Archive for the ‘Salad’ Category
Hello, friends! I hope everyone is enjoying the lovely weather we’ve been having. Oliver and I have been walking and running up a storm. Yesterday he looked as happy as a clam. When a woman walking past us said “hello” to me and “hi, sweetie” to Oliver, he didn’t even bark at her. For most people in this situation, they wouldn’t think twice. But Oliver is very loyal to my family and friends that he sees often and doesn’t do well meeting new people (especially when they come to our house). So for him not to get a little mouthy with a stanger is quite a feat for him. My little guy is growing up :)
Since it’s been so hot out lately, I figured it would be the perfect time for a salad roundup. I definitely gravitate toward lighter and cold foods when it’s sweltering outside, like salads, sandwiches and sushi (which I will be enjoying tomorrow night with Laurie and Brittney at Milwaukee’s Thai-namite, where we’ll discuss our latest book club selection, “When in Doubt, Add Butter” by Beth Harbison). Living and working in the surbs, I love getting back downtown. Hopefully the girls will be into getting some fry-yo after – yet another thing we don’t have by our place.
But what we do have is a great, spacious kitchen where I’ve created these delicious summertime salads.
Past Recipe Roundups:
Question: What do you like to make when it’s hot outside? Or is it takeout all the way? I do love some good Chinese, so I’ve been known to use the weather as an excuse to order it :)
Happy Friday! Why not celebrate with some “things”? Here goes!
1. What I’m disappointed with:
The Melting Pot. I know. I know. Me at a chain restaurant. Who would have thought? It was the Groupon and I can’t resist a sale. To make a long, 1 1/2 hours to be exact, story short, we can make better fondue at home. Also, our waiter was completely awkward and kept giving Brenton googly eyes when we went on Tuesday night. The whole process was so long that I almost fell asleep. Ok, rant over.
2. Package that made my week:
The power of Twitter is amazing. I won a 24-pack of Premier Protein a few months ago and it finally came! I first tried their protein shakes and bars through a blogger giveaway. I LOVE how their drinks taste. When protein is usually so chalky, theirs is smooth and delicious sans a funky aftertaste.
3. What I’m making with my copious amounts of squash:
Olive Oil Roasted Butternut Squash Salad. I tend to love salads with roasted veggies on top and this one is no exception. With Brie cheese, drizzled balsamic vinegar, chopped rosemary and a drizzle of olive oil on a bed of spinach, I felt like I should be eating this salad at a restaurant (not the Melting Pot :) instead of my own table.
Olive Oil Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
2 cups baby spinach
1 cup roasted butternut squash
1 ounce Brie cheese, diced
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
Olive oil, to taste
Drizzle butternut squash with olive oil on a baking sheet. Roast for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool on the pan for 5 minutes.
Put spinach in a shallow pasta bowl. Top with roasted butternut squash, Brie cheese, balsamic vinegar and fresh rosemary. Drizzle the salad with a touch of good quality olive oil. Serve.
Question: Chain restaurants: Love ‘em or hate ‘em? And which ones do you love or hate the most?
This post is all about the random, but delicious, things I’ve been noshing. First off, I’ve been freezing my own basil with help from Karis’ blog post. This weekend I picked up a heap of fresh basil at the farmers market. And like clockwork, I usually have to throw at least half of it away because I don’t use it in time. Although we do have a dehydrator (shocking, I know!), I’ve never used it to dry herbs. In fact, I’ve only used it once to make fruit leather. opps. But freezing herbs in ice cube trays I can definitely do.
I’ve also discovered the most delicious snack ever. It’s called Skinny Pop and I’m completely obsessed. Thank god the lovely folks over there gave me so many bags because I am tearing through them like a woman on a mission.
With all this running I’ve been doing, I’ve been ravenous most hours of the day. It is hard to find snacks that fill me up without weighing me down or doing damage to my waistline. With only 39 calories a cup, I don’t feel guilty about digging in and eating however much I want (which usually tops off at about 5 cups if I’m really starving). And the only ingredients are all-natural popcorn, sunflower oil and salt.
So far Brenton hasn’t been too interested in this (probably because he is so obsessed with his fat-laden chips and salsa which are always in the house). But before where I would indulge with Brenton, I have a healthier alternative that doesn’t make me feel like I’m giving up something. And believe you me, I will be bringing a Coach tote into the movie theater next time so I can sneak a bag of this in.
Speaking of corn, fresh farmers market corn has been the star in my latest culinary creation – a veggie orzo salad. I also picked up fresh green peppers, banana peppers and tomatoes. Although I’m not into lettuce salads these days, I have been craving “meal-type” salads that are quick to prepare and make for killer leftovers the next day.
Farmers Market Veggie and Orzo Salad
2 ears corn
1 green pepper, diced
1 sweet banana pepper, diced
1 large tomato, diced
1 cup orzo pasta
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
Place 2 ears of corn in the microwave (husks and all) and microwave for 8 minutes. Set corn aside on the counter.
Cook orzo according to package directions and drain. Place in a bowl with peppers, tomato, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, basil and olive oil and turn to coat.
Once corn has cooled a bit, run a knife down all the sides to get the kernels off. Add these to the salad and mix.
Question: Do you sneak snacks into the movie theater? What do you pack? I’ve been known to bring apples, homemade trail mix, Good N’ Plenty and Jelly Belly’s (just not all at once). My friend Sun brought Chex Mix when a bunch of us gals saw Magic Mike and I was pleasantly surprised (maybe because I felt like I wasn’t the only one who did this!)
Disclaimer: Skinny Pop has given me this product to review. I was not given the product in exchange for a positive review. All opinions are my own.
Happy Hump Day! This week has been incredibly busy with deadlines, work and other matters – like running. On Monday, I ran my longest continual distance this year…6 miles. I followed Sun’s advice and stuck to a 10:10 min/mile pace to align with my goal of a sub 2-hour half marathon for my race in September. Since it’s been in the 100s this week in Wisconsin, I had to run this one on the treadmill – not ideal but better than facing that brutal heat!
By the way, check out my guest post on Sun’s blog. I talked about my running journey and included a recipe perfect for training – Balsamic and Honey Glazed Salmon. That picture reminds me that bangs are not a good look for me!
Speaking of awesome recipes, I made this black bean and quinoa salad a few weeks ago. It’s perfect for the hot weather temps we’ve been having – and taking leftovers for lunch the next day.
Summertime Chickpea and Quinoa Salad
1 cup frozen mango, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 tablespoon dried cilantro
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup radishes, sliced
Mix everything together and serve. How easy is that!?
Question: What do you do for workouts/meals when the weather gets too hot? Feel free to link up any summertime recipes!
This week has been an uphill battle to eat more healthfully. After a weekend of indulging on cheese and more cheese, its been tough to make better choices during the week. This really proves my theory that the more you eat nutritiously and exercise, the more you want to keep doing it. But when you get used to not working out and eating heavier foods, it’s harder to get back on the wagon.
So for me, this week has been one of transition. I have been working out every day, whether it’s a 5-mile run or strength training at the gym. Here are some of the power foods that have helped me get back into the swing of things.
On Saturday during our Wisconsin Cheese Tour trip, we stopped at the Dane Co. farmers’ market in Madison (recap to come soon!). I was able to pick up a ton of fresh produce, like the Italian heirloom lettuce, kale ad asparagus used in this salad.
Chicken Detox Salad
1 1/2 cups lettuce, chopped
1/2 cup kale, chopped
1/2 small tomato, diced
1 leftover chicken breast, diced
1 ounce Swiss cheese, cubed
4 asparagus spears, cut in 1″ segments
1/2 small onion, diced
1 teaspoon olive oil
Spices, to taste
Croutons, to taste
Light ranch dressing, to taste
In small saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When hot, add the asparagus spears and onions. And any spices you like (such as garlic, salt, pepper), and cook for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
On a plate, place your lettuce and kale. Top with tomatoes, chicken and cheese. Add asparagus and onions. Add croutons, if using, and drizzle ranch dressing on top.
Protein Cookie Dough
For breakfast, I discovered the best thing ever. It’s called Protein Cookie Dough and it’s from STUFT Mama. The best part? It kept me full for 5 hours (a miracle) and it tasted great. I was a little nervous because I’ve never used protein powder in anything but smoothies. I’ve heard of bloggers putting it in their oatmeal for awhile. Great idea, if you as me.
Also, it gave me a chance to use my PB2 in a new way.
Protein Cookie Dough
Adapted from STUFT Mama
1/4 cup old fashioned oats
1/3 cup Rice Krispies (generic or brand name)
1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder
2 tablespoons PB2
1 tablespoon PB Craze Cookie Nookie
2 tablespoons homemade applesauce (yes, I made this stuff with Brenton’s parents in fall 2009 – time to use it up!)
Mix everything together and press into a bowl. Refrigerate if you like.
Since it’s not even 7:30, I’m making this for breakfast again this morning. I can’t wait to try STUFT Mama’s Fudgy Protein Cookie Dough next (since I have about 9 cans of pumpkin in the house, I need to!)
Question: What healthy recipes have you been making this week? AND Have any good recipes that use pumpkin? Feel free to link up!
I’m thrifty by nature. No, I don’t mean just shopping at the thrift (which my mom taught be how to do as a kid). I’m the type of person who mends my own sock when there’s a hole. I cut into bottles of lotion to get that last drop out. And I never waste food.
So when B had a hunk of leftover sourdough bread that was about 2 days away from hitting the trash, I tried to think of how I could best use it up.
My first thought was bread pudding. But after a delicious breakfast of French toast with strawberries and bananas, bread pudding wasn’t sounding that appealing.
Then B suggested croutons. I’ve been on a salad kick lately, and there’s nothing like a homemade crouton to take it to the next level.
These are super simple to make.
A large hunk of day-old sourdough bread, cut into small cubes
Wildtree’s Garlic Grapeseed Oil (can also use olive oil)
Spices, such as onion powder, garlic powder, Penzy’s Sicilian Salad Seasoning, ground pepper, etc.
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray. Place bread cubes on top. Drizzle oil over the bread and then liberally coat bread with desired spices.
Bake for about 30 minutes, tossing halfway through. Note: I’ve found that the baking time largely depends on how fresh/stale your bread is. The fresher it is, the longer it will take to dry out. Your goal is a dry bread cube that is lightly golden brown.
Since I don’t have any lettuce in the house, and therefore can’t make a salad, I’ve been snacking on these croutons plain. Yum. If you’re near a Penzy’s, I highly suggest picking up the Sicilian Salad Seasoning. In addition to red bell pepper, thyme, basil and rosemary, it also has Romano cheese.
On a parting note, it snowed last night. This is what we woke up to this morning in Milwaukee.
Question: What do you do with leftover bread?
Working on an article about healthful eating in the New Year has got me thinking about my own resolutions.
I definitely believe in them…just not the kind that only starts on January 1. I believe in making goals year-round.
Two of my mini-goals that I’m always striving for are 1. Eating more fruits and vegetables and 2. Sitting down at the table to enjoy meals (versus mindlessly eating on the couch, which is all too easy to do). For lunch today, I accomplished both.
Not only is this salad loaded with superfoods (like spinach, berries and almonds), it has some special touches too, such as Rick’s homemade candied pecans and almonds and a to-die-for raspberry vinaigrette from Apple Holler.
Created by Alysha
2 cups baby spinach
1/3 cup frozen blueberries, thawed
1/3 cup sliced frozen strawberries, thawed
2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons candied nuts (almonds and pecans)
1 1/2 tablespoons raspberry vinaigrette dressing
In a large bowl, such as a pasta bowl, combine spinach, fruit, cheese and nuts. Top with dressing. Enjoy!
Question: What are your New Year’s resolutions? Do you believe in them?
Happy New Year!