5 Ways to Build a Better Salad

Salads can get boring and if we do not rotate our ingredients, we can ambush the success of enjoying such healthy nutrients. If you are guilty, like me, I used to buy the exact same ingredients, week after week. Not only did this put me at risk for nutritional gaps, but my taste-buds got bored with the same flavors, textures and color. Overall, a good salad should include protein, fat and some carbohydrate and a minimum of 4-5 ingredients. Here are 5 ways to build a better salad.

Shrimp Salad

  • 5 large shrimp, or 3/4 cup of shrimp (cooked then chilled), I prefer using my grill pan and cooking the shrimp with some spice and lemon juice
  • Cherry tomatoes, chopped cucumber, green onion
  • Seasonings/dressing: combine cilantro, lime juice and olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss with a bed of organic greens.

Tuna Caper Salad

  • 6 ounce can of all white tuna in water or pure olive oil (I will admit it’s hard to find tuna in 100% olive oil; read labels and stay away from fillers like soy)
  • Chopped celery and diced tomato
  • Seasonings/dressing: 1 tablespoon of capers (undrained), chopped parsley  dijon mustard, salt and pepper with a bed of organic greens.

Asian Salad

  • 4 ounce chicken breasts, skin on, organic, free-range
  • 1 cups Chinese cabbage, sliced thin
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • minced scallion
  • 1/8 cup sliced almonds
  • chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 TBS toasted sesame seeds
  • Seasoning/dressing: 1/2 TBS extra olive oil, 1/2 TBS tamari sauce, 1/8 cup rice vinegar, 1/4 TBS honey, pinch red pepper flakes

Snag and Kraut Salad

  • 1-2 cooked sausages (as I learned in Australia “snags” is jargon for sausages). Make sure to read the ingredient list on sausage and only buy ones that don’t have chemical nor high fructose corn syrup. I personally love snags sourced from the farmer’s market, US Wellness Meats or when in a pinch Trader Joe’s has a clean Chicken Italian Sausage. Lastly, if you are in the Chicago area, I have recently discovered an awesome butcher in Lincoln Park, Gepperth’s Meat Market on Halstead St. 
  • Chopped romaine lettuce, organic
  • 1-2 chopped carrot
  • 1 chopped cucumber
  • 2-3 TBS of fresh sauerkraut (the Green City Market has the best, or make your own)
  • Dressings/seasonings: I either use some mustard or use a little salsa to add some texture/liquid to my salad. The sauerkraut and sausage provide a lot of flavor without a dressing too.  

Homemade Chipotle

  • Slow roast 1-2 pounds of pork tenderloin, overnight with onions and spices (I like chili spices with my pork)
  • Fresh organic salad greens
  • Avocado, 1 small
  • Dressings/seasonings: salsa verde and freshly squeezed lime

Overall don’t limit yourself to ingredients traditionally in a salad. Throw anything in there – and it doesn’t have to be only vegetables. I love using fresh berries or diced apple in my salads. If I don’t have anything raw on hand, I will also put in some dried fruit. Load on herbs too. Such beautiful flavor adding a nice punch of antioxidants.

Cheers to you and good health,

Kelly

5 Ways to Enjoy Pumpkin

If you have been following my tweets you may well know my recent love for pumpkin. It. Is.Amazing. Certainly satisfies any taste and easy on the blood sugars. A few ideas for pumpkin include:

1.Pumpkin Soup  – First peel an pumpkin, cube and then roast in the oven. Once tender blend together ingredients such as cinnamon, nutmeg, coconut milk, onion, pepper, sea salt and a touch of honey.

2. Pumpkin Porridge – On a Sunday I will roast a whole pumpkin or throw a diced pumpkin in the slow cooker to have on hand during the week. This comes in handy, especially early mornings when I am pinched for time. My pumpkin porridge includes 2 eggs, 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of pumpkin, cinnamon, sea salt pecans/macadamia nuts all mixed together and microwaved in a coffee mug. Viola.

3. Roasted Pumpkin – As simple as it sounds, I reheat pumpkin and add some spice to my liking. Paprika and pumpkin marry well and go nicely with 2 poached eggs or grilled fish.

4. Pumpkin Dessert – I reheat pumpkin again with a concoction of coconut milk or flakes, cocoa nibs and cinnamon. If I have a really bog sweet tooth, I will drizzle some honey on-top.

5. Pumpkin Salad – Pumpkin over some fresh greens, pine nuts and homemade balsamic dressing is an easy and go-to dinner for me this season. The fiber keeps me full and the pine nuts have the perfect taste. If I want a little sweetness to my salad, I will also throw in some raisins.

As you can see pumpkin is so versatile. Do you have a favorite way to eat it? One thing is for sure – while it’s easy to buy pumpkin in a can (especially in the US), it is much better to buy and roast one, eliminating the preservatives and package contamination. Good health, often takes an extra step but is always worth it.

Cheers to you and good health,
Kel

Condiments: Aioli

If I had to pick one food group to live off of for the rest of my life, it would be condiments hands-down. Okay, condiments are not a food group but I LOVE love them. Dressings, dips, spices, etc, can makeover any meal. This arvo I made some aioli for my grilled lamb/beef and pumpkin salad.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 egg yolk
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 cup – 1 cup olive oil or avocado oil
  • juice from one lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp spicy mustard

Directions:
Separate egg. Place yolk in food processor, peeled clove of garlic, mustard and juice from 1/2 the lemon. Turn the processor on and blend until the yolk, garlic, mustard and lemon juice are well combined. Add salt and ground pepper. Keep the food processor on and stream in olive oil into the mix. Once you have added about 1/2 cup of the olive oil, stop and add the remaining lemon juice. Turn the processor back on, and resume slowly streaming olive oil until the mixture begins to obtain a shiny, thin, mayonnaise-like consistency. Store in the refrigerator in an air-tight container. Aioli will thicken up when chilled.

Dear Food Log – 12/12/11

Today, Monday, I ate:

Gym: 6AM, stairclimber, abs, push-ups

Breakfast: 7:20AM
2 poached eggs
Mushrooms and herbs
1 large strawberry, sliced
Water
Fish oil
Probiotics

Lunch: 2PM
Leftover fish taco meat and vegetables
Water

At work today we had a guest speaker discussing how to make the most of our lives. It was an interesting talk and motivational. I have been brewing up some NYE resolutions but have not necessarily thought of my goals for 2012. Have you? I know I have traveling in mind, health as a focus, maybe write a book, continue on blogging and more. I would love to hear what you all are pondering. Have any suggestions or ideas? Please share.

Walk: 5PM, walk home from work – 4.5 miles

Dinner: 7:30PM
Saganaki
Raw beef with truffle oil, rocket, parmesan cheese and potato
Water
Sauv Blanc

 

Dear Food Diary – Day 2

Today, 18/11/11, I ate…

Breakfast: 7AM
Quite hungry this morning
Blood sugar = 83 mg/dl
3 egg version of Sweet and Savory Eggs
Water
Probiotics
Multivitamin
CoQ10
Allergy meds

11:25AM blazing hot (90 degrees F), walking home from my appointment for my jaw, craving (and not proud of it) a Diet Coke.

Noon: Not hungry yet
Blood glucose 134 mg/dl.
Dissolved some Glutamine in water; assists with healing (jaw)

Lunch: 1:45PM
Leftover steak, about 3 ounces
Leftover sauteed cabbage
Water

Exercise: 1.5 mile walk
Blood glucose 124 mg/dl

Snack: 5PM
Jello, fortified with Glutamine
10 fresh blueberries

Dinner: 7:30PM
3/4 glass of NZ Pinot Noir
Salmon
Salad with tomato, avocado and sweet potato
1 natural oyster
Water

Snack: 9:45PM
Blood glucose 116 mg/dl
Surprisingly not satisfied with dinner. Being spoiled with amazing food in Melbourne, I like to think I have mature taste-buds or you can just say, “I have acquired a bit of food snob in me.” Yet, the flavors in my meal just did not seem to work.
1/2 banana
1 mini square of 85% dark chocolate

Radishes

The newest addition in my salad–radishes. I love salads, they can be prepped in various ways: Mexican style (black beans, avocado, corn, tomatoes), Greek (olives, feta), traditional, and the list goes on. But, I was eager to learn what I was getting nutritiously out of the bitter but refreshing ingredient.

I’m pleased now knowing radishes are a great source of vitamin C and are rich in minerals like sulphur, iron, and iodine. For added crispness, I soak my radishes in ice water.

What is your favorite salad ingredient?

Have a healthy and fit day!