So I was wondering, after seeing someone else do it... how does one FRY goat cheese? Let me assure you, it's a cinch! I didn't bother to look up a recipe for a roasted red pepper balsamic vinaigrette; I just threw one together. I thought of doing a creamy dressing, but then decided that that would be too much dairy in one dish. The vinaigrette is nice! But I may try more of a lemon juice/olive oil and herb option next time.     
     Above are pictured very thinly sliced yellow onions, but I would have preferred green onions... You work with what you got, right? This salad would also have been AWESOME with some bits of bacon.
     You know, the fried goat cheese could be a really cool party appetizer with an interesting dipping sauce... Hmmm... Maybe I'll be inventing that soon!

     Frying tip: I chose not to use (and therefore waste) a lot of oil. When the oil was hot, I tipped the frying pan over so that the oil was about half an inch thick, and I fried two little balls of goat cheese at a time, turning them every 10 seconds or so to fry evenly. Worked fine.


     SPINACH SALAD WITH FRIED GOAT CHEESE 
        AND ROASTED RED PEPPER VINAIGRETTE

2 red bell peppers, roasted
1 large garlic clove, roasted
3-4 oz goat cheese
1 lemon
about 3 tablespoons minced parsley
1 egg
1/3 cup brown rice flour (or panko bread crumbs)
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted 
2-3 big handfuls fresh baby spinach
2 green onions, minced
2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tsp fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried thyme)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup oil for frying (I used sunflower oil)


Cut bell peppers in half and seed them. Brush with a small bit of olive oil and bake, along with your clove of garlic (still with its skin) at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, until the bell peppers' skins begin to rise and blister. Allow to cool and peel off skins.

While peppers are baking, grate the peel of the lemon and combine with parsley and goat cheese. Roll goat cheese into 1/2" to 1" balls and freeze for 20 minutes.

When bell peppers are removed from the oven, turn the oven off, but set walnuts on a baking sheet and roast in the oven on the leftover heat.

Place bell peppers, garlic, thyme, and balsamic vinegar in a food processor and process about 20 seconds... stream in olive oil until smooth.

Whisk egg in a small bowl, dip goat cheese into egg and dredge in rice flour. Fry at medium to medium high heat until light golden brown. If using panko, this will happen more quickly.

Arrange spinach, green onions and walnuts on a plate. Scatter fried goat cheese and drizzle with dressing.

Voila!
 
 
     I have reached a stage in my new eating... ahem... "lifestyle"(because that's what they're calling it these days. You know, the kind of diet you can never escape. The kind where you admit you can't eat like a twenty year-old anymore? Yeah, that one.) It's the stage in which I hate people who can eat sugar and feel okay about it.
     And bread. And alcohol. Yeesh!
     Two weekends ago, I ate a piece of cheesecake. I would *like* to say that I unabashedly ate that piece of cheesecake. But as I spooned a biteful onto my eager tongue, attempting to savor every calorie and every gram of carbohydrate, I could not help but imagine where those calories and carbohydrates would deposit themselves. It was going to be a complete and utter abandonment for about ten glorious minutes, but it turned into an episode of guilt and shame. Don't get me wrong. It was delicious, and I enjoyed every bite, but I still couldn't shake the thought; "you know you'll have to make up for this, right?"
     Such is my life as of the last five months. Well, almost six. 

     So necessity IS the mother of invention. For two reasons: 1.) If I can't enjoy my sweets, then I'll find a way to enjoy my regular food, dang it. 2.) I had no spinach, no arugula, no salad greens to speak of in the fridge, save for the celery greens. Hmmm... I've thrown those into soups before, and it tastes great. What if I do a salad of celery leaves? YES! The only thing I could do to improve this recipe is to grate a little orange zest over the whole thing. I think that would have really taken it over the top.
     Without further ado, enjoy...

--- Jenny

BAKED FISH, RED QUINOA WITH CILANTRO, & CELERY LEAF SALAD WITH TERIYAKI VINAIGRETTE

Baked Fish:
Choose a white salt-water fish and bake with olive oil and minced garlic and ginger. (Bake at 350 degrees until flaky)

Celery Leaf Salad with Teriyaki Vinaigrette:
Celery leaves
carrot matchsticks, thinly sliced
Shallots, thinly sliced
Red pepper, minced

Vinaigrette:
2 teaspoons teriyaki sauce
4 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon minced ginger

Whisk together and toss salad ingredients. Salt and pepper salad to taste.

Red Quinoa With Cilantro:
Prepare 1/2 cup couscous according to package directions. Let cool. Add any remainder of vinaigrette and toss with 2-3 tablespoons minced cilantro. Top with a poached egg.
 
 
     So pretty, so delicious, and SO on your diet! As a rule, white potatoes are not allowed on a no- or low-carb diet. But sweet potatoes, in moderation, are definitely on the list, so why not make something different with them?
     The ginger gives it a sweet bite, and the homemade mayo just makes it, if you know what I mean. Icing on our proverbial cake.
Perfect for those of us who are diabetic, on a diet, or not!
--- Jenny


SWEET POTATO SALAD

4 cups sweet potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup homemade mayo, see recipe below
4-5 small green onions, diced
1/2 cup diced red pepper
1/4 cup diced fresh parsley, any variety
2-3 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
Salt to taste (optional)

Boil cut potatoes until softened. Set aside to cool completely. Make mayonnaise and refrigerate until potatoes are completely cooled. 

In a large bowl, toss in green onions, red pepper, parsley, ginger and mayo and mix well, making sure mayo is incorporated throughout.

Refrigerate at least an hour before serving. 

Homemade mayo:
1 egg
1/2 cup grapeseed or olive oil
1/2 cup sunflower oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard

Add egg, salt, red pepper and mustard to food processor and blend for 1 minute. Slowly stream oils into mixture as processor continues to blend. Transfer to a bowl or other container and refrigerate 1-2 hours to allow mayo to set.
 
 
     So far, I've lost seven pounds. I'm not too frustrated, I guess, because this is a healthy way to lose it. I'm on my way, and by the end of the year, I hope to have completely reached my goal. That means I will have lost 54 pounds and likely 8-10 dress sizes. I'm embarrassed to admit that I have to lose THAT MUCH, but whatever. At least I'm doing something about it!
     I have found that cabbage is an awesome diet aid. It is bulky, so it fills up your tummy. It's high in fiber. And it helps me drop the weight more easily. 
     For this recipe, I had some kale that I needed to use. Kale... Kale... cole slaw... KALE SLAW! So crunchy, and healthy, too, because I used my homemade mayo recipe. A great raw food, diet food, side dish, BBQ side, gluten-free, YUM!

--- Jenny


KALE SLAW

2 cups kale, stemmed and finely chopped
2 cups red cabbage, finely shaved or sliced
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 celery heart (the inner stalks, including leaves), chopped
1 fresno pepper, seeded and diced
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup homemade mayo or more to taste (recipe below)
juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper to taste
other herb or spice to taste (I used a Thai blend)


Combine and toss all ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Fresh Mayonnaise:
     1 egg
     1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
     3 tablespoons lemon juice
     1/2 teaspoon salt
     1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
     1 cup unrefined sunflower seed oil (or olive oil)

     In a blender or food processor, blend egg, lemon juice, salt and pepper for about a minute. While processor is still running, stream oil until mayonnaise thickens. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate to set. 
 
 
     Before today, I had never sampled a blood orange. I carefully pulled back the peel so as to not let any of the juice escape before I had my first taste. Somehow I knew this would be special. I pushed my finger into the center to separate the sections, and pulled the orange apart into its two halves. Wow. It looked like it was infused with wine, it was such a rosy red inside. Then, I bit into a section and let the juice burst onto my tongue. I let it swim in my mouth, savoring its richness... Ahhh...!
     Such was my first taste of the blood orange. No wonder people have been going crazy over this thing! I immediately thought of all the things I could make with this common delicacy: salad dressing. Dessert. Margaritas! 
     Well, it was lunchtime, so, salad dressing it is! Online, there are countless dressings, but none that are creamy. So I devised my own. Next time, (which will be very soon!) I'll make a larger amount and add more yogurt. Maybe even make it Greek yogurt.
     Enjoy this one, guys! DEEEE-licious!
---Jenny

SPINACH, CHARD & PAN-SEARED CHICKEN SALAD WITH CREAMY BLOOD ORANGE DRESSING

2 cups chard, stemmed and torn in bite-sized pieces
2 cups baby spinach
1/2 cup sliced cucumber
1/4 cup tablespoons diced onion
1/2 cup diced red pepper
8-10 ounces pan-seared chicken tenderloin
(2 tbsp olive oil in frying pan -- approx. 4-5 minutes per side)

Dressing:
juice of two blood oranges, about 2/3 cup
1/4 cup yogurt, Preferably Greek yogurt
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
1/4 cup olive oil

In a food processor, blend oranges, yogurt, garlic and cilantro. Stream in olive oil as processor runs to acheive desired consistency.
 

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