Salmon Nicoise Dinner Platter

This is a salad that’s not a salad. It’s an un-salad. No lettuce, no salad, right?!

Salmon Nicoise

I love a good tuna nicoise salad when I’m out for lunch. This recipe is a riff on that salad. Yes, other people have switched the tuna for salmon before (I’m not the first!) but I thought I would try the toppings without the greens. It was good and fun to eat!

Salmon Nicoise

Salmon Nicoise Dinner Platter

For the salad

  • fresh salmon – sprinkle with kosher salt/ pepper and lemon zest. bake at 425 degrees until done
  • fresh green beans – cooked to desired done-ness
  • black and green olives
  • sliced avocado
  • new potatoes, sliced boiled and chilled
  • hard-boiled eggs, sliced
  • tomato chunks

For the vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dijon
  • 1 tablespoon local honey
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

I made the potatoes and hard-boiled eggs earlier in the day and chilled them in the fridge. This was there was a nice combo of warm and cold on the plate. The potatoes were amazing with the dressing…kind of like a no-mayo potato salad.

Arrange on a plate and drizzle with vinaigrette. (you will have extra vinaigrette for a salad the next day) Enjoy!


Roasted Cabernet and Citrus Cranberry Sauce

Can I still use the word “Cabernet” in this recipe when I substituted Malbec? Yep!

roasted red wine and citrus cranberry sauce

This “Roasted Malbec and Citrus Cranberry Sauce” is the cranberry sauce you should make for Thanksgiving (or really Christmas since it’s Thanksgiving day now and you probably already have your sauce ready). I’ve eaten a couple spoonfuls already!!

Roasted Cabernet and Citrus Cranberry Sauce

  • 1 (12 ounce) bag fresh cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (plus half it’s juice)
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest (plus half it’s juice)
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest (plus half it’s juice)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup Cabernet (or Malbec)
  • 2/3 cup water


  • Preheat over to 425 degrees
  • In an 8×11 baking dish add the washed cranberries, zest and juice from all the citrus and all other ingredients and stir to combine.
  • Roast for 25 minutes. Carefully remove and smash cranberries gently with a spoon. Let cool, stirring occasionally. The sauce will thicken as it cools.
  • Lasts a week (or more) in the fridge. Enjoy!

From Simply Scratch

Summer Berry Pavlova

Considering I had never tasted one of these until I made one, I’m not sure why I was so drawn to the idea. I do know that I saw someone on the Food Network making one and that after hearing the descriptions of “crispy, chewy and light” paired with “homemade whipped cream” and “seasonal fruit” that it absolutely, positively had to be my birthday dessert!!

Here is the shell just out of the oven. It is full of cracks but most the imperfections get covered up by the cream! (**keep scrolling people**)


My sister Zandria, soon-to-be brother in law Paul, my son Devin, Travis and I devoured this. Like all of it. Because I read that it would get mushy and be worthless after adding the cream and berries therefore not worth saving for the next day. We sat of the front porch after the sun went down and ate pie until the mosquitoes drove us away 🙂

summer berry pavlova

Excited about my new go-to summer dessert!

Summer Berry Pavola

  • 4 egg whites from extra-large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

For the whipped cream:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the berry topping:

  • 2 cups sliced strawberries
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons Chambord
  • 1 tablespoon sugar


  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Draw a 9-inch circle on the parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gradually add in the sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until thick and glossy. Gently fold in vanilla extract, lemon juice, and cornstarch.
  • Spoon mixture inside the circle drawn on the parchment paper. Working from the center, spread mixture toward the outside edge, building edge slightly. This should leave a slight depression in the center.
  • Bake for 1 hour. Let sit in oven for 45 minutes after baking. Cool on a wire rack.
  • To make the mixed berries: in a medium bowl add sliced strawberries, blueberries, liquor and sugar. Stir. Place in refrigerator until ready to use on dessert.
  • Right before serving make the whipped cream. In a small bowl, beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form; add the sugar and vanilla about halfway through the process; set aside.
  • Remove the paper, and place meringue on a flat serving plate. Fill the center of the meringue with whipped cream, and top with mixed berries.

Slightly Adapted from Allrecipes

Peach BBQ Sauce with Chipotle

This recipe makes the most amazing sauce! It’s the first thing I think about when the fresh, local peaches are in season and this is my 3rd summer making it.

Ingredients for bbq sauce


Here it is blended up in my mini food processor.

Peach bbq sauce

The original recipe called for whole chicken breasts to be grilled up. Last week I made a double batch of sauce and prepared skewers with chunks of chicken breast and boneless thighs which we grilled one night then baby back ribs another night!

baby back ribs

Peach BBQ Sauce

  • 1 cup peaches (about 2), sliced into chunks (in season are best)
  • 1/2 cup organic ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons adobo sauce from canned chipotle chiles in adobo (plus 1 of the chilies if you like heat)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 skinless, boneless organic chicken breasts


  • Combine first 5 ingredients in a small saucepan. Season lightly with salt and pepper and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low; simmer until peaches are very soft and flavors meld, about 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat; let cool. Pour peach mixture into a blender and purée until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place half the sauce in a medium bowl; add the chicken and turn to coat. Let marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes, or cover and chill for up to 8 hours, turning occasionally. Cover and refrigerate remaining sauce.

From Bon Appetit

Tomato and Watermelon Salad with Feta

Tomatoes and watermelon are a match made in heaven. If you haven’t tried the combo before you should soon (like tomorrow!). I looked through several recipes before deciding how I wanted to put my salad together. Feta was usually always added but other than that there were tons a variations going on. I thought some diced up cucumber would be nice for crunch and also decided to add a little green with some arugula.

I got lucky while shopping yesterday and found nice sized tubs of pre-chopped organic watermelon at Ellwood Thompsons for only $1.50 a piece! I grabbed 2 of them 🙂

watermelon and tomato salad

Tomato and Watermelon Salad with Feta

  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 1/2 cups cubed watermelon (make sure it is chilled)
  • 1/2 english cucumber, diced
  • 1 big handful arugula
  • crumbled feta cheese (I used about 1/2 of a block)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup EVOO
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste


  • In a salad bowl combine the first 5 ingredients. In a separate small bowl whisk together the next 5 ingredients to make a vinegrette. Pour vinegrette over salad…toss…enjoy!

Have you ever

BluePrint Cleanse – Preparation Day 2

My day:


  • warm water with freshly squeezed lemon
  • 1 banana


  • walked 5 miles
  • 1 honey crisp apple

Then I drove to King William to visit my sister Angela and my two beautiful nephews!

Laine is 2 1/2 months old. He makes owl noises (hoo-hoo) and is SO adorable!

my nephew, 2 1/2 months

my nephew, 2 1/2 months

His older brother at only 18 months is all about tools. Here is with a “play” drill bit in his mouth. (No! I did not eat any goldfish! Yes, I thought about it.)

nephew #1, 18 months


  • Mixed greens and butter lettuce salad with pomegranate arils, shaved fennel, avocado, shallots and orange with a citrus dressing (orange zest, juice, extra virgin olive oil and a little kosher salt and pepper). I made one for Angela and one for me 🙂
  • Earl grey tea

Me and my nephews


Blueberry Lemon Muffins

Blueberry Lemon muffins

Here I go again. Making breakfast in advance. With 164 calories, 4 grams fat and 3.5 grams protein they are not bad for you and along with a small banana or cup of yogurt would make a great breakfast I think. Especially when you’re in a hurry to head of to school (or work). I stored the 10 that were left (after Devin and I sampled one) in a large ziplock bag and put in the pantry cabinet where I keep bread.

The sugar on top makes the tops crisp and slightly sweet. The cornmeal and berries together are AMAZING. The lemony flavor added another hint of yummy flavor. I’ll make these again for sure.

Blueberry Lemon Muffins

Blueberry Lemon Muffins

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (I used white wheat flour)
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup organic blueberries (I used frozen)
  • 1 cup low-fat organic buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract (I actually didn’t have any lemons…this never happens!)
  • 1 large egg
  • 12 muffins liners (I used Reynolds StayBright baking cups…they help keep the muffins fresher versus not using liners and just spraying the pan with baking spray)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (flour through salt) in a medium bowl. Stir in blueberries; make a well in center of mixture. Combine buttermilk, butter, rind, and egg; stir well with a whisk. Add to flour mixture; stir just until moist.
  • Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray; sprinkle evenly with 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove muffins from pans immediately; place on a wire rack.

Recipe Slightly Adapted from Cooking Light

Black Cod with Lemon and Spice

Black Cod

Has anyone see the 2013 Food Lover’s Cleanse from Bon Appetit? As soon as I as started looking through the healthy recipes I couldn’t wait to try some of them! I have saved several recipes and plan to show some of them over the next few days.

I loved the black cod (found at my local Whole Foods) with the flavor of the coriander and cumin!! Excellent! I already had the ground spices so that’s what I used (instead of the whole seeds toasted and then ground as the original recipe called for). I also just squeezed lemon juice on the cod as it was cooking and then a bit more was squeezed over the fish on the plate instead of going through the process described in the recipe.

My neighbor gave me a huge turnip from his garden (because he knows I love them!) so I peeled and cubed it…cooked it until almost tender in a bit a chicken stock and added the broccoli to cook for just a minute so that it was still crunchy.

Overall a healthy, light and delish combo with the delicate fish and fresh veggies!

Black Cod with Lemon and Spice

  • 3 – 5 ounce pieces of Black Cod (I bought 1 large piece at Whole Foods and cut it up myself)
  • ground coriander
  • ground cumin
  • freshly ground pepper and kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced


  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Season both sides of fish with a thin layer of coriander and cumin, salt, and pepper; place skin side down in skillet. Cook until browned and crisp, 5-6 minutes. Turn; cook until just opaque in the center, 2-4 minutes more.

Recipe taken from Bon Appetit

Skinny Lemon Drop Martini

I came across this recipe (or I guess a picture of a drink at least) on Pinterest the other day. Seeing how simple the recipe was and that I already had the ingredients I knew that I would try it soon. At least I had everything but the superfine sugar the recipe called for…but stevia goes in my coffee every morning and I thought that would be a great substitute. I don’t care for sugar or salt rims on my martinis when I order them out so I skipped that step. I also wasn’t feeling fancy enough to carve a pretty lemon peel for the glass. All that matters is that is was a great way to relax after class on a Wednesday night! Cheers!

Skinny Lemon Drop Martini

Slightly Adapted from Foodies Unite

  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce Cointreau
  • 1 1/2 ounces (or 2 ounces…no one’s looking) Vodka
  • 1 packet Stevia in the Raw
  • crushed ice


  • Place all ingredients in a martini shaker, shake to combine and serve.

Caramelized Chicken with Lemons and Olives

Yesterday I reached a bit of a workout milestone. It’s the end of my 4th week of working out 5 days a week. I have been doing 45 minutes on the elliptical. Sometimes I do the intervals and sometimes the fat burn mode. I also mix it up by spending about 10 minutes of workout going backward (about 2-3 minutes every 10 minutes to mix it up). The total distance ends up being between 2.5 and 3 miles. For the past 2 years I haven’t been working out as much…maybe only once or twice a week in the gym…I felt like cleaning my 3 story townhouse and chasing after my 2 huge dogs was enough…but it’s not. I’m excited about my new routine!!

I got out my French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook to scan for recipes and was reminded of this recipe…specially earmarked on page 104. I have made it a dozen times and it’s so juicy, sweet, spicy, tangy good.

Caramelized Chicken with Lemons and Olives

Slightly Adapted from The French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook


  • 2 lemons, washed, halved and quartered
  • 12 small green olives, pitted and cut in half (the ones I bought were stuffed with red peppers)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 (3-4 ounce) boneless, skinless, chicken thighs
  • freshly ground pepper


  • In a bowl combine the lemons, olives,  red pepper flakes, honey lemon juice and olive oil and stir to combine. Add chicken, fresh ground pepper and stir to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour stirring once.
  • Heat a large non-stick skillet and spray with non-stick olive oil spray. Add the chicken mixture and spread out to make sure the chicken is in an even layer. Cook for 8-10 minutes on each side. Serve with the olives but discard the lemons. Wonderful with a side salad and/or your favorite flavored cous-cous (this is my favorite brand).

I have made this recipe multiple times for family and for dinner parties. It’s always a hit. Really you have to try it if you don’t believe me. What have you got to lose??? This is the first time I made it without adding the 2 extra tablespoons of olive oil in the skillet. This time I simply replaced it by just spraying the pan with non-stick spray and it worked beautifully.