Food + Recipes

Chopped Salad, Three Ways

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

Last year I vowed to change the way I eat. 20 pounds had crept up on me and I knew a lot of that came from lazy eating habits. Instead of picking a specific diet I simply decided to eat clean instead. I do not obsessively count calories, I hate feeling hungry so I never ever skip meals, but I do watch pretty carefully what I eat each day and for me the main rule is the food has to be as close to natural as possible. I won’t give up chocolate and red wine but both clean eating and consistent exercise has given me more energy and I’ve stuck with it for a year, dropped the weight, and I’m feeling better than ever.

With my clean eating manifesto comes a lot of salads. A LOT. And like with exercise you can totally plateau and become extremely bored. Lettuce, let’s face it, you’re drab.

good grips salad chopperWhen it comes to salads it’s all about the toppings but I was even growing bored with my go-to favorites, so last week I switched things up with a kitchen gadget that’s helping me love salads again.

I’ve been to a few restaurants and even Subway that offer a chopped salad and I wanted to be able to do it myself at home so I ordered this bowl and chopper combo. I’m hooked!


I love a basic cobb. Butter lettuce, BACON, blue cheese, hard boiled egg, tomatoes, avocado AMEN, and cooked turkey or chicken.

chopped cobb salad ingredients

This tool is cool, you layer the bigger tougher ingredients on top of the lettuce and chop away.

chopping tool




Next, add the more delicate or softer ingredients.

more delicate

Drizzle your dressing (blue cheese or ranch) and toss.

drizzle dresing 3

A classic chopped cobb salad, hello lunch.

classic cobb

So instead of stabbing the salad with your fork it’s more like scooping and that small difference makes the salad taste better in my opinion. More little morsels in each bite. (That plate is vintage Tar-jay, seen here in 2011).

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Broiled Salmon with Vegetable Quinoa

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

One of the things I’m so much better at this year is healthy eating. A year ago my habits were really bad, I got lazy grabbing anything that was quick and easy, I ate a lot of processed and fried foods filled with excess fat and sugar, but last year that all changed. I’ve been on a “clean” diet for six months and it’s given me more energy and has helped me lose weight.

I can’t stand feeling hungry or going on any kind of liquid or deprivation diet, I have to EAT! I’m also no good at sticking to list specific diets like Paleo, but looking at what I do eat I’d say it’s closest to the Mediterranean diet, mostly plant based foods and lean protein (poultry and fish), less dairy, sugar, red meat, very few starchy carbs, and the occasional glass of wine.

I learned a tip from working with a personal trainer last year, one that I use constantly since I lift weights four times a week. To maintain muscle and “sculpt” your body, aim for 25-30 grams of protein and 25-30 grams of plant based carbs with each meal, try to keep fat and sugar under 5 grams. So now I no longer count calories, I count grams instead which is so much easier for me.

We love salmon in our home, I try to make it about three times a month, it’s a fish with omega-3 fat (healthy for heart, brain, and skin). Quinoa is gluten free for those who are intolerant, it’s filling like rice because it has fiber and bonus points for protein too. I cook it in low sodium broth for more flavor. Here is one of my go to recipes I love to make on this clean eating journey, and you can prepare it in 25 minutes.

broiled salmon with vegetable quinoa

Ingredients for 4 servings:

1 large zucchini squash

1 large yellow squash

1 diced carrot (or 5-6 diced baby carrots)

1 tsp minced garlic

1 ½ cups quinoa

3 cups vegetable or low sodium chicken broth

four 5-6 oz salmon fillets

dash of lemon pepper

cooking spray

Preparation: Dice vegetables and toss squash into non-stick saucepan with minced garlic (use cooking spray if necessary). Sauté squash for 2-3 minutes on medium heat. Add broth, quinoa, and diced carrot to saucepan, cover and cook quinoa as directed, (bring to a boil then simmer about 15 minutes.)

veges and quinoa

add diced carrot

Place salmon fillets on cooking sheet (sprayed with cooking spray) and sprinkle with lemon pepper. Broil in middle of oven on low broil for 12-14 minutes until browned on top and cooked through on the inside.

sprinkle with lemon pepper

    It’s healthy, tasty, and filling and meets my protein + plant based carb meal goal!

broiled salmon with quinoa


I’m going to share more tasty healthy recipes this year and I’d love to know your favorites too. Got a great dinner recipe that you love that combines lean protein and veges? Link to it, I need more!

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