Food Friends for Life- Val So Cal


Much to my husband’s dismay, I have been cooking a lot lately!  Having a baby that I want to eat healthy has forced me into the habit.  I’ve always loved cookbooks and beautiful food photography, but now I’m actually inspired to cook.  We’ve been eating spinach and goat cheese stuffed portabella mushrooms, shrimp pasta with pesto and tomatoes, lasagna, caprese salad, spaghetti, roasted veggies, and grilled chicken.
My sponsor and fellow blogger Val of Val So Cal has dished up some deliciousness at her blog recently that I wanted to share with you.  I’ve been particularly enamored with her salads since summer has me wanting a lighter bite.  I think the avocado one is my favorite.  P.S. She takes these photos herself!
     Val says: This time of the year I try and eat salads with every meal. I love salads, especially with
     fruit. What is not to love about this one…Raspberries, Cashews, Kiwi’s and a homemade
     dressing. I’m sold and I might be making this, weekly. You can also make cinnamon-
     sugar croutons and take to the next level. Enjoy!
      6 -7 cups baby spinach
      2 cups fresh raspberries
      3 kiwi’s peeled and sliced
      1/2 cup red onion, diced
      a handful of cashews or toasted almonds
      1/4 teaspoon pepper
      3 tablespoons olive oil
      2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
      3 tablespoons raspberry jam
        In a jar with a tight fitted lid, combine the oil, vinegar, jam and pepper, shake well.
        In a large salad bowl, gently combine spinach, 1 cup raspberries, onions, and some of
        the cashews. Top with kiwi, berries, nuts and croutons if you made them. Drizzle with

     Avocado Feta Salsa

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 avocados, peeled, pitted and chopped
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper
4 to 5 ounces crumbled feta

1) In a bowl, gently stir in tomatoes , avocados, onion and garlic. Mix in parsley
and oregano. Gently stir in olive oil and vinegar. Then stir in feta. Cover, and
chill for 2 to 4 hours.

       Greek Pasta Salad

1 package pasta – your choice
1/4 cup olive oil
one yellow onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups of mushrooms, sliced
4 chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 (14 oz) jar artichokes in water, chopped
2 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon basil
1 tablespoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup white wine ( optional)
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
the juice of one lemon
8 oz feta cheese
handful of cherry tomatoes
salt and pepper

1) Cook pasta and set aside. Meanwhile in a skillet heat olive oil on med-high heat.
Cook chicken until cooked through and set aside. In the same skillet add onion, garlic
saute for 5 min and then add mushrooms and cook until mushrooms have color.
Add veggies and artichokes to the pasta.

       2) Mix white wine, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice and spices. Mix well
and add to the pasta. Top with Feta cheese and tomatoes.

Val is a mommy to an adorable daughter and fellow coffee and Target addict.  She really stole my heart, though, when she posted this:


         Val says:  Ok ladies, it’s time to get the dust off of the blender. Grab the keys to the car and go
         to the market…..All you need to buy are 3 ingredients and you will have the best
         shake experience, ever!!!! Ha.
      1 bag of large marshmallows
      2 cups of milk
      2 cups vanilla ice cream
       Line a large cookie sheet with tin foil. Place marshmallows on cookie sheet and broil
       in oven until toasty. About 1 to 2 min. Stand by the oven. It happens fast.
       Place milk, ice cream and most of the toasted marshmallows in the blender, save a few
       for the top. Blend until smooth and serve with cute straws.
If you want to show Val some love, you can become a follower of her blog here.


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