Spiralized Tzatziki Cucumber Salad

Last weekend, my friends Deb and Matt had us over for a Huskers watching party!  When the weather gets cooler and football season begins, it gives us yet another reason to get together… and who doesn’t love watching the Huskers play while sitting outside on their fabulous patio?  Such a great night!

I always try to bring something on the healthier side to bashes like this.  And, actually, unless it’s dessert, I really don’t make anything that I don’t consider to be healthy.  The group as a whole tends to be very pro-cucumber, so I knew this would be a hit… and an excuse to get out that new spiralizer of mine (still in love, y’all!)

Spiralized Tzatziki Cucumber Salad | No Thanks to Cake

This salad comes together quite quickly, with the help of a good spiralizer (this is the one I bought)… I even spiralized the red onions, just to see what would happen.  I think it made the dish even more perfect.  I call it my “tzatziki” salad because it tastes like that crazy good Greek cucumber sauce you get with gyros… you know, the one you want to eat with a spoon?  Well, grab a fork, this salad will fix your craving… 

Spiralized Tzatziki Cucumber Salad

Adapted from First Home Life Love

Makes 5 cups

INGREDIENTS

Spiralized Tzaziki Cucumber Salad | No Thanks to Cake

2 English cucumbers + 1 regular cucumber

1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced

1 cup light sour cream

1/4 cup fresh dill, minced

3 Tbsp. white wine vinegar

2-3 garlic cloves, finely minced

1 tsp. sugar, salt and fresh black pepper (more to taste)

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Peel your cucumbers and cut them in half to prepare them to be spiralized.  If you don’t have a spiralizer, you can always simply thinly slice by hand or with a mandolin.

Spiralized Tzaziki Cucumber Salad | No Thanks to Cake

2.  Use the blade that creates noodle-like cuts, and spiralize your cucumbers, catching them in a large bowl.

Spiralized Tzaziki Cucumber Salad | No Thanks to Cake

Spiralized Tzaziki Cucumber Salad | No Thanks to Cake

3. Use the same blade to cut your onion, and great ready to see pretty pretty spirals…

Spiralized Tzaziki Cucumber Salad | No Thanks to Cake

4.  Place the onion and cucumber spirals in a large bowl.  Toss them, and break them up every once in a while (so as to make sure that it’s not just one big cucumber noodle.)

Spiralized Tzaziki Cucumber Salad | No Thanks to Cake

5.  In a medium bowl, make your sauce.  Mix to combine the sour cream, vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar, and dill.  Whisk until combined well.  Note:  I added the full 1/4 cup dill, but tested it along the way… for some reason, I was nervous about all that fresh dill.  It was amazing in the end, don’t be afraid! 

Spiralized Tzaziki Cucumber Salad | No Thanks to Cake

Spiralized Tzaziki Cucumber Salad | No Thanks to Cake

6.  Add the dressing to the vegetables.  Note:  Do not mix the veggies and dressing more than 1 hour before you want to serve it.  Also, the dressing will thin out significantly due to the cucumbers having such a high water content.  You’ll have tons of dressing leftover, but it’s all good… I actually saved it and added it to another batch of cucumbers for a second round of salad!

Spiralized Tzaziki Cucumber Salad | No Thanks to Cake

Spiralized Tzaziki Cucumber Salad | No Thanks to Cake

7.  Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve (no more than 1 hour for best results.)  Note:  I ate the leftovers the next day and they were completely soupy and marinated and tasted amazing!  

Spiralized Tzaziki Cucumber Salad | No Thanks to Cake

Spiralized Tzaziki Cucumber Salad | No Thanks to Cake

Spiralized Tzaziki Cucumber Salad | No Thanks to Cake

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Spiralized Asian Cucumber Salad

I’ve fallen in love with a new kitchen utensil.  I recognize I’m a little late to the game… but completely enamored with this spiralizer.

Paderno Spiralizer | No Thanks to Cake

While I don’t enjoy zucchini or any of the super-trendy zoodle dishes that are out there, I still have found plenty of dishes to enjoy with this fun tool.

I’ve spiralized beets, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and mostly cucumbers.  I’ve made sweet potato fries, roasted beets, and this delicious Asian cucumber salad…

Spiralized Asian Cucumber Salad | No Thanks to Cake

 

There is something AWESOME about cucumbers… especially when they are in the form of noodles.  You can enjoy them as you would pasta… but with none of the guilt!  I definitely see more (and more!) cucumber salads like this in my future and here on NTTC.  Enjoy the first!

Spiralized Asian Cucumber Salad

Adapted from Gourmande in the Kitchen

INGREDIENTS

Asian Cucumber Salad | No Thanks to Cake

2 small scallions, thinly sliced

1/2 tsp. garlic, minced

1 tsp. fresh grated ginger

1/2 tsp. toasted sesame oil

1/2 tsp. olive oil

3/4 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce

a dash of crushed red pepper flakes

a pinch of sea salt

1 cucumber, spiralized

1 cup steamed broccoli

sesame seeds, as garnish (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  In a small bowl whisk together the scallions, ginger, garlic, toasted sesame oil , olive oil, soy sauce, red pepper flakes.

2.  Taste and add a pinch of salt if needed.

3.  Steam broccoli in the microwave, and rinse with cold water to cool.

Spiralized Asian Cucumber Salad | No Thanks to Cake

4.  Toss the cucumber noodles with the ginger scallion sauce,  and toss gently again to combine.

Spiralized Asian Cucumber Salad | No Thanks to Cake

Spiralized Asian Cucumber Salad | No Thanks to Cake

5.  Add steamed broccoli.  Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and serve.

Spiralized Asian Cucumber Salad | No Thanks to Cake

Spiralized Asian Cucumber Salad | No Thanks to Cake

Per 1/2 recipe serving:

CAL 68; CARB 10g; FAT 3g; PROT 3g; FIB 2g; WW Points Plus: 2

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Saturday Adventure Day

Way back in May, Tiffany and I started looking at calendars to pick a date for our planned “Adventure Day.”  With 2014 being the busiest summer ever, the first weekend where we both had a free day open wasn’t until August 2.  That seemed so incredibly far away, but we wanted to make sure we got it on the calendar.

Within a blink of an eye (because that’s how fast this year has been flying by), August 2nd arrived and we jetted off!

First Stop:  A Quick Brain Damage

You’ve probably seen me post on Instagram about the infamous Brain Damage coffee drink at Dazbog Coffee.  Well, during our Adventure Day, I wanted to make sure I introduced Tiffany to its deliciousness.

Dazbog Brain Damage | No Thanks to Cake

What is this amazing drink??  It is pretty much the best frozen coffee drink on the planet… and you can only find it in Northern Colorado.  They use mocha, shots of espresso, and the BEST part… chocolate-covered espresso beans.  All blended to perfection!  I also love that they make it fresh – no mix! – and you can customize it to make it “your way” – for me, that’s sugar-free, non-fat.  Delish!

The verdict:  My Colorado BFF loved this drink as much as I do!  What a great way to caffeinate for a long car-ride!

Next Stop:  The Shambhala Mountain Center

Our travels took us further north… not to Wyoming, but to Red Feather Lakes, CO to the beautiful Shambhala Mountain Center.  It had been about 10 years since I had travelled to this area, so I was excited to get back.  The Shambhala center hosts spiritual retreats, meditation classes, and getaways.  People travel from all over to see this beautiful place… and soon you’ll know why.

It’s tucked away from the main path, and I always think it’s a sign that I’ve left civilization when the roads are no longer paved.

Shambhala Mountain Center | No Thanks to Cake

About 2 1/2 hours from Denver, we arrived at our destination parked our car and started our trek into the property.  On our way to a very sacred spot in the mountains, the 20 minute walk/hike was totally worth it… even in flip flops!

The Great Stupa | No Thanks to Cake

The main attraction here is The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya Which Liberates Upon Seeing.  And, it is a breathtaking site.  

The Great Stupa | No Thanks to Cake

It’s hard to believe this shrine is tucked away in the middle of the mountains.  What stands out most when you see it in person is the brightly colored features and the gold accents.  So unusual to see in this natural backdrop.

As you approach the stupa, you first see an alter of sorts where many have left items behinds.  Offerings, gifts… and the most random of items.  We got close enough to see the items, but you don’t dare touch any of them… they were all placed there with purpose.  Who am I to alter them?

The Great Stupa | No Thanks to Cake

 

The Great Stupa | No Thanks to Cake

As we approached the stupa, I got really excited.  From my previous trip, I remember the energy inside being amazing and I was excited to get inside – – to spend a little time in silence.  But, a few pics before we walked inside…

The Great Stupa | No Thanks to Cake

From the Shambhala Mountain Center Website:  Stupas are said to promote harmony, prosperity, longevity, good health and peace. They bring blessings to the environment in which they are built, to those who build them, and to those who visit and venerate them. In this way, stupas ensure that the living quality of the Buddhist teachings will always be available.

The Great Stupa | No Thanks to Cake

Taking off our shoes and leaving them outside, we entered the stupa to find two others seated inside and a few others exiting.  It was quiet and perfect inside, and keep in mind… this is the first thing you see when you walk in the door.

The Great Stupa | No Thanks to Cake

So majestic, yet so peaceful.

I found a seat and settled in to meditate for a few minutes.  I’m not a master meditator, by any means; however, my yoga practice has taught me how incredibly powerful breath can be… and I love to practice.

The Great Stupa | No Thanks to Cake

After about 10-15 minutes in silence, my eyes opened up, feeling refreshed and just happy.  There is something about this place, I tell ya… the energy is fantastic.  Before leaving the room, I spent some time looking around… noticing all the ornate details… and just soaking in that beautiful energy.

We left shortly after, stopping to watch a video along the way… and then deciding to simply take a selfie instead of sitting through the video.

The Great Stupa | No Thanks to Cake

The Great Stupa | No Thanks to Cake

The walk back was gorgeous… with lots of wildflowers and beauty along the way.

Colorado Wildflowers | No Thanks to Cake

The Great Stupa| No Thanks to Cake

Third Stop:  Refueling in Fort Collins

When we arrived at the car, we were officially STARVING.  We raced back to Ft. Collins to have lunch at Coopersmiths.  Ready to refuel, we each enjoyed the Coopers Pub burger with a side of cucumbers.  I love that you can get a side of veggies and ranch, instead of fatty fries or onion rings.  Genius!

The Great Stupa | No Thanks to Cake

After lunch, we headed over to O’Dells Brewery.  They have a beautiful tasting room, and this was officially my first experience “beer tasting” in Colorado.  I know… I live in a beer state, but I’d never been!

O'Dells | No Thanks to Cake

And… while the tap room was cute and the beer was cold, I think I’ll stick to wine tasting.  Just not a huge fan of beer, but I was glad to have experienced O’Dells just the same!

O'Dells | No Thanks to Cake

After our stop at O’Dells, we made our way back to Denver convinced that we need to schedule another fun adventure day like this again soon!

 

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Cucumber Avocado Salsa and a {GIVEAWAY}

I got a HUGE shipment of chips last week from one of my favorite healthy chip companies!  And, they’re a Colorado company too!

Avocado Cucumber Salsa | No Thanks to Cake

OMG… don’t they look amazing??  My new friends at Snikiddy sent me their whole line of Eat Your Vegetable Chips.  These tasty chips are not only loaded with vegetables, but they also come in the most amazing flavors!  You can eat them without feeling guilty for having chips!!

My friends at Snikiddy are also giving you a chance to win some of your very own to try!  But before we give them away, let’s talk about how I served them.

With the 4th of July holiday upon us and having just got home from a trip, I was determined to incorporate the chips into my menu for the week.  First, I made my favorite taco salad, subbing the tortilla chips for Jalapeño Ranch flavored Eat Your Vegetables chips – – So good!!

Taco Salad with Eat your Vegetables Chips | No Thanks to Cake

And, on 4th of July, I decided to try a new dip, combining two of my favorites:  Avocado and Cucumber.  This was a HUGE hit with my friends Tiffany and Alex!

Avocado Cucumber Salsa | No Thanks to Cake

We loved this dip!  It was cool, fresh, and just perfect for a hot day.  I’ll definitely be making it again!

Avocado Cucumber Salsa

Adapted from What’s Cooking at Home

INGREDIENTS

Avocado Cucumber Salsa | No Thanks to Cake

2 ripe avocados, cut into small cubes
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into small cubes
5 scallions, finely sliced
1 Tbsp. lime juice
2 Tbsp. sour cream
¼ cup prepared ranch dressing
1 tsp. chili powder
salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Cut the avocado into small cubes and toss with lime juice in a medium size mixing bowl to prevent avocado from turning brown.

Avocado Cucumber Salsa | No Thanks to Cake

Avocado Cucumber Salsa | No Thanks to Cake

2.  Add cucumber and scallions.  Note:  Rather than dice my cucumbers, I just put them in the food processor.  Chopped in seconds!

Avocado Cucumber Salsa | No Thanks to Cake

Avocado Cucumber Salsa | No Thanks to Cake

3.  Mix in sour cream and ranch dressing.  Add chili powder.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Avocado Cucumber Salsa | No Thanks to Cake

Avocado Cucumber Salsa | No Thanks to Cake

4.  Refrigerate before serving.  Note:  Storing the avocado dip with the nut in it also helps to keep the avocado from turning brown!

Avocado Cucumber Salsa | No Thanks to Cake

5.  Serve with Snikiddy’s Eat Your Vegetables – Sea Salt chips and enjoy!!  Let’s get a closer look at it…

Avocado Cucumber Salsa | No Thanks to Cake

Avocado Cucumber Salsa | No Thanks to Cake

Avocado Cucumber Salsa | No Thanks to Cake

Now that you’ve seen how I’ve been pairing my Eat Your Vegetables chips, it’s time for you to win a batch of your own to sample and create with!!

Eat Your Vegetables Chips Giveaway

Enter via the Rafflecopter below, and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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