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PCC’s Perfect Protein Salad – Vegan and Delicious

We have been having our home remodeled which has been a massive pain.  Now that it has been completed I am thrilled with the end result, however the process was painful.  Since my ability to cook was sidelined I searched for delicious and healthy options to curb my hunger, which is how I stumbled across a salad at my local PCC store called, the Perfect Protein Salad.  I instantly became addicted and wanted to share my version, which tastes extremely similar to PCC’s Perfect Protein Salad.

One of my favorite parts of cooking is the ability to customize recipes.  In this case the recipe calls for lemon, dill and garlic.  Since I am crazy about these three flavors I upped the amounts to make them more pronounced.   The base for this salad is garbanzo beans and spelt berries which provide both a creamy texture and a chewy texture.  Since I am huge on texture the crunch of numerous veggies, including cucumbers, celery, peppers and onions are also a complete bonus.

In a nutshell, this has become one of my go to salads.  I love enjoying it for a quick lunch, enjoying it at dinner with a grilled piece of chicken or fish and it also makes a great salad to take to a friends house.  In the event you have someone in your life that is vegan, this version is made with vegan mayonnaise* which is an added bonus.   I hope that if you live in the Northwest you stop by PCC and try their Perfect Protein Salad or make it at home for yourself.

Perfect Protein Salad (inspired by PCC’s Perfect Protein Salad)
(serves 2 for a main dish or 4 as a side dish)

1 – 15 ounce can of Garbanzo Beans
2 stalks cucumber, diced
1 cup cooked spelt berries
1/3 c. Vegenaise
2 carrots, diced
1/4 c. green onion, thinly sliced
2 T. red onion, small dice
3 T. lemon juice
3 T. italian parsley, thinly sliced
1 T. cider vinegar
1 clove garlic
2 T. fresh dill weed or 1 t. dried dill weed
2 T. fresh basil or 1 t. dried basil
salt & pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients.  Put in refrigerator and let flavors meld together for a couple of hours if possible.  More often than not I am rushed and not able to do this, but if you can, definitely do this.  This salad is very easy to make and lasts for a day or two in the fridge so you can make it ahead and enjoy leftovers later.

* Side note, vegenaise tastes great! If you have never tried it, I would recommend doing so. I was extremely hesitant at first, but now I really love it.)

PCC's Perfect Protein Salad Recipe

Barefoot Contessa’s Viennese Iced Coffee

Let me start by saying that I love coffee. I hate mornings but what keeps me sane is that warm cup of slightly sweet (I add creamer – International Delights Coldstone Creamer to be exact) and warm cup of heaven. I was watching Barefoot Contessa on the Food network one morning and she made this crazy, yummy desert called Viennese Iced Coffee and I knew I had to make it.

Ina Garten made this for dessert using decaf coffee, but I have also been known to enjoy this crazy good cup of heaven mid-day as well. I love  her recipe as is, but I love to make a few fun additions as well.

Black Bean Chicken Chili with Tomatillo Salsa & Crema

Whew!  That is one long title for a recipe!  However, I will tell you that all elements are so amazingly delicious and really make the dish go from really good to crazy good so bear with me on this. I have previously blogged about how I love a one pot meal and one of the main reasons I love meals like this is because I can re-heat them and often times these one-pot wonders actually taste better when they are served reheated.  This chili recipe definitely falls into that category.

The Black Bean & Chicken Chili I came up with here is super simple and utilizes many pantry and refrigerator staples that I generally keep on hand.  I pureed the chili veggies to ensure that my sons would eat the chili and I actually preferred the smoother consistency as well.  I decided to add tomatillo salsa for a refreshing tang and I have to be honest, I absolutely love the color of tomatillo salsa.  I added an apple on a whim and did I fell in love.  The apple adds a refreshing element that really elevated the salsa adding an additional level of complexity.   The addition of crema just makes the whole dish come together.  Cool and creamy, the crema balances the dish perfectly.
I also have to add that my hubby loved this dish, which always makes me happy!  I absolutely hate it when I cook a meal and I can tell that nobody likes it.  Surely I am not alone in that arena.  🙂  Sooooo, without further ado here is the recipe. I hope you like it as much as my family enjoyed it.

Cover-Up Craze

I hate going on vacation only to find that I didn’t pack enough of something or hate what I packed.  On a recent trip to Hawaii I found that not only did I not pack enough bathing suit coverups, but the ones that I did pack – I hated.  While on vacation I am very zen so I didn’t stress and made what I had work, however now that I am home, I am on a cover-up mission.

I have a couple of tips regarding purchasing cover-ups that I wanted to share with you.  First, I do not like spending a lot of money on these pieces.  Generally I am swimming, wet and drenched in sunscreen.  These items are used, abused, thrown on the ground, the beach – you get the idea.  Also, when purchasing cover-ups I look under casual dresses.   The second thing I wanted to touch on is to keep an eye open for the fabric.  I love terry coverups as they mimic wearing a towel and are very absorbent.  I have been hard pressed to find any cute terry coverups recently though so if you find any cute ones, by all means, please share.

My Favorite Pink Nail Polishes

I love the look of a perfectly manicured nail.  The ironic thing is that in the past I have rarely take the time to do my nails.  It is a horrible habit and one that I am embarrassed to admit.  Between doing extremely mundane household chores, washing my hands constantly and the fact that I just tend to be very hard on my nails I have found that the only thing worse than unpainted nails is chipping nail polish.

I have made a resolution to either have a manicure more frequently or to take the time to give my own nails a mini manicure of their own.  With the whole nail polish chipping problem I do have one work around that seems to work for me.  Enter the nude, baby pink nail polish.  I love the subtle, girliness that these colors provide as well as a less noticeable look when my nails actually do begin to chip.