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Carrot, Dill & White Bean Salad

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You don’t have to sacrifice flavor in order to eat healthy.  This salad is a wonderful blend of flavors with a nice dose of heart-healthy fat & good-for-you fiber.  It is so good I could eat the entire recipe in one sitting, but since I’m on Weight Watchers, I measured out my portion like a good girl and managed to stick to it by eating fresh tomatoes (zero points!) on the side.  Next time I’ll serve it on a lettuce leaf or even a bed of lettuce to make it even prettier.

Carrot, Dill & White Bean Salad

adapted from 101 Cookbooks

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon fine grain salt
1/2 cup finely diced red onion

1 teaspoon vegetable oil for cooking
2 cups sliced carrots, cut 1/4-inch thick on deep bias
3 cups cooked white beans (I used 1 can Great Northern & 1 can Chickpeas, which equaled 2 3/4 cups)
scant 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill or 1 T dried
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted (optional–I omitted to save calories)

Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and onion in a small bowl. Stir and set aside.

In your largest skillet over medium high heat, toss the carrots with the oil. Let them cook in a single layer – they’ll give off a bit of water at first. Keep cooking, tossing gently every three or four minutes until the carrots are deeply browned. All told, about twelve minutes.

Add the beans and dill to the skillet and cook for a few more minutes, or until the beans are heated through.

Place the contents of the skillet in a large mixing bowl, sprinkle with the brown sugar and pour the lemon-olive oil mixture over the top. Toss gently. Let sit for ten minutes. Toss gently once again, taste and adjust with more salt or sugar or lemon juice if needed to balance the flavors. Serve warm or at room temperature and finish by sprinkling with the almonds just before serving.

Serves 6 – 8 as a side.

Veronica’s Notes: I didn’t have fresh dill and was only able to scrounge up 1 1/2 tsp of dried dill–it was still really good but I could tell it would have been even better with more dill so I left the original amount in the recipe.  Also, for the few of you actually interested, I calculated that this dish (without the almonds) is 9 points if divided into 4 main-dish servings, and 4 points if divided into 8 side-dish servings.

Secret Recipe Club

Old-Fashioned Carrot Cake

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Dennis’ Grandma Joy turned 90 this month, and when I found out there was going to be a family celebration, I immediately volunteered to make the cake.  I jump at any opportunity to aid in a celebration, especially if baking is involved!

She requested carrot, and I was tempted to make The Best Carrot Cake, since it’s my favorite, but I opted to make a more old-fashioned cake because I thought Joy might appreciate a cake that brought back memories. This is my own recipe, adjusted from several I found in cookbooks.

*Update 9-22-09: I received many compliments on the cake at the party, but Grandma Joy recently told me that people at her Church are still talking about that cake and how good it was.  So please take their word for it and not my awful, hastily-taken picture’s representation!

Veronica’s Old-Fashioned Carrot Cake

Printable recipe

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cinnamon
4 eggs
2 ½ cups finely shredded carrots
¾ cup vegetable oil
½ teaspoon freshly grated ginger
½ cup crushed pineapple, well drained & juice reserved
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts
Cream Cheese Icing (recipe follows)

Add enough water or rum to the reserved pineapple juice to equal 1 cup. If you already have a cup of juice, you can add as much rum as you want—you just want at least one cup of liquid. Heat to boiling, remove from heat, and stir the raisins into the hot liquid. Leave to soak.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8 or 9-inch round cake pans & set aside.

Stir dry ingredients together in a large bowl: flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda & cinnamon.

Strain the liquid off of the raisins. Whisk eggs in a medium bowl & stir in remaining ingredients: oil, ginger, carrots, pineapple, raisins (but not the soaking liquid) & walnuts.

Stir the wet mixture into the dry and stir until combined. Divide the batter between the two round pans and bake for 25-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool completely on wire rack, then frost with cream cheese icing.

Cream Cheese Icing
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
8 cups (2 lbs.) sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Cream butter and cream cheese, then add the sugar and vanilla. Use milk or additional sugar to change the consistency to thinner or thicker as needed.  (Most people would use half this amount of sugar, which makes a more creamy frosting, but I make it thick for decorating.)

Makes: About 5 1/2 cups of icing.

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