Posts tagged ‘salad’
There is a standing joke among a few of my friends that I eat “rabbit food.” Just because my favorite food group is vegetables and have compulsive buying problems when produce goes on sale does not mean that my food is fit for bunnies. Vegetables should never be bland! Health food is not the twigs and grass salads of old… Just ask my friends in my Bible study who enjoyed this salad with me! On first glance, it is a healthy shade of brown, and there are pieces of veggies sticking out of every spoonful. However, this salad is addictive. One guy told his wife, “See, I could eat something like this every night of the week!” Everyone loved it so much they asked for the recipe – good thing I took a few pictures to post on my blog. ;)
The salad was inspired by a Google search of Israeli cous cous salads, which led me to the Food Network. It combined some of my favorite summer veggies and flavors, and I could not pass up the craving since summer weather was premature in Boston this past week! (80+ degrees on Thursday, in Boston, in March?!) I decided to adapt it to use roasted instead of grilled veggies, and added some wheat berries for extra texture. This was such a good idea – the chewiness added a lot of depth to the texture of this salad. The result is a filling and healthy salad that will never be mistaken for “rabbit food” again! The leftovers are even better as the flavors come together, and are great over mixed salad greens for a little extra veg!
Great Grains Salad with Summer Vegetables
adapted from this recipe, serves 8-10
2 cups Harvest Grains Isreali cous cous blend
1 cup wheat berries
1/4 cup +3 T Balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
2 T Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
1 small yellow squash, roughly diced
1 small zucchini, roughly diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 T dried basil
2 T dried parsley
salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine garlic, olive oil, 1/4 cup of the vinegar, and 1 T of the mustard. Stir to combine. Add cut vegetables and coat; let sit for 15-20 minutes. Spread vegetables onto a greased baking sheet, reserving leftover marinade. Roast vegetables for 10-15 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Meanwhile, prepare the cous cous blend and wheat berries, separately according to package instructions. Mix the grains, vegetables and remaining marinade together. Allow to cool. Before serving, mix together the remaining 3 T vinegar with 1 T mustard. Dress the salad, add the dried herbs, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate and serve cold or room-temperature
Salads seem to be the pinnacle of healthy eating for many people – they can be a great way to load up on veggies, cut back on calories, and feel light and clean. However, salads can also be pretty unsatisfying. My friend, who is trying to be healthier for her New Years Resolution, is famous for her complaint. “I had a salad for lunch, and I’ve been starving all day!” It is always disappointing when your $12 salad from the salad bar leaves you wanting more just an hour later! Salads that are too low in calories can be a bust for any dieter, since it will lead to unintentional and mindless snacking later. Salads can also be unassumingly high in calories as well! At many chain restaurants and fast food establishments, salads contain more than 600 calories, which is more than most dieters bargain for. If most of these calories are coming from salad dressing and low-protein, high fat toppings, hunger will strike more quickly as well. So how do you make a salad that will stick with you but not on you?
In order to make salad eating more sustainable, I have figured out a few tricks to help me stay full and satisfied throughout the afternoon. First of all, portion control does not apply when it comes to salad bases. I have polished off a whole head of Romaine lettuce in one sitting before! Salad bases can include more than just lettuce, too. I include other veggies, like broccoli, peppers, carrots, or spinach as part of my salad base. They are voluminous but not calorie-dense, so volume is not as important. Next comes the good stuff, the stick to your ribs in a healthy sort of way. Avocado, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit help add flavor, interest, and dimension to a salad. This makes it less boring, more satisfying, and more filling. Protein is also important, whether it is through beans, nuts, seeds, tofu, etc. My favorite salad topping is chickpeas! Last step is the dressing: I am not a fan of pre-made salad dressings since they tend to have a lot of added salt and sugar, and can often be laden with hidden chemicals. My stand-by dressing is Balsamic vinaigrette, but recently have enjoyed some unexpected oil-free combinations. Hummus and Balsamic vinegar can make an interesting creamy salad dressing, and nutritional yeast, Dijon mustard, almond milk and water make for an interesting cheesy dressing. Salad dressing and toppings can be the place where calorie counts creep up on salads, so portion control is more important here. However, using real ingredients to make your salad satisfying will help keep your body running well!
My recent and unexpected favorite salad add-on: roasted Kabocha squash. Kabocha squash, also called a Japanese pumpkin, is a sweet, orange squash that I have recently come to love. I cut it in half, scooped out the seeds, and then sliced it into squash fingers. After sprinkling these with chili powder, cumin and salt, I roasted them in a 350 degree oven for about a half hour. I sliced the squash from the rinds and then cubed it over a giant salad base of Romaine lettuce. I added some green peppers, carrots, chickpeas, and avocado. Topped off with the unexpected nutritional yeast-mustard dressing, I was in salad beast heaven. I actually made this dinner two nights in a row, it was that good! The squash that wasn’t added to my salad was enjoyed like sweet potato fries, dipped in a bit of BBQ sauce. I will definitely have to get another squash before the winter squash season is over!
Question: Are you a salad fan? What is your favorite salad combo?
Happy Wednesday everyone! I have had the best few days at home and have thoroughly taken advantage of my vacation from school. For anyone still facing 2 more days at work, keep that sweet holiday vacation in the forefront of your mind… Christmas will be here soon! My days have been filled with baking Christmas cookies, making awesome meals with my mom and sister, crafting, gift wrapping, and relaxing on the sofa. I could get used to being this spoiled with so much free time pretty quickly! Here is a peek into my day that isn’t spent hunched over textbooks for hours on end. Be sure to check out Peas and Crayons and the WIAW link party for other weekday meal ideas.
I enjoyed sleeping in and waking up to no alarm. I caught up on some blog reading from bed on my phone, snagged a handful of peanut butter pretzels, and then went out for a short run. I am finally over the worst of my head cold and was itching to get outside. I only made it a mile, but it felt good to just get out and get moving. After a short set of free weights and a shower, I made eggnog spiced oatmeal. I am not a huge fan of eggnog because it is too thick and sweet, but like the way this hints at the Christmas time classic. A little banana for natural sweetness, with vanilla and rum extracts, cinnamon and nutmeg for eggnog flavor. I loved it the way it was, but my sister added a bit of brown sugar to make it taste more like classic eggnog. A great and filling holiday breakfast either way!
My mom is much better stocked with salad veggies and fun condiments than I am, so I enjoyed making a killer salad for lunch. Red leaf and romaine salad, carrots, radishes, snap peas, roasted broccoli, goat cheese, and black bean and corn salsa – salad heaven! With a slice of bakery bread on the side, I could barely finish! My eyes were bigger than my stomach, and I had to sacrifice a few of the snap peas.
I spent the rest of the day at my friend’s house for a crafternoon. I am really excited about what I made, all out of recycled magazine pages! The top is a coaster, then a pair of earrings, and what will soon become a necklace. I was Pinspired again, and was happy to have a few hours to kill making a craft. It is much easier than it looks, so check out the tutorial and give it a try.
My mom and I love coming up with dinner creations based on what we have lying around the fridge and pantry, and tonight’s meal was a definite winner! We sauteed up about 1/3 head red cabbage, 1/2 head green cabbage, 1/4 of a large red onion, and 4 grated carrots in some sweet ginger sauce, and then made vegetarian dumplings out of them. A quick boil to cook the shell, and dinner was ready! Enjoyed with some shelled edamame and what was left of the dumpling filling for a delicious, vegetarian meal! (My dad has had
vegetarian vegan dinners 3 nights in a row now without too much complaining – now that’s a good dad!)
My sister and I made our last batch of Christmas cookies, so of course some taste testing had to happen! We like to create characters out of our Gingerbread men, so I chose to eat the “Running Man Gingy” since I love to run! These were our best ever Gingerbread men, and our best looking ones too! If you are looking for Christmas cookie recipes, check out my posts from earlier this week, and stop back tomorrow and Friday for the last two!
Question: Are you on vacation yet, or are you still counting down the days?
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Well, sort of. Christmas is definitely my favorite holiday, but the weeks leading up to it are always stressful and crazy. Too much work, too many social engagements, and not enough time to squeeze everything in. Let the countdown begin until my last exam, after which I can truly celebrate the holidays. Not to mention that the sun sets on Boston at 4pm, making days seem even shorter! Because it is the holiday crunch time, this post will be mostly pictures of What I Ate!
A day filled with lots of class, but lots of good food! Need veggies and carbs for brain power! ;)
Around the start of this blog, I was in a carrot conundrum. There are only so many carrot sticks I can eat before feeling like I am about to sprout some bunny ears! I am facing a similar predicament again! Getting 3-4 huge carrots every other week in my Boston Organics box is posing quite the challenge. Yes, I could put them on my “no” list and take a carrot break for a while, but they are tasty and delicious when you find a use for them… Time to bring back the carrot slaw!
I didn’t have cumin seeds on hand this time, so I just used a heavier sprinkle of ground cumin. I also didn’t add the olive oil since I dressed the salad later. To use up some other box produce, I decided to expand this salad. Use whatever you have on hand as a base – I happened to get romaine lettuce and alfalfa sprouts, but I am sure spinach or spring mix would be just as good! Honestly, the dressing pulls everything together in this salad, and is light and refreshing, so do follow the recipe for this component! It leaves you with a nice lemon taste upon finishing the salad – none of that onion or garlic breath that plagues too many good lunch salads. Enjoy the fresh flavors and spice up those carrots!
Question: What is your favorite carrot recipe?
Carrot Slaw Salad
serves 4 for lunch
1 head romaine lettuce, washed and cut into bite size strips
1 clamshell alfalfa sprouts
1 recipe carrot slaw (requires about 3 very large carrots, or 4 smaller ones)
1/4 cup hummus
juice of 2 lemons
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried parsley
In a large salad bowl, combine the lettuce and alfalfa sprouts. In a separate bowl, mix together the carrot slaw. In a third container, combine the hummus, lemon juice, olive oil and parsley. Stir until well combined. Top the greens with the carrot slaw, and then drizzle with the dressing. If preparing one salad at a time, store these three components in separate containers until assembly.
Time for another WIAW! Thank goodness this is a short week! I really needed Monday to recover from my half-marathon and other related festivities! I spent the day doing laundry, prepping snacks for the week, and enjoying good muscle-recovery food. Here is a glimpse into my day of domestic recovery!
I woke up much earlier than planned because I was starving! I guess running 13.1 miles the day before will do that to you! I grabbed a handful of granola and tried to fall back asleep, but eventually gave in and got up. I am done with my sugar fast, so I enjoyed jam again for the first time in three weeks! One of my favorite combos on toast is berry jam with goat cheese, and this sandwich was made extra special by homemade blackberry jam from my visit to Italy and fancy bread from the pre-race pasta party.
I spent most of my morning catching up on blog writing and reading, cleaning, doing laundry, and making snacks for the rest of the week! I made these bars from Miss Smart, and enjoyed a few bites as I was rolling them out! I also made these cookie dough balls from Chocolate Covered Katie, taste testing a bit here and there!
Vitamins and minerals in leafy greens are also essential for muscle recovery, so I made myself a big raw kale salad! Angela recommends allowing the kale to marinate in the dressing for 15 minutes, so that is what I did. The result: balsamic marinated raw kale with cranberries, celery and almonds. I was surprised at how good this was! The kale softened a bit in the dressing and had more flavor and crunch than normal lettuce leaves. And how could a combo of balsamic, almonds, and cranberries be bad?
I received a bag of whole almonds as a gift, and just couldn’t let them go to waste! I spent some time shelling them, and then made Chelsey’s cocoa roasted almonds. I probably nibbled as many cracked almond pieces as I did get successfully shelled almonds, but at least nothing went to waste. ;) And now I have a great study snack to satisfy any chocolate cravings I might have in the next few weeks! Afternoon snacking was rounded out by a crisp apple, though not pictured.
My original plan for the afternoon was to make a Roasted Garlic and Potato soup that I have been daydreaming of for a while, complete with some homemade bread, but the unseasonable weather changed my mood! After having the oven on for only 20 minutes to roast the almonds, I decided it was way too hot out to make soup and bread. I pushed that recipe back into my head until it cools down later in the week, and settled on some leftover barley and beet risotto instead. Served with a little shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese on top – just as good as the first time! My night was finished off with a handful or two of BBQ potato chips and a glass of red wine while studying with a friend – a little splurge to treat myself for the previous day’s work!
Hope to be making that soup later today now that fall is back in Boston… stop by later this week to see the results!
Question: What is the best thing you ate today?
So happy that it’s Wednesday! The last of our lectures for the cardiovascular section is today, leaving me with just 1 1/2 more days of intense studying and then 3 whole days off… As exciting as a distant long weekend may be, Wednesday is even more exciting because of Jenn’s What I Ate Wednesday Party! Hope you have had some great meals so far this week!
I woke up early and didn’t want to wake my roommate up while banging around the kitchen, so I snacked on a clementine until a more decent hour. When the sun was finally up (even though my roommate still wasn’t!), I decided to try a new oatmeal bake: peanut butter and banana. I mixed 1/2 cup oats with 1/4 cup milk, 1 tsp ground flax, 1 tbsp peanut butter, 1 tsp vanilla, and 1/4 mashed banana. I baked it at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, broiled it for another 2 minutes, and then coated it with another swipe of peanut butter and sliced banana. Paired with a huge cup of coffee, it made for the perfect morning!
I am not usually a salad for lunch kind of girl because I get hungry too quickly after. But my Boston Organics box this week was packed with veggies begging for salad use! I packed myself a big salad with red leaf lettuce, baby spinach, sprouts, carrots, dried cranberries, and balsamic hummus dressing. I always keep the dressing separate when I bring a salad to go so I don’t have leak problems in my backpack en route, and so the lettuce isn’t soggy by the time I get there! No lunch is complete without fruit – a plum and another clementine!
Mid-afternoon snack: 4pm
As predicted, I was hungrier than normal mid-afternoon, after walking to and from school (my bike lock broke, so I am foot mobile until my new one comes!) and spending a lot of brain energy in an exam review. I inhaled this bowl of grapes while settling back down into study-mode.
I am so thankful roommate dinners are back! It is great to cook and share conversation together, and have an excuse to slow down for an hour or two. Plus, we usually make some pretty fantastic food! As we enjoyed a bowl of butternut squash soup with some toast, we decided that fall flavors were our favorite. Pumpkin, squash, apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger – so much warmth in fall food!
If we weren’t convinced of our love for fall enough, this bowl of sugar-free apple crisp sure set us over the edge!
Be sure to come back tomorrow for the Butternut Squash and Apple Soup and the Sugar-Free Apple Crisp recipes!
Question: Are you a seasonal food lover? What is your favorite fall flavor?
Figgy pudding. Fig Newtons. That used to be my only understanding of figs. And I was not a fan. That all changed when I ate my first fresh fig this summer in Bosnia. Azra had green figs, and Melissa and I were weary of them at first because you could pretty much just grab one and eat everything but the tiny stem at the top. Inside, the pink fruit was unique and like nothing I had ever seen before. There, I learned to love figs. They are sweet, not to juicy, and easy to eat. I definitely ate my fill while I was gone, in everything from sandwiches to gelato!
I thought my fig season was over when I returned, since they are usually quite expensive in the States when you can find them, not to mention that I had never even seen them at my grocery store. Costco, however, was selling figs when my mom went shopping for Amanda’s rehearsal dinner. Remembering how much I loved them, she bought a case of them and split them between us. Now my fridge is was filled with figs! I ate probably about half of them plain, but had fun finding other flavor combinations. Some good breakfasts:
Question: Have you tried fresh figs before? What is your favorite way to eat them?
Fig, Goat Cheese, Cucumber and Hazelnut Salad with Balsamic Viniagrette
for 2 lunch salads
small head of lettuce
2 oz goat cheese
4 figs, quartered
2 pickling cucumbers, sliced and quartered
2 tbsp hazelnuts, toasted and slightly chopped
4 tbsp balsamic viniagrette
Toast the hazelnuts in a toaster oven for 5-7 minutes until warm. Rip lettuce into bite sized pieces. Top each bowl with half the cucumbers, goat cheese, figs and hazelnuts.Drizzle each salad with 2 tbsp balsamic viniagrette, or simply dress with oil and vinegar.
Over the weekend, I received some beautiful tomatoes and cucumbers from my friend Azra’s mom. I was too sick to attend their family BBQ with little ones running around, but, as I have said before about Bosnian moms, she needed to make sure that I still was well-fed from afar. Her garden must be incredible, based on what I received! The tomatoes were huge, and the cucumbers were perfect (too big and they get bitter). What else would you do with a Bosnian’s gift other than make a tomato and cucumber salad?
Does that picture make anyone else want to sing silly songs with Larry? Veggie tales anyone? I’m the only one? K, just checking!
I was so excited to be back in the kitchen – I find myself there so much less than over the summer since I’m now only cooking for one! I chopped up my tomatoes, and then started prepping my cukes… only the veggie peeler was no where in sight! I searched through the silverware drawer, and then the cooking utensil drawer, both to no avail. I even looked through the dish rack (confession: without putting away the dishes…) and had no luck! Did the peeler sprout legs and walk away from me over the summer? I gave up and attempted to peel the largest of the cucumbers with a knife. I lost a lot of good cucumber flesh that way, and quickly became frustrated. For the next two, I gave up. I decided that the cucumber skins were safe enough, and so I just halved them with the skins on!
I did not stick to the traditional route for this salad, which is literally just a mix of these veggies, but decided to add a little of my own flare. I added some chickpeas for protein, a little onion, garlic, Balsamic vinegar, basil and olive oil for flavor. The result: amazing. Maybe I was starving for my morning run, or maybe it was exactly what my body was craving, but this was the best salad I have ever eaten. Of course, the fresh mozzarella I topped mine with didn’t hurt! Even better, the flavors will come together even more as it sits in my fridge and waits to be used as leftovers. Maybe I will add a bit of pasta or cous cous to it next time to avoid leftover boredom…
And for the end to the tale of the missing veggie peeler… I went back later that afternoon to unload the drying rack so I could wash my dishes from cooking. As I was putting away the utensils, the peeler magically appeared in my hands! Hadn’t I looked there already? Guess the lesson is learned about emptying the drying rack!
Question: What is something you have misplaced lately? Did you find it? If so, how?
Mediterranean Summer Salad
makes 4 servings
1 can chickpeas, well rinsed
3-4 tomatoes, cut in bite-size pieces
2-3 cucumbers, cut into half moons
1/2 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp freshly chopped basil
salt and pepper to taste
Wash the vegetables thoroughly, choosing numbers based on the size of your produce. Chop the tomatoes with a sharp knife into bite sized pieces and put aside in a bowl. Cut the cucumbers, either peeled or unpeeled, into rounds, and then in half again into half moons. Finely chop the onion and garlic, and add to the vegetable bowl. Drizzle with Balsamic vinegar and olive oil and allow to sit. Rinse the chickpeas thoroughly, and add to the vegetable mixture. Top with freshly chopped basil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve cold as is, or mixed with cheese, pasta, cous cous, or on top of lettuce.