Thursday, July 17, 2008

Salad days

I love walking through the produce section of the market this time of year and seeing the vast array of colorful fruits and veggies to choose from. Colorful peppers of every shape and size, plump and fuzzy peaches, bundles of fragrant herbs, and rosy red tomatoes still clinging to their vines all sitting neatly organized in their sections just begging to be taken home and made into something delicious. On hot summer days when it’s too hot to cook and the thought of eating anything heavy or warm makes you sleepy just thinking about it there is no better way to combine your most recent produce section selections than in a cool, crisp salad.

Lucky for me my week has been filled with just that. Some salads were enjoyed during a leisurely lunch at home while reading a magazine and listening to music. Others were eaten for dinner between conducting interviews and working on piles of paper work at the theater. One thing they all had in common was their deliciousness. For a healthy and scrumptious summer lunch or dinner nothing beats dark leafy greens and fresh fruits and veggies sprinkled with nuts and seeds and drizzled with a light a flavorful dressing.

In no particular order here are a few of my favorite salady creations from this past week:

Berry delicious salad

spring mix greens
grape tomatoes, cut in half
a few slices of cucumber
pea sprouts
a handful of dried cranberries
a sprinkling of sunflower seeds
a few hazelnuts, toasted and chopped

For the dressing I mixed about a teaspoon of Annie’s Tuscany Italian with a tablespoon of aged balsamic vinegar, a splash of brown rice vinegar, and a sprinkling of ground flax seeds.

I enjoyed this scrumptious salad with some strawberries and Humboldt fog goat cheese on the side.

I also had a refreshing glass of ice water spiffed up with a few mint leaves and lemon slices.

This salad was so yummy that the next day I made another using the remainder of my raspberries.

Yet another berry delicious salad

spring mix greens
grape tomatoes, cut in half
a few slices of cucumber
a handful of dried blueberries
a handful of walnuts, chopped
sunflower seeds

Drizzled with a dressing made with aged balsamic, olive oil, dijon mustard, brown rice vinegar, peach preserves, and a sprinkling of ground flax.

On the side I had some delicious stilton cheese with apricots (from Trader Joes) on my favorite Pecan nut thin crackers.
I also made a jug of iced blueberry green tea using heart shaped blueberry green tea ice cubes I had frozen the night before using this cute little IKEA ice cube tray.

I love green tea!! <3

In addition to being a yummy lunch time treat salads are perfect for packing up for a meal to go such as a dinner enjoyed while (working) at the theater.

Dinner theater salad

field greens
baby carrots (they are hiding under the greens!)
snow pea shoot sprouts
sprouted sunflower seeds
grape tomatoes
dried cranberries

Brought along in a separate container is a dressing made with balsamic vinegar, Annie’s Tuscany Italian dressing and ground flax seeds.

It’s easy to go overboard and kill the healthiness factor of your salad with dressings. That’s why when I don’t have time or ingredients to make a healthy dressing from scratch I like to add balsamic, flax, and other mixins to premade dressings to make them last longer, cut the calories, and increase the nutrition and deliciousness factor.

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