Tag Archives: veggies

Chopped Mexican Salad

It’s Taco Tuesday!  Kinda.

This post does not contain mind-bogglingly wonderful photography, but I had to share, despite the iPhone pictures.  A couple weeks ago, Wheat was craving tacos.  Tacos just aren’t my thing unless I’m in the right mood.  But, I was in the mood for a salad, and I remembered this chopped mexican salad that Natalie over at Designer Bags and Dirty Diapers share a while back.    We killed two birds with one stone: I had salad, and Wheat put his salad into taco shells. ;)

Chopped Mexican Salad | Oysters & Pearls

Chopped Mexican Salad
barely adapted from Designer Bags and Dirty Diapers
serves four to six people

– 1 Head Romain, Chopped
– 2 tomatoes, diced
– 2 jalapeños, chopped finely
– a few green onions, sliced thinly
– 1 avocado, diced
– 2 ears of corn, grilled and cut from the cob
– 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
– Crumbled Cotija Cheese, if you can find it – I used shredded “Mexican blend” cheese from a bag
– 1 pound lean ground beef
– 1 packet taco seasoning
– salsa
– sour cream
– limes

Chop lettuce, place in a large serving bowl and top with the tomatoes, jalapeños, green onions, avocado, corn, pinto beans, and cheese.  Toss together and set aside.  Cook the ground beef, drain, and add taco seasoning + water (or cook according to taco seasoning packet directions).  Top the salad with ground beef and garnish with salsa and sour cream.  Squeeze limes over the top and serve with limes as garnish, for extra squeezin’.

Chopped Mexican Salad | Oysters & Pearls
I think this salad is improved with the zing of citrus, so if you don’t have limes, improvise with a salad dressing of lemon juice and olive oil or something along those lines.  Or just eat it with salsa as your dressing.  It’s great that way, too!
Chopped Mexican Salad | Oysters & Pearls
Just don’t forget the hot sauce! ;)
Until Next Time


I know it may seem like my life is full of leisurely dinners and multi-layered cakes (and truth be told… it is!) but it’s also full of hectic mornings, lunches spent at my desk, and me running around like a chicken with its head cut off.  My aforementioned tendency to stretch the bounds of my time and sanity, coupled with a long commute to work and a need to compensate for the aforementioned cakes and dinners has resulted in my newest addiction for breakfast.

Healthy and Delicious Fruit Smoothie Recipe | Oysters & Pearls


For a while I was sort of leery of all the sugar, natural may it be, that comes with having a daily smoothie.  I don’t add any sugar to mine, but all that fruit does add up.  However, along with a busy schedule comes a drop in my fruit and veggie intake, so lately I’ve been making a point to make a smoothie.  Every morning.  And it feels awesome knowing that I got in a serving of veggies by sneaking some spinach or kale in there, too.  I swear, it keeps me awake better than coffee on my hour-long drive to work in the mornings, and I have felt better than ever the past couple weeks since I began incorporating them into my morning routine.

Strawberries | Oysters & Pearls

It all started with strawberry season.  Once the Plant City strawberries started rolling into the supermarket, I couldn’t resist.  I may or may not have purchased upwards of 10 pounds of strawberries in just a couple of weeks.  Some got washed, cut up, and frozen, but most went in my belly in some shape or form.

Natalie's Favorite Fruit Smoothie Recipe | Oysters & Pearls

Here is the general recipe for my unbelievably delicious, filling, and healthy smoothies.

Frozen Fruit Smoothie Recipe | Oysters & Pearls

Delicious and Healthy Smoothie Recipe
serves one


– 4 or 5 fresh strawberries (can use frozen)
– small handful of frozen blueberries
– 1 frozen ripe banana
– 1 teaspoon of whole flax seeds
– 1 teaspoon chia seeds
– 1/2 cup or so of full fat plain greek yogurt
– 1 cup pomegranate juice (milk, almond milk, any liquid really) to get it moving
– a handful of kale or spinach


Blend using a hand blender (or whatever blender you’ve got) until the mixture reaches a smooth consistency.  Enjoy!

Fruit Smoothie with Frozen Blueberries | Oysters & Pearls

I have on occasion added fresh raspberries, and you can basically adjust this however you’d like.  However, I do not recommend that you skip the yogurt, as it makes the smoothie so much creamier and gives it a lot of staying power.  I loathe fat-free dairy, especially yogurt, despite the fact that I was raised on skim.  In fact, I had never even tasted whole milk until I was in high school and realized I had been missing out on all that is holy about milk when I accidentally grabbed it and paired it with a donut from Reynolds.  As you can imagine, my reaction was akin to the time Ted (on How I Met Your Mother) has bacon for the first time.

Anyway, as you may have noticed, I’m not overly concerned about the amount of fat I eat.  I truly believe that the best diet is a well-rounded diet full of REAL food.  That means I do not eat much processed food at all.  Not much fast food, not much that comes in a box.  I wash, dice, chop, season, and cook almost everything we eat in our house.  I buy everything I can with minimal processing, aiming for as much of it to be locally grown as possible.  This results in a good bit more work for me, but if you prep ahead of time, that work can at least be mostly avoided on a weeknight.  All this to say that I always use whole fat dairy. KERF has an excellent explanation of why she eats full fat dairy, so I won’t rehash it.  Anyway, the whole fat greek yogurt gives this smoothie its staying power and a whole lotta protein.  And then I add a veggie.

Adding Kale to a Healthy Fruit Smoothie | Oysters & Pearls

I actually prefer spinach in my smoothies.  They seem to blend a little better.  But any dark leafy green will do.  Pack as much in there as you can!  I pinky promise you can’t taste it.

Smoothie in a Double Walled Cup  | Oysters & Pearls

I use a double-walled insulated plastic cup like this Double Walled Tumbler to drink my smoothie on the way to work.

Healthy Fruit Smoothie with Kale or Spinach | Oysters & Pearls

I know that this is a complete departure from what I normally am posting about, but it has consisted of 1/3 of my meals for the past couple weeks, so I thought I’d share it with y’all!

What do you put in your smoothies?  Any new combinations I should try?

Until Next Time

Summer Veggie Frittata

I’m going to go ahead and apologize for these pictures.  They aren’t my best work, and it was pitch black out when I took the final pictures due to making this after an evening meeting, but this frittata recipe was too good not to share, which is why I’m sharing it with less than fantastic pictures and two weeks later.

Summer Veggie Frittata & Salad | Oysters & Pearls

When we are out of most things and have no plans for dinner, we usually have a few veggies laying around, especially with our garden this summer, and I always keep plenty of eggs in the fridge.  This is the ultimate kitchen sink meal (everything but the kitchen sink).  Just chop up any veggies you have, add eggs, and you have a delicious frittata.

Homegrown Okra, Squash, & Bell Pepper | Oysters & Pearls

This particular day, I had a couple of fresh okra, a couple tiny little squashes, and one little bell pepper from the garden.  I chopped them up into small pieces and diced up a Vidalia onion (I try to keep those in the pantry at all times too).  I also had a beautiful Cherokee purple tomato from the garden.  This is the story of how I turned these into a frittata.

Homegrown Bell Pepper, Squash, & Okra | Oysters & Pearls

10 Egg Frittata | Oysters & Pearls

Summer Veggie Frittata


– any kind of veggies you have on hand
– eggs – depends on the size of your skillet – I used 10 for my big skillet!
– 2 or 3 tablespoons cream or milk (optional)
– any sort of cheese
– salt & pepper
-approximately 2 tablespoons vegetable oil


Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.  I used my cast iron skillet, but any oven-safe skillet will work fine.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

While it’s heating up, crack eggs into a mixing bowl – first cracking each one into a separate bowl, in case one is bad – and then add cream or milk if using.  Whisk the eggs and milk together, then add chopped veggies, salt and pepper, and cheese.  Stir to mix.

Once the oil is hot, pour the egg mixture into the skillet.  Top with sliced tomatoes, if using them.  Then sprinkle cheese on top (I mixed swiss cheese into the egg mixture, and used parmesan on top).

Bake at 350 for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the middle is just barely set.  You can test this by grabbing the handle (with an oven mitt!) and jiggling the skillet.  The center should just barely wiggle.

Remove from oven and let cool for a minute or two, then slice it up and serve it!

Summer Veggie Fritatta | Oysters & Pearls

Veggies all mixed in.  No need to pre-cook anything!

Summer Vegetable Frittata | Oysters & Pearls

The tomato was so pretty I almost hated it cover it up with cheese.  Almost.

Summer Veggie Frittata with Cheese | Oysters & Pearls



Homegrown Summer Veggie Fritatta | Oysters & Pearls

Again, I’m so sorry for the pictures.  I swear, it was delicious.

Summer Veggie Fritatta with Salad | Oysters & Pearls

We had our frittata with a delicious side salad that was also chock full of garden tomatoes.

And a ghost cat.

Ghost Cat | Oysters & Pearls

Further proof that it’s really hard to take night-time pictures without a flash.  Ha.  Wallace was too fast for the camera!

I like frittatas because 1) they are fun to say, and 2) they are so easy and versatile.  If you have bacon or sausage to add, that really ups the yum-factor.  You can add anything you want!  That’s what’s so great about this frittata recipe: it never has to be the same.

Summer generally calls for easy meals.  Although in winter, root veggies like potatoes, onions, and swiss chard would be excellent in a frittata, too.

Do you have a go-to quick and easy dinner dish?