Thai Cashew Chopped Salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing


So, remember that Sweet Thai Chili Peanut Butter from Sprelly. This salad was the recipe I finally picked out to use it. I didn’t end up making the pad thai as I was having a hard time getting over fish sauce. Silly? Possibly. I just can’t get my mind over adding fish sauce to anything. Have you smelled it by itself?

But this? This salad and the dressing were both awesome. In fact, we had enough salad for 4 meals, but only enough dressing for two. My husband was eating it with a spoon. That said, I am excited about the possibilities for this recipe. It was fresh. Light. Simple. Fast. Sounds like the perfect summer meal, and I’m sure we will end up making it all summer.


The salad itself is just chopping vegetables. I did use actual heads of romaine lettuce, but I’m sure you could swap out prepared salad mix to make it slightly quicker. I mixed the dressing in a small bowl using just a whisk, but you could probably also add this to a blender (or even a smoothie cup) if you wanted to make it easier too.

If you never use ginger, my tip is to buy a piece and freeze it. Then when it is time to make the dressing, you can just peel it and use it on a microplane while frozen. My last tip. Don’t skip the salted cashews (and the salt is key)!



(Printable Recipe)

Thai Cashew Chopped Salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing
From The Recipe Critic

2 heads Romaine lettuce, rinsed and chopped
1/2 head red cabbage, chopped
15-20 sliced baby carrots
1/2 cup frozen edamame, thawed
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup salted cashews

Ginger Peanut Dressing:
1/3 cup sweet thai chili peanut butter (see Sprelly)
2 Tbsp. honey
3 Tbsp. fresh grated ginger
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tsp. sesame oil
water to thin (I used about 2 Tbsp)

In a small bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, honey, ginger, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach your desired consistency. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the salad ingredients through the green onions. Toss. Top with the cashews and dressing.


Black Bean and Tomato Soup

black bean and tomato soup with bread

I feel like I have to share a quick little story that precedes this cookbook. Back in October, I ran a half-marathon with a couple of my college girlfriends, and we all stayed at one of the girl’s apartment (it was kind of like the old time sleepovers, lots of fun!). Anyway, the girl we were staying with end up giving me a cookbook she had laying around (this Skinny Bitch cookbook) stating that she never uses it anyway. Awesome! I was pretty excited about checking out the new recipes and ended up paging through it in the airport on the way home. Given the title, I tried to keep the book covered up pretty well but apparently did not do it well enough as one of the ladies sitting beside me at the terminal commented on the “language” of my book. Oops…

“Language” aside, this is a really interesting book. While I do not follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, we do eat meals that fall into each of those categories with some regularity. In fact, I knew as soon as I paged through the soups that this section alone would be reason enough to own this book. When I got home, I actually gave it to my husband to page through and pick out a recipe. He actually dove right into the soup section as well, so we must have been on the same page! Black bean and tomato soup is was.

black bean and tomato soup

The beauty of this soup is it’s simplicity. It is not my first black bean-related soup on this blog, but has it’s own advantages. The first is that this is absolutely weeknight friendly. It comes together really quick, and allows you to prep anything else you may be doing during that 15 minute simmer time. One of the others is that the 2 cans of beans in here actually give this soup some staying power. I love soup, but I hate it when I’ve brought a vegetable-based soup for lunch at work and I end up hungry 2 hours later. As far as the recipe goes, I followed it almost exactly, swapping only small things that I had in my kitchen. The soup itself is absolutely something we will make again, so thanks for the new cookbook Kelcey! I’ll try to keep the title a little more conspicuous next time 🙂 Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Black Bean and Tomato Soup
Adapted slightly from Skinny Bitch: Ultimate Everyday Cookbook

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
2 (15 oz) cans low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (28 oz) can stewed tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn
3 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup water
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
juice of 1/2 lime (1-2 tablespoons)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. green onions, chopped
1 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped

Heat the oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for 3 to 4 minutes or until it starts to soften. Add the garlic and red bell pepper and saute another 30 seconds. Add the chili powder and cumin and stir to combine. Add the black beans, tomatoes, corn, broth, water, oregano, red pepper flakes, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat and continue to simmer for about 15 minutes.

Transfer half the soup to a blender or food processor, let cool slightly. Blend until smooth. Add this back to the remaining soup in the stockpot. Alternately, you can use an immersion blender in the stockpot (with all the soup in the pot) and blend until about 1/2 of the vegetable pieces have been pureed. With the soup back in the stockpot, add the lime juice and sale. Stir and simmer for about 5 more minutes. Garnish with the green onion and cilantro.

Baked Oatmeal To Go

baked oatmeal to go close

Anyone have any good tips on how to consistently work out in the morning? With the new job, I’m working longer days, so I’d love to knock my workout out in the morning before work. My problem – this involves being at the gym to workout at 4:30 AM. Doable in my world if I have to do it once. Four times a week… going to be a struggle.

As I think I’ve mentioned before, most mornings, even if I’m not trying to get to the gym before work, there is not much of a chance that I am going to have time to actually cook something. I tend to get out of bed at the last possible minute to give me enough time to get out the door, so grab and go is a great philosophy in this house. With my much earlier mornings in mind, I pulled this recipe out for some make-ahead breakfasts and was surprised to realize that I had yet to blog on it.

baked oatmeal to go in pan

baked oatmeal to go

The recipe is from Leanne of Healthful Pursuit, and I have already lost count of how many times I have made these. They bake in a muffin pan to allow for individual servings, and at 2 “muffins” a morning, one recipe lasts most of my week. They keep well in the refrigerator, and I just reheat them after I get to work in the mornings. They smell great coming out of the microwave due to the cinnamon, and I often get comments asking what I am eating. One thing to note, the texture of these is going to be different from a traditional muffin. With oats, little fat, and no flour, you will not get a traditional crumb. The other thing about these is the batter. It will seem a little runny. Do not worry. They will bake together. I use an ice cream scoop to spoon it into the muffin liners and fill them as full as I’d like my muffins to be. No need to worry about the 1/2 to 2/3 full rule here. As far as add-ins, one of my favorite things to add into these are blueberries. I add them to the batter rather than just as a topping, and I have had success using both fresh and frozen berries.

I made a batch of these this morning for work Friday and this weekend, so we will see if I get any comments at my new place. Maybe looking forward to breakfast will actually get me to the gym at 4:30 on Friday morning? Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Baked Oatmeal To Go
Adapted from Healthful Pursuit

1 egg or 1 flax egg (1 Tbsp. ground flax seed mixed with 2 Tbsp. warm water, sit for 5 minutes)
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 over-ripe banana
1-1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (could use any milk)
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
2 Tbsp. ground flax seed
2 tsp. cinnamon
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 to 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (or other desired mix-ins)
muffin liners

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with muffin liners. Set aside.

Place the egg/flax egg, applesauce, banana, milk, maple syrup, and vanilla in blender or food processor. Blend until just combined.

Place the dry ingredients (oats through salt) in a large bowl. Mix to combine. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Fold in the blueberries or other mix-ins. Spoon into the muffin liners using an ice cream scoop. It is okay to fill the liners pretty full. The muffins will only rise slightly while baking. There should be enough batter for 12 muffin cups.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Eat warm or cool completely and store in the refrigerator until needed. To reheat: remove the liner and rewarm in the microwave for about 1 to 2 minutes.

Chipotle Bean Burritos

black bean burritos2

Last but not least. The final meatless, seafoodless recipe. Hope you have been able to find some meatless recipes in the last couple weeks whether it is for meatless Fridays or just the occasional meatless meal.  

I ran across this recipe on Annie’s Eats, but it is originally a Cooking Light recipe. It seems pretty simple and definitely is quick. Beans mixed in a skillet with some seasonings and wrapped up in a tortilla with your standard round up of sour cream, lettuce, tomato, etc. I definitely learned one thing in making this recipe. A mixture of mashed up beans does not make for very pretty photos!

Can’t go wrong with simple, quick, and delicious. As this is the last meatless meal, I’ll be back tomorrow with a decadent dessert 🙂 Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Chipotle Bean Burritos
Adapted from Cooking Light (Seen on Annie’s Eats)

2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. minced chipotle in adobo sauce
1 tsp. cumin
dash of cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
1/3 cup chicken broth (or water)
1 (15oz) can black beans
1 (15oz) can pinto beans
6 Tbsp. fresh salsa
6 whole wheat tortillas
shredded Mexican blend cheese
diced tomatoes
shredded lettuce
chopped green onions
Low-fat sour cream

Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and spices through the salt. Stir constantly and cook until fragrant, about 30-60 seconds. Add the beans and broth to the pan. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the the heat and allow to cook for about 10 minutes or until the beans are softened. Remove the skillet from the heat. Roughly mash the beans leaving some pieces whole. Add the salsa and mix well. 

Spoon about 1/3 cup of the bean mixture down the center of each tortilla. Top with desired toppings. Fold the ends of the tortilla in and roll-up lengthwise. May cut in half if desired. Serve immediately.

Loaded Black Bean Veggie Burgers (Vegan)

veggie burger

In talking to our families, we got wind that they are suppose to have a high in the 80’s today in Nebraska. In March! Enjoy your day guys. You’ll be in our ballpark today 🙂

Warm temperatures make me think of summer, and what is the quintessential summer meal? Burgers! To keep with my meatless, seafoodless theme, you may have guessed that these are veggie burgers. Neither of us are vegetarians, however I do occasionally like a veggie burger over a traditional beef burger. Nothing wrong with either one, just really depends on what kind of mood I am in.

veggie burget patties cooking
veggie burger patties close

One of my pet-peeves about homemade veggie burgers is that mushy middle. If you have tried to make bean veggie patties at home, you probably know what I mean. I’ve tried a couple recipes in the past that weren’t even close to making the blog, and there was an incident once involving soggy veggie burgers and the grill. Don’t want to talk about that one. While it has been awhile since she posted it, I only recently ran across this recipe from Angie of Oh She Glows. The recipe is actually vegan, using ground flaxseed + water as a replacement for eggs. Angie claims that this is “their perfect veggie burger.” As I said in my lasagna post, I hesitate to call anything “the best,” but these burgers are dang good. We both took them for lunch every day until they were gone, and I can tell you that I missed them the first day I didn’t have one. Definitely a do again, and that is saying something in the world of a food blogger 🙂

(Printable Recipe)

Loaded Black Bean Veggie Burgers
From Oh She Glows (Originally inspired by Whitewater Cooks)

1/2 cup onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2-1/2 Tbsp. ground flaxseed + 1/2 cup warm water
1 cup oats, processed into flour
1-1/2 cups whole wheat Panko bread crumbs
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup black beans (I used canned beans and measured 1 cup)
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
1/3 cup sliced toasted almonds
1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
1-1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
black pepper to taste

Add almonds and sunflower seeds to a small skillet. Toast over medium heat until slightly browned and fragrant. Set aside.

In a large skillet, saute onions and garlic in 1-1/2 teaspoons olive oil for a few minutes until the onions begin to soften. Mix the flaxseed and water together in a small bowl. Let set for 10 minutes. 

Mash the beans with a for until no large pieces remain. Place the beans and the remaining ingredients up through the spices and salt (including your nuts) in a large bowl and mix well. Add the seasonings, including salt, and taste. Adjust if necessary. I had to add a little bit more water to my dough at this point to get it to come together (maybe 1-2 Tbsp). Add just a little at a time until the dough will hold its shape when pressed together.

Wet hands and firmly press dough together into patties. Burgers can be pan-fried in a small amount of olive oil on the stove for 4-5 minutes per side, baked at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes (flip at about 15 minutes), or grilled. If grilling, Angie recommends pre-baking the burgers for about 15 minutes. Serve on buns with desired toppings.