The Easiest Salad You’ll Ever Make

If you’re like me, you get sick of bringing the same old thing for lunch to work every day. I hate to admit it, but I’ve been in a bit of a Weight Watchers frozen meal entrée kick. And when I first started working, I was buying a lot — which obviously needed to stop ASAP. I love New York City, I really do. But man is it hard to stare the calorie content of everything in the face. Every. Single. Day.

So when we were at the grocery store last night, I knew I had the time to make something a little bit different. Enter my Mediterranean salad:

Chop 5 plum tomatoes, 1/3 large white onion, 1 whole cucumber and combine in a mixing bowl.

Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Mix well and then add salt and pepper to taste.

Note the Christmas tree in the background. Yes, it’s still up — is yours?

And that’s it. It’s seriously tasty, a nice deviation from a bed of lettuce, and is totally easy enough to pull off when you don’t have a lot of excess time on your hands. With that said — it’s time to head to the big apple for another work day!

What’s your normal lunch routine?

 

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder” [American proverb]

Sorry I’ve been MIA over the last few days. I’ll just attribute it to my Mon./Tues. NYC commute and the food coma courtesy of breaking to the fast Saturday night:

Ever since I was little, my family has always broken the Yom Kippur fast with bagels, whitefish salad (let’s ignore the 14 grams of fat per serving … deal), spreads and shmeer. This year, I added my own flair with chopped Mediterranean salad.

… delicious and easy!

What you need:

  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 tomato
  • 1/3 chopped onion
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • a pinch of salt & pepper

Chop and combine all ingredients – best when served fresh. It’s a great alternative to your “average” salad.

After running four miles this AM, I’m looking forward to six tomorrow, five on Friday and nine Saturday a.m. (did I mentioned how STOKED I am that it’s going to be a high of 72 degrees? Perfect running weather). Although I love my running playlist, I’m on the search for some new jams.

Anyone have song suggestions to add to my stride? What’s your favorite bagel & shmeer combo?

“Nostalgia is like a grammar lesson: You find the present tense and the past perfect” [Unknown]

The last few days have been a whirlwind of well … everything.

New York Sunday to Monday, Hartford Tuesday and Wednesday – with a lot going on in between. I got to spend some time at my alma mater Tuesday night, and stop in to recruitment madness at the house. Let me try to help you visualize this in the least stereotypical way possible.

29 The number of girls that live in my old sorority house

8 The number of panhellenic sororities on the UConn campus

420+ The estimated number of potential new members (PNMs) that will be going through the house between tonight and Monday morning.

…It’s Tuesday night, three days before the official “formal recruitment” process begins. Girls are everywhere. There’s girls in one room trading letters to wear around campus the next day, 12 girls in the common room going over what they are supposed to bring each round of recruitment, four girls working on putting bows on the stairs, one girl (my old roommate and best friend) running the show and pondering if the ribbon they put on the third floor is “ugly” (it looks fine) compared to the one on the first.

This best friend tells me she doesn’t remember if she ate today. Bring on operation kidnap. Chica walks out of the house, I charge at her legs, another friend grabs her belongings – we shove her into the back of my 2005 navy blue (UConn appropriate) jetta and hightail it to nourishment.

Do I miss college? Not really. But I miss things like that. I miss feeling like my biggest worry was the bow on the top of the stairs or being late to a Daily Campus meeting (only after I went to chapter and before I went to panhellenic … and people wonder why I’m so organized). I miss meeting up for lunch – and all of my friends being less than 10 minutes away. But well, this is the natural progression of life, right? In the words of Jay Z … on to the next one.

… HUGE announcement coming later today. But for now, I’ll share my yummy creations with you from the last few days. The both of them have one thing in common: Tofu.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about tofu, it’s that it tastes better in small cubes than 1 inch squares. So – I got a little creative with this one: mini bow-tie pasta (usually I don’t use white pastas … but I wasn’t in the mood to head to the store), chopped onions, basil, garlic, green beans, chopped tomato, artichoke hearts, tofu, spinach and a little itty bit of feta (because it tastes ‘beta).  I literally could hardly taste the tofu, it blended right in with the pasta. This hidden wallop of protein – an A+ addition in my book.

And then there was this, my attempt at killing two birds with one stone. The goal: to use the rest of my tofu and leftover refried beans from the other night. So, I did some googling (there goes that word again …) and came up with this. Mexican tofu salad: Tofu, a few small pieces of chicken, onions and chopped tomatoes, sautéed with garlic and three tablespoons of chili powder, atop of romaine with refried beans, two tablespoons of sour cream and salsa to garnish (and act as a dressing).

WOW. Who knew that I liked chili powder this much? Or that tofu could taste good on a salad? Win-win-win-win-wahoooooooo!

Catch ya later tonight for the big announcement! What’s the weirdest thing you’ve tried making lately? What was your favorite thing about college?

Oh … and of course: HAPPY SEPTEMBER!

Food Friday!

It is an absolutely beautiful day. A whopping 78 degrees outside, perfect for a black tube dress and a jean button-down, my latest obsession for fall c/o H&M, $25.99 (they really need to enable online shopping).

Today’s foodie pick:

Introducing: Boca’s Spicy Chik’n Meatless Patties.

Found these yums at Whole Foods today, and was immediately intrigued. Growing up, I was a huge fan of Chik’n Nuggets – and seeing the box brought me back, sort of. After about 14 minutes in the oven at 425, the patty was crisp and delicious. Of course, putting it in between two pieces of whole wheat bread with lettuce would of been too … typical. So, voilà:

Fresh romaine, sliced swiss, tomatoes, cucumbers and the sliced patty with a dash of wing sauce, and light ranch dressing. NOM NOM NOM. To the skeptics: I promise you that this meatless delight is 100 percent tasty, instead of 100 percent questionable. Especially when topped with the sauce and dressing, the Chik’n added the perfect bit of protein to my late lunch.

… and this hasn’t been the only salad this week. Yesterday, in fact, there were two:

Gorgeous assortment of romaine with kalamata olives, artichokes, feta, red pepper and a Chinese vinaigrette courtesy of my best friend’s mom. Oh, and there were some cashews in there … somewhere.

Keeping with the fiesta of Monday night’s fajitas, a taco salad with refried beans and light sour cream, dressed with salsa.

And that’s all she wrote. Salad and running, what else does a girl need? Well, besides a nice cocktail, of course! Time to head out for a happy hour drink with momma and a few of her galpals from work. Check back later this weekend for some jammin’ suggestions of songs to increase your energy and perhaps, your pace!

Anyone doing anything fun this weekend? What’s your favorite salad topper?

“There are no mistakes or failures, only lessons” [Denis Waitley]

I’ve been learning a lot lately.

Lesson #1: It’s OK to indulge every once in a while

It’s no secret that I lost all my poundage through WW over the past few years. The foundations of the WW plan include being able to eat what you want – when you want – in moderation. Throughout the last week, I’ve been on assignment for my freelance job to take photos of ice cream throughout Connecticut. And as you can imagine, I’ve seen some yummy things.

… Like this:

Sunny Daes: Fairfield, Conn.

Or this:

Scoopy Doos: Milford, Conn.

With an assignment so delicious, it’s hard to stay on track. But, I’ve done well. I’ve tried everything that I’ve taken a picture of – and didn’t feel guilty. Throughout the past week I’ve kept my ice cream adventures in mind, and eaten salads instead of sandwiches, grilled veggies instead of french fries.

Romaine salad with sliced chicken, tomato, hot sauce and a little bit of fresh mozz (couldn’t ditch the craving post-Italian festival), then topped with fat-free ranch post-photo.

Grilled chicken sausage (a summertime favorite of mine) with green peppers and onions, two tablespoons of Island Soyaki for flavor. Yum!

Summer is a time for fruity beverages, frosty treats and good home-grilling. Allow yourself to enjoy these times with friends and family by scaling down other meals to compensate! Looking forward to a backyard barbecue at your grandmother’s tomorrow night? Squeeze in a three-mile run, hit a zumba class and be mindful of your meals leading up to the event! It’s OK to have fun, and it sure as hell is OK to enjoy a margarita every once in a while!

Lesson #2: Not everything is as it seems

… I’ll resist the temptation to go into a full analysis of The Hills/ Laguna Beach over the past few years. However – I will say: what was with the finale?! Sure, a few years ago I heard that a friend of a friend’s uncle or second-cousin twice removed helped write the script for the show. But – that never really mattered when I was sitting sipping green tea or white wine with my friends debating LC or Kristen’s next move. The end of an era? I feel like when SATC ended. What’s next … a movie? We’ll see.

Rant ended. I’ve done two days of marathon prep so far, with three miles on Monday and four miles this morning (a special thanks to the rain gods who must have heard my prayers, allowing me to huff and puff through the humidity, down the beach and back through my front door without a drop). My right knee has been bothering me, and I’ve been a bit worried about what this means for training. But then, I took a closer look at my sneakers.

On the surface: a pair of New Balance 1225 sneakers that literally saved my stride last October. A little back story: I bought these beauties after a minor setback on Wednesday, September 30, 2009. My last half marathon brought a few challenges:

  • A fundraising debacle: After a friend of mine passed away last October, and I decided that for my second half marathon, I would raise money for a scholarship fund in his name. However, after some shady organization on fundable.org, I had to cancel my “auction” before the end date and lost all the money raised by my contributors.
  • A foot complication: With 12 days to go before the race I experienced some serious foot pain and I knew that there was no wasting time. I went to a personal trainer who told me that it was my old sneakers (Under Armour) that were the culprit to my foot problem. After buying my current sneaks, I was able to walk and run again within days – and complete the marathon 32 minutes faster than my time in 2008.

Anyway – I took a closer look at my sneakers yesterday – and saw this:

They are officially worn down. With holes in the back of both heels, I think I’ve found the culprit of my knee problems.

… anyone have sneaker suggestions for me? I’m a flat-footed lady who needs moderate stability.

Lesson learned though, don’t go running to the doctor (literally) before taking a closer look the possible causes for pain. Looks like I’ll investing a few dollars in my feet. What’s your biggest fitness investment? I know my girl Hill splurges on the unmentionables. Do you look for style, comfort or price?