Healthy dinner at a Slovenian hostel

By the time Sabrina, Oliver and I had reached Slovenia we were desperate for vegetables. The week before had been spent traveling through Germany - a country teeming with sausages and sauerkrauts. Knowing that our hostel in the  Alps was equipped with a kitchen we made plans to cook ourselves a healthy dinner. The result was a delicious salad topped with toasted chick peas, apple slices and cucumber. A side of roasted fennel and red peppers rounded out the meal's savory side. I don't think any of us could remember a time when we'd been SO HAPPY to have a salad.

Read more about the Slovenian hostel in the Alps on our other blog, Boudreauxs Big Adventure

Weekend Eats

The leftover pork from last week's lettuce wraps was used in two more dinners. Once on a bed of homegrown lettuce with poached eggs. Another time as part of a stir fry with a side of aparagus and half a sweet potato. 

Sunday morning we walked down to the Grant Park Farmer's Market for a loaf of sourdough. Oliver needed it to make his extra amazing breakfast sandwich. Fried egg, homemade mayo, chili sauce (made for the lettuce wraps), homegrown spinach, bacon from YDFM and a few slices tomato (not quite in season yet). I ate every bite! YUM!

Good Eats: Monday & Tuesday

Breakfast: oatmeal with bananas, coconut & walnuts
Lunch: red beans with a tablespoon of goat cheese
Snack: clementine
Dinner: spinach salad with poached eggs
no gym, no alcohol
Breakfast: oatmeal with bananas, coconut & walnuts
Lunch: broccoli salad (mostly made up by me - so it was a fairly experimental salad)
Snack: half a cup Friendship brand California style cottage cheese
Dinner: Bo ssam lettuce wraps (inspired by this New York Times magazine article*)
500 calories burned on the elliptical, no alcohol

*Oliver is not usually one to follow recipes (especially not recipes from celebrity chefs) but something about this bo ssam from David Chang prompted him to make an exception. Everything was made from scratch except the kimchi. The other two sauces are scallion ginger and spicy bean. The spicy bean was improvised from pureed beans (from lunch), Worchestire and siracha; the recipe called for spicy bean paste - something we did not have on hand. We'll definitely be enjoying this meal for several more nights of dinner! BO SSAM = DELICIOUS!


What's for lunch? Mixed greens with cucumber & roasted red pepper

For lunch today I ran over to Alon's in Morningside to pick up a salad from their "create your own" bar.  While I've always enjoyed their prepared foods,  fresh baked breads, cheeses, desserts and salads - I was just recently turned on to having their salads "chopped". I LOVE IT! The truth is, long stems on spinach and other mixed greens often make me gag while chewing. Having everything "chopped" completely solves the problem! I wish I'd discovered this sooner.

My go-to salad at Alon's is currently mixed greens, cucumber, roasted red pepper, goat cheese and a side of balsamic vinaigrette. I ate half at lunch time and the rest before I left the office at 6:15pm (as fuel for the gym).



Weight Loss Check-In
Day 3: 144.6lbs (.4lbs lost)

What's for dinner? Chicken salad

The roast chicken from Tuesday and Wednesday's dinner was shredded for a chicken salad tonight. Oliver's chicken salad has ruined me for all other's; it is by far my favorite. The chicken salad is lightly dressed with olive oil, no mayo, and tossed with walnuts, celery, yellow raisins, parsley and cilantro. It was served over the left over arugula from the warm salad and the very last of our garden greens. 

Dessert was Greek yogurt mixed with cinnamon, nutmeg, honey, walnuts, raisins and coconut. I've also been eating the Greek yogurt as a side with my lunchtime black beans all week. 

Tomorrow I'll post the black bean recipe. Just in time for you to try it over the weekend!

GEAUX TIGERS! (And a warm dinner salad too)


Tonight's the night! The championship game for all of American college football. Undefeated, #1 ranked, LSU is up for a rematch against #2 SEC (Southeastern Conference) rival Alabama. We already beat them once in over time so this game is sure to be a nail biter! As you can see, team spirit is running high in the Boudreaux house. GEAUX TIGERS!

On a heart healthy, blog relevant note, I cooked dinner last night. It was warm salad of thinly cut rib eye steak on a bed of arugula. The recipe came from my friend Phu

I picked this recipe because it was uncomplicated (read: seemed hard to mess up), fairly healthy and from  a trusted friend. The directions amounted to: put everything into a bowl except the arugula (or watercress) and shallots. Let marinate for 10 to 30 minutes. Then quickly stir fry the beef in a wok or thin saute' pan. Mix warm medium rare meat into the greens and shallots and serve immediately. The hardest part was thinly slicing the meat. But fortunately we have a great boning knife and Oliver gave me some pointers on what to do. 

Guest blogger: Amanda in Philadelphia

When I started this blog I asked a few like-minded, long-distance friends to join me as regularly featured guest bloggers. One of the people I asked is my super talented and very smart friend from grad school, Amanda. We met in Philly in 2007 while attending the University of the Arts, Book Arts, MFA program. Amanda, myself and two other girls (shout out to Phu & Steph) quickly bonded as friends; even though we've now spread to four different cities these girls are still very close to my heart.

I asked Amanda to blog with me for several reasons. Foremost: she is a fellow artist who has been known to make a lot of interesting art about food*. Second: she was raised by a James Beard Award winning, 2nd generation chef. Third: like myself, she recently found the need to make her lifestyle a little more heart healthy. 

Amanda's first post follows. It's about growing up in a family that included salad as a normal, happily anticipated part of every dinner. A habit that indisputably helps instill healthy eating habits in children and helps maintain them in busy adults. Thank you Amanda!

A Salad Every Day
I grew up the daughter of an Italian chef in the Midwest. While a legitimate gourmet, my father exposed us to every type of food, from Velveeta mac and cheese and frozen fish sticks to veal osso buco and balsamic glazed short ribs. Whatever the meal on the table there was always one constant: My father’s dinner salad. A base of greens, topped with tomato, cucumber, and red onion, dressed with olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper, I ate this salad at the end of every meal as my father did, thinking I was more worldly than kids who ate their salads first. I firmly believed that salad at the end of my meal helped digest my dinner, and while I’m yet to find hard evidence that this is true, there is no denying that raw vegetables should be consumed everyday, providing the body with lots of vitamins and nutrients and a little bit of roughage.

In my own kitchen I love cooking with Asian, Indian, and Mexican flavors that were absent from our Italian-American kitchen, but I continue to make a salad every night. Based on his basics, I adjust ingredients to better pair with what I’m cooking.

What you need:

  • Foundation greens. Typically lettuce or baby greens, I also love arugula, spinach, or shredded cabbage. No greens? Make a base of shredded root vegetables: cauliflower, radish, carrot, even apple.
  • Base Toppings. Our salads always had cucumber slices, tomato wedges, and thinly shaved red onions. Radishes have become a staple in recent years. I’ve been known to add carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, peppers, anything not too strongly flavored and easy to eat.
  • Featured Toppings (optional). Olives are my favorite, especially when I’m eating Italian food, but they have a strong taste and can clash with other foods on your table. Having pork? Add apples. Having fish? Add orange segments. Avocados and various cheeses (particularly feta or gorgonzola) will break down in the acid of vinegar or citrus, adding another dimension to your dressing. Chickpeas, hummus, hard-boiled eggs, almonds, or tuna fish add protein making your salad a heartier part of your meal.
  • Dressing. Made of three parts: oil, acid, and salt and pepper. I rely most heavily on the standard olive oil and red wine vinegar, but have used variations. Sesame oil, rice vinegar, spicy mustard diluted with apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, orange juice, tahini, mashed anchovies- so many possibilities. Dressings can be whisked together in a bowl and adjusted to taste before going on the salad, but most nights I pour the ingredients right over the greens and toss to coat.

The most important step in all of this is to toss the salad. I hate getting plates of greens with dressing on the side. Tossing your salad with a light coat of dressing insures every bite to have a bit of flavor without having to balance a forkful of thick bottled dressing on the side. Whether simple, like Cullen’s favorite salad of arugula and lemon juice, or fancy, like my radish and apple slaw with mustard and lemon over baby greens, salad deserves a place on your table, and in your belly, every evening.

*Amanda and Phu recently had collaborative works at the Woman Made Gallery in Chicago. The works involved laser cutting words and phrases onto foods. I find them fabulously tongue in cheek. Click here for more: HERE!

Photo of Larry D'Amico's salad ©Travis Anderson