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Friday, January 11, 2013

Good Day Sunshine! Salad

Well, hello there!  First things first: I lied.  I did manage to find time to create a new salad recipe this week.  The idea had been rolling around in the ol' noggin for a while, but I finally put it together this week. This was mostly prompted by my sweet roomie, who, when I told her my idea, squealed and shouted "OH MY GOSH YOU SHOULD MAKE THAT RIGHT NOW!!!"  (I waited til the next day, because it was 10pm and I didn't have all of the ingredients.)

*Disclaimer: This next part may be boring.  Feel free to skip to the next paragraph if you don't want to learn about nutrition.
 Here's a little trick to eating healthy, if you're having trouble getting in enough veggies on a daily basis.  If the meal you are sitting down to eat does not include at least one serving of vegetables, it is junk food.  Bottom line.  This also includes breakfast.  "What???  Veggies for breakfast???"  I know, it sounds like an alien concept, but follow me here.  My typical breakfast is either a fruit smoothie with spinach (I'll post that recipe at a later date), or soup or other veggie-filled left-overs.  I gave up cold cereal a long time ago, and haven't remembered to buy more oatmeal from the store in months.  Truth is, when I have veggies for breakfast, I feel more energized throughout the day, and I honestly would rather eat breakfast food in the evening for dinner.  I'm not saying that you have to swear off waffles for breakfast, or start adding peas to your pancake batter, but throw in a small serving of veggies along with the sweet deliciousness you're already enjoying.  If you're making scrambled eggs (or scrambled tofu, recipe coming next week!), throw in some onions, peppers, and the like.  If you're having pancakes, french toast, oatmeal, toast, anything else people typically eat for breakfast, also eat a handful of carrots, or a small salad.  "Salad for breakfast???"  It's not that weird.  [Now, I should also mention the importance of eating enough fruits on a daily basis, but, unless requested, I'm not going to give a spiel about how to do so because, honestly, I have never had someone come up to me and say "I don't really like fruit.  How can I get myself to eat more fruit throughout the day?"]

I created this recipe thinking that it would be best served for breakfast or brunch, but obviously you can eat it whenever you want (elevensies?).  The veggies provide a typical salad base, the mandarin oranges give it some sweetness (strawberries would also work), and the granola replaces croutons for a crunchy topping.  The dressing reminds me of a PB&J, and I have decided to make a huge batch of it in the near future so that I can drizzle it on everything.

Once again, this recipe comes together quite quickly and makes a lot, so you'll have food for days (well, depending on how many people you're feeding at the initial meal in which the salad is served).

 Now, enjoy this Beatles tune while checking out the recipe:

Strawberry Almond Dressing:
1/3 cup strawberry balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp almond butter
2 tsp brown sugar

4 cups fresh baby spinach
1 cup shredded carrots
1 small zucchini, cut into half moons
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1/2 cup mandarin oranges
1/3 cup vanilla almond granola

In a small bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients until well combined, then set aside. In a large salad bowl, toss together the spinach, carrots, zucchini and onion. Top with the oranges and granola. Serve with the strawberry-almond dressing.

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