Thursday, May 31, 2012

Above Average Oatmeal Cookies

I didn't really know what to call these cookies.
This recipe is one that I have made over and over and over...and over... trying to get it to form the soft, chewy oatmeal cookies that I am always looking for.
Turns out it's not that kind of oatmeal cookie.
This is supposed to be lacey and crunchy/chewy.
Once I accepted that...I realized that I had one of the most delicious tasting cookie recipes on the planet in my hands.
It is so buttery and brown sugary and coconutty that I can forgive the lack of soft chewiness and just enjoy the almost caramel-y crisp/chewiness.
And to name such a cookie just plain "oatmeal cookie" seemed a little blasphemous. Granted "Above Average Oatmeal Cookies" seems a little lacking as well.
Oh well. It's what we are going with.

Above Average Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup butter, melted
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups oatmeal
1 cup coconut
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
pinch salt
1 cup of raisins (or chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 400. Line a cookie tray with parchment paper.
Pour melted butter in a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients in the order listed. Stir with a wooden spoon until well combined.

Leave them room to spread - and believe me, they do spread.

Drop about 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet. Bake 10 - 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown. (Middle will probaby still appear under cooked but will brown up as they sit.)
Remove from oven and let sit on cookie sheet about 5 minutes to set up. Remove to wire rack to finish cooling.
NOTE - Don't flatten the cookies, they spread on their own. (From my experience, it doesn't matter if you refrigerate or freeze the dough. They will still spread out.)

The original recipe was from one of the ancient cookbooks in our mother's collection. I can't tell you the name of it as the cover has long been missing.
Needless to say it is filled with delicious recipes like this one, full of butter and sugar and all of those wonderful things that we should all probably eat less of.
Bah Humbug.
These cookies are amazingly delicious. They remind me of praline!
I say a little indulgence every once in a while is healthy for us. Just don't eat the whole batch.
That would probably be bad.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Popcorn Fudge

I still am not sure about this recipe. I'm not a huge fudge person.
I know...weird for me to be saying that with my undying love for all things sweet and all that.
Fudge is usually waaaay too sweet for me. One small piece and I reach my sugar limit.
This one isn't like that though. The popcorn adds a bit of saltiness so it's not as sweet.
My issue with this particular fudge recipe is that the popcorn adds a different texture than you would expect when eating fudge.
Not necessarily bad, per se... Just different. The smooth, creamy texture is replaced by a smooth, creamy yet a bit crunchy and chewy texture.
It is, however, very simple to throw together, is a great conversation starter, keeps well in the fridge for a few days, and will have people thinking you are some kind of mad scientist-type of creator in the kitchen.

Popcorn Fudge
(From Woman's World Magazine, Feb 6th, 2012 issue)

1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 18 oz pkg semisweet chocolate chips (2 generous cups)
2 Tbsp butter
4 cups popped popcorn
1 cup toasted, slivered almonds
1 tsp vanilla

Line a 9 X9 pan with parchment paper (or foil) and spray with cooking spray, set aside.
Melt chocolate chips, condensed milk, and butter in a large saucepan. Stir until smooth. Remove from heat and gently stir in popcorn, almonds, and vanilla.
Spread evenly into prepared pan. Chill until firm (at least 2 or so hours).
Remove from pan and cut into squares.

It's that easy.
An important note though, make sure you have picked out any unpopped kernels of popcorn before you stir it into the chocolate. It's not fun to get a kernel.
I am still on the fence about this recipe BUT I do like the unique flavor the popcorn brings to the table.
If you give this a try then be sure to let us know what you think.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Zucchini Pizza Bites and Cheesy Baked Tomatoes

All on board the veggie train!
Okay...maybe I'm not there yet....but I am getting there. The whole turning-vegetables-into-mini-pizzas is really working for me. Hiding healthy veggies under cheese and pizza sauce is confusing my brain into believing that vegetables are yummy.
I know...I know... I can sense those of you who are veggie lovers shaking your heads at me.
I'm working on it!
Until I can rejoice in eating naked vegetables I will have to continue to dress them up with pretty (and tasty) toppings.

Zucchini Pizza Bites

1 medium zucchini
1/4 cup spaghetti sauce
4 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 mini turkey pepperoni, sliced thinly

Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Slice zucchini into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices. Using a melon baller (or teaspoon) slightly hollow out each slice. Discard the seeds you scoop out.

Place about 1/4 tsp of spaghetti sauce onto each slice. Top with about 1/2 tsp of shredded Parmesan cheese. Top with 1 or 2 tiny pieces of pepperoni.

Place on cookie tray and bake for about 20 minutes. Zucchini should be cooked but not soggy, cheese should be bubbly. (You can place under broiler for a minute or two if you want to brown the cheese.)
Remove from oven and serve hot. (Be careful! The middle of the bites can be extremely hot.)

Cheesy Baked Tomatoes

1 medium tomato, cut in half
2 Tbsp Mozzarella cheese
2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
salt & pepper
pinch of dried parsley

Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Place tomato cut side up on prepared cookie tray. Using a melon baller or teaspoon, scoop out a shallow hollow in each side. Discard seeds you scoop out. (You don't need to scoop out all seeds! Just enough for a little dimple in the tomato)
Sprinkle with cheeses and seasonings.
Bake until tomato is tender, about 20 - 30 minutes. (You can place under broiler for a minute or two if you want to brown the cheese.)
Remove from oven and serve hot.

As near as I can figure - using Fitday - the nutritional info is:
Tomato - 100 calories, 5 fat, 6 carb, 8 protein
Zucchini - 185 calories, 8 fat, 14 carb, 14 protein
That is for the entire recipe. That's the whole tomato and the whole zucchini. I thought that was pretty darn good! Eating a whole zucchini and a whole tomato is pretty filling. 
Well, at least for me.
I had this with a small ham steak for dinner and it was delicious.

I made the zucchini bites for my snack while watching a movie the other night and they were great. If you leave them just slightly undercooked (read: a little crunchy) then you can pick them up in your fingers and don't even need a fork.

Be sure to stop by Carole's Chatter for tons of fabulous links!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Cauliflower Pizza Bite UPDATE

Sue and I have been getting a lot of views and comments on our Cauliflower Pizza Bites that we blogged about a little while back.
A lot.
Like tens of thousands of views. True story. (Holy heck, right?)
We also got a lot of comments on our dilemma of the bites sticking to our non-stick pans. It was really nice that so many people commented with ideas on how to solve the problem.
Sue and I decided to do an update and try a few of the suggestions.
I didn't have any turkey pepperoni so I had to use some mini ham pepperoni as a substitute, other than that the recipe was made exactly the same way as originally.

These are the 5 suggestions we chose to try:

1. Plain pans sprayed with cooking spray. 2. Paper liners sprayed with cooking spray. 3. Plain paper liners.

4. Using a small cookie scoop and dropping onto tinfoil sprayed with cooking spray.

5. Using a small cookie scoop and dropping onto parchment paper.

Here is what we found out.

1. (Plain pan with cooking spray) This is what we used in our original post that gave us the clean up issues. The bites still pop out after running a knife around the edge but you will still be left scrubbing the pan afterward.
2. (Paper liner sprayed with cooking spray) Worked really well. It popped out of the pan no problem and peeled off the bite without tearing. It was slightly "greasy" from the spray in the paper.
3. (Plain paper liner) Worked really well. Popped out of the pan and paper peeled off without any troubles. (I was surprised, I really thought it would stick!)
The paper liners worked great HOWEVER the bottoms of the bites are still a tiny bit "gummy" and required a few minutes, upside down, under the broiler to crisp up.

4. (Tinfoil with cooking spray) This worked okay. It was fairly stuck to the tinfoil, even though it was sprayed well. The bites spread out as they cooked so were quite thin. I had to work a little bit to get them to release from the tinfoil BUT still less work than scrubbing the muffin tins.

5. (Parchment paper) This worked really well. It released easily from the paper, the bottoms were nicely browned, and they only spread a tiny bit.

See. They all ended with similar looking results. The 6 on the left were the parchment paper, the 6 in the middle, on top, were the sprayed muffin tins, the 5 on the right were on the tinfoil, the 3, vertical, on the bottom right were the plain paper liners, and the 3, horizontal, on the left were the sprayed paper liners.
The cooking methods all yield basically the same results in terms of looks but Sue and I agreed that the parchment paper was BY FAR the one that worked the best - ie: least amount of work.

If we had to rate the methods it would be like this:
1. Parchment paper - no clean up, even crispiness
2. Plain paper liners - hardly any clean up, just need to broil bottoms to crisp up
3. Tinfoil, sprayed - no clean up, even crispiness, just a little tough to get off the foil
4. Paper liners, sprayed - hardly any clean up, need to broil to crisp up bottoms, a little soggy from spray.
5. Plain pans, sprayed - tough clean up, need to broil to crisp up bottoms

Thanks again to all of you who offered suggestions. We still haven't tried the silicone pans as we didn't have access to them. Knowing how well the parchment paper and cookie scoop works, I think we will use that as our tried and true method.
These are so good dipped in spaghetti sauce they have become one of my favorite late night snacks. They freeze well too! I just take out a few, pop them in the toaster oven, and they are good to go.

Tasty and healthy!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Blue Bubblegum Ice Cream

Raise your hand if you remember eating blue bubblegum ice cream.
I can remember it being one of my favorites when we were little. It was one of those special occasion treats for Sue and I. We used to purposely eat it messily to get blue mustaches.
Yeah. That's right. We were pretty cool kids.
I have tried to find it in stores the last few years and it is just not to be found. Keep in mind I live in a teeny tiny little town in the mountains of Canada. It may very well be available in the city.
That being said, I was really wanting to try to recreate the flavor in a homemade ice cream.
I think I was successful. It was pretty exciting.
It is a very sweet ice cream. My younger taste testers seemed to fall more madly in love with it than my older testers.
Mind you, my older tasters appreciated the trip down memory lane.

Blue Bubblegum Ice Cream

2 cups whipping cream (heavy cream)
2 cups half & half
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
blue food coloring (enough to tint it light blue)
3 packs (15 pieces) Hubba Bubba bubblegum

In a medium saucepan, whisk together all of the ingredients except the gum. Place over medium heat.
When mixture is starting to heat up, add bubblegum pieces. Bring to a simmer.
Stir constantly until gum is almost completely dissolved and base has started to thicken a bit.
Remove from heat and place in a container with a lid. Cover and place in fridge until completely cold. (6 hours to overnight).
Once chilled, remove from fridge and strain mixture through a fine sieve/strainer to remove the remaining bits of gum.
Pour cream mixture into your ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer's instructions.

You can make this and throw in some mini gumballs just before you put it in the freezer, if you like, but I much prefer it without.
Childhood in a bowl.

Make sure to stop by Heatherly Loves and Carole's Chatter and Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons for tons of cool links!
Visit My Turn (for us) for even more great links!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Spinach Frittata For One

Crustless quiche, frittata, or – my favorite – kookoo. Yup, they are pretty much all the same thing. Eggs with vegetables and/or meat and/or herbs and spices and/or cheese.
It’s fun to say Koo Koo.
FYI - according to Wikipedia, Koo Koo is the Iranian equivalent of the frittata.
You can add pretty much anything you want to add and it will be delicious. Well… if you like eggs. If you don’t like eggs then this definitely isn’t for you.
I made a scaled down version to use my new single serving casserole dish that I picked up so I could make this delicious baked oatmeal recipe. Yes, I buy new pans just so I can make recipes that I find on the internet. Don’t judge me.

Spinach Frittata for One
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp onion, finely chopped
2 – 3 cups spinach leaves
1 egg white
1 piece bacon, finely diced
2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 350. Spray an small, oven safe dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
Spray a medium skillet with cooking spray. Cook garlic and onion for a minute or two. Add in raw spinach leaves and cook until the leaves are reduced. (You should have about ½ cup or so of cooked spinach when you are done.) Remove from heat and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk egg white until a bit foamy. Stir in bacon and cheese. Stir in cooked spinach.
Pour into prepared oven safe dish.

Bake at 350 until set, about 20 – 30 minutes.
 It puffs up in the oven a bit and then sinks down when you remove it so don’t be sad. It tastes delicious and it still looks pretty impressive. I made this for my dinner with some turkey sausage on the side but I’m thinking this would be perfect for breakfast.
Or lunch.
Or a snack.
It’s only 174 calories!
Crazy, right?
(According to Fitday – 174 calories, 9.7 fat, 7.2 carbs, and 15.5  protein.)
Plus, it’s loaded with calcium, vitamins, iron, zinc, and all that good stuff.
It’s easy to tailor to your own preferences too.
Have I convinced you to try it yet?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Browned Butter Pecan Shortbread

Time for more cookies!
I think I may be addicted to cookies. I don’t just mean eating them either. I love looking up cookie recipes and just trying out funky new ingredients. I mean, what’s not to love about a cookie?
(I am sure you anti-cookie people with have a list a mile long to answer this EVEN THOUGH this is a rhetorical question. Sue, I am looking in your direction.)
I am combining my love of browned butter and love of shortbread to make these little melt in your mouth morsels. The toasted pecans just put these over the top.
I mean, my favorite cookies are soft and chewy but every once in a while I just need something crumbly.

Browned Butter Pecan Shortbread

1 1/2 cups butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup icing sugar
3 cups flour
1 cup pecans, finely chopped

In a large skillet, cook the butter over medium heat, stirring constantly. When butter turns brown and there is tiny brown fleck in it, remove from heat and transfer to another dish to cool. This usually takes anywhere from 5 – 10 minutes. Chill, uncovered, for about an hour. (Butter should be cool and beginning to solidify.)
In the same skillet, put chopped pecans over medium heat. Stir and cook until pecans are fragrant and slightly browned. Keep a close eye on them! Remove from heat and transfer to a small bowl to cool.
In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add both sugars, mixing until smooth. Slowly incorporate the flour at a low speed, just until blended. Stir in the pecans.

Shape the dough into 4 – 8 inch logs and cover in plastic wrap. Chill until firm (3 or more hours).
Preheat oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Cut the logs into approx. 1/4 inch thick slices and place about an inch apart on prepared cookie sheet.
Bake 8 – 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from oven and let sit on cookie sheet for about 5 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.
 I am pretty sure these are going into the Christmas cookie rotation this year.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Scotchies

Cookies…cookies…and more cookies….
The more I think about it the more I know that if I had to choose a favorite cookie….I wouldn’t be able to. Oh sure... I could lie to you…and pick out any number of cookies that I LOVE. But they wouldn’t really be my one true favorite.
I’ve decided that my favorite cookie changes randomly with my mood.
Chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal raisin, you know…the classics….will all be cyclical favorites at some point. This week though, my favorite cookie were these deliciously squishy Pumpkin Oatmeal Scotchies. Pumpkin and butterscotch is a genius combination. Kind of Autumn-ish I suppose but I will soldier on and eat them during other seasons as well.
  Pumpkin Oatmeal Scotchies
1 1/4 cup cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
pinch salt
1/2 cup butter, at room temp
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups butterscotch chips
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Whisk flour, baking soda, spices, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
Beat butter with both sugars until smooth and creamy. Add egg and vanilla extract. Next, add in pumpkin and mix until combined.
Using wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture. Stir in oats and butterscotch chips.
Drop dough by the tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the cookies are set and golden. Remove cookies from the oven and cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
 If you want to see the photos that made me have to make this then go to the Make and Takes blog. My photos aren’t nearly as drool inducing. Trust me when I say that these are incredibly yummy. If you try them you will see why they are my favorite of the moment. The butterscotch chips make these so addicting that I could eat the whole batch.
I made this into a bar simply by packing the batter into a 9 X 13 pan lined with parchment paper.

And then baked it for about 20 minutes - until it was puffed up and browned. Then, let it cool, use the parchment paper "handles" to lift out of the pan, and cut.
I got a little bit fancy by dividing the dough in half, pressing half into the 9 X 13, then drizzling with a layer of caramel topping and about 1/2 cup of crunchy Skor caramel bits, then crumbling the rest of the batter on top and pressing lightly.
It made for a really moist and delicious bar. This is a great way to cook them if you are feeling a little too lazy to scoop them into cookies.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Baked Banana Bread Oatmeal

Baked banana bread oatmeal. It really does taste like banana bread.
Granted, it's a little more oatmeal-y than the regular banana bread BUT it's not so oatmeal-y that I can't eat it.
See...the thing is...I can't usually eat oatmeal. The texture just makes me gag. That mushy lumpiness doesn't sit well with me.
Thanks to Healthy Food For Living I don't really have that problem anymore. I've heard of baking oatmeal before but just never tried it. (1) it usually makes a whole panful and there is just me to eat it, and (2) I was scared I wouldn't like it.
Then, thanks to Pinterest, I saw the amazing photos from the Healthy Food For Living blog and knew I had to try this.
I decided to try this recipe as it only makes 1 serving so I wouldn't be out a lot if I didn't end up eating it.
Oh. My. Goodness.
Loved it.
You have to try it tomorrow morning! It takes about 5 seconds to throw the ingredients together, and then you can go have your shower, etc.. while it bakes in the oven.

Baked Banana Bread Oatmeal (For One)

1/3 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 tsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1/3 cup 1 % Milk
1/3 cup mashed ripe banana, about 1 medium banana
1 egg white
1/4 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a small ovenproof bowl with cooking spray.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together oats, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.
In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, mashed banana, egg white, and vanilla extract.
Pour dry ingredients into wet and stir until combined. Pour mixture into prepared bowl.

Bake for 20- 30 minutes, uncovered,  or until oatmeal is puffed and set. Serve hot.

You can drizzle a little maple syrup on top and sprinkle with some slivered almonds (or any chopped nuts) if you like.

Look - still oatmeal-y but not gooey.

Without the maple syrup drizzle and nuts, the nutritional info - according to the Healthy Food For Living blog - is 225 calories, 2.9 gr fat, 7.2 gr fibre, and 11.7 gr protein. That matches pretty well what I calculated on Fitday. FYI - It does have a high carb count (43) if you are doing the low carb thing.
Otherwise I think this is a great breakfast choice. I mean, 225 calories for breakfast? Yes please.
It is sooooooo tasty.
Trust me, I am normally NOT an oatmeal advocate.
Patooie is what I say.
But not this time. I am onboard the Baked Oatmeal train. Banana bread is one of my all time favorites. I can't wait to try this with apples and blueberries and such.

Update: Okay. I made it again with 1/3 cup of pumpkin puree instead of banana and 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice instead of only cinnamon.

Looks a little sketchy before you pop it in the oven but don't give up!

Oooh...look it puffed up and isn't gooey. And it smells soooooo good!

And topped off with 1 Tbsp of chopped pecans and a drizzle of maple syrup and it is amazing.
Why aren't you making this right now?
Oh yeah...and if you use the pumpkin instead of banana... the calories go down to 190 instead of 225.
(That's not counting the nuts and maple syrup.)

Update #2:  Made it AGAIN but this time with 1/3 cup blueberries instead of banana. This may be my favorite yet!

Mix ingredients and place in oven safe bowl. I slightly mushed 1/2 of the blueberries and stirred in the other 1/2 of the 1/3 of a cup just to make sure it would be really blueberry-y.

Bake until set.

If desired, sprinkle with a tablespoon of slivered almonds and a drizzle of maple syrup.
Very blueberry-y!
P.S. - Calories drop down again with blueberries. 180 calories for the blueberry version! (Without the nuts and maple syrup.) Yay!

UPDATE #3: Apple time! I made this with 1/3 cup chopped apple (well - a generous 1/3 of a cup. I just used 1/2 an apple) instead of the banana.

If desired, sprinkle with a tablespoon of slivered almonds and a drizzle of maple syrup.
Calories for the apple version - 202. (Without the nuts and maple syrup.)

UPDATE #4: Once again I have had this for breakfast. This time using mixed berries!

Another yummy combo!

We're sharing at Carole's Chatter. Be sure to pop by and say hi!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Spicy Chinese Chicken Salad

I'm not usually one for spicy foods. Sue and her daughter, Kenzie, love them. Me....I'm more about things that don't leave my lips or tongue on fire.
Personal choice, I suppose.
This salad though was one Sue and I both agreed was spicy but not enough to melt your face. It would be easy enough to increase or decrease the amount of heat to suit your tastes just by altering the amount of Chinese Chili Garlic Paste you add in OR adding less/more dressing to your salad.
Overall, we both really loved this salad.
Mark this day on your calendar... Sue and I shared a mutual enjoyment of a recipe.

Spicy Chinese Chicken Salad

1/4 cup sugar
3 Tbsp Chinese chili garlic paste
1/3 cup light mayo
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup light soy sauce
3/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tsp cornstarch
1/3 cup water

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 bag of coleslaw mix (Approx 5 - 6 cups)
1 cup snow peas, trimmed, cut in half
1 15 oz can Mandarin oranges, drained
1/2 pkg of Mr. Noodles noodles (or Ichiban noodles), crushed
1/2 cup green onions, chopped

In a medium bowl, mix sugar, chili garlic paste, mayo, and ginger. Stir well. Add soy sauce and rice vinegar. Mix until well blended.
Scoop 1/4 cup of mixture into a container with a lid. Place the chicken breasts into the container and toss to coat. Cover and let marinate for at about an hour.
Place remaining dressing into a saucepan. Set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together cornstarch and water. Whisk until cornstarch is dissolved. Pour cornstarch mixture into dressing while stirring constantly.
Set saucepan over medium-high heat. Let boil approx 2 minutes, while stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and refrigerate until cool. (At least an hour)
Remove marinated chicken from refrigerator. Preheat oven to 350. Place chicken in shallow baking dish that has been sprayed with cookin spray. Bake for approx 30 minutes - until chicken is completely cooked.
Remove from oven and let sit until cool enough to handle. Slice chicken into bite sized pieces. (Or you can shred the chicken if you prefer.)
To assemble your salad: On individual serving plates (or bowls), place a generous handful of coleslaw mix. Drizzle with a little of the dressing. Sprinkle with some of the chopped snow peas and then some of the drained Mandarin oranges. Top with some of the cooked chicken. Then sprinkle with some of the crushed noodles and green onions. Finish by drizzling on more of the dressing.

You can, of course, prepare this in a large bowl instead of on individual serving dishes. I just thought it looked prettier when prepared individually. Plus, then each person can decide how much of the spicy dressing they want.
I love that this has so much flavor but it is still a healthy choice for lunch (or dinner). If you don't want to use the crushed noodles for a garnish you could substitute almonds or anything similar. I suppose you could leave that particular garnish out entirely but I think the salad would suffer for it. It needs that crunchy bite in there to add to the texture.

UPDATE: We redid this recipe to make it even healthier!

Click HERE for the updated version!