Week 2: fifty shades of green

One of “my 8 rules” is Salad, all the time, and I promised to show you. With the onset of springtime and warmer temperatures this week, I was inspired to do that.

I learned to appreciate a simple, well-tossed salad at an early age, thanks to my mother. She made a green salad with nearly every evening meal (we rarely ate out in those days). It was never anything fancy, just leaves of Romaine, red or green leaf, or (my favorite) Boston bibb, lettuce tossed with a classic vinaigrette. My mother credited my Uncle Rene (on my dad’s side), a native of France and lifelong chef and restaurateur, with showing her how to make salad. A well-tossed salad of mere leaves is divine in its simplicity, elegance, flavor, and versatility.

Salad is easy nutrition. It’s my standby vegetable side dish that goes with everything, and not just main courses prepared at home. If I’m pressed for time and stopping by the grocery store for rotisserie chicken, I’m making a salad to go with it. If I’m ordering pizza delivery, I’m not adding on that side salad of iceberg lettuce with the creamy dressing that comes in the little tub (and the lettuce is always brown around the edges – no wonder people don’t like salad). Instead, I’m throwing some red-leaf or whatever lettuce I have on hand into a bowl, drizzling on olive oil and balsamic vinegar straight from the bottle, seasoning with a little salt and pepper, turning it all over a few times by hand until coated, and ta-da. It’s that simple.

When not in a hurry and coveting variety, I change things up by varying the vinegar, using citrus, or embellishing with cheese, herbs, nuts, or fruit. I love a composed salad too. For years, the slender little book, Perfect Vinaigrette: appetizers to desserts, by Linda Dannenberg (published in 1999 by Stewart, Tabori & Chang, New York) has resided on my kitchen counter, and if I could keep only one cookbook for the rest of my life, this would be it.

I love salad. Salad is my life. Well, that and coffee. And dark chocolate.

Day 8

Breakfast: Cereal with blackberries and almond milk

Lunch: PB&J, a carrot, and a cold couscous salad (courtesy a coworker-delicious)

Dinner: Grilled tuna salad nicoise, ~3 oz. white wine



My snacks today included a banana between breakfast and lunch, a cappuccino in the afternoon, and a piece of dark chocolate (with a little almond milk to drink) at bedtime.

Fruit and veggie count: 6

Day 9

Breakfast: Cereal with blackberries and almond milk

Lunch: Grilled cheese sandwich, salad of cherry tomatoes and artichoke hearts

Dinner: Hibachi chicken with vegetables and rice, cantaloupe

Today, I had to grab dinner on the run for my daughter and me, so I opted for Hibachi chicken at a little Japanese drive-through. Snacks: a banana mid-morning; vanilla frozen yogurt with coffee pour-over in the afternoon; dark chocolate and almond milk at bedtime.

I was able to fit in a vigorous 30-minute workout on the elliptical machine at the gym.

Fruit and veggie count: 5

Day 10

Breakfast: Butter croissant and cappuccino

Lunch: Leftover biryani with yogurt-cucumber-mint sauce and a piece of naan

Dinner: Salad with avocado, cucumber, green onion, fresh parsely, and honey-lime vinaigrette

I was on the run again in the morning, and grabbed a butter croissant and cappuccino from Starbucks, violating my pastry on Sunday only rule. Sometimes it’s unavoidable. After lunch I had some fresh pineapple, but then 2 coconut macaroons with my afternoon coffee, in addition to my dark chocolate at bedtime. It might sound bad, all that, but coconut is good for you. Right? Well, I did have that wonderful fresh salad for dinner. I also worked out for 30 minutes on the elliptical again, hopefully mitigating some of the fattening effects of the day’s sweet treats.


Fruit and veggie count: 4 (not enough)

Day 11

Breakfast: Cereal with banana and milk

Lunch: Salad nicoise without the tuna (still delicious)

Dinner: Chick-fil-A kid’s meal of 6 grilled chicken nuggets, waffle fries, and coffee. Because every kid needs a cup of coffee to drink with their meal.

Snacks: blackberries in the morning, an apple in the afternoon, dark chocolate, etc.

This has been a very busy week with a lot of running around and grabbing food on the go. Even so, I managed to make time for exercise; today, I worked out for 33 minutes on the elliptical. Take note: my endurance increased by 3 minutes : )

Fruit and veggie count: 5

My weight:


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