One of my favorite memories growing up was picking wild fresh asparagus when visiting my aunt and uncle in Nebraska. Picking this strange vegetable fresh and then cooking it up solidified my love of asparagus.
It was because of this fond childhood memory that a couple of years ago I tried growing it to no success. For the past two years I have nurtured and watered and tried to keep my little asparagus plants alive. Unfortunately this spring the plant was just dead.
So, I headed to Trader Joes to pick my asparagus instead of enjoying it fresh from the garden. Since I am constantly trying to get more vegetables into my daily diet as well as preaching to all my clients to eat more veggies I thought I would be a good time to help all of you construct your own Spring Salad.
The base of this salad is a roasted combination of asparagus, shallots, and garlic. This alone can be eaten as a side with protein. However if you really want to elevate your vegetables for a meal you can make an entire salad. Here’s how:
1. Roast the asparagus, garlic, & shallots
First, prepare the asparagus. Asparagus has a woody end to it which needs to be removed before eating. When I prepare the spears I usually grab the end and middle of one and see where it naturally breaks. From there I use that spear as a guide on where to cut the rest of the spears. Then I cut those in half.
After the asparagus is cut and ready, then prepare the garlic cloves and shallots. For the recipes I usually smash and chop the garlic. With the shallots I make thin slices.
Place the asparagus, garlic, and shallots on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil about 1 -2 tablespoons and add salt and pepper. Toss and bake at 400 for 10-15 minutes. The cooking time really depends on how thick the asparagus is. For thicker cook longer.
While the asparagus is cooking make the rest of the salad.
2. Clean the lettuce and toss with some olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper.
I start with a base of whatever lettuce I have in the fridge. Today I had butter lettuce so I used that as a base but really any fresh lettuce will do. With this salad I add a very simple dressing. It consists of tossing the lettuce only with about ½ teaspoon of olive oil and ¼ teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice. Then I add a little salt and pepper and toss the lettuce leaves.
If you want to add your own light vinaigrette then go ahead, but I find the roasted veggies and the light dressing add enough flavor.
3. Cut up the rest of the veggies. I looked to see what other veggies I already had on hand to add in and today it was carrots and cucumbers. Other great veggies to add in right now are peas, radishes, avocado, or tomatoes.
4. Make it a meal.
Salad is great just like this but I wanted to make it a complete meal so I
added some sirloin tips (this is the recipe I used) and about a tablespoon of feta. You can add any protein (chicken, garbanzo beans, etc) or nuts. I like to add pine nuts or pecans but really any will do.
Sprinkling cheese over top just helps to add a little more flavor. I used feta but parmesan is also a good one.
Use these instructions for making a single serving, for multiple salads you would need to adjust olive oil and vinegar to dress your greens.
I like to make all the ingredients, store separately and then mix the salad together to make the meal.
So, now its time to construct your own Spring salad! Click the link below for the full recipe.
When my life became gluten free a lot of foods were elimanted from my diet. One of my favorites were burritos. I literally lived on Taco Bell bean burritos the first trimester of my pregnancy with Jack. Flour tortillas are vehicles of food delivery that bring other yummy foods together. For example the tortilla is a vehicle for rice, beans, salsa and of course cheese. Just like chips become a vehicle for salsa. Crackers for cheese.
So as my life changed from gluten filled to not, I had to find other vehicles for my food. One in particular is Nori. Yes that stuff that sushi rolls are made with. Also known as seaweed and also January's veggie of the month. I know a weird choice for a vegetable to highlight but one that I think we must take a look at.
The main reason to add nori to your diet is iodine. Iodine is essential for the production of thyroid hormones and it is nutrient that we cannot make. With Americanized diets of processed foods and salt restrictions that has come with the worry of high blood pressure, iodine deficiency can happen.
One simple way to avoid damage to the thyroid is by simply adding nori to your diet. Not daily but a couple of times a week. Just 5 grams of nori meets about 57% of our daily intake requirement. To put this into context one sheet of dried toasted nori is 3 grams.
Besides eating sushi several times a week there a couple of options of adding this highly nutritious food in. For this blog we are going to be using it as a vehicle for other food much like the tortilla. Nori wraps are super easy to make plus they are a vehicle to adding in even more veggies!
All you really need is some protein, veggies, maybe a grain and of course a sauce. Plus some imagination.
These wraps I highlight below are purely suggestions. Add what veggie or grain or protein you prefer. There are no hard and fast rules here.
Suggested ingredients to make Nori wraps
First Roll: Salmon, Avocado, Cucumber, Sprouts, with Sriracha mayo.
This is obviously a take on my favorite sushi roll. In this instance I was using left over salmon from last night's dinner but I also used canned salmon often. To make the SIriacha mayo stir 1 tablespoon of mayo with 1 tsp of siriacha.
Second Roll: Rice Noodles, Shrimp, carrots, scallions, mint with a Peanut sauce
This one is super simple but makes me feel like I'm eating something fancy. Rice noodles cook up super quick, like in 2 minutes. I used mint this time as well, but if I have fresh basil I'll throw that in or cilantro.
The hardest part is making the peanut sauce. (But well worth it!) If you need a good recipe head over to Feasting at Home. It literally is the best one I've tried. www.feastingathome.com/best-ever-thai-peanut-sauce/
Third Roll: Lettuce, Turkey, Hummus, carrots, cucumber and sprouts.
This one makes a great quick lunch. Most of these things I usually have on hand and throw together if I don't have any left overs to eat. It can easily be made vegetarian by leaving off the turkey. You can add in some rice if you want.
A couple of tips:
In our next installment of Nori we will talk more about the health benefits. Picking out your sheets and other ways to subtly add it into your diet.
If you make your own signature nori roll please share below your combinations! Would love to hear what you create!
I finally returned to active event participation and it felt great! I signed up with my buddy Jack and convinced him to go on some runs with me over the past couple of months. The first couple were 2 miles and I slowly progressed him up to almost 4. I had figured that, while he would make the full distance, he might not run much more than that and we would walk a lot towards the end. Plus, I didn't know for sure how much I could run either.
It was fun to be pleasantly surprised on both counts. He is funny to run with. I usually spend my runs zoned out or concentrating on some technical aspect of running form. It keeps me distracted from fatigue and helps get through tough sections. Jack just wants to talk the whole time, like literally, the whole time. We talked about pace, stride length, how to appropriately jockey for position, bathrooms (including all 8 year old topics related to bathrooms) and jokes. He asked about the new Star Wars movies, old Star Wars movies, "Can I have a popcicle?", "What if it was called a 'poopcicle'? "
He was concerned at first that we would get lost, but once he realized we were following a herd of 50,000 people that seemed to go away. I let him dictate the pace, when he wanted to walk we did and when he was ready to run we did that too. All told we ran a lot more than I thought, I figured about 5 miles of the 7+ including all the way up Doomsday hill!
I had no trouble either so that was great. I could have run the whole way and a lot faster for sure. No chance of a personal best but that's ok, it was still the longest run I had done since the accident so any positive outcome was a win.
Next year is the 40th Bloomsday so I think I will try to do that one solo. Hillary can take Jack and get him his poopcicle.
Me and my iPhone
iPhone is lacking in serious musical needs. Sticking with some older mixes but nothing really interesting to report.
A one day kettlebell certification similar to one I've done before is coming to Spokane in August. So, with my knee at a consistent 85-90% I'll be getting back into my routines again.
With the beginning of the year and the over abundance of sugar over the holidays I decided to try Diane Sanfilippo’s 21 Day Sugar Detox. Diane Sanfilippo | New York Times bestselling author of "Practical Paleo" and "The 21-Day Sugar Detox" | Home of the Balanced Bites Podcast I have been following Diane’s blog Balance Bites for a couple of years and have most of her cookbooks. Her books are thorough, well researched and very concise. She is also very blunt which is helpful when learning about food. Don’t sugar coat it!
I wasn’t really motivated to do it until she offered a program to become certified to coach for the 21DSD. Obviously, a requirement would be to do the full program yourself, so I signed up, received the books, and picked a day. One of the nice things about this program is all the additional support. Daily emails arrive with recipes, blogs of other folks doing it, as well as a Facebook page with other detox’ers doing the program in a given month.
Each Saturday before the coming week I spent about an hour planning each and every meal. Then another 2 hours shopping for all the food. Then the cooking began. A lot of cooking. The prep work for the first week included making kale chips, beef jerky, pizza soup (a recipe from one of 21DSD emails), breakfast sausage, and lemon melt aways. Needless to say, I cooked a lot. Thankfully, my kids and husband were happy to just ignore the massive amount of commotion happening in the kitchen. This first week went really well and often a new recipe would result in something that was strangely satisfying. Yes, on the first day I had a horrible headache, but I often have headaches and migraines. However, after that, it cleared up and I felt really well.
For me this was a 19 day sugar detox. What happened and I think what would probably happen for a lot of folks are two things. The first being I was not as well prepared for the 3rd week. I did not prep enough food and made a couple things that were just not satisfying. Variety is important to be successful.
Secondly, I could not sleep for most of the 19th days. I was exhausted from waking up 3 to 5 times night. Oftentimes, I could not get fully back to sleep. This is one instance where the support avenues came in handy. It turns out many people on the Facebook page were discussing this same issue. Reading through the posts one gal recommended listening to this podcast: #308 – The Adrenal Reset Diet | Underground Wellness. I love Shaun and his work, his website is full of great info! Sadly, it took me until the 3rd week to finally listen to this podcast. Thankfully, I did because I realized I was not eating enough carbohydrates and was most likely eating them at the wrong time of day. I tried to get more in but by the 19th day, extremely exhausted, I caved. I told my husband get a GF pizza, I think he was tired of his cranky lack of sleep wife so he happily obliged. That night I slept like a baby.
Let’s be clear. Diane does have a sheet outlining how many carbs you should be getting depending on your activity level (Mine is extremely high). In the future, when I do this I will record my food in something like Myfitnesspal to make sure I am eating the appropriate amount of carbs. I’ll also pay attention to the timing of the carbs. I’ll be looking more into the info presented in the podcast....
I learned a lot from these 19 days. A lot about my body, my mind and food.
Here in a nutshell is a couple of nuggets....
Whew! A lot to share. For those wanting to adventure into trying this here is my biggest advice. Be mindful of the time involved. Having the time to prep and make food is the only way to succeed. Obviously I did not succeed in the full 21 days so I’m not going to get certified to coach it just yet. I want to be able to do the program fully and have a couple of my clients do the program successfully before taking that next step.
Next week I’ll write more about what I’m doing after my 19DSD:)