Watermelon Feta Salad

It just isn’t summertime without a killer fruit salad on repeat. And this is one of my favorites! Plus it’s basically only three ingredients, and no-fuss salads are always welcome around here.

I can’t remember the first time I had this salad, but I’m addicted! The cold, sweet, crisp watermelon with the creamy and salty feta, and that peppery arugula, come on! And now that you have the recipe, you should give it a try.

When picking out watermelon, make sure that the theres no soft spots, the watermelon feels firm and heavy. It should have a clean scent and it should have a lighter spot on the bottom. The lighter spot is what happens from the sun not hitting it while it grows. And when picking out feta, always go for the block if possible. It tends to retain the flavor and the creamy texture better than the packaged crumbles.

There’s not measurements in this loose recipe, but make sure to drizzle the arugula with good quality extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper over the top. You can also drizzle a bit of balsamic or berry dressing if you’re feeling extra saucy.

Maybe if we start eating this year round, summer will last longer…..

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Dark Chocolate Cherry Bites

Photography by Allyson Regan

Guys. Sometimes I just crave something super indulgent and chocolatey but I don’t want to ruin my healthy eating habits. Enter this recipe! These are essentially no-bake cookies with lots of hidden goodies. I make so many different versions of these all the time, so look out for some future recipes!

Photography by Allyson Regan

Feel free to get creative with the mix-in ingredients, but I can only eat chia seeds in this recipe or crackers. It’s something about the texture and how they get so slimy… but I digress. This recipe is packed with flax seeds, peanut butter, oats, agave, dark chocolate chunks, and dried cherries.

Photography by Allyson Regan

I like to mix up a big batch and then scoop and roll. I almost always have a bunch of these in my freezer (they thaw super quickly but are also great frozen) and raw dough for these fantastic cookies.

Photography by Allyson Regan

You can use chocolate chips if you prefer, but I love chopping up a really great bar of deep, dark chocolate. The shards melt at different times when you’re savory the finished bites which adds texture and an element of crunch.

Dark Chocolate Cherry Chia Bites

1 cup old fashioned oatmeal

1/2 cup good, natural peanut butter

1/3 cup agave

1/4 cup ground flaw seed

1/4 cup chia seeds

1/2 cup chocolate chunks

1/3 cup dried cherries

Combine all ingredients well and let chill for at least 20 minutes. Scoop and roll and then freeze. Let chill for at least an hour to let the oats absorb the liquids and the peanut butter. Then enjoy!

Photography by Allyson Regan

Green Goddess Chicken Salad

Photography by Allyson Regan

Generally speaking, I’m not a huge fan of chicken salad. I mean, sometimes I like it, but I don’t seek it out. But I love making this green goddess chicken salad for weekly meal prep. It’s the perfect update to a classic deli staple. Not to mention that it includes avocado which is having the longest moment in food right now.

Let’s talk about chicken salad for a minute. You can make this as easy or semi-difficult as you want. The easiest way would be to buy a rotisserie chicken or even shredded chicken and add a bottle green goddess dressing with a bit of mayo. Or, you can poach some raw chicken with a couple bay leaves, celery, carrots, onions, and garlic, with the dressing recipe below. Make sure to cool the chicken completely before mixing together. And be sure to gently mix to combine, there’s nothing worse than chicken salad that gets over mixed and turns into a paste.

Photography by Allyson Regan

Green Goddess Chicken Salad

2 large chicken breasts, poached and shredded into large chunks

1 cup parsley

1/2 cup tarragon

1/4 cup chives

2 tbsp lemon juice

1/2 avocado

1/2 cup mayo

1/2 tbsp garlic, minced

salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients besides the chicken in a blender. Taste and reseason with salt and pepper if needed. Toss with the shredded chicken. Enjoy on a sandwich with thick slices of juicy tomatoes or on triscuits or even by the spoonful!

Photography by Allyson Regan

Thursday Thoughts V.1.

Photography by Allyson Regan

Hello! And welcome to the brand new-est page on the Nutmeg Blog! I’m super excited about this part of the site! I’ve been wanting to have a section where I can just ramble and share tidbits without always attaching a recipe. Also, I don’t know about you, but I hate having to scroll through a story about someone’s dog just to get to the actual recipe on a blog. I really prefer to preface a recipe with information about how I came up with the recipe or interesting information about the ingredients or the recipe. So, the thought behind this page is to create a lifestyle/online journal mostly for myself, but also for you if you want to read about it! I plan on sharing things that are happening in my life, as well as health and wellness tips, crafts, life hacks, or really anything that pops into my head! Every Thursday, I’m going to share a little update as well as cool things I’ve seen on the interwebs and things I’m really into right now, called Thursday Thoughts. I’m also going to share articles, posts, or whatever you want to call it about different topics sporadically. If there’s something specific that you’d like me to discuss, feel free to leave a comment below!

My gorgeous sister, Allyson Regan, took a few headshots of me specifically for this new section. I have to admit that I was super nervous to be the focus instead of my food. It’s been a rough year and my confidence has been lacking. But Ally was great at capturing my personality and I’m so excited to share these photos! If you want to get out of your comfort zone, I highly recommend getting some photos of just yourself taken. Check out her website here!

If you live nowhere near the Midwest, congrats, you’ve made an excellent life decision. The last couple days have been brutally cold with sub-zero temperatures. I went to work two out of the past three days and each time I’ve been out on the roads, my 30 minute commute has taken over 90 minutes. They even closed the highways on Tuesday due to two different pile-ups. Even just looking out my window, I could barely see the woods across the street! Yesterday, I was home and got a lot of stuff done around the house and even tested a few recipes. I also listened to Rachel Hollis’ podcast called Rise and if you haven’t heard of her, climb out from under your rock and prepare for your life to be changed. Seriously. I’ve been listening for the past month and I started from the very beginning with the first episode. I like to listen to it on my way into work and it’s just so inspiring and motivational. She usually interviews women in business who have done incredible things with their lives and the advice that comes out of those interviews is so valuable. Her book, Girl Wash Your Face, is coming up in my book list and I can’t wait to read it! Seriously, check her out.

Well that’s it for now! If you’re new to my little corner of the internet, feel free to pop on over to the About page to learn more!

Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad

Can we just start by acknowledging how weird the word brussels is spelled? Like it kind of makes sense on it’s own, and then you go adding sprout after it and all of a sudden, it feels like you should drop the ‘s’ but you don’t. So when you want to write more than one brussels sprout, you call it brussels sprouts. Double s’s. Weird.

Anyways, no matter the reasoning behind that, raw brussels sprouts are one of those things that I think is extremely under-rated. Raw sprouts are rarely used and people normally avoid brussels sprouts or extremely over cook them. What a shame! I love brussels sprouts and when they are raw, they have such a unique flavor that’s so good in salads.

This is one of my absolute favorite salads right now. It’s fresh, crunchy, tangy, a bit spicy and a bit sweet. It’s a perfect make ahead salad and it’s great to have in the fridge after the holidays.

Kale Brussels Salad

1 pound of fresh Brussels sprouts

1 bunch kale

1 cup shredded Parmesan

1/2 cup almond slices, toasted

1 small yellow onion

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

1 lemon, zested and juiced

1/2 tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

3/4 tsp cayenne

1 cup oil

1/2 tsp black pepper

Begin by trimming the bottom of the sprouts and shredding them. You can do this by hand or in a food processor if you have the shredder attachment. Shred the kale and run through a salad spinner to remove the dirt. Add the Parmesan and almonds to the Brussels and kale.

In a tall container, combine the onion (chop up a bit so it mixes better), mustard, lemon juice and zest, sugar, salt, cayenne, and pepper. Mix using an immersion blender, and once the base is combined, add the oil in slowly to create an emulsion. Taste before mixing it into the rest of the salad. If you don’t like a spice, start with 1/4 tsp of cayenne. Combine with the rest of the ingredients and mix well!

This salad is great to make ahead of time and will just get better as it sits! It will last for 6 days.

Enjoy!

Top 5 Recipes from 2018

You guys! You are so sweet to read my blog, I seriously appreciate it so much!  Today’s post is about the 5 most viewed recipes by you!  It just so happens that these recipes are also some of my personal faves and are definitely enjoyed frequently in our little home.

Photography by Allyson Regan

Number 5 on the list is Chipotle Butternut Squash Risotto, which was one of my favorite posts, especially because after we were done shooting it, my sister and I ate the rest right out of the pan! This was the perfect cozy fall dish, and used some pantry items that most people already have. Plus, goat cheese, which automatically equals cozy and fall. Who doesn’t love these kinds of recipes???

Photography by Allyson Regan

The number 4 most viewed post was Burrata: The Better Mozzarella. I was so excited to research for this post because I’m OBSESSED with burrata. I mean I’ve always loved cheese, but I first had this cheese when I was working at a country club as a cook. We served it as an appetizer with fresh heirloom tomatoes, crusty bread, basil, balsamic, and plenty of salt and cracked black pepper. Then, when I went to Italy to film that TV show, we actually went to a factory that produces mozzarella and I got to see first hand how its made! Isn’t it crazy how food can transport you back through time to those fantastic memories?

Third on the list are these Boneless Chicken Wings, and at this point, I could probably make them in my sleep. My household went through roughly 12 boxes of panko crumbs during 2018. Just kidding, I have no idea but we ate this so much this year! Not that I’m complaining, at all! This is the perfect thing to make for a bunch of guys or for any kind of sporting event. Pair it with a cold beer and you’ve got yourself a crowd pleaser.

Photography by Allyson Regan

Number 2 is the Chicken Tikka Masala from just a couple weeks ago! I loved making this dish! I think it was so popular because its one of those recipes that you might be wary of trying to make at home but my recipe is fairly simple. If you are nervous about trying a new recipe, just give it a shot! Worse case, just order pizza.

Photography by Allyson Regan

The Most viewed post from 2018 is….. drumroll please…… Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies!! Of course, the most delicious looking photos just drew viewers to my site and I don’t blame you! These cookies are so good, I’ve continued to make them since posting it. I even made them for our Christmas Cookie boxes. If you’ve made this recipe, or any recipe from my blog, I’d love to see how they turned out! Don’t forget to tag me in your photo on social media, or comment with a picture below!

Photography by Allyson Regan

I can’t wait to see what favorite new recipes 2019 will bring! Happy Cooking!

Salted Maple Apple Butter

Photography by Megan Punches

Did November fly by for anyone else?  No? Just me then.  I literally did not post anything in the month of November and for that I am sorry!  I was super busy with starting a new job, getting together with family and friends, and overcoming an amazingly long cold.  But this apple butter totally makes it all better!

This salted maple apple butter is THE perfect thing to have on hand during the Holiday season.  It’s a set it and forget it type of recipe that can also be used for quick and easy desserts.  I love using my crockpot for prep items and this is a huge time saver for this recipe that takes a long, long, long time to finish.  And who wants to stand over the stove for 10 hours stirring?

Salted Maple Apple Butter

1 1/4 cup maple syrup

3/4  Tbsp salt

6 pounds apples, peeled and cored

1 1/2  Tbsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground cardamom

Combine all ingredients in a large crockpot.  I used a combination of golden delicious apples and honeycrisp apples.  Cook on high for 3 hours, then cool on low for 5 hours.  The mixture will darken in color quite a bit.  Blend well using a blender or an immersion blender, and taste.  You want the consistency to be thick, even when hot.  If needed, continue cooking in the crockpot on low, or transfer to a pot on the stove if necessary.  Makes about 5 cups of apple butter.

Enjoy!

Autumn Caramel Apples

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Photography by Allyson Regan

What better way to indulge your sweet tooth than with a sweet treat that also involves some fruit.  I absolutely love caramel apples, especially when they are coated in pecans and chocolate.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Also, these are a great homemade treat for Halloween! This is the easiest caramel apple recipe ever!  All you will need is 2 bags of those Brach’s caramels, the ones that come individually wrapped, and a bit of heavy cream.  Bring a medium pot of water to a simmer and melt the caramels and cream in a glass bowl.  It might take a while, but trust me, it’s so worth it!

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Now the caramel will set a bit quickly, so you’ll want to roll it in nuts soon after dipping.  Let it set completely before drizzling on chocolate though, otherwise you’ll have a mess on your hands.  I used the same melting chocolate that I used for these cake pops.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

You can leave them plain too, customize them to whatever you and your family likes!  You can even make some “mummified” versions like the one below!

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Photography by Allyson Regan

How scary does that look???  Either way, make sure to eat them semi-soon after making them.  Also, use pretty sturdy sticks so that you don’t have to worry about them breaking or falling off.  If you need another, more adult, way to celebrate Halloween today, check out this spooky cocktail!  Enjoy!

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Halloween Cake Pops

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Photography by Allyson Regan

You guys!  Look how cute these cake pops are!  They are the perfect Halloween snack because they are bite size, so you can eat more and not feel guilty, and they are super easy!

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Okay, that’s enough exclamation points for today.  I’m sure you can find a recipe for cake pops somewhere online, but it’s so simple that you almost don’t need one.  For the cake pops themselves, you’ll need one 9X13 pan of cake.  I used a yellow cake recipe but you can use any box mix that you like.  Once it’s cooled, crumble it into a mixing bowl and add about 1 1/2 cups of your favorite frosting!  Sorry, more exclamation points.  You want the consistency to be pliable, just remember that you are going to freeze these before you decorate so they will firm up.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Once they are frozen, they are ready to decorate which is the best part.  Melt candy melts in the microwave but be sure to follow the directions, especially for the white chocolate ones as they can easily burn.  I used the Ghirardelli candy melts and they are so easy and actually taste good!  Once the candy is melted, you want to work pretty fast.  Dip the cake pops to coat and let the excess candy fall.  Directly after dipping, you want to add sprinkles so that they stick.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

For these adorable mummies, coat all of the pops and attach these cute little candy eyes.  Let set, and then put the remaining white chocolate in a piping bag.  Cut a small tip off the bag, and drizzle onto the cake pops, taking cake to avoid the eyes.  Let set and then watch them disappear like magic.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

These cute sticks can be found here and they are listed as caramel apple sticks.  I personally wouldn’t use them because they aren’t very sturdy and they are quite short.  These cake pops are so cute and they are the perfect make-ahead treat for your tricksters!