Goodbye, Boring Greens. Hello, Fun, Colorful Salad!

salad

Brandee and Sally

I have had some health issues of late, including respiratory, skin cancers, several repeated surgeries and just lots of exhaustion. A couple of times since my early 40′s, I have taken time to focus on restoring my body with serious focus. A couple of weeks ago, I attended a health institute for a week long cleanse and rest–one of the best decisions I have made in a long time. In the most busy season of the year, (3 national conferences, a wedding, blogs and a book due April 1!) But, caring for myself is essential to my being healthy long term to be able to give more to my family, friends and ministry.

Now, I have never seen so much green in my whole life in one week–green drinks, fresh wheat grass juiced twice a day, salad, fresh veggies–green, green, green! But, taking time to refresh and getting back to some extreme ideals for at least a little while feels good!

But one of the things I have been doing since I got home, and have tried to do for many years, is to have at least one very veggie-loaded green salad every day! I raised my children on these salads–and though they had seasons of liking and not liking them, now all of them, as adults, eat lots of salads–and love them. I asked a sweet friend of mine to share some of her thoughts about salads as she is the best cook, has great salad dressing recipes and is working slowly with me on a book about our favorite meals and how to make feasting a great celebratory part of your life. So enjoy our pictures of our own salad art–that the kids love–and eat your greens and enjoy better health!

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Love, love fresh tomatoes of every kind marinated in olive oil with garlic, fresh basil, sea salt and spread on small crackers or toasted homemade bread!

“Eat your greens!”

I can hear my mom’s voice echo through my head on a daily basis. Why is it that something so delicious can also seem so monotonous to eat? Perhaps it’s a lack of variety, or maybe you think that it’s just not as good as your favorite restaurant makes it.  After all, the dressing is homemade and they have someone to cut up all those veggies into enjoyable bite size pieces! While healthy eating is crucial to our well balanced lifestyles, we can’t encourage our children to eat the foods that we find boring ourselves.

With a little prep work, you could have amazing salad options waiting for you on the other side of your refrigerator door. Your very own salad bar! God created food for pleasure and for sustenance.

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Instead of putting salad in a bowl, I put main dish salads on large glass trays–Joy and Sarah and Rachael loved my food centerpiece!

Try your hand at creating your own salad bar this week and don’t forget to ask the family what they like in their salads too! Here are some tips & dressing recipes to get you going.

Optional Ingredients for Salad Bar:

Lettuce - romaine, spinach, red & green leaf, cabbage, arugula, iceburg, kale, spring mix, etc.

Veggies & Fruit - broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, tomato, avocado, sweet peppers, jicama, artichoke hearts, carrots, celery, beets, corn,  peas, broccoli, onion – red, white, green, edemame, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, apples, pears, oranges, nectarines, pomegranate, kiwi, etc.

Herbs - parsley, cilantro, dill, chives, basil, mint, etc.

Protein -  chicken, beef, salmon, tuna, beans – white, kidney, pinto, black, garbanzo, hard boiled eggs, quinoa, nuts – cashews, almonds, pecans, walnuts, pine nuts, seseme seeds, chia seeds, cheese – parmesan, colby jack, cheddar, havarti, goat, feta, mozzarella, etc.

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Large sprouts, tomatoes, cucumbers, roasted almonds, onions, lettuce, goat cheese, garlic and seasoned quinoa–with oil and lemon dressing. Joy and I loved this!

GARDEN HERB RANCH DRESSING (Makes 2 cups dressing, divide if needed)

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard or dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon cold water
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 cup buttermilk or milk or half n half
3/4 cup sour cream
1T tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 tablespoon thinly-sliced scallions/green onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons minced fresh italian parsley
1/2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon minced fresh or dry dill
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh or dry oregano
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh or dry basil
* I put in about 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro – optional
*I put in 1/2 avocado too – optional
Blend together in blender or with hand mixer and refrigerate until ready to use {lasts up to 2 weeks}.

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So fun when it is beautiful. I think God would approve!

 Honey – Lime Vinaigrette (Makes 1/2 cup)

1/3 cup fresh lime juice (substitute with lime juice concentrate if needed)
4 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
Blend together with hand mixer or just shake in jar with tight fitted lid {lasts up to 2 weeks}.

 Asian Ginger Dressing

2 – 3 cloves garlic
1- 2 T green onion
2 T minced ginger root
1/4 C soy sauce or amino acid
1/4 C sesame oil
1/2 C olive oil
1/4 C rice vinegar
2 T lime juice
3 T honey
1/4 C water
*Toasted sesame seeds optional
*Place into mixing bowl or large measuring cup and mix well with hand blender.

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Another really simple way to beat the hassle and monotony is to make salad in a jar! Pick whichever day of the week seems to be the least hectic for you (perhaps Sundays) and make that your meal planning day. Gather all of those jars you’ve been saving, and prepare your salads for the week in advance! Be sure to dry the salad greens well. (spin them) and keep the wet things whole–tomatoes, etc. cut them when you dump them in a bowl. This will make it easy for you to bring the ingredients out for your at home salad bar, keep your fridge organized, and they also make really great salad lunches on the go for those busy days.

Get creative this week and enjoy your greens! What is your favorite salad?

{Enjoy a special Mommy Minute video from my sweet friend September McCarthy.{Enjoy a special Mommy Minute video from my sweet friend September McCarthy.}

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Comments

  1. Stephanie DeMink says

    Hi Sally,

    I love the suggestions, thank you. I would love to hear your thoughts sometime on children and eating. My kids are young (boy 2 and girl 3), though my boy especially is a finicky eater. I can’t get him to eat vegetables. Fruit yes, veggies no. At this point I don’t fight it as I don’t want to have battles at mealtimes, though I’m at a loss for what to do. I try to sneak them in smoothies, alas, that doesn’t work either. Like I said, would love to hear about your philosophy on kids, meals…and getting them to eat the good stuff.

    Blessings. Will pray for your health, energy, and encouragement.

  2. Eileen says

    So glad that you were able to recharge and refocus during this amazing season of your life!

    Would you mind sharing where you went? I am nearing the milestone birthday of 45 candles, and my best friend of 25 years and I are trying to plan a special girlfriends’ get-away that is fun, restful, yet very practical and enriching to our hubbies and kids, too. If she and I can get refreshed and rested up, that would be great!

    Thanks so much!

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