Once Sad, Now Glad

Arugula is one heck of a flavorful salad green. It makes iceberg lettuce seem like crunchy water.

I love the peppery taste of the leaves and find that it adds a lot of flavor to an otherwise simple salad.

When I saw a 50/50 combination of organicgirl baby spinach and arugula on sale at the grocery store on Monday night, I scooped it up and planned to use the leafy greens as the base for a yummy salad.

organicgirl Arugula + Spinach

This afternoon that’s just what I did! ๐Ÿ˜€

Colorful Salad

My salad contained:

The Goods

On the side I enjoyed a fresh peach and a blue raspberry Ring Pop, leftover from the bachelorette party fun!

Plump Peach

Fun fact about Ring Pops: In my advertising campaigns class in college we had to re-market a product currently on the market to a new niche. I re-marketed Ring Pops as wedding favors to young adult women.

Ring Popper

Everythaaaang

Once Sad, Now Glad

Enjoying the Ring Pop after lunch today made me think about childhood candy and the things I was and wasn’t allowed to eat growing up.

My parents never let me and my sister drink soda, unless we were at a special event (then we’d always order a kiddie cocktail)! At the time I was sad that I couldnโ€™t offer my friends a can of soda when they’d come over to my house to hang out, and I was sad I couldn’t sip on a cold can of Dr. Pepper whenever I wanted.

Now I’m honestly glad I wasn’t allowed to drink soda. I never crave it and don’t think to order it in restaurants. I guess my parents were on to somethingโ€ฆ

What is something you weren’t allowed to eat or drink growing up? Do you still avoid it today?

Blog Milestone

News about a my exciting blog milestone in a second, but first let’s get to the f-o-o-d.

Slammin' Salad

Hooray for starting the workweek on a healthy note!

Today’s lunch was a big ol’ salad.

On top of a bed of spinach, I enjoyed:

  • Carrots
  • Yellow squash
  • Refried beans
  • Celery
  • Broccoli
  • Sweet corn
  • Black bean, roasted corn & 5 pepper salsa

Along with my salad, I also included a Sargento reduced fat Colby Jack cheese stick for some added protein (five grams in one of these bad boys!).

Monday's Lunch

Refried Beans

The salsa I used on this salad was delicious!

Kerry & Loni's Bean-Tastico Salsa

A Peek Inside

I bought a jar of Kerry & Loni’s Bean-Tastico salsa at le gourmet chef after my sister and I tried a sample of the salsa in the store. It was slightly spicy and chock-full of black beans and roasted corn. Gotta love hearty salsa!

All Together

Produce packed lunch = Lots o’ nutrients!

One Million

Over the weekend I had a pretty big blog milestone. Early Sunday morning my blog reached one million page views!!!

I am honestly floored by this, because I remember for the first several months of blogging I had like eight (totally fantastic!) readers.

Here’s a link to my first post (kind of embarrassing)! I would also like to send a special shout out to Tina and Lisa, the first two amazing people to comment on my blog.

This milestone made me think a lot about my blog and why I blog every day.

I blog because I honestly love it. I love having an outlet to share my thoughts, ideas, random recipes and personal experiences. Blogging and being part of such a wonderfully supportive, intelligent, kind and thought-provoking group of people brings me so much joy every day.

I blog because I love to write. I blog because I love health and fitness. And I blog because I love each and every one of you.

Thank you for reading and commenting and supporting this lil’ blog of mine that means so much to me. I get excited anytime any one of you leaves me a comment or sends me an email sharing a story, experience, idea or request for advice. For you silent readers out there, I adore you, too! ๐Ÿ˜€

Thank you for visiting my blog, from the very bottom of my heart. ๐Ÿ˜€

Beefed Up

Monstrous salad alert!

Big Ol' Salad

I can’t believe I used to consider iceberg lettuce topped with sliced lunch meat a salad. Boring! No wonder I thought salads were so lame for the longest time.

To me, a big part of living and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is making it enjoyable. I can honestly say I look forward to eating every single one of my meals โ€“ even the salads โ€“ because I always try to incorporate flavorful foods that I love into my breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.

I would never look forward to eating plain salads, so I beef ’em up by adding foods I love like grape tomatoes, nuts, cheese, sweet corn and sliced veggie burgers or shrimp.

Today’s salad included:

Dressing

Veggie Overload

So fresh and so clean, clean. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I should also add that I enjoyed a handful of almonds alongside my salad that eluded any photographs.

Dessert

After eating lunch at my desk, I met up with my friend Philip at a nearby Starbucks to catch up over some refreshing tea.

I ordered an unsweetened Tazo iced passion tea to enjoy as my post-lunch dessert.

Starbucks Iced Passion Tea

(Totally kidding about considering a cup of tea “dessert,” by the way. Just wanted to see how many of you rolled your eyes and sent hate-vibes my way for doing so. ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

I sipped my non-dessert while chatting away with Philip.

I met Philip when I was in college. He was in Ryan’s fraternity and later became my Greek “little brother.” (Those of you early PBF readers may remember seeing Philip on the blog back in October.)

Philip just graduated from law school at UF and will be moving back to Orlando at the beginning of August to begin work at a local law firm. He’s like a real adult. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I can’t imagine being a real lawyer at 25.

When I was in eighth grade I remember my English teacher telling me I should become a lawyer because I was so argumentative (I had a lot of opinions about the books we were reading). This teacher is the same teacher who told me I was going to give him a heart attack from popping my gum so loudly.

Question of the Afternoon

Has anyone ever told you what they think you should do for a living? Did you do it?

I’ve been told I should be a lawyer, news anchor, professional blogger (thanks, Merri!), and writer. I became the last one but would gladly be any of the last three. ๐Ÿ™‚

Of Possible Interest

Coyotes, Cows and Turkeys, Oh My!

First things first, your comments about the crazy things you’ve seen while working out not only made me laugh out loud, but they truly amazed me!

Here are some of the things you’ve encountered while getting your sweat on:

  • Coyotes
  • Road runner (Are you sure you weren’t just watching Looney Tunes? ๐Ÿ˜‰ )
  • Cows that somehow escaped the farm
  • Family of turkeys
  • Man walking on the treadmill at a 1.5 pace while using his arms to do dance moves
  • A kid on a school bus who threw a pencil at the runner
  • Guy doing push-ups in work attire
  • Naked man sweeping his driveway
  • Mockingbirds dive-bombing a squirrel that was trying to steal from a bird feeder
  • Dog running down the street with a mailbox attached to its leash

And my personal favorite:

  • A middle-aged Amish man walking across a road with a dead turkey on his back while his wife walked behind him in her dress holding a gun.

All of your comments reminded me of a weird thing I once saw while working out:

One time a guy was doing ab exercises on an exercise ball near the treadmills at my gym.

Crunch it Out

He had his legs propped up on the ball, and mid-crunch the ball flew out from underneath his feet and into a nearby treadmill.

The problem? A woman was running on that treadmill and the ball caused the treadmill to stop, sending the woman flying. While this was happening, the exercise ball squeaked loudly as the treadmill tried to keep moving.

It was insane! Luckily the woman was okay, but she was clearly very shook up. It also took a good two minutes or so for someone to turn off the treadmill and stop the ball from squeaking, which made the whole scene seem all the more dramatic. Totally nuts!

Lunch

My lunch today included two new things!

They’re probably not new to you, but they’re new to me! Well, I’ve loved avocado for years, so it’s not technically new to me, but since I rarely buy avocados, it felt like a new discovery!

Tabouleh

The tabouleh, on the other hand, was definitely a new dish. I’ve tried tabouleh (a Middle Eastern salad featuring bulgur, mint, parsley, and other herbs and spices) one other time at TooJay’s Deli when I was in college. I liked it a lot back then, but totally forgot about it until Sunday evening when my friend Merri gave me a box mix to make my own!

Using Fantastic World Foods’ box mix, I made tabouleh last night while dinner was cooking and let it chill in the fridge. By the time I was ready to eat it for lunch today, it was nice and cold.

I topped a bed of fresh spinach with the tabouleh, along with grape tomatoes, cucumber and celery and half of a large avocado.

Tabouleh + Avocado

I used Ryan’s method to prep the avocado, which made it super simple! Ryan makes the most amazing (and simple) avocado salsa dip and has perfected his avocado slicing technique.

To prep the avocado, simply cut it in half, lengthwise, and twist to separate the two sides. Stab the pit with a knife to remove it before carving a grid into the avocado. Scoop out the avocado! You should have perfectly diced chunks of avocado!

Avocado Grid

Sliced Avocado

My lunchtime salad was definitely taken to another level due to the addition of the tabouleh and avocado. I forgot how much creaminess and flavor avocado adds to any dish (not to mention it’s a great source of good fat!).

Summer Salad

I’ve actually noticed something about my body and food recently.

I seem to feel much fuller off of fat and fiber than I do when I consume protein alone. A simple protein shake might calm hunger pains for a little while, but if I eat a small handful of nuts with the shake or add some high-fiber fruit to the mix, I feel much more satisfied. I guess the whole “eat protein + carbs + fats” at every meal is a pretty decent equation. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Of Possible Interest

Odd Combo

I opened a can of garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas) to use in last night’s dinner and had several servings leftover since I only ate a cup with my salmon and broccoli.

A salad seemed like the easiest way to incorporate the beans into my lunch, so I threw together leftover roasted broccoli, salmon and grape tomatoes and included several handfuls of the beans in the mix.

Salmon + Broc + Chickpeas + Grape Tomatoes

Fishy Veggies

Pink Salmon = Pretty

Simple but tasty!

Lettuce-Free Salad

Side Order

Though this salad was pretty large, I knew I’d feel unsatisfied after lunch if I didn’t include a side of something sweet.

With another cup of garbanzo beans remaining in the can, I decided to toss them in cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice and roast them for 25 minutes last night. Inspired by Angela, I topped the cinnamon-roasted beans with Crazy Richards chunky peanut butter and stirred the beans and pb until every last chickpea was covered in the creamy nuttiness.

Cinnamon Peanut Butter Chick Peas

I then popped the cinnamon and peanut butter-covered chickpeas in the fridge overnight and by lunchtime rolled around today, I had a cold, sweet and nutty treat!

"So Check Me Out"

Odd combo? Sure. Tasty combo? Definitely.

Cinnamon Peanut Butter Chickpeas

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. canned chickpeas
  • 1 tbsp. peanut butter
  • Cinnamon & pumpkin pie spice to taste

Directions:

  • Toss chickpeas with cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice until fully coated
  • Roast chickpeas on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray for 15 – 25 minutes at 375 degrees
  • Remove chickpeas from the oven and place them in a bowl
  • Top the chickpeas with the peanut butter and stir until the peanut butter covers all of the cinnamon-roasted chickpeas
  • Enjoy hot or refrigerate for a cold treat
  • (Note: You may want to add honey or maple syrup to the peanut butter before tossing if you desire a sweeter taste, though I thought it was delicious without any sweeter.)

I’ve successfully included peanut butter in both my breakfast and lunch so far todayโ€ฆ Let’s see if dinner can complete the trifecta!