Arugula and Roasted Beet Salad

roasted beets
I’ve never been a huge fan of beets. As far as my memory served, they were mushy red globs that came from a can and were only to be eaten if there was nothing else in the pantry. A few months ago I had a roasted beets for the first time, and it was a like I discovered an entirely new vegetable.

Me: “I can’t believe I’m saying this. These beets are amazing! Really, try one. Here!” (Stabs a beet and points the fork his way.)
Stu:  “Wow, umm…thanks but I would never come between you and a food you love. I’ll pass.” (Backs away slowly as I retract my fork and attack the rest in the bowl.)

Sadly our meals as of late have been a little too “would you like fries with that?” and not enough “wash, chop, and eat”. I felt like an exciting salad would help detox some of the fast food and freezer meals of the last couple weeks. (I know…I’ll need to eat nothing but salad until Easter to do that.)

I love roasting vegetables like cauliflower and artichokes. Now beets are the latest the join the club. I can’t believe I’ve been in the dark about them. Out of the oven, they are sweet and tender but not mushy, perfect for a salad. Arugula’s spicy kick pairs nicely with these sweet red gems. And goat cheese…well, what can you say about goat cheese? Those who love it know how it almost steals the show in any salad. Forget the feta or gorgonzola. Goat cheese is the creme de la creme of cheese for salads in my dairy lovin’ opinion.

ARUGULA & ROASTED BEET SALAD
-fresh arugula
-2 large beets
-3 carrots
-red onion
-1/2 cup chopped pecans
-1/3 cup golden raisins
-herbed goat cheese
-1/3 cup balsamic,
-2/3 cup olive oil
-1/2 teaspoon salt and a dash of pepper

PREPARATION:
1. Preheat oven to 400. Wash beets and wrap in foil. Roast in oven 40 minutes and then turn over.
2. Wrap carrots in foil and add to the oven with beets. Continue to roast for 20 minutes.
3. Remove vegetables from the oven and allow to cool slightly before peeling skin. Thinly slice the beets and carrots.
4. Slice red onion and lay over bed of arugula. Sprinkle pecans and golden raisins. (Soak raisins in hot water for 15 minutes beforehand to plump them.)
5. Add beets and carrots to the salad. Lastly, crumble goat cheese on top.
6. Add balsamic, olive oil, salt and pepper to a jar with lid. Shake until emulsified and pour over salad.

Aren’t they just pretty? I gave some left overs to Gemma…big mistake. My poor child looked like she ate lipstick for lunch.

Vegan Strawberry Tart


I’m not one for baking…really. It scares me. My method of cooking involves lots of improvising and guestimating. I’ve shared before the disasters that ensue when I try this with baking. The one thing that I can put together is a tart. Basically you just have to manage baking a crust, and whatever loveliness you add to the top is pure money.

One of my very favorite sweet recipes was the Nutella pear tart I posted a couple years ago. Ironically it was also posted in February…I guess a tart feels like a romantic dessert, huh? Except that I ate the whole thing by myself. In one afternoon. Bless me.

Since dairy is still out of the picture for now, I wanted to try a butter-free crust. Justin’s Hazelnut Butter has replaced Nutella in my pantry this year, so basically this recipe is vegan by default. I saw this video for making a “press-in the pan” olive oil crust and adapted the recipe slightly by using almond milk instead of cow’s milk. Oh my gracious, this crust is heavenly. It is very flaky but also pretty dense, kind of like a shortbread. It is my new dairy-free crust of choice.

VEGAN STRAWBERRY TART
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup mild olive oil
2 tablespoons almond milk
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

*Crust recipe adapted from this site.
-1 cup Justin’s Hazelnut Butter
-1 pint fresh strawberries

Method:

1. In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, salt, and sugar. In a small bowl, whisk olive oil, almond milk and almond extract. 

2. Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and mix gently with a fork just enough so that the dough comes together.  
3. Ball up the dough and transfer to your tart pan. (I used a 9 inch pan and had some crust left over. This recipe was intended for an 11-inch pan.) Use your hands to pat out the dough so it covers the bottom of the pan, pushing it up the sides to meet the edge. Flatten your finger tips to spread dough evenly over the pan. It should be about 1/ 8-inch thick all around. 

4. Poke holes in the crust with a fork. Bake tart at 400 degrees for 18-22 minutes until golden brown.

5. Allow to cool until no longer hot but still warm. (This will help with spreading the hazelnut butter.) Spread 1 cup Justin’s over the crust. Slice and place strawberries on top of the spread. 

In other news…

You can see a recap of the Springfield Collective launch event we held last Saturday over on the Paper Muse Press blog. Paper Muse Press is an online paper goods shop, but they are headquartered in my home town. They were the generous sponsors who provided our guests with the cutest custom pads to jot notes during the business speed dating. They also gave gift cards to everyone. It’s so exciting to get to work with such an amazing local shop-LOVE! 

If you haven’t checked out their site, take a few minutes to peruse their shop for custom invites, stationery and more. They are currently running a promotion in which you can get 3 free customized samples to try out their designs or even upload your own designs. Just enter “3FREE” at checkout. The promo includes free standard shipping too.    

Another bonus of this event was that I got to meet and work with the fabulous local photographer, Katie Day who shot pics of the event. (Yes, that’s her real name. The happiest name ever, right?) If “networking” with creatives means hanging out with fun, quirky people then I’m hooked.

Best Holiday Recipes from the Link Party

best holiday recipes

We are playing hosts this coming week, and THE most important job I have is to make sure the food is good. The floor may be dirty, and a layer of dust might possibly have taken up permanent residence on the bookshelves but -by George- people will eat.  I’ve been pouring through recipe books and mapping out menus for when my family is town. (Southern Living Christmas is by far my favorite holiday cook book at the moment.) 
We are not a fussy bunch, but my people come from a long line of eaters. And we mean business. There are certain dishes that must be served. Christmas tins should be overflowing with sweet treats, and those treats should be available for consumption 24 hours a day. Eating only seconds is an insult; you keep going back until the job is done. All is justified as we reassure ourselves that “January 1st is a new leaf!” This little phrase gives way for a year’s worth of dietary sins to happen over the course of a week. So as you can see, the bar has been set. I’ve inherited a legacy of seasonal gluttony.

I have yet to go grocery shopping, saving that for today. As you read this, most likely I am pushing a cart around one of the three grocery stores on my shopping mission, clad in yoga pants with a crumpled list in hand and a pencil in mouth. If it is a good day, a latte will make an appearance somewhere, and I’ll take no responsibility for my car accidentally showing up at the coffee shop’s drive-through. (I know it’s ridiculous, but I’ve convinced myself that spending my only free time of the day grocery shopping and stuck in holiday traffic entitles me to a sugary caffeine jolt.)

Last week I co-hosted a holiday link party and you guys linked up some SERIOUSLY delicious looking and sounding recipes that I can’t wait to ruin my diet with. I’ve rounded up a few of my favorites to share with you today…
Colleens’ Creme de Menth Brownies (Oh my. Andes mints + brownies…hello.)
Vicki and Jennifer’s Blood Orange Martini (Is 9:00am too early for vodka?)
Becky’s Rose”merry” Cranberry Cooler (Isn’t she clever?)
Tiffany’s Red Velvet Cookies 
Friends, thank you for spending a bit of your precious time here at my little Cupboard in 2013. It means so much that you do…If this is a year of celebration for you, I wish you a holiday filled with food and family and sweet memories. If you find yourself in a more difficult season of life this Christmas, I wish you peace and hope for a brighter year to come. Love and blessings to you ALL.

Gingerbread White Hot Chocolate

Chocolate will always have a special place in my heart and on my waistline, but white chocolate? Oh lord…I cannot help myself. I rarely keep any in the house for this reason. I’m not even going to pretend be all humble about this gingerbread white hot chocolate; it is stinking lick-the-cup-dry delicious. I went off of my dairy-free diet for one day JUST for this drink!
When creating most recipes, I typically shoot from the hip, wing it, and hope it turns out well. The good ones I share with you; the bad ones go down the drain. This gingerbread white hot chocolate was actually “commissioned” by my sweet friend, Lindsay, to include with a mug purchase from her shop. With a special request like this, I tested several versions of this drink until I felt it was perfect. (I pretended I was part America’s Test Kitchen and got a little mad scientist with it.)
Oh friends, if you have in-laws coming in town and want to impress them, just make this the evening they arrive. Worth every penny. Cross my heart. (You might even add a little splash of Bailey’s for your own special little mug…I promise not to tell.)

GINGERBREAD  WHITE  HOT  CHOCOLATE

Ingredients:
2 cups whole milk
2 cups half & half
1 cup Ghiradelli (or other high quality) white chocolate chips
2 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Instructions:
Over medium heat, combine half & half and white chocolate in a saucepan. Whisk continually until chocolate is melted. Add remaining ingredients and stir frequently until heated through. (Milk should be steaming, but not boiling.) Top with whipped cream and sprinkles. Curl up in a snuggly blanket and enjoy!

The adorable mug was created by my friend and favorite letterer, Lindsay. You can buy one at her shop right here. Since this recipe was actually created for these mugs, you get a cute little recipe card included when you order one.

Holiday Cheer Link Party

Okay, now it’s time for you to share your latest holiday recipe! To enter your recipe or cocktail post, just click below on the pink “click to enter” link and follow the prompts. When you link up here, it will automatically be linked to Natasha’s site at Schue Love. Head over and check out her yummy recipe too! Also, if you would include a link back to this blog in your post, Santa will put you on the “nice” list.

Show me what yummy stuff you’ve cooked up!