Entries in salad (5)


The sweet taste of sugar

I must confess - I am a sugar addict. 

It starts in the morning with iced coffee sweetened with artificial sweetener or simple syrup. If we are at a favorite coffee shop I might add on some sort of sweet as breakfast otherwise cereal with fruit and either sugar or artificial sweetener again. 

I try to find time to bring a "healthy" lunch to work. Salad of some sort, yogurt and fruit. I usually get bored sometime during the day and start snacking on something that contains sugar or salt. A diet soda to wash it down - bored stress eating.

I finish the day with a meal of some kind and occasionally a sweet to end the day. 

If I am bored, stressed or overly hungry I often will reach for the wrong type of quick snack that leaves me with a sugar crash yearning for more sugar. 

Sometimes life can get so busy and crazy that I don't notice I am wrecking myself until it is almost too late. Lately I have been not sleeping well. I have had no energy in the afternoon and I just noticed that my sugar and sugar substitute consumption was quite high. 

I knew I needed a drastic overhaul. I worry about my weight of course, but I also have wrist tendonitis and I know that sugar is a culprit of inflammation. I know I want to feel better so cutting sugar out is where I am going to start. This will be no small feat - take for example the Nectarine Oat Cake I baked today. Not even a bite and that hurts. 

The goal is no sugar for 30 days. Today is day one. This includes artifical sweeteners. Also no prepared products with sweetener - honey, stevia, molasses etc. I am good about reading labels but need to be diligent. This means lots of fresh whole foods. I will let myself eat fruit. A couple of pieces a day. 

Yesterday I needed to get my pantry and fridge in order so I could be prepared for this adventure. I bought fruit and greens for smoothies and found two amazing cereals that have no sugar. One is a Museli and the other a locally made hot cereal. I need cereal. It is how I start my day off right. 

Today I put together a orzo and garden vegetable salad for me and Mr. Ramon to take to work. 

I think the hardest thing will be my coffee. I always drink sweetened coffee. I have not had any coffee today since the thought of black coffee made me sad. So I feel tired. Iced tea maybe? With lemon. 

I expect to have a lot to share with you as I experience this over the next 30 days. 


Raw Garden Salad


The best thing about growing your own food is eating it! With this warm weather I swear I can see my zucchini grow. Wanting to stay ahead of the squash downpour about to happen I made Mr. Ramon a raw garden salad for work this week. It was really cool to be able to pull a few of our vegetables together to make this tasty salad. This salad is easy and fresh and crunchy. You can add almost any vegetable you have growing in your garden. 

Open, drain and rinse 2 cans of Cannellini Beans - place in medium bowl

Slice 2 small zucchinis lengthways into 4 pieces then chop into thin bites - place in bowl with beans

Slice three handfuls of green beans on the diagonal - add to bowl 


In a small separate bowl mix well- 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste 
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

Pour over vegetables and mix until coated. I like to top the salad with crumbled feta cheese. This salad is even better the next day. 



Casual Sunday Supper

Life can get pretty hectic and finding time for Mr. Ramon and I can be a struggle. With this lovely summer weather and late night sunsets I want to cook and eat outside every night. This Sunday we had the opportunity to cook and eat together at a reasonable hour of the day - a rare treat. 

Being excited about the new potatoes we harvested I immediately thought of a rustic potato pizza as the main course. I had eaten one at a local pizzeria that is forever burned in my mind. We built the rest of our simple meal around the idea of pizza. 

We needed something to munch on while we prepared and cooked. Mr. Ramon loves an appetizer. Fresh, warm, crispy baguette, double cream gouda and some spicy salumi. How does it get better than that? Wine - yup that makes it better! 

Mr. Ramon picked some lettuce from the garden and added some pretty cherry tomatoes for a simple salad dressed in champagne vinaigrette. 

I have to admit I cheat once in awhile when making pizza. Trader Joes makes a really great freash pizza dough. They even have a whole wheat version for those of you trying to make pizza actually healthy. I go for the original but today had to settle for the garlic and herb version. It makes putting a pizza together so easy. 

When it comes to kitchen gadgets and tools I have to really be sold on them. I try to have tools etc. that do more than one job. Earn their keep so to speak. One of the first wedding gifts we received was a pizza stone. We started making pizza every Sunday and that stone blew my mind. Not to fret if you don't have one. You can make pizza on a large cookie sheet if need be. 

Potato Pizza 

Makes 1 12 inch pizza

  • 1 portion/recipe of fresh pizza dough. 
  • 3 small thin skinned potatoes (2 cups sliced) - Yukon Gold are a good choice if you do not have your own potatoes
  • 1/2 sweet onion sliced very thin
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese crumbles
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • salt/pepper

Prepare your potatoes the following way. 

  • Rinse thoroughly
  • Slice very thin - think kettle potato chip here using a knife or mandolin
  • Place in a bowl of ice water and let soak for 10 minutes - change water twice rinsing potatoes between each soak. This will remove much of the starch and prevent them turning brown
  • Drain in a colander and toss with 1 teaspoon of salt and let them continue to drain for 10 minutes 
  • Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over them and a healthy dose of black pepper and toss to coat. 

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees - place your pizza stone in the oven on the middle rack if using to preheat. 

Put a large piece of parchment onto a cutting board or a pizza peel if you are using a stone. If you are using a baking sheet place your parchment on it. Lightly flour the parchment. Place your dough in the center and start working it outwards to create uniform thickness and a shape that fits your stone or pan. We went for square. 

Sprinkle the mozzarella across the dough then layer the potatoes across the cheese evenly and overlapping a little if needed. Don't feel the need to use all the potatoes. If you have extra that is ok. Top with goat cheese, onions and rosemary. 

Slide onto pizza stone or place baking sheet in the oven. Bake until the edges are brown and crispy looking about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and  let sit for a few minutes then cut and serve. I also like potato pizza cool and leftovers for breakfast with a soft egg on top. 


What's for lunch - Butter Bean Salad

We had a little bit of a late start to this week after a long weekend. I spent the weekend down in Portland at a Nosework trial with my little girl Mischa. Mr. Ramon was single dad for the weekend with the other two pups and a visiting pup as well. 

Needed to pull something together quick that would pass the taste test of Mr. Ramon. Another mediterranian inspired salad is what I went for. What makes this one so good is the fresh oregano and a hint of cumin. I think it tastes better the next day. After all the flavors have melded together.

Butter Bean Salad

This makes 4 large servings

  • 1 13oz can butter beans drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 chopped red onion
  • 1 1/2 cup english cucumber chopped 
  • 4 roma tomatoes chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano chopped
  • 1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley chopped
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste

Mix first 6 ingredients into a bowl. In a second small bowl whisk the olive oil, lime juice and seasonings. Pour over the salad and mix. 

I sent this to work with Mr. Ramon the next day. Added a little bit of feta on top and sent him with toasted pita chips on the side. Enjoy!


What’s For Lunch - Couscous Mediterranean Salad

With our busy schedules it can be easy to make the decision to buy lunch daily. Not only does this add up in cost but can also result in poor food choices. We also don’t have the time or resources to make a new lunch menu each day. What works really well for us is to make a large batch recipe that is tasty as leftovers for lunches all week. In fall and winter we choose soups and casseroles that are hearty and warming. In spring and summer we look to in season produce for fresh salads. 

Putting me in charge of lunches means I can choose vegetarian options that are full of beans, whole grains and nutritious vegetables. I feel feel really good about the choices for our lunches and know that Mr. Ramon is getting something healthy. 

Over Memorial Day we had some friends over and grilled some chicken skewers with tzatziki and naan. Ever since then I have had naan and tzatziki on the brain. So this week I decided a Mediterranean inspired salad with tzatziki and naan on the side would be the way to go. 

This salad is super easy. Chop, mix and serve. It took me about 45 min from start to finish for all components. You can add in other favorite vegetables or even top it with grilled chicken.

Couscous Mediterranean Salad

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves peeled
  • 1 13oz can garbanzo beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 english cucumber peeled - dice 1/2 for salad and grate other for tzatziki
  • 1/4c pitted kalamata olives chopped
  • 1/2 red onion thinly sliced
  • 4 green onions white part sliced thinly
  • 4oz diced feta cheese
  • 2 handful flat leaf parsley chopped
  • olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • pepper
  • salt 

4 servings of couscous cooked and cooled

Set oven to 400 degrees F. Line a small rimmed cooking sheet with foil or parchment. Place tomatoes and garlic in bowl and drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil over them. Season with pepper and salt. Mix till coated with the oil and pour onto the prepared sheet. Bake in oven until soft and roasted. About 30 minutes. Let cool. Chop roasted garlic.

Place first 9 ingredients in large bowl. Whisk 1/4c olive oil and 4 tablespoons of lemon juice in a small bowl until emulsified. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour dressing over ingredients in bowl and mix until coated. 

Mr. Ramon likes a good dollop of this tzatziki on his salad. It is also great with grilled meats and as a dip for vegetables. 

Basic Tzatziki

  • 8oz greek yogurt (low fat or regular)
  • 1/2 english cucumber grated
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice 
  • 1 lemon zested
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

Place all items in a bowl and mix well until combined. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving for flavors to combine. 

To serve this meal top a serving of couscous with the salad mixture and drizzle with tzatziki. Serve toasted pitas on the side.