Easy Caprese Salad



It turns out I was wrong all those times I thought it was the hottest day of the summer because, according my my girl Jeriann, today is supposed to be the hottest yet! We’re talking a heat index of 110 – ahhh!!

Are you tired of my weather babble yet? Us Midwesterners find it a frequent topic of convo since it can turn on a dime! ;)

At any rate, sometimes the heat can make my appetite a little wonky (it’s already 84 degrees out), so I decided a nice & light breakfast platter sounded especially refreshing this morning.


Let’s see, what do we have here… A juicy, candy-sweet peach.


My Mom always used to sprinkle powdered sugar on our peaches when we were little – I loved that!


Some exotic pineapple,


and a homemade Zucchini Bread Muffin. They survived the night! ;)


Each of one these babies clocks in at around 200 calories and contains a fraction of the sugar that most other zucchini breads have. Plus, I substituted half the oil the original recipe called for with unsweetened applesauce!


Which, I was appalled to find out that most applesauce found in stores have high fructose corn syrup AND corn syrup in them. WHY? WHY must companies add that crap to innocent, delicious applesauce?!


Musselman’s was chock full of the stuff, but luckily my trusty Hy-Vee store-brand applesauce was devoid of all weird, corn-related products! Sheesh!


At any rate, the applesauce combined with the zucchini gave me a moist, dense, oh-so delightful muffin. These are AWESOME!


Cool, filling and just what I was craving on this hot Midwestern morning. :)



From salad plate to salad bowl – I made a chopped up version of my Caprese Salad for lunch today!


In the mix:

  • Mixed greens
  • Spinach
  • Cucumber
  • 2 Roma tomatoes
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese
  • Torn fresh basil


This salad is to die for, I’m telling you. The epitome of special!


I didn’t feel like making a true balsamic glaze on the stovetop, to drizzle on top, so I played culinary MacGyver and tried cooking it in the microwave.


MacGyver fail. I got about a minute and a half in before the balsamic vinegar started bubbling and spurting everywhere. D’oh! I let it go in 10 second intervals before giving up, lest I need to replace my microwave entirely. It did get a tiny bit thicker, and will compliment the Italian dressing I have at work to dress this with nicely!


Rounded out with a crunchy, Pink Lady Apple!


Giveaway Winner

The winner of yesterday’s Terra Chip Giveaway is…

Lesli: I would want to try A La Mexicana!! P.S. I love how you use those AE Yogurt containers to hold your carrots!

Congrats Lesli! Email your mailing address to IowaGirlEats@gmail.com to claim yo’ chips. And thanks for the compliment. ;)


It’s Three Question Thursday time, y’all!

1. Would you rather be too hot or too cold?

2. What do you unnecessarily collect (pc term for hoard!)? Movie stubs, socks, jewlery?

3. Flip flops, flats, sneakers or heels. What’s your favorite kind of shoe to wear?

My answers:

1. Easy. Always too hot. I’d rather it be 110 degrees everyday, then 10 degrees!

2. Cards. I know! I can’t throw them away! I have stacks of them bundled together with rubber bands. Birthday cards, thank you cards, just saying hey cards. Ben hoards t-shirts and my Mom hoards chargers. Doesn’t matter if she doesn’t even own the item that needs charging anymore! ;)

3. FLATS. Love them!!!!

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  1. 1. Too cold! I HATE being hot. You can always warm up but can’t always cool down!
    2. Candles and lipgloss.
    3. Heels! 5 inchers to be exact – since I’m so short.

  2. 1. Too hot. I’m always freezing. ALWAYS.
    2. Ticket stubs, candy/nutrition bar wrappers, wine corks, cards
    3. Sneakers. They’re just so comfy and fit for most any occasion!

  3. Nikki Sue 08.12.2010

    1. Too hot! Too cold is the worst!!!
    2. T-shirts. I have so many!
    3. Heels! Even though I’m 5’7, I like the tall ones!

  4. Stephanie 08.12.2010

    1. Too hot. Which it has been well above 100 for much of the summer here!
    2. Cooking magazines. Hey, I may want a recipe later!
    3. Flip flops!!!! I’m a beach girl at heart :) I will usually wear them until the bitter winter arrives haha, I adore them!

  5. emily 08.12.2010

    1. Too cold, at least I can deal with that cheaply! I’ll always choose a sweater over a.c.
    2. Buttons. I always save the extras that come with pants, jackets, etc. but since I store them in a big jumble it’s not like I could actually use them if I lost a button.
    3. Flip flops!!! I grew up on an island, it’s instinctual!

  6. *Andrea* 08.12.2010

    1. too hot! i hate shivering
    2. shoes! way too many.
    3. heels when i go out to bars/clubs… love being tall and i feel sexier in heels haha. otherwise you can find me in rainbows a lot. best flip flops ever

  7. 1) too cold. i can always put on more clothes!
    2) ummm i hate throwing anything away. so i have all my journals, all the cards/letters/etc. i have ever received, etc. so basically- anything with any sentimental or potential useful value. :)
    3) flip flops. or no shoes at all. :) flats slip off my feet, but i’d love to wear them!

  8. Sara 08.12.2010

    It kills me when I see HFCS in stuff it shouldn’t be in, like Sara Lee bread!!!! I could NOT believe my eyes when I read the ingredients list. Shame, shame.

    1. That’s tough…probably too hot. Ever since I started college and had to walk outside in the “extreme” GA cold (aka, 40 degrees), I’ve discovered how cold intolerant I really am.

    2. Hmm…I guess I kind of hoard coffee mugs and Disney memorabilia…

    3. Flip flops. I’m tall and flip flops are the easiest to put on…and they’re the comfiest!

  9. Mellissa 08.12.2010

    1) Like Jessica, I would much rather be cold. I can’t stand being hot.
    2) Makeup, I have WAY too much of it.
    3) High Heeled Boots, I look forward to wearing them :)

  10. lauramich 08.12.2010

    My absolute favorite muffin recipe is the Chunky Monkey Muffins by Frances Largeman-Roth; I’ve used it as a basis for blueberry, pumpkin, and cranberry-orange muffins, and I may need to try zucchini as well. (Yes, I’m the “fabulous reader” who contacted Largeman-Roth about the recipe, and she was so unbelievably enthusiastic and gracious that I’ve just got to give her a plug.) I’ve just been avoiding turning on our oven at all costs until the heat breaks. I have some baking to do for work, but I am going to get up early tomorrow to do it.

    Once upon a time, I would’ve said that I’d rather be too cold than too hot, with the logic that one can always put on more clothes to warm up, but one can only take off so many clothes to cool off. But since I lost weight (I’m maintaining a ~140-pound loss), my tolerance for cold has plummeted. I have to say, though, that these 110-degree heat indexes have been too much even for me!
    I don’t know if it’s “unnecessary,” but I’ve taken to collecting canvas shopping bags. As in, if I’m visiting from out of town, I will go to a grocery store and spend $1–$3 on a canvas bag. I have a couple of IGA bags from Seattle, and Harris-Teeter and Earth Fare bags from a recent trip to North Carolina. Now, every time I shop, I have a little memory of the trip!
    Sandals! I love, love, love my Tevas!

  11. Sami 08.12.2010

    1. i’d rather be too cold than too hot. being too cold isn’t always visual, but being too hot always leaves sweaty proof!

    2. i hoard receipts! seriously. i was just cleaning out a drawer and found one from ’01!

    3. my favorite shoe of choice is probably loafers. sooo comfy…that or flip flops!

  12. heather 08.12.2010

    The last comment is me to a T!
    I would much rather be to hot. I live in Utah and we can range from -5 in the winter to 105 in the summer. We definitely have weather extremes.
    I too collect mugs and disney stuff hence the full cupboard of mugs in my kitchen which a high number of are disney. (My favorite is a “its a small world” mug.
    I know its not a type, but crocs are my favorite shoe to wear. I have all kinds. I know most people find them horridly ugly, but I have flip flops, furry ones, and sandals that you can’t even tell are crocs. They have definitely come a long ways from the originals.

  13. Faith 08.12.2010

    1. too cold. You can always put on clothes. I hate being too hot and sticky. I can’t think when it is hot.

    2. I can’t throw away cards either. ha. My husband laughs at me. I just love getting and re-reading cards.

    3. I think flats are my favorite to wear, but sneakers are so much more comfortable for walking around at work. I am an engineer in a manufacturing plant and I do a lot of walking on concrete floors.

  14. Lizzy @ LBBakes 08.12.2010

    1. I love this question – I always ask people it in extreme weather. :) I think I’d go with cold. I feel gross when it gets really hot. I never feel gross when I’m freezing. And you can always layer up!

    2. Hmmm, what do I hoard… magazines! So many people recycle theirs, but I actually organize mine by date and collect them. It’s sort of like a book collection. :)

    3. All of the above! I can’t go anywhere without sneakers, never know when I might need an impromptu run! Flip flops are a summer essential. And heels are always fun!

  15. Bridget 08.12.2010

    1. I can’t stand being cold. It literally hurts me so being hot is ok in my book.

    2. I hoard lip gloss and sunglasses. I need to have plenty around!

    3. I love wearing my comfy Nike flip flops in the summer and my Ugg boots in the winter. Comfort is key!

  16. I noticed that about Musselman’s last time I bought apple sauce. HFCS is like, the 2nd ingredient listed which is crap because that brand likes to think it’s higher quality than other brands. I buy applesauce for my 9 months old.. can you imagine all that HFCS in his system? Ugh, it’s so aggravating.

  17. kellyO 08.12.2010

    I would much rather be too cold. I can put on a sweater, but there are only so many items of clothing I can take off!

    Strangely, I seem to collect kitchen gadgets. So many spoons, peelers, whisks!

    Tennis shoes. Comfort is my goal…

  18. Angharad 08.12.2010

    I am getting SO sick of this heat! The heat index was way up in the 100s here yesterday and it’s still so humid! Ugh! Running is just not on the agenda…
    1. My body does a terrible job of regulating temperature so I honestly hate both. I guess I hate winter/cold more but it’s hard to think of that right now!
    2. I hoard cards too!
    3. Flats! I absolutely live in flats and love em!

  19. Dawn Patricia 08.12.2010

    1) Too hot! Have you ever been so cold you feel like your bones are literally freezing? Eek!
    2) I don’t buy a lot of one certain thing, but when I get one, I tend not to ever get rid of it… concert/band t-shirts! I have SO many of them, some from the 70s and 80s that I’ve picked up at vintage stores. I’ve been told I have a few that are worth quite a bit of money!
    3) Sneakers /skateboarding shoes-I’ve worn them forever and they are so comfortable! I never wear heels…ever. My feet literally hurt when I see people in them. Ouch!

  20. Melissa 08.12.2010

    1. Too hot! I am cold about 9 months out of the year & actually lose circulation in my fingers & toes, so I’ll take hot any time!
    2. Wine corks. Cards. Chapstick. Nail polish. (I didn’t realize I was such a hoarder!)
    3. Heels! I would wear heels every day if I could. I just always feel confident & put together when I wear them.

    PS–Totally coveting your lunch today! Fresh basil is the jam!

  21. Kristie 08.12.2010

    definitely prefer too cold, you can always put on more clothes. Also, I would wear flip-flops everyday if work would allow it and they weren’t bad for your feet.

  22. I am SO OVER high fructose corn syrup winding up in so many products. It annoys me to no end!

    1) Definitely too cold. I HATE being hot. You can always put on my clothes, but if you’re hot naked, you’re in trouble!
    2) NOTHING. I am a compulsive throw-awayer.
    3) Flats, definitely.

  23. Eve P 08.12.2010

    1. Too cold, Love being able to wear jeans, a sweatshirt and still cover up with a blanket. I hate, hate, hate shorts.
    2. Cookbooks. Now with three children under 5 I don’t get to use them much. We go for simple, easy to chew, and midly exotic. Someday….
    3. Heels. Make me feel more dressed up and put together.

  24. Sarah 08.12.2010

    I love the natural Musselman’s applesauces that are just fruit + water :)

    1 – Too cold! It’s always easier to put more clothes on, but you can’t always take more off!

    2 – I collect tacky magnets! My favorite is an alligator crawling out of a toilet from Florida…it’s the tackiest of all – you can even see the glue holding it together :)

    3 – For outside of work I love sandals, at work I love high heels Mon-Thurs and flats on Fridays!

  25. Katy 08.12.2010

    Try Musselman’s Unsweetened Natural! I’m pretty sure it’s just apples, water, and ascorbic acid! :)

  26. Laura J. 08.12.2010

    1. Too cold! It’s so much easier to warm up than to try and cool down. I’d much rather snuggle up in a blanket with hot cocoa than stand in under the AC vent, ha :)

    2. I hoard workout/fitness magazines. And the dumb thing is I rarely go back and actually use the workouts from them, ha.

    3. Flats and cute sandals all the way. I think I’ve worn heels maybe 3 times since I’ve had kids. :-P

  27. Rachel 08.12.2010

    I buy the exact same Hy-Vee Applesauce for the very same reason! I noticed HFCS on the last bottle of Worcestershire sauce I bought, which really irked me. It’s supposed to just be vinegar & anchovies. What is sugar doing in there?!!

    As for shoes, I love sneakers–Primarily skater shoes. I have more pairs of them than Tony Hawk or anyone over the age of 21 needs. And I’m not a skater–They’re just really comfortable!

  28. Melinda 08.12.2010

    Look for unsweetened apple sauce (or no added sugar) and you should not have a problem. Sugar is sugar in the end, the body can’t really tell the difference between HFCS and table sugar. It is all turned into glucose in the end for use in the body. If you go unsweetened, it eliminates any added sugars.

    I like granny smith apples, so I get the Mott’s granny smith no sugar added, and there is no HFCS or anything else, and it is super tangy. The other thought is to make your own apple sauce.

  29. Emily 08.12.2010

    1. Too hot. But honestly, the weather is OOC (out of control) this year. We haven’t had a day that hasn’t been above 90 in 62 days.
    2. I collect koozies. Oh and I keep cards/sweet notes from Big Guy (my boyfriend).
    3. I love struttin’ around in heels. They’re not always practical but I love them. But just roaming around – I love love love my Jack Rogers. I want a pair in evvvvvvvvvery color combination they sell.

  30. Ms.S 08.12.2010

    Wow! Thank you for pointing that out about the applesauce. It’s so easy to make that I think I’ll stick to my homemade stuff from here on out. Stupid corn syrup.
    1. This lady is not made for hot weather – I’d rather be too cold. I can always put more layers on and add blankets…but you can only take so much off.
    2. I hoard yarn. Lots and lots of yarn. Which is fine when I’m on a crocheting kick, but not so great when I’m not (currently not).
    3. Heels are my favorite, though I rarely wear them (and can’t last long in them when I do).
    My grandma hoards cards, too, but she tears the backs off of them, mounts the pretty fronts on colored paper, and laminates them with clear contact paper to make placemats. Her Christmas and Easter ones are lovely! :)

  31. Julie S. 08.12.2010

    Hi Kristin,

    I substitute applesauce for ALL the oil when baking, & it turns out great! I really think baked goods are even moister when using applesauce instead (not to mention WAY healthier!).

    1. I am cold all the time & hate it so I’d have to say too hot, although it is easier to rectify too cold.
    2. I am not a pack rat. Can’t think of anything I hoard… although I do have lots of photos that will never be put in albums. (I put the good ones in the albums then stick the rest back in their envelope & into a pile on a closet shelf they go!
    3. sandals of any kind (flats or heels) – love the open toes!

    East Sider night tomorrow night at IA State Fair!!

  32. Run Sarah 08.12.2010

    Love your chopped caprese salad – yum!
    1) Much rather be too hot – I’m always cold.
    2) I keep birthday cards too – I have ones from my first birthday!
    3) Much prefer flip flops – would wear them year round if weather permitted.

  33. kate 08.12.2010

    I was glad to get out of Pennsylvania since they had such a warm summer but it has been just as hot here! Ugh! I keep trying to remind myself that well be knee deep in snow soon!

  34. Maura 08.12.2010

    1. I’d totally rather be too cold. You can always layer. You can’t always strip ;)Well, I guess you could. But it might get weird..lol
    2. Cards. It’s really unnecessary. I hord cards from birthdays, holidays, and ex-boyfriends(?) past. I wish I had enough sense to toss them but I can’t seem to let go of them!
    3. Flats! (I really want to say flip flops because I love them to death but they are so bad for your feet!!)

  35. tia 08.12.2010

    1. I’d rather but to cold, it’s usually easier for me to warm up then cool down. (Plus, I’m use to it now, in the winter the weather here gets to -50 at times, Silly Northern Canada LOL!)
    2. Cards, and movie stubs lol I have some from when I was in the 9th grade! (I’m 22 now!)
    3. Sneakers, either sketchers or KSwiss.

  36. stacy 08.12.2010

    1. too hot for sure!
    2. flip flops
    3. obviously, flip flops

    oh, and just wondering … what is does “heat index” mean? i’m from California where if the thermometer says 75, its feels like 75!! :)

  37. sassy molassy 08.12.2010

    1) too cold (i think)
    2) photos AND impt letters and cards (especially from my grams)
    3) sneakers

    Your lunch looks easy and delish! Mmm…

  38. Terin 08.12.2010

    1) too hot- I hate having cabin fever all the time because I’m stranded.
    2) bobby pins and hair ties- I find them everywhere, my apartment, my car, my office. I have unruly hair and have to keep them on hand in case of a bad hair day!
    3) flip flops!

  39. Sara 08.12.2010

    I love three question Thursday! :)
    1. I would rather be too hot. Growing up in Phoenix cause my body to acclimate to the warm weather now. If it’s not higher that 75 degrees out, I’m cold.
    2. I don’t think I unnecesarily collect anything.
    3. Flip flops!!

  40. AJ 08.12.2010

    1) too cold – because you can always put more on to try to warm up, but there is only so much you can take off in public
    2) I am also a card hoarder. I thought that I was crazy, but apparently from reading the comments a lot of people do save those! I actually do look at them when I am feeling super down, though, and then I feel better. =)
    I also hoard cords (ie internet cords, power cords, whatever) because you never know when you’re gonna need some type of cord. I guess. I don’t have a very good explanation for that one.
    3) I like barefoot the best!!!

  41. Elyse 08.12.2010

    1) I would SO much rather be too cold! I’ve lived in Texas all my life and I am done with being miserable from the heat all the time.

    2) My thing to collect used to be a shotglass from any place I went, but lately I have been really into coffee mugs. It’s getting a little too crowded in my kitchen, but personally I think you can never have too many mugs!

    3) I like barefoot or flip flops!

  42. Jaci 08.12.2010

    1. Always too hot! This Iowa summer is toasty, but I do not want to relive January again next year!
    2. Old college notebooks/testbooks/Power Point presentations, etc. Even 4 years post college, I STILL have convinced myself I might need them again!
    3. Flip flops!

  43. Mac 08.12.2010

    The Iowa Little League team was playing in the World Series today and they helped me get through my run :) Unfortunately they weren’t doing that well.

  44. Amy 08.12.2010

    1. Love it being Too Hot!

    2. running shoes which leads to the next question….

    3. see above :)

  45. erica 08.12.2010

    1. too cold! i hate being hot and sticky. at least if you’re cold, you can bundle up and it’s a good excuse to cuddle ;p

    2. i’m such a hoarder! i save little ticket stubs and things from trips/events/movies….

    3. flip flops. it’s the hawaii in me.

  46. Cynthia 08.12.2010

    The chopped caprese salad looks good!
    1. Always too hot – hate the bitter cold
    2. Hair accessories and shoes – I have so many of both that my husband built me a seven feet high by four feet wide, six shelf shoe rack with hooks on each side to hang my accessories on. Which by the way is still not big enough for all of my shoes. Can you say SHOPAHOLIC!!
    3. 5 inchers for a night out. But you’ll always see me wearing flip flops or UGGS.

  47. Erika 08.12.2010

    Hot…Cold… I like whatever season I’m in. But I’m definately not ready for the hot to be done yet – espically after last winter!

    I use to collect tags – like the store tags off of clothes. Not sure how that got started, but I don’t really collect anything now.

    My feet love flip flops!

  48. Kelly F 08.12.2010

    1. Cold! – I think its always the opposite of what you live in… my mom is fron NW Iowa and HAAAATES the cold… and I’m from Texas and hate the hot!

    2. Nothing really…

    3.flats!! but i do love my heels when I go out!

  49. 1. Too cold. I can always add more layers if I need to, but there’s only so much to take off if it’s hot,

    2. Honestly, I collect pens like it is nobodies business. I don’t know why, but I just started doing it, and now I love them.

    3. Flip flops all the way. Well, if they’re appropriate. I love to be comfortable, and I never got the hang of heels.

  50. nicolekj 08.12.2010

    I went through the whole HFCS problem in applesauce when buying it for my young boys. If you get the unsweetened, you get no HFCS and no artificial sweetners. If you get the no sugar added, you have to watch out for the artificial sweetners (also not good for young children). There are a couple of brands that have flavored applesauce (peach, cherry, raspberry…) that are sweetned with fruit juice.
    1. I prefer to cold when pregnant and too hot when not pregnant.
    2. baby socks- as if i am going to find a match.
    3. flats

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