I miss living in California. Especially during the cold months in Chicago. The California girl in me is always looking West! But finally spring is just starting to sprout and green buds are forming on trees. Even the daffodils are trying to emerge. It’s a very welcome site after a long winter.

I’m now looking towards Memorial Day and our second annual family barbeque and pool party. Which means lots of food planning! That’s my favorite part! As an artist, I love color and texture and as a foodie, I love great taste. Here’s a few recipes I plan on serving that I think combine all three!

Mango Cucumber Rice Salad

This salad I found on the Food Network – Mango Cucumber Rice Salad, but I tweaked it to my liking


  • Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups Jasmine rice
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup chopped mango
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1 red jalapeno, seeded and thinly sliced (not necessary, kids are not fans)
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/3 cup chopped salted roasted peanuts

Directionsmango rice

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil add the rice and stir until lightly toasted (about 5 minutes). Add water and salt according to the directions on the package. Add salt and water to the pot. Once the water is boiling, lower the heat and cover. About 22 minutes

Whisk the lime juice and zest, the peanut oil, sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste in a large bowl. Add the rice mixture, mango, cucumber, jalapeno, scallions, cilantro and peanuts and stir to combine. Season with salt.

Citrus Beet Salad

This salad is my version from  Food Network – Citrus Beet Salad by Ingrid Hoffman


  • 3 packages of already cooked beets  (I prefer this to cooking my own, too much work)
  • 2 navel oranges
  • 1/2 small purple onion
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives
  • 15 fresh mint leaves, ripped in half, or smaller
  • kosher salt amd fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup or more or lime juice


beetsCut the beets into quarters and place in a bowl. Peel the navel oranges into segments and remove the skins so that no white pith is left. Chop the purple onion into small pieces. Add the navel oranges, onions, mint, black olives, olive oil and lime juice in the bowl. Mix. Season with Salt and pepper, mix again and serve.

Quinoa Pilaf with Herbs and Lemon

lentil quinoa

From America’s Test Kitchen (My favorite recipe site) Although I feel America’s Test Kitchen can do no wrong, sometimes recipes need a little personalization, which is what I have done here.

If you buy unwashed quinoa, rinse the grains in a fine-mesh strainer, drain them, and then spread them on a rimmed baking sheet lined with a dish towel and let them dry for 15 minutes before proceeding with the recipe. Any soft herbs, such as cilantro, parsley, chives, mint, and tarragon, can be used.


  • 1 1/2 cups prewashed quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 2 pieces
  • 1 small onion, chopped fine
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes halved (if you can find red and yellow, even better)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Roasted almonds


  1. Toast quinoa in medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until quinoa is very fragrant and makes continuous popping sound, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer quinoa to bowl and set aside.
  2. Return now-empty pan to medium-low heat and melt butter. Add onion and salt; cook, stirring frequently, until onion is softened and light golden, 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Increase heat to medium-high, stir in water and quinoa, and bring to simmer. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until grains are just tender and liquid is absorbed, 18 to 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking. Remove pan from heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff quinoa with fork, stir in herbs, tomatoes and lemon juice. In a separate small frying pan, heat olive oil and add almonds until toasted. Then pour over the quinoa, mix and serve.

The original recipe can be found on Americas Test Kitchen – Quinoa Pilaf with Herbs and Lemon

Cauliflower Taubbouleh

This recipe was adapted  from MyFitnessPal recipe blog May 2014.


  • 2 or 3 bags of pre-sliced and washed cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup parsley
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves chopped
  • 2 green onions thinly sliced
  • 1 cup (or more) sliced cherry tomoatoes
  • 3 mini cucumbers
  • 1/2 cup sliced olives
  • 1/3 lemon juice
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 ground pepper

cauliflower tauboullehInstructions

Put cauliflower in a food process and pulse until the  cauliflower turns into ‘rice-size’ pieces. This may have to be done in batches. Put in a bowl. Add the the remaining ingredients in the bowl, add salt and pepper  and then mix. Adjust to taste. The original recipe calls for 3 small cloves of garlic, but I am not a fan of garlic, so I omitted it.


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I am a Chicago based artist working in acrylics, spray paint and mixed media. My work genres are generally word art, inspirational, powerful women themes, and Judaica.

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