Monday, February 28, 2011

Sunday Resulted in an Unusual and Tasty Salad

Ahhh, I love the weekend! Other than being on vacation in Italy I can’t think of anything better than the weekend. ;-) I love this picture that I took in Capri.  Looking at this pic makes me smile and I thought it might do the same for you.

Today Dan and I had completely different things for breakfast again. Dan had a green smoothie that contained: kale, banana, wheat germ, freshly ground golden flaxseeds, cinnamon, powdered ginger, water and stevia. I know this sounds crazy to people that don’t add kale to their smoothies but it is very good and you start to crave it after a while.

Since there were only two bananas in the freezer and those both went into Dan’s smoothie I made myself something else. I decided to have a salad and this one contained: mesclun greens, pinto beans (from Friday), salsa, cucumber, and white chia seeds.

Dan and I both sipped a blend of green, white and herbal tea after breakfast while we watched a few things we had recorded (“Top Gear” for Dan) and talked about what I was going to make for the meal with my parents. It was a lovely and restful Sunday morning and early afternoon at our place.

Here is a picture of her highness the princess Luca Belle. Can you see that look on her face that says “leave me alone can’t you see I am reclining”? She is such a little prima donna.

Keeping a safe distance from his crabby sister is my little angel Massimo. Masi is a precious little lamb. Can you tell how much I love that little fuzzy? Masi is mommy’s little baby.


For lunch we decided to make something simple. I wanted to make summer rolls (raw spring rolls) but found out that I didn’t have enough rice paper so I changed the dish into a salad instead. The salad contained: mesclun, red cabbage, julienned carrot, thinly sliced cucumber and cilantro.

I topped the salad with a quick dressing that I made with homemade reduced-fat peanut butter, lime zest, lime juice, water to achieve the texture I was looking for and stevia to taste. I would have added something hot to this like hot crushed peppers (wet hots) or sriracha if my mother weren’t eating this but I thought it was good without the spicy background just not perfect. ;-)

As the main dish I made was something I came up with Sunday morning while chatting with Dan. His reaction was “That sounds really good how do you come up with things like this?” I have to say I have no idea but I am glad that I did. I didn’t measure everything but here are the components. I cooked ½ cup of French lentils until they there just tender. Meanwhile I roasted some (about a pound) small fingerling potatoes (red, white and purple) until they were just cooked. I made a simple dressing of 1 ½ tablespoons Dijon and 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar. I tossed the potatoes and lentils into the dressing while they were still warm so that they would absorb some of the dressing. I quickly steamed about 3 cups of frozen French green beans and added them to the dressing and other veggies. Next I diced celery hearts finely (about ½ cup) and added that to salad. I tasted the salad for seasoning and add dried thyme and black pepper to taste. When I served the salad I added roughly chopped walnuts. This turned out really well. I don’t think the measurements matter as much as the components. I hope you like it as much as we did.

A Few Errands before Dinner:

A quick trip to the library, Wegman’s and Whole Foods took place between lunch and dinner. We started at the library where I had 15 minutes to grab a few things before the library closed. I came out with two exercise DVD’s and three books on CD. Do any of you borrow exercise DVD’s from the library before buying them? A girlfriend suggested that ages ago and it has saved me quite a few times from buying tapes that I wouldn’t have used again.

Two of the books on CD that I picked up I am very excited about. One of them was “The Shadow Effect” and the other was “The Hip Chick’s Guide to Macrobiotics”. Have any of you read/listened to either of these?

Next we stopped by Wegman’s because I was dangerously low on rice paper wrappers. Who let that happen? Oh yeah, that was me. Well we won’t run out for a while because I picked up two packages. I was also low on green cardamom pods and coriander seeds which needed to replenished. I guess I make more Asian food than I realized. ;-)

I also picked up some black quinoa for the pantry. Now I have white, red and black quinoa at home.

While we were in the checkout line I grabbed the most recent issue of Oxygen magazine. I have no idea why I don’t just get myself a subscription because I love that magazine and pick up every time I see it.

Our last stop was Whole Foods since it was on our way home. We only needed organic kale from there and were happy that they had it. I know Dan was missing his green smoothies and now he can have them again. Isn’t it wonderful when something you love is also good for you?


After we got home I need to run to our local grocery store for Ibuprofen. The weather was so nice I walked there in my running pants and T-shirt no coat. Isn’t it wonderful that the weather is starting to change for the better? Come on spring!

For dinner we had a simple salad of the leftovers from lunch with the addition of fresh orange. The citrus was a nice addition to the salad so I may add those to the next summer rolls I make.

Needless to say this wasn’t enough food for Dan so I made him a batch of strawberry and banana soft serve for dessert and I had two spoons myself.

Life Isn’t Going to be Perfect and that is Okay:

This is something that I should have written long ago. It is more for me than anyone else but I hope something rings true for you.

For the majority of my life I chased perfection because that is what my father expected. I tried to be the: perfect daughter, star student athlete and scholar, best employee, world’s best wife, perfect housekeeper, and a gourmet cook. No pressure right? Needless to say I wasn’t able to do any of them to their fullest because I was spread too thin. However then a friend recommended “The Power of Now” which I have now read at least half a dozen times. I slowly realized that I always spent my life living for some other moment, either the past or the future but almost never the present. That book changed my life. If you haven’t read it I highly recommend it. It isn’t intuitive if you are high stress but if you read and reread it I am sure you find that it makes sense.

Now I live in the moment and enjoy every second of my life. Is my life perfect? Goodness no it isn’t even close to perfect. I have more than I could complain about than I care to think about actually. But right now in this moment my little family is happy and healthy and that is all that matters to me. The dust bunnies don’t bother me, neither does my clutter, much too long to-do list or any looming health concerns I focus on what is right in this very moment. If you haven’t tried it I highly suggest it. My view of the world has done a 180 and I couldn’t be happier.

Random Pictures:

To live with me is to put up with a lot of pictures. I have always loved photography and now that I have a phone with a lot of megapixels I am always snapping pictures. My poor husband is probably sorry that he chose these phones. LOL

Here is a picture I took from the car and we came home from our errands. I thought this turned out amazingly well considering that I took it from a car that was going 60mph.

This is another one I took when we got home. I am shooting up through the oak tree into an almost dark sky. Isn’t it a little creepy?

Happy Thoughts:

What a great weekend and a not so bad Monday. Here are my happy thoughts:

• What a good Monday! Yes it has been gray and rainy but that hasn’t dampened my spirit. In spite of not sleeping well last night I had a very nice morning which started with the scale giving me good news to start my day.

• Also a wet gray day meant I was staying inside and had time to read which always makes me happy. ;-) Today I was being indulgent and just read for pleasure. I picked up a decorating book at the library and had a good time looking at pictures and getting ideas.

• Everything was fine with my mother today which is also a very good thing.

• Being stuck in the house most of the day I found time to run three loads of laundry, not my favorite task but it makes me happy when the laundry basket is completely empty. Too bad that will change by the end of today. Doesn’t it just seem like there is always laundry to be done? LOL

• I made a very simple grapefruit juice with kale today that was inspired by a comment Laura made on yesterday’s post. I will share the details with you tomorrow. Anytime I find a new way to use raw kale I am a happy girl.

• I realized today that I am a confirmed health nut and that made me very happy. For some reason I turned on the Barefoot Contessa this afternoon. She had Daniel Boulud on and I find “real chefs” to be quite interesting. However watching Ina salivate over merguez sausage fat sinking into spinach and chickpea was sickening. That woman needs an intervention something terrible. *shakes head* It is such a shame that no one close to her hasn’t tried to tell her that she is killing herself with food. *sigh* There was nothing on that show today that I found remotely palatable from a health perspective. Thank goodness I can watch shows like this and see them for what they are unhealthy food porn especially since that hasn’t always been the case.  ;-)

• I am happy that my housework is done for today. Is my house clean? Heaven’s no, in fact not even close. But the items I put on my to-do list are done and that means so is my housework. Instead of scurrying around like a crazy women to get everything cleaned I stop when I have finished my to-do list. The other items can wait for another day. That way I had tea to sip and savor my books. This is part of my life isn’t going to be perfect approach. ;-)

Signing out:

It is time for me to spend a little time in the kitchen and make something for dinner this evening. Otherwise there won’t be any leftovers to put in Dan’s lunch tomorrow. I hope Monday treated you well. Talk to you again tomorrow.


  1. I'm sure you know that picture of Capri made me smile and so did this post. I know you already know we're very similar. I too have spent so much time living for another moment and trying to be everything for everyone else.

  2. Heather,

    Glad you liked the picture of Capri. Italy always makes me smile too. ;-)

    I think all of us have spent too much time living for another moment or trying to make others happy at some point in our lives. The important thing is to recognize it so that you can change it right? I am much happier now that I have let go of perfection and always looking forward or at the past.

    big hugs,

  3. Love, love, love what you said about no longer striving for perfection. As an OCD perfectionist Virgo, I know exactly what you mean. Through my yoga practice, though, I've really learned to adjust my definition of perfection. Because in all of its imperfections, life really IS perfect.


  4. LJ,

    I am starting to think you are right about my Virgo tendencies. ;-) We have a lot in common don't we? It is tough to embrace our imperfections but much healthier.


  5. in an email from you awhile back, you said something about the barefoot contessa, and then i saw her...she was making cookies and i had the same feeling as you. i really have a hard time watching most cooking shows. i dont eat nearly as healthy as you but still, i cant take it! watching them make cookies and licking their fingers and then using their hand to form them? yuck yuck yuck!!and why dont they just put the oil into glasses? they like it so much.

    well..after that rant...that WAS a really neat pic of Italy! it looks like painting.

  6. Wow, so many great things in one post! I love that picture of Capri - so jealous - and of course of your beautiful cats.

    I shall have to put 'The Power of Now' on my reading list. I have read 'A New Earth' by the same author which resonated with me. I think living in the moment is SO important. It's not about being a hedonist living for today rather than tomorrow, it's just about being present in your own life. So much of the time we seem to be looking into our past or our future and this is what stops us enjoying the present.

    Oh by the way, the food looks great too ;)

    Great post Ali!

  7. Enjoyed your post and laughed at the term "food porn" and dirtyduck's comment about drinking the oil.

    Your lentil dish sounds great, I might try it with grain instead of potatoes tonight...or summer rolls, yum! Great idea to try oranges in them.

    Last night I had some almond feta that needed to be used, so I blended it with veggie stock and poured it over a mixture of diced potatoes, sauteed onions, chopped spinach and crumbled tempeh and then baked it for half an hour - came out creamy and delish.

    Have a great day!

    PS - how much kale do you put in a smoothie? seems like you just bought 3 bunches of kale last week!

  8. Michelle,

    I vascillate between feeling sorry for the Barefoot Contessa and being annoyed by her. Clearly she is killing herself and that is sad. But she is putting that unhealthy food out there for everyone else as though they should eat that way and it makes mad. Not doubt I am a health nut now. LOL

    Your comment about drinking the oil made me giggle. Thanks for starting my morning with a laugh. I hope all is well with you.

    Glad you liked Capri. That is one of my favorite places in Italy though I like the entire country. It does look like a painting doesn't it?


  9. Carol,

    I have the New Earth too but haven't read it yet. Whenever I need an attitude adjustment I go back to the Power of Now. Thanks for remininding me to read the other book. LOL ;-)

    Thanks for the compliment on my fur children. It is nice to know I am not the only one that thinks they are cute. Those three fuzzy little brats are my babies and I adore them.

    Have you spent any time in Italy? You are so much closer than we are I am guessing you have. If I were anywhere in Europe I would go to Italy every chance I got. There is something magical about it though admittedly I am biased.

    Have a great Tuesday,

  10. Laura,

    Glad my food porn comment made you laugh. That was the only way I could think to describe it after hearing her moan about the fat in the merguez seeping into the chickpeas and spinach below. "shudders* :-P

    The lentil dish should be good with grain too. I hope you like it as much as we did.

    Why didn't I think of oranges in spring rolls before? It seemed so obvious once I had the thought. LOL

    Brilliant use of almond feta that you needed to use up! I will keep that one in mind. BTW you can freeze almond feta too. I have done that when I didn't use it as quickly as I would have liked.

    I use a 1/2 bunch of kale in each smoothie which is usually 4 or 5 stems. As soon as I have my breakfast we will have eaten 2 of the 4 bunches already. We go through a lot of kale when we have it. ;-) We didn't start out using that much in smoothies but we worked up to it.

    Have a wonderful Tuesday,

  11. We have Netflix and yes, I get workout dvds from them on a regular basis!

    I too am very much a perfectionist. I know I need to do something about that, I'm just too busy! ha ha ha Yes, I realize how pathetic that statement really is. I'm working on it....

  12. Neca,

    I forgot to mention Netflix but yes I use that option too. Thanks for mentioning it. :-)

    Being a perfectionist is a blessing and a curse which I am sure you know all too well. It took me a long time to let go of being perfect. But I can say that I am much happier now that I can let things slide a little. ;-)

    I hope Tuesday goes well for you, hugs,

  13. Your summer roll salad looks good. There is a deli here that does something similar, but no surprise- yours looks better!

    I also enjoyed your comments on not being perfect. It is so difficult to be okay with "good enough" and yet it's so important to be happy in the moment.

  14. Jessica,

    Thanks, the salad worked out well. I may have to try oranges in summer rolls today now that you reminded me. I think that will work out well. ;-)

    Another perfectionist? Wow I seem to have a lot of company in that camp! I am so much happier now that I can let things go a little. When I was chasing perfection I was always exhausted and never happy. Life if much better now.

    I hope you are having a good Tuesday,

  15. #1 I love that you eat salads for breakfast!
    #2 I love that your hubby likes to eat wonderfully healthy things!
    #3 I love love love how much you love your cats, they are gorgeous and I can always tell they are quite content (as cats should be, as you know haha)

    Great post!


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