Tag Archives: Salad

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Nothing says “Happy St. Patrick’s Day!” quite like singing muppets! Since this is a blog that is mostly about food, I’d like to point out that the Swedish chef is part of the trio. I love him!! I remembered to wear something green to work this year, so I didn’t get pinched. I even put on some green workout clothes when I headed off to the gym this evening for some strength training and cardio. Better safe than sorry!

The other way I celebrated today was, yep, you guessed it: green foods! I started the morning off with a bowl of oat bran, but this was no typical bowl. I had 1/4 of an avocado in the fridge, and I decided that it was time to try Heather’s raw chocolate “frosting.”Sarah made some a couple of day’s ago, and I decided it was time to give it a try myself. I added 1 tsp of maple sugar, 1 tsp of cocoa powder and splash of water to the avocado and blended it up in the food processor. I think if it had been a bigger batch, it would have blended up better, but it worked out just fine!

Chocolate PuddingIt was interesting, and… good! I love avocado. I love chocolate. I love maple sugar. What’s not to love!? I put my little bit of yummy frosting on top of my oat bran along with some bright red berries.

Morning Oat BranIt was fun to start the day off with something new, and I had a bit o’ green in my morning oats! Yay!!! I had a bit o’ green with dinner too. I’ve been craving egg salad ever since I saw Junglefrog’s batch. Aren’t ideas contagious?! 

Egg SaladI made two servings so I can have more tomorrow. I’m glad, because it was good! I used 2 whole eggs, one egg white, 1 Tbsp. of sweet pickle relish, 1 Tbsp. of light mayo, 1 Tbsp. Greek yogurt, 1 tsp. of dijon, 2 tsp. of chopped walnuts and 1 Tbsp. of fresh dill. There are at least 2 green things in the green bowl. Do I get extra points? 🙂 Each serving is 3 unofficial ww points, and lots of official points of yummy. I had a bit more green on my plate this evening since I ate the last of my roasted broccoli along with my sandwich:

Yummy Greens!

The cottage cheese bread sliced up easily, and toasts up quite nicely. I froze about 12 slices, and we will see how it does after some time in the arctic. I’ve been using the freezer more these days, and I think the key is to remember what’s in there. I found some long forgotten muffins a couple of weeks ago, and I didn’t want to waste them. Freezer burn adds an interesting flavor. I hope to avoid that particular enhancement with the bread. I had a piece with my bulgur chili today topped with a little peanut butter and a chopped up date. It made for a tasty little dessert!

My shoulders are really tight from my strength training workouts on Sunday night and tonight. I’m trying to get better about not shrugging when I lift, but it’s tough! I feel like I need to put on an iPod with a voice that repeats, “roll your shoulders back” ad infinitem. I try to remember to do it during the day when I’m sitting at my desk too. Years of having more weight in various places has thrown my posture a bit out of whack. It’s good to have mini projects in the scheme of bigger workouts, and that is definitely one of mine.

Now, I’m going to roll my shoulders back, eat a few chocolate chips and make a cup of tea. I’m getting wild and crazy here on St. Patty’s Day!! I’ll make sure to sleep in something green. 🙂 I hope you had a great day! Tomorrow is humpday. Hooray!!!

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Filed under Bread, diet, Fitness, Food, Recipes, Uncategorized, Vegetarian Recipes, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story, Weight Watchers

Dillicious Golden Beet and Red Onion Salad

Golden Beets in the Steamer

Happy Monday! Wow, what a long day! I’m so glad to be home and playing around in the kitchen. Sometimes cooking is just so relaxing and therapeutic. There’s something so nice about chopping and mixing and creating. It’s definitely one of my favorite things to do at the end of the day. When the ingredients are as bright and colorful as the ones in the salad I made this evening, that makes it even better!

I got four little golden beets in my box of produce last Wednesday, and they’ve been waiting patiently in the fridge. Beets are a food that I absolutely HATED as a kid. I don’t know if it was overly flamboyant red juice or the fact that we usually ate the kind that came in a can. I did not like them. Asked to describe a beet, I would likely have said that it tasted like sugary dirt. That’s not high praise.

In case you are wondering, by the way, I do know what dirt tastes like. I have a memory of being very young, probably about four years old, and munching on some ant hill with the preacher’s son. He went by the name of “John Boy.” Hopefully, he doesn’t use that name anymore. I always think of him when I hear “Son of a Preacher Man!” I will admit that despite our shared ant hill eating experience, we haven’t stayed in touch. I can’t recommend ant hill, but I guess it seemed more gourmet than plain old dirt. I don’t remember ever munching on a boring old chunk of mud. Only the best would do!

As with so many of the foods I hated as a child, like turnips, I now love beets! I did not have an epiphany with beets in the way that I did with turnips. It wasn’t love at first bite. Instead, beets have taken longer to win my love. They’ve grown on me. I’ve grown accustomed to their taste.

If I’m feeling lazy, I’ll just wrap them in some aluminum foil, roast them in the oven and then slice them up on top of a weeknight salad. Every once in awhile, however, I decide to try something a bit more “beetcentric.” Tonight, I decided to use some of the fresh dill from yesterday’s soup making and see what I could come up with. About 40 minutes later, I had a great salad with the spicy bite of mustard, the freshness of dill and the sweetness of beets. I can’t ever resist throwing in a few nuts, so there is the smallest hint of toasted walnuts on this salad too. Here’s what I came up with:

Yum!

Dillicious Golden Beet and Red Onion Salad

Ingredients:

4 golden beets

3 bay leaves

1/2 red onion, chopped

1 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped

2 Tbsp. coarse dijon mustard

2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. chopped toasted walnuts

Directions:

Prepping the Beets

Scrub beets and remove all but about an inch of the tops. Leave the root ends intact. Steam beets along with the bay leaves for 30 minutes. Discard the bay leaves. Rinse the beets immediately in cold water and set them aside to cool. When beets have cooled enough to handle, cut off the tops and root ends. Using the edge of your knife, scrape off the skins. Cut each beet into eight wedges.

Making the Dressing

Place mustard, vinegar, dill and salt in a small bowl and mix well. Easy!!

Putting it Together

Place chopped onions and beet wedges in a medium sized bowl. Drizzle with dressing. Mix until the onion and beets are coated in the dressing. Sprinkle the walnuts on top. Done!

This makes 4 unofficial 1 point servings.

Dillicious!

I think the vibrant color of the golden beets and the pretty red onion go so well together. I would probably use a Vidalia or Spanish onion if I had red beets instead of the golden variety, but I just think these two make a beautiful pair!

A Smashing CoupleThis salad will be great tomorrow in a pita! I may toss some feta in with it too. It was awesome tonight as a side dish, and I had lots of fun making it. There was just enough chopping to help me unwind. Perfect!

All this talk about a food that I used to hate as a kid, has made me wonder: Is there a food that your “kid self” hated that you now love? You’ve heard about two of mine– turnips and beets. I guess you’ve sort of heard about three if you count ant hill, but I don’t quite think it belongs in the food category. 🙂 

I’ve got to get to bed because I need to be up extra early in the morning. The first few days of the time change are always such an adjustment. I didn’t fall asleep as early as I would have liked last night, so tonight’s tea is definitely going to be of the chamomile variety. Sweet dreams to you!! G’night!

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Another Thursday in the Life

BrekkieIn just a few hours… it will be Friday! Hooray!! This has been a hectic week. I didn’t get to work from home this Thursday, like I usually do, but I decided to do a food journal post anyway. Oh, and before I go on, you might notice something new over on the right hand side. I’ve joined the Foodbuzz featured publishers program. I’m excited! I’ve really been having a great time meeting new people on the foodbuzz site, so I decided to go ahead and jump on the bandwagon.

Ok. Here’s the rundown of what I ate today. My breakfast is featured at the top of the page, and it was so yummy! It deserves top billing!! I started off with a Thomas Light Multi-grain English muffin (my fave English muffin!!) topped with some Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter and a small banana. Part of the banana didn’t fit on the muffins, so it got sprinkled with cinnamon. I decided to dust the whole thing for good measure. I also made a big pot of my chocolate/coconut/cherry tea, which I mixed with almond milk and skim milk in my thermos and in my mug. I think I’m becoming a fan of tea in the morning. The flavor is nice and delicate, and I’m really enjoying it! 

LunchThis photo makes my lunch look weird, but I promise that it was really yummy. My office seems to be a bad place for photography! I had the last piece of my Broccoli and White Bean Bake from the freezer, along with the rest of my Sunny Basil Orange Salad. I’m loving the salad. It’s bright and happy, and I like the combination of the fruit and carrots with the basil syrup. Yum! I think I’m going to have to make another batch of the bake. I was sad to eat the last piece. 

Vitabrownie and PB Date

For dessert, I had a vitabrownie (yum!) and a Medjool date stuffed with a bit of reduced fat peanut butter. PB+Dates= Serious Deliciousness!!

SamplerAround 1:30 an e-mail went around about some leftover “cake and other food” from the awards ceremony that was held in my office yesterday. I wasn’t planning to go and check out the leftovers, but a healthy eating friend sent me an e-mail to tell me that the “other food” was fruit and veggies! I decided to go and get a little plate and, since I skipped the reception yesterday, I decided to have a very tiny piece of the cake. Two bites did the trick! Other snacks this afternoon included:

A Chocolate Mocha Fiber One bar…

Fiber One Bar

A mix of Trader Joe’s fruit and fiber cereal and Gerbs pumpkin seeds…

cereal and seeds

… and Siggi’s Orange and Ginger (my favorite Siggi’s flavor) with Fiber One. I might have overdone it a bit with the fiber today, but it kept me full! The Fiber One and measuring cup are part of my desk stash!

Siggi'sFor dinner, I decided to get creative. I seared some tofu, topped it with Trader Joe’s roasted vegetable tapenade and a bit of parmesan, broiled it to brown the cheese and then had it “open faced sandwich style” on some of my homemade bran bread. It was yummy! I’m going to be making tofu that way more often. I had some crispy cucumber, juicy tomato and hummus on the side.

Din DinI had another vitabrownie for dessert with some fat free cool whip. I usually try not to eat two vitas in the same day, but I got a big on-line order yesterday, and they were so fresh and moist! So good! They are all in the freezer now, so I won’t be as tempted to have two tomorrow. The vitabrownie and Cool Whip combo reminds me of a Hostess cupcake. Yum! I used to love those things!

Vitabrownie 2After I went to the gym, I was hungry so I had a bowl of oat bran with honey and cinnamon honey almonds. I ate it pretty late, and I may be sorry when I do my weigh-in tomorrow morning. I was hungry. If I weigh more, so be it. I know it will all average out eventually anyway and my one snapshot on Friday mornings is just that– a snapshot. I’m making excuses already, which seems like the wrong thing to do, but that was my thought process when I decided to go ahead and have a bowl. It was lovely and sweet and very satisfying. 

oat branMaybe it’s just me, but I think honey, almonds and cinnamon make a pretty combination. They certainly taste awesome together!!

Now, I need to head off to bed. I have a busy day ahead of me, but I’m hoping to wrap up a project tomorrow. I love finishing things on a Friday. I never work weekends, but it is nice to know that it won’t be waiting for me on Monday morning! Have a lovely Friday, and I’ll be telling you about my weigh-in tomorrow as well as a snack I enjoyed this week and the winner of my little contest. You have until tomorrow morning to enter. If you haven’t posted a comment on that post already, I hope you will. I’d love to send some snacks your way.

I also wanted to mention that Erica is giving away a mouthwateringly delicious looking creation (man do I love baked goods!!) to celebrate her 1 year blogging birthday. Check it out: Itzy’s Kitchen

G’night!!! See you tomorrow!

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Sunny Basil Orange Salad

Beautiful BasilHappy Humpday Night!! Only two more days until the weekend! I got my weekly produce box this evening, and it came complete with a beautiful bunch of basil. I hadn’t planned to make an attempt at a BSI recipe just yet, but I couldn’t help myself. I came up with a quick and easy salad that is light, bright and tasty! I had another dish in mind, and if I have time, I may give that a shot too. You can’t have too much basil! Here’s tonight’s creation and a BSI: basil entry:

Sunny Basil Orange SaladSunny Basil Orange Salad

Ingredients:

1/2 cup boiling water

1/4 cup loosely packed basil

1 Tbsp. Turbinado Sugar

2 Medium Carrots

Zest of one orange

2 Naval Oranges

1 Tbsp. basil, thinly sliced

Directions:

Making the Sugar Syrup:

Very roughly chop the 1/4 cup of basil. The goal is to bruise the leaves a bit but not create a bunch of little pieces that have to be picked out later. Four or five passes with your knife should be enough. Place the basil in a heat safe cup or bowl. Pour the boiling water over the basil, cover, and allow to steep for 10 minutes. Place the turbinado sugar in a small pot and add the basil and water. Give it a stir. Bring to a boil. Boil for 3-5 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the sugar is dissolved. Scoot the basil to the side of the pot, separating it from the liquid. Allow the syrup to cool for five minutes.

Preparing the Carrots and Oranges:

Peel the carrots and grate them into a medium sized bowl. Remove the zest from one of the oranges and add that to the carrots. Cut the tops and bottoms off of the oranges, slide your knife down the sides to remove the peel, and then separate the sections of the orange from the membrane. Add the orange sections to the carrots and the zest. 

Putting it together:

Drizzle the sugar syrup over the carrot and orange mixture. Use a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon to press the excess liquid out of the basil and on to the carrot mixture. Sprinkle the tablespoon of sliced basil over the top. Allow the salad to stand for a bit so that the flavors can blend— at least 10 minutes.  

This makes 2 unofficial 1 point servings!

I love to infuse a syrup with the freshness of herbs. Yum! It’s kind of like making basil tea!

SteepingI used turbinado sugar, but plain sugar would work too if that is all you have on hand.

dscn1899

Make sure to squeeze the extra liquid out of the basil. It is nice and… basilly! You could use a strainer, but I thought it was easier just to scoot the basil to the edge of the pan. Plus, it dirtied up one less dish.

Syrup

Orange zest adds so much flavor without racking up the calories!

ZestyI had cara cara naval oranges from my produce box. I think this would be awesome made with red grapefruit too! I thought this orange was so pretty!

Cara CaraI love that this salad is so basic and has such a short ingredient list, but yet packs a huge punch! It’s light, refreshing and sunny!

Yum!I ended the day with this salad, but I started it by making tea… in my French press. I don’t know why it never occurred to me to make tea in my French press! I bought a ton of loose black teas from Adagio Teas awhile back, and I haven’t made much of a dent. I decided that, rather than buy more coffee, I would start having tea lattes in the morning and use up some of my surplus! I wanted to make enough to fill up my thermos and have some to sip on while getting ready this morning. The French press worked perfectly! Pay no attention to the dishwasher spot. Oops!

French Pressed Tea!This morning’s tea was a mix of black teas in chocolate, cherry and coconut. I added it to my usual half and half mix of unsweetened vanilla almond breeze and skim milk. I also added a splash of vanilla sugar free Torani. It was so yummy! I’m excited about making some more in the morning. I’m also excited to use up some of this tea and make some room in the pantry. 

Do you start your morning with tea or with coffee? Inquiring Sweetie Pie wants to know!

Before I go, I want to remind you about my CONTEST! You have until tomorrow night to comment on the post. Link back to that post if you have a blog or send me an e-mail for a second bonus entry. The snacks are ready and waiting to come to your door!!

I’m off to bed to read some more of Diet Girl’s book and sip some tea. Have a good night and a lovely Thursday!

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Crispy Kale Salad with Toasted Walnuts and Pomegranate Drizzle

Good to the last bite!

I’ve found so many inspiring, entertaining and creative blogs since I started writing my own. I’m amazed at the number of people who love food as much as I do!! While reading one blog that I particularly enjoy, What I Ate Yesterday, I learned about a weekly contest where a secret ingredient is chosen by a host blogger, and then other bloggers are given the opportunity to submit recipes using that ingredient. It just so happens that this week’s secret ingredient is kale, which is one of my favorite greens! Of course, I couldn’t resist entering. I know I’m kind of new to the party, so I hope they don’t mind!

The recipe I came up with uses my favorite technique for cooking veggies: oven roasting. Oven roasted kale? You bet! A few years ago, I had a meal at Rasika, a restaurant in DC, and one of the appetizers involved crispy fried spinach topped with a little bit of creamy dressing. It was so good!  It had never occurred to me to have crispy greens! Mine were always slow cooked or wilted down in a skillet.

Since I’m not really one to fry things in vats of oil, I was looking for another way to get nice crispy greens. The answer, as usual, involved some oven roasting. As for the salad toppings, I was thinking of what would go well with the slight bite of kale, and sweet and tangy pomegranate seeds seemed like a good choice. I’m trying to eat as many pomegranate seeds as I can before they disappear until next season! I had the pomegranate molasses from a previous cooking adventure, and it was just the thing to add some sweetness and tang to my little drizzle. Finally, I always love toasted nuts in my salads, and I decided that while I was having a bowlful of super foods, I might as well have some toasted walnuts on the top!

Crispy Kale Salad with Toasted Walnuts and Pomegranate Drizzle

Crispy Kale Salad with Walnuts and Pomegranate Drizzle

Ingredients:

1/2 pound kale, rinsed and patted dry

2 tsp. olive oil

Cooking spray

1/2 tsp. coarse sea salt (or 1/8 tsp. regular table salt)

1/4 cup Fage 0% nonfat Greek yogurt

4 tsp. pomegranate molasses

4 Tbsp. pomegranate seeds

2 Tbsp. walnuts, toasted and chopped

Directions:

Cooking the Kale

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a baking sheet well with nonstick cooking spray. After washing and patting the kale dry, remove the tough stems and tear kale into medium sized pieces. Toss the kale on the baking sheet, and drizzle with 2 tsp. of olive oil. After adding the oil, spray the kale with more nonstick cooking spray. Use your hands to mix the kale around on the baking sheet making sure it is coated in the cooking spray and olive oil.

Massaging the Kale

It is ok if the kale isn’t in a single layer as it is going to cook down rather quickly. Pop the baking sheet in the oven and set the timer for 5 minutes. The kale is going to cook for a total of 15-20 minutes, but it is really important to give it a stir every 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, remove the baking sheet from the oven and stir the kale. Put it back in the oven for 5 more minutes. After a total of 10 minutes, remove the kale from the oven and stir it again. Then sprinkle it with 1/2 tsp. of coarse sea salt. Return it to the oven for another 5 minutes. After a total of 15 minutes in the oven, take it out and stir it again. You may find that it is tender and crispy enough to suit you at this point. If you think it needs a little more time, pop it back into the oven for a couple more minutes but keep a close eye on it. After it is cooked to a crispy browned loveliness, remove from the oven and set aside.

Crispy Roasted Kale

Pomegranate Drizzle

This is so easy that it hardly even merits a separate section! Place the 1/4 cup of Greek yogurt and the 4 tsp. of pomegranate molasses in a small bowl, and mix well with a fork. If you can’t find pomegranate molasses, you might try mixing in a small amount of pomegranate juice and honey. 

Drizzle Makers

Assembling The Salad

Divide the kale among four medium sized plates. Top each plate of kale with 1/4 of the pomegranate drizzle. The mixture is rather thick, but I used a fork to make sure to drizzle it around fairly evenly. Next, top each bowl with 1 Tbsp. of pomegranate seeds and 1/2 Tbsp. of toasted walnuts. 

Pomegranate Seeds

Enjoy!!!

This makes 4 unofficial 2 point servings.

If the idea of a kale salad seems odd to you, trust me on this one! The kale was light and crispy and went so well with the creamy and crunchy toppings. The flavors were amazing together. The kale, by the way, would also be great roasted and eaten plain. I would serve this is a starter or a side dish along with a nice piece of grilled tilapia or a juicy pork tenderloin. This is a salad that I would be proud to serve to guests, and that I’m thrilled to be serving to myself today!

In other news, I went to the Kennedy Center last night to see Swan Lake performed by the American Ballet Theatre. Before going to law school, I taught music in public schools in southern Missouri for four years. My undergraduate degree is in vocal music performance, and, although I am just a spectator these days, I very much enjoy attending events and supporting the arts. 

The Kennedy Center is a fun place to go, and I’m always happy to walk through the doors into the grand hall of nations which is lined with flags from every country with which the United States has diplomatic relations:

Hall of NationsThe red carpet is so festive! I like getting the red carpet treatment!! Our seats were pretty high up, but that just means that I was closer to the gorgeous ceiling of the opera house. When I find myself sitting in the opera house rafters, I can never resist snapping pictures of the ceiling spangles. I always think that I’d like to have a necklace inspired by them. The spangles are deliciously extravagant and, well, sparkly!

Ceiling SparklesI wasn’t allowed to take pictures during the performance, but my friend snapped this picture of me holding the program. Pay close attention to the ballerina’s costume:

MeI enjoyed the ballet, but I must have been a little bit hungry. The fluffy white swan costumes made me think of… meringues!! 

I think that the ballet is kind of like the sporting event of the arts world. The dancers flit, twirl and leap around weightlessly on the stage making it look so effortless and so beautiful. If you are close enough (or if you remember your opera glasses), it is impossible to miss the rippling muscles. The dancers are so fit and have such amazing control over every little movement. Sometimes my mind tends to wander… it happens… and I think of what it would feel like to move in the same way. My kickboxing class wears me out, and I’m not even trying to look good or depict a graceful swan. It amazes me!

I also love the melodrama of the story. I was thinking about how I would have pitched it to my music students back in the day. “Swan Lake: A Ballet About Hunting,” is the possibility that came to mind. You see, kids, this hunter goes out into the woods to shoot a swan. Instead, he encounters a swan who turns into a pretty girl and falls in love with her… You get the idea. That might have worked. Who knows! I certainly had plenty of students who liked to hunt.

I had a great time, and I think I’m going to have to make some meringues now. Those fluffy swan skirts have inspired me to cook! Inspiration, athleticism and lovely music– what a great way to spend my evening!

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