central market’s kale, pepita, and cranberry salad



kale isn’t one of those things where i go “OH KALE?! i love kale!” i mean, in the last few years i have been on my way there. almost;) ultimately my goal is to be more like my mom, who has a shirt that just says KALE (like YALE, get it?). #wholefoodsnerd

well, one fine day i experienced a kale salad that i fell in LOVE with. i actually went around telling people about this salad, making them promise me that they would go as fast as they could to go get this amazing salad. KALE salad.
if you know me, this would have seemed odd.

but it’s true. this kale salad is amazing. and anyone who has been to h.e.b. or central market in texas and tried this salad can attest to this. i had a little help (from this blog and this blog) to get the ingredients straight and then i adapted it, getting it just right to my taste. hope this makes you like kale too.

*if you are wanting to make this recipe whole30 friendly, just sub coconut aminos for the soy sauce, omit the agave, and make sure there is no added sugar in your OJ.

central market’s kale, pepita, and cranberry salad
serves 4 as a side dish


6 – 7 cups raw kale, washed & chopped (i chop mine pretty well, like the greens in a chopped salad)

1/4 cup orange juice

3 tbsp rice wine vinegar

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp sesame oil

1 tsp agave (scant)

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/3 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup pepitas

1/4 cup sliced almonds


1. after washing (and drying off a little) & chopping, place kale in a serving bowl or glass dish.

2. in a mason jar, combine orange juice, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, agave, and ground ginger and give it a good shake (or you can whisk it all together in a small bowl). pour dressing over kale greens, add cranberries, and toss a bit.

3. you can serve immediately, or ideally, refrigerate and serve the next day so that the flavors really soak in and the kale absorbs the dressing and softens (if you can’t refrigerate overnight, let it sit in the fridge for at least an hour or two to soften the kale). while it’s marinating in the fridge, stir it a few times, every 3-4 hours if you can to redistribute the dressing. before serving, top with pepitas and almonds.


crispy parmesan hashbrown rounds

crispy parmesan hashbrown rounds

you know when you need a side dish that has to be the perfect combination of salty and crispy? these, my dears, are your answer.
these go great with a grill-out night, with burgers or chicken, or you can be weird and serve them with tacos like i did the other night. hey, i had been dying to make them and well, mama needed something salty. luckily my family likes any dinner that falls under the “meat and potatoes” category, no matter what form it takes.

crispy parmesan hashbrown rounds
adapted from the yummy life


1/2 of a 30 oz bag of frozen shredded hashbrowns (about 5 cups)

2-3 green onions, chopped (or snipped with kitchen shears), both white & green parts

1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

1/4 tsp salt (1/4 tsp heaping; or if you like it salty, go for 1/2 tsp)

1/2 tsp black pepper

2 tbsp olive oil


1. preheat oven to 350. spray 6 ramekins with cooking spray and place on a rimmed cookie sheet.

2. in a large bowl, combine the potatoes, onions, cheese, salt, and pepper. toss well. drizzle olive oil over mixture and toss well to coat. with a 1/4 or 1/3 measuring cup, scoop mixture into ramekins, filling about halfway. with the bottom of the measuring cup, press down on the mixture to pack it into the ramekin.

3. bake in the lower third of the oven for 65-75 minutes. when they are done, let them cool for about 5 minutes and then run a knife around the edge of each ramekin, to loosen the rounds. gently lift each one out of the ramekin.

**make ahead for cooking later: combine mixture, scoop into ramekins, and cover each ramekin with plastic wrap. refrigerate until ready to bake. remove from fridge 30 minutes before baking time.


mexican style roasted corn-on-the-cob

i haven’t always been the corn-on-the-cob’s number one fan, you might say. i like my corn to have a little sumthin’ goin’ on, if you know what i mean.
so there i was, looking for a summer corn recipe that would light my fire. then the lights shone down from heaven and lit up this recipe like a shining beacon on my computer screen.
we made this for the party we had in may for the little she’s 2nd birthday and i would like to report that it lit everyone’s fire.
i still dream about them. really.

mexican-style roasted corn


8 large ears of corn, husks still attached

1/4 cup (or so) mayonnaise

1 1/2 cups crumbled cotija cheese

1/4 cup minced, fresh cilantro

6 tsp ancho chile powder

freshly ground black pepper

1-2 limes, cut into wedges


1. working with one war of corn at a time, peel back the husks to expose the kernels, leaving the husks attached at the base; remove the silk threads and tie husks together with kitchen twine around the base of the cob to form a handle (this is so helpful when eating!). repeat with remaining ears of corn

2. prepare corn on the grill or in the oven. grill method: heat a gas grill over medium-high heat. transfer corn to grill; cook, turning occasionally, until a bit charred and cooked through, about 20 minutes. oven method: place ears of corn on a cookie sheet and roast at 350 for about 30 minutes, turning after 15 or 20 minutes to make sure all sides are cooked.

3. brush ears of corn with mayonnaise. place cotija cheese on a large plate and roll each ear of corn in the cheese to coat. sprinkle corn evenly with some of the cilantro, chile powder, and pepper, pressing the corn so that the seasonings and cheese will stick to the mayo. serve with lime wedges.


recipe via (photo via)

sweet potato pudding with pecan and gingersnap streusel

as i was going through last year’s bon appetit thanksgiving issue looking for recipe ideas for our holiday dinner party, i stumbled upon this little treasure.
it is a yummy twist on the traditional sweet potato dish with marshmallows.
after making the base batter, you fold in a homemade meringue, which makes it refreshingly light and not a heavy, filling dessert.
and the topping is sweet and crunchy, the perfect crust for such a fluffy, sweet pudding.

sweet potato pudding with pecan and gingersnap streusel
makes about 12 servings


1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped gingersnaps

1 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

4 tbsp (1/2 stick) chilled, unsalted butter, cut into cubes

3 lbs sweet potatoes (about 3 large), scrubbed

3/4 cup half & half

1/2 cup orange juice

2 tbsp (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

2 tbsp packed dark brown sugar

1 3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

4 large egg yolks

5 large egg whites

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cream of tartar


1. for the topping: toss first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl. add butter; using fingertips, rub in until well blended. cover & chill. (this can be done 1 day ahead, if needed.)

2. for the pudding: preheat oven to 400. roast potatoes on a baking sheet until tender, 45-60 minutes. cool; cut in half  lengthwise. scoop flesh into a bowl & mash. transfer 4 cups of mashed sweet potatoes to a large bowl. cover and chill. (this also can be done one day ahead.) bring to room temperature before continuing.

3. preheat oven to 350. butter a 13×9 baking dish. add half & half and next 4 ingredients to the mashed sweet potatoes. using a mixer, mix on low until blended. add a few pinches of salt. add yolks 1 at a time, blending after each one.

4. using clean, dry beaters beat whites in another large bowl until foamy. add salt and cream of tartar. beat until peaks form. fold whites into the sweet potatoes; spoon into baking dish. sprinkle with topping.

5. bake pudding until puffed and brown, about 45 minutes. serve immediately.


gently adapted recipe and photo via

roasted potatoes with feta & artichokes

this is one of my favorite side dish recipes. one i get asked for a lot.
it contains two things that are high on my happy list: feta cheese and artichokes.
and it came from a pretty random place.
when my husband and i lived in st. louis, we were at a fundraiser at a really nice retirement home. this was served along with a wonderful holiday dinner. i was so smitten with this dish that i snuck to the back to the kitchen and found the chef! i begged him to tell me his recipe and he very kindly obliged. i recited it to myself over and over until we got home and i could write it down.
so here it is, a rich, buttery treasure smuggled from st. louis and taken with me everywhere we’ve been.

roasted potatoes with feta & artichokes


2 lbs red potatoes

1 lb artichoke hearts

2 oz crumbled feta cheese

½ tsp thyme

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

¼ cup butter, melted


preheat oven to 375.

cut potatoes into 1-inch squares and place in a large mixing bowl.  add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl except the feta.  mix well.

spread mixture out on a large baking sheet and put it into the oven.

cook until potatoes are brown & soft, about 40-45 minutes, tossing every 10-15 minutes.

add feta and serve warm.

about 4-6 servings

photo via

rice and corn with cilantro & avocado

this side dish makes me so happy, i’d probably eat it for the main course.
it is light, refreshing, and the perfect thing to go with anything on the grill.
it’s ingredients lean southwestern and mexican, so it goes really well with chips & fresh salsa or a big cheesy plate of enchiladas. i even think it would strike the perfect balance with a burger or a steak.

rice and corn with cilantro & avocado and lemon dressing
8 side-dish servings


1 cup long grain white rice

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)

4 tbsp olive oil, divided

1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed

1/2 green bell pepper, seeded & chopped (about 3/4 cup)

1/2 yellow bell pepper, seeded & chopped (about 3/4 cup)

1 jalapeño, seeded & chopped

1 cup yellow zucchini, chopped

1 avocado, diced

1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions (about 1 bunch)

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro


1. cook 1 cup rice according to package directions (about 12-15 min). meanwhile, whisk lemon juice and 3 tbsp olive oil in a small bowl. season dressing to taste with salt & pepper.

2. heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. add corn, green bell & yellow bell pepper, jalapeño, and zucchini. sprinkle with just a bit of salt & pepper. saute until veggies are just tender, about 6-7 minutes. place in a large bowl.

3. add rice, green onions, cilantro, and dressing; toss to coat and serve. top each serving with diced avocado*.

* this recipe makes a pretty big batch so we had leftovers at the end of the evening. because of this,  i add the avocados in with each serving. otherwise, the avocado will turn brown with the leftovers in the fridge.


recipe adapted via bon appetit

olive my love potato salad

this ain’t your grandma’s potato salad, y’all.

i made this gloriousness you see the other night and it was a big hit with the husband.
and my stomach.
it’s not mayo- or mustard-based, so it’s lighter and refreshingly saltier.
i am a big sour-taste fan and i love olives… and this potato salad made all my dreams come true. 
the recipe came from our good friend and it was written not as a recipe, but as a friend would tell you how to make it.
so i sort of put it into a recipe the way i would make it. and i do encourage you to check out her post (called the farmer’s market potato salad) about it to see what all you could do with it, if you’re feeling adventurous.
oooh, and if you’re wanting a pasta one night, i think this would be great as a pasta dish. just replace the cooked potatoes with a veggie rotini or even orzo pasta.

olive my love potato salad

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup olive oil

3 tbsp dijon mustard

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

2 tsp caper brine (just straight out of a jar of capers)

1 tsp capers

1/3 cup (or so) spanish green sliced olives

1/3 cup (heaping) pitted, halved kalamata olives

28 ounces potatoes (i used ruby sensation, but you could also use a small red or gold – or mixed), chopped into bite-size pieces


1. put the cut up potatoes into a pot and cover them with water. add a generous pinch of salt and bring to a boil. cook until fork-tender (about 12-15 minutes).

2. while the potatoes are cooking, make the vinaigrette: put the first 7 ingredients into a jar and shake (or into a bowl and you can whisk them together).

3. drain the potatoes once they are done cooking and put them back into the pot. toss with the vinaigrette. (i started with about 1/4 cup of the dressing to begin with – dress. then taste. and add as much as you like. and you’ll have leftovers of the dressing for a salad tomorrow.)

*if you are able, toss the potatoes with the vinaigrette and then refrigerate overnight to let the potatoes really absorb the dressing.

4. if not, toss with the olives and pour into a serving dish and enjoy!