Mauve Cabinets and a Bottle of Red

My two passions–Food and books

Peanut Sesame Dressing January 6, 2013

Filed under: Asian,Quick and Easy,Salad,sauce,Vegetarian — hmills96 @ 7:46 pm

Let’s face it, I have been doing hell to my body for the past year. I’ve hardly cooked (as evidenced by the lack of posts on this blog), I’ve drank a ton, and I’ve rarely exercised. Add a lot of stress and a job where I sit in a cubicle for 8 hours a day, and the results are not pretty. It doesn’t help that buying fast food is so much cheaper than buying all the ingredients needed to make a healthy, well-balanced meal. But, I guess you get what you pay for.

Now I have no more excuse. I HAVE to get back in shape. Richard and I both agree we need to lose weight. Neither of us feel well most of the time, and there is so much going on in the next year that we need to have energy for. I went on a mega grocery trip yesterday and spent all day today prepping for meals. Man it felt good to really get back into the kitchen and letting my creative juices flow.

One of the things I prepped was this dressing. It’s maybe not the healthiest dressing out there, with the peanut butter and oil, but it’s better than what I HAVE been eating for lunch. I also cut up an apple and bell pepper, and roasted a chicken tonight, so I have plenty of toppings for the mixed greens I bought. It’s a step in the right direction, definitely.

This dressing isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s very strong, but also very delicious. You don’t need a lot–the flavor goes a long way. Oh! I even put some in a baggie with sliced chicken breast for stir-fry on another night. Yum!

Peanut Sesame Dressing
Adapted from Cooking Light, May 2009

3 Tbsp Water
1 Tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
2 Tbsp Peanut Butter (I used chunky)
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp Sriracha
1 tsp Sesame Oil
2 Tbsp White Wine (I used flat champagne leftover from New Years.)

In a blender, mix ingredients until well combined to your taste. Add more of something if it needs it. I played around with it for awhile, even tripled the recipe so I could use it as a marinade.


Bluffton Dressing June 12, 2012

Filed under: garlic,Quick and Easy,Salad — hmills96 @ 5:09 pm

I have been craving salad like CRAZY lately. Which is weird because I am not a salad eater at all. No matter how much salad I ate, I couldn’t stop craving it.

Then I realized, it wasn’t the salad I was craving. It was this dressing.

Back home, everyone knows some version of this. Some call it Mickey’s, some call it Bohemian Bean. To me, it’s just Bluffton dressing. Whatever you call it, make it. It’s soooo good. It’s in no way light or fat free, but it is very flavorful so a little goes a long way. This also makes a lot of dressing, but if stored in an airtight container, it’ll last a couple of weeks in the fridge.

Bluffton Dressing
From the Bohemian Bean and/or Mickey’s Restaurant

3 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1 cup veggie oil
1 cup olive oil
4 oz cup feta

In a blender, pulse together first 4 ingredients.

With blender on low, drizzle in oils in a steady stream.

Add feta and blend on high for 30 seconds.

Store in airtight container, and eat on EVERYTHING.


Pasta Salad with Cantelope Dressing May 22, 2011

Filed under: Cookout/Potluck,Fruit,My Recipes,pasta,Quick and Easy,Salad — hmills96 @ 6:13 pm

One of the biggest challenges of going back to being single is learning how to budget groceries for one person. It might seem really simple–just buy less food! But for a cook who is used to cooking for others, it’s really hard! I go to the grocery store and get lost in the produce section, grabbing everything that looks good. It’s just really a bad way to do things. I’ve tried making meal plans, lists, but I can’t help it. I always buy way too much, and spend way more than I should.

Enter Angel Food Ministries. Every month there are a few different options on boxes you can buy, each ranging within $25-50. You order online by a certain date, then go pick it up at a local church. It was so easy, and the food is pretty good quality. I spent $60 and got at least $150 worth of groceries. Not only is it discounted food, it’ll keep me from buying everything in the store and wasting it all.

One of the boxes I got was a produce box. It had a melon, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, and a few other things, even a whole pineapple! I’ll have to learn how to break that down. It is super hot and muggy today, and a salad was just the thing to cool me off. This recipe needs some tweaking–I wish I would have had some mint, or dill. But overall, really good.

Pasta Salad with Cantelope Dressing
Original Recipe

1 cantelope, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 cucumber, cut into 1/2 cubes
1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced
Olive oil
Red Wine Vinegar
Salt & Pepper
Lime Juice
1 chicken breast, roasted in lemon juice, cubed

Set aside 1 cup of melon aside. In a food processor, puree the rest of the melon and half of the cucumber until smooth. Add vinegar and lime juice. Salt and pepper to taste. Blend. Slowly add olive oil  while food processor is on until you get your desired consistency.

Mix together cooked bowtie pasta (chilled), melon, cucumbers, tomatoes and dressing. Serve cold.


Tuna Salad February 9, 2011

Filed under: Cookout/Potluck,Fish,Quick and Easy,Salad,Sandwiches,Seafood — hmills96 @ 11:57 am

I posted the other night on Facebook that I had never had tuna salad before. My friends couldn’t believe that I had never tried it! It’s such a popular thing around here, where mayo-based salads are king at graduation parties and funerals.

I’ve only just recently started to enjoy mayo salads, and usually, I have to make it myself with the olive oil mayo. The original stuff is just way to…Mayoie. Plus, tuna was not something my mom ever kept around the house or cooked with. But, I’m on the lookout for really cheap, filling meals, and tuna is definitely inexpensive.

Overall, I enjoyed this. Simple, but good. It made enough for 4 sandwiches.

Tuna Salad
Adapted from

12 oz can of tuna
3 Tbsp olive oil mayo
3 Tbsp sweet pickle relish
1/8 tsp curry powder
1/8 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Salt & pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate.

Easy enough? Gotta love those kinds of recipes!


Susan’s Caesar Salad Dressing June 18, 2010

Filed under: Quick and Easy,Salad — hmills96 @ 8:22 pm
Tags: , ,

I. Am. EXHAUSTED! I started my new job yesterday! I really like it so far, but it is definitely challenging. There is so much new stuff to learn, I am doing something completely different from what I have done before. The biggest hurdle I am facing though is my frustration with myself. I had been at my old job for 3 years. I knew all the customers, I knew all the procedures and programs. I knew the answers to the questions, or if not, at least where to find the answers or who to go to. Now I’m flying blind. I’m having to start all over. I feel like I should be that top dog even when I know I’m just a baby. Luckily I have a very patient and understanding trainer.  I’ll get there, it will just take time and practice.

J has been running with an Army buddy of his who also lives here in town (their unit is an hour and a half away, and so are most of their cohorts). Since J had an early schedule today, they were going out this evening. I decided I would cook dinner for the two of them when they got back. While I was driving home, I thought about what I had in the pantry, and decided on Caesar salad, roasted asparagus, and shrimp scampi. The meal actually flowed really well, as all of the dishes contained a lot of the same ingredients, without tasting at all the same. They just meshed really well.

I’m going to start with the salad tonight. This is by far my favorite dressing to make. I discovered it two years ago, long before I had a blog. My good friend SGCC created this wonder, and while I decreased the garlic in it just a tad (seriously, 6-9 cloves? Even I, the garlic queen, thinks that’s a bit nuts), the recipe is pretty much hers. She even includes two whole tablespoons of my favorite ingredient, Worcestershire! Good Girl. Also, don’t let the anchovies in this scare you away. I had never had them in anything before this. I still have never had them in anything else. But this dressing is amazing, and I would never make it with out the fish.

Susan’s Caesar Salad Dressing

Adapted from Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy

2 egg yolks
4-6 cloves garlic, whole
2 Tbsp Worcester sauce
4-6 drops Tabasco sauce
1 can anchovies in olive oil
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
Salt & pepper
1 cup good EVOO
2 cups freshly grated Parmesan (none of that stuff out of the green can)

In a blender, pulse together everything except the oil and cheese until smooth. Slowly drizzle oil while blending (I use a funnel through the whole in the top of the lid. Be careful though, it can be messy.) until emulsified. Stir in cheese.


Asparagus and Cannellini Bean Salad June 9, 2010

Ever have one of those days when you feel completely uninspired? Yeah, that’s me, sitting here, trying to write this post. Normally I have a fun  story to go along with the recipe but I’m sorry, it’s been a crazy busy day and my brain says no to creativity apparently.

So instead, I’ll leave you with the recipe I promised. Please forgive my lameness.

This is the salad I served last night with the roast thighs. It was one I wanted to test for my sister, I thought it would make an easy, fulfilling meal that would give her some much-needed protein. It was great warm, and would be delicious cold as well. I think roasting the asparagus would give it more flavor, just sprinkle it with olive oil and salt and pop it in the oven, instead of boiling it.

Not exactly an easy dish to photograph.

Asparagus and Cannellini Bean Salad
Adapted from Endless Simmer

1 Bunch asparagus
1 can cannellini beans
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp whole grain mustard
Olive Oil
White Wine Vinegar
Salt & Pepper
Fresh Herbs
Feta or Goat Cheese

Boil asparagus for 2 minutes in salted water. Shock in ice water, drain. Cut into small pieces.

Dump water out of pot. Put back on heat. Add oil and drop asparagus back in. Cook only a minute or two, so it doesn’t get soggy.  Add beans and garlic.

In bowl, mix mustard, oil, vinegar, salt, pepper & herbs. Mix in asparagus & beans, add cheese.


Spicy Mango Slaw May 4, 2010

Filed under: Cookout/Potluck,Fruit,Quick and Easy,Salad,Side Dish,Spring/Summer — hmills96 @ 6:25 pm
Tags: ,

J. and I were theorizing the other day. Why would God have created such an impossible fruit as the mango? It is soooooooooo delicious–IF you can get it into edible form. Most fruit has a round pit, or tiny seeds–peaches, pears, apples–all very easy to slice. Pineapple takes some muscle, but it’s not a puzzle. But mangoes–the pit is OBLONG. I mean COME ON!

Then, I had a revelation. Mangoes must have been the forbidden fruit on the Tree of Knowledge in Eden. Think about it. God did not mean this fruit to be eaten. OBviously. And…AND–It grows in hot climates. Eden is believed to have been between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in the Fertile Crescent (the Middle East).

Anyway, they are delicious. But cutting them up is next to impossible. Every year I buy a few when they are in season at the market, and every year I say, “Never Again!” I’m pretty sure the only “easy” way to eat them is standing over your kitchen sink in your underwear. Take the peel off and just suck the fruit off the pit.

Or make this slaw–but it will require you to cut the fruit. It’s pretty worth it though. Especially when you have yummy pork tacos to go along with it. Which you will get the recipe for tomorrow, I promise.

Look at all the mangoey goodness!

Spicy Mango Slaw

Adapted from Cooking Light

1/2 head cabbage, shredded
2 green onions, minced
Juice of 2 limes
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (since it’s a salad, go for the good stuff!)
2 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
2 fresh mangoes, sliced

Combine ingredients in a large bowl; Toss.