No excuses bistro salad recipes

I am a busy, working mother. Streamlining my routine and lifestyle are essential. Eating salads are important to my feeling and looking my best. I would like to say that I only shop at the fantastic local farmers markets or I exclusively eat greens that I harvest from my own garden, but this isn’t the case. Yet–I manage to eat at least one, if not two delicious salads a day. How do I do this?

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1. Triple Pre-washed organic salad greens. I prefer the herb salad mix from Trader Joe’s, but there are great kits at most grocery stores. If I have to take the time to rinse and dry heads of lettuce, I will not do it consistently. I need fast and easy.

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2. Add some sort of fruit. I usually have grape tomatoes in my fridge or counter. Then, I do not even have to cut them before throwing them in the bowl. I also frequently use apples or oranges if I have them. Sometimes, I keep a can of chopped, sun-dried tomatoes in the pantry so I can quickly use them too.
3. Cheese is essential for protein and fat. I like to keep some delicious, easy cheese in the fridge. I often have blue cheese, feta, or fresh mozzarella. Even shredding up some cheddar or jack can be festive. Watch the portions on the cheese–1-2 TBS is great. If dairy isn’t your thing, having cans of tuna in the pantry is also good.
4. Add nuts. I often keep walnut halves/pieces or slivered or shredded almonds in the fridge. How much you add depends on how much you are dieting. 1 TBS of nuts is good.
5. Balsalmic vinegar & EVOO. My mix is 1 TBS oil to 1 TSP vinegar for a single salad. Cold pressed extra virgin olive oil tastes the best, but regular olive oil is fine too.

Go shopping at the beginning of the week and always keep these things on hand and they become the easiest thing to grab. This is my lunch on most days and it becomes the side dish to whatever dinner we are having. Often times that main dish could be frozen, but we have the delicious fresh salad to finish it well.

When to buy organic and when to save money on conventional fruits and veggies

My children attend a cooperative preschool. That means that the parents are very active in the community and even teach at least one day a week at school. We joined at my prudent husband’s suggestion, but soon realized it was a magical place that was very good for our children and for us. Besides teaching one day a week, each family is also assigned a job at the school My jobs are to teach the really fun dance class and to do the grocery and paper goods shopping. For me, this is easy because the guidelines for purchasing are already in alignment with what I do at home. I love local, organic produce but sometimes it is not always practical. Still, the “dirty dozen list” was in my guidelines and it was a good reminder for me. I don’t know who the original publisher of this list is, but just enjoy the information.

So, the twelve most contaminated fruits and vegetables (meaning get organic if possible) are:
1. Peaches
2. Apples
3. Sweet Bell Peppers
4. Celery
5. Nectarines
6. Strawberries
7. Cherries
8. Pears
9. Grapes
10. Spinach
11. Lettuce
12. Potatoes

Twelve Least Contaminated–meaning conventional can be OK
1. Onions
2. Avocado
3. Sweet corn (frozen)
4. Pineapples
5. Mango
6. Asparagus
7. Sweet Peas (frozen)
8. Kiwi fruit
9. Bananas
10. Cabbage
11. Broccoli
12. Papaya

Eating well is important; so is staying on budget. Save money on the conventional things, but really spend on the contaminated items and get organic. Cheers!