Summer Fruit Salad

Summer has fully encompassed Georgia and let me tell y’all…. it’s ridiculously sticky, humid and hot. Georgia has always been known for these type of summers and rarely disappoints its residents and visitors.

When the temps are still at 95° and it’s time to prepare supper I don’t know about you, but I have zero desire to turn on the stove and cook. I still want my husband and our occasional guests to feel spoiled and special, so enter my go-to dish: fruit salad.

Now this isn’t a big bowl of fruit like you might be picturing , but instead a crisp green salad which includes fruit. I love adding fresh, seasonal fruit to homemade salads and serving them up with complimentary vinaigrette dressings.

Summer Fruit Salad / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

When my friend Tammie joined me for lunch last week I served up a salad that incorporated peaches that was a real hit!

Peach Orchard / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

With Georgia’s peach season in full swing, peaches are definitely my fruit of choice, but it pairs so well with other fruits as well. For this particular salad I also added blueberries, mozzarella cheese, pecans, and bacon.

All of the ingredients (including the cheese, bacon & greens) were local and fresh which makes a summer fruit salad taste even better! You can hit up your local farmers or Saturday market, or a U-Pick Farm to find the freshest of ingredients as well as support locals farmers.

Peach & Blueberry Salad / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

As you can see from my picture, all I did was layer the ingredients so that they look appetizing. It is quite simple.Peach Blueberry Salad / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

For the peach salad I made a Lemon White Balsamic Vinaigrette using a gourmet Sicilian balsamic vinegar (purchased at a vinegar & olive oil shop nearby) and combining with California olive oil; 1/3 cup vinegar to 2/3 cups olive oil seasoned with salt & black pepper, and fresh minced garlic. Shake well and taste to see that you like the flavor. If it’s too bitter for your taste, add a teaspoon of sugar. I like mine a little extra vinegary, so I often add extra.

Make the vinaigrette yours.

Peach Salad with Chicken / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

I served the peach salad with sliced rotisserie chicken breast (once again, no oven/stove needed) since it was lunchtime. When I ate leftovers later in the day I just enjoyed the salad!

That’s the beauty of summer salads; they’re delicious and filling!

And if peaches aren’t your thing you can definitely change up your fruits. I served a similar salad in red, white and blue for our Independence Day cookout.

{My husband doesn’t care how hot it is when he fire’s up the grill; Audley holds the well-deserved title of Grill Master for a reason.}

This salad included strawberries, blueberries, mozzarella cheese, and almonds. Using the same ratios above for my dressing I used balsamic vinegar to make the dressing.

Red White and Blue Salad / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Red, White & Blue for the holiday. This salad is also delicious with blue cheese instead of mozzarella, and pecans instead of almonds. I told you these are so versatile.

There are so many ways to keep your diet fresh and clean as well as cool in the summer. These salads just happen to be my favorite way! How would you serve up a summer fruit salad? I would love to hear your ideas!

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Dressing a Salad

These extremely hot summer days have meant a lot of crisp green salads filled with fresh veggies from the market.  I love to dress up a salad with not only garden fresh vegetables, but also seasonal fresh fruit. Something about that sweet crunch makes me feel a wee bit naughty as if I’m eating something I shouldn’t, but it’s so good for me!

Salad with homemade vinaigrette

Now a salad isn’t complete without being dressed.  But, it’s how you dress that salad that can make or break what could be a very healthy meal.

When I changed my lifestyle giving up salad dressing was one of the very first changes I made.  Salad dressings are generally loaded with either fat (in the form of unhealthy oils), sugar and sodium, or a lot of sodium to make up for lack of flavor in low-fat dressings.  None of that appeals to me, so I took to creating my own dressings.  No more creamy sauces smothering the fresh flavors I have grown to love, but vinaigrettes that complement both vegetables and fruit and truly dress my salad.

If it’s as hot where you are as it is here in South Carolina, you would probably enjoy a cold salad yourself, so I thought it would be fun to share my no-fail vinaigrette for a healthy option for topping your own salads.

I use a basic combination for my vinaigrette base; I use 2/3 cup of quality Olive Oil (Walnut oil for a nutty flavor, or  truffle oil you have diluted with a little olive oil for a rich flavor)  to 1 cup of vinegar.  That is a different ratio than most vinaigrettes, but we are looking to lower the fat.  And dressing is to finish off and compliment a salad, not drown a salad.

{Add a little sea salt and black pepper to a clear vinegar for a simple light vinaigrette that accompanies most anything.}

After you have your basic vinaigrette mixed, you can add additional flavors.

Basic Vinaigrette Dressing

Here is one of my favorites that I use as a base for nearly every vinaigrette that I make:

1 cup white wine vinegar

2/3 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (I prefer Maille)

 1 shallot, finely chopped

sea salt & black pepper, to taste

1/2 teaspoon Stevia (I use organic Skinny Girl Stevia), optional

Basic Vinaigrette Ingredients

Other flavoring for my basic vinaigrette are limitless.

*Add artichoke (about 4 ounces canned) and add to your dressing, replacing the vinegar with lemon juice & pureeing in your blender until smooth.  This is also really delicious with a couple of tablespoons of parmesan cheese added.

Artichoke Vinaigrette

*Add 1 teaspoon of organic honey (instead of stevia).

*1 clove of garlic, minced

*Fresh basil, tarragon, mint or rosemary.

*sun-dried tomatoes.

*Freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

*Add a little citrus zest and juice for a citrus flavor (orange and lemon work perfectly for this).

*Or even swap your vinegar out for a different flavor from strawberry infused vinegar to a rich aged balsamic vinegar.

Vinaigrette Ingredients

Each time you reach for your homemade vinaigrette, you have a different exciting flavor to dress your salad!

basic vinaigrette

Besides a crisp green salad, this vinaigrette recipe does so much more as it becomes a marinade for chicken, a pasta salad topper, a glaze for salmon, or a light drizzle for seafood.

My favorite combo?

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A salad of fresh greens topped with 4 ounces grilled chicken breast, fresh strawberries, chick peas, a little blue cheese and a balsamic-dijon vinaigrette.

Mmmmm.

I know what’s for supper tonight!

Have a fabulous Wednesday y’all!

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Fit Friday: Quinoa Salad for Hot Summer Days

I don’t know about you, but when the temperatures rise to 100 degrees I want to do as little cooking as I can get away with.  We want our meals filling, but as light as possible.  There is no worse feeling than to feel stuffed and bloated while winding down your day in the heat.

Skipping meals isn’t an option, so cold salads have become our summer staple.  One of my favorites is definitely light and filling, easy to prep and makes an easy solution to eating on the run as well.

Quinoa salad has become my “go-to” meal for these dog days of summer.  Prepped early in the day (or night before), then left in the refrigerator for the flavors to mesh, it is the perfect meal or side dish!

I’m sharing two of my favorite salads for Fitness Friday today.

To make these cool summer sides or meals I took a 14 ounce bag of quinoa and prepared all of it according to package directions, except I replaced the water with unsalted chicken broth for added flavor, then divided for the two recipes.  Be very careful not to undercook your quinoa as it’s a whole lot like eating pebbles, or to over cook the grain and have a pan of mush on your hands.  I’ll be honest, I have done both and it will totally kill your salad dreams.

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Cooked Quinoa

Cooked Quinoa

After the quinoa was fully cooked, I divided it into two large bowls to make my salads.

southwesternquinoasalad

One of the easiest and tastiest quinoa salads to make is my Southwestern flavored quinoa.

INGREDIENTS:

7  ounces of Quinoa, cooked

1/2 bag Organic frozen corn

1 15 ounce can of no-salt added black beans, drained and rinsed

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Medium red onion, chopped

Green Bell Pepper, diced

English Cucumber, diced

2 Roma Tomatoes, chopped

Juice of two large lemons

1 tablespoon olive oil

Fresh cilantro

southwesternquinoa

Combine the vegetables with the quinoa and squeeze the lemon juice over the top.  Drizzle your olive oil and then mix well.  Taste to decide whether you need more lemon juice.  Add the cilantro, cover and let sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours or overnight for the flavors to mesh.

MangoShrimpQuinoa

My other favorite quinoa salad dish is Mango & Shrimp.  I really love this one, especially after it has had time for the flavors to really come together!

INGREDIENTS:

7 ounces quinoa, cooked

1/2 pound grilled shrimp, peeled, deveined and halved

1 mango, peeled, sliced & chunked

1 large jalapeño, seeded and diced

2 Roma tomatoes, diced

1 medium red onion, chopped

3 limes, juiced

1 tablespoon olive oil

cilantro

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Combine the quinoa with the shrimp, mango, pepper, tomato, and onion.  Add the lime juice and olive oil and mix thoroughly.  Then toss in the cilantro.  Taste to make sure you like the strength of the lime juice.  In the summer limes are often smaller and less juicy than the fall, so you may want to add a bit more juice.

Cover and let sit in the refrigerator a couple of hours (overnight is much better!).

shrimpmangoquinoa

Just a little side note; if you are wanting a salty juicy dish, this IS NOT one for you.  I love these two dishes because they showcase fresh flavors without artificial flavor and toxins getting in the way.  

Skipping meals is one of the worst things you can do to your body when you are striving to live an active and fit life, and especially if you are trying to lose weight and gain muscle!  Take advantage of these fresh dishes that can be enjoyed right from the refrigerator for a lighter meal as they both contain your carb and protein servings.

You can’t beat that simplicity!

FitFriday

Have a Fabulous & Fit Weekend!!

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Sriracha Lime Shrimp Salad

While the high is only 45 today in South Carolina, spring really is on the way.  For me that means swapping the heavier foods of winter for something light and filling.  After all we don’t want thick thighs come short, swimsuit, & 5K weather!

It is also the season for “fast food” as my Madeline has joined the Lacrosse team this year and we have games at least 3 nights a week!

This Sriracha Lime Shrimp salad totally fits both of my needs.  Easy, fast, healthy and clean, there is no reason to worry about getting a healthy supper on the table in minimum time.

Now this does require just a bit of prep, but take 15 minutes before you walk out the door to get your shrimp marinating, and then 20-25 minutes when you get home to get it on the table and VOILA!

Supper is served.

srirachalimesalad

Ingredients:

For the Shrimp

2-3 pounds shrimp, shelled and deveined {just pay the extra & purchase them this way….so much easier!}

1/4 cup sriracha

2 limes, juiced

Pink Himalayan Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste

For the Salad

8 cups lettuce, chopped

10 pineapple rings, sliced

1 cup diced tomato

small red onion, diced

bunch of green onion, sliced

2 avocados, sliced

fresh cilantro, chopped

Lime Dressing

1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar

2 limes, juiced

2 tsp honey

ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

1.  In a non-reactive bowl, combine the shrimp with the sriracha, lime juice, salt & pepper.  Set in the refrigerator to marinade 30 minutes.  The longer it marinades, the better (which is why I said you can do this step ahead of time).

Use a glass bowl when marinating your shrimp

Use a glass bowl when marinating your shrimp

2.  Use the marinade time to chop your vegetables for the salad.

3.  Heat a grill or non-stick skillet to medium-high.  Once the shrimp is marinated, either skewer to place on a grill or add to the skillet to cook.

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4.  Take your pineapple rings and add to grill.  Grill for 5 minutes, flipping once as they heat up.

5.  Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing; taste to adjust ingredients (whether or not you need more pepper, lime, etc…)

6.  Once the shrimp is done (shouldn’t be more than 10 minutes until they are cooked through), assemble the salad, & toss with a little of the lime dressing.

Don't you just love colorful food?!

Don’t you just love colorful food?!

There you have it…. clean, easy, healthy, and fast.

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Oh yeah…. It’s delicious as well!

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It’s still pretty even when tossed

Our Southern Table

Wishing you all a fabulous and healthy weekend!

We’ll be watching this girl play Lacrosse!

madelinelacrosse

Joining Concord Cottage for Something to Talk About Link Party

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