Sunday, July 26, 2009

Summer Salad Frenzy

It's officially the time of year I love the most. I love the summertime for a lot of reasons: longer days, warm nights, beach trips; to name a few reasons. One of the main reasons I love summer is the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. I hate using the word "produce". It jumbles all the delicious, beautiful, colorful and edible plants into something so ordinary and generic sounding.

Recently, my friend Maura sent me a link to the article: "101 Simple Salads for the Season". It has inspired me all over again to approach eating salads on a daily basis. I realized my problem before was that I thought I was quite adventurous with my salads because I added fruits and nuts. Sadly, I was still eating the same salad almost every day. Though I never seem to tire of rice, beans and veggies, I tired quickly from my daily salad. The article "101 Simple Salads for the Season" opened me up to a lot more possibilities. First it reminded me that salads don't have to have greens as a base. Secondly it suggests salads with grains, pasta and beans, all of which help you feel full.

This first salad has been my go-to salad this week. It's baby spinach, radishes, sliced baby carrots, walnuts, craisins, and a bit of crumbled low-fat feta. I've been making a really simple dressing of olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon juice. I make the dressing in a tiny condiment cup (Thank you Japan.) the night before, and add it just before I'm ready to eat my salad. Other ingredients I've added to this are chickpeas, black beans, raspberries and brown rice.

This salad is from the article. "#18: Roughly chop cooked or canned chickpeas (you can pulse them, carefully, in a food processor) and toss with olive oil, lemon juice, lots of chopped fresh parsley and mint, and a few chopped tomatoes. Call this chickpea tabbouleh." I added the greens, which is another batch of lettuce from my garden. (The mint and parsley I used was also from my garden.) I also added some of the low fat feta, which has been my new favorite thing. Every time I get close to going vegan, I discover a new dairy product that is pretty healthy and delicious!

I've also been working as much fruit into my diet as possible. My cereal standby is to measure out one cup of Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal, and slice in a peach, a handful of blueberries, and slice up one banana.

Or I go completely overboard and combine cereal with: 1 peach, 1 banana, handful of raspberries and a handful of blueberries. This was pretty fantastic, the different fruits really complemented one another.

Since the big race I've had "post-race blues". Can't seem to bring myself to work out like before. Saturday I took things easy and really enjoyed the day. Went to the Farmer's Market and got a great bunch of kale for smoothies, and a quart of big local blueberries.

I rode my hybrid for the first time in months. At an easy pace I went down into New Haven, around the green that was setting up for an outdoor concert, and back into East Rock. I rode my bike up East Rock to the summit for the first time since last year (I think). I didn't stand up at all, and passed a couple on my way up. I picked a shady spot and read for awhile. Here is a picture of a few of my favorite things: bikes, ice cream, East Rock and a sunny summer day.

By the way, the picture at the top of this post is of a gigantic fruit salad I made for my coworker's birthday. I used: strawberries, peaches, blueberries, kiwis, grapes and watermelon. In a 1 cup measuring cup I squeezed in some agave nectar, and mixed it with a bit of water, lime juice and shredded mint. My coworkers LOVED this and I will definitely make it again. Don't drown the fruit with this mixture, just make enough to lightly coat the fruit!


PBJaay August 3, 2009 at 9:50 AM  

Thanks for the Salad recipes and links!

triblog carol August 6, 2009 at 7:04 AM  

Yummy, those all look delish! Can I be your roommate instead of that german astrophysicist?

Rachel August 6, 2009 at 12:31 PM  

Your post made me HUNGRY! I love how it's so healthy!