Thursday, January 6, 2011

Mandarin Orange, Spinach, & Almond Salad

OMG! Can I just have a few more TV commercials, Web pop-up’s and mailbox stuffers telling me I’m overweight, out of shape and pretty much the worst eater to ever walk the planet earth? I don’t need Jenny to help me lose weight. I don’t want Subway to drain my wallet while they stuff over proofed bread packet with veggies and 1 gram of meat down my gullet. I don’t feel the urge to convert all food in my pantry into a point system to give me math anxiety. And, I don’t need and overly self righteous personal trainer with a vendetta about “the fat kid” to teach me exercises that not only will give me Abs in 60 days but can also double and as a lethal weapon if ever attached by a horde of Al Qaeda operatives. I just don’t need it!

Food is my love. Always has been, an always will be. I don’t think I abuse it, except for those rare occasions that I eat something so wonderful that it speaks too me to have “just a little more.” I can’t recall a time in my life were I was that so called “perfect weight” or that “perfect body frame.” I do recall in grade school being teased, but I couldn’t recall if it was for being overweight or just plain Dorky. It really doesn’t matter anymore because at 41 years old, I think being overweight and dorky is cool. People just don’t realize it yet. (Sarcasm)

I think that your body often tells you what it wants with craving and yearnings. It also tells you when you’ve had too much of something by various feeling and odors. I won’t go into that any further. I know during the holidays people often indulge themselves in foods and treats that they would usually not have but once a year. I hope this won’t sound too X rated but it really is a food orgy during the holidays. A so called free for all eating experience. Eating things you have never had or have only once a year. So the natural thing to do is eat A LOT.

But, as I stated your body lets you know when enough is enough and its time for something healthy. Yes I said healthy. But, I’m saying healthy on MY terms and my terms only. When I get to the point when I really want a nice fresh salad with a little meat I want to make it with the items I like. I don’t want a load of flack seed poured all over it so I can crap healthier. I don’t want a powdery protein supplement to make my lettuce taste as if it’s been dredged in chalk. I want fresh, crisp, cool, and organic (when I say organic I’m saying not fake or libratory manufactured) just old school lettuce.

I don’t want to downplay the importance of being healthy or eating healthy, but I also don’t want to have it become that all consuming lifestyle that will rip away my enjoyment of good food and appreciating it. I think there is a balance that will fuel your body’s needs, all the while, not draining your bank accounts after the New Year even more than the holidays have.

If you noticed in my last Blog post you can see that my mind is moving towards thinking about cutting back on the crap and thinking about something more nutritious that my body is telling me it wants. So the natural thing for me to do is recall all those recipes that have a natural lean towards the healthy side of life. I have those things in mind and I don’t mind making them and eating them up. You see, you don’t need to sacrifice flavor and settle for the BLAH.

Mandarin Orange, Spinach, & Almond Salad

3 to 4 handfuls of spinach leaves
1/4 cup sliced onions
1 (11oz) can mandarin oranges, drained
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/2 cup Extra Virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. vinegar
1/2 tsp. Sea salt
1/4 tsp. Course Ground pepper

In the Bowl:
Mix onions, spinach, oranges, and almonds in a large salad bowl. Place aside.

Dressing UP:
Combine the Extra Virgin olive oil, vinegar, Sea salt, and pepper together to make the dressing.

* If you have a food processor I recommend adding all ingredients except the olive oil in the processor and turn on high speed. While the processor is running add the Olive oil very slowly. Should look like a thin thread of oil when pouring.*

Keep the dressing chilled for a minimum of 2 hours.

Take dressing out of the refrigerator.

Toss the dressing with the salad ingredients in the large salad bowl and serve immediately.
I often like Chicken in this salad when I make it. I like the chicken to have been marinated. The flavor I think complements this is a Sesame Ginger dressing of some kind. I simply buy the dressing from the grocery store and marinate the chicken for 48 hours. When I’m ready to have the salad I grill the chicken ahead of time. Once it’s done I allow the chicken to rest for 15 min (this is when I put the salad together). I then cut it in very thin strips and lay the chicken on the top of my salad.

Last year, when I made this salad around the same time, I felt so fantastic after I ate it that I ran to the Store and bought a pint of Häagen-Dazs to follow up for dessert.


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