Spring Quinoa & Barley Salad


Spring Quinoa & Barley Salad

I have a very long and extensive list of must-go-to restaurants.  I was able to check-off one of those restaurants,  Terrain Garden Café in Glen Mills, PA.  The meals at Terrain are carefully crafted with local and organic meat and produce.  My husband and I just celebrated our one year anniversary and I asked that we spend the afternoon together and have brunch at Terrain.

It was a great idea because we had a brunch reception for our wedding.  Like most restaurants, Terrain only serves brunch on the weekends.  Our anniversary fell on a Monday. Boo.

That’s okay!  I made lunch reservations.  We dropped off Baby T with Auntie S, picked up some beer and vino and headed to our destination.  I was so ready and so excited to pour over the menu and feast on the bounty of the land.

Fresh, warm bread in a flower pot.  Yes, please.

Fresh, warm bread in a flower pot. Yes, please.

I was close to stuffed after devouring the adorable and scrumptious bread pot (yummy, warm bread baked in a flower pot) and the cheese board was of generous portions and nothing short of delicious.

This recipe was inspired by the main dish that I ordered, the dayboat scallop salad.  I rarely pass up the chance to order scallops a.k.a. candy of the sea.  The scallops were served over a barley and quinoa salad with “farmer’s market vegetables, pickled red onion, local micro greens, apple-honey vinaigrette”

We are huge quinoa fans in this family and I loved this quinoa and barley salad which included asparagus and sugar snap peas and lightly dressed with vinaigrette.  This was my best attempt to recreate this dish.  I swapped out the sugar snap peas for frozen peas (because that’s what I had on hand).  I purchased “10 minute barley” at Trader Joe’s which significantly cut back the prep time.  I created my own apple vinaigrette. This recipe is about assembling ingredients that you can easily be made ahead if needed.  This is a great side dish for a BBQ or picnic. Continue reading


Churro Bites and Mexican Chocolate Sauce

They really do taste like churros.

They really do taste like churros.

My sister will be hosting a small kid-friendly get together this Monday which happens to be Cinco de Mayo.  Of course, we must celebrate this holiday!  She will be cooking up quesadillas and mixing margaritas ( and virgin margaritas for the tykes).  I offered to bring a dish and she asked if I could make dessert.  The answer is always “Yes”.   Dessert is one of my favorite meals, brunch being the other favorite.

I wanted to make something fun, festive and kid-friendly.  Ice cream is always a win and you can’t have ice cream with out chocolate sauce.  I thought these two items would pair nicely with churros.  Well, maybe I just wanted churros because I was thinking about the deluctable churros I had for my birthday dinner at Distrito in Philadelphia.

Anyway, knowing that I wasn’t ready to commit to making homemade churros, I searched for a churro-like recipe and found at http://www.lilluna.com churro bites made from angel food cake. Win!

Now, I know this isn’t an authentic churro recipe but I’m a Mama of a 9 month old and I needed a quick and EASY recipe.  Semi-homemade is just necessary as much as I prefer homemade.

I thought to myself, “I can make an angel food cake” but there it was.  The already-made angel food cake sitting there in the bakery section of the grocery store. It came home with me.

Waiting to be fried and tossed in sugary goodness.

Waiting to be fried and tossed in sugary goodness.

As for the chocolate sauce, I used a basic recipe but added cinnamon to the the mix for that mexican flare.  Consider adding a bit of chili powder for heat.  I did not do this since I was serving this to little kids.

For the churro bites you will need:

  • 1 angel food cake (store bought or make your own)
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 TB. ground cinnamon
  • canola oil

To make the churros…

  • Cube the cake into bite sized pieces (2″ cubes).
  • Heat the oil on low-medium heat and fry the cubes until golden brown.
  • Immediately toss the golden cubes in the cinnamon/sugar mix until covers in sugary goodness.
Another churro close up.

Another churro close up.


For the Mexican chocolate sauce you will need:

  • 8 oz. semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c. heavy cream
  • 2 TB. butter
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon

To make the Mexican chocolate sauce…

  • Heat the heavy cream over medium-low heat until it’s just beginning to bubble–bubbles will start around the edge of the pot.
  • Combine the chocolate, vanilla, and cinnamon in a bowl.
  • Add the hot cream over to the chocolate mix and allow it to stand for about 30-60 seconds before whisking.
  • Whisk until smooth and add butter. Whisk until butter has dissolved.
Mexican chocolate sauce montage!

Mexican chocolate sauce montage!

You will also need:

  • Vanilla ice cream because why not?

The chocolate can be used as a dipping sauce for the churros and/or as a topping for the ice cream.


Los tres amigos: vanilla ice cream, Mexican chocolate sauce and churro bites.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!





Apple Vinaigrette

Just drizzled some of this tasty and fresh vinaigrette on a yummy and healthy Spring quinoa and barley salad.

In a blender, add…

1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c. apple juice
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 TB honey
1 TB Dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper

…and mix!

Add to salads, vegetables or use as a marinade.


Spicy BBQ Kale Chips


kale bowl

Last weekend, I headed to the rural part of North Jersey to spend some quality time with my parents while the hubby did some work in NYC.  My parents were thrilled to see us especially since it meant seeing their granddaughter, T.

The weekend was relaxing but short.  Most of the socializing was done at the table  –my favorite place to socialize.  Saturday I had lunch with my mom and her girlfriends, affectionately known as “The Bullies” at the local cafe.  That evening, we went to a friend’s home for dinner and drinks.  I tried uni, squid ink pasta and halva for the first time.  All interesting and delicious.

There was some snacking in between all of the feasting.  I raided my parents kitchen looking for nosh.  I found the perfect snack–Brad’s Raw Leafy Kale (Nacho flavored).  They were crispy and packed with flavor.

I have made kale chips before–an easy and simple recipe. I usually only lightly season it with salt and pepper.  I thought I ought to be more adventurous.  Inspired by Brad’s nacho flavored kale chips, I decided to seek my own flavor packed kale snack.

Spicy BBQ kale chips was the obvious answer. Continue reading