Balsamic Mushroom and Fruit Summer Salad

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Wow summer has flown by.  Usually summer is my season with the most cooking, because I have the most free time, however this summer has been a very different story.  My last ten weeks have been entirely consumed by three summer courses, a part time job, an internship, one week as a camp counselor, a trip to the lake house, and moving into a new house.  So much for slowing down!

I know from personal experience that when life gets too busy, cooking is often one of the first things pushed aside. Instead of taking the time or energy to cook a nutritious meal, we often end up turning to junk food, microwaveable options, and eating out.  Guilty as charged.

There is hope though! This salad is something I whipped together over my lunch break this afternoon, and was so pleasantly surprised at how quickly it all came together, and how delicious it tasted, that I knew I had to share it with you.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did, and I hope your August is filled with porch swings, slow evenings, ice tea, and friends.  I’m still holding out hope for that slow summer pace  🙂

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Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 4-5 large button mushrooms
  • 2 cups mixed spinach leaves
  • ¼ cup rinsed blueberries
  • 4 large strawberries, sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons crumbled goat cheese (as desired)

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Teaspoon olive oil
  • Juice from ¼ of an orange
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon agave (a little more if the balsamic is too strong for you!)

Instructions:

  1. Heat 1 Tablespoon of oil in a small frying pan.  Rinse and slice the mushrooms, and add to the frying pan once hot.
  2. Sautee for one minute, then drizzle 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar over the mushrooms and cook for a few more minutes, flipping occasionally.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the salad dressing ingredients in a small cup and whisk thoroughly.
  4. Toss the spinach leaves in a medium-sized bowl.  Add the sliced strawberries, blueberries, and crumbled goat cheese over the top.  Then add the warm mushrooms and top with a drizzle of dressing.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

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Notes and Tips!:

  • Try marinating your mushrooms in the dressing for a few hours prior to sautéing them for a fuller flavor!
  • Vegan? Leave out the goat cheese and replace it with a vegan cheese substitute if desired!
  • Like this recipe? Try these other delicious dishes from ‘a rented kitchen’ and make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss a thing!

One Week of Summer Treats to Beat the Heat: Vanilla Blueberry Kabobs

Hello readers! Welcome to day 3 of ‘One week of summer treats to beat the heat!’ In honor of this week long series, I’ve got another yummy frozen treat for you! It’s similar in premise to yesterdays post, both involving frozen fruit, however the two posts are very different in taste. Today’s recipe is for frozen vanilla-yogurt covered blueberries.  The prep time for this is less than 10 minutes and can provide a delicious cool snack for several days. It also is an extremly healthy choice, consisting of only two low-fat and low calorie ingredients.  So bust out your favorite yogurt, get the kabob sticks, and beat some of that heat!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Fat-Free Vanilla Yogurt
  • 10 Kabob sticks
  • Several dozen blueberries (I used about 120 and made 12 kabobs with 10 on each)

Directions:

  1. If using long kabob sticks, cut each stick in half using a pair of sharp scissors.
  2. Rinse the blueberries and slide between eight and 12 blueberries onto each kabob stick.
  3. Scoop 2/3 cup of vanilla yogurt onto a shallow plate.
  4. Holding the ends of the kabobs, gently roll the blueberries in the vanilla yogurt.
  5. Repeat step four, adding another 1/3 cup of yogurt as necessary until all of the kabob sticks have been covered in yogurt.
  6. Quickly place the kabob sticks on a sheet of parchment paper in either a piece of Tupperware or on a baking sheet. Freeze and enjoy later.

Notes and Tips!:

  • Once the first layer of yogurt is frozen, feel free to roll the kabobs in a second layer! This will ensure a thick layer of creamy yogurt around each berry. You really only need to do this if during the freezing process a lot of yogurt falls off the kabobs Or if you want to create a richer more substantial snack!
  • If rolling the kabobs a second time in yogurt, feel free to get creative with it! You could roll the kabobs in a different flavor of yogurt the second time to mix things up! For example: vanilla on bottom, chocolate on top; or lemon on bottom and cocount on top.
  • This post was inspired by “One Good Thing by Jilee

One Week of Summer Treats to Beat the Heat: Mint Lemonade

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Hello dear readers! Can you believe it’s already almost July?! Summer definitely seems to be in full swing, bringing on the heat and the long days. My landlord finally fixed our air conditioner, so now my tiny rented kitchen is much more bearable when using the oven. (Thank goodness!) Regardless of the beautiful AC that I am soo grateful for, it’s pretty hard to ignore the severe heat indexes sweeping the country. Thus, in honor of this hot hot summer I am going to post a recipe for a summer treat to beat the heat everyday this week- starting today! Get excited, check back frequently, and make sure you don’t melt in between today and tomorrow. I have another recipe comin’ your way!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • Juice from 8- 10 lemons
  • 6- 7 cups water
  • 10+ mint leaves
  • 20 blueberries (give or take)

Directions:

  1. Bring 2 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar to boil in a small saucepan. Stir until sugar is dissolved then remove from heat and cool. (This is known as Simple Syrup)
  2. While cooling, juice the lemons.
  3. Pour the lemon juice, simple sugar, and 4- 5 cups of cold water into a pitcher. Stir. Add blueberries and mint leaves as desired. Cool and serve over ice.

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Notes:

  • Source: A Rented Kitchen