Cranberry & Gorgonzola Crostini with Balsamic Drizzle

I knew it would happen eventually. The day was going to come when I ran out of Christmas cookies. Sadly, that day came all too soon this year (or, last year, I guess…since it was 2012. Woa).
I was still on winter break when the last bits of frosting and broken crumbs disappeared. The well had dried up. I was out of cookies. Meaning I was out of breakfast. I needed a new sugar fix, and I needed it fast. I couldn’t just stop consuming unnecessary amounts of sugar first thing in the morning. I’m not a barbarian.
So, I started making cinnamon sugar toast. In massive quantities. Every day. I really and truly was going through bread at an alarming rate.  But somehow, on the day I came back to school, there was still half a loaf of whole wheat French bread sitting on the counter (because the whole wheat goodness totally makes cinnamon sugar toast a health food, it’s science). My dad wasn’t going to eat it, so I brought it back to school.
But now, in my apartment, with no cinnamon sugar shaker premixed or softened butter in a dish next to the toaster, I can’t really justify making cinnamon sugar toast for breakfast every day of the week. So I had to find something else to do with the bread. Something as equally simple and quick as cinnamon sugar toast, but a tad healthier.

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Pear & Mixed Green Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette

“What kind of dressing do you have?”
“Well, we’ve got 1000 island, balsamic vnaigrette, blue cheese, French, ranch, honey mustard, Caesar, parmesan peppercorn, and our house Italian,” I rattle off from memory. Over and over and over again. Inevitably the customer gets 1000 island on their side salad (eww, btw) but only tells me after I’m out of breath from reciting the list. Sometimes, they ask twice before making a decision. Why we don’t have our dressings listed on the menu is beyond me. Drives me bonkers.

And has kind of turned me off of salad dressing. Forget that from the ages of 4 to 14 I assumed any sort of vegetable was just a vehicle for ranch dressing. Now, I normally just do a little balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and pepper on my salads. Sometimes, if I’m feeling funky I’ll do an avocado or salsa.
But, now I’ve got a new go-to salad dressing. And go-to salad. This Pear and Mixed Green Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette is filling but fresh, a perfect way to ring in the New Year. A fresh cranberry vinaigrette dresses a simple salad of mixed greens, red onion, bacon crumbles, pear, and blue cheese. Salty, tart, sweet, crunchy, creamy. Phenomenal. 

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Pecan & Cranberry Crusted Goat Cheese Salad

I’ve never been one of those people. The ones who “do lunch.” You know, the fancy people who always seem suuuuuper busy but can always “do lunch” sometime.
Puh-leaz. I do lunch every day. I can’t not do it. I schedule my classes at school around it. I start thinking about lunch as soon as I take my last bite of breakfast.
Lately though, with work and baking and other holidays to-dos, lunch has consisted of cookie dough, cookies, frosting, or some combination thereof. Delicious for a while, but not a sustainable meal plan. Mainly because I have to wear jeans to work. 

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Mini Turkey Pitas with Avocado and Red Onion

I’m so sick of ham. Sick and tired of ham. Ham sandwiches. Hot ham and cheese. Dirty crockpot water ham. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about. The ham that is at every seemingly respectable church, community, or family event in the Midwest. It just sits in dirty water for 6 hours as people grab stale buns and make sandwiches with it for.the.entire.party. Makes my skin crawl just thinking about it.
I, on the other hand, have a much more refined palate and choose to snarf down taco dip and lemon squares and bbq baked chips like my life depends on it. But that's neither here nor there…
But, not every day holds such an occasion as the annual church picnic or a second cousins graduation party. On those days there is no dirty crockpot water ham (thank goodness). There’s just lunch.

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Eggs Fried In Peppers

I eat eggs every day. Sometimes multiple times a day. Eggs are quick, easy, and full of protein. They satisfy me after a tough workout or keep me full during my long shifts at work. While I don’t think it’s excessive (it’s normal to go through two dozen eggs solo in one week, totally normal) it can get a bit boring.
So when a friend sent me a link on Facebook showing me a new way to prepare eggs my first thought was “Man, how come I didn’t think of that!” and my second was “I know what I’m having for breakfast tomorrow.

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Spinach and Jalapeno Salmon Cakes with Sauteed Kale and Cherry Tomatoes

I’ve been thinking about Baltimore a lot lately. Around this time last year I visited a friend from school there and had one of the best weeks of vacation, bar none. My memory has been able to retrieve the smallest details – the feel of the hardwood floor on my toes early in the morning, the spray of the water coming off the harbor cooling my hot skin, the sound of construction crews as they worked tirelessly on the road outside my friend’s apartment.
I remember my first meal there in vivid detail. Fresh off the plane (or as fresh as one can be after 4 hours of sleep and a nearly missed flight), we went to a Baltimore landmark, Miss Shirley’s, to sample a Baltimore classic, crab cakes.
Having had crab cakes in Wisconsin before and being less than impressed, my taste buds were primed to be disappointed. 
I love when my taste buds are wrong.

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Foil Wrapped Salmon

I can’t even think of a witty story or anecdote to go along with this salmon. I think that’s because it’s nothing particularly special. It’s delicious! Don’t get me wrong, it is a tasty piece of fish. But it’s simple.
It’s the dinner I make for myself when my dad is working nights. He refuses to eat salmon and I refuse to make two separate dinners – so I save this meal for when it’s just me.
Normally I make this in the oven, but yesterday I tried it on the grill with great success.


Foil Wrapped Salmon
Serves: 4
2 – 8oz. filets of salmon, skin on
1 lemon, sliced, divided
1 TBSP Coconut oil (or butter)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Miscellaneous spices/herbs, to taste
Preheat grill over medium-high heat until internal temperature is between 350 – 375 degrees. Alternatively, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Spray a large square of foil with olive oil spray. Lay salmon on foil, skin side down. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and any additional spices or herbs (I use a seafood blend with sage, thyme, and rosemary, among others). Top with pat of coconut oil and lay lemon slices over filet. Wrap foil tightly around salmon to create a packet o’ fish. Repeat with other filet.
Grill (or bake) for 10 – 15 minutes, until fish is medium pink and flakes easily with a fork.
Peel off skin and serve with grilled or steamed veggies for a fast and healthy summer dinner! 
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