Cucumber Tuna Cups (A Light, Protein Filled, Gluten Free Lunch!)

And did I mention that this is also quite easy?!  Well, it is!   Another great way to use up any left over cucumbers  from the summer garden! 🙂  They’re just so cute, too!!  I just love these little guys, yay!!  I bet you have never had tuna like this!!!!!! Oh oh oh…it’s a really cheap lunch too!  So much good news, let’s get down to business!!  Ready, set, GO!!!!

So, here’s what you need:

  • 1 Large Cucumber
  • 1 Can Tuna
  • 1 Tbsp Mayo
  • 1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Celery, Finely Chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Red Onion, Minced
  • 1 Tbsp Capers
  • 1 or 2 Pickles, Sliced
  • Sharp Cheddar, Sliced into small squares
  • Mrs. Dash
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Garlic Powder

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Peel your cucumber (leaving a few green strips if you want it to be extra pretty).  Chop into approximately inch long slices.
  2. Chop your celery and onion, slice your cheese and pickles.
  3. Take a melon baller and scoop out some of the insides of each slice of cucumber.  It should be like a little cup!
  4. Open your can of tuna and drain.  Dump it into a bowl.
  5. Add mayo, olive oil, celery, red onion, capers…and sprinkle generously with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Mrs. Dash.  Mix until combined. Taste, and adjust.
  6. Take a spoonful of the tuna mixture and place it into each cucumber “cup.”  Top with a small slice of cheese and pickle!  Eat and enjoy!!

I think they’re just so precious!!  And they would be so great for a brunch or luncheon!!

Peectures!!

Cucumber Tuna Cups 1

Peel your cucumber (leaving a few green strips if you want it to be extra pretty).  Chop into approximately inch long slices.

Cucumber Tuna Cups 2

Chop your celery and onion, slice your cheese and pickles.  Take a melon baller and scoop out some of the insides of each slice of cucumber.

Cucumber Tuna Cups 3It should be like a little cup!

Cucumber Tuna Cups 4

Open your can of tuna and drain.  Dump it into a bowl.  Add mayo, olive oil, celery, red onion, capers…and sprinkle generously with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Mrs. Dash.

Cucumber Tuna Cups 5Mix to combine.  Taste and adjust!!

Cucumber Tuna Cups 6Take a spoonful of the tuna mixture and place it into each cucumber “cup.”

Cucumber Tuna Cups 7Top with a small slice of cheese and pickle!  Eat and enjoy!!

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Simple Dill Cucumber Salad! (A “Transition to Fall” Recipe!)

So, to all my gardening friends (I know there are lots of you!)  Is anyone else scrambling to use up their veggies because the air is getting nippy and the frost is threatening?  At least here in New York that is how it goes!  Or maybe you are simply overwhelmed with cucumbers…cause they are lively little guys!  The first to sprout, countless little flowers that turn into resilient veggies!  I LOVE how well my cucumbers do…but often times feel at a loss as to what to do with them!

Well, here is the perfect way to use ’em up!  This was just so delightful!  A great side to a slab of meat, and did well for a light lunch the next day!  What was even better was the fact that my cucumbers were so crisp and delightful this year…ohhh the texture of this salad was amazing!!!  You’ll love it!  Read on!

 

So, here’s what you need!

  • 2 Lg Cucumbers, or 3-4 C(You have to scroll down and see how pretty my cucumbers were, I was so proud that I grew them all by myself!)
  • 1/2 Medium Red Onion, or 1 1/2 C
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 C Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 C Water
  • 3/4 Tbsp Agave
  • Couple Cranks Fresh Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Dill Weed (Feel free to use fresh dill.  I used what I had, and it was totes delicious, but would shine with a slightly different flavor with fresh dill.  Both will be fantastic!)
  • Tiny Dash Sriracha (I put it in everything!)
  • Tbsp Fresh Parsley (Garnish)
  • 1/4 C Sunflower Seeds (Garnish, my husband loves the crunch!)

 

And here’s how you do it!  (It’s really so easy!)

  1. Thinly slice your cucumbers.
  2. Thinly slice your red onion.
  3. Toss it all in a bowl.
  4. Combine the vinegar, water, agave, sriracha, and herbs/spices. (Minus the parsley.)
  5. Pour vinegar mixture over the veggies.  Toss to coat.
  6. Garnish with parsley and sunflower seeds. BAM!  YOU’RE DONE!  THAT FAST!  Woohoo!  Fun.  Easy.  Feel good.  I think this sort of thing is the real comfort food.  Because you don’t feel like death afterwards, haha.  ENJOY!

 

 

 

Aren’t those beautiful cucumbers?  I thought it was pretty good for an amateur gardener like me, getting on my hands and knees, ripping up a chunk of lawn, adding some fertilizer and throwing in some seeds!!  I really am quite proud!

Dill Cucumber Salad 1

 

Thinly slice your cucumbers.  Oh, and peel them to if you desire!!  I chose to 🙂Dill Cucumber Salad 2

 

Thinly slice your red onion!Dill Cucumber Salad 3

 

Toss it all in a medium bowl…

Dill Cucumber Salad 4

 

Combine vinegar, water, agave, sriraha, and herbs/spices.  Whisk together until everything is distributed, then pour over the veggies.

Dill Cucumber Salad 5

 

Toss to coat!  Garnish with parsley and sunflower seeds!  (I didn’t get a picture with the sunflower seeds because I forgot about that genius idea until the next day!  But Mr. Rodgers loved it even better with them on top, so you should try!  A great texture addition, and a good salt touch too!)

Dill Cucumber Salad 6Yummy!  Healthy!  This makes you FEEL so good as well as delighting your taste buds!!  BOOM!  AWESOME!!  YEAH!!

Okay.  I gotta go to bed.  But let me know what you think!  What is your favorite variation of a dill cucumber salad?

 

 

Chef of Honor: Hannah Hayner with Kale Quinoa Feta Salad

Ohhhhhh man!  Earlier this summer Mr. Rodgers and I went to a barbecue crammed with good friends, good times (our life was forever changed by being introduced to Kan Jam!), and, of course….plenty of food temptation!   To make matters better (and worse!), it was held at our friend’s house who is a baking genius…oh man.  I was trying so hard to be good, but it was difficult with all the cakes and dips and the like.  But then I discovered this, made by one of my favorites, Miss Hannah Hayner.  WOW!  Just wow.  I no longer felt like I was missing out.  It had so much flavor, was so incredibly satisfying.  To put it simply, it rocked my world, haha!!  And so I escaped the post-bbq sick feeling, and was so satisfied!  Since then I have made this salad for Mr. Rodgers and I multiple.  It never lasts long.  It turns my husband into a human vacuum.  It’s so good.  You’ve got to try.  This lady is a flippin genius.  🙂   So, here’s what you need:

  • 10 leaves kale, cleaned and chopped into bite size pieces (or grab a bag of the pre washed, pre cut stuff and use a few good handfuls, enough to almost fill a large bowl.)
  • 1C uncooked quinoa
  • 2 C water
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 lg Garlic Clove, minced
  • 1 tsp black pepper (freshly cracked, reduce amount if using small grain stuff)
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/2-1 C Sunflower Seeds
  • 1 C Raisins or Craisins (She usually uses craisins, I stick with raisins because there is no sweetener added to them :))
  • 3/4 C Feta

Are your taste buds wailing yet?!  😉   And here’s how you do it:

  1. Start your quinoa cooking.  Bring the water to a boil, then stir in your dry quinoa.  Bring it back to a boil, put the lid on and turn it down to a simmer.  Let cook about 12 minutes, so that you can no longer see any moisture.  Remove from heat and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes.  Remove lid and let cool (if you are patient like that.)  We usually decide that we are starving and don’t care if our kale wilts a little by having hot quinoa dumped on top, haha!
  2. Whisk together your dressing ingredients!  AKA Olive Oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Pour over kale and toss.
  3. Add sunflower seeds, raisins or craisins, feta. and quinoa.  Toss again and serve!  You won’t regret it!  SO much flavor, but still so fresh and “good-feeling.”

Pictures!

Kale Quinoa Salad 1

Make sure your quinoa is going.  Get your kale cleaned, cut, and in a bowl.  Whisk together the dressing ingredients, dump over the kale, and toss.

Kale Quinoa Salad 2

And the rest of the ingredients,

Kale Quinoa Salad 3Toss…

Kale Quinoa Salad 4

And enjoy along with a good healthy meal!  Thank you, Hannah, for introducing us to such a wonderful recipe!!!

Hearty Roast Beef and Swiss Salad

These are a few of my favorite thiiiiings!!!  I just got that song in my head, because of this salad.  This is pulling from the archives, but I felt it was time for a nice big hearty salad recipe; it’s been a while.  However it has been long enough that I was studying the picture to help me remember exactly what I put in it…and I found myself thinking “what did I put in this salad other than beef and swiss?  Well…my favorite things!!”  Then without warning my mind was transported to a dance scene with the Van Trapps, haha.  Anywho.  Back to food.

This salad was fantastic.  It was one from the very beginning of our Maker’s Diet adventure, in fact it was adapted right from perfectweightamerica.com!  It was also one of the first days of summer last year…and I was still nannying.  I had put the baby to bed for her nap and went outside, sat on the wicker furniture, soaked in the sunshine that really wasn’t all that warm yet…and ate my salad and felt sooooooo good.  🙂  I was surprised how happy it made me!  You should try it so it can make you happy too!  🙂  Oh, and, as always…feel free to play with it!!  More or less of what you like….add things….have fun with it!  Salads are a great canvas!  This will stuff you…yay for healthy lunches that stuff you!!!

 

So…here’s what you need!

  • 1 Heart Romaine, rinsed and chopped or ripped into bite size pieces
  • A couple handfuls of spinach or mixed greens
  • 1/2 lb(ish) deli roast beef, sliced into strips
  • 1/4-1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 2 boiled eggs, sliced
  • 1 Tomato, sliced
  • 1 Cucumber, sliced
  • Dressing of choice (my favorite includes EVOO, AC Vinegar, Lemon Juice, tiny bit of Greek Yogurt, Dijon Mustard, and Sriracha!)
  • Swiss Cheese, grated to taste (I believe I used about 3 oz)
  • 1 Avocado, sliced

 

And, here’s how you do it.  (honestly, I don’ think this needs directions haha)

  1. Get your eggs boiling.
  2. Rinse and cut all your veggies, meat, and cheese accordingly.
  3. Put lettuce and greens in a large bowl and top with other ingredients.  Toss if you desire.
  4. Mix up your dressing (or take a bottle out of the fridge).  Dress each serving separately because this is a large salad and you don’t want it to get wilty…cause you can eat it for lunch tomorrow too!
  5. Eat and be amazed.  Tasty, so your “buds” are satisfied.  Filling, so your tummy is satisfied.  And yet healthy, so you don’t feel like you have bricks in your gut.  PERFECT for hot summer days!!

 

 

Here’s some pictures, to show you how crazy easy this is 😉

Roast Beef and Swiss Salad 1

 

Make sure your eggs are boiled or boiling.  Prep your veggies, slice your beef and grate your cheese.  And theeeeen…

Roast Beef and Swiss Salad 2Put it all in a bowl!!!  Whoo!!  That was difficult 😛

Roast Beef and Swiss Salad 3Yummy! Protein, vitamins, AND flavor!  How?!  I don’t know, but it’s wonderful….!

Roast Beef and Swiss SaladAll tossed together!!  Enjoy!!

 

 

 

Fantastic Pear and Cheese Ball Salad

I recently was reading a friend’s Facebook post, and he was sharing that he detests vegetables and any kind of salad.  I, personally, think that is madness!!!  And have to wonder if he would change his mind if he tried this beauty!!  In fact…the last time I made this (yes, I have made it multiple times its so good!!) was on a day we were helping out at church.  Those days are tricky…being there by 7:30, leaving at 2:30…and full of food temptation.  Our pastor is generous enough to provide food for all the volunteers…and, seeing as he owns the local Cici’s Pizza restaurant…it is always greasy, cheesy, fantastically tempting pizza.  In DROVES!  Occasionally, they also provide a salad from Cici’s…but it usually includes processed dressing, meats that I am certain contain pork and nitrites…lots of fun stuff.  It really does look tasty.  But here is the best part…as everyone else was downing pizza and the fancy processed salad, I brought in this fresh salad for Mr. Rodgers and I…and everyone stopped, looked…and said things such as “Now that’s a salad,”  “You are such a good little cook,” (which cracked me up, cause there is obviously SO much cooking involved in making a salad,) and “WHAT?!  You got avocados?!”  It cracked me up, and made me feel proud.  Especially as their forks kept entering our bowl, to pick off avocados and cheese balls.  The memory still makes me smile 😉

Are you intrigued?  I swear by it…it is definitely worth trying 😀  And making…again and again and again!  Let’s get to it!

This recipe was so good as is, I stuck pretty close to the directions!!  So I must admit, it is just ever so slightly adapted from perfectweightamerica.com.

Note: this is a recipe that requires a bit of planning ahead!  For best results, go through your first 3 steps an hour before serving 🙂

Here’s what you need:

For the Salad:

  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 Pear
  • 2 Hearts of Romaine (Or lettuce of choice!)
  • 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 12 oz Ricotta Cheese
  • 1/2 C Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • 2-3 Green Onions, sliced
  •  1/2 C Almonds

Dressing:

A recipe of your favorite vinaigrette, or if you want to keep it simple and healthy, you can make the “Maker’s Diet Basic Vinaigrette” with

  •  1/2 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Flaxseed Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice or Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • Herbamare Seasoning

If you have never heard of Herbamare Seasoning…it is quite magical and you should try it!!!  It is like salt kicked up a notch…and totally natural!!  Here’s what you’re looking for 🙂

Grilled Chicken Chickpea Salad 1

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Take your almonds, and place them in a small food processor, and pulse until they are very finely chopped.  Dump into a shallow bowl.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the ricotta, mustard, cheddar, and green onion.
  3. Take small spoonfuls of the cheese mixture, roll it into balls.  This works surprisingly well..I expected it to get all over my hands.  But it was barely messy and rolled very well!!
  4. Take each cheese ball and roll it in the almonds to make a coating 🙂  Place them in a single layer on a platter and put them in the fridge.  Let chill for an hour or so.
  5. Get your romaine, and chop into bite sized pieces.
  6. Whisk together your vinaigrette!
  7. Slice the avocado and pear right before serving, or if you are using a vinaigrette with lemon juice in it…you can slice the avocado and pear earlier in the process, and cover them with the vinaigrette to prevent browning.
  8. Place the lettuce on your serving plates, top with avocado and pear slices and your crusted cheese balls…drizzle on some dressing…and impress the hungry people at your table 🙂  Enjoy salad like you have never had it before!!

Start by processing your almonds, so they will make a nice fine, crunchy coating for your cheese balls.

Pear, Avocado, Cheese Ball Salad

Put the Ricotta, cheddar, Dijon, and green onions together in a bowl.

Pear, Avocado, Cheese Ball Salad 2Stir it together till combined well.

Pear, Avocado, Cheese Ball Salad 3

Roll mixture into balls, and roll in the almonds to create a coating.

Pear, Avocado, Cheese Ball Salad 5

Place in a single layer and let  chill in refrigerator for about an hour.  This is about half of what my recipe made.

Pear, Avocado, Cheese Ball Salad 4

Thinly slice avocado and pear.  If you are not serving immediately, cover with a vinaigrette that has lemon in it.

Pear, Avocado, Cheese Ball Salad 6

Place your lettuce on serving plates and top with avocado, pear, and cheese balls, and drizzle with dressing.

Pear, Avocado, Cheese Ball Salad 7

Isn’t it pretty?!  Here’s a close up of the deliciousness that you NEED to partake in 😉

Pear, Avocado, Chees Ball Salad 8

So fresh and tasty!  The sweetness of the pear against the creaminess of the cheese.  You know…sour cream and onion is one of my favorite junk food flavors…perhaps that is why I love these cheese balls…the green onion with the Ricotta is reminiscent of a healthier version of it.  And of course, the avocado is a gem…which was evidenced by the thieves sticking their forks into our salad bowl 😉  I do so hope you enjoy!! 🙂