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recipes

Feature, Food

BLONDON’S Summer Superfood Salad

June 30, 2014

At the risk of sounding a bit pathetic, one of the things I miss most about America is the extensive range of salads available no matter the season! Just try comparing your average salad menu in London to say the salad selection at The Cheesecake Factory and you will see what I’m talking about. I don’t usually like to mix sweet and savoury foods, but I recently constructed a fruit filled chicken summer salad based on one of my favourite American salads, Panera’s Strawberry Poppyseed and Chicken salad. It’s healthy, easy to prepare, credit card friendly, and is an ideal lunch or dinner for those warmer summer days when you want something light yet filling. It is so refreshing and healthy, you can’t help but love it. Here are step-by-step foolproof instructions on how to create my Summer Superfood Salad:

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Prep time: 30 minutes; serves 4

Summer Superfood Salad Ingredients:

– 2 cups of cooked boneless chicken breast

– 2 cups kale

– 1 cup watercress or lettuce of choice

– ½ cup crushed almonds

– 2 cups of grapes, halves

– 1 cup fresh blueberries

– ½ cup light or regular feta cheese

– 1 ripe avocado

– a pinch of chia seeds

– a pinch of sea salt

– juice of ½ a lemon

– a pinch of chilli flakes

 

Start with watercress or lettuce and two cups of kale. I lean towards watercress as I find it’s a nice balance paired with kale for a salad base.

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Next up, add two cups of washed halved grapes. Halving the grapes with a sharp knife or kitchen scissors is probably the most time consuming step of making this salad, but halving the grapes makes the salad extra juicy and is well worth the fuss!

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Pour in two cups of halved grapes on top of the base of the salad. If you’re trying to channel your inner domestic goddess, then neatly place the grapes in a corner of the salad – this step isn’t necessary whatsoever but will add to the final effect. You’ll see for yourself soon enough!

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Then add one cup of ripe blueberries adjacent to the grapes in your salad. It’s starting to look rather colourful, isn’t it?
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Now for a dose of heart healthy and natural fat carbs, add a half cup of crushed almonds to the salad. It should be pretty easy to find crushed or chopped almonds in a supermarket, but if all else fails then whizz whole almonds in a food processor briefly or crush them with a rolling pin whilst inside a sealed bag for the ‘crushed’ almond effect.

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Add the half cup of crushed almonds to the other corner of the salad.

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Slice up half a cup of feta cheese into neat small blocks. I was trying to be extra healthy due to the fact that bikini season is on my doorstep, so I opted for light feta cheese.

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Toss the feta cheese blocks next to the crushed almonds in the salad.

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Avocados are one of my favourite fruits. They are filled with antioxidants, a variety of vitamins and are a good source of fiber. I used an avocado in this salad as a creamy and healthier alternative to dressing. Make sure the avocado is ripe otherwise it will make mushing it up much more challenging.

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Cut up the avocado into small pieces in a mixing bowl – watch your fingers as avocados can be slippery!

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Add a dash of sea salt for extra flavour…

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…followed by a pinch of chilli flakes for extra kick in your salad. As you can see, I LOVE chilli and tend to go overboard in the spice department. Add as much or as little as you wish.

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Then cut a lemon in half and squeeze the lemon juice onto the avocado and spice salad dressing mixture…

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…it should be looking like this:

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Using a small fork, stir and mush the avocado mixture as best as you can, so it almost resembles a more runny version of guacamole.

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Add this creamy mixture to the centre of your summer superfood salad, which should be channeling the colours of the rainbow by now.

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I have joined the chia seed fan club recently and can’t help but sprinkle them on vegetables, stir fries and salads as much as possible. Personally, I find chia seeds to be rather tasteless , but they give you energy, add a nice crunchy texture, and are a great source of antioxidants and omega-3.

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Sprinkle a small layer of chia seeds on top of the salad.

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Last but not least, add two cups of cooked chicken to the salad. I prefer to use a rotisserie chicken for extra flavour and to save the carcass to make home-made broth, but feel free to use your cooked chicken of choice for the salad.

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This eye-catching salad is great for sharing. If you’re having people over then I recommend placing one cup of chicken on each side of the salad, so you can let guests serve themselves to whichever parts of the salad tickles their fancy. Be warned, this dish is a crowd pleaser and will make your friends think you can cook!

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Even though this salad always looks far more fancy when you arrange it in the bowl by ingredient (as pictured), I find it tastes best when it’s all mixed up together, so I typically ruin my picture perfect salad within minutes of creation. If you’re prepping this salad for your next meal, remember that it also tastes great chilled.Whether you’re entertaining on a budget or just want a quick and tasty health-conscious dish this summer, this superfood salad is always a hit. Happy summer salad-ing!

 

Food

Healthy Cookie Dough Recipe, Really

March 27, 2014
I’m currently training for the London marathon (3 weeks to go, gulp)! I like to think that marathon training is a period when you really can eat whatever you want without feeling an ounce of guilt. At times like this, I turn to cookie dough, my favourite sweet treat of all time. I learned the hard way that London doesn’t seem to understand the concept of eating raw cookie dough, making it nearly impossible to find this sinfully delicious goodness on store shelves. I took matters into my own hands and tried to make various versions of this raw treat, but the tastiest recipe I discovered ended up being the healthiest one. You won’t believe how much this health conscious cookie dough tastes like the real thing. I actually now prefer this version to the real deal. Here is what you will need to whip up this tasty delight:
Serving size: one pot of ridiculously healthy cookie dough 
Preparation time: 20 mins
1 can chick peas/garbanzo beans
1/2 cup almond butter
4 tablespoons of oats
4 tablespoons agave nectar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda  (aka bicarbonate of soda in UK)
1 cup dark chocolate chips 
Start by thoroughly rinsing then straining the can of chick peas, followed by placing them in a mixing bowl.
Now it’s time to add 1/2 cup of almond butter to the base of your dough. It’s not the most attractive looking condiment, but it tastes incredible and is so much healthier for you than peanut butter – your waistline will thank you!
I searched everywhere for baking soda in London and was starting to despair when I couldn’t even find it in Whole Foods (my last/most expensive resort!). Little did I know bicarbonate of soda is exactly the same as baking soda and isn’t too difficult to source. Once you find this kitchen staple, add 1/4 a teaspoon on top of your mixture.
Next up, pour a measured out 1/4 teaspoon of salt into the bowl.
Followed by a cup of dark chocolate chips (the good stuff!).
To add a bit of substance to your dough, pour 4 tablespoons of oats (of your choice) on top.
Then add 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract…

…followed by 4 tablespoons of agave nectar.

This is what your final mixture should look like before you begin mixing. Trust me, it will taste amazing at the end!
Grab a big spoon and thoroughly mix your healthy cookie dough until all the oats have soaked up the agave and vanilla. The entire mixture will start to turn a darker brown in colour.
This is what your finalised dough should look like – hope you’re hungry!
Prepare yourself to take a bite out of something truly healthy and delicious – this cookie dough is oh so good and it lasts for ages, so you can keep it in a small container for up to 2 weeks if you only want a bite. I like to reward myself post training run with a big spoonful or three.
Hope you love this yummy recipe as much as I do – enjoy this sweet pick me up with friends, family, or all to yourself. If you’ve got a healthy recipe I need to try, then please tweet me and let me know – happy healthy grazing!