Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring Roll Salad

I don't know if it's because I am craving spring, or if it's because I am craving rolls, but I definitely can't get enough spring rolls. They are so simple, so versatile, and so tasty. Whenever my husband leaves town, I insist his return include spring rolls. He doesn't mind. We talked about this phenomenon at length, while I shoveled spring rolls into my mouth of coarse, and peanut sauce dripped down my chin.  He doesn't understand. They are so simple he says. Why of all things, do you love spring rolls? It's just rice noodles and some herbs, and a few veggies. That's it. It's like a salad. He is brilliant! If you deconstruct a spring roll, it IS like a salad....with rice noodles, and some herbs, and a few veggies.....brilliant I say!

So the whole construction of a spring roll is inevitably the reason why I don't make them at home. They become fussy. I'm not a huge fan of fussy right now. Maybe when I have more free time, like in 40 years. Anyway, my brilliant husband had me thinking about deconstructed spring rolls for quite some time. Way more versatile. I had to make one for lunch. One giant spring roll salad. It brought me so much joy and sunshine, words cannot describe. My daughter thought it needed ranch dressing.

I made a simple peanut sauce/dressing to dress the bowl of spring roll salad goodness. What are spring rolls without peanut dipping sauce? The sauce whirled up quickly in the food processor, and the salad can be assembled as fast as you can chop veggies! All and all, it was a great day with spring roll salad! Use the freshest produce you can get your hands on. I had on hand a slew of mixed greens, cilantro, avocado, sweet peppers, carrots and beets. BEETS! Yes, I love beets. They were tasty, grated raw, into the salad. Try it, I dare you.


1 package rice noodles ( I used Annie Chun's brown rice pad thai noodles. They are the sturdiest when it comes to tossing the noodles around in a salad. Thin rice noodles would work too.)

A few large handfuls of mixed greens, about 6 oz., chopped (romaine and cabbage add a nice crunch, while spring mixes or baby kale add more flavor)

A variety of veggies, peeled, chopped, or grated

Cook the noodles according to the package. It is usually something like...bring water to a boil, add noodles, turn off heat, and drain after 5 minutes. Easy. Rinse the rice noodles under cold water immediately. Drain very thoroughly. Toss with a few splashes of rice vinegar.

In a large bowl, toss the noodles and the greens. Divide among 4 bowls. Garnish each bowl with a variety of prepped veggies. 

Douse with as much or as little peanut dressing as your heart desires.


1/2 cup Peanut Butter
1/2 cup Coconut Milk
1/4 cup water
2 Tbls Tamari
2 Tbls Rice Vinegar
1 Tbls Lime juice
1 Tbls Maple Syrup
1 Tbls Fresh Ginger, grated
Chili Flakes to taste

Whirl the above ingredients together in a food processor or blender. Apply liberally to your spring roll salad.
Enjoy! Belly Up!!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


My daughter turned 6 last month. SIX! I think of all of the adventures we've had....and she's 6! This year to celebrate, my daughter requested ponies and chocolate cake. Luckily, my awesome neighbors supplied the ponies. I just had to make chocolate cake.

Chocolate cake? You might be thinking that there are about one thousand chocolate cake recipes out there, and it's true, there are a whole bunch. Some are fudgy, some are dry, and some may contain peculiar ingredients that leave you wondering. I love to try new recipes, but this is my go to chocolate cake recipe. It turns out perfect every time! It's moist, chocolaty, and bakes well in any form, be it cupcakes, cake layers, or a big ol' pan of cake.


2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tablespoon vanilla
2/3 cup canola oil
2 tsp white vinegar
2 cups cold water, or cold coffee

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cupcake pans with paper liners and set aside.

In a large bowl, shift together the dry ingredients.

In a separate medium sized bowl, whisk together the oil, water or coffee, vanilla and vinegar.

Slowly whisk the wet ingredients into the dry, being careful not to over mix. The mixture will be wet, but that's ok. That's how it's supposed to be!

Pour the batter into the prepared muffin cups until about 2/3 full. Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve with little girls and ponies, or family and friends. Belly up!!