How to Make a Gourmet / Restaurant Quality Salad at Home!

September 30, 2015

Do you ever CRAVE a good salad? Like a restaurant-quality salad that leaves you feeling completely satisfied and has the perfect combination of flavors?  The kind of salad that is a complete meal and includes all the right textures? If not, I guarantee that if you make this salad you WILL crave it.  This simple recipe {well not even recipe – technique} is one that should be kept forever and made over and over for your loved ones.  For lunch or dinner – with a glass of wine or lemonade – this salad is everything a gourmet salad should be.
Most of these ingredients are store-bought, which makes this super easy to make, but feel free to candy your own nuts... crisp up your own onions or even whip up your favorite homemade dressing.  The beauty this though is that it an be put together in about 30 minutes.  And that's only because I  roast salmon steaks to top the greens.  If you grill up chicken, steak or even veggies in advance and pull them out to whip this up, your life would be made even easier. :)

Enough rambling! Here's how to make the most EPIC and easy salad ever:
{The foundation of any good salad is a good base of greens.  I prefer a butter lettuce mix – crispy and mild.  Any variation of lettuce that you prefer would work well, even a nice firm green like kale!

{I have been obsessed with fresh green beans as of late and I am SO glad I added them to this salad!  I flash-steamed them for about a minute so that they are still really crunchy but without that harsh raw bite.  I cut the whole green beans in half and put them on the greens.}

{I'm sorry but I CANNOT have a salad without thinly sliced English cucumbers.  The pop of crispy freshness that they gave the salad was definitely appreciated.}

{I added some really thinly sliced onion to the mix as well.  They are nice and mild and have a sweet bite.  The key is to slice them reaaaaaalllly thin so that you don't have big chunky pieces of onion which can definitely be too much to handle.  I also laid on some thinly sliced pieces of avocado.  Which is completely optional but whenever I have an opportunity to buy a ripe avocado and use it that same day – I'm taking it! LOL!}

{Candied pecans {or any candied nut!} are a definitely MUST in a GOOD salad. Especially if some sort of cheese is also in the mix. I love candied nuts and can eat an obscene amount of them in one sitting.  The crunch and sweetness, together with a salty cheese is just too good.}

{Dried cranberries are my favorite of all the dried fruit.  I also enjoy cherries when I want a more sweet flavor but the tartness of the dried cranberries totally amps up a gourmet salad.}

{Now for me, cheese is a non-negotiable MUST in a good salad.  Any type of cheese, really.  But when have candied pecans AND dried cranberries, gorgonzola is the way to go!}

{I chose to simply roast some salmon steaks to top the greens and I have decided that that was the best decision I have made in a realllly long time. LOL!  All I did was drizzle them with olive oil, generously season them with lemon pepper seasoning and add a sprinkle of sea salt. They went in a 400 degree oven and roasted for about 12-15 minutes and came out PERFECT.  I mean total perfection.}

{I pulled the meat a bit away from the center bone and piled the warm salmon on top of the salad and had to stop myself from losing total control.  LOL! My mouth is watering looking at this pic.} 

{I always like to add some sort of crispy element to my salad before drizzling on the salad dressing –  whether it be croutons or a crispy veggie of some sort.  In these case, I picked up a package of crispy onions to sprinkle on. Another layer of flavor!}

{The salad dressing possibilities are endless.  You could go with a simple vinaigrette or a decadent creamy dressing.  I decided to mix the two – which are my all-time favorites.  Ken's Creamy Caesar and Ken's Tableside Caesar.  Both amazingly flavorful and both worthy of any expertly crafted salad.  I also cracked in some fresh black pepper before I mixed them. The consistency was wonderful.}

{With the whisk, I lightly drizzled the dressing over this glorious plate of goodness and served it up! My husband was utterly in love and the first thing he said was that this salad should be served in a restaurant.  Music to my ears! Do yourself a favor and make this salad.  SOON!  Not that I am being pushy or anything. Hehe! I need you all to share in my won't be disappointed!}
xoxo, thanks for reading! ♥

White Jeans + Rambles

September 2, 2015

Greetings everyone! I hope this blog post finds you well and enjoying the end of the summer. :)  I thought I'd share a recent outfit that I wore {and loved!} to a late dinner with my husband on Monday night.  It's a shame that I have been grabbing my blogging camera less these days because  I really do love sharing and documenting what I wear.    
I have been enjoying these white Levi's jeans all summer.  They fit like a glove (hello jeggings!) all the way down to the ankle, which I always love! With flat sandals or heels, these are a favorite to wear.  I may even rock these during the fall since, needless to say, white jeans can be worn all year long.

I bought these gorgeous Shoedazzle "Zaria" heels before my birthday in July and I am just getting around to wearing them. Which is really sad – they are literally PERFECTION! I am not a fan of high heels as of late and these are just high enough to give a bit a lift but low enough to be super comfortable.

I snagged this Jennifer Lopez top at Kohl's last week on clearance and was really disappointed that I couldn't find it online to link here... if you are able to find it in a Kohl's store – BUY IT! LOL! It's amazing. :)

This has been a really great summer.  As you can probably tell from my tan, we just returned from our yearly summer family vacation {Myrtle Beach again!} last Sunday.  It was another successful family trip that involved plenty of sun, relaxing, laughs, eats, drinks, boardwalks and of course the beach!

My daughter went back to school yesterday {7th grade!} so new routines and hectic schedules are upon us.  My son starts next week {10th grade, omg!} so things will get even busier...and I welcome it.  There is just something about the start of a new school year that brings excitement and motivation to our household.  Not to mention I always find myself in the kitchen more, whipping up fun weeknight meals. I am definitely looking forward to that!

I plan to share some new recipes here soon... and outfits – though I may be the only blogger NOT looking forward to fall fashion. LOL! I am savoring every second that we have left of summer.  I never want to let go!

I hope you had a great summer...not that it's over...thank goodness... I am thinking of squeezing in one final beach trip before the chill makes it this way. :)
xoxo, thanks for reading {my rambles}! ♥