and Blueberry Cheesecake MINIS!

It is really important for this recipe that you take the cream cheese and egg out of the fridge a few hours prior to the commencement of baking. Cheesecake works best when cream cheese and egg are at room temperature. Another thing to remember is not to overbeat your batter. Batter is done when a smooth and creamy texture is reached [on LOW SPEED]. If a few lumps still remain, let batter sit at room temperature for 10-15 more minutes and then beat again.

For a full list of cheesecake tips and techniques I found this great website! Check it out before you begin! Cheesecake 101

Caramel, Blueberry and Strawberry Cheesecake Minis!

Caramel, Blueberry and Strawberry Cheesecake Minis!

For Approximately 24 Cheesecake Minis:

Crust:

1 Cup Graham Cracker Crumbs

1/4 Cup Butter, Room Temperature

1/4 Sugar

  1. Mix all ingredients until all crumbs are incorporated. Should look darker and damp.

Crust in the making

Filling:

1 1/4 Cup Cream Cheese

1/2 Cup Sugar

1 Egg

1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla

I also added a big spoonful of sour cream for some extra kick!

1. In a mixing bowl, beat room temperature Cream Cheese and Sugar on low until smooth.

2. Add egg and Vanilla and beat again on low until smooth.

3. Scrape down edges of bowl periodically so that all batter hits blades.

Smooth Creamy Batter
Smooth Creamy Batter
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line tin cups with paper cups.

  2. Place a bit of Graham Cracker into each cup and press firmly into bottom. [Probably around a Tbsp. or so. If Crumbs are not pressed firmly, crust will fall apart]. Make sure to save a bit of Graham Cracker crumbs to sprinkle on top of finished minis.

  3. Once all crumbs are pressed down spoon batter into cups almost to the top.

  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes depending on your oven time and keep a close eye on cheesecake in the last 10 minutes of baking. [While baking cheesecake will look shiny, when it’s finished it will look dull].

Enjoy!!! 😉

Cool for a few hours or even overnight and top with preferred topping.

Another way to tell if cheesecake is done: if you tap cups and batter jiggles they are not done, or if the center of cheesecake falls when cooled. Cheesecake is DONE BEFORE IT CRACKS! It also continues to cook for a few minutes [much like meat] when you first take them out of the oven because of the residual heat…if cheesecake looks “done” in pan, it will overdone on your plate.

I decided to whip up a BLUEBERRY GLAZE for some of my minis and here is THAT recipe! [You can use this for Strawberries as well].

1 Cup Berries

1/2-3/4 Cup Sugar

1 Cup Water

3 Tbsp. Cornstarch

Blueberry Glaze thick and bubbly
Blueberry Glaze thick and bubbly
  1. Crush berries and cook [med-high heat] in water for two minutes.

  2. Add Sugar and Cornstarch and stir until thick and bubbly [increase heat as needed

For strawberries add a few drops red food colouring.

More Cups before they hit the oven and my reserved crumbs for sprinkling.
More Cups before they hit the oven and my reserved crumbs for sprinkling.
Cooking cups look SHINY
Cooking cups look SHINY
Finished cups look DULL
Finished cups look DULL
Pretty Carmel-Walnut, Strawberry and Blueberry Glaze Mini Cheesecakes
Pretty Carmel-Walnut, Strawberry and Blueberry Glaze Mini Cheesecakes

This recipe is a definite keeper <3
This recipe is a definite keeper ❤

BE CREATIVE and pick whichever flavours you like best! Crush up some Oreoes, or Nilla Wafers to use for Crust instead of Graham Crackers. And be sure to let me know how it works out for you 🙂

Heavenly Strawberry, Pineapple & Chicken Kabobs with a Lemony, Pineapple Marinade Recipe

With the recent heat and humidity I have been on the prowl for some recipes that would incorporate both a refreshing aspect, as well as some substance to fill up my hardworking boyfriend’s tummy ❤

And with a giant basket of strawberries and a pineapple on the verge of going bad, I did not have to search very far!

I found this recipe online using www.allrecipes.com. As soon as I read the combination of some of my favorite ingredients, I knew I just had to try it. It’s not all year that fresh, local strawberries are available, so I have been trying to incorporate them into as many meals as possible while I can!

Chris's kabob cooking pic

Chris's kabob cooking pic

This recipe is SUPER easy and can be made from ingredients you probably already have in your cupboards and fridge. It’s also a very pretty, colorful kabob which is fun to make…which might entice some lazy kids, OR significant others into the kitchen to help! They would be wonderful for a summer dinner party, or just a change from your standard kabob 🙂

First things first…

I usually only ever cook for Christopher and I, so I adapt most of the recipes I use to accommodate two servings! Just double up on ingredients if you have to feed more people!

Refreshing Strawberry, Pineapple, Chicken Kabobs with Lemony, Pineapple marinade.

Kabob prep!

Kabob prep!

Mmmmmm

Mmmmmm

I pulled out 6 skewers [before I started marinating the chicken] and soaked them in water. After doing some research I read some conflicting views on how necessary it is to soak skewers prior to use. Some websites said to soak skewers for 20-30 minutes before use, others suggested an hour, while others insisted that soaking the skewers before use was completely unnecessary. I don’t have a lot kabobing experience, so I just went ahead and soaked my skewers and everything turned out PERFECTLY! If you are really concerened about soaking your skewers in advance, and fail to do so, another method is to cover the exposed portion with tinfoil so it doesn’t burn.

1/3 Cup Lemon Juice [I used as much fresh squeezed Lemon as I had and topped if off with a bottle of Lemon Juice]

2/3 A can of Pineapple Chunks, Juice Reserved [I cut up some fresh Pineapple and just used the canned pineapple juice]

1/3 Cup Pineapple Juice Reserved

3/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon

Salt & Pepper to taste

1 Large Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breast, Fat removed, Cubed

1/4 – 1/3 Cup melted Butter

2 Teaspoons Brown Sugar

1/4 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg

15-20 or so smaller strawberries [around the same size as the chicken chunks

  1. In a shallow glass bowl combine Lemon Juice, Pineapple Juice, Salt, Pepper and half the Cinnamon. Mix together. Add Cubed Chicken and marinate for one hour or longer. [I’ve found that a GREAT way to marinate meat is to dump your ingredients straight into a freezer bag and mix together. Add your cubed chicken, seal bag and massage the marinade into your meat. Clean up is a breeze and it is way more convenient to have a sealed bag in the fridge than a shallow bowl containing liquids!]

  2. Preheat your grill to medium. [If you are using a George Foreman I would increase the temp between med-high so that you’re chicken cooks a little quicker!]

  3. In a small bowl combine the melted butter, remaining cinnamon, Brown Sugar and Nutmeg until sugar dissolves.

  4. Very lightly oil grate.

  5. With metal, or your wooden soaked skewers, arrange Pineapple, Chicken and Strawberries on each stick [approximately 4 to 6 pieces each].Brush kabobs with butter mixture and place on grill. Make sure to turn them so Chicken is cooked on all sides and strawberries are sizzling, approximately 8-10 minutes.

These were the tastiest kabobs I’ve ever tried and have totally inspired me to try other dessert kabobs, as well as vegetarian kabobs…Mmmm grilled veggies ❤

They were fun to make and I even lured Christopher into the kitchen to arrange his own skewers. It was a cute activity to do together [which I am all about] and we even ended up making dessert and taking pictures together. Cuteness. I totally miss that, but I know what it takes to get him into the kitchen…CREATIVE NEW DISHES!!! And there is definitely an endless supply of new ideas jammed up into my noggin’ ready to burst out ❤