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Posts Tagged ‘Salads’

September 10, 2014

6 Easy Ways to Make Salads Exciting

As I was putting lunch together and drooling over the new salad ingredients I was experimenting with today, it hit me that not everybody does this.

Do you actually get excited about eating and/or preparing a salad?

I do, and am pretty confident in saying I don’t think I have ever made the same one twice.

Salads have always been more than just a “diet food” for me. I make the majority of mine a filling meal and I choose to label them monster salads because of their size and slew of ingredients.

There isn’t a specific art to making salads that are crave-worthy. Generally, I use the produce and ingredients I have on hand and get creative with what I have available.

Here are a handful of my tricks to keep your plates colorful and appealing!

How to make a salad more exciting

• Think outside of the fridge.

I start almost all of my salads with a romaine lettuce or spinach as a base, then pull whatever vegetables that make sense out of my produce drawer and start chopping. But I don’t stop there.

Today I made the same base of the salad I did yesterday, but left off the eggs and added a can of rinsed and drained Southwest beans instead.

chicken and bean vegetable salad

I always stock up on cans of beans (black, navy, chili, garbanzo) and they will show up on my salads more than anywhere else.

healthy salad with vegetables

Occasionally, I will add corn, peas, and edamame too.

Grab almonds and seeds for an extra crunch!

Get fruity.

Some of my favorite salads include fruits like strawberries, blueberries, apples, pears, and oranges.

berry and honey roasted almond salad

Throw in some kind of cheese and protein and you have a well-balanced meal representing the majority of the food pyramid!

Occasionally substitute your need for dressings.

Every once in a while, I will skip the dressing and use something else like salsa or hummus in it’s place.

healthy salad with noodles and hummus

Freshly squeezed citrus like limes and lemons taste great and refreshing too!

Don’t be afraid to add healthy carbs.

Whenever I get tired of the standard “load my plate with vegetables” types of salads, I cook some kind of carb like whole wheat penne noodles or quinoa and sprinkle a generous serving on top.

salad with quinoa and beans

Hot or cold, I love adding pastas, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash to salads when I am looking for something different.

butternut squash and black beans on salad

Get creative with protein.

When I am really hungry or want more of a filling salad, I make sure to load it with plenty of protein.

turkey on salad with veggies

I often top my salads with deli turkey, rotisserie chicken, or crumbled veggie and black bean burgers. If you aren’t a fan of those, go for nuts, beans and hardboiled eggs!

chicken and egg veggie salad

Say cheese!

Unless I am on some kind of strict (temporary) diet, I always add cheese to my salads. And it’s hardly ever the same kind of cheese.

making monster salads

I most frequently use feta because that has become a favorite, but I will also grab shredded cheddar on Southwest or taco salads, blue cheese with fruit salads, and experiment with slicing others like Parmesan, American, or Havarti.


• What are some of your favorite salad ingredients?

• What are some of your strangest salad ingredients?

My go-to’s (that show up on almost every one) are black and green olives, red and green peppers, some type of bean, tomatoes and cucumbers! Every now and then I add banana peppers, turkey bacon, pickles, corn, and peas. The strangest ingredient I have ever thrown on a salad is probably a quinoa burger? I really don’t know!

September 10, 2014

WIAW #64: Pumpkin Spice or Peppermint?

Hello and Happy Hump Day!

First of all, I have to note that I loved reading your comments in yesterday afternoon’s post. It looks like I’m not the only one who gets embarrassingly excited over the silliest things. Sometimes it’s nice to sit back and think about the little things in life that make you smile. Thanks for sharing what does that for you!

My Wednesday got off to a later than normal start, so I am going to get right to the good stuff. EATS! As usual, this What I Ate Wednesday is covering my entire day of meals and snacks yesterday.

What I Ate Wednesday Tuesday

Without much food to pick from in the house, I didn’t have much room for creativity at breakfast.

scrambled eggbeaters and turkey bacon breakfast

Eggbeaters scrambled with shredded cheddar cheese, Jennie-O turkey bacon and a large cup o’ coffee.

That did the trick and kept me content until right before lunch. I didn’t have a mid-morning snack, but I did test out a serving of Sugar-Free Orange Metamucil stirred into an iced spiced apple chai tea.

metamucil chai and orange tea

(PSST! I am currently working on a campaign with them, so keep a lookout for recipe ideas and an awesome giveaway from a major retailer on the blog tomorrow!)

I peeked into the refrigerator to come up with something for lunch and was pleasantly surprised to find leftovers from dinner at Bar Louie on Sunday. I told you I always forget about them…

restaurant leftovers pasta and salad

Bar Louie Chop Chop salad and Tuscan Chicken Pasta (I split with a friend).

I spent the rest of the afternoon on the computer and dove into a couple of heaping handfuls of these Sweet Potato tortilla chips from the Archer Farms line at Target as a snack.

archer farms sweet potato tortilla chips

If you haven’t tried sweet potato corn tortilla chips, do yourself a solid and get on that. Trust me.

I shut down my work for the day around 5 p.m. which was just enough time to fit in a trip to the grocery store before the gym.

Add re-stocking all of the staple groceries and produce I need to eat at home for a week to the list of things that get me embarrassingly excited too. Oh, you need some milk? We’ve got organic skim, unsweetened almond and dark chocolate almond. BAM.

See? That’s why I labeled it as being something I get embarrassingly excited over.

Anyways, I grabbed a Chocolate Peppermint LUNA Bar out of a bag to snack on during the car ride home and only had enough time to get the refrigerated items inside and put away before Scott and I needed to get back out the door. I may have also tweeted about the bar on the way over while Scott was driving.

tweet to LUNA bar

That’s how you know it’s love.

Following through towards being completely predictable on my Tuesday workout, Scott and I made it to Fitness Pilates class ready to work.

fitness pilates class and equipment

It was a rough one with a killer lower-ab scissors section that lasted minutes at the end. Phew! That class is something else! But I love it.

We made it home shortly after, and I put a couple of monster salads together as soon as I could. Hello, raging appetite.

chicken and egg veggie salad

Romaine lettuce, spinach, carrots, tomatoes, red and green pepper, cucumbers, green olives, kalamata olives, a sliced hardboiled egg, feta cheese and rotisserie chicken drizzled in balsamic vinegar for dressing.

It was a good one!

We turned in our lazy cards and spend the rest of the evening catching up on Big Brother and America’s Got Talent. I also enjoyed an Oatmeal Raisin Fiber One cookie with a glass of unsweetened almond milk for dessert.

Fiber one oatmeal raisin cookies and almond milk

I planned on eating two, because I could easily eat five regular oatmeal raisin cookies but ended up giving one to Scott. The added in fiber made me full!

All right. I have some recipes to conjure up and a full afternoon of getting my act together to complete some projects before training tonight. I hope to check in a bit later if time allows!


• If you liked this WIAW post, head on over to Peas & Crayons to check out plenty others, or even link your own!

• Also, you can always find my latest What I Ate Wednesday posts by exploring the “WIAW” tag on the right hand sidebar.

Questions of the Day

• Are you more of a pumpkin spice or peppermint flavor person?

• What is one inspirational meal or snack idea you’ve enjoyed this week? (Feel free to link it below!)

My answer is both. I continuously and secretly enjoy both flavors in my coffee drinks and protein bars throughout the entire year, and rotate them with each other to avoid getting burnt out. Whoops.

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I am not a registered dietician, nutritionist, or certified fitness professional. The workouts I post are what work best for me, but might not be the right type of exercises for you.

I do NOT post everything I eat. All content I post on this blog stems from my personal experience and knowledge, and I recommend consulting a doctor or health professional before making changes to your diet or fitness routine.

Also, please understand that affiliate links may pop up on the blog from time to time. I acknowledge when they appear and always genuinely appreciate your support! ♥

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