Savory Blood Orange Vinaigrette

This is my type of salad dressing as it is savory and not sweet.  I personally can’t stand sweet dressings but that’s just me!  I just love the festive color and flavors of this vinaigrette, it is divine and beautiful at the same time!


I love to make up salad dressings, plus they are so easy without all the preservatives, soy bean oil and or canola oil.

Not to mention it’s a fraction of the cost.


Recipe - Approx. 2 Cups
  • 3/4 Cup Blood Orange Juice
  • 1 Teaspoon Blood Orange Zest
  • 2 or 1/4 Cup Shallots
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Champagne Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Sherry Vinegar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • Dash Black Pepper


Mince the garlic and shallots and add to a bowl or jar

Squeeze the juice from the blood oranges, with a lemon juicer, measure and add to the bowl or jar

Measure the rest of the ingredients and whisk together or shake then put in to a jar if made in bowl

You will need to shake well before each use

Blood oranges red pigment contains anthocyanins, a “Super Antioxidant” which is what gives the color to fruits, plants and vegetables like berries and red wine.  They are as good for you as other citrus but with the added anthocyanins.

They have anti-inflammatory properties which helps in preventing cancer, diabetes and bacterial infections. It also helps reduce the risk of heart disease and LDL cholesterol accumulation, they help to defend blood vessels from oxidative damage.  They are loaded with vitamin C stimulating collagen production.   An over all help for the body to heal itself.

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Roasted Jalapeno Cilantro & Manchego Pesto

This is one of my favorite pestos, I could just sit and eat it by the spoonful : ) It is delightfully spicy and incredible on sandwiches and of course anything else you would use pesto in or on.

Roasted Jalapeno Cilantro and Manchego Pesto

This is relatively spicy, but it does depend on the jalapenos hotness

Roasted Jalapeno Cilantro  Manchego Pesto

Recipe - Approx 3 Cups

  • 8 Jalapenos
  • 3 Cups Cilantro Leaves
  • 1 Cup Manchego Cheese
  • 1 Cup Raw Walnuts
  • 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 – 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt


First roast the jalopeno peppers, remove the stems and seeds and combine with everything else in a food processor or blender and puree. Yum

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Laili Restaurant in Santa Cruz, CA

Today my mom and I went to lunch at Laili in downtown Santa Cruz.  I have wanted to try it out for a long time now so I was really excited.  It was phenomenal, exceeding my expectations!


Laili’s restaurant serves a Mediterranean Afghan cuisine that uses fine organic products with traditional Afghan recipes.


The inside is nice with the kitchen open for viewing


It is very open and breezy



The patio is tucked away between buildings with plants growing on all the walls, it’s truly beautiful!




I’m not really sure if this came with the Mediterranean plate or if this is just something they serve but the flavors were amazing!


We shared the Mediterranean plate: hummus, tabbouleh, babaghanoush, cucumber yogurt


Mom had the Moroccan beet salad: turmeric, coriander, marinated beets, wild arugula, goat cheese.  I don’t really like beets but after I tasted this I am going to get it next time, it was out of this world!


I had the Greek salad: romaine, feta, kalamata, tomato, cucumber, onion, lemon vinaigrette.  I enjoyed this salad and the dressing was really good!

Laili Restaurant  101 Cooper St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

(831) 423-4545



Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Potato Salad

With summer approaching, I love to make up different potato salads that don’t have mayonnaise or sour cream, but still have tuns of flavor.  I mean how can you go wrong with sun-dried tomatoes and basil?

Sun-Dried Tomato Basil   Potato Salad

 It’s the perfect side dish to make for a picnic, pot luck or when friends come to visit.  I sometimes add it to some mixed greens and make a meal out of it.

Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil Potato Salad

Recipe: Approx. 10 -12 Servings

  • 1 Recipe Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette
  • 2 1/2 Pound Red Potatoes
  • 1 Cup Aged Asiago Cheese
  • 2 Red Bell Peppers
  • 1/2 Red Onion
  • 1/2 Packed Cup Basil
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt or to taste


 Make the sun-dried tomato basil vinaigrette and set aside (you can make the day before)

Bring water to a boil for the potatoes, while your waiting for the water cut the potatoes in to small, bite-size chunks.  When the water is boiling drop in the potatoes and boil for 12 – 20  minutes.  Make sure and check on them in about 10 minutes, you don’t want mushy potatoes or to hard.  When they are done pour in to a colander and rinse with cold water or put in the refrigerator to cool

Roast the red bell pepper, remove the burnt skin, stem and seeds

Dice the bell peppers, dice red onion, chop the basil, and finely shred the asiago then put in to a large bowl with the vinaigrette, salt and pepper, stir well and add the potatoes and mix carefully

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Hello Vino

Hello Vino is one of our favorite app’s for selecting a wine.  We love how it makes it so simple by asking you what you are cooking/eating.


 You can also select your geographical location to find deals on wine as well.


 The app will give you a list of a few wines to choose from based on highly rated wines, wines specifically recommended for you and value wines $10 & under.


This is our favorite feature!  Check out this app on your smart phone or tablet and                   happy drinking!

Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Vinaigrette

Our friends are coming to visit this weekend for a beach day/picnic and I thought I would make a potato salad with this vinaigrette.  It has been so sunny and warm lately and this is a perfect compliment to the weather.


 This is an Italian inspired vinaigrette that would compliment any Italian salad along side of any Italian meal.


Recipe: Approx. 2 Cups

  • 1/2 Cup Sun-Dried Tomatoes
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Basil
  • 3/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/3 Cup Champagne Vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup Filtered Water
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 2 Small Garlic Cloves
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • Dash Black Pepper


Measure and add everything to a food processor or blender a puree until smooth

Health Benefits:

Sun-Dried Tomatoes are very high in anti-oxidants, just one cup has 23 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C and 16 percent of vitamin A.  The Vitamin C in dried tomatoes helps your body absorb the high iron content as well. They are high in potassium which helps prevent and lower high blood pressure. These tomatoes are very high in dietary fiber compared to raw tomatoes.

* If you have diabetes be careful  before adding sun dried tomatoes to your diet as they are high in natural sugars.

Fresh Basil has anti-aging,anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.  The herb contains exceptionally high levels of beta-carotene and vitamin A and is rich in zea-xanthin an anti-oxidant that helps protect age-related macular disease.  It has a good amount of Iron and also helps to detoxify the liver.  It contains phytochemicals that may lower cortisol, a hormone secreted when you’re stressed that causes weight gain, so add some fresh basil to you water or tea.

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Spring Kale Salad with Tangerine Champagne Vinaigrette

This beautiful kale salad will have you coming back for more!  The flavors of the Tangerine Champagne Vinaigrette and fresh basil are incredible along with the crunch of the fennel, radishes and sliced almonds.


Start by making the  Tangerine Champagne Vinaigrette (You can make the day before)

Wash the kale and tear the leaves off stems then chop in to small pieces and put in to a bowl with the tablespoon of olive oil

Massage the oil in to the kale very well

Chop the basil and red cabbage, slice the radishes, shave or finely shred the asiago, measure everything and add to bowl

Cut the stalks off the fennel, cut in half and cut out the core then cut the halves in half and slice as thin as you can and add to bowl

Measure the sprouts, almonds and vinaigrette, add and mix everything really well

You can add the vinaigrette to individual salads if you prefer


Recipe – 4 – 6 Servings

  • 3/4 Cup  Tangerine Champagne Vinaigrette or to taste
  • 1 Head Kale or 7 Cups Chopped Kale
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Basil
  • 1 Fennel Bulb
  • 1/2 Cup French Breakfast  Radishes (can substitute regular)
  • 1/2 Cup Red Cabbage
  • 1/2 Cup Arugula Micro Sprouts (can substitute any sprouts)
  • 3/4 Cups Aged Asiago Cheese Shavings
  • 2/4 Cup Toasted Sliced Almonds

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Passion Vid – Do affirmations work? How to use them! With Erin Stutland

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