Candied Hazelnut Kale Apple Bacon Salad

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This delicious Candied Hazelnut Kale Apple Bacon Salad is bursting with flavor and the perfect addition to any dinner, including Thanksgiving.
This delicious Candied Hazelnut Kale Apple Bacon Salad is bursting with flavor and the perfect addition to any dinner, including Thanksgiving.

I can honestly tell you that this is the most delicious salad I’ve had in a very long time. It has everything which equals an explosion of flavors and textures that you will love. You’ll taste bitter and sweet, crunchy and juicy, salty and spicy, chewy and soft. It even keeps well overnight. I tossed the kale and apple in the dressing and stored the leftovers in the refrigerator. I polished off what was left yesterday after a full day in the refrigerator and it tasted just as good, if not better, than the night I made it!

This delicious Candied Hazelnut Kale Apple Bacon Salad is bursting with flavor and the perfect addition to any dinner, including Thanksgiving.

In addition to the bacon, the oh-so-wonderful bacon, I made a batch of candied hazelnuts. I needed to create a whole separate post dedicated to these hazelnuts because they were so tasty.

This delicious Candied Hazelnut Kale Apple Bacon Salad is bursting with flavor and the perfect addition to any dinner, including Thanksgiving.

I picked up this gorgeous dark green kale and these juicy tart granny smith apples at the farmers market this past weekend. Aren’t they just beautiful?

This delicious Candied Hazelnut Kale Apple Bacon Salad is bursting with flavor and the perfect addition to any dinner, including Thanksgiving.

I wanted to cut matchsticks for the apples because those long skinny pieces are easy to stab with a fork and they really absorb the dressing.

This delicious Candied Hazelnut Kale Apple Bacon Salad is bursting with flavor and the perfect addition to any dinner, including Thanksgiving.

Don’t you think a salad like this would impress anyone at the dinner table?

This delicious Candied Hazelnut Kale Apple Bacon Salad is bursting with flavor and the perfect addition to any dinner, including Thanksgiving.

This was definitely one of those recipes that I loved and will make over and over again in the future.

This delicious Candied Hazelnut Kale Apple Bacon Salad is bursting with flavor and the perfect addition to any dinner, including Thanksgiving.

Who loves to watch bacon cook? I do! I do! I made the VIDEO below just for you. Click play and try to imagine the glorious smell!

 

4.7 from 3 reviews
Candied Hazelnut Kale Apple Bacon Salad
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This delicious Candied Hazelnut Kale Apple Bacon Salad is bursting with flavor and the perfect addition to any dinner, including Thanksgiving.
Author:
Yields: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 16 ounces thickly sliced bacon, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cooked bacon fat
  • 1/4 cup white wine (or white balsamic) vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons caper brine (from a jar of capers)
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, cut into matchsticks
  • One 8-ounce bunch kale—stems discarded, leaves finely shredded
  • 3 tablespoons snipped chives
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Place hazelnuts in an oven safe dish and roast for 20 minutes. Transfer to a towel and rub away as many skins as you can. In a bowl, cover the hazelnuts with water. Transfer to a sieve and shake out the water. In another bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar, cayenne, cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Add the hazelnuts and toss. Transfer to a sieve to shake off the excess coating. Arrange the hazelnuts on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the sugar is lightly caramelized and the hazelnuts are golden.
  3. Cut the bacon into small pieces and cook until crisp in a skillet. Transfer to paper towel lined plate to drain and discard all but the last remaining tablespoon of bacon grease. Whisk the vinegar, olive oil, caper brine, and maple syrup into the bottom of the bacon skillet and set dressing aside.
  4. In a large bowl, toss apples, kale, and chives with salad dressing. Mound the salad on plates and top with candied hazelnuts and bacon pieces.

This delicious Candied Hazelnut Kale Apple Bacon Salad is bursting with flavor and the perfect addition to any dinner, including Thanksgiving.
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Winter Minestrone

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Homemade Winter Minestrone is a healthy and hearty winter soup full of cold weather favorites like kale, squash, beans, bacon, pasta, and savory beef broth.

Winter Minestrone| Self Proclaimed Foodie

This is one of my favorite soups. In my opinion, soup is best enjoyed during the cold winter months. A lot of people ask how I can stand the rainy winter months here in Portland. This is how I can handle the dark skies and lack of vitamin D: First, the holidays get me all the way through the beginning of the year. Not only am I usually to busy with all the holidays bring, but I just love everything about Halloween all the way through New Years. I’m talking about FFF: the food, the festivities, and family. Then, once the crocus start breaking through the ground in mid February, I have hope that Spring will soon be here and that means endless colorful bulbs, beautiful flowering trees, allergy attacks, and longer days. Yes, by spring time I welcome the allergies because that at least means something is once again growing. The most difficult time of year, however, is from January 2 until those crocus start blooming. The weather is cold, the sky is grey, the ground is always wet, and I’m as pale as a ghost. Enter: warm and welcoming Winter Minestrone soup. This soup has everything you could possibly want in a cold weather hearty soup and it is so freaking delicious, especially if you make it with your own homemade roasted beef broth. And being the foodie that I am, I actually had every single ingredient on hand when I wanted to make this soup without having to make a separate trip to the store. Score!

Winter Minestrone| Self Proclaimed Foodie

Winter Minestrone
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Homemade Winter Minestrone is a healthy and hearty winter soup full of cold weather favorites like kale, squash, beans, bacon, pasta, and savory beef brot
Author:
Recipe type: main dish, soup
Yields: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces bacon ends and pieces
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped small
  • 3 medium sized carrots, peeled and chopped small
  • 2 medium celery stalks with leaves, chopped small
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups beef stock (homemade beef stock is far and away the best)
  • 1 small winter squash (I used carnival) (about 1 1/2 cups) *
  • 2 cups kale, cut into small pieces
  • 1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 parmesan rind
  • 14 ounce can canellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup tiny uncooked pasta
  • salt and pepper, as desired
  • additional grated parmesan for serving
Instructions
  1. In a heavy bottom stockpot over medium high heat, cook the bacon pieces until crispy. Remove all but about 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add onions, carrots and celery and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add beef stock, squash, kale, rosemary, bay leaf, parmesan rind, as well as 2 cups of water to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low so that soup remains at a mellow simmer. Cook for 30-60 minutes.
  3. Remove parmesan rind, bay leaf and rosemary sprig. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Prior to serving, add beans and pasta and continue cooking until pasta is al dente, about 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can add the beans but cook the pasta separately, adding cooked pasta to individual servings. If not consuming all of the soup in one meal, do not add pasta until ready to serve.
  5. Serve with a crispy hot bread and top with freshly grated parmesan.
Notes
* Its okay to use frozen cubed squash. If using fresh, roast in 350 degree F oven for about 30 minutes so that its slightly tender and easy to peel, then cut into small cubes.

 

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Stuffed Acorn Squash

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This Stuffed Acorn Squash is full of your favorite Fall and Thanksgiving favorites for a perfect side dish or healthy lunch.

Stuffed Acorn Squash | Self Proclaimed Foodie

Allow me to breakdown why I loved this stuff squash:

1. Pork + sage = yum

2. Pork + squash = yum

3. Pork + apple = yum

4. Lots of Fall foods in one pretty little package = yum

5. A weeks worth of lunches = awesome

A weeks worth of lunches?  What?  Well, my convert-foodie husband isn’t a fan of stuffed squash.  He be crazy.  This stuff was GOOD.  But, since he doesn’t like it, I got the honor of eating this meal for lunch four days in a row.  Sure I could have frozen them, but my freezer is overflowing with food as it is and I was thankful to have home cooked food that was already made at my disposal. Plus, I can always justify a cookie after a healthy lunch.  That’s what I call a win-win.

 

Stuffed Acorn Squash | Self Proclaimed Foodie

I’ve made a few things this fall with winter squash like a squash cake, a frittata, and risotto (and I still have one more coming!).  This was my first attempt at stuffed squash and I was very pleased.  I thought I had ruined it when I put the entire bunch of kale in, but once you finish it off in the oven, that kale shrinks down to a respectable level and plays nicely with it’s other ingredient friends.  The diced apple takes this dish to a whole new level.  If you don’t detest squash like my husband does, this recipe is for you.

Stuffed Acorn Squash | Self Proclaimed Foodie

Stuffed Acorn Squash
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This Stuffed Acorn Squash is full of your favorite Fall and Thanksgiving favorites for a perfect side dish or healthy lunch.
Author:
Recipe type: side dish
Yields: 4+ servings
Ingredients
  • 2 acorn squashes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 3 large sage leaves, sliced into thin ribbons
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 2 medium celery stalks
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked wild rice
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed, diced
  • 1 honeycrisp apple, diced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Slice squashes in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Rub the flesh with olive oil and place squash halves cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven until slightly tender, about 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, brown ground pork with sage.
  3. Pulse carrots, celery, onion, and garlic in food processor until you have an even dice (or you can do this by hand). I prefer my veggies to be as small as the rice, so I just use the food processor. Add to the pork while its cooking. Stir to combine and continue cooking until the vegetables are tender and the pork is brown and crumbly.
  4. Add white wine to hot pan and scrape the bottom to deglaze. Allow to cook for 1-2 minutes until wine reduces. Remove from heat.
  5. Stir in wild rice, kale, apple, and salt. Taste mixture and add more salt as desired. Don't worry - the kale is a bit overpowering raw but once cooked it blends in perfectly.
  6. Divide the mixture into 4 equal portions and mound into acorn squash cavities. Use hands or back of large spoon to make a compact mound.
  7. Place stuffed squashes in the 400 degree F oven and cook for another 20-30 minutes until the tops have browned and the squash is fork tender.
  8. Serve as a side dish or alone as a meal.

 

This Stuffed Acorn Squash is full of your favorite Fall and Thanksgiving favorites for a perfect side dish or healthy lunch.
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Blueberry Avocado Smoothie

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You can’t get much healthier than this creamy Blueberry Avocado Smoothie. Its packed with super foods, filling enough to call a meal, and tastes delicious!

Blueberry Avocado Smoothie

 

Avocado in a smoothie.  Say what?  Maybe its a common thing and I just don’t know it.  Maybe its not very common at all and you think I’m crazy for putting it in my smoothie.  Well, let me tell you this: avocado in a smoothie is YUM.

I love smoothies and I consume them often.  I think my Blendtec tally number is 700+ now (Did you know it keeps track of how many times you use it?  I’m full of interesting tidbits, eh?).  Despite the fact that I make smoothies frequently, I had never put an avocado in it until recently.  I was visiting my dad in Southern California where, during the summer months, you can get like 20 avocados for a buck.  I exaggerate, but only slightly.  They’re pretty cheap compared to the $1 each price they cost in Oregon.  Anyway, my dad was making a smoothie and he threw in a ripe avocado and a small handful of walnuts.  I didn’t drink my portion until it had been sitting in the frig for a couple hours.  I think smoothies rapidly decline in taste and texture after they’re blended and should pretty much be consumed right away, but for whatever reason I waited that morning.  I tell you this because by the time I drank it, hours after it had been blended, it was still creamy and delicious and well blended.  The avocado adds the most delicious creamy base to your smoothie that once you try it, you’ll have a hard time not using one again.  If you’re like me and live in a part of the country where avocados aren’t cheap, now you know what to do with the one sitting in your frig that’s just a wee bit too ripe to eat because you forgot to eat it.

For this particular smoothie, I paired it with kale (I always throw in a dark leafy green), blueberries for flavor, grapes for sweetness, walnuts for a bit of chew and lasting fullness, and coconut water for a flavorful liquid.

Blueberry Avocado Kale Smoothie
 
Prep time
Total time
 
You can't get much healthier than this creamy Blueberry Avocado Smoothie. Its packed with super foods, filling enough to call a meal, and tastes delicious!
Author:
Recipe type: smoothie
Yields: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 cups loosely packed kale
  • 1 cup frozen grapes
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 11 ounce (single serving) container coconut water
  • 1/2 avocado, skinned and pitted
  • small handful walnuts
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to high power blender, ensuring that the blade is in contact with both kale and frozen fruit.
  2. Blend once if you want a somewhat chunky smoothie, twice if you prefer it to be more smooth and creamy.
  3. Garnish with frozen blueberries, if desired.
  4. Makes 4 cups.

 

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