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Delicious Strawberry-Kiwi Spinach Dump Salad

There have been times when I was asked to bring a dish to share at a party, and I am running behind with no time to cook.  What to bring?  Strawberry Kiwi Spinach Dump Salad! 
Grab a large bowl and serving tongs, hit the grocery store on the way to your party, cut up your fruit once you get there, then dump it all in and enjoy!
As you can see in the photo above,  it uses Kashi Asiago Cheese crackers in place of croutons.  They soak up the dressing just enough and because they add a cheese taste, you can skip buying cheese.  This makes the salad much easier on the budget and some stomachs!  After the salad sits for awhile, the crackers get a bit soggy, but I’ve had people say that is the best part!
Strawberry Kiwi Spinach Dump Salad 
(a no recipe, recipe)
1 pkg spinach
slivered almonds
Kashi Asiago Cheese crackers
Kiwi, skinned & chopped
Strawberries, chopped
Newman’s Own Balsamic Vinaigrette
Put in a bowl, toss & enjoy!
I recently brought this to a family gathering at my sisters, and it was well received.  My dad was the official grill man of the day.  Why does everything grilled taste better when Dad grills it?

I totally forgot to take a photo of the finished salad, but you can see it back there behind my Fresh Lemon Pasta with Asparagus & Tomatoes.  Feel free to say hi to one of my favorite nephews, whom I promised someday would make the blog.  E–that day has come!  

Brunch/ GF, Vegan & Raw/ RECIPES

Strawberry Banana Raw Breakfast Oats

Chia oats is our go to snack and breakfast around here.  Full of fiber and protein, (13 grams of fiber & 11 grams of protein!) they are super healthy and super filling!  You can make them ahead of time and let them sit in the refrigerator for up to a day.

Start with mashing a banana.  Don’t like bananas?  Not sure about a substitute, as bananas are the base of the dish.  Maybe mashed mango or peaches?

Our usual chia oats calls for banana, peanut butter and a bit of maple syrup.  This time we skipped the peanut butter and added strawberries instead.  Yum!

Chia is a superfood that we eat everyday around here.  
A little bit about:
Navitas Naturals Chia Seeds Aztec Superfood, 16 Ounce Pouch
~the are jammed packed with protein and minerals and healthy fats and fiber
~they provide more plant based Omega 3’s than any other food, even FLAX
~they have 5 GRAMS of fiber PER TABLESPOON!
~they are flavorless and dissolve in juice, soups, stews, shakes etc..
~they are FILLING!

Here is a great post on the benefits of chia seeds and different ways to use them.

Back to the recipe, I don’t really measure.  I use 2 handfuls of oats.  It is a very forgiving recipe, no need to be exact. We have made chia oats so often that even my 9 year old knows how to make them.  

I use 2 palmfuls of chia.

One capful of vanilla.  So easy!

We eyeball the almond milk…

…then stir it all up.

This is how it should look right after stirring.  You want it a little runny.  As it sits, the chia seeds soften and swell and the oats soak up some of the milk.  

Let it sit in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes to soften the oats and thicken.  A little someone ate up the oats before I could take a final picture!  She added a bit of agave and they were gone before I knew it!

Strawberry Banana Raw Breakfast Oats

1 banana, mashed
4-5 strawberries, cut up
1 cup oats (or two handfuls)
2 tbls chia seeds (or 2 palmfuls)
1 tsp vanilla (or 1 capful)
1-1/2 cups milk (almond, coconut, dairy)
a drizzle of honey, agave nectar, or maple syrup
Mash banana.  Add strawberries, oats, seeds & vanilla.  Add milk.  Stir.  If too thick, add more milk, you want them slightly runny like picture above.  Let sit for 10-15 minutes in the refrigerator.  Before eating, drizzle with sweetener of choice.  Can be refrigerated up to a day.  
Homemade Gifts/ RECIPES/ Sides

Strawberry Freezer Jam

Tis the season of strawberries!  It’s the perfect time to make strawberry jam!

My girls and I went to the strawberry patch with some friends recently.  We came back with a TON of strawberries-they were only 99 cents a pound! We hulled them, pureed them, then froze the puree.  I love having a freezer full of strawberry puree, sitting there ready to be used in Strawberry Bread, Strawberry Smoothies, and yes, Strawberry Jam.

I have never made jam before, but now that I have, I don’t know if I will ever buy store made again!  It is so very easy to make your own, especially if you freeze it instead of can it.  You can make jam with just 3 ingredients:


It is just a matter of mashing your fruit, and stirring in the sugar and pectin. That’s it! (detailed recipe below)

If you read up on jam, you will find there are 2 versions out there.  One uses Sure-Jell Pectin, the other uses Ball Pectin.  With the Sure-Jell version, you have to cook it, and it uses 4 cups of sugar to 2 cups of strawberries.  The Ball version is no cook, uses 11/2 cups of sugar and 4 cups of strawberries.  I’ll give you one guess which one I chose.:)

I usually do not use refined white sugar when I make things here at home, but I have found that there are just a few food items that I am willing to compromise on!  Example-until I can find a Homemade Lemonade Recipe I like that does not use sugar (I’ve tried quite a few with honey and a couple with maple syrup), then by golly, I’m gonna use sugar!  Same with Jam.  I was up to my elbows in strawberries, and misplaced a recipe that I had found that used honey and grape juice instead of sugar, so white sugar it was.  (gasp-ha!)

Kimba, at A Soft Place To Land, did a GREAT post on Strawberry Jam.  She tried both brands of pectin and both recipes, just to see the difference between the two.  She ended up with 25 containers of jam in her freezer!  She is crazy awesome.

  I used the low sugar recipe, and it perfectly sweet.  Granted, our taste buds are now accustomed to food that is less sweet in my family due to the recipes I make, but  I really think it is plenty sweet for everyone, and I have had very positive feedback from those who I have given a jar of jam to. Kimba thought you would need fairly sweet strawberries, to begin with for the ball recipe, but ours were not super sweet and it still turned out plenty sweet.

Here is the Ball Recipe I used (the insert in the Ball Pectin box has these same instructions)


Ball No-Cook Strawberry Freezer Jam

1 pkg. Ball No Cook Pectin
11/2 cups of sugar
4 cups crushed strawberries (about 4 lbs or 2 quarts)

~Wash & hull strawberries.
~Use a potato masher to mash up the strawberries for a more chunky jam.  If you prefer less chunks, use a food processor or a hand blender.
~Add the sugar and pectin and stir.
~Ladle into containers, these can be any type of jar, or plastic containers with lids. (make sure to leave some room at the top for expansion when freezing)
~Let sit for 30 minutes.  Put into refrigerator or freezer.
~A jar will keep in the refrigerator for 3 weeks, and in the freezer for up to a year.

I love that I now know how easy this is.  I put mine in cute little jars and have already given many away to friends, family and new neighbors.  We use it over ice cream and put a spoonful or 2 in our oatmeal in the morning–mmm–Strawberry Cream Oatmeal.
I will make this even in the winter, using frozen fruit that I can hopefully find on sale!

Have you made freezer jam?
Do you have any favorite strawberry recipes for me?  Even if they use sugar, send them on through, most recipes that use sugar can be modified to use other forms of sweeteners, such as honey, or pure cane sugar.