December 14, 2013

Fall Salad with Cranberries, Squash, Pomegranate & Wheat Berries

For the past two months, I've been looking for fresh cranberries and they have finally arrived in South Florida!  There are quite a few cranberry recipes on Grains for Your Brain, which is the website I found this wheat berry salad recipe on.  I love the festive colors in this salad and it would be perfect to serve with a Christmas meal, especially for vegetarians.

There are quite a few steps to this recipe, but everything for the salad comes together while the squash and cranberries are roasting.  The smell of cinnamon and brown sugar coming from the oven will quickly convince you that this recipe is worth making.

The dressing quantity is perfect for this salad, the only aspect I didn't like was the addition of lemon juice because it was a little too tart when combined with the cranberries.  I really like the Arbequina olive oil from California Olive Ranch; it's a great olive oil for salad dressings!

I miss being able to buy olive oil at Oro di Oliva in Milwaukee and especially their 18-year balsamic vinegar, but I'm slowly discovering new favorites especially those that can be ordered online because traffic is such a nightmare here in Miami.

While I loved the flavor combination of this recipe, I plan to slightly alter the ratio of ingredients next time to add more spinach and less wheat berries.  I also think the addition of walnuts and goat cheese would be lovely.

Chris loved this salad cold, while I preferred it slightly warm (30 seconds in the microwave).  This is definitely a hearty main-dish salad that will leave you full for hours. 

Disclaimer: I received the California Olive Ranch olive oil at no cost to me.  Also, I'm currently participating in a sponsored social media campaign for the Grain Foods Foundation, however this post is not sponsored.

December 11, 2013

Coconut-Lime Sugar Cookies - Blogger Cookie Swap

Last year was my first time participating in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap and I thought it was a great way to discover new bloggers and get some delicious cookies in the mail.  The swap is sponsored by Oxo who raises money for Cookies for Kids' Cancer

I made pecan sandies last year and decided I needed Miami flavor in this year's cookies, so I went with the tropical flavors of lime and coconut.  I followed a recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything that was definitely a winner.  Delicious chewy sugar cookies with a hint of lime and coconut.

I'm a big fan of cooking shows, but only recently got cable so I can now watch Food Network shows.  My favorite show is definitely Barefoot Contessa and I've been watching lots of her reruns lately (it's been on the air since 2002).

There are some things that are just easier to learn by watching someone else do them and for me, zesting was one of them.  I used to rub limes against the microplane grater instead of the other way around.  It makes such a difference, thanks Ina!

I recently received Glad MatchWare in the mail which ended up being perfect containers for shipping my cookies to Lisa, Jennifer & Krista.  Each shape is a different color and I thought the festive green color of the round containers worked quite well for the holiday season.

Getting packages in the mail is always fun, but especially when you know they contain cookies :)  I received old-fashioned ginger crinkles from Catherine at Kitty's Baking Time and chocolate-covered shortbread cookies from Ruthie at The Tasty tRuth

I should have received three total and am not sure what happened to the third package but that's ok because the two I received were delicious.  I love ginger cookies year-round and they're even better around the holidays, and crushed peppermint is an excellent addition to holiday treats.

Disclaimer: Glad MatchWare was provided at no cost to me.

Coconut-Lime Sugar Cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10-12 minutes per batch

Ingredients (5 dozen 2" cookies)
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest of two limes
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice (from two limes)
  • 3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper (silicone baking mats don't work well for these cookies).
  • In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, vanilla, lime zest and juice. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients and coconut.
  • Drop by spoonfuls onto parchment-lined cookie sheets (I use a small Oxo scoop which holds 2 teaspoons of dough) about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.
  • Let stand on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks.
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