Intentional Life with Commentary

7.22.2015

7 Summer Salads

For about two years leading up to my wedding last September I was feeling great about my health, energy level, and overall body image. My diet was incredibly clean: consisting mostly of veggies, legumes and lean meats along with the occasional dark chocolate or frozen yogurt indulgence. I slowly and naturally dropped about 40ish pounds over those two years - the exact number is unknown because I have this thing with scales called "purposeful avoidance. "  ;)

Then we got married and I relaxed my healthy eating habits because I wanted to let go and have fun embracing the cooking experience as a new wife.  I started innocently reincorporating grains and bread into our regular diet as well as pasta and rich sauces. It was delicious and fun and I {mostly} don't regret it! Earlier this month, though, I started feeling like my pants were a little tighter than they were before and I was starting to feel less comfortable in my own skin. I took the plunge and checked the scale ... yep! I've gained somewhere around 8-10 pounds over the last year and I'm definitely feeling it. So! Without further ado, The Engineer and I are going back to my pre-wedding lifestyle!

Since it's summer and I don't often feel like spending time in our hot kitchen I went on a Salad Recipe Rampage to collect some new and exciting salad ideas to try out. Here are my basic qualifications for a good salad:

1. Variation! I mean, we've all had the iceberg, cucumber, tomato house-salad with ranch dressing. blah. Save that for the restaurants!

2. Frequent use of chicken! I love using Costco rotisserie chicken in the summer to avoid heating appliances. Plus, I make home-made, low-sodium chicken stock using the crock-pot after we've demolished all the usable meat.

3. Protein! It's important that the salad includes a good amount of protein so that it satisfies the appetite for longer than 10 minutes. This might mean chicken (see #2 above) but it could also mean nuts or other lean meats.

And HERE YA GO:

1. Chicken, Zucchini, Pesto Salad : I have a special fondness for pesto. Have I ever met a pesto-infused recipe that I haven't liked? Why no. I sure haven't.


2. Harvest Cobb Salad:  This salad is tested and approved by me! I made it a few months ago and it was delicious. I'll happy to reintroduce it to our menu soon.


3. Chopped Chickpea Salad: This is great timing because I just bought a huge bag of dried chickpeas on sale even though I had no idea what I was going to do with them. Problem solved! Also, chickpeas are delicious so it's a win all the way around.
4. BBQ Chicken Salad: Who doesn't like BBQ chicken? That's what I thought... nobody.
5. Grilled Corn Salad with Basil Vinaigrette and Mozzarella Pearls: This salad looks unique and fun! I'll probably try making it with the addition of spinach.
6. Chicken Taco Salad: Of course! I'll probably allow some tortilla chips to accompany this one.
7. Vietnamese Inspired Chicken & Cabbage Salad: I actually love the flavor of cabbage. Does that make me weird? Probably. I also like the texture it brings to salad and slaw, so I wanted to be sure to include one recipe with it!

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