Smoky Grilled Pretzel Panzanella Salad

cpretzelpanz2There are two things we absolutely love in the world of food right now: the smoky, summery aroma of grilling and being surrounded by fresh, bright produce. Thanks to Shelly from Vegetarian Ventures, we’ve found both of these wonderful things all packed into one deliciously healthy recipe!

If you haven’t heard of Panzanella before, not to fret. A bread-and-salad dish originating in Tuscany, panzanella typically consists of bread soaked in your favorite flavors and grilled to perfection, mixed with tomatoes and other light summer veggies. This is the perfect recipe to make from bread that’s going stale, mixed with fresh-picked garden vegetables galore.

Even better- it’s super simple. Prepping the veggies and bread on the grill gives this salad that superbly smoky flavor that so reminds us of breezy summer nights eating outdoors. This Pretzel Panzanella recipe uses red wine vinegar and mustard as the main sources of flavor, working wonderfully with the saltiness of the pretzel bread. If you’re looking for something sweeter, try Shelly’s Grilled Maple-Bourbon-Glazed Panzanella from last summer, complete with succulent grilled peaches and a sweet maple dressing.

GRILLED PRETZEL PANZANELLA SALAD

  • 1 loaf of pretzel bread (store bought or homemade), sliced in half lengthwise like you are tomatoescutting sandwich bread to put topping between the two pieces
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into one inch chunks
  • 1 red onion, sliced thick (or into one inch thick chunks)
  • 1/2 cucumber, sliced into one inch thick chunks
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon grainy mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • 1 teaspoon cilantro leaves
  • 3/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • Salt / Pepper

Prepare your grill in your usual fashion (charcoal or gas grill is fine). Transfer the bell pepper, onion, and cherry tomatoes to a grill basket. Use a tablespoon of olive oil to spread over the bread on both sides and coat the basket vegetables with 1/4 cup olive oil. Once your grill is ready (you want it to be hot but not so hot that everything will burn right away), add the basket to the grill and let the vegetables cook until the tomatoes are almost ready to burst and the veggies have brown spots all over them, making sure to stir the vegetables frequently to prevent burning. Remove from heat and transfer to a serving dish.

Place the pieces of bread on the outer edges of the grill (once it has cooled a bit and isn’t as hot as it was with the vegetables) and let cook for just 30 seconds or so on each side, paying careful attention to check often to prevent burning. The time for this is going to vary greatly since your grill is going to be a different temperature so be mindful to watch it closely to avoid over-cooking the bread. Remove from grill and set aside to cool. Once cool enough to handle, cut into 1 inch thick pieces and add to the grilled vegetables. Add in the diced cucumber.

Whisk together the mustard, vinegar, spices, salt, and pepper. Slowly add in the remaining olive oil while whisking constantly until emulsified. Drizzle over the salad and toss to coat. Enjoy!

cpretzbread42*Salad can be made up to 4 hours ahead of time.

**If you don’t have a grill basket then grill your vegetables in large chunks and slice smaller once they are finished grilling.

About Vegetarian Ventures
Vegetarian Ventures is a vegetarian food blog that shares vegetarian and vegan recipes with a twist of adventure and inspiration. Shelly is a 20-something year old, fresh out of college who lives in the heart (if you’d like to call it something of that kind) of the Midwest. She works with indie-rock music by day and blogs by night.

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How did this recipe go for you? Have you tried Panzanella before? Enlighten us in the comments below!

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Spruce Up Your Porch with These DIYs!

Fotor_porchDIYThere’s nothing like hanging out on the porch during the summer. During the sunniest of days, porches offer some much-needed shade to protect you from the heat with a tall glass of your favorite flavored lemonade. When summer thunderstorms roll around, there’s nowhere better to experience that crash of thunder and steaming lightning than a comfortable, dry home porch. It’s the perfect way to experience a more subdued version of the outdoors we often crave during the summer months.

With all of that time spent on the porch, it makes sense to spice up the decor a little. It doesn’t have to be expensive! With a bit of time and patience, anyone can whip up these DIYs to make your porch an extra comfortable, relaxing and peaceful place. Try them out! We’d love to see your progress.

1) Seashell-Adorned Table
2) Jute Light Shades
3) Porch Pillow Ottoman
4) Outdoor Day Bed
5) Headboard Porch Swing
6) Recycled Dustpan Potted Plant

How do you make your porch look great during the summer months? Which DIY will you try? Spill in the comments below!

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A New, Zero-Waste Grocery Store!

originalunverpacktNext time you head over to the grocery store, take a look at your cart. How much of your food is surrounded by plastic, paper or cardboard? Probably a large percentage. Even some of the healthiest foods (pre-packaged kale, quinoa, etc.) are found in packages these days, material that is utilized once and thrown to the wayside once the food has been consumed.

The Problem with Packaging
With each American averaging 4.6 pounds of trash per day, this packaging is an important consideration in reducing our environmental impact. While some food packaging can be reused for a limited time, most of it gets thrown away or, at best, recycled. But what if there was a way to eliminate a large portion of this packaging, starting from the source: the grocery store?

A Possible Solution
Two friends in Germany are doing just that with their new concept: Original Unverpackt. This zero-waste grocery store relies on gravity bins that dispense dry foods into customers’ own mason jars and self-owned containers. All of the food is sourced locally to cut down on transportation miles. The store will contain all the normal foods you find in any of your favorite shopping center: cheese, granola, juices, eggs, pasta, and more. And with the ability to fill your containers with the quantity of your choosing, the store allows for a reduction in household food waste as well.

What can you do?
This concept is a wonderful milestone in the fight to reduce waste and consumption and will hopefully catch fire in the United States as time rolls on. In the meantime, you can cut down on your own packaging by buying from farmers’ markets (bring your own bags and boxes) or utilizing your own jars for bulk items offered at your local grocer.

How do you reduce waste in your home? Would you shop at Original Unverpackt? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below! 

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Welcome our Health & Wellness Shop!

hnwHere at PlanetShoes, we’re super passionate about health. From our blog posts to our recipes to our shoes, we’re so enthusiastic about helping you all make healthy choices that benefit yourselves, the earth and others. Providing you with the shoes you need to be comfortable day in and day out is just one of the ways that we fulfill our passion!

There are so many health benefits one can receive from wearing the right pair of shoes.  That’s why we’ve created our brand new Health & Wellness Shop, to make it super easy to find the good-for-you shoes you crave.

hnw2

The Health Benefits of Wellness Shoes

Better Posture Many of the brands in this shop focus their technologies within the foot bed, creating shoes that mold to the foot and form a comfortable walking position to subsequently improve posture. Kalso Earth Shoes, for example, set the heel slightly lower than the toes in their foot beds, mimicking the feeling of walking barefoot in sand and reducing joint stress.

Strengthen your Muscles The construction of some of our wellness brands can even promote healthy leg muscles. Finn Comfort, for instance, utilizes a convex heel design to help increase both stamina and strength.

Improve Circulation Our Health & Wellness Shop features a collection of compression and health-related socks, great for improving circulation. Whether you wear them on a daily basis, on long plane rides, or a bit of both, compression socks are wonderful for keeping your feet feeling fresh and comfortable for hours on end.

Ease Joint Pain Cushioning, durability and an anatomical foot bed work together to help ease pressure and pain in achy joints. Brands like New Balance, Vionic and Dr. Scholl’s have developed wonderful foot beds that make all the joints in your legs feel at ease.

Increase Overall Happiness & Comfort There’s nothing like a super comfortable pair of shoes to get you through the day. We’ve all been through those days where wearing the wrong pair of shoes lead to misery and pain. Stay both happy and healthy with wellness shoes!

How do you promote daily foot health? We’d love to share your tips! 

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Cooking with Quinoa, Day to Night!

quinoa_fotor2Quinoa is such a fun, delightful little grain. Gluten-free and high in both protein and calcium, it’s a great addition to vegetarian and vegan diets and can work as a wonderful meat substitute for those nights you simply don’t feel like firing up the grill. Even better, quinoa contains nine essential amino acids, making it a complete vegetable protein. It’s versatile, super easy to cook up, and tastes a lot like rice or couscous… easy to flavor any way you’d like!

Whether you’re a quinoa cooking expert or new to the world of this nutty little grain, these recipes will take you all the way from breakfast through dessert, incorporating flavor and nutrition all day long. Cook up a nice big pot of quinoa and start planning this week’s meals today!

1) Blueberry Quinoa Pancakes
2) Roasted Corn and Pesto Quinoa Pizza
3) Cinnamon Apple Quinoa Parfait
4) Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
5) Spicy Chocolate Popcorn with Quinoa Clusters
6) Sriracha Quinoa Bites

What are your favorite unique quinoa recipes? Share them with us in the comments below! 

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