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a secret: how to enjoy a salad.

April 27, 2011

Yep – you read that right. How to enjoy a salad. (You know me – I’m an ex-vegetable hater. My first taste of a salad was nasty iceberg lettuce with ranch dressing. Bleccch. I think that’s what turned me off from salad for years.) I’ve discovered this past year that salads don’t have to be boring. Salads can be really good. Like, Panera Bread’s caesar salad. Ohmgosh. I don’t usually douse my greens with dressing but their caesar dressing – words cannot describe how good it is. Add the shaved parmesan and it’s complete. Or, Wendy’s grilled chicken salad – mixed greens, sliced grilled chicken, blue cheese, roasted pecans, granola and apples – topped with a pomegranate vinaigrette. Scrumptious, huh? While these salads are amazing, it makes no sense for me to pay $4-$5 every time I want to eat one, so I figured I would make my own at home. Not anything ground breaking here.

As part of Easter Sunday lunch, I bought a huge package of mixed greens. We didn’t even eat half of it so I’ve been trying to use it up before it goes bad. Now I don’t know about you, but eating just a plate of leafy vegetables is not really appetizing. There have been times when I’ve bought salad, drizzled some dressing on it and tried my best to swallow it down. After two days of eating the same boring salad, I quickly stopped. I wanted to avoid this problem. Solution? Recreate the fast food salads that I love! And the secret to enjoying a salad (when you used to not ever touch the stuff)? Adding ingredients that I already love.

Case in point:

That was my dinner last night (and also, lunch today). Leafy greens with sliced apples, crumbled up granola, shredded rotisserie chicken, craisins and gorgonzola cheese, with a drizzling of raspberry vinaigrette. I know it’s not the most exotic salad but it was perfect for me. Perfect because it was healthy and delicious! I’ve discovered the secret on how to enjoy a salad and I’m so glad I did. How do you like your salad? Covered with lots of good stuff or just plain?

On another note, I ran with my running class tonight. Because of recent thunderstorms in the area, the weather has been cool and absolutely wonderful! Tonight’s weather was perfect for a five-mile training run. Our coach was not here tonight (nor will he be here for the next several classes, as he is competing with Team USA on April 30 in the first annual ITU Cross Triathlon World Championship in Extremadura, Spain – how cool is that?! We’re cheering you on, Daniel! PS – Cross Triathlon means off-road so, open water swim, mountain biking and trail running) so we had a sub, Kelly. She’s super nice and had us run two 2 .5 mile loops, so we wouldn’t get lost (as we tend to get spread apart in our run, with everyone’s varying paces). We all started out together, but my friend Patrick and I sped up a bit and then we were off – running at a great pace, averaging about 10:11 min per mile. We ended up running faster as we tackled more miles:

(April 27 splits; click on the picture to make it bigger)

5 miles in 50:59! Right on target for running 6 miles in an hour. Last 6-mile run done on March 4 (I’ve done various distances since then):

(March 4 splits; click on the picture to make it bigger)

I’m hoping to be able to run our upcoming 10k race (what the class has been training for) in a little less than an hour, but it just depends. Not all runs/races are great and seeing as it’ll be mid-May, the weather can be very hot, even in the mornings. But I feel really good after tonight’s run and hopeful that I’ll at least run a decent race. The rest of the class did amazing as well and I think we’re all chalking it up to the cooler temperatures. It really was beautiful tonight, in my opinion. It made me thankful for having air in my lungs and strength in my legs to run.

Enough running talk. Here’s to nearing the end of the work week (!) – and onto the weekend, when the husband and I will hopefully make a trip (like, a 3-minute drive away) to our town’s annual arts & jazz fest. If you’re in the area, I highly recommend coming to this festival – it’s HUGE and so much fun (and did I mention, FREE?). Crossing my fingers that it won’t get rained out!

7 Comments leave one →
  1. April 28, 2011 11:17 am

    that is one GORGEOUS PICTURE!!! Love those salad combos.

    • April 28, 2011 1:29 pm

      Thanks, Lindsay! I’m trying to use my DSLR instead of my point & shoot like I have been for past food posts.

  2. April 28, 2011 6:16 pm

    I do the same thing – recreate restaurant salads at home. Your salad looks great! I like adding walnuts or pecans, too.

    Great time on your 5 mile training run!

  3. May 4, 2011 5:22 pm

    Great blog. I love salads and so does my husband. Sometimes I’ll make a meal and not include a salad and he notices! We ususally buy organic baby lettuces and throw in chopped tomatoes and carrots. The dressings always change, but we both seem to prefer variations on ranch and vinegarettes. On occasion, I’ll pick up feta crumbles and craisins at the store. These are really good on a spinach salad with poppyseed or raspberry vinegarette dressing.

  4. May 4, 2011 5:23 pm

    I also add walnuts to the spinach/feta/craisin salad for a nice crunch!

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