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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Garlic Kale Chips

I can’t say I care a lot about that big game that’s on TV today.  I know that probably makes you question my East coast allegiance, but to be honest, I’ve never cared all that much.  What I do care about, is food.  In an effort to be more frugal and healthful, I’ve done a bit more cooking than usual this weekend and came up with a few tasty (and healthy) Super Bowl treats.  This one is so quick and easy you can whip up a batch right now before the game is over (don’t you need an excuse to get away from the TV anyway?). Continue reading

Tarragon Chicken Salad

As a single girl living in New York City I lived off of leftovers.  I’d whip something up on a Sunday and eat it all week for lunch, I almost always cooked dinners that lasted for two nights, and sometimes when I was low on cash I’d fill up on bread at restaurants so I could take most of my entrée home to eat again.  Now, living with a man, there are hardly ever leftovers.  Dinner is almost always just enough for the two of us, so on the rare occasion that there are leftovers, it’s fun to embrace.

Last week, after grilling up a bunch of chicken wings and thighs using my favorite marinade,  we had two thighs leftover the next day – a perfect opportunity for chicken salad.  I never thought my simple recipe was all that unique, but when I was checking out at my favorite store the cashier asked what I planned to do with the tarragon I was purchasing, so in case you’re also wondering what to do with tarragon, here goes!

Archer Farms Tarragon

Tarragon Chicken Salad (2-3 servings)

2  grilled chicken thighs (or an approximate equivalent)

1/4-1/3 cup mayonnaise

2-3 teaspoons tarragon

2 celery stalks

salt and pepper to taste

Start by removing the chicken from the bone and cutting into small bite-sized cubes.  Place the chicken in a medium-sized mixing bowl.  Chop the celery into small pieces and add to the chicken.

chopped chicken and celery

Add 1/4 cup of mayonnaise and mix.  If you prefer a creamier salad, you can add more (up to 1/3 of a cup or so).  Next, add two teaspoons of tarragon then mix and taste. I added three, but that might be too  much for some. Once you’ve reached your desired tarragon flavor add salt and pepper to taste.

tarragon chicken salad

This recipe is super simple and the tarragon gives it a little more flair than normal chicken salad.  You can use it in a sandwich or eat it alone, which is a great low-carb option.

 

Mom & Dad’s Grilled Chicken Marinade

Since the fiance and I eat a fairly low-carb diet during the week, it’s sometimes tough to come up with meal plans and recipes.  That’s why I find it super exciting when I discover certain old favorites are a naturally low-carb.  One of these is my parent’s chicken wing marinade that I’ve been eating my entire life. It’s so simple to make, and while I may be bias, it totally beats sugary barbecue sauce.

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Super Garlicky Roasted Brussels Sprouts

I visited Tom Colicchio’s restaurant Colicchio and Sons once during Restaurant Week in New York City and had some of the best brussels sprouts I’ve ever tasted.  Since then, I’ve tried to make my own delicious version.  Thankfully, my fiancé has never had Mr. Colicchio’s sprouts, so he thinks mine are the best.  Win. Continue reading

Off to a reasonably good start

After just ten days, I’m back down to my pre-holiday, five-pounds-lighter self.  Woo.  While five pounds in ten days is hardly epic, I’m happy to have accomplished this by simply trying to get my habits as back to normal as possible.  For the most part that involves avoiding lots of carbs and massive amounts of sugar as well as nightly walks after dinner.  That’s it.

scale

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