Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Salad news

So, I have been eating more salads lately-- fear not, internet.

Yesterday for lunch I concocted a delightful quinoa, nectarine, arugula, and feta salad. I sadly took no picture, but I'm sure you can imagine what these four ingredients looked like in a bowl.

No, the real reason I am posting is to share an article I just read. Which gives an overview of the work of some researchers who have discovered that, in fact, counting calories has little to do with weight loss and instead, that what you eat is most important.

And surprise, what you eat should be mostly plants. Fruits, veggies, whole grains. Shocking, I know. Here's their list of what to eat.

Oh, and? Eating full fat dairy has little effect on weight. So, cheese, come to mama. 

Anyway, my favorite bits of news are the ones that validate my own lifestyle choices, so I figured I'd share. And, world, please stop eating Lean Cuisines. They break my heart.

From: NYTimes Personal Health-- Personal Health: Still Counting Calories? Your Weight-Loss Plan May Be Outdated & Choose Foods to Shed the Pounds

Friday, July 15, 2011

Post-salad week salads

I'm eating this RIGHT NOW. Even though I have no love for the radish (but no hate either), it is quite delicious.

And for the past two lunches, my trusty southwestern-y quinoa salad, with veggies, black beans, cilantro, lime, and blackened corn.

I have also made a raw kale salad and it was actually quite tasty. I did not take a picture, but then, the pictures on 101 cookbooks are better than mine would be, anyway. I recommend.

And a tomato/mozzarella/roasted peppers/cannellini bean pasta sald, which was only marginally healthy, given the abundance of so delicious mozzarella.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Salad week, day 7

Eek. I forgot all about updating the internet on my salad-eating yesterday.

Well, I had eggs for breakfast.

Then another steak salad for lunch with the leftover steak from the day before. This one had roasted peppers, arugula, tomato, red onion, mozzarella, and a homemade red wine vinaigrette.

Dinner was lettuce, grape tomatoes, baked chicken, cucumber, pine nuts, feta. And I forgot to take a picture. Sorry, universe.

So, yesterday theoretically ends salad week, but in practice, I think it'll go on for a while longer. First of all, I missed four salad meals during this past week. So I feel like I need to keep going as a matter of principle.

And also, salad is delicious!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Salad week, day 6

Lunch today was a truly delicious steak & arugula salad from the dearly departed Gourmet via Epicurious. In an unusual spin, I followed the recipe exactly.

And it was quite tasty. Tangy from the reduced vinegars and the arugula.

Alas, that was my only salad today, because this evening we celebrated my friend Melanie's birthday with some Brazilian food and ice cream and beer.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Salad week, day 5

Much more successful today, though I did have some cheese and crackers thanks to my friend the Book Glutton...

Jumped straight into lunch today with a big quinoa salad with green cabbage, black bean, tomato, cilantro, cucumber, lime, avocado.

Then, a snack of Bittman's #38, except... tragedy struck! Green mold found its way into my kalamata olive stash, so I had to go without. I was terribly excited to try this salad of watermelon, olives, red onion, feta, mint, & lemon juice. And it was delicious, even without the olives. But my goodness, the watermelon feta combo is amazing and I bet olives would just bring it to a whole new level.

And then, for dinner, Bittman's #21-- avocado, cucumber, soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar. I added some of the soy & sesame marinated chicken leftover from day three's "Chinese" chicken salad. It was truly out of this world. So much yum.

Salad week, day 4

Day four, hump day I suppose.

And what does one do on hump day? Hump? No, silly, drink.

And that is what I did for most of the day (hence the 4:30 AM post).

Alas, few salads were eaten. Just the morning quinoa leftovers, followed by a chopped-up nectarine tossed with blueberries and yogurt.

And then, lunch out (BLAT on wheat, sweet potato fries), with all-you-can-drink champagne (and I pushed myself, hard). Then chatting and drinking another bottle of wine and watching Girls Just Want to Have Fun, a childhood favorite now on Netflix Instant). Then ordering a pizza and more chatting and more wine.

Then crashing hard at midnight. And then waking up at 3:45.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Salad week, day 3

Today I got up and ran, both before breakfast and before it got too hot for physical exertion.

Then I came home and immediately wolfed down a nectarine.

And then I scrambled myself some eggs with tomato, onion, a little pecorino romano cheese, a habenero hot sauce, and yes, a handful of crushed corn chips. My attempt to approximate something weird people eat in Texas called "Migas" and also get through the bag of tortilla chips before they go stale. Not a salad, I know, but it was delicious and there were vegetables.

For lunch, leftover quinoa salad from the day before. It is, if I do say, delicious. And will be delicious when I eat even more of it for breakfast tomorrow.  More on that tomorrow.

For dinner, a salad of my own creation, loosely based on several recipes for Chinese/Asian/Oriental Chicken Salad.

For this, I baked chicken tenders brushed with sesame oil and soy sauce, and tossed with green cabbage, leaf lettuce, shredded carrots and radishes, mango, cucumber, and dressed with: a small thumb's worth of ginger, two garlic cloves, several pinches of sesame seeds, a small scoop of chili garlic sauce, a small shake of sesame oil, and a large shake each of soy sauce, safflower oil, and rice vinegar.

As for snacking, well, I had the last of the black apricots of betrayal, and a bowl of blueberries and chopped up strawberries, tossed with a scoop of fat-free, plain yogurt.  And you can bet that later this evening, I will fix myself a bowl of popcorn, because I've just sat myself down for some True Blood with my true love. D'awww.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Salad week, day two

Today was a bit trickier. I had to go over to my friend Wendy's and drink some wine and sangria and eat some empanadas and sweet potato taquitos and pie.

Still, I ate a lot of salad.

Kashi for breakfast. A couple of black apricots, which are just fuzzy mini plums, and thus a hoax. Plums are the lemons of the stone fruit world, which is to say they are not versatile and amazing like real lemons, but instead are like metaphoric lemons that cars can sometimes be. Anyway, back to salad.

Leftover cucumber salad from yesterday for morning snack.

For lunch, this salad:
Bittman's #25-- tomatoes, corn chips, peppers, chili, onion, cilantro, lime. Good, but not great. Corn chips added nothing, but then, we have a lot leftover so it was good to use them.  It was, however, filling.

I brought this to Wendy's. My own creation. Quinoa, cucumbers, peppers, chili, mango, corn, black bean, tomatoes, cilantro, onion, lime. Nom.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Salad week, day one

Salad # 1: Slightly modified Bittman's #20: Shred cabbage (I used green. Napa would have been better) and radishes. The dressing is roasted peanuts, lime juice, safflower oil, cilantro, an unseeded serrano chili and a couple of shakes salt and chili flakes, all whizzed in a blender.

Salad #2: This one is scaled down from here: halved grape tomatoes, cannellini beans, basil, lemon zest, salt, olive oil.

Salad #3: Adapted from epicurious. Cucumber (salted and drained), red onion, unseeded serrano, two garlic cloves, mint, lime juice, nam pla, rice vinegar, a little sugar.

Salad #4: My Sonoma Diet Standby-- Beans with Greens and Artichoke Hearts

Other things I ate today: a bowl of Kashi GoLean Crunch with skim milk, a handful of roasted, salted almonds, a slightly under-ripe black apricot, some strawberries, a glass of white wine, and you can bet your sweet ass I'll be making some popcorn this evening-- the first disc of True Blood arrived today.

You might wonder why I ate 4 salads today. Well, salad #1 was leftover from dinner last night, and I wolfed that down after I got home from yoga at 11:30. Then, an hour later, I made salad # 2. Then around 3, I made Salad #3 as a snack. I ate about half, and will eat the other half tomorrow. Then, finally, the dinner salad, #4, which Bill and I ate around 6. So you see, perfectly reasonable.

Sorry for the shitty photos. I'll try harder tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Salad week shop #1

$27 for all this locally grown, mostly organic bounty. 6 limes, one bunch each of: kale, cilantro, mint, lettuce, radishes. Also, 3 gigantic cucumbers (should I be afraid?), 1 cabbage, 3 lbs of grape tomatoes, 5 avocados, 3 ears of corn, and 2 pretzel rolls (to be consumed at tonight's dinner-- don't worry). I'm a little surprised I somehow ended up buying no fruit, but then, the Sonoma Diet doesn't allow it on Wave One, so maybe that's for the best.

Salad week begins tomorrow!

And now I am collating some recipes.

I will definitely make my two Sonoma Diet standbys:
  • Greens with Beans and Artichoke Heats (mixed greens, 3 oz chicken, 2 canned artichoke hearts, 1/8 cup cannelloni beans, 1 tablespoon goat cheese, 1/2 tablespoon toasted pine nuts, Italian parsley, red wine vinaigrette. Yum!) 
  • Sonoma Salad with Tomatoes and Feta

I will hit Mark Bittman's 101 salads list hard:
  • I am making #3 now, to use up a cucumber: "A nice cucumber salad: Slice cucumbers thin (if they’re fat and old, peel and seed them first), toss with red onions and salt, then let sit for 20 to 60 minutes. Rinse, dry, dress with cider vinegar mixed with Dijon mustard; no oil necessary."
  • I will definitely make (err, probably not all of these in one week...):
    • #7 & #14 (basically, carrots)
    • #8 (radishes, mango, lime, cilantro & mint)
    • #15 (an intriguing tomato/soy sauce combo)
    • #20 (a peanut-y Asian-style slaw)
    • #21 (cucumbers, avocado, soy/mirin/vinegar)
    • #25 (bell peppers, tomato, onion, chilies & tortilla chips)
    • #38 (watermelon, feta, mint, olives)
    • #39 (corn, chili, lime, tomatoes)
    • #41 (avocado, black bean, cheese, tomatillos)  
    • #54 (roasted peppers, mozzarella, white bean)
    • #56 (salade niçoise)
    • #74 (bell peppers, sausage)
    • #79 (steak, kale, olives)
    • #95 (quinoa, fruit, onions)
    • #97 (barley, grapes)
    • #98 (bulgur, tomatoes, chickpeas)
    • #99 (quinoa, apricots, cherries)
 I will also make my own favorite quinoa salad: quinoa, black beans, onion, peppers, roasted corn, cilantro, lime.

Suggestions? I am very excited to go to the farmers market in a few hours to load up on some components.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Some links: what's in season

While I'm a regular at my local farmers market, I'm sometimes overwhelmed with doubt about what to buy. I want to buy what will taste the best, what's in season, what the best value is, but I often find myself buying the same easy-to-use staples: tomatoes, onions, lettuce, kale, carrots, herbs. These items are available basically year-round (tomatoes from only a couple hot-house growers in the winter), and while in the summer, I add more berries and stone fruits to my list, I don't vary as much as I probably should.

As I plan to basically subsist on fresh veggies for a week (not so dramatic of an undertaking, I know), I figure I should push myself to try new things, and I should probably let the seasons be my guide.

Granted, summer is the easiest season to be a farmers market devotee. Still, I will try harder. And I will let the following links be my guide.

For all y'all:
Epicurious's peak-season map.

For Los Angelenos:
The LA Times' Market Watch
The LA Weekly's SquidInk Blog's Farmers Market Section
Evan Kleiman (she of the delicious Angeli Caffe and KCRW's Good Food)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Salad week

Dear forgotten blog and its non-existent readers,

In looking at my last post, I realized that I effectively maintained my weight loss as long as I maintained this blog. In the past year and a half, I have gained about 15 lbs from my diet low of around 145 lbs. The first ten lbs I'll attribute to graduate school and various life challenges; the last five has come since getting my thyroid removed a month ago. My thyroid hormone levels now readjusted, hopefully the five pounds will disappear as quickly as it came. I can't say that blogging kept my weight down-- after all, the busy-ness that kept me away from blogging also kept me out of the kitchen, eating more pad kee mao and burritos than advisable. Still, something must be done in regards to my waistline; I may as well bring the blog back, too. Plus, I'm getting married next year, and I may as well join the masses of dieting brides.

But, I can't bear the thought of going on a diet again. The recipes in the Sonoma Diet book are my most beloved, and I eat them all the time. A return to Wave One, however, just seems overwhelming, especially since it's officially summer now in Los Angeles, and I want to minimize my time spent heating things in my kitchen.

Thus, I declare next week, Wednesday the 6th through Tuesday the 12th, to be salad week. Breakfast I'll stick my regular Sonoma Diet choices-- a bowl of Kashi GoLean Honey Almod Crunch, or two eggs and a piece of toast, but for lunch and dinner, salad. I think I'll allow my regular snacking (typically, a gigantic bowl of stove-popped popcorn topped only with a little salt).

Now, I'm not going raw. I'll be eating plenty of beans and some meat, and I'll definitely be eating a lot of quinoa, bulgur, and other salad-friendly grainy components.  No pasta, though-- not even whole wheat. I'll post every salad I eat here.

These next three days I will use to gather salad recipes, so please pass on your favorites. Oh, and I'll be doing the bulk of my salad week shopping at my local farmers market on Tuesday, so I'll be keeping it local, too.