Simple Summer Squash Salad

Simple Summer Squash Salad

Summer food should be pretty.  The sun is shining.  The gardens are bursting with fragrant herbs and brightly hued fruits the way God imagined and created them.

While I didn’t grow the items found in this summer salad, I did buy them at the Whole Foods in Buckhead (a delightful shopping, eating, and living area of Atlanta).  This Whole Foods takes the cake on any one I’ve been in.  The produce alone would be reason to keep coming back to it again and again.  I remember the first time I took our older son in there.  He exclaimed “watermelon” while looking at the sample containter of beautiful red, completely juicy, delicious watermelon.  (And that was the first time he had said it!)


And another favorite thing I love about this salad is the dressing.  I do love to make my own, but when you’ve found a simple summer vinaigrette such as this one: Brianna’s Real French – why waste the time in making my own?  It is slightly tangy and fragrant and rests lightly on any food you put it on (this salad and our pink grapefruit salad are our two favorites).  And if you want to know where to get the delicious Yard Blend that I use in this side dish, contact my friend Jayme over at Holly and Flora.

So, without further ado – here is a perfectly simple summer side dish that would be a great accompaniement to your next light summer affair.  Get some crusty bread, cheese, wine, berries, and this – night well made.

This recipe was inspired by Laura’s.

Simple Summer Squash Salad
Recipe type: Vegetable
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-3
Simple summer squash in a light vinaigrette with salty, smooth goat cheese
  • 2 yellow summer squash, sliced in ribbons
  • 1 zucchini, sliced in ribbons
  • 2-3 T Brianna's Real French Vinaigrette
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • ½ tsp of Holly & Flora's Yard Blend
  • 2 T crumbled goat cheese
  1. To slice ribbons in your vegetables, I used the side of my box grater with the long grating option.
  2. Toss your sliced vegetables in everything but the goat cheese. Let marinate for about 20 minutes
  3. Crumble the goat cheese on top before serving.



Creatives: Jayme of Holly and Flora (Garden, Beauties, Recipe)

posted in: creatives, food, Vegetables, vegetarian, Women | 1

I love sweet friends.  This girl has been a friend since high school – our cheerleading days – and we got reconnected on FB (that is the blessing of Facebook), then when I went to Denver a few years back we got to hang out and take some beautiful photos, now she is loving her garden and seeing all the beautiful things she can create from it.

What I learned this week about being Creative: I’m not a gardener.  It takes a lot of time.  There are many other interests in my life that take up that time.  But, I can and do enjoy goodies from other people’s gardens.  I talked with Jayme last week and she agreed to come up with a new recipe, show us some of her garden, answer some questions – and hopefully inspire you to live a fresh, local life!  Another way I love this story – is because it started when J was growing up.  Moms/Dads – you have a huge influence on your children in many way.  Don’t neglect the non-spiritual ways you influence your children!

Holly and Flora

1.  How did you begin your creatives lifestyle?
Growing up, every Tuesday night, my mom would conduct “Home Together Nights.”  We would select recipes to reproduce, as a family, and we would laugh, create, and bond together.  My sister and I still make recipes from those memorable evenings, and we are much more adventurous and creative in the kitchen, and in other areas, as a result.  A creative upbringing definitely made it easier to embrace a similar lifestyle as an adult, but having a garden, working within the hospitality and restaurant industries, training as a sommelier, and traveling to different parts of the world have greatly shaped the way that I view my place in the world, as well.
2.  What drives you to continue (especially in a time of convenience)?
As I answer this question, I am up late, tending some stock.  It would be so easy to simply throw away the day’s carrot greens, chicken bones, and onion skins and conveniently purchase stock at the grocery for my next batch of soup.  However, I feel a strong sense of responsibility with the bounty we have been given and the talents we possess; I feel a deep pull to squeeze every gift to the very last drop, reuse it, repurpose it, and share it.  It is intensely rewarding.  Almost always, I save money by doing and making things, myself, and the more adept I become, the more beneficial and far-reaching my deeds become.  I take immense pride knowing that I am capable and knowledgeable to provide for myself and my family.  Creativity applies not only to the artistic realm, but it also applies to the practical realm.
3.  What is the thing you’ve learned most about yourself in this creative journey?
The mess-ups and mistakes are usually the most memorable, educational, and exciting.  I do not always operate on this precept, but I really try to learn from my perceived mishaps.  For example, I try to sketch or write about something I am creating each day.  A lot of times, those messy sketches or scribbled words become foundations for a future project.  If I were to discard them because of their imperfections, I would limit my creative potential.  I tend to be very good at limiting myself and comparing myself and my progress to others.  That aspect of my personality is challenging.  I am trying to let go, unleash what holds me back, and get my blank canvas absolutely messy, both literally and figuratively.
4.  What is your favorite recipe?
My favorite recipe to make is zucchini cake.  You can find my recipe here (link:  However, this gardening season, I have had an abundance of eggplant, herbs, and tomatoes, which prompted me to create this recipe for my version of an eggplant tapenade/caponata.  Being in the midst of a kitchen remodel, I have not had access to a stove, dishwasher, proper storage options, or even a sink, which is why I have had to create new recipes, using either a grill or crockpot.
5.  What has been your greatest joy in this creatives process?
I am very much inspired by my garden.  I feel that it feeds almost every area of my life right now.  I am inspired by its color, its movement, its inconsistencies, its demands, its continual state of flux.  I find inspiration from its parallels to our daily lives.  So many of life’s lessons can be likened to a garden.  The seasonal change of a garden mirrors the growth of an individual, but gardening is not just about an individual effort.  I have found deep satisfaction involving myself with the gardening community here in Denver.
Grilled Eggplant “Caponade”
  Eggplants from the Garden
20 small fairytale eggplants, halved, stems removed (or substitute 2 medium regular eggplants, quartered)
8 medium to large heirloom tomatoes, quartered
1 head of garlic
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 bunch green onions, finely chopped, whites and greens together
1/2 cup olives, chopped (mostly Kalamatas, with some mixed green olives)
1/8 cup capers
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
1/8 cup freshly chopped basil
1 tablespoon freshly chopped thyme
salt and pepper, to taste
dried chili flakes, to taste
1. In a deep saucepan, simmer the tomatoes in 1/2 cup olive oil, over low to medium heat, for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until most of the liquid is gone, and it starts to thicken.  The longer you can draw this process out, the better and more concentrated the taste will be.
2. In another pan, add the peeled and separated garlic cloves to 1/4 cup olive oil.  Simmer over low heat for about 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned and caramelized.  Remove from heat, set aside to cool, and then chop coarsely.  Do not discard the oil!
3. Pre-heat the grill on high heat, and then turn down to low heat.  Brush the eggplant slices with olive oil and lightly salt.  Grill the fairytale eggplants for two minutes on each side.  If you are using regular eggplants, grill four to five minutes on each side.  Remove from the grill, set aside to cool, and then dice into 1/4 inch pieces.
Grilling Eggplants
4. Once each component has cooled, mix the tomatoes, garlic, and eggplant in a large bowl.  Add the last quarter cup of olive oil, as well as the oil that you reserved from simmering the garlic.
5. Add the lemon juice, vinegar, onions, olives, capers, and herbs to the mixture.  Stir to integrate.
6. Season with salt, pepper, and chili flakes to taste (I used about 1 tablespoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon of chili flakes).
This recipe tastes great the first day, but even better the next, so feel free to prepare in advance.  This recipe yields about four cups and keeps, refrigerated, for a week.  Serve with crostini or grilled bread.  What are some other uses for this recipe?  Serve alongside hummus or crumble in feta or serve on top of baked or grilled salmon and pork tenderloin.
Grilled Eggplant Tapenade
Be on the lookout for spice rubs, spice blends, and notecards all inspired by Jayme’s garden!  And Be Creative!
Eggplants for Everyone

Roasted Summer Vegetable Salad with Feta, Tuna, and Balsamic

posted in: food, Vegetables | 0

I love this thing of getting to cook more (now that I have a future husband to cook for).  It is so much more fun to cook for others rather than to just cook for yourself.  He is really good at bearing with this whole “vegetarian for a year” thing, and I am grateful.

I found this recipe on Whole Foods Twitter feed and then tweaked it to make it ours.  So good!

1 zucchini – sliced and quartered

2 squash – sliced and quartered

1 red pepper, seeded and thickly chopped (bigger pieces)

3 medium tomatoes, chopped

1 small red onion, chopped

olive oil / salt / pepper

16 oz pasta (whatever shape you like, we used penne)

4 cups spinach leaves

basil leaves chopped to taste

2 cups balsamic vinaigrette

2 small containers feta cheese

3 cans tuna in water (not packed in oil)


Prepare all (but basil and spinach) vegetables and roast about 30 minutes on 425 (with evoo, s, p).  Take out and let cool a little.  Cook and drain pasta.  Drain tuna.

All the veggies to the pasta and then add spinach, basil, tuna, and feta.  Add balsamic to the taste.

Serve warm or cold.

Very yummy and healthy!

Meatless 365

posted in: food, Vegetables, vegetarian | 10

Today is day one, right.  Day one of anything.  Today is the first day of the rest of your life?!

Well, there are some things that I just need to put my mind to do, and I can do it.  This is one of those things.

Hardest part of going meatless for 365 days:

1.  When I go to the Angus Barn (they have something meatless, right).

2.  My brother’s steaks (so stinking quality)

3.  Sausage.  Its so good.

If there are only three deterrants for me trying this, than what is there to stop me?

Why I will try it for a year:

1.  Protein is good and can be found in other foods

2.  Panera does sell meatless eats (because you know, Panera gets my money most weeks).

3.  Dairy and fish are not included in this. 

4.  I want to expand my cooking knowledge and food savvy.  I have to branch out.

5.  And, I don’t like meat substitutes (so not tofu, or whathave you).

Do you have any thoughts?  Do you have any good websites I’ve not looked at.

Day 1: good.  Cinnamon raisin toast with pb for breakfast, veggie sub for lunch (and chips, fruit, piece of cake at a party).  Dinner: pumpkin soup and cornbread.

New Year’s Much & Link Love (January 3)

Happy New Year!  When do you get tired of hearing that?  I usually have to wait until after my birthday, which is tomorrow.  New Years and birthdays, both great.  I used to dislike having a birthday so close to Christmas (school was out so I never got to celebrate it in school), but now I love it, because not only am I starting a new calendar year, but also a new birth year. 

1.  I had one of the best new years ever!  A friend from seminary came over to Raleigh: we cooked dinner, hung out a cool place in Cary, went to the NCMA, and watched movies.  It was low-key and wonderful.

2.  I already went away from on of my 2011 goals.  I ran in a 5k on Saturday and unfortunately left my cell phone at home so I had no interval timer.  I finished this multi-terrain, ice/mud, hills, loops race about the same time I finished my first one.  So, I wasn’t happy.  But, I did it.  And I had friends cheering me on and running with me!

3.  This is going to be a tough week and a good week.  Tough week with many things going on a work and writing kicked into high gear.  Good week because I get to have dinner on Thursday night with some of the most amazing RDU friends a girl can have, both new and old, and I’ll be missing some too because of vacations and babies.  God is good, isn’t He!

4.  Day one of clean eating went very well yesterday!  I am thankful for oranges and sweet potatoes that I don’t have to buy because of family!  Everytime I have craved nut butter or even milk or egg whites today I thought that God is sufficient for my every need and He is gracious too.  I have included seeds in this clean eating: fruits and veggies only while at home.  Seeds because I eat hummus and tahini is in it – ground sesame seeds.  I’m already thinking post-40 days to see how my diet will be altered, and see how my food-relationships/sin issues have been changed.  Thank you God for the cross!

5.  Bring on the playoffs!  Excited.  We’ll see how long my teams last.

6.  January… here we go: I’m doing the list here rather a whole new post. 

6.1: Birthday celebrating

6.2: Working out and logging milesd

6.3: Stemmerman Inn for my birthday!  Thank you Mom!

6.4: Charlotte to prepare for an upcoming women’s conference I am speaking at in March. 

6.5: Photog!

6.6: Writing and reading.  Sound familiar?

Link Love

1.  One of the coolest things I’ve heard from country music in a while – great on the gender issue too.  Go Zac Brown!

2.  With clean eating for 40 days, I’m making this soup.

3.  For those of you memorizing Philippians, John Piper reciting it may spur you on!

4.  Do you already need help keeping those resolutions?  These apply to any you have made.

5.  One of the smartest guys I know, and do ministry with, gives his list of best reads of 2010.  And he read a lot more than this. 

6.  Some great sermons and talks about keeping resolutions

7.  After taking off most of 2010, John Piper returns and tells all what God taught him and Noel from their leave of absence.  Good stuff.

8.  Also, if you have never memorized long passages of Scripture, here are some quality sermons from Andy Davis and John Piper to help you out and to see the benefit of it. 

9.  If you still need help picking which Bible reading plan to do for 2011, go here.  Justin lays a lot of them out for you.  I am doing Elevate’s B90X from last year, just multiplying it times 3 with some breather days in there. 

10.  Her photos are inspiring.


Recipe coming soon!

Couscous Chicken Salad with Vegetables (2010.16)

posted in: Vegetables | 0

I really like couscous and I like chicken and I like vegetables. Thought this would be good. That’s about it – it was good.

Here you go:
This is from Easy Summer Meals (Cooking Light)

1 1/2 cup water
1 T evoo
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup couscous (uncooked)
1 yellow pepper, diced
1/2 finely chopped zuk
1/2 cup chopped mushroom
1 1/2 cup chopped chicken (I cooked mine and saved the broth for some soup I am going to make this wknd)
1/2 cup diced carrots
3 green onions, chopped
3 T dried currants
1 T dried chopped mint (or fresh)

1 cup plain ff yogurt
3 T lemon juice
1 T honey (less because it was really sweet, or Agave nectar)
1 T apple cider vinegar (or what you have)

Chop all veggies. Chop chicken. Cook couscous according to directions. Mix up dressing. Combine all. Best served over mixed greens for a light lunch.
1 1/2 cups: 368 cal, 8 fat, 4 fiber

Durham Farmers' Market and Food Thoughts

posted in: Vegetables | 1

Greetings for a Saturday night. Its been a good day.
The Durham Farmers’ Market is great local find. All vendors have to be within 50 miles or so of Durham Cty. Which is very local!
I found french breakfast radishes. I have already used them all: in a stir-fry (w broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, zuks) and roasted – which they almost turn to mush. Raw – these have a peppery bite which I’m not used to with regular radishes you buy in the store. I even am going to use the green as a salad tomorrow for lunch.
I found a hybrid green: green leaf and romaine. Hearty lettuce that will stand up for the base of my couscous chicken salad this week.
I also found a winery in Graham that makes Scuppernong and Muscadine wines. So, I tasted all three and liked the Scuppernong the best. May go back and gte some more later – however I was nice and bought my brother some Muscadine wine. Let’s see if he likes it as much as Dakota Winery’s…

Here are my food thoughts:
1. I have been snacking WAY too much. Not even bad stuff – just eating too much. I don’t like that feeling and I don’t like that sin.
2. So, I think I will spend tomorrow journaling about it, getting back to God’s heart on my eating and exercising, and see if we can get a game plan going here for more obedience.
3. I will (starting tomorrow) take my friend Sarah’s advice and maybe try to eat bigger meals so I will not snack every 2 hours to so. I won’t be tempted to open that snack drawer in my office. I won’t be tempted to grab that handful of SweetTart jellybeans! And if I do snack, it has to ve veggies or fruit – plain. Or with mustard. None of these processed pretzels, or cool whip, or even granola which is higher in fat. I need healthy fruits and veggies.
4. I would rather be able to wear all my clothes than to eat more. But, that shouldn’t be more sole reason. I should do it to please my God who sent His Son to die for me. Right now, for me, that doesn’t seem to be a big enough reason. Lord…help.

Two Bean Italian Soup (2010.14)

posted in: Vegetables | 0

Does a recipe ever surprise you? This was my question when I tasted this soup this afternoon – shortly after it perfumed my apartment with wonderful smelling-ness!

BHG’s February 2008 magazine gave me this Tuscan Bean Soup. I only made 2 alterations to it. And, it is very yummy. I could drink the broth by the gallon!

So easy too. Don’t be afraid of soups in the spring/summer…

1/2 bag baby carrots, chopped

1 smallish onion, chopped

1 large garlic clove, minced

2 T olive oil

2 cans reduced-sodium chicken broth (or make your own)

1 can great northern beans

1 can garbanzo beans (both beans, drained and rinsed)

3 tsp italian seasoning

1 pkg spinach

black pepper

Saute first two in olive oil till softened, add garlic. Then add the broth and the beans. Let simmer. Add the spinach and cook for about 30 seconds – then it is done. How easy and surprisingly healthy and good.

Spring "Earth Day" Green Giveaway!

posted in: Vegetables | 7

I love My Blog Spark. I get great things to try, coupons, cool, fun things to add to my kitchen – and they give me stuff to give to you, my readers, as well.
April holds the day known as “Earth Day”. I am by no means a totally green girl – but I have started some things. My new roomie is about recycling, so I will do what I can. I try to remember those cloth grocery bags when I go to WF or other places to shop. I care more about what I do and put in/on my body than about thing things I use for exterior things.
But, Green Giant (ho ho ho greeeeeeeen giant) and My Blog Spark are offering you a prize package to grow your own herbs, add to your utensil collection, and get some free veggies. I love wooden (or bamboo) utensils so these three were a great addition in my new kitchen. And I have a porch now so I can’t wait to grow my own little herb garden. You can get the same thing.
To enter: you can do one of two things:

1. Tell me what your easy way is to protect/sustain the earth?
2. Tell me what is your fave recipe using green giant frozen veggies?

Thanks! Happy playing. You have till Wednesday, April 7th to enter!

Maple Glazed Roasted Winter Vegetables with Ginger (2010.7)

posted in: Vegetables, vegetarian | 0

I liked this recipe. It was from a health magazine and put a twist on my normal roasted vegetables. Maple syrup instead of olive oil was the main topping and the bits of real ginger in there made this better than it would have been without it.

I changed the quantities based on what I could find in the store:

1 lb brussel sprouts, halved
2 medium carrots, coined
3 medium parsnips, coined
other winter veggies that you like
3 tsp real dark amber maple syrup
1 inch ginger, peeled and chopped
salt to taste

Put all on baking sheet. Drizzle with syrup. Bake at 450 for about 25-35 minutes tossing to keep it from burning.
I’m finishing up mine today.