My husband and I are trying our hardest to eat healthy until Thanksgiving. I know it’s only a few weeks away, but sometimes little goals are better to help you succeed and reach your big goals. I’m hoping that we both see progress and feel better by Thanksgiving so that we will pick right back up with it after Thanksgiving. Oh yes, we will eat a feast on Thanksgiving! Then we will get back into making smarter choices with food again and continue to make progress. For the next few weeks, I’m not doing the whole 21 Day Sugar Detox thing again, but a more friendlier version. I will still have some carbs, but just really try to reduce them and only enjoy pasta or white potato based meal like once or twice a week at the most. I will still have fruit, but will try to limit it to keep sugar and carbs low. The no fruit thing just doesn’t work for me. I will refrain from sugar in my coffee and tea and will drink more water. I’ve slacked lately in the water intake department so I’m going to really try to get that amount back up to where it should be. So no soda. This is really a tough one for my husband the Coca-Cola fanatic. I did buy some sparkling water which is carbonated water so that will be a little treat here and there in the next month. A big one for me is no ice cream during the next three weeks. It’s one of my greatest weaknesses and I usually don’t have just a little bowl, but the biggest one I can find and I top it with hot fudge or caramel, or both. So no ice cream at all! That hurts, especially because there’s still some of that awesome Layered Brownie Ice Cream Cake in my freezer that says “Pick Me, Pick Me, Pick Me!” every time I open the big freezer in the garage. Another little restriction for me is No weekend long splurging marathon. I can cancel out the greatest week of eating and working out in one big swoop of an enormous ice cream sundae, pizza, nachos, cheese fries, buttery popcorn, you name it. I would give myself permission to indulge on the weekend, but not just one or two indulges, it would be anything that I felt like eating so the entire weekend was full of bad food. One or two items is ok, a whole weekend full of it is not! So that’s gotta stop. Bad, bad, girl! This time I’m going to be better about planning out my meals and splurges so I know what things I need to sacrifice and how to balance it all. I’m not beating myself up. I’m not trying to punish myself. I know I can do this and I’ve done it before. I want to be able to see and feel my hard work at the gym actually get a chance to pay off, instead of being sabotaged by my horrible eating. I refuse to buy new jeans, even though mine are all getting too tight now. And I just missed the big sale at American Eagle on jeans, so I’m out of luck anyway. I’m going to make this happen. I’m putting it out there for you all to see is a little scary, but I need to do it! If you see me in the drive through at Sonic, you have permission to make sure I’m only getting an unsweet tea and not a sugar filled slushy or anything else that I really shouldn’t be having! Smack that sugar packet out of my hand if you see my try to add it to my coffee.
For lunch yesterday, I made myself and my husband (minus some of the veggies for Mr. Picky Pants) this awesome salad and I thought I should repost it in case some of you missed it. It’s really one of my favorites. I love all the different flavors and textures and the dressing is so simple and delicious. This time, I added just little balsamic vinegar to the dressing for a little more zing. It’s been pinned and pinned so many times on Pinterest. I hope that those folks are actually making it and enjoying it and not just letting it get dusty on one of their Pinterest boards. If you haven’t tried it yet, please do! Here’s my original post below! I stocked up on all the ingredients for this salad and a few other of my favorites because I know I’ll be eating more of them in the next few weeks. I made a double batch of the dressing so it’s all ready to go. Bring on the challenge – I’ve got tasty full of flavor and never boring salads to help me reach my goal.
I came across another restaurant salad that is a new favorite! It’s the Savannah Chop Salad from McAlister’s Deli. As I oohed and ahhed over the salad as I was eating it, I was also trying to figure out how I could create this salad at home. The salad is the easy part, it’s the dressing that ties it all together and needed mastered. I think I’ve got it pretty close. Mine is definitely a little more pink than their’s so maybe they use a combination of a few types of vinegar instead of just red wine vinegar. I played with the amounts a little, I think it’s a keeper even if it’s not an exact match to McAlister’s! You could always use a good bottled dressing if you don’t want to make your own. I’d recommend a good wine vinaigrette, Dijon vinaigrette or even a berry vinaigrette would work. My version of this salad is darn good if I do say so myself. It’s full of protein and great flavors that liven your taste buds! It’s a meal in itself kinda salad so that’s always a winner with me! As far as the salad ingredients, I’m not going to give amounts since you can use more or less of any ingredient as you like. It’s just not right to measure ingredients for salads. The recipe includes exact amounts for the dressing, though and you will have extra to keep in your fridge for extra salads for a few weeks. I cut up enough cucumbers and grilled and diced enough chicken for a few salads this week so it is simple to throw together for lunch later this week.
I couldn’t think of a name for the salad and didn’t want to call it the same thing that McAlister’s does. My youngest suggested I name it after her so that’s what I did. Here’s The Mae Salad for you to enjoy!
The Mae Salad
Romaine Lettuce – washed and chopped
Cucumber – peeled, seeded and diced
Grape Tomatoes – halved
Sliced honey toasted almonds
Dried Cranberries (I was able to find a package of a combo of the almonds and cranberries, but you could use separate items too)
Boneless Chicken breast – grilled in a little olive oil and seasoned lightly with Italian seasoning and salt and pepper
Soft tangy cheese of your choice – McAlister’s uses Gorgonzola in the Savannah Chopped Salad. I chose Goat Cheese for The Mae Salad because I love it. Feta would also be a nice option.
Red Wine Shallot Dressing:
1 Shallot minced
1/2 C sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
1/2 C olive oil. I like to use light olive oil for dressings.
1 TBS Dijon mustard
Pinch of Kosher Salt and fresh ground pepper
-optional- a few teas of balsamic vinegar
Make your dressing ahead of time so the shallot has time to really break down in the vinegar and flavor the dressing. Combine all the dressing ingredients, whisk or shake well. Keep in fridge until ready to use. Extra dressing will keep for a few weeks in the fridge and be sure to shake well before each use.
Grill seasoned chicken breast in olive oil. Chop and set aside or in fridge if doing this well in advance.
Chop your veggies
Combine Chopped Romaine, diced cucumbers, sliced tomatoes, Almonds, Cranberries, chopped chicken, and cheese of your choice. You could toss this all together or arrange each ingredient on top of the salad like McAlister’s does. I chose the latter and think the presentation is prettier this way.
Right before serving, drizzle with Red Wine Shallot Dressing.