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Pumpkin Peanut Butter

Have you had enough of pumpkin yet?

We certainly hope not, because we have one last recipe to add to the onslaught of pumpkin-themed-everything that you have probably been being hit with for the past month-and-a-half.  If you are tired of it though, perhaps we could change your mind… with a cookie?

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Oh sorry, that’s just the dough- you were expecting the baked stuff, weren’t you?

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*Disclaimer: there may or may not have been a certain amount of dough that did not quite make it into cookies…

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But isn’t it kind of a rule that you always have to taste-test the batter before you bake the cookie?  It is in our house, anyways 😉

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In all seriousness though- these cookies are fantastic.  Who knew that peanut butter and pumpkin could be such a winning combination?  Of course, the chocolate chips just add that extra bit of decadence 🙂

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It’s difficult to describe the texture of these cookies.  They’re soft but dense, sort of cake-like but not quite as light as cake- you know what? Maybe you guys should just try them and decide for yourselves what the texture is instead of letting us ramble on forever, sound like a plan?

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And after all that we completely forgot to mention that these are gluten free!  How silly of us!  We used our trusty‘ol new gluten-free flour blend, of course :).

If you think the peanut butter-pumkin combo is strange, we urge you to give it a shot- we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.  We know we were!

And after you’ve made these cookies, we give you full permission to start into all things ginger bread, peppermint, cranberry, chocolate and Christmas-filled wonderfulness!

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 15-20 minutes
Makes: 12 cookies

Ingredients:

2 c. Gluten-Free flour blend
1
/4 tsp xantham gum
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
1/2 c. pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. liquid honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c. – 1/2 c. chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350F

Combine the flour, xantham gum, baking powder salt and cinnamon in a medium-sized bowl.
In a separate smaller bowl, combine the remaining ingredients except the chocolate chips.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just to combine.  Stir in the chocolate chips.
Cover a baking sheet with parchement paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Drop the dough onto the sheet, about 2 tbsp for each cookie.
Using a floured fork, press the cookie so that it’s flat, shaping them to make them round.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until they are firm enough to be picked up and the bottoms are slightly brown.

~twosaucysisters

What was your favourite pumpkin recipe from this Fall?  Are you looking forward to Christmas baking?  What are you planning to make?

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All Dressed Up

Even though it’s starting to get a little colder (you have no idea how much it pains us to admit that!) we here at Two Saucy Sisters still believe that it is never too cold for a big ol’ salad!

That being said, there are definitely a lot of ways to change up a salad to make it more seasonable.  Adding cooked, cubed sweet potato or squash adds a nice Fall flair, as do some crisp apple slices.  Pair that with some toasty walnuts and creamy goat cheese and you’ve got yourself a pretty tasty fall-ified salad!

But of course, salad just isn’t salad without dressing, now is it?  You could just go with your usual oil-and-vinegar combo, but why not make it a little more special?

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Something you may not know about us is that the house we live in (when we’re not at school) is actually a more than 100-year-old fruit farm.  Most of the orchards are gone now and we only have about 3 acres of the original land left, but we do have a few pear trees that still produce fruit every year.  So, you can imagine that when our gracious father picked us a whole bunch of them, we needed to figure out a way to use them up before they got too ripe.  Who knew the answer would be salad dressing?

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Yup- we made a pear vinaigrette!  It’s a little sweet, it’s a little savoury, and it makes the perfect topping for a Fall-inspired salad!

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This works really well if you just so happen to have a couple slightly over-ripe pears in your fridge.  If you don’t, just leave a pear out on the counter for a day or two and you’ll be ready to make this tasty dressing.  It’s simply a matter of throwing the ingredients in a blender and you’ve got yourself enough dressing for several salads in mere minutes!

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So now you have no excuse not to eat your greens 😉

Happy Fall Salad-Eating!

Pear Vinaigrette

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Prep time: 5 minutes
Makes: ~1 cup

Ingredients:

1 ripe pear
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp white vinegar
dash of salt
pepper, to taste
1/2 c. olive oil

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a blender except for the olive oil, and blend until the pear has been pulverized.   With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream.  Blend for another minute or two to ensure the pear is fully blended and everything is combined.  Adjust seasonings to taste.

Store in a sealed jar in the refrigerator. (Just be sure to set it on the counter a few minutes before using it, and give it a stir before pouring)

~twosaucysisters

Do you ever make fun salad dressings?  What’s your favourite way to jazz-up a salad?

Gluten Free Pancake Crash Course

So now that you’ve had this container of gluten-free flour mix sitting in your cupboard for the better part of a month, are you ready to do something with it?

That’s right, after yet another (and even longer) blogging hiatus, we have returned and this time we come bearing gifts…

And by gifts we mean pancakes, of course!

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Because here at Two Saucy Sisters, we believe that thick, fluffy pancakes should be accessible to everyone- including our gluten-free friends! 🙂

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We decided to go with a basic, plain pancake recipe here to allow you guys to have some fun with it and add whatever you want to them.  Chocolate chips, blueberries, cinnamon and raisins, or maybe for the more adventurous you want to try adapting some of our other pancake recipes- how about banana nut? Strawberry Shortcake?  Pumpkin Gingerbread?  Or why not Chocolate-Banana Upside Down pancakes?  Are you drooling yet? 😉

Of course, we couldn’t just have plain pancakes for breakfast (where’s the fun in that?) so, in the spirit of Fall, we topped ours with a little pear-apple concoction!

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Cinnamon, pears, apples, raisins and a splash of maple syrup goes a looong way, people!

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But before you go running to your kitchen to make these, let’s have a little chat about gluten-free baking.  Well, okay, we suppose making pancakes isn’t exactly baking, per se, but it’s close enough, in our opinions!

The main thing to remember when adapting a recipe to use gluten free flour is that different types of flours have different liquid-holding capacities, so always cut back on the liquid by at least a third, then gradually add liquid in until you’ve reached the consistency you want.  Which leads us to rule #2: when using gluten-free flour, your batter should be thicker than when using standard white or whole-wheat flour.  This is especially true for pancakes if you want them to be thick and fluffy, which is obviously what everyone wants in a good pancake!

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Lastly, you will notice that we added a bit of coconut flour to the batter.  This is not entirely necessary (in fact, our first trial didn’t use it) but it really does help make the pancakes thicker and fluffier.  If you`re worried about a coconutty flavour, fear not because the small amount we’ve added doesn’t change the taste one bit!  Coconut flour is also really easy to find (in Canada you can get it at the Bulk Barn).  But if you decide to leave it out, you may want to cut back on the liquid slightly.

Anyways, now that you’ve been given a crash-course on gluten free pancake making, we hope you enjoy our recipe, and have fun adding all sorts of yummy add-ins to them! 🙂

Gluten-Free Basic Pancakes

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

2/3 c. High-fibre gluten-free flour blend
2 tbsp coconut flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon

1 egg, beaten
1/2 c. milk of choice (add more if necessary)
1/2 tsp vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup or honey
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

Pre-heat a non-stick skillet or pancake griddle over medium-high heat.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.  Combine the wet ingredients in a separate, small bowl.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.

Drop spoonfuls of batter onto the pan (we found these worked better if we made them a little smaller).  Once you see bubbles start to form and the edges begin to cook, flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Keep warm while cooking the remaining batter.  Top with fruit, maple syrup, nuts, or whatever else you’d like!  (Our recipe for the apple-pear “sauce” is below!)

Apple-Pear “Sauce”

1 apple, diced
1 pear, diced
1 tbsp corn starch or arrowroot flour
1 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp raisins
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 c. water

Directions:

Add all ingredients except water to a small pot and stir to combine.  Add the water and bring to a boil.  Cook on high for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.  Turn the heat to low and simmer, stirring every couple minutes, until the apples and pears are cooked and the sauce has thickened.

~twosaucysisters

Have you ever tried adopting a recipe to be gluten-free?  What was challenging about it?

Did You Miss Us?

Hi everyone- long time no see!

We’re pretty sure this is a record posting hiatus for us.  In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if you guys all thought we had given up blogging!  But fear not, we have returned.

As you might remember, we had no internet for two weeks, which obviously made posting a little difficult- our wallets couldn’t handle Starbucks trips every day to use their wifi!  But the thing is, even once we had internet we just had no motivation.  We became very busy with classes, practice, and competitions (we had our first race in Montreal this past weekend!) and we were left with absolutely no inspiration.  Nothing we created really seemed “blog-worthy”, and all of our meals were either re-makes or just thrown together quickly.  In short, we were feeling kind of burnt-out.

But we think we’re ready to join the blog world again.  It may be a slow return, so don’t be surprised if we aren’t posting quite as frequently as we usually do, but we will try not to leave you guys hanging for 3 weeks like we did this time!

And so what are we bringing you on our first post after being MIA for 3 weeks?

Flour.

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Yes, flour. What, were you expecting cake? 😉

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Hey, flour is a main ingredient in cake, isn’t it?  You never know- maybe we’ll try making cake with this flour?  Stay tuned!

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So you’re probably wondering why we’re giving you a recipe for flour since it’s generally considered a raw ingredient that you don’t have to make yourself.  And you’re right to be confused but allow us to explain…

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This is our very own all-purpose (high fibre) gluten-free flour blend!  We decided that we want to start doing some more experimenting with gluten-free baking.  Not because we’re switching to a gluten-free diet or anything- we just like a good challenge 😉

We also want to make our blog accessible and beneficial for everyone- including all our gluten-free friends out there!  Not to mention that we have a couple girls on the team who cannot eat gluten, so whenever we bake for the team we’ll be using this flour.

All the flours we used in this blend can be found at the Bulk Barn (or whatever bulk food store you have where you’re from).  It’s high fibre, too, which makes it a great replacement for whole wheat flour!

So make this flour and then let the experimenting begin!

High-Fibre Gluten-Free Flour Blend

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Prep: 5 min
Makes: 4 cups

Ingredients:

2 c. Brown Rice Flour
1 c. Teff Flour
1/2 c. Corn starch
1/2 c. Tapioca flour

Directions:

Combine all flours in an air-tight  container and combine well.  Store in a cook dark place to use in all of your gluten-free baking.

~twosaucysisters

Have you ever tried using gluten-free flour?  What are your favourite flours to use?

Masters of Disguise

Vegetables are good for you.

Duh

Obviously, one of the best ways to get a nice big helping of veggies is to nice, big salad.  But not everyone loves salad- we get that.  So what are all the non-salad lovers to do?

Disguise their salad in the form of something else…

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Something like pasta!

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Zucchini-noodle pasta, to be precise.  With diced tomatoes and pesto sauce.  And delicious turkey meatballs, of course!

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This is basically summer on a plate, people!  Because if you’re like us, you have a garden bursting with zucchini and tomatoes.  If not, you probably have a neighbour who would be happy to give you some.  At the very least, you most likely have a farmer’s market or grocery store near by that would be practically paying you to take them if they sold them for any cheaper!

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It really is amazing how noodle-like zucchini becomes when you slice it extra-thinly.  Whoever came up with the idea originally (because we are definitely not reinventing the wheel, here!) is a genius, and our hat goes off to him (or her!).

This is also a great dish for people who are trying to cut back on their carb consumption.  Of course, it also tastes really great with a crusty, multigrain loaf of bread on the side, too- which is obviously what we did.  (What can we say?  We are girls who love our carbs!)

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It is also a snap to prepare.  You can make the pesto up to a day or two beforehand if you wish, and you can cook the meatballs while you slice the zucchini.  Once each element is ready, its just a matter of throwing everything together!  Simple as that.

So is it pasta, or is it salad?  You could call it whatever you want- we’re going to call it delicious 😉

Zucchini Pesto Noodles with Turkey Meatballs

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10-15 minutes
Serves: 6

Ingredients:

For the Pesto:

1 c. basil leaves
1/2 cup walnuts
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 c. olive oil
1 tbsp parmesan or nutritional yeast (optional)

For the Meatballs:

2 lbs lean ground turkey
2 tbsp fresh basil leaves
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp onion flakes
black pepper

For the Pasta:

3 large zucchini
3 tomatoes

Directions:

For the Pesto:

Lightly toast the walnuts and set aside to cool.  Mince the garlic and add it to a blender or food processor along with the basil, lemon juice, salt and cheese (if using).  Add the walnuts and begin blending.  When the walnuts have been ground up, start slowly adding the oil, with the motor running, until you have a smooth consistency that is neither too thick nor overly runny.  You may have to stop the motor to scrape down the sides once or twice.  Store in an air-tight container in the fridge until you are ready to use it.

For the Meatballs:

Using your hands, mash up the turkey so that you can form it into clumps that stick together.  Roughly chop the basil leaves and add them to the turkey mixture along with the other ingredients.  Taking about 1.5-2 tbsp of the mixture at a time, form the turkey into small balls.  Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat.  Add the meatballs and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes, turning them so that they brown on all sides.  Place a lid over the pan and cook for another 5-7 minutes, or until they are cooked all the way through.

For the Pasta:

Using a mandolin or a vegetable peeler, slice or peel the zucchini length-wise into wide, very thin strips, stopping when you get to the center where all the seeds are.  Dice the tomatoes into small pieces.  Pour the pesto into the zucchini noodles and toss to coat all the strips evenly.  Place in the fridge until you are ready to serve.

When everything is ready, divide the zucchini evenly among 6 plates.  Top with diced tomatoes and meatballs, and serve.

(You can have the meatballs heated up or served cold, it is up to your own personal preference)

~twosaucysisters

Have you ever tried zucchini noodles?  What creative ways do you like to make sure you’re eating enough vegetables?

No-Bake No-Problem

So, we’re about to open another post talking about the weather.  We hate to be repetitive or predictable, but really, the weather has so much of an effect on what we eat that it really must be mentioned!  At least in this post, anyways.

Because today we’re talking about these:

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No-bake peanut butter banana granola bars!

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You see, we try to always have quick snacks in the house that we can toss into our lunch bags when we go to work.  Lately, though, we’ve been on a huge muffin-kick.  Remember these?  So what do muffins have to do with the weather?  Nothing.  Except that they require an oven…

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And you might recall us mentioning a couple times the heat-wave we experienced a few weeks ago.  Definitely not muffin-baking weather.  Which is where these granola bars come in.

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Our first attempt at these granola bars was made during said heat-wave.  Unfortunately, while they tasted really good, they fell apart very easily and so we knew we needed to give them another try before we gave the recipe to you guys.

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But then the heat wave came to a very abrupt end (as in the temperature literally dropped by about 20 degrees Celsius overnight), and suddenly not using the oven wasn’t such a priority.  But we had already made one attempt, and we knew we couldn’t back down from the challenge!

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On the second attempt, the stars aligned and they turned out just the way we wanted!  Don’t you love it when that happens?

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Confession:  The first time we made these they had chocolate chips in them.  The second time around we went to put chocolate in them again and realized we were all out- yes, it was a shock to us too- so these ones are chocolate-free.  But adding chocolate chips is highly recommended.

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So we’ve put muffin-mania on hold for a few days, because right now we’re all about the no-bake granola bars!  Our oven could use a little vacation, anyways 😉

No-Bake Peanut Butter Banana Granola Bars

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours
Makes: 12 bars

Ingredients:

3 cups rolled oats, divided
2 tbsp chia seeds (or ground flax seed*)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c. chopped peanuts
1 ripe banana, mashed
1.2 c. peanut butter (we used all-natural)
1/4 c. honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4-1/2 c. chocolate chips, optional

Directions:

Grind one cup of the oats in a blender or food processor until it is a fine flour.  In a large bowl, combine the ground oats with the remaining 2 cups of whole oats, chia seeds, salt and chopped peanuts.

In a separate bowl combine the mashed banana, peanut butter, honey and vanilla and stir until it is smooth and fully mixed.  Pour the peanut butter banana mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until no dry spots remain.  You may add the chocolate chips at this point if you are using them.

Line a 9×9 inch square glass dish with wax paper.  Press the mixture firmly into the bottom of the dish and set in the refrigerator for about 2 hours to firm up.  When they are ready, use the edge of the wax paper to gently lift the un-cut bars out of the dish.  Cut into 12 bars and store in an air-tight container in the fridge.

*You can use ground flax seed in place of chia seeds, however we have not personally tried this and cannot guarantee the bars will stay together as well.  If you decide to give this a try, please let us know how they turn out!

~twosaucysisters

What are your favourite no-bake treats?  Have you ever tried making no-bake granola bars?

Simple Sunday: Another Summer Salad

This morning we were reminded just how much we love the Summer.  We went for a run and it was just so beautiful outside we felt like we could have run forever.  And we have to say that so far this has been one of the best running summers we have had in a long time.  Yes, the heat wave we had a couple weeks ago was a bit much (although we refuse to complain!), but that has gone away and left us with beautiful days like today.

But Summer isn’t just awesome because of its blue skies and warm temperatures.  The abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables that can be found at local stands on just about every corner cannot be discounted!  We know we’ve mentioned this many times before and we don’t mean to be repetitive, but every time we eat a fresh tomato from our own garden, or snack on juicy cherries from just down the road, we can’t help but be reminded of how delicious the summer is!

Which is why we made this salad- to showcase the season’s best!

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This salad brings together what in our minds are sort of like the three “stages” of summer produce.  First comes the asparagus in the spring (which is basically like early summer in our opinions!), then you start to get into more of the actual summer months and get strawberries, and then of course the summer is capped off with delicious, sweet corn.

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Of course, there are a million other fruits and veggies that make an appearance during those times, too, like fiddle heads and leafy greens in the spring, cherries, blueberries, raspberries and apricots mid-summer, and peaches are starting to hit the stands now too! 🙂

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Add some chicken and a little tahini drizzle and you’ve got yourself and easy, delicious and fresh-tasting summer meal!  And feel free to change it up a bit, too- local strawberries might be a little tougher to find now, but cherries are out full-force and would work wonderfully in this salad.  The idea is to use whatever summer produce you can find.

We hope you are enjoying your summer as much as we are, and be sure to hit up your local farmer’s market to take advantage of all this awesome food nature has to offer!

Strawberry Asparagus and Corn Salad

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Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20-30 minutes
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:

1 bunch of asparagus, ends trimmed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 c. strawberries, sliced
1 c. corn (fresh or frozen)
1 clove of garlic, minced
salt and pepper

2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper

For the tahini drizzle:

3 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper
2-3 tbsp water

Directions:

Sprinkle the chicken with garlic powder, salt and pepper and bake in a 350F oven for 20-30 minutes, or until done.  Alternatively you can barbecue the chicken over medium heat for 20-30 minutes if you prefer.

Meanwhile, toss the asparagus in olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven for about 15 minutes until they can be easily pierced with a fork, or grill over medium heat for 10-15 minutes.  Set aside.

In a frying pan over medium heat, add a small amount of olive oil.  Add the garlic and corn and saute until the corn begins to blacken a bit.  Turn off the heat and add the strawberries so they cook down just a little bit and release some of their juices into the corn.

Cut the asparagus into bit-sized pieces and add to the pan.  Season with salt and pepper and stir until everything is combined.  Slice the chicken and divide the salad onto separate plates.  Place the chicken on top and finish with the tahini drizzle.

For the Tahini Drizzle:

Combine all ingredients except the water and stir until fully combined.  Slowly add the water until the mixture is drippy but still slightly thick.  Drizzle over top of salad.

~twosaucysisters

What is your favourite part about Summer?  What is the weather like where you live?  How do you like to take advantage of these beautiful days?