Spinach Salad with Strawberry Jam Vinaigrette

Spinach Salad with Strawberry Jam Vinaigrette | coffeeandquinoa.com

Maybe I’m being too sensitive, but I feel repeatedly insulted by my dry cleaner.

It’s not just the prices, although those are absurd. It’s only recently that I started buying clothes (read: silk blouses) that I can’t just throw in my trusty Dryel bag to “dry clean,” and it’s hard to stomach more than $10 to clean a piece of clothing I already paid too much for.

But no, it’s the tags they attach to my clothing that get under my skin.

“It is our professional opinion that this stain cannot be removed.” That was attached to one of my blouses a few weeks ago, inducing immediate panic. I searched it high and low for a stain – I hadn’t known it had one! – and eventually came to the conclusion that they meant it had some underarm discoloration. Translation: It is our professional opinion that you sweat an ungodly amount. Well, sorry!

I wore that blouse on a Monday, and spilled coffee down my front, first thing. I wish I were kidding.

Spinach Salad with Strawberry Jam Vinaigrette | coffeeandquinoa.com

Most recently it was an Anthropologie sweater that I decided was worth dry cleaning because I was afraid I’d ruin it any way I attempted to clean it. It’s super delicate – a really loose weave, almost like a lace sweater, if that makes any sense – and I can barely put it on over my earrings without it catching. But when I picked it up from the dry cleaner it had a big bold tag that said “ATTENTION: DO NOT DRY CLEAN.” Might as well have said  “ATTENTION: LEARN TO READ” because when I checked the tag, sure enough, “do not dry clean.”

I guess that one’s my fault. But the chances of that “hand wash cold” foolishness happening? Roughly 0%. No, I take that back. Exactly 0%.

We’ll see what the dry cleaner has in store for me next time. Do they notice if I stretch stuff out?

In any case, may this not be the kind of Monday that starts with an insult and a coffee stain on your shirt. May this be the kind of Monday where you make a salad dressing out of jam!

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Layered Asian Salad with Sesame Ginger Dressing

Layered Asian Salad with Sesame Ginger Dressing | coffeeandquinoa.com

The final wedding countdown is on! 12 days, you guys. TWELVE DAYS.

Nate and I were in Atlanta this weekend at our friends Sara and Anthony’s wedding. Sara and I got engaged right around the same time, and were checking with each other as we planned our weddings to make sure we picked different dates. So all year, I’ve known that we were flying to Atlanta for their wedding, and then ours would be just around the corner. Being there this weekend made our wedding seem SO REAL!

Not to mention the fact that they had the most beautiful wedding ever. It was at her parents’ house (an old horse farm), very Southern rustic, very DIY. It was absolutely perfect, and I can only hope I’ll look half as overjoyed as I walk down the aisle as my lovely friend did! Except I know I’ll look terrified instead. I remember distinctly from my sister’s wedding the feeling of not being able to control my facial muscles as I walked down the aisle because I was so nervous. The chance of that happening at my own wedding is preeeetty much 100%. I will be clinging to my dad for dear life!

Layered Asian Salad with Sesame Ginger Dressing | coffeeandquinoa.com

I was crossing my fingers that I’d be going through a quiet spell at work in the weeks leading up to the wedding, to give me a little spare time to take care of last-minute wedding details. Instead, pretty much the opposite is true. Isn’t that always the way things work? Everyone is being super understanding, and I’m trying to stay focused and not take advantage too much. Because of that, easy salads like this are going to be our best friends over the next week or so!

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Avocado Horchata Smoothie

Avocado Horchata Smoothie | coffeeandquinoa.com

Green smoothies are the name of the game today. Funny-lookin’? Oh ja. Delicious? You betcha.

Let’s kick it off with my top 5 reasons you should make this smoothie:

5. It’s vegan.

4. It’s silky smooth from the avocado.

3. It’s like horchata, but healthy!

2. “Horchata” is fun to say.

1. And the number one reason you should make this smoothie is… {drum roll please} that you will get it all to yourself because it is green and gloppy but secretly delicious.

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Chocolate SunButter Banana Ice Cream

Chocolate SunButter Banana Ice Cream

If you’re vegan, I’m willing to bet you’ve made banana ice cream before. You know, the magical kind made with nothing but frozen bananas that is somehow amazingly similar to dairy ice cream? I used to make it frequently, but after a while it slipped off my radar (once I got an ice cream maker, probably). However, Nate requested it again recently and I couldn’t believe how long it had been since I whipped some up!

Plain banana ice cream is pretty good, but I like mine best with a tablespoon or two of nut butter and cocoa powder. It’s so good, you’d swear you paid $6 for a tiny pint of it, not made it yourself out of bananas that were ripened beyond recognition.

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Moroccan-Spiced Roasted Carrot Dip

Moroccan-Spiced Roasted Carrot Dip

So I’ve finally made the acquaintance of harissa. For the last year, I’ve seen other bloggers making delicious spicy recipes with this spice blend I’d never heard of. I kept vowing to try it… then returning to my lazy, familiar ways. But a little tub of it caught my eye at the farmer’s market on Martha’s Vineyard, and I knew I’d regret it if I procrastinated further. Plus, who doesn’t like to come home with some foodie souvenirs from their travels?

Moroccan-Spiced Roasted Carrot Dip

As it turns out, I probably should have left the harissa, because I spent my last cash on it. When Nate and I went to apply for our marriage license minutes later, neither of us had the $4 that it cost, thanks to his farmer’s market coffee and my harissa purchase. We actually had to ask my dad for $5 to apply for the license! Now there’s a story for our kids – Mommy and Daddy were so poor they couldn’t even afford to get married for $4. It’s kind of romantic, right? (We can leave out the part that Mommy had just paid more than that for a gourmet spice blend and Daddy was feeding his expensive latte habit.) That’ll teach me to walk past the ATM on my way out of the airport…

Moroccan-Spiced Roasted Carrot Dip

It was the harissa dip I sampled at the farmer’s market stand that put me over the edge towards buying it. That dip, made with yogurt and cream cheese, was nothing like this one, but I wanted to try out the harissa and carrot combination I’d seen all over the blogosphere. Also, Nate read The China Study while we were on the Vineyard, and he’s convinced me we should try to be a liiittle more vegan again. (Although I probably had you fooled with Monday’s recipe, which contained three types of dairy and an egg.) In any case, a carrot dip seemed like a good place to start with making a dent in my new tub of harissa.

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