The Salad Bowl: Honey-Balsamic Bean Salad

Spring seemed to pass us by and jump right into summer and I’ve been craving salads! Instead of adding salad to my meal, I want to plan my meals around the salad. The other day I made this protein packed salad. It was a tasty change of pace for a salad. The dressing is vinegar based, so it’s an ideal salad for picnics or your next cookout.

HONEY-BALSAMIC BEAN SALAD
(from 101cookbooks.com)
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8 oz (about 1 1/2 cups each of cooked chickpeas, pinto beans, and black beans (choose other beans if desired)
1 small head of romaine lettuce, washed, dried, and shredded
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 Tablespoons runny honey
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 + teaspoon sea salt
10 sprigs fresh thyme

Combine the beans, lettuce, and most of the almonds in a large salad bowl. Set aside. Make the dressing by whisking the olive oil, honey, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, and salt in a small container. Taste, and adjust to your tastes.

Run your finger up each thyme sprig, removing the leaves. Add to the salad bowl along with a good amount of the dressing. Toss well, and add more dressing if needed. Top with remaining almonds. Serves 4-6.

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Baker’s Delight: Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

We are pleased to welcome back Sarah Pulliam Bailey with this guest post! These would be great for you weekend and summer picnicking!

Chocolate chip cookies provide the ultimate comfort food. If you’re serving chocoholics, consider baking double chocolate chip cookies, which offers a rich, moist, chewy dessert.

The cookies did not turn out terribly even because I was in a hurry and grabbed rounded spoonfuls of dough, which made them puffier. If you prefer more uniform, flattened cookies, you could roll the dough up on parchment paper in a log, refrigerate for two hours, and cut individual cookies. You could also substitute white chocolate chips for peanut butter chips and chopped peanuts. Some of the reviews suggested using 1 tsp. of baking soda and 1 tsp. of baking powder, so consider experimenting. The recipe takes about 30 minutes and makes about 3 dozen cookies.

 

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
(Adapted from allrecipes.com)
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1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 tsp. of salt
1 tsp. of vanilla
2 cups white chocolate chips or chunks (12 oz. bag)
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease cookie sheets. In a large bowl (I used my KitchenAid), cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating each one well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the cocoa, flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually stir the mixture into the other bowl. Fold in white chocolate chips. Drop rounded spoonfuls onto the cookie sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes (9 minutes was perfect in my oven). Allow cookies to cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling. If you have a smaller kitchen, consider investing in a tiered cooling rack.