Posts tagged ‘salad’
Summer happened overnight in Boston, it seems. It has been warmer here than it has been in Southwest FL for the past few days! Now that is hot. When my thermostat reads 88F INSIDE the house, there is absolutely no way you can convince me to turn the stove on for longer than absolutely necessary, let alone even think about using the oven. I have survived 4 Boston summers with no A/C, but if it stays this hot for much longer I might break!
To beat the heat, I end up eating a lot of salads in the summer. While I love my leafy greens, salads don’t have to be so monotonous. Here are some of the things I have been making lately:
A lovely, multi-colored, Mexican-inspired salad that is sure to brighten up any meal. I mixed mine all together right away and have enjoyed it for lunch for the past few days. You can eat it plain, serve it as a side for taco night, or even fill a tortilla with it! For those of you afraid of the long ingredient list, most of the work is just simple veggie chopping! Jicama is the most unfamiliar ingredient, but is a wonderful, naturally sweet, tropical starch-y vegetable that adds great crunch and flavor. I can see this recipe easily becoming a summertime lunch staple! I think it would be fun to turn it into a layered jar salad the next time I make it!
Who said fruit salads are just for dessert? This Mango Blueberry Quinoa Salad also makes for another great lunch salad! The lemon-basil dressing is refreshing, and the blueberries and mangoes are unexpected but delicious. This is a must-make for any fruit lover!
The last summer salad I made to go along with these delicious Chipotle Shrimp Burritos with Avocado Crema. I would highly recommend these burritos – simple, spicy, and flavorful. I cheated on the avocado crema and simply mixed a store-bought packet of guacamole with a spoonful of Greek yogurt, some extra cilantro and lime. To balance out the spicy shrimp, I kept the salad on the lighter side. This literally came together with the odds and ends left in my fridge, freezer and pantry from the week! The palmitos are acidic, soft, and refreshing. The edamame provides protein and substance, and the corn has a great natural sweetness. The dressing is heavy on lime, giving it a nice, fresh summer flavor. It reminds me of a grown-up version of succotash with a little South American flavor. It could easily be made into a main meal by adding some avocado and increasing the portion size!
Question: How do you stay cool on hot summer days? My favorite response from a friend: “I eat popsicles in my underwear.”
serves 3-4 as a side dish
1 can hearts of palm (palmitos), drained and sliced
1 1/2 cups shelled edamame, cooked according to package instructions
2 ears corn, steamed (about 1 1/2 cups if using frozen)
1 cup loosely packed cilantro, minced
3 scallions, greens and whites, sliced
3 limes, juiced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
1/4 tsp salt and garlic powder (or to taste)
Cook the edamame according to package instructions. Allow to cool. Steam the corn for 3-4 minutes. Once cool, cut the kernels from the cob. Mix the corn, edamame, and sliced palmitos together in a bowl. Add the sliced scallions and minced cilantro. Whisk together dressing of lime juice, olive oil, and rice wine vinegar. Season to taste with salt and garlic powder, then stir to combine. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.
You guys remember my awesome roommate, right? She has made her appearance a few times on this blog, mostly during our crazy roommate dinner adventures… You may recall the voluminous winter melon soup mishap or this tasty sugar-free apple crisp we created together. She is getting married in less than a month (yay!) and I was excited to think of creative ways to make her feel loved for her bridal shower a week ago.
First, the non-food details! I had the week leading up to the shower off from school and studying, and so unleashed a bit of my crafty side in making these party favors. The small potted plants were her original idea for wedding favors, but the dirt and the size made them a bit impractical at her venue. Since we held her bridal shower in a park, I decided to make her idea a reality! The 4-inch pots are cheap, about $1 each at the hardware store. The flowers were also bundled in bulk, and so came at a steep discount. The signs also came together easily with some cardstock, popsicle sticks, and gel pens. My grandma and sister were a great help and sat for an hour on the patio with me, making each of the 25 “Let Love Grow Wild” signs in assembly line fashion. I think they came out well, and everyone loved them!
Another paper craft, this time made by a good friend’s mom. On the shower invitations, we asked everyone to bring a recipe for my roommate and her fiance to try out in their new kitchen! We gave her this book to help organize the recipes she has collected, as well as her new ones to try! This book is brilliant: there are blank cardstock pages to paste in printed recipes or ones cut out from magazines, and there are envelopes to store cards from friends and relatives. I have one of my own and I love it! I use it often to write down what I am making for the blog, which helps me to stay organized. If you are interested in getting one for yourself, contact Debbie at Life Is A Special Occasion (firstname.lastname@example.org)!
Now, onto the food. Since it was an afternoon affair, we served light picnic fair. I picked up a veggie platter at Costco, enlisted my wonderful boyfriend to carve me a watermelon basket for fruit salad, and threw together a quick Greek pasta salad. This salad has no mayonnaise, which makes it an ideal picnic and cookout side without fear of food poisoning. It also has some great bold flavors from the onions, feta, and olives. The dressing, borrowed from Ina Garten, brings the whole salad together. I made this in bulk, but halved the recipe below for more family-style cooking. If you are confused on the quantity of ingredients, I used entire standard-size jars of each ingredient labeled in ounces for the bulk recipe. (For example, a 6-oz jar of olives.)
Use your creative license with this salad – add some chickpeas, stir in some celery. Make it yours and bring it to your next summer party!
Greek Pasta Salad
1 boxes whole wheat elbow macaroni
3 oz pitted kalamata olives, drained and sliced
6 oz roasted red peppers, drained and diced
5 oz cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 cup artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
1/2 c feta
1 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (1/2 tbsp fresh)
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Meanwhile, slice the olives, red peppers and red onions and add to a large mixing bowl. Quarter the cherry tomatoes and chop the artichoke hearts; add to the bowl. In a separate small bowl, mix together the garlic, herbs, oil and vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste. Once the pasta is cooked, drain and add to the vegetables. Stir to combine. Add the dressing and stir until well coated. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours, then add the feta. Serve cold or at room temperature.
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?