In our house, the only goal I've made with respect to food is with my snacking habits. When I eat meals throughout the day, and try my best to feed healthy meals to my family, I feel like I make good choices (well, as much as I can with a husband for a definite thirst for butter and comfort food).
When I snack, I bomb. Hard core.
I head straight for the chocolate. The cookie. The bowl of sugary cereal. The candy. The cake. The cupcake. The dessert in it's many beautiful forms. Thank heavens for exercise, but MAN, sugar and I can hit the town together.
I know it's horrible, but I love it. And I will never give up my beloved sugar. But I can reduce the amount of it I choose to have each day.
So what I've done since day 1 this year, is have a bowl of healthy snack servings for our family available to us (neatly in little pre-measured serving snack baggies), in place of the ridiculous bowl of sweets. I've filled my fridge with more green things to snack on (recently discovered the beauty of sugar-snap peas), low-fat cheese sticks, nuts (what we can afford, anyways. nuts are dang expensive), and plenty of fresh fruit. We have become obsessed with these little fruit sqeezes. The sugary treats are less available to me, and have been replaced with healthier options. This doesn't mean I've eliminated them altogether (we still love drinking hot chocolate sometimes while watching our nightly Monk episode), but what I've done is turned the dial down on the sugar. Now when I'm hungry between meals, I can reach for a better choice of snack. I'm not perfect, but have certainly held down the fort for a few days.
I will still continue to make desserts, and try new dessert recipes for the blog. But will probably be better at giving more of them away (keeping plenty for Ryan, of course. He could always stand to gain a few pounds) instead of attacking them with a fork between meals. Neighbors, consider yourselves hired to take them off my hands more often.
This salad took a little bribing for Ryan. A salad alone cannot fed his manly appetite, so I threw on some panko baked chicken to top it off. He was sold. Instantly, he loved the salad (minus the mushrooms). I think it more had to do with the fact that there was a pile of bacon involved. It was amazing, and very easy to toss together.
This salad can be switched up like crazy. Instead of sticking to mainly spinach, we used both baby spinach and arugula. Arugula, to me, adds such an interesting flavor to things (almost buttery). I also added slices of fresh tomato and a bit of shredded Parmesan. You can omit ingredients, or add in new ones to fit your family's tastes. But I beg of you, don't miss out on this vinaigrette. It seeps perfectly into the hard boiled egg, and adds an amazing smoky favor to the leaves, as well as the raw mushrooms. Each texture plays such a wonderful part in this salad, and we were thankfully surprised at how filling it was. And the smell of bacon was pleasantly intoxicating, as usual.
Spinach & Arugula Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
makes about 4 servings
8 oz baby spinach/arugula salad mix
4 large white mushrooms, washed and sliced
1/4 of small red onion, very thinly sliced
3 large hard boiled eggs, chilled and thinly sliced
6 pieces of bacon
1 roma tomato, thinly sliced
2 T red wine vinegar
1/2 t honey
1/4 t sugar (optional)
1/2 t Dijon mustard
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Sprinkle of Parmesan
1. Place salad leaves mixture in a wide salad serving bowl. Scatter with mushrooms, red onion, tomato, and hard boiled eggs.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lay bacon flat on a non-stick cookie sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes, flipping halfway through, or until bacon is nice and crispy. Remove bacon from pan and place on a plate covered in a paper towel, save about 2 Tablespoons of the drippings.
3. Run bacon through a mini food processor until they become tiny little bacon bits. Sprinkle on salad.
4. In a small saucepan, heat bacon drippings, red wine vinegar, honey, sugar, and Dijon over medium heat, whisking constantly. Pour over entire salad and season with salt and pepper.
5. Toss gently and sprinkle with Parmesan. Serve with vinaigrette warm.
Recipe adapted from: smittenkitchen.com