Salad

Crunchy Green Salad

crunchy-green-salad

 Today will forever be ingrained in my head as one of the most embarrassing ever for me. It will be a day I won’t forget until the end of time, a day that will stick with me for a number of reasons, but mostly because..today is the day the salad bar lady at Eatzi’s made me cry. Like uncontrollable, ugly crying where your head tells you to stop but your face just won’t do it. The tears were flowing and my face was pinched. And I need to put this out there- I’m really not a huge crier. I mean of course I cry, but generally my reaction to things that set me off is anger and retaliation (wonderful traits in a person, I know), not heaps of emotion and sadness. But today was different, I don’t know why, and it’s going to take me a while to recover. I wish I had some super dramatic story to tell you, but the short of it is: I waited for 15 minutes in the DELICIOUS MOST AMAZING salad bar line at Eatzi’s – a rarity these days because walking around there with a double stroller is awkward and taxing- made the most perfect salad that I was going to eat tonight for dinner, and just as the lady handed it to me, one of my twins knocked it out of my hand and onto the floor (name protected because he is a minor) . They’re screaming, they want to leave, I look at the line and it’s now 20 people deep, and I meagerly asked the lady if she wouldn’t mind just adding a little lettuce and chicken into my bowl. Nope, she said, “there’s a line behind you if you haven’t noticed”. Well, I did notice and I certainly wasn’t trying to cut in line, but I was a little overwhelmed and I wanted that damn salad. I had worked hard for it. Or at least something to eat with their lemon vinaigrette (it’s the best if you’ve never tried it). I was pretty sad but ok until I put my bowl in the trash and was walking out the door and another older mom- the kindest woman- came up to me, hugged me, and said that was so horrible and that I was doing a wonderful job (I mean, she doesn’t really know if I’m doing a wonderful job, she probably didn’t know I was an hour late feeding the twins’ lunch because I was at Eatzi’s getting a salad, but..). It was so nice! Nice people make me cry. (So does losing my lunch). Anyway, tears started flowing, then the manager Dave got involved, and now I’m home and Dave and Eli the other manager are bringing me my favorite Eatzi’s dinner tonight (the 3 of us really bonded). So unnecessary, but so generous, and a reminder to always be nice to people. It can make or break their day. 

Anyway, I’m not eating this crunchy green salad tonight because tonight I am eating the rotisserie chicken family meal with mashed potatoes and roasted cauliflower. But I make it for lunch a lot, and probably even more going forward because I don’t think I’ll be showing my face in the Eatzi’s salad line anytime soon. 

Recipe

  • 1/2 bunch kale
  • 1 ripe pear
  • feta cheese
  • sunflower seeds
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • juice from 1/2 lime
  • S&P

Whisk the salad dressing ingredients together- rice vinegar, oils, water, soy sauce, Dijon, honey, lime and S&P. Chop the kale (double the dressing recipe if using the whole bunch), and toss in the salad dressing. Let sit for at least 20-30 min (kale tastes better when marinated a bit, IMO).  Divide into two large bowls, and top with desired amount of chopped pear, avocado, feta, and sunflower seeds. 

taco-salad-with-easy-baked-tortilla-bowl

There’s nothing like waking up on a Monday morning to a kid with a 104 degree fever, and another kid who decided today was the day they would drop their morning nap. Days like today make me feel like twins is just one too many babies. Just kidding! I love having twins. But you know what I mean…

The good news is I finally got my poor, sick, hot little baby down for a nap. The bad news is the other one has located all of his noisiest, most annoying toys and is stacking them on the bench next to me. So far we’ve got a xylophone, a dump truck that honks, a little magic stick that plays club music, a laptop that sings the ABC’s, and an elephant that shakes his head and sing ‘do your ears hang low, can you tie them in a bow… yada yada yada.’  All next to me, all turned on.  Very annoying, but I guess also very cute. I guess that’s the thing about kids.

So here I have a great weeknight meal for you. Easy taco salad with ground beef and all the taco salad basics, served in a homemade baked tortilla bowl. I absolutely LOVE the tortilla shells they serve taco salads in at restaurants, but a) I couldn’t find them at the store and b) I don’t like to fry things.  So I baked mine with a regular flour tortilla, and loved it!! And the ground beef has such great flavor, you’ll never need to use on of those taco seasoning packets again.

Recipe

  • The best taco beef recipe here
  • Taco sauce or homemade sauce here
  • Shredded iceberg lettuce
  • Shredded Cheddar or Jack/Cheddar Blend
  • 1 can refried beans
  • Sour cream
  • Diced tomatoes
  • 4 large flour tortillas
  • Canola oil or nonstick spray

First start the ground beef. While it’s cooking, preheat the oven to 350.  Warm up the tortillas in the microwave, then spray each generously on both sides with canola oil or baking spray.  Turn a muffin pan upside down, and situate the tortilla in between 4 muffin holders, pressing the center down to create the bowl. Repeat with remaining three. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and bake for about 12-15 minutes until bowls are crispy and slightly brown. Remove and let cool.  Heat the refried beans in a pan over the stove or in the microwave. Line the bottom of the taco bowl with beans, then top with cheese, lettuce, tomato, more cheese, and ground beef.  Top with taco sauce, sour cream, and guac.

The Best Lemon Vinaigrette

the-best-lemon-vinaigrette

Lemon vinaigrette is something that didn’t even slightly appeal to me until about two years ago. I just couldn’t get on the lemon bandwagon except for the sliver that they put in my cosmopolitan.  Then I went to Eatzi’s one day for a heavy dose of sampling (SW pepper dip and cinnamon roll, mainly), and I went crazy and got the lemon dressing on my salad. I was immediately obsessed. So much so that I called Eatzi’s later that day and asked what ingredients they put in it (which I’m sure was a much appreciated phone call for a place that is bustling with customers morning, noon, and night). To my surprise though, the guy couldn’t have been nicer and actually told me what was in it. He didn’t have the measurements, but this was certainly a good start. So now I make my own and we douse our salads in it. It doesn’t taste EXACTLY like Eatzi’s, but it’s darn close. And that’s how I officially stepped on the lemon bandwagon. Except lemon cake. I will never be a fan of lemon cake. Cake should never include fresh/healthy produce, IMO.

Recipe

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 large)
  • 6 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoons honey
  • 1.5 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher/coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 minced garlic clove
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Mix all the ingredients together, whisk or shake hard to combine and thicken, and serve it on everything! PS this would probably be a great summer chicken marinade.

Grilled Caprese Salad

grilled-caprese-salad

I’m feeling very uninspired in the world of fashion lately. Anyone else? Denim in particular. I mean WTF. Wide leg, cropped, high-waisted, frayed…basically all the styles that look good on no one all rolled into one jean. So apparently if you don’t know what type of new denim you should get for the summer/fall, just go to the store and find the pair that looks the absolute worst on you – and get those. I also heard that pinch rolling is coming back, and skinnies are out. It literally took me years to get into the skinny trend because it just didn’t suit my body type…now I’m firmly on board and have a closet full of skinnies and they’re out. Well forget it, Fashion 2017, I’m skipping you entirely this year and maybe I’ll check back in the spring. Of course, who am I kidding? When do I wear regular clothes anyway? I’m definitely pushing the boundaries of appropriate “athleisure” on a daily basis.

Onto food. I love the caprese combination. It’s perfect to me, and I like it in nearly every form: sandwich, pizza, flatbread, cold salad…and now, hot salad. I put it on the grill last weekend and I looooved the melty cheesy touch and the sweet, cooked down tomatoes.

Recipe

  • 2 large tomatoes
  • ~1/2 ball fresh mozzarella
  • olive oil & salt
  • ~2-3 tablespoons fresh basil
  • balsamic glaze (store bought)

Cut the tomato into thick slices, remove the seedy/watery part, place them on a paper towel and blot to remove excess moisture.  Season with salt.  Place the tomatoes on a thick piece of foil sprayed with nonstick spray and brush with just a touch of oil. Grill on medium for about 3-4 minutes (on the foil). Slice the mozzarella into thick pieces, and place a piece on half of the tomatoes. Cover each tomato with another tomato slice and cover grill just for a minute or two to melt. Remove from grill. Top with fresh basil and drizzle with balsamic glaze.

my-favorite-healthy-egg-salad

I feel like one of the hardest parts of working full time is coming up with lunch solutions. Pack a lunch? Eat out every day? Skip it altogether? Tough answers to some tough questions. As a side note – I’ve always had a strange admiration for people who say ‘I forgot to eat lunch today.’  I mean. How? How did you forget? Weren’t you starving? Weren’t you counting down the hours/minutes/seconds until you got to eat something good? Isn’t lunch the highlight of an otherwise mundane day? I don’t get it, you guys, and I’m intrigued.

But the reason lunch is important during the week is two-fold: 1) obvious nutrition requirements and 2) it gives you something to look forward to. If I didn’t have lunch I might just simply quit my day after breakfast.

This egg salad is one of my ultimate go-to’s for lunch. It’s healthy, it’s easy to make, and you can make it in larger batches to have all week. You can put it on toast, you can put it on crackers, or you can just eat it with a fork like I do most days. It’s delicious.

Recipe (1)

  • 4 eggs (will be using 1 whole egg, and 3 egg whites)
  • 1 tablespoon light mayo
  • 1 tablespoon chopped pickle
  • 1/2 teaspoon pickle juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • ~1/8 teaspoon kosher/coarse salt, more to taste
  • pepper

Hard boil the eggs. I do mine by placing them in a pot and covering with water, bringing them to a boil, then turning off the heat and covering for 10 minutes. I then drain the water and replace with ice water. The ice bath for a minute or two ensures the yolks stay yellow.

Peel the eggs and slice one whole egg, and 3 egg whites into a bowl. Discard the remaining yolks. Mash the egg and egg whites with a fork. Mix in the mayo, pickle, pickle juice, mustard, S&P. Serve warm or refrigerate to cool down.

Corn with Basil & Feta

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We’re getting a babysitter in 2 hours and 56 minutes. 55 minutes. Not like I’m dying to leave our baby boys, but I kind of am. They are so fun and cute and busy but the day is just about 6.5 hours too long. And also, does anyone have any tips for re-implementing a 3rd nap into the day? Besides ambien?


Actually, I think I don’t feel quite as trapped as a lot of new moms do. I have lots of places to walk to for lunch or other things, and I think my threshold for being home/not in a social setting is higher than most. That is probably the engineer in me coming out…someone that could sit in their cubicle and write code all day and be perfectly content. Or maybe that’s why I chose engineering.  It actually makes me think about an interview I had when I was trying to get out of engineering and into sales..when they asked me why I wanted to leave Lockheed Martin I said that I needed much more social interaction. What? No I don’t. I’m a terrible fit for sales.


All of that being said, I do in fact truly enjoy social events on a sporadic and reasonable basis, and tonight I am thrilled to be getting out. I also love to have people over for dinner, and that was the inspiration for this side dish. Picking the main part is easy…what to go with it is really the age old question.  This is perfect because it is fast, easy, and pretty. All the things you need when entertaining.


Recipe

  • 4 ears corn
  • ~2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3-4 tablespoons crumbled Feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil
  • S&P

Start by cutting the kernels off the cob with a sharp knife.  Heat the olive oil and butter in a saucepan, then add the corn.  Cook through, stirring frequently, about 12-15 minutes. Remove from heat, season with S&P, and throw in the feta and basil. That’s it! 

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