Sicilian Style Blood Orange Fennel Salad with Roasted Honey Chili Pistachios

Remember that picture of my wholesome market finds from Thursday? Well, this particular market trip I was accompanied by my beautiful and curious friend K, who pointed out some gorgeous golden beets and questioned the flavor of those mysterious blood oranges, well that got my innovative culinary cogs turning! As promised, I present to you, on this splendid spring forward an hour Sunday morning, a simply gorgeous Sicilian Style Blood Orange Fennel Salad with Roasted Honey Chili Pistachios!

Isn’t this salad so visually appealing and SENSATIONAL!? I could stare at it all day, I actually felt felonious eating it after the photo shoot was done. My husband didn’t… he dug right in, so I clearly had to get in there as well or I would be left without a single bite! There are so many distinctive and delicious flavors going on in this salad that erupt in your mouth. I love how the golden ribbons of beet have an alluring sweet and earthy flavor that I felt would contrast well with the mild licorice flavor of the crunchy shaved fennel. The incredibly stunning blood oranges speak for themselves I’d say, with that raspberry hued orange flavor! I’ve always loved the warmth of dill, it had lemony hints and I thought it would compliment the citrus profiles of this salad. I finished this salad off with the finest, roasted pistachios and of course, feta cheese! I was craving salty and spicy on this particular day, so I grabbed a handful of buttery pistachios, tossed them with Drizzle Honey, a pinch of chili powder and salt, then a quick roast on those suckers … oh my goodness… divine!

I adore blood oranges, I get weirdly enthusiastic when they are in season and stock up on those ruby beauties. So where do these oranges come from and how do they get that unreal color and orange-raspberry flavor? Well, you probably already guessed by the title of this post… they are primarily grown in Italy and they acquire their red color, when temperatures drop at night due to anthocyanin. Anthocyanin (an antioxidant) is the pigment in these oranges and this red pigment continues to accumulate even after harvest, neat huh! Therefore, these oranges can only be cultivated in the cooler months of fall and winter, explaining why we don’t see them all the time in stores!

The Sicilians boast a salad using Tarroco blood oranges, typically comprising of blood oranges, fennel, olives and onions. Unfortunately, during my travels across Sicily I did not get the opportunity to try this traditional salad, but I do remember the juicy and luscious fresh oranges as well as candied oranges, served for dessert! The Sicilians have world famous food for a reason, it’s unreal! I could go on and on about the enticing food we ate, the crystal clear turquoise waters, exceptional white sand beaches, the active and glowing volcano of Mt. Etna and of course the white knuckle driving craziness!

The crystal clear waters in San Vito Lo Capo, Sicily we swam in!

My Blood Orange Fennel Salad with Roasted Honey Chili Pistachios salad is truly effortless and undeniably delicious. I am hoping to deliver you some joy and hopes of warmer weather with colors of spring and yummy eats. Now get to the market and get a hold of those beautiful blood oranges before they are out of season! Happy Weekend and start of a new week that will bring us all a little more sunlight! XOXO

 

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Crepes Across The Globe, Brought To Your Plate

Okay everyone, I can’t be the only one in this world that gets sudden, undeniable, need in my mouth right now, cravings for delicious crepes, am I? I could eat crepes everyday, in every way, for every damn meal if I could get away with it… truly. Through my travels over the years, I have had the opportunity to taste diverse, unique to country, crepes across the globe, now brought to your plate! Every country offers their distinctive and delicious take on a crepe, which inspired my next recipe. My take on crepes is influenced from flavors/techniques from around the world, I bring to you these gorgeous, sweet, citrusy and mouth-watering Buckwheat Crepes & Honey Ginger Pears.

So where did the crepe actually originate? Yep, the French take this one, from Brittany in the Northern Region of France. Crepe is a French word meaning pancake, derived from the Latin word crispa, meaning “curled”, a little history and fun fact for you on your Tuesday evening ha! I’ve always loved the lacy, thin, slightly curled and crisped edges profiles of the crepe. I have to admit I have a sweet tooth and tend to lean towards dessert crepes rather than savory, but both are equally as yummy!

I started to think back to my travels and was actually taken aback by the many forms of crepes I’ve devoured (I told you I could eat them constantly!) The crepes from around the globe that left a lasting impression came to mind immediately and here they are! If you ever step foot in Prague’s magical cobblestone streets, you need to find a cafe that serves Palacinkys – sweetened and lovely thin crepes that were filled with fruit and jam, don’t worry you will walk it off making your way up the hill to that stunning Prague Castle!

Another European crepe that will never escape my memory is the Netherland’s Pannenkoeken pancake/crepe. My husband and I stumbled upon an adorable little outdoor cafe for breakfast one morning, jet lagged and in a daze, these little sweet, souffled pancakes smothered in a nutella like chocolate spread, fruit and cream, we were in food heaven! Let’s fly down to beautiful Greece from here, after an astonishingly hot and sweaty hike up to the Acropolis in Athens, we decided we needed to re-energize in a gorgeous and shaded cafe, filled with those sly little Greek cats, we indulged on Tiganites! These are fluffy, small, circular Greek pancakes that were drizzled in thick honey and sprinkled with cinnamon and icing sugar, all I can say is mmmm.

Next let’s make our way down to North Africa, I was pleasantly taken aback by the amount of pastries and crepe like desserts that lined the bustling streets! Must be the French influence perhaps… our French Riad (hotel) owner recommended a charming restaurant that served Meloui, a Moroccan dessert made of semolina dough, folded over many times over and fried with honey, simply ravishing!

Lastly, the Japanese have it down pat in the pancake department, true perfection. I yearn their savory pancake, the Okonomiyaki, on a daily basis. The best part of this pancake is that it is served on your own personal hot griddle at your table! The base of this pancake is quite versatile, depending on what region you are in, common base include nagaimo, a root vegetable puree or noodles. This batter is fried and made into a pancake shape and the rest of the creation is up to your hearts desire, top it with vegetables, octopus, pork, green onion, shredded cabbage… the combinations are endless. Once you are done creating your masterpiece savory pancake, it will be topped off with finger licking good Japanese mayo, a dark and rich Tonkatsu sauce and nori flakes (that dance on the top of your pancake with the heat from the griddle!) We found the best Okonomiyaki in Osaka, hands down, thanks to our beautiful foodie friend, Mami, with all her incredible food recommendations!

When composing my Buckwheat Crepes & Honey Ginger Pear recipe, I infused flavors and textures from the original French galette/crepe, with Greek and Moroccan influences in the cinnamon/honey combination, I  also played with the Eastern European fruit in crepe trend and I couldn’t leave out Japan’s influence, so I used fresh ginger for that zesty pop that balances the sweet pears and honey so beautifully. These crepes encompass a nutty hue from the buckwheat and the comforting cinnamon and nutmeg are infused throughout the soft and slightly crispy crepe. With pears being plentiful in the markets, I couldn’t wait to melt them down with Drizzle’s nectarous Spring honey, tied in with cinnamon and that citrus contrast of the ginger. You won’t get enough of these crepes, but with less than 200 calories for 2 large crepes, stuffed with those warm honey ginger pears, go ahead, indulge! XOXO

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Crispy Baked Indian Chickpea Fritters Topped with Mint Yogurt Dip

Can you believe it, first Friday of March is here! This means we are approaching the beauty and artistry that Spring delivers and guess what, March is National Nutrition Month in Canada! National Nutrition Month brings awareness surrounding proper nutrition and calls attention to healthy eating habits and choices. I love that we have a month dedicated to such an imperative cause, remembering to nourish our body and soul with wholesome and nutritious food (oh and of course scrumptious)! Let me embody and inspire you in this movement with my crispy, baked and beautiful, Indian Chickpea Fritters Topped with Mint Yogurt Dip!

I have to admit, I can find it challenging to get the proper amount of protein on most days. I am certainly not the carnivorous type, but I realize the importance of protein in my diet. So on the days I’m not feeling meat protein sources, chickpeas are definitely a go to. They are brimming with high protein and fiber levels, they absorb and take on flavors beautifully and are so versatile. This is how my Indian Chickpea Fritters were born!

I was craving something crispy, yet creamy and immersed in curry flavors. So I created these simply adorable little veggie fritters that pack a punch in the protein and spice department! They are incredibly easy to create, they remain light and healthy as they are baked, not fried. What’s a fritter without dip? A lost soul! So i wanted to compliment and tame the heat of the curry with a fresh, vibrant, mint and cucumber yogurt dip, you will adore the combination! These Indian Chickpea Fritters are perfect on their own, served as an appy, thrown into your favorite salad, or I love to top off my Buddha Bowls with these beauties! Try them out this weekend! Happy Friday everyone, XOXO

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A Sweet Morning Breaky Worth Buzzing About – Feat. Drizzle Honey

Hello everyone! Are you all ready for a sweet morning breaky worth buzzing about? Remember my post yesterday raving in excitement about a local collaboration project? Well, I am truly delighted to acquaint you to the impressive local honey story of Drizzle, Hive and Honey Products, founded right here in Calgary, Alberta! I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to showcase and support this impressive company, which features delectable and sustainable honey products. After one golden, dripping spoonful of their tangy and creamed Spring honey collection, I was exhilarated by its boldness and my palate was bursting with hues of caramel and spring blossom flavors. This motivated my creation of, Caramelized Figs on Drizzle Honey Whipped Ricotta Oats. Drizzle’s luscious honey brings these oats to exceptional levels of heavenliness!

I love the story behind Drizzle, founded in 2015 by a young female entrepreneur by the name of Aja. Her background in Environmental Science paired with her love of honey bees and local agriculture, produced a simply beautiful and high quality honey product. I’m telling ya guys, you NEED to get your hands on this honey, ASAP, it’s so damn divine! I’ve always been an advocate for supporting and shopping at local businesses, especially one’s that provide such exceptional products. Drizzle not only delivers an incredible sustainable product but they in turn support local beekeeping farms! Check out where your nearest retailer is here or buy online at https://drizzlehoney.com/collections/honey.

Obviously, honey is delicious, but you need to be aware of the type and quality of honey you are buying in order to ensure you get all of its exceptional benefits. Once again, another reason I stand behind Drizzle’s honey! Their honey is lightly filtered and unheated, which allows the honey to retain the important stuff your body needs, such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and healthy enzymes!

I grew up eating honey (thank you mom and dad!), from smothering it on almost burnt toast with butter or poured all over my morning kase (Czech porridge), I have always loved honey and its beautiful composition. Little did I know I was ingesting a product with quite impressive qualities. Honey is nature’s energy drink! The glucose gives your body an instant boost in energy as well as endurance and reduces muscle fatigue (this is why it is highly recommended for athletes), while the fructose is absorbed over time for a more sustained energy, pretty neat huh?! Honey is a particularly effective in boosting the bodies immune system as it contains anti-bacterial properties, great for helping you stay healthy and fight disease. Honey is seriously impressive, if I don’t say so myself!

I personally could devour honey by the spoonful (as you discovered from my childhood!), but I decided to control myself and use it in my, Caramelized Figs on Drizzle Honey Whipped Ricotta Oats, the flavors really highlight this particular Spring honey collection. Aja mentioned to me that their Drizzle Spring Honey is a rich and bold honey that encompasses flavors of chamomile, dandelion and caramel, produced for only a short period of time (that being spring!).

When that drizzle honey hit my tongue, it transported me back to my travels in Greece. At one particularly stunning hotel, on the tip of the Santorini Caldera, overlooking the ocean and volcano, we received breakfasts appropriate for the gods! It consisted of Stragissto (a thick, cheese like, strained yogurt) drizzled with honey, fresh, plump, sweet figs and fresh-baked bread. This led to the creation of these cardamom and cinnamon infused dreamy, creamy oats, with gorgeous caramelized figs, Drizzle Honey whipped ricotta, a light crunch from the nutty, earthy walnuts and of course finished off with drizzling that divine Drizzle Spring honey! So get that golden syrup flowing, don’t apply sparingly, it’ll keep you buzzing through your busy day!

Huge thank you to Drizzle for inspiring me and allowing me to get creative! XOXO

 

 

 

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Roasted Beet & Garlic Hummus, A Taste of Morocco

Lately, my mind and palate have been re-visiting my travels to the exotic country of Morocco. I cannot even begin to express my love for this country, the Berber people, the history and above all the culturally diverse, balanced and insanely gorgeous dishes. My next recipe is this vibrant, Roasted Beet & Garlic Hummus. I am so delighted to share this hummus with you, it is an infusion of dishes I relished while traveling Morocco!

My almost three weeks in Morocco exposed me to a variety of impeccable dishes, each dish so diverse, influenced by the people and regions we visited. Our appetites were never-ending as we made our way through grand bustling cities, historic villages, the charming seaside medinas of Essaouria, old fish markets, the stunning high Atlas Mountains, the spectacular lush Ouzoud waterfalls, palm lined riversides, famous Gladiator Kasbah, colorful rich markets and camel rides over sunny sand dunes of Erg Chigaga, Sahara Desert.

While getting lost in the old underground Kasbah of the village of Tamengroute, we were ever so graciously invited into a family’s home. We shared cultures, laughs, life stories and watched an older lady skillfully weave a Berber carpet right before our eyes, all with a bottomless glass of sweet Moroccan mint tea. Needless to say, we would have been fools if we didn’t leave with a ravishing, made with love, Berber carpet.

One of the meals we devoured on this memorable day was Loubia, a traditional vegetarian Moroccan stew made with silky white beans, bursting tomatoes and heavenly Moroccan spices (this recipe still to come!). I married this inspirational stew with a traditional starter salad we enjoyed daily, made of earthy beets, lemon and parsley. Then BAM, my Roasted Garlic & Beet Hummus was born!

I wanted to create a balanced, silky and alluring flavored white bean hummus that was oil and sugar-free. The key to this recipe is the fragrant, caramelized roasted garlic which compliments the sweet beets incredibly, it has a hue of Moroccan cumin and zesty lemon that will keep you dipping away until you realize you’ve finished off the entire bowl… oops! This is a stunning and vibrant looking dish, perfect to bring to that next get together! Try this hummus with your favorites veggies, chips, crackers or give my Flame Roasted Red Pepper Buckwheat Crackers a go! I hope I can transport you to the world of Morocco, if only just for a bite. Xoxo

 

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Cuban Inspired Shrimpuritto Guacamole Bowls

Happy hump day everyone! I am confident that I can transport you to an isolated and stunning beach, where you are devouring my finger licking, Cuban inspired, Shrimpurrito Guacamole Bowls. Close your eyes, take a deep breath of the salty ocean air and absorb the rays of sunshine on this wintery day with these gorgeous and boisterous bowls.

My creativity for this recipe was influenced by my trip to Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba, an island off Cuba’s north coast. I was genuinely taken aback by the alluring and stunning scenery, the beautifully generous, gregarious Cuban people and let’s not forget the distinctive and delectable cuisine!

Cuban food has a rich history and the cuisine holds a marriage of many different cultural influences due to colonization/immigration over the years. The blend of Caribbean, Spanish, African and of course local Native American Taino food, lends to unique and mouth-watering flavors. I still dream about the sweet tropical fruit carved into beautiful designs and the fresh succulent seafood!

My husband and I were truly spoiled during our trip, we were able to experience home-cooked Cuban cuisine by a friendly local that we met while lounging on the white sand beaches. He would go out of his way to create us authentic Cuban dishes and wanted nothing in return but to share his culture with us. He would prepare us dishes made with love, consisting of juicy shrimp, spiced and flavorful black beans, steamed rice, Cuban guacamole (amazing mixture of avocado, pineapple and cilantro) and sweet, ripe, tropical fruit. I had to bring back these flavor combinations and influence to Canada to share with everyone with my Shrimpurrito Guacamole Bowls!

These Shrimpurrito Guacamole Bowls are so quick to whip up for a scrumptious and healthy lunch or dinner! They are jam-packed with sweet veggies, protein packed black beans and juicy spicy shrimp. Get creative with these boats, they are fun to make and devour, get ready to make a mess eating these as well, it’s all part of the fun! Buen Provecho!

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An Asian Buddha Bliss Bowl To Nourish The Soul

I’m not entirely sure where or when the fad of Buddha Bowls transpired, but I am sure ecstatic they did! My Asian Buddha Bliss Bowl is an incredibly tasty, healthy and nourishing bowl of goodness. It is packed with fresh nutritious veggies, energy ridden grains and drizzled with my Garlic and Ginger Tahini sauce, that you will be licking every last drop of (it’s SO damn delish!)

So what in the world does Buddha Bowl even mean or consist of!? I like to relate it to a balanced meal, simple and pure food full of nourishment for your mind and soul. Or simply, a big bowl of brimming deliciousness that resembles a Buddha’s Belly? I love it when I can get creative with my food, this bowl let’s you do just that.

I was inspired by my travels in SE Asia for the ingredient profile in my Asian Buddha Bliss Bowl. The crisp, sweet, vibrant vegetables and warm hearty rice in this bowl bring me back to Vietnam’s bright, buzzing food markets and striking rice paddies. The bowl wouldn’t be complete without a melt in your mouth, golden and juicy mango, (I ate about a years worth of mangoes in Cambodia)! The Ginger and Garlic Tahini dressing is tangy and harmoniously brings the whole bowl together entirely.

Rice paddies in Sapa, Vietnam during our hike.

The preparation for this bowl is so worth your time, I promise. I always prep a little extra of each ingredient so I can have a Buddha bowl in a jiffy the next day… or two! I hope my Asian Buddha Bliss Bowl brings you a sense of balance, happiness, peace, nourishment, energy and of course a smile that can change the world! Sorry about the mini Buddha Belly you might have after eating the entirety of this bowl 🙂

“To keep the body in good health is a duty … otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.”

— Buddha

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All About Quick Healthy Snacks – Puffed Millet Fruit Energy Bars

Why hello! Thanks for taking the time to check in and happy Thursday everyone. Lately, these gorgeous days have been calling me outside to get active and spend quality time with those I love. Now, I know it can be challenging when out and about to pack healthy snack options, so I have just the recipe for you! My healthy Puffed Millet Fruit Energy Bars will keep your body invigorated and will help you endure and conquer all those outdoor activities!

I started creating my own granola bars as I was so exhausted in constantly searching for bars that weren’t loaded with sugar or preservatives. I will never go back! I especially recommend these Puffed Millet Fruit Energy Bars on those ample activity packed days, when you are in need of a quick and energy ridden snack. The dried fruit gives you that quick release of energy, the nuts provide healthy fats and protein to help restore those hard-working muscles and the chewy millet contains energizing minerals, vitamins, protein and fiber! With no refined sugars, dairy, gluten or additives – you simply can’t go wrong with these wholesome and satisfying granola bars. They are impressively addicting, sorry not sorry!

Last week I hit up the cross-country skis trails at the Nordic Center, Canmore, with my darling little sister! The day was perfection, with dazzling snowflakes floating through the air, at times uncoordinated limbs (much improved near the end!), a couple of clumsy falls and copious amounts of stomach cramping laughs. Nostalgia flooded over me as memories of skiing with my grandma came to mind. She always ensured that tea, homemade lunch/snacks prepared with love were packed, to keep our little legs going. Being very much like my grandma, I loaded our backpacks with my delicious Puffed Millet Fruit Energy Bars and of course heart warming tea to parade only our best skiing skills! Taking a little break, we warmed up in the Mountain Lodge with tea and my granola bars. I offered my sister a bar and it was quickly devoured, she may have gone for seconds 🙂

I hope my bars bring a smile to your face and keeps you invigorated for anything that comes your way! Sending lots of love, xoxo.

 

 

 

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Valentine Lovin’ With Chocolate Coconut Brownies

Did I get you at chocolate coconut brownies? Thought so! Well, to honor the spirit of Valentine’s Day (on Tuesday…reminder to those that forgot!), I thought I would share with you my decadent, moist and rich Chocolate Coconut Brownies. You won’t believe the secret ingredient that make these brownies chocolatey perfection and dare I say it, healthy (32 calories a brownie)!

My love language is through food, this is typically how I win over my husband’s heart! So instead of spending a ton of cash this Valentine’s, why not bake your Valentine (or treat yourself) to these adorable brownie bites! They are simple and quick to bake up, I promise love will be in the air (for the brownie! haha). Happy Valentine’s Day everyone, now go score some brownie points with these brownies 🙂 ! XOXO


Chocolate Coconut Brownies
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 20-22 bites
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
These decadent brownies have a secret ingredient that make them moist, rich and allow for a dense chocolate bite ... black beans! I say secret ingredient because you truly cannot taste beans whatsoever and only the chocolaty goodness! Oh and guess what, they are healthy, packed with fibre and satisfy that sweet tooth!
Ingredients
  • Wet Ingredients:
  • 9.5 fluid oz canned black beans
  • 4 tbsp unsweetened cashew/almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup maple syrup (I use E.D. Smith sugar free maple syrup)
  • 1.5 tbsp unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 egg
  • Dry Ingredients:
  • ¼ cup unsweetened, medium shredded coconut
  • 5 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp Stevia (don't add if using regular maple syrup)
  • 1.5 tbsp (12 gram) oat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp ground coffee beans/espresso grind
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp chocolate chips (I use no Krisda no sugar added chocolate chips)
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly oil mini cupcake pan.
  3. Blend black beans, milk and vanilla in a blender until smooth and creamy and then transfer to a medium bowl.
  4. Whisk maple syrup, applesauce and egg into black bean mixture, set aside.
  5. Mix together dry ingredients in a bowl, except chocolate chips.
  6. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients while mixing well with a spatula.
  7. Mix thoroughly.
  8. Fold in chocolate chips into your batter.
  9. Scoop heaping tbsp sizes into mini cupcake pan.
  10. Bake for 18-20 minutes, allow to cool completely before removing from pan.
  11. Enjoy those decadent, guilt free bites!
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 brownie Calories: 32 Fat: 1.4g Saturated fat: 0.8g Unsaturated fat: 0 Trans fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 4.9g Sugar: 0.8mg Sodium: 81.1mg Fiber: 1.9g Protein: 1.5g Cholesterol: 8.5mg

 

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Kale is Where it’s at!

Good morning…almost afternoon, how time flies on weekends off! On Saturdays I rarely have time to be cooking up a filling and nutritious lunch time meal in between all the activities. But one dish I can always count on is my crafted with love, Warm Kale Mushroom Salad. This is no ordinary kale salad, this is one you will be making repeatedly after you taste one scrumptious forkful, I promise!

 

 

The kale scene has really blown up in the last couple years, as so it should because kale is just so damn tasty and holds super powers, hence the nickname super food! Alright, perhaps kale doesn’t hold actual super powers… but it sure has unbelievable health benefits for such a simple leaf. Kale is a powerhouse food and packs more nutrition than any other whole food out there, apparently an ounce of kale comprises more iron than an ounce of beef! In one heaping cup you’ll have met your daily Vitamin K, A and C levels for the day, be filled with an outstanding amount of anti-oxidants and kale is said to have cancer preventative benefits.

I simply adore kale, I know not everyone does due to its tougher leafy nature and at times bitter taste, but it’s all in its preparation and highlighting it’s attributes when it really shines! When buying kale I recommend looking for the organic, softer, small-leaved curly kale, it tends to be less tough, slightly sweeter and absorbs any flavor you throw at it. When preparing kale, ensure to cut off the hard stems, wash it in warm-hot water to assist in softening the leaves, then I dress it while prepping the rest of the salad, this will ensure soft and savory kale leaves!

My Warm Kale Mushroom Salad has so many mouth-watering flavors, earthy garlicky mushrooms, carmelized onions, lemon pepper basted kale leaves, topped off with melting creamy goat cheese and crunchy buttery walnuts. I absolutely love this salad and have converted several non salad eaters into believers, I have testimonies! Try it out today for a lunch to help you power through your Saturday! XOXO

 

 

 

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