Archive for the ‘Salads’ Category

Hello Sunshine…

I almost forgot how good it felt.

To have the sun shine on your shoulders and let the breeze blow throughout the house.

Almost. Until yesterday.

(source)

The weather was a beautiful 72 degrees out of nowhere and has left me with a serious case of the Monday blues. The weather has returned to a normal wintery mix of rain and overcast skies. Farewell sun, see you in a few months!

With such great weather, I was happy to do my errands yesterday. I rode to the grocery store with my windows down and had some quiet time @ Trader Joe’s browsing food and finding oh so many things my diet allows. I heart TJ’s. Nothing makes me happier than a cart of new food for the week!

Can you tell there is a healthy person living with a not-so healthy person?! I swear for every tofu meal I make Chris eat, I have to get chips, pizza and dunkers to quiet any arguments on food in our household. 🙂

I was really excited when I found that they just opened a Great Harvest Bread Co. right next door! What a great location!!!

(Look at those blue skies….ahhhhh)

I raced to put the groceries away and immediately threw on shorts, a t-shirt and my sneakers. I grabbed Daisy and we went for a run. Couldn’t tell ya how long or how fast. All I knew is I was happy to be out there. I can’t wait until warmer days, then maybe me and the pavement will reunite.

For dinner I was feeling something light and non-meat or dairy. 🙂 Especially after Chris’s birthday dinner. I decided to make a robust salad and just add quinoa and orzo to the mix.

I cooked some extra corn and threw it in. It was surprisingly exactly what I wanted.

On another note, Chris’s birthday present came…a Keurig. I for one don’t drink coffee, but this little baby is almost enough to make me start.

I can however make tea, iced coffee AND hot chocolate with this thing! It’s so easy and quick, plus all the cute variety cups make preparing coffee a lot more fun!

What are your favorite kitchen gadgets or tools??

I personally lust over the avocado peeler, just because they always seem to give me so much trouble…and really I should just buy one because I think they are under $5…typical.

Fingers crossed that I can use the new blog design tomorrow! I know my friend is working diligently on it but there are always little road blocks with things like this…I really like the way it looks though and I hope you do too!

4 months!

4 months from today I will be Mrs. Claire Cilip! Things are rockin’ and rollin’ in the planning phase, it seems like every day is filled with decisions on flowers, cake, travel arrangements and bridesmaid dresses.

Basically, I’m in heaven.

Our invitations have been approved and I can’t wait to ship them off! Here is a sample of what they look like…

They are supposed to represent our color scheme along with the feel of our wedding…classy and beachy? Does that come across??

I’ve been living a pretty organic life this past week. Keeping with my practice “detox,” green tea has become a staple every morning.

I wish my meals were a little more interesting but the truth is, I’ve been so busy so I’ve had no time to get creative so they are relatively simple.  Sticking to a dairy and meat-less diet isn’t as bad as I initially thought it was going to be. Here are some things that I have happily been eating since I started:

  • Carrots
  • Salads topped with bell peppers, mushrooms, nuts, fruit, etc
  • tofu
  • couscous/whole grains
  • Peanut butter bread
  • Green smoothies
  • Beans
  • crackers
  • Hummus
  • Veggie Burgers
  • Celery
  • Spaghetti with tomatoes
  • Sushi
  • tomato soup

I’ve noticed my energy has picked up and I’ve even lost 5 lbs. I’ll take that, thanks. I can’t wait to see what other things improve based upon a more plant-based diet.

I think it’s important to recognize that while I’ve cut out dairy, I am aware that my body still needs calcium as well as other nutrients, especially when I’m working out. However, what some people may not know is that you can get calcium from all the foods below and honestly, the average person takes in way too much protein, way more than needed.

  • Almonds
  • Brazils Nuts
  • Soya flour
  • Oatmeal
  • Wholemeal bread
  • Black molasses
  • Dried figs
  • Parsley
  • Kale

“The fact that vegans have a slightly lower protein intake and exclude meat from their diet encourages their bodies to retain calcium so their dietary need may be lower than the typical omnivore. In fact, the excessive protein in cow’s milk depletes the human skeleton of calcium and actually weakens bones.” -Thinkquest

Before I went to the gym, I grabbed a quick piece of bread with some peanut butter…YUM.

January is still in full effect at the gym…unfortunately. I was denied access into my Group Power class because it was at capacity and I was even 5 minutes early. Arg! Instead I did some strength training on my own with the machines and caught up with Newsweek on the Elliptical.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love the gym. It’s like my own little private getaway where I can think or zone out or completely sweat it out=feeling fantastic.

For dinner I had some Capellini Pomodoro and a salad.  Roma tomatoes, garlic, fresh basil and extra-virgin olive oil tossed with capellini.

Off to bed, dreaming of our very own, far away destination location….

(Las Caletas, Mexico)

10 to Detox

One of the many perks of where I work is that I can get a substantial amount of CD’s, DVD’s and Books for free and sometimes even before they are available to the general public. (Not that I’m bragging) 🙂

A few weeks ago a co-worker passed along a book to me called, The Beauty Detox Solution. I finally cracked it open and was pleasantly surprised by the useful information and motivation to get radiant beauty from the inside out as well as obtain renewed energy all by changing your diet. I will warn you, the principles that the author, Kimberly Snyder, abides by are more than just challenging, they are a bit overwhelming but at the same time motivating and completely promising.

(source)

I was thinking of an appropriate way to share what I’m reading without hindering her sales. In an effort to more thoughtfully process what it is I’m reading, I’ve decided that for the next 10 days, I will mention a few things that struck me the most in the chapter that I’m reading while purposely not divulging all the useful information Snyder offers.

The book is split into 2 parts: Beauty Detox Basics and Your Beauty Solution

10 chapters=10 posts that will hopefully evoke thought about your own diets and what it means to pay attention to what you put into your body.

At the end of the book, the reader should be primed to embark on their “detox” armed with knowledge on what to eat, sample meal plans, recipes and a lifestyle change that stays with the reader, long after the initial cleanse.

I will apologize for the copy heavy posts that will take place over the next 10 days but hopefully you will find it beneficial and exciting, like me! 🙂

Not yet leaping into a detox without reading the entirety of the book first, I made a salad topped with a crumbled veggie burger for dinner tonight. Group Power was really strenuous tonight and took a lot out of me, including the desire to make any real dinner. I couldn’t have been happier to be there though!

My salad: Iceburg Lettuce, carrots shavings, diced red onion, light honey mustard dressing and a crumbled Morningstar Black Bean burger. The contrast between the warm and crispy burger against the cold salad was awesome…and even better was that it took about 10 minutes to make.

Now onto the recommended reading of the night…

CHAPTER 1 and a few things I found interesting:

  • Basic concept-our body is designed to digest more of a plant-based diet, rather than meat. Humans can get all the protein they need from the amino acids in plants.
  • “There are over thirty-five hundred scientific studies involving over fifteen thousand research scientist that report a relationship between the consumption of meats, poultry, eggs and diary products and the incidence of numerous health issues, including but not restricted to heart disease, cancer, kidney failure, constipation, gout, gallstones, diverticulitis, hemorrhoids and osteoporosis.”
  • Humans resemble herbivores, in terms of both their anatomical structure and internal organs.

What you Can’t get without the book:

  • Astounding Scientific evidence of some of her points that would knock your socks off!
  • Why Humans are primed to eat a more plant-based diet, super interesting stuff that makes TOTAL sense
  • True life stories of how people’s lives have changed by following some of Snyder’s recommendations.

To take a look at Kimberly’s AWESOME AND INSPIRING blog, go here.

 

Good Eats

Sunday was a good day. I slept in till almost 11:00! Chris helped me clean the house so we were actually done by 1:00. I know he was trying to get in some good points before watching football all day, and I let him. I finally got around to watching the Blind Side and my prediction on how much I would like the movie was dead on. I thought Sandra was amazing in it and I’m such a sucker for a good heart-felt movie. I went grocery shopping and made an afternoon sub complete with chips and homemade guacamole. I LOVE anything that has to do with avocados and they were on sale, so I snagged them.

I don’t usually make roast beef sandwiches but I know Chris likes them and I got a lb. at the store for his lunches for the week. I didn’t feel like finding something else for myself so I indulged in the fresh sub complete with provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato, salt & pepper.

For dinner the meal plan called for “Southern Chicken Wing Pizza” pending a certain someone emailing the recipe. Well, they did so I gave it a shot and it was pretty darn good! (thanks Bets) Not hard to make either, for those of you that are interested. I did change the chicken around a bit. In the menu it calls for a Rotisserie chicken but I had picked up a bag of chicken breasts at the store so I just baked them and then shredded like pulled pork. After shredding the chicken I poured in some Frank’s hot sauce.

After mixing the chicken with the hot sauce you want to put ranch on the pizza dough, cover with the chicken and then add some mozzarella cheese.

Put in the oven at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes (we left it in a little later because we like our pizza crispy) and voila! It was a nice treat to have pizza minus all the grease that usually comes with it, plus it had a nice little kick to it thanks to the hot sauce. I wanted a little more for dinner so I paired it with one of the last summer salads we’ll probably have. I threw in walnuts, strawberries, diced up green peppers and blue cheese crumbles. It seemed fitting for the pizza we were having, or am I just sounding more and more like an upstate New Yorker everyday? I’m surrounded by them-but I love it.

After letting my dinner settle I decided to get out on the road for my long run before it was pitch black. I ran for a full 45 minutes and decided not to harp on mileage tonight but concentrate on running for a longer length of time. I’m curious and anal so I’ll probably jump in my car on the way to work tomorrow and clock it just to see…I think as I finish up the laundry and watch the VMA’s (look for a mini recap on this in the music section of this blog tomorrow) I will enjoy a nice newcastle brown ale! Ready to tackle another week, life is good.

I’m a Steak n’ Potatoes kinda girl…

Lots of yummy kinda surf and turf talk in today’s post! I am trying to incorporate more veggie-only meals into my eating habits but sometimes a girl just needs a nicely prepared steak. Sunday night I told you guys that Chris made us a fabulous steak on the grill and I wasn’t kidding about it being amazing. I generally like when he wants to grill because it means I’m only responsible for the side items. I like to cook, but I don’t think I like to cook more than someone cooking for me 🙂 After cleaning, mopping, dusting and about a million loads of laundry on Sunday, this meal was the perfect way to end the weekend. I might have had a glass of Bully Hill wine too…

Steak & Potatoes

Not sure what he did with the steak, but for the potatoes we just diced up some red onion and seasoning and placed the chopped up baby red potatoes in some tin-foil for them to cook on the grill. They were a great substitute to mashed potatoes and I’m hoping a healthier alternative. I love love love mashed potatoes but I know how much salt, butter and milk I put into them too. To add some veggies I added a side salad with some left over goat cheese crumbles, walnuts and a simple vinaigrette. I have always been a steak and potatoes girl. It has always been my all-time favorite food and still is, even after my tastebuds have matured over the years.

Another guilty pleasure (besides all that red meat) was a bowl of cookies n’ cream ice-cream. Which I have decided is my arch nemesis. I could eat the entire carton if someone let me.

On to Monday night where I was feeling better and there is no doubt in my mind that it was because my house was in order (I’m weird like that) and the fact that I had such a great first day at work. (Nerves aside) I now get to work with my B&T partner in crime (Hi Steph!) and we are on an all-girl Marketing team, which is a big difference from being surrounded by all my “boys” in the Entertainment department.

The ladies were nice enough to take me out to CPK=California Pizza Kitchen at Southpark for my first day and it was a great lunch spot. Definitely going back to try more of their menu when I get the chance. I had the tortilla soup and an appetizer of four quesadillas. At first glance I didn’t think it was going to be enough, but it was. I was delightfully full after lunch.

After work I came home and reversed my usual routine. I try to work-out before eating but it’s been so hot lately I just felt like a night run might be nice. I went straight to the kitchen and made what the meal plan called for (salmon with cous cous and brocoli) and while I added a little brown sugar to the recipe it was light and somewhat healthy and we hadn’t had any salmon for a while so it was a nice change of pace. (Don’t be shocked at the portions-this is Chris’s plate)

Glazed Salmon

Recipe courtesy of Simply Recipes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup apple cider (not hard cider)
  • 1 1/4 tablespoons honey (added brown sugar topping)
  • 4 skinless salmon fillets (6 ounces each) *halved this
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 lemons, cut in half
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 12 ounces fresh baby spinach (left out spinach)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white wine

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place salmon fillets in a baking dish large enough to hold the salmon in one layer.

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the cider and honey to a boil and let the mixture bubble steadily until it reduces by half.

Pour the cider over the salmon, then let it sit for 10 minutes.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet with a oven-proof handle on medium-high. Sprinkle the flesh side of the salmon fillets with salt and pepper. Place the fish in the pan. Cook for 2 minutes, brushing the top with cider glaze so that the fish begins to caramelize.

 Turn the salmon fillets over and brush with the remaining cider glaze. Add the lemon halves to the skillet. Transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until the salmon flakes easily when tested with the tip of a knife.

While the salmon is cooking, in another large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the spinach, salt, and pepper. Cook for 1 minute, or just until the leaves begin to wilt. Pour the wine over them and continue cooking for 1 to 2 minutes more or until tender.

To serve, drain any excess liquid from the spinach and divide it among 4 plates. Arrange a piece of salmon on top and garnish with a lemon half.

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The humidity seems to have gone down in Charlotte this week and I could not be happier! After dinner I went for a run and it was around 8:30. I got in about a mile before it turned pretty dark outside but with streetlights it was fine. I was so happy that I ran longer and even extended my loop PLUS I didn’t feel terrible at the end! Saturday morning Chris, Lindsay and (Cody Bobby-her goldie) all ran at Latta and the weather was great. It was not as humid as night and with it being overcast it gave me tons more energy. I’m all for the sun, but only when I’m laying in it.

This makes me very antsy for September and October where I know I will start to increase my mileage drastically due to the cooler weather. I ran close to 3.8 miles last night (doing sets) and it took me a little over 40 minutes. For the first time, I actually feel like I’m getting better. Apparently getting angry and running and deciding to do it EVERYDAY is working 🙂

Treadmill vs. Road

So, let me tell you that my 3-mile run was a BREEZE in the comfort of my gym last night with the AC blowing on me, 5 plasma’s to look at and an all flat surface to run on. I had planned on going to Group Power, which these days feels like a distant memory, but Dana, my gym buddy, wanted to do cardio and I was down for that because if you read this blog often, you know I’m struggling. I think I also needed a break from the road and the heat. I’m not going to resort to training inside a gym but I gotta say when I need a confidence booster that is where I’m going. I felt like I could have run 3 more miles, I hardly broke a sweat. It was  nice change from the sweaty mess I am when I crawl back into my house from an outdoor run.

After the gym I went home and made Chris and I dinner. It was nothing too big, just a salad but it was good. I put sliced granny apples, goat cheese, crushed walnuts and topped it off with an olive oil and lemon juice dressing. The chicken helped to fill me up but I decided to make Red Lobster cheese biscuits because sometimes I feel like I never feed Chris enough 🙂 I have to remember he is twice my size. After seeing them and glazing them with melted butter as they were almost done, I couldn’t resist, I had to have one.  So worth it.

Chicken Apple Goat Cheese Salad

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, peeled and sliced
  • 1 1/2 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • Salt
  • 1 tart green apple, thinly sliced
  • Baby arugula leaves – enough for a salad for four
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese – broken up into little pieces
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

Heat stick-free frying pan to medium heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and lightly sautĂ© the shallot slices until translucent. Remove from pan. Add another tablespoon of olive oil and cook the chicken breast pieces, stirring occasionally, until just cooked through – 5 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle some salt on the chicken while you are cooking it. Remove from pan and chill.

When chicken has cooled, toss together in a serving bowl the shallots, chicken, sliced green apple, arugula, walnuts and goat cheese. Dress with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.

Red Lobster Biscuits

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. Bisquick
  • 2/3 c. milk
  • 1/2 c. grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 c. melted butter
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic salt

Directions:

Mix Bisquick, milk and cheddar until a soft ball forms. Beat vigorously for 30 seconds. Drop by balls onto an ungreased baking sheet and bake at 450 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Mix butter and garlic and brush on rolls while still on the pan and hot.

After dinner I was feeling like a glass of wine and wishing I had bought a bottle at the grocery store, but then I remembered that at the wedding last weekend, Bets had given me a bottle of NY wine in my “bridesmaid” bag.  Let me tell you it was GREAT! They could definitely give Napa a run for their money…

I enjoyed this glass of wine so much, I am actually excited to have another glass tonight. That sounds very “booze bag” of me but in my defense, I just read in my Cosmo that a reasonable glass of red wine daily is not only good for you, but helps with weight loss. Hear that ladies?! Drink up! Just remember, it’s only 1 glass of wine 😉

Chris and I are going to the Irish Festival in downtown Charlotte this weekend. Anyone else planning on going? If you are interested in going and want more information, check out this link! Hope everyone has a great Friday!

http://www.charlotteirishsummerfestival.com/index.php

I’m officially Full.

So one thing I have a bad habit of on the weekends is letting myself eat whatever I want. I think that might be OK for one day over the weekend but not Friday night, Saturday and Sunday 🙂 I didn’t do too much cooking this weekend but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have a feast of food to eat. Friday night was spent with two of my favorite girls eating some much anticipated steak and rice, courtesy of Papa Moreno. We were all together for the first time in a long time to see new baby Stone and I helped myself to “seconds” because the food was just too damn good. Saturday I worked my last shift at my family’s salon (RIP) and headed back over to the Moreno household for more appetizer type foods and pretty much inhaled their famous cheese dip for as long as my stomach would let me. I finished off the day at a Birthday BBQ and let me tell you, the spread at this party was incredible. Any kind of chip you could imagine with a paired dip, wings, beef, shrimp, sausages, salad, veggie snacks and the list goes on and on….

Sunday I decided to scale it back and after having a busy Sunday I didn’t feel like cooking a huge meal. Chris and I had a softball game and a much needed house to clean so dinner was an egg-salad sandwich and a salad. I’m also not grocery shopping this week (so no meal plan!) because Chris and I both leave early Wed. morning for the wedding in NY.

The thing I love about learning how to cook is how you can transform a regular, simple meal into something delish by adding a few ingredients. I added terragon and shallots to my egg-salad sandwich and warm goat cheese rounds to my salad. Both meals took under 30 minutes to make combined and it was perfect for a lazy Sunday evening.

Terragon Shallot Egg Salad Sandwich

Ingredients:

 For egg salad (I cut this recipe in half to make 2 sandwiches)

  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons tarragon vinegar or white-wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste

For sandwiches

  • Mayonnaise for spreading on bread (optional)
  • 12 slices seedless rye bread or 6 kaiser rolls
  • 3 cups tender pea shoots (3 oz) or shredded lettuce

Directions:

Make egg salad:
Cover eggs with cold water by 1 inch in a 2-quart heavy saucepan and bring to a rolling boil, partially covered. Reduce heat to low and cook eggs, covered completely, 30 seconds. Remove pan from heat and let eggs stand in hot water, covered, 15 minutes. Transfer eggs with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice and cold water and let stand 5 minutes (to cool). Peel eggs and finely chop.

Stir together eggs and remaining salad ingredients in a bowl with a fork.

Make sandwiches:
Spread some mayonnaise (if using) on bread and make sandwiches with egg salad and pea shoots.

I’ve been making these warm goat cheese rounds ever since I found them on bakinandeggs.com. They are the best way to jazz up a salad. I am putting this recipe up on the blog specifically for my soon to be mother-in-law who requested the recipe a few weeks back 😉 Here you go Jane!

Baby Greens with Warm Goat Cheese Rounds

 

Ingredients:

1 large egg white
2 teaspoon water
4-6 (1/3-inch-thick) rounds soft mild goat cheese, cut from a cold log (use dental floss for easy cutting)
1/3 cup dry bread crumbs (preferably Japanese panko)
2 teaspoon cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Pinch of sugar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
4 cups mesclun (mixed baby salad greens – about 2 ounces)

Directions:

Whisk together egg white and water. Dip cheese rounds in egg, letting excess drip off, then dredge in bread crumbs, pressing lightly to adhere. Chill 15 minutes.

Whisk together vinegar, salt, mustard, sugar and a pinch of pepper in a small salad bowl. Add 2 tablespoon oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified.

Heat remaining tablespoon oil in a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté cheese until golden, about 30 seconds per side. Remove cheese rounds from pan.

Add greens to dressing and toss gently to coat. Top with warm goat cheese rounds.