Tag Archives: Salad

Tomato Avocado Salad

In the past few weeks, Hungry and I have kicked up our fitness level to a certain degree. It’s been going fairly well, and we are a mission to achieve our goals and stay healthy! It’s not always easy. We have busy lives, a not-so-great neighborhood, and everyday troubles. However, we rise above and keep fighting for our passion! To go along with that are healthy recipes. Recently, our fridge and pantry have been chock full with delicious fruits and veggies. We’ve been getting great prices on avocados from Trader Joe’s which we’ve been certainly using to our advantage. We’ve been making different things like caprese salads, roasted tomato on toast, and yummy spinach recipes too. In this case, I simply combined a few ingredients to create something very tasty: a tomato avocado salad. 

Finished product

Finished product

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Fresh Caprese Salad

It’s hard for me to make a recipe for you to follow and I apologize for that… but I don’t! For me, recipes can be a little too formulated and strict because above all else, you need to make sure you taste your food and season it accordingly to make sure it has that perfect flavor when it is served. Preparing good food is about using the freshest and highest quality ingredients you can find, and also seasoning it properly! With that being said and taking that into consideration here is the best recipe I can provide you. 

What you need:

  • Spinach – only use the undamaged leaves
  • Tomatoes – preferably Roma tomatoes
  • Cheese – preferably a fresh, soft mozzarella
  • Olive Oil – Extra virgin, please
  • Balsamic Vinegar – I only use Balsamic Nectar
  • Salt – a coarser grind, I like Pink Himalayan
  • Pepper – Fresh ground black pepper from a mill

As for quantities, it depends on how much you are serving and what ratios you prefer. You can tell by my pictures what I prefer. Everything after the first three ingredients is to your taste, so those amounts are not designated. If you want to make it a good first course for yourself, two handfuls of spinach, a tomato, and a half a ball of mozzarella is my preference.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: Zero Minutes

Obviously, nothing is cooked.

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First, thoroughly sort and clean your spinach. Only use leaves that are not bruised or wilted. Clean them without damaging them. Remove excess water.

Next, wash your tomatoes and chop them into about twelfths, if they are romas. With larger tomatoes, consider cutting them into sixteenths. A thicker tomato provides more texture to this salad and butchering them less helps retain some of those delicious natural juices. Add them to the spinach. Apply some olive oil, salt, and pepper to the two ingredients and taste. You want to be able to taste all of the elements if you have seasoned properly. I usually coat the ingredients in olive oil, toss lightly. Six to eight cracks of pepper, and a teaspoon of salt, sprinkled from 18 inches above the mixing bowl. 

Next, slice your cheese carefully, especially if it is soft as to not create messy cuts, into quarter to half inch cubes. Relatively large, I know. Again, this is meant to be a salad with larger components so that every bite can include one of each of the three main ingredients. If they are cut or added in large enough pieces, a fork can easily pierce and hold all three components. 

You are nearly finished. Add the balsamic at this point and toss lightly. I usually add half the amount of olive oil that I used.

photo 1 (86)

Now comes the most important step, take a bite of your salad. All three components at once. How does it taste? What does it need? At this point I usually add a drop of the liquids, a crack or two of pepper, a healthy amount of salt. I think the salt helps bring out the other flavors in the dish and cuts the acidity of the tomatoes and the balsamic. The cheese is the only rich component along with the olive oil so the salt has a significant effect in this regard. 

Toss lightly again to ensure that every piece of the salad is dressed evenly and then drain the salad. Yes, drain it carefully. Remove the excess dressing. At this point, the salad has been treated so carefully that every component is dressed and the juice in the tomatoes will help keep the salad moist. If you dressed it properly, draining it will have no negative effect. You can save the dressing, obviously for other uses. 

The salad is ready and it is time to plate. You can take the rustic approach and use a pasta fork, much more delicate than tongs, to scoop a portion onto a side plate. I prefer serving on a plate rather than a salad bowl because of the composed nature of this salad. If you take this path, make sure that your ratios are correct and there is spinach, cheese, and tomatoes in the serving. Otherwise you can technically and methodically place the spinach first, topped with tomatoes, and finally cheese. That is up to you. A final crack of pepper, sprinkle of salt from above, and without adding final liquid components, serve with a fork. 

photo 2 (97)

French, obviously

You can also serve with a slice of good toasted bread and make a crostini. Leave that option to your guests, or yourself… whoever is eating. Note: You can actually finish with olive oil and balsamic, just make sure you do so and immediately serve to prevent the pooling of juices in the bottom of the plate. If the liquid components do pool, make sure you have a piece of bread or something to scoop it up with!

BONUS KITTY PIC

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Restaurant Rave: Kho’s Asian Bistro

After our workouts (usually legs) at the Longmont YMCA, we typically go out to eat. It’s our eating-out treat day. And for the past two Fridays, we’ve gone to Kho’s Asian Bistro. You can guess if this is going to be a positive review or not. WE LOVE IT HERE. It’s not just the food, which is obviously made with love, but the incredible atmosphere and service.

So this place is tucked away, literally you have to go down No Name Road to get there. No, seriously, it exists. Once you get there, it’s in a complex with other shops. As soon as we walk in, we’re blasted to Malaysia, with fountains and beautiful sculptures and ethnic items on the wall. The sushi chef is the first to say hello and wave us to a table.

After being seated, we are soon approached by a waitress (all three we’ve interacted with have been absolutely great) and offered drinks. I almost without fail can never resist a Thai Iced Tea. Chris gets his green tea which comes in a huge pot and fills us up plenty.

We’re also pretty settled upon what we want at this point and we order our appetizer (Chris gets white rice, I get Hot n Sour Soup). The thing I love about this place is that everyone here is earnest and really wants to make you happy. We’re smiling as soon as we walk in the door.

We gobble down that quickly and we order our dishes. The first time, I got a Malaysian Curry and it was delicious (I could barely make a dent in it). Chris got the Una-Don which is his favorite. This time, I got the Buddhist Delight and he got Shrimp Ramen. I can never finish the dishes here, they’re so huge and decently priced. Packed with flavor but none of the heavy sauces that always hurt my tummy.

You can just tell: IT LOOKS DELICIOUS. BECAUSE IT IS. And that’s not all. This is the second time we’ve been here and the second time we’ve received a little special something on the house. This time it was two veggie pieces of sushi. Needless to say, we were happy.

Speaking of sushi, they have the best white tuna I’ve tasted so far. Haven’t loved it (because we’re spoiled from the coasts), but I definitely ate all my pieces last time I had some. The only negative about this restaurant is that they don’t have ethnic music on…it’s current music which we dislike. All in all, this is a fantastic joint and we will be coming back every Friday. We feel so welcomed, wanted, and happy that we’d be fools to go elsewhere. Thanks Kho’s Asian Cuisine! And where else can you find such great fortune cookie fortunes…

Cheers!

Save Money and Devour Nutrients: the Grown-Up Lunch Box

For a little while now I’ve wanted lunch boxes like this: 

Or this

Anyways, putting my lunchbox fantasies aside, I wanted to let you know how easy it is to save money at the very same time you are devouring nutrients and getting good calories. Another healthy article? I know, I know, I’m sorry! But it’s really easy, again, like I was saying before. Then, I was talking about general meals and putting little effort into making them healthy (not hard). But now, I’m talking about bringing your lunch to work. 

Are you one to usually buy lunch? Let’s stop that. No need to waste money, and especially to waste it on bad food. It’s so important to know what is in the food you are eating. Preparing your own meals is the perfect way to do that. Don’t have time in the morning to pack a lunch? Do it the night before. I promise it won’t get bad. Making this effort could really save your eating from junk food to health food. Again, go to the market and get the veggies and fruits on sale, meaning they are in season. There are so many things you can do that take 5-10 minutes. Let me show you some lunches I pack.

Here we have a guacamole, spinach, tomato, and morning star chicken sandwich. Healthy ingredients, protein, veggies, and grain right for you. Whole-Wheat bread. Easy. Took Chris about 5 minutes to make for me. I ate this with an orange and some yogurt-covered raisins. 

This is my most frequent lunch meal. We have a huge thing of organic spinach in the fridge and we use it for almost every meal. I chop up whatever vegetables we have (this one has red pepper, cucumber, avocado, and tomato) and throw some morning star protein in as well. I use my cousin’s wonderful Balsamic Nectar and throw in a little oil too. Don’t feel full from salads? I always do from mine. Add protein to it or a healthy fat like avocado. Eat an orange or an apple with it. 

Here’s another good example of a usual meal including other things that accompany my main dish (salad or sandwich or leftovers). I always add a fruit and usually some kind of carb (here is my Grandma’s featured trail mix!). That sandwich is spinach, hummus, morning star, and tomato. I have a big thing of water that I keep by me at all times to constantly drink up. 

And here’s an example of other foods that accompany my salad or sandwich. I don’t know why that apple looks so freakishly large, bad camera angle maybe. I will usually have the apple and raisins with my main lunch meal, and then eat the Clif bar a few hours later. I can’t eat much at one time, but I get hungry quickly so I usually eat every three hours if possible. 

So there you have it. Examples of easy, simple, quick-to-make lunches to bring with you every day, no matter where you work. You don’t even need to refrigerate it. Just try it one day. You’ll find it very rewarding, I promise, and you’ll want to do it every day. You’re making yourself a nutrient-packed meal that will make your coworkers feel bad about themselves.

Tell me what lunches you bring to work! Enjoy :)

Salad, Pesto, and a Kitten

Weird combo? Maybe. I guess that’s just how we do things here in our kitty-filled yummy home now. Worked for us as we came out with a full-belly of nutritional ingredients and a couple of curious kittens.

Anyhow, this one’s a simple recipe for those craving fresh ingredients and tastes.

Salad:

  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Salt n Pepper
  • Lemon juice

Pretty standard, right? Before I jump into prep, let me tell you the story of how we got this big fat cucumber. So, Chris is doing some dog-walking up in the hills of Boulder and a kid around six years old wearing cowboy boots waves him over. Chris replies, “Sorry, I got no cash.”  The kid says, “You don’t need cash! Take this cucumber, it’s the last one!” So Chris takes it and the boy finishes up the conversation with, “Next time, bring some money and head over to that red roof over there. That’s my garden!”

Scary how six-year-olds now have business sense of offering a free sample of their product in order to gain more business for the next time around. Anyways, back to the food already!!

So you have those wonderful ingredients chopped up (except I didn’t chop the spinach). I started with the cucumber and tomatoes, kind of sliced n diced ’em.

I always remember how good tomatoes were with salt were when I was a kid so I was following that craving. I grind some black pepper over them as well as some salt. These get put in a bowl along with some lemon juice and tossed around to get the flavor soaked in. As I finished chopping the veggies, I look to my left to see a tiny black blob on the floor. Oh yeah, that’s Nymeria.

She can watch all she wants, she ain’t getting any of this. Sometimes, I think she thinks she’s a dog…which I LOVE. As I finish up the salad and Chris is stirring the penne al dente in the pot, I toss some olive oil and balsamic nectar my cousin invented (check it out). Things are looking goooood.

Meanwhile, Chris is cooking some penne al dente. I’m surprised there’s any left to cook due to his love for raw pasta.

As he’s straining the pasta, there’s a scatter in the corner. Hmmm…suspicious.

CAUGHT RED-HANDED! 

Nymeria continues to find places to view us, though I hope her curiosity doesn’t get the better of her one day. She’s quite the rambunctious one. Oops, back to the food.

So we strain the pasta, add in some pesto (we don’t have a blender yet so it’s sadly store bought–but still good) and Chris adds in some protein. Tuna from the can. Sound unappetizing? Sure does. But it really adds a good meaty texture and flavor to the dish. And satisfied my hungry belly pretty darn quickly.

Cheers.