A week’s worth of salad ideas

Since I started photographing my meals (especially my lunches), it has come to my attention that I eat A LOT of salad – at least one a day to be exact. I LOVE loading up on fresh foods early in the day and salads are the perfect way to do it. They are filling, healthy and are SO easy to switch up on a daily basis.

I know that a lot of people hate packing their lunches and especially avoid making things like salads because they seem to be too time intensive, but I am determined to show the world (or at least the lunch packers of the world) that it is not only possible, but easy to pack fun and delicious meals everyday. Lunch doesn’t have to be boring!  Wouldn’t it be nice to look forward to lunch and know that you are doing something good for your body/wallet on a daily basis?  It is a myth that lunch packing has to be tedious or monotonous. A weeks worth of various vegetables/grains/proteins can actually provide a limitless amount of fun lunch (salad!) options…..

My lunches of the week….  (including what I had to work with):

(side note: I share all of this food with my sister… just so you are aware that I don’t eat 8 cups of beans by myself in one week)

Vegetables:

  • spinach (1 tub)
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 big bag of baby carrots
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 bag each of kale and arugula (the tub of spinach I bought on Sunday which was NOT packed very full… (such a rip off!), so I had to replenish my greens mid-week – which is usually not the case)
  • radish (a few leftover from last week)

Grains:

  • quinoa (I made about 2 cups worth on Sunday night for the week)
  • brown rice spiral pasta (made about 2 cups worth on Sunday night as well)
  • whole grain bread (I will usually eat a slice on the side with my salad if I don’t add a grain into the mix)

Protein:

  • 1 can pinto beans (3 servings a can)
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can bean salad
  • lentils (I made 2 cups worth on Sunday when I made the quinoa and pasta) –  enough for approximately 4 meals

Additional items (things that I needed to use up or ingredients that I usually have on hand):

  • goat cheese
  • sunflower seeds
  • blueberries (the last of a pint from last week)
  • radishes (from last week)
  • various vinegars/sauces/dressings

Monday

Fruity spinach salad with quinoa and blueberries

  • spinach
  • quinoa (1/2 cup)
  • pinto beans (1/2 cup)
  • chopped carrots
  • chopped zucchini
  • chopped broccoli
  • chopped radish
  • sprinkle of blueberries (the last of a container from last week)
  • dressing: Trader Joe’s Muscat Orange Vinegarette

Tuesday

Indian-inspired salad with lentils, spinach, quinoa and goat cheese

  • spinach
  • lentils (1/2 cup)
  • quinoa (1/2 cup)
  • chopped carrots
  • chopped broccoli
  • chopped zucchini
  • goat cheese
  • dressing: Trader Joe’s curry simmer sauce/marinade

Wednesday

BBQ sweet potato, kale, and black bean salad

  • kale
  • zucchini
  • sweet potato (1/2 of a medium-sized potato, microwaved and cut into bite-sized pieces)
  • black beans (1/2 cup)
  • quinoa (a small sprinkling of whatever I had left in the fridge… maybe 2 tbsp?? )
  • dressing: Trader Joe’s BBQ sauce diluted with a little water to thin it out

Thursday

Arugula bean salad with sunflower seeds (enjoyed in the sun!)

  • arugula
  • bean salad (1/2 cup)- in a vinegar-based marinade which served as my dressing
  • chopped carrot
  • chopped broccoli
  • sunflower seeds

I also ate a slice of bread on the side with this.

I bought this canned bean salad (with string beans, kidney beans and pinto beans) a longgg time ago and finally used it as a salad topper this week. I loved the vinegar-y and tanginess of this mixture and it felt so light and spring-y. I am inspired to make my own… and may need to make this recipe from Tone It Up in the near future….

Friday

“Pasta salad” with arugula and pinto beans

  • arugula
  • pinto beans (1/2 cup)
  • brown rice pasta (1/2 cup)
  • chopped zucchini
  • chopped carrot
  • chopped broccoli
  • dressing: Trader Joe’s Muscat Orange Vinegar

So there you have it….. I hope I (maybe?) showed how a weeks worth of vegetables can be made into different salad/meal options! I love how  a few basic ingredients can be switched up so easily to make a completely different meal. What can I say, I love my salad.

Do you eat a lot of salads for lunch? If so, how do you keep them exciting? I like to switch up dressings everyday so I never get bored, and I also try to add “fun ingredients” (like blueberries or sweet potatoes) to keep things exciting.

What is your favorite salad combination? I love the mixture of quinoa, goat cheese and broccoli together in salads and have also been loving to add fruit to my salads as well these days

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Easy Lunch Idea: Veggie-Packed Lemon Tofu Sandwich

One of my favorite types of sandwiches to make is a hummus and veggie sandwich. They are easy to put together quickly, are always delicious, and always guarantee satisfying and healthy meal. My sister packed me a delicious variation of a hummus and veggie sandwich  for dinner the other day, and it was so delicious, I thought I should share.

This sandwich was full of veggies and had a nice punch of flavor with the addition of some fresh lemon juice.  My sister, Sami actually thought of this addition, so I can’t take the credit. Not only was this sandwich super delicious and fresh tasting, it was also super easy to pull together and filling with the addition of some pressed tofu (which is optional if you don’t like tofu… you could also add another protein source if you’d like).

I highly recommend you try this out!

Ingredients (for one sandwich):

  • 2 slices whole wheat bread
  • cucumber (2 slices)
  • radish (2-3, chopped)
  • kale (leaves of a small stalk, shredded into bite-sized pieces)
  • zucchini (2-3 slices)
  • mushrooms (4-6 pieces)
  • hummus (1-2 tbsp)
  • squirt of lemon (1/4 of a lemon)
  • sprinkle of pepper
  • 1/8-1/4 block tofu (pressed, sliced into thin strips)… or another protein source (ex. a piece of grilled chicken, tempeh, etc.)

Directions:

  1. Press tofu (if using) to remove liquid (approx 30 minutes) – this can be done with a tofu press or with paper towels/dish towels and heavy objects…. (see Ashley’s post for a good tutorial) and can also be done ahead of time (I pressed mine over the weekend)
  2. Once pressed, slice block into quarters, reserving 1/4 for the sandwich and refrigerating remaining 3/4 (for more sandwiches later in the week!). Slice the 1/4 block of tofu into thin strips
  3. Spread 2 slices of bread with hummus (1/2-1 tbsp on each slice)
  4. On one slice of bread, add sliced tofu and veggies
  5. Squeeze a little lemon juice on top of the sandwich half with the veggies and sprinkle a little pepper
  6. Add on other slice of bread, cut sandwich in half, and pack in tupperware/tinfoil for an easy, healthy, delicious lunch (or dinner…)!

This sandwich was so good! I ate it while studying for a Bio test, and it made  studying  so much more enjoyable. Tofu and veggie sandwiches are great for a quick and healthy meal. Plus, they are so versatile! You can always switch it up with different veggies and condiments/spreads….

Options:

  • You could substitute any veggie with what you already have on hand (shredded carrot, pepper, tomato, etc. would all be delicious)
  • You can substitute plain hummus with another flavor or hummus or with another type of spread (I am a fan of using Trader Joe’s lentil masala spread as a sandwich spread)
  • You can omit tofu or add in another protein choice of your choosing

What is your favorite type of sandwich to pack for lunch?

I hope you have a great day!

Best Thing I Packed this Week: BBQ Lentil Kale and Sweet Potato Salad

Hi guys, happy Friday!

I have some more delicious meals to share with you all… I was on a roll this week with making delicious and healthy lunches. 

Best meals I packed this week:

In case you missed them, here are some of my past weeks of “Best thing I packed:”

Veggie-Packed Tofu salad with  Poppyseed Dressing

I ate this for lunch on Thursday, and it was especially delicious. I basically tried to add as much color/texture as possible to my Tupperware container by packing as many fresh veggies as I could into my salad.

Since veggies alone would keep me full for about 20 minutes, I added in some tofu and whole grain rotini pasta for some protein and whole grains (and staying power). 

I used a new to me dressing (Drews Poppyseed dressing) on top, and I loved it. I feel like I am always talking about this brand of dressing, but I have yet to try a variety I don’t like. I guess I am a big fan….

This salad was so filling, and I loved all the different components. My favorite salads always tend to be the ones with a lot of different ingredients thrown in so my taste buds never get bored… I also love including cold pasta in salads. It always soaks up the dressing and is so good (try it!). This particular salad contained:

  • kale
  • cucumber
  • radish
  • carrots
  • beets
  • cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 block tofu, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • whole grain rotini pasta (1/2 cup)

Dressing: Drews Poppyseed dressing

BBQ Lentil Kale and Sweet Potato Salad

This was another delicious lunch combo I concocted this week. It contained:

  • chopped collard greens
  • mushrooms, chopped
  • spicy roasted sweet potatoes
  • brown lentils (about 1/2 cup)… I made them over the weekend using the method I talked about here

Dressing: BBQ sauce

I loved the mix of the BBQ sauce (I love using condiments as dressing!) with the collard greens and the lentils. The spicy sweet potatoes were also a fun addition. I made the sweet potatoes over the weekend by roasting 2 cubed potatoes in a mixture of chili powder, cumin, garlic powder and onion powder for about 40 minutes (flipping halfway through) in a 400 degree oven. I made them for dinner on Sunday, but the leftovers served as a great salad topper.

Again, this was so filling (probably because of the lentils and potatoes) and so satisfying.  My taste buds were very happy. I have been loving BBQ/spicy foods these days.  

I hope everyone has a great day and eats some delicious food!

 What is the best thing you packed/ate this week? (I love hearing about your delicious creations/meals!)

Best thing I packed this week (March 2, 2012)

Good morning and Happy Friday!

I am SO excited for this weekend. My stepbrother is coming to Pittsburgh today, and I can’t wait to see him/hang out with him(I haven’t seen him since December!).  As always, I must first be productive and go to work and go to school, so lets hope that these things go quickly so the weekend can start!  I better not have a long chem lab tonight….

Are you doing anything exciting this weekend?

Best thing I packed this week

Now lets move on to food…. and the next installment of  “the best thing I packed this week.” This week was full of delicious packed meals, so it was hard to pick a favorite. I did a lot of good prep work last weekend:

  • I made a grain salad
  • prepped lentils
  • made barley

that resulted in easy/delicious meals and made meal packing a breeze.

BBQ Lentil Wrap

I believe I have found a new favorite vegetarian protein source: lentils. I made a big batch this past weekend by:

  • Rinsing  1 cup dry red lentils
  • Placing them in a saucepan with 2 cups water
  • Letting them simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally (until all liquid was absorbed)

I did this while I was making dinner on Sunday, so this was so easy and resulted in a big Tupperware full of lentils (about 2 cups) to incorporate into lunches throughout the week. I need to remember to do this more often because lentils are

  1. so good for you, and
  2. so cheap!

I have been searching for new ways to use them and have been enjoying them in my lunches this week in wrap/sandwich form.  On Wednesday night before class, I enjoyed a delicious wrap that contained:

  1. BBQ lentils (1/2 cup lentils mixed with about 1/8 cup Trader Joe’s BBQ sauce)
  2. spinach
  3. more BBQ sauce + nutritional yeast

This was a simple, yet delicious and filling meal that I most likely will be making again. I also had a variation of this on Monday night (an Indian-spiced lentil wrap) by combining the lentils with some Trader Joe’s Curry Simmer Sauce. I may be on a new lentil kick….

Anyone else a fan/have good ways of preparing them? I’m looking for ideas!

Other notable meals of the week:

I also really enjoyed my Lemon Dijon Kale and Barley Salad on Monday for lunch

and  had some leftover Red Kidney Bean Curry soup/stew on top of some kale that was rather delicious (I need to post the recipe for this soup… it’s so good).

tastes better than it looks...

 
What was the best thing you packed/ate this week?

What I Ate Wednesday #6 (February 29, 2012)

Hi there, can you believe it’s already Wednesday? Or that tomorrow is March 1 (where is time going)? Or that the high for today is 60 degrees (in Pittsburgh, at least)? It’s so odd…. annnd I guess I’ll stop asking questions now.

So today is the last day of February and also the last day to celebrate/take part in “Love Your Veggies Month” over at Peas and Crayons for WIAW. To end the month with a bang, I made sure to eat some delicious veggie-inspired meals yesterday. I am also pretty excited for next month’s theme….

Breakfast – 5:30 am

For breakfast yesterday, I had some Bob’s Red Mill 8 Grain Hot Cereal that I made by combining the following in a saucepan and cooking for about 5 minutes:

  • 1/4 c cereal (1 serving)
  • 1/2 c unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1/2 small banana (mixed in)
  • 1 tbsp ground flax (mixed in at end)

Toppings:

  • 1/2 small banana, chopped
  • small handful golden raisins
  • 1 chopped dried apricot
  • 2 tbsp chopped walnuts (toasted by microwaving for 2 minutes)

I really like switching up my breakfast grains from time to time, and I love the texture of this cereal (it is more chewy and more “oat bran-esque” than oatmeal). It was a nice change from my normal bowl of oatmeal that I tend to eat in the morning. I also especially liked the addition of the toasted walnuts  (I need to remember to top oatmeal/hot cereal with toasted walnuts more often…).

Snack – 9:00 am

As my mid-morning snack, I had a random trail mix concoction I made that contained:

  • walnuts
  • almonds
  • chopped dried apricots
  • golden raisins
  • dried mango
  • Kashi Heart to Heart cereal

Lunch – 12:30 pm

 My breakfast and snack did a great job of keeping me full for quite a while, and I was able to hold off on lunch until 12:30 (I usually am very ready to eat by 12).For lunch I had a big veggie-packed salad (a great way to squeeze in a lot of vegetable servings!) that contained:

  •  spinach
  • carrots
  • cucumber
  • peas
  • beets (from a can – I never really buy beets but I saw them at the store this week and impulsively bought a can. I used to eat these all the time when I was younger, so they always oddly remind me of my childhood…)
  • chickpeas (approx 1/2 cup)
  • quinoa (approx 1/2 cup)

Dressing: Drew’s Goddess Dressing (I forgot how much I love Goddess dressing…)

I also enjoyed a new to me orange with my lunch: a minnelo. It was so sweet and and so delicious. I may need to start replacing my daily lunch apple with an orange….

Snack: 4:00 pm


I was still busy at work around 4 pm, so I snacked on a Fugi apple and a small handful of Kashi crackers as I worked and finished things up.

Dinner: 5:30 pm

I did my best to make this look appetizing...I think I failed

I had plans to go to the gym at 6:30 yesterday (for a BodyAttack class!), so I had a lighter dinner before I left to fuel me through the class. I had a Boca veggie burger on a piece of toast with some steamed stir fry veggies (a frozen mixture I recently bought) on the side.

One of my favorite ways to prepare frozen veggies is to microwave (aka steam) a small serving for 1-2 minutes (to get them warm), and then stir fry them in a medium-high skillet for 2-3 minutes. This browns the veggies a little and makes them more crunchy and “fresh” tasting rather than mushy and bland as they can sometimes get – which is never fun or tasty. I also like to add fun seasonings to them to spruce them up.

I decided to go with an “Asian theme” for my dinner last night, so I added some ground ginger and gomasio (a seasoned sesame seed) to my veggies. To make my Boca burger fit the “theme,” I used some Trader Joe’s Oriental Sesame dressing as the condiment for my toast and added some romaine, cucumber and gomasio as my burger toppings.

This was such a simple dinner to make and came together in less than 10 minutes. I wasn’t expecting much out of it, but it ended up being a pretty good meal. I especially liked the kick that the ground ginger gave to the veggies and how the TJ’s dressing absorbed into the Boca burger and toast, making everything rather delicious. I love when simple meals happen to taste amazing…

Dessert/Snack – 9:30 pm

To end my day on a sweeter note, I had a container of applesauce with a small handful of raisins and Kashi Heart to Heart Cereal sprinkled on top. I never eat applesauce, but for some reason it sounded appealing last night. I am glad that I had a few containers in my fridge that I haven’t touched in months, because this ended up being quite a delicious and refreshing snack…

I ate this as I read up on some Bio notes and attempted to watch the Biggest Loser (I have issues watching it these days due to the blatant/obvious advertising that seems to happen every 3 minutes on the show… does this bother anyone else?).

Annd that concludes my meals/snacks from yesterday. Now I’m off to check out the delicious things that everybody else has been eating this week! Have a great day everyone.

Best thing I packed this week (February 24, 2012)

Hi! whose excited for the weekend?

I have had a rather long week  (has anyone else had a busy week?) and am pretty excited to relax a little. I am also craving a good beer so I am hoping to make that happen tonight…. Any suggestions?

Before that time comes though, I must be a productive person and go to work and school (I have a Chem test tonight and Chem lab). The key for me to getting through these long days is having fun little things to look forward to (which usually takes the form of meals and snacks). I bought a few things today to keep my spirits up that I am excited about:

I just ate the  Chobani yogurt (SO GOOD) and plan to have the White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Clif Mojo bar as a snack and to sip on the seltzer throughout the day. I’m a little excited for both (it’s all about the little things, right?). I love fun snacks.

Best Thing I Packed this Week

Anyway, other than talking about my busy day and fun snacks, I though I’d end the week by sharing the best things I packed this week!

The winning day of packed meals was on Wednesday of this week, as I packed a delicious lunch and dinner.

Best Lunch: Tuna Salad with Dijon Honey dressing

I made myself a salad for lunch on Wednesday that contained:

  • spinach/romaine (as the base)
  • carrots
  • cucumber
  • celery
  • 1 slice  colby jack cheese (cut into squares)
  • 1/2 can tuna

Dressing:  Dijon Honey dressing I made with:

  • 3 tbsp (approx) apple cider vinegar
  • 2-3 tsp (approx) dijon mustard
  • 1 squirt (maybe 1/4-1/2 tsp?) honey

I also ate a whole wheat wrap on the side that I dipped in the extra dressing and scooped up some of the salad with (I love doing this).

I don’t normally eat a lot of tuna (I think I just forget about it), but it is such an easy/delicious protein option to incorporate into lunches. (Side story… in third grade my friend and I decided we would eat tuna for lunch every.single.day… don’t ask me why. It lasted for a few months, and I literally could not look at tuna for years after that. I’m surprised my mom let me do it and that I didn’t get mercury poisoning… don’t judge me). Anyway, I am glad that my aversion has passed because tuna can be quite delicious every once in a while.

This salad was really simple and contained ingredients that I always have in my fridge, but, for some reason, it tasted extra delicious. Sometimes it’s the simplest foods that are the best.

Best Dinner: Strawberry and Goat Cheese Pita Sandwich

I’ve already posted about my half and half pita sandwich idea (in this post), but since I actually have a picture to show this time around, and since I can’t get over the delicious combo of goat cheese and strawberries, I had to share this again.

My first pita half contained hummus, kale, nutritional yeast and black beans (very similar to my wrap from Monday), but I want to focus the attention on my sweeter half that included:

  • spinach
  • goat cheese
  • chopped strawberries
  • strawberry jelly

I can’t explain to you how much I love this combo. There is something about  the creaminess/saltiness of the goat cheese paired with the sweetness of the strawberries that just works. If you can’t tell, I am a big fan. I can’t   get enough.

Have a great weekend!

What was the best thing you packed this week?

WIAW #5 (February 22, 2012)

Hi there, happy Wednesday (and HAPPY BIRTHDAY JON)!

I thought I’d switch things up this week and show my meals from Monday. Since I am on the go literally all day, I thought it might be interesting to show a day of my packed meals/snacks on one of these days vs. the days when I am less busy. I also always love to see what people pack to eat (I love easy/healthy meals!), so I am hoping/assuming others feel the same?

Breakfast 7:00

On Monday I literally ate every meal away from home, which usually isn’t the case. I usually always eat breakfast at home. It is actually one of my favorite parts of the day, and I have a whole routine of reading blogs, watching the news, etc.  during this time. Breakfast is what gets me up in the morning (I brainstorm what I will make/eat pretty much as soon as my eyes open…).

On Sunday night though, I somehow set my alarm to the wrong time (1 hour late!) so I somehow magically woke up (thank god) with it with just enough time to get ready and pack myself something quick to eat for breakfast at work.

I ended up going with a pumpkin yogurt +oatmeal + peanut butter combo.

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 c plain greek yogurt (approx) with a spoonful of pumpkin mixed in – sweetened with a squirt of honey
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1/2 banana
  • small sprinkle of raisins

Snack 1: 10:00 am

Since I ate breakfast a bit later than usual, I wasn’t as hungry for my mid-morning snack. I just grabbed a handful of walnuts and almonds before I had to do some testing at work.

Lunch: 12:30

For lunch I packed myself a big salad that included every vegetable I could find in my fridge. I also added some kidney beans and veggie spiral pasta (I love adding pasta to salads!) for some staying power. I wasnt ‘expecting  much out of this salad, since it is one of my more normal combos, but, for some reason, this was SO good. I love eating big, delicious salads full of fresh veggies on Mondays to start the week off on the right foot. This creation contained:

  • spinach
  • broccoli
  • mushrooms
  • carrots
  • red kidney beans (about 1/2 cup)
  • Trader Joes veggie spiral pasta (about 1/2 cup)

I also especially liked my dressing choice of the day: Drew’s Rosemary Balsamic… It soaked into the broccoli and pasta really well and made everything very delicious.

To end things on the sweeter side, I had my daily apple (a Fugi… if you were curious) with lunch.

Snack 2: 3:00 pm

 Before leaving work  to head to class I was feeling a little hungry, so I snacked on 2 clementines and a small handful of almonds

Dinner: 5:00 pm

On Mondays and Wednesdays, I have Biology at 5:30, so I usually will eat my packed dinner around 5 in the student cafeteria/study area. On Monday, I was trying to get some studying done before class (I have my first Chem test on Friday), so I took a quick study break to eat dinner. I packed myself a whole wheat wrap that contained:

I also had some carrot sticks and sugar snap peas on the side.

Again, I didn’t think this would be anything special, but it ended up tasting soo good to me (maybe I was missing vegetables in my life over the weekend?). I love the wraps I have been buying (they are a whole wheat variety I buy at Costcos) – they are so doughy! – and the combo of black beans + hummus + nutritional yeast was especially delicious for some reason. I love mixing hummus and nutritional yeast together. It is such a cheesy/creamy combo.

Snack 3: 7:00 pm

After class I had a plan to go to the gym, so I snacked on a Honey Graham Clif Z bar on my ride there.

Dessert: 9:00 pm

And lastly, when I got home from the gym, showered, packed up all my things for Tuesday and settled in to watch the second hour of the Bachelor with a few friends, I decided I wanted something sweet to end the day. I ended up having some cottage cheese with chopped strawberries, raisins, and a few chopped walnuts sprinkled on top.

And that concludes a day of packed meals/meals-on-the-go.

I hope you have been enjoying some delicious food this week as well! I’m excited to go check out what other people have been eating and get some new ideas!

Best thing I packed this week (February 17, 2012)

Hi everyone, Happy Friday!

I am pretty excited because I have the day off of work today! I still have chem lecture + lab from 5-10 tonight, but I refuse to let that dampen my day. It’s so nice to have the morning/afternoon free! What should I do with myself? I’m not used to this freedom…..

Anyway, moving on…. Since it is Friday, I have another installment of “the best thing I packed this week.” I hope you guys are fans of eggs because my favorite meals revolved around them this week. For some reason I was craving egg salad last weekend (which is odd because I rarely crave eggs), so I decided to do something about it. I buckled down, decided to be my domestic self, and I made some hard-boiled eggs (I had no idea what I was doing and had to look up directions... it ended up being really easy, by the way).

Me and eggs have a weird relationship. I either love them or hate them (and there is no in between). I was definitely on the “love” side of the spectrum this week so I just went with it and had some egg-inspired meals….

The best thing I packed this week: Hard-boiled egg edition:

Best Lunch: “Cobb”-esque Salad

For lunch on Monday, I made myself a “Cobb-esque” salad (I am calling it that since it contained no bacon, chicken, or tomatoes like a typical cobb salad, but did have the egg and cheese components…). My salad contained:

  • romaine lettuce
  • carrots
  • cucumber
  • celery
  • mushrooms
  • snap peas
  • a slice of cheddar cheese (cut into squares)
  • 1 chopped hard-boiled egg
  • Dressing: homemade honey mustard dressing made with apple cider vinegar, mustard, honey and pepper

I loved all the different textures and tastes in this salad and the cheddar cheese was a fun addition (I have a similar relationship with cheese as I do with eggs…. love it or hate it). I guess I am in a dairy loving mood this week?

I think I was inspired to make this after seeing a Cobb salad on Pinterest the other week… I have been loving getting food inspiration from the site (side note…. I really want to try to make these apple pies in an apple…).

Best Dinner: Healthy Egg Salad Sandwich

Keeping with the egg theme, my favorite pre-class packed dinner this week was a egg salad wrap that I had on Wednesday night. I made the egg salad by combining (enough for 2 sandwiches):

  • 3 eggs (chopped)
  • 1-2 tbsp greek yogurt (I just eyeballed this)
  • a squirt of dijon mustard (maybe 2 tsp?)
  • pepper
  • a sprinkle of paprika

I made my wrap by combining half the egg salad mixture with some romaine lettuce.

This ended up being so good and definitely satisfied my egg salad craving. Not only was it a protein packed wrap with the addition of both eggs and greek yogurt, it was also a bit healthier than the standard mayo-heavy egg salad you would find in most deli’s or supermarkets.

I was a little nervous to use greek yogurt  as a mayo replacement (I usually use it as a sour cream replacement), but it turned out really well! This tasted  spot on to the mayo-heavy egg salad I remember eating as a child, only this version was so much less dense and calorie heavy! I know some people are against using greek yogurt as a substitute for other condiments, but I am a big fan. It’s just so versatile.

Other notable meals/snacks of the week:

Tofu sandwich with Trader Joe's Lentil Masala dip, cucumber and spinach

Snack of cottage cheese and pumpkin topped with craisins, raisins and a sprinkle of cinnamon and raw oats

 What was the best thing you packed this week?

Have a great weekend!

Things I’ve learned this weekend…

1. Three  years can go by really fast….

My boyfriend, Jon, and I celebrated our 3 year anniversary yesterday. I honestly can’t  believe it has been that long…. I feel like we just met next to the keg in the basement of that lovely college apartment where neither of us knew anyone…

While our relationship has evolved quite a bit over the years, he still makes me laugh everyday, is always my #1 fan, and I love him now more than ever. I don’t know what I’d do without him.

I love you Jon! Happy 3 years!

2. I want to be Ina Garten

Yesterday afternoon, Sami (my sister) and I made and brought lunch over to our friend Erin’s house to have a lunch/homework “party” (Hi Erin and Erin!). From reading my blog(!) and seeing Sami’s lunches during breaks from class (Erin is in Sami’s grad program), she was interested in having a Dana/Sami-inspired salad. I, of course, was happy to bring over some healthy and delicious food for us to enjoy (since I do want to start a lunch-packing service), and packed us some Asian-themed salads.

Asian-themed salads with edamame, cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, snap peas, teriakyi tofu, brown rice, sesame seeds....

I felt a lot like Ina Garten, since she always seems to be whipping up and packing food to-go for special occasions. I won’t lie, I am a big fan of hers, and I kind of liked channeling my inner Barefoot Contessa yesterday. I love packing lunches for myself and for others, and if it were possible for me to make a living traveling around and making people healthy/colorful/delicious lunches and snacks, I totally would do it.

I need Ina to come give me some tips….

3. Bulgur wheat is a delicious oatmeal alternative

1/4 c bulgur, 1/4 c oats, 1 c almond milk, 1/2 banana, big scoop pb

Yesterday morning, I tweaked my normal oatmeal/banana/peanut butter breakfast by replacing a 1/4 cup of my normal oatmeal serving with a 1/4 cup of some bulgur wheat (that I got in the bulk bins at Whole Foods).  I first read about this grain over at Carrots ‘n Cake, and it is a great grain to enjoy for breakfast (here is some info about it if you’re interested). It is a bit chewier than rolled oats, but I find that combining it with oats creates a great combination of texture. It is a great way to switch up breakfast and  incorporate fun, new, and healthy grains into your diet! I really enjoyed this breakfast yesterday. (Note to self: eat more bulgur for breakfast!)

I  hope you are having a great weekend!

Anything you have “learned this weekend?”

Any types of grains you like to enjoy for breakfast other than oatmeal? I have tried using barley and quinoa as alternative breakfast grains before, and I know Bethenny has a brown rice breakfast that I tried a few years ago…

Best thing I packed this week: week 2 (February 10, 2012)

Happy Friday! Anyone doing anything exciting this weekend?

So the time has come again for “The best thing I packed this week” (here is week 1 in case you missed it)!

Best lunch: Roasted brussel sprout, sweet potato and black bean salad (with BBQ hummus dressing)

I can’t take credit for this delicious combination (my sister made it for me), but it was definitely the best thing I ate for lunch this week. Sami (my twin sister who is a busy grad student and lover of healthy packed lunches as well) and I tend to help each other out during the week and make each others lunches on certain days (she usually packs my lunch for Thursday, since I don’t get home until 9:30ish, and I tend to help her out Tuesdays or Fridays). It definitely makes my life a little easier, and I appreciate her SO much for helping me out. Thanks Sam!

This salad contained so many delicious things, I didn’t want it to end. My favorite salads tend be (1) ones with a lot of various ingredients to pick at and taste, or (2) ones that contain different or “less typical” ingredients than the standard salad (think carrot, cucumber, tomato, etc.), This salad definitely fell into the second category with the addition of brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes. I am a BIG fan of both (I love roasted brussel sprouts!), and while I typically eat these types of veggies for dinner, it was fun to enjoy them in the middle of the day. 

 I ate around the spinach first (I usually always save the best parts for last in salads) and left all the brussel sprouts, beans and sweet potatoes for last. This salad contained:

  • spinach
  • sweet potato cubes
  • roasted brussel sprouts
  • black beans
  • quinoa

Dressing: Homemade BBQ dressing made with:

  • BBQ sauce (approx 1 tbsp)… I never really measure these things
  • apple cider vinegar (approx 1-2 tsp)
  • a drop or two of water – to thin it out

I love making my own dressings, since I typically don’t tend like many bottled options, and I like to be in control of how much of certain ingredients I use.  Sami is actually a pretty talented dressing maker and is always whipping up some delicious combinations. My favorites of hers include:

  • BBQ (and BBQ Hummus)
  • Honey Balsamic 
  • Honey Mustard-esque dressing

Making your own dressing is really easy, and I find that they taste just as good (if not better!) than many bottled kinds (I HATE that artificial taste in certain types of dressing). Since a dressing can make or break a salad, they are definitely an important feature of my daily meals. What are your favorite kinds of dressing?

Other notable meals of the week….

kale, goat cheese, kidney bean and veggie "pasta" salad

olive tapenade, hummus and kale on whole wheat

So that concludes the “Best thing I packed this week.” I hope you have a great Friday/weekend!

What was the best thing you packed this week?