I had every intention of posting more often this week, but it's been a strange one, between the sudden loss of a family friend and, of course, the Mothers Day paraphernalia coming at me from every angle. I'm still happy to celebrate all of the wonderful mothers in my life (including but not limited to my Nana and my soon-to-be MIL) but it's still a tough day for me. My mom loved Mothers Day - she actually loved all Hallmark Holidays, any excuse to buy presents, send cards, have a cocktail... any cause for celebration, my mother was game.
Anywho, I don't have a gift guide or anything like that for you today. Instead I have a post about one my mom's most favorite foods: the chopped salad!
I was gifted with lots of beautiful and useful salad-ware for my bridal shower last weekend, which really got me excited for two things: 1) to make lots and lots of summery salads in the following months and 2) to move into a bigger home where I can make lots of lots of salads and invite people over to eat them! I also love how well my family and friends know me... I definitely have a thing for salad.
And as many of you know, I also have a thing for salad bars/restaurants. The other day I was at Chop't with my sister and she asked me why my salad looked "smaller" than hers. (Explanation below.) It got me thinking that I should share my tips for creating a tastier, healthier salad here! I know it's probably a go-to lunch for many of you as it is for me, and these tweaks have helped me to enjoy it so much more.
/// Ask for a little less lettuce leaves. (Try saying that five times fast.) In the past, I've always felt like I was never able to finish my salad and it was endlessly frustrating to me that the greens far outweighed the toppings. Now I've wised up and I ask for "a little less than usual" when the greens are being scooped into the bowl. This has made a huge difference for me. The greens to mix-ins to dressing ratio is spot on, I have no problem finishing the whole salad and I'm completely satisfied afterwards.
/// Ask for the salad to be chopped finely. My mom always made a big deal of asking for her salad to be finely chopped, and I never really understood what the big deal was. Now I get it! This is the other reason that my salad looked "smaller" than my sister's. I find that a finer chop makes for a much tastier salad: it's easier and more enjoyable to eat, of course, and you're more likely to get all of the flavors in one bite.
/// Ask for dressing on the side. This is a plus for two reasons. The first of course is that this allows you to control the amount of dressing, which is great if you're watching your calories. The second reason is because dressing on the side allows you to split up the salad between two bowls and enjoy half at a time. This way you're able to refrigerate the remainders and add the dressing when you're ready to eat the rest. (I for one cannot save already-dressed salad; it gets too soggy for my taste.) (And if you're not sure about the dressing, ask to taste it first!)
/// Ask for half-servings of cheese, nuts and dried fruits. I love having both sweet and savory elements in my salads, but these add-ins mean a lot of extra calories, fat and sugar. And honestly, I find that I'm just as satisfied since I've started asking for half the amount of each.
/// Pick one 'bread'. If you like a crusty, grainy roll with your salad, don't have croutons. If you must have croutons, skip the piece of bread on the side. Or maybe fried chicken is your protein of choice (and it's totally mine sometimes, as seen above!) in which case you can forego the other breaded options.
/// Pick a protein. Make sure your salad is filling and fueling! Include at least one protein - chicken, shrimp, eggs and chickpeas are some of my favorites - to ensure that your salad keeps you going until snack/dinner time!
What's your favorite salad?
Wishing all of of you a wonderful weekend - and all of the moms out there a lovely Sunday.