The Salad Challenge – Warm Arugula & Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Goat Cheese, Pomegranate and Walnuts

I’ve been in a bit of a diet rut lately, and I’ve decided to post about this journey here in oder to keep myself accountable and hopefully inspire others.

You see, over the last few years, my husband and I have been trying to follow a lower-carbohydrate diet. I’ve definitely had my share of ups and downs, and my weight has followed suit. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how to change my food habits for the better, and have realized that while trying to stay low-carb, I’ve formed some not so good habits.

Since I’m home most days, I’ve fallen into the trap of making myself cheese quesadillas with low-carb tortillas. I think this is a great “once in a while” lunch, but eating them practically daily cannot be good. There’s little nutritional value and how “low-carb” can a bread product really be anyway? While they’re pretty tasty, the main reason I find myself eating quesadillas so much is because they’re easy. I can buy a  pack of shredded cheese and tortillas each week and there’s my lunch.

Anyway, I’ve decided to swap out most of my quesadillas for salads, which to me is a bit of a challenge. First of all, I find it hard to keep fresh ingredients in the house. Since I’m the only one eating lunch at home, they often go bad quickly, and I hate to waste food. Second, I’m pretty lazy. Salads often require a lot of slicing and dicing, and when I’m hungry, that’s the last thing I want to be worrying about. On top of all that, salads can get pretty boring and aren’t always the most satisfying meals either.

With all of that being said, I’m determined to find a way to make this salad thing work. I’m going to think more about the ingredients I’m buying and I’m going to do my darnedest to keep my salads fun, interesting and fulfilling. I’m also going to share them here!

Without further ado, here’s today’s salad:

Warm Arugula & Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Goat Cheese, Pomegranate and Walnuts

brussels sprouts and arugula salad

Ingredients:

– shaved Brussels sprouts

– arugula

– pomegranate seeds

– chopped walnuts

– goat cheese

– Lucini’s Fig & Walnut Balsamic Dressing (just a drizzle)

If there’s one thing to notice about this salad, it’s that I I didn’t have to chop a darn thing. I bought a bag of shaved Brussels sprouts from Trader Joe’s to have for dinner last night, and set aside a few to use today. I sauteed them with some olive oil, salt, pepper and minced garlic, and then put them on the bed of arugula. At first I wasn’t sure how this would work, but the fact that they were warm and hearty made the salad a lot more satisfying. I love arugula, so I’ve been keeping big boxes of it the fridge, and am also trying to keep a variety of fruits, nuts and cheeses on hand to toss into salads. Pomegranate seeds are definitely a new favorite of mine. They add just a bit of sweetness and some crunch.

So there you have it, the first of hopefully many salads to come.

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pomegranate & bleu arugula salad

My husband was away on business for a few days, so I thought it’d be a good time to try some new Fall recipes.

Last night I tried a new quiche recipe for dinner, but it was a total flop. Not wanting to go for takeout, I took to my fridge to see what I could drum up. The day before I made this salad from Eat Yourself Skinny for a potluck brunch (totally delicious btw!!) and still had some leftover dressing, arugula  and bleu cheese.  I used these leftover ingredients and also added some pomegranate seeds and chopped walnuts.IMG_3477

As it turned out, my disaster quiche was a blessing in disguise — the salad was delicious! I’m not one to measure much (probably why my quiche failed), but here’s my recipe for the salad. I recommend eyeballing the ingredients like I did, though I wouldn’t suggest going too crazy with the bleu cheese because it can easily overpower the other flavors.

Pomegranate & Bleu Arugula Salad:

– Baby arugula

– Crumbled bleu cheese

–  Chopped walnuts

– Pomegranate seeds

For the dressing (from Eat Yourself Skinny): 

*I used just a small drizzle of this on my salad. You can cut the recipe down or keep the leftovers in the fridge for future salads.

– 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

– 1 tsp. Dijon mustard

– 3 Tbsp olive oil

– Salt and pepper, to taste

 

Update

It’s been an especially bad week for me keeping up with things here, but I’m hoping to get everything back to normal soon. As I mentioned not too long ago, I’ve been working on another project, which I’m proud to announce has gone live. You can now read all about my Bay Area food truck musings over at truckista.com. Hopefully this will make up for the slow week … and I promise to get back on track soon!

I’m about to head to my seventh yoga class at Dharma Studio, so you can expect some updates soon. While I’m not sure I’ll be able to catch up on my daily March photos, I should have some more of those for you next week too.

Happy Friday, everyone.

Cheeseburgers and Compromise

Love is all about compromise, so I knew this morning when Chris willingly offered to go to Target with me to check out the new Jason Wu collection at 9 am, that I’d want to repay the favor.  It didn’t take me too long to do so, because just as he fired up the grill to cook up the mini burgers we bought at Target, I noticed they smelled a little “off.”  The meat hadn’t expired and looked just fine, and while I might be known to test expiration dates, off smelling meat is not something I mess with (I know, I know).  I don’t think either of us really wanted to go back to the store, but were both suddenly really craving burgers, so off I went.  In honor of the Super Bowl (which I didn’t care that much about) and my extra trip to the store, I decided to get a little creative and made a super delicious burger (sans bun of course).

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Chicken & Vegetable Curry Soup

I’ve been in California for exactly five months today and if there’s anything I’ve learned (or confirmed), it’s that weather perspectives out here are quite different.  While Seattle is having record snowfall right now and the East Coast is having a fairly mild winter (it’s currently 18 degrees in my CT hometown with two inches of fresh snow from last night), the weather here in San Jose is REALLY rough.  So much so that the local news suggested you might try to leave work early today to avoid tonight’s dangerous driving conditions in the RAIN.  Yup.  Rain.

But I must confess, I’m already adjusting to the local climate.  50 degrees suddenly does feel like winter and clouds are just so depressing. Now how do my windshield wipers operate?

California "Winter"

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