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We don’t mess around with salads.

Two of my best friends and I had a group text going on about where we wanted to go for dinner.  Why are girls so indecisive? Especially with food!

Three very different tastes (they are pro-Mexican food…I am not), but we all agreed on one thing: we wanted something super healthy. After throwing out restaurant ideas we decided to just put together our own dinner at my place. Which I prefer anyways because we get to talk and hang out in the kitchen before eating, where we can be sillier than in public ;)

Easiest thing EVER to make: a colorful salad bar. We don’t mess around when it comes to salad-building.

Super Salad (stronglikemycoffee.com)The base was spinach leaves.

Diced carrots, bell peppers, tomato, and avocado.

Olives and black beans (I skipped those.)

Apple chunks and strawberry slices.

Feta cheese & dried cranberries.

Raspberry vinagrette.

With a side of (unpictured) baked sweet potato crisps.

5 stars for the most un-boring salad. :)

Super salad bar (stronglikemycoffee.com)

Allllllll the nutrients and vitamins in this beautiful salad were counterbalanced with a couple cocktails later when we explored downtown. We experimented with fizzy and flavored waters for homemade cocktails at home first, and discovered the super simple blend: Sparkling Peach Water with Malibu Rum. 100 calories for 2 ounces of rum in 8 ounces of water, with ice.

All these veggies are good for the brain, which I NEED right now becauuuse……

I’ll be taking the GRE in 24 days. I have no general direction for my life after May, but I figured I best keep Graduate School in the realm of possibilities. Application deadlines are quickly approaching, so I secured my spot in one of next month’s examinations. An hour after registering, I was sitting in Barnes & Noble deciding which test prep book looked the prettiest  most helpful. I got good ole’ vocabulary flashcards to go with it…

GRE prep (stronglikemycoffee.com)

WHAT THE PHONICS!? Who made these up. “Diurnal.” “Xenophobia.” “Vituperate.” I don’t know these words! When was the last time you heard anyone say “polyglot” in a sentence? My roommate is studying with me, and we decided to do “Words of the Day.” Therefore…I think I will fall asleep early tonight because this studying is soporific. ;)

Sam Hunt is killin’ it with the playlists on Youtube….he’s like country meets coffee shop. Pure perfection for my study session. So I’m trading Monday Night Football in the clubhouse gym for Monday Night Flashcards (plus pumpkin coffee/Sam Hunt covers/big sweatshirt/Sprout’s snacks/roomie bonding/lemon candles/intermittant dance breaks / Sports Center app updates.)

More brain food to come!

Detox Salad

Do you ever feel like after a vacation or a particularly-indulgent weekend, your body is just begging for some vitamins and minerals?! Even though the past week and a half wasn’t necessarily a “vacation” for my mom and I, we definitely compromised our daily healthy eating habits while in New York and while I recovered from surgery. After over 12 hours of traveling yesterday, my mom and I are home for the holidays. Felt so good to reunite with my dad and polar-bear-puppy-dog Missy last night! But it also felt good to be able to start eating regular foods again, and we wanted to add all the usual veggies back into our diet ASAP!

*I can resume my regular blogging schedule again now that the major hurdles of surgery and travel are over. Yay!

After surgery, I was on a soft-foods diet for ten days. I cheated a little bit with some chicken and carrots, but primarily ate lots of oatmeal, sweet potatoes, rice, applesauce, ice cream (shame shame, I know). Meals lacked nutritional balance and included lots of extra carbs over the last week; so today we stocked up on MEGA VEGETABLES! Our Sprout’s grocery cart was overloaded with peppers and greens and broccoli and brussel sprouts. Plus cucumbers, carrots, celery, tomato, yams, cauliflower and avocado. Holy Health! :)

Some slicing and dicing and we made a pretty colorful medley, what I’m calling the “Detox Salad.” This is a low-carb lunch that still has plenty of protein and healthy fats without anything starchy like bread or pasta (exactly what I overdosed on last week, hence the salad).

Detox Salad, beautiful medley rich in vitamins and minerals to get back on track after those not-so-healthy weekends of indulgences(stronglikemycoffee.com)

Guess what you DON‘T see here…..? Oatmeal! I must’ve had almost twenty bowls of oatmeal in the last 10 days and I will happily welcome some variety ;) Instead you see plenty of delicious and healthy toppings that add up to one very happy body.

Avocados for mono-saturated fats (the good stuff!)

Cranberries for antioxidants.

Almonds and Edamame for some protein.

Spinach for Iron!

Lettuce for Fiber and Vitamins A, C, and K.

Bell Peppers have 300% of your Daily Value of Vitamin C (fun fact: that’s 3x more than a medium orange)

Cucumbers because they taste yummy…

Detox Salad Mix (stronglikemycoffee.com)

Salad Dressings can make or break a salad! I have never understood why someone would kill a perfectly healthy salad with gobs of fatty dressing like ranch; it negates the whole purpose of making a simple and healthy salad when upwards of 250 calories per serving and 30 grams of fat are liberally drenched on the vegetables. Today we used a Fat-Free Raspberry Pecan Vinagrette, 50 calories per serving. Even a simple homemade oil-and-vinegar dressing, while not fat-free, would be preferable as a salad topping than something creamy like bleu cheese (more calories than a slice of pizza!)

It’s the perfect lunch for the holiday season when you need to balance out party food or baking treats that this weekend may bring. Your body will thank you for the extra shot of vitamins and minerals and a break from starch, salt and sugar. Feel free to share any additional favorite salad toppings!

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Sunday Night “Family Dinner”

Happy Labor Day, everyone! I hope you are doing something fun and productive with your day off! The weather is gorgeous here and I can’t wait to go on a long leisure walk after breakfast.

Last night was such a fun night in the dorms. A group of us girls in the same hall decided to make a Sunday Night Potluck dinner! The six of us split into pairs and divided the courses: Salad, Main Dish, Dessert. My suitemate Fernanda and I were in charge of the salad. Kerri and Amber cooked an amazing pasta dish with pesto and chicken, while two more girls provided enough chocolate to undo all the healthiness of the first course. It was such a good way to have an inexpensive but delicious dinner with a group of friends instead of going out to a restaurant. Each of us spent roughly around $6 and look at the meal that awaited us!

Giving Olive Garden a run for their money!

We have some pretty decent chefs in the residence hall! The salad was a combination of healthy ingredients that we could find at target and that were cheap (first rule of college cooking). The base of the salad was a bag of mixed greens, to which we added diced tomato, sliced cucumber, chopped bell pepper, sliced carrots, diced apple, dried cranberries, almonds, crushed cashews and a lite raspberry vinaigrette. Not too shabby at all! And splitting the cost with another friend made our contribution to the dinner pretty reasonable. There was enough for the six of us girls plus leftovers (for lunch today, yay!).

It’s so much fun to cook and have dinner outside of the dining halls, even more so with company like these girls! If you can get a group together, cooking is half the fun, dinner is a well-needed break from cafeteria food, and meeting new people becomes easier than ever. Great way to spend a Sunday night. Dinner was followed by a chick flick and I think we’ve all agreed that this needs to happen more often! :)

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