It’s salad season now and I’ve been taking full advantage of all the beautiful seasonal fresh produce. I love salads because well, it’s super healthy, but they’re filling (they force you to eat slowly) and they require no cooking (especially if you’ve prepped your proteins, etc. beforehand). On these hot dog days of summer, the last thing you want to do is to heat up your kitchen with the oven or range.
Here’s a few Instagram pics of our recent salads, hopefully it will give you some new ideas on snazzing up your salad creations.
Vidalia onions are a favorite and you can eat them raw since they are on the sweeter side (you don’t get that burn like when you eat raw yellow or white onions). They went well with the spring mix salad and chopped tomatoes. And my favorite Sauvignon Blanc.
Spring mix salad again, but I added a huge portion of chopped bell peppers, specifically red and orange (they have more nutritional benefits than green bell peppers). I threw in some cherry tomatoes (I love tomatoes!) and raw (not roasted), unsalted almonds. The almonds are great for fiber and the good fats, plus they are filling and add that desirable crunch. We buy a large sized bag of the raw almonds at Costco (Kirkland brand, I believe). We add almonds, whole or chopped, to practically everything (Greek yogurt, proteins, etc.) or just grab a small handful as a satisfying snack.
This huge tuna & pasta salad kept me full for hours and was under 500 calories! I ran out of clean bowls so I used my large Pyrex mixing bowl, so this was a massive sized salad. Regular romaine lettuce, chopped grape tomatoes, scallions, 1 drained can of tuna, grilled asparagus (my husband made a big batch days before, with a little olive oil and fresh squeezed lemon juice), whole grain pasta and 25-year old balsamic vinegar.
I don’t ruin a good salad with store-bought salad dressings, they are loaded with sugar, unhealthy oils, and preservatives. I typically stick with balsamic vinegar and that’s it. If you have a good aged one on hand, that’s all you need. Just a tablespoon or so is enough because it’s intense, sweet and slightly tangy.
Aspargus is one of my all-time favorite vegetables. I love the taste and it always elevates your meal. You should try white asparagus when it’s in season (it’s a very short season), so delicate and elegant. Aspragus is an amazing natural diuretic too, it always debloats me. But I eat it for the taste, it goes so well with fish or a steak, a salad or cut up into small pieces for your pasta or quinoa bowl.
I was craving some carbs so I had the whole grain pasta. It has more nutritional benefits than regular pasta, but I had a small serving. You can see that there is a ton more vegetables than pasta and tuna in the Pryrex bowl. I used to eat huge bowls of pasta in one sitting, but that was no bueno. That packed on the pounds and I just felt lethargic afterwards.
We tried kumatoes for the first time for our salads, they were delicious. When they’re ripe, they are a very dark brownish-burgundy color. So sweet and they reminded us of heirloom tomatoes (another all-time favorite of mine).
The red leaf romaine lettuce was excellent in this salad. I don’t really eat iceberg lettuce for my salads because there’s relatively no nutritional benefit as compared to all the other types of lettuce. A good general rule of thumb is to pick the darker hues of lettuce or vegetables. Red leaf romaine is packed with vitamins A and K.
The salmon steak was very good too, we buy the Kirkland frozen salmon packs at Costco. The wild-caught salmon is what you want, it’s more expensive but the taste and texture is so much better than farmed salmon. My husband poached the salmon steaks and prepared it with a little olive oil, minced garlic, white wine and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
And now to switch gears, I wanted to show you the informational sticker on the Concept2 rowing machine at my gym.
This cardio machine strengthens and tones all those highlighted areas in red. It really tightened and toned my legs and core. There’s some definition to my back, arms and shoulders too. I truly love this low-impact workout, so much more than the treadmill or elliptical machine. Its rythmic motion is actually kind of soothing and it leaves me to think or just enjoy my music (a little brain-cation). Plus, the rower is often ignored at the gym so I never have to wait to get on one.
I started upping my strength exercises with free weights and the weight machines at the gym. I want to firm up everything on my body, but more importantly, build stronger muscles and bones for later on in life, to avoid or lessen the effect of osteoporosis or rebounding from a bad fall.
Switching gears again, here’s an outfit of the night picture from earlier this week.
The jeans are new and the fit is amazing (my old jeans are way too big on me now), but the rest is old. I really should wear nude tones more often, it sets off my black hair and looks cool with the black jeans.
Do you have any favorite salad combinations that you’d like to share? Enjoy your weekend!