Story last updated at 1/15/2014 - 2:56 pm
Oh those New Year's resolutions! They beat me down. I make about three or four each Jan. 1 and of course by March, or sooner, they're out the window. I know that no matter how much I vow, I will not get up at 5 a.m. to go to the gym. I want to go. I set the alarm to get up and go. I promptly turn said alarm off, which in turn makes me not only late for the gym, but also late for work. This equation leads me to the solution that planning to workout first thing in the morning is going to make me late for work, therefore sleep in and go after work. I'm still working out the kinks in this plan, as I have yet to actually go to the gym after work, either. It's a conundrum indeed.
Last year my resolution was more realistic and I not only kept it, but also had fun keeping it. I resolved to try something new each month. In January, I learned to ski. In February, I took Tai Chi. In March, I had my hair died very dark and put bright red highlights in it. I've always wanted to have a fun hairstyle, so I went for it. Needless to say I spent the rest of the year trying new things and it was a blast. I had help from friends and engaged in so many new activities that even I was surprised. I'm hoping to make this an annual resolution.
In addition to trying new things this year, I would also like to eat more salads. I like vegetables. I eat them all the time, but for some reason, salads elude me. I don't really make my own salad dressings too often and I seemed to be so pressed for time that chopping, shredding or peeling seems to take too much time. The truth is that making a salad takes no more time than any other weekday dish. It just takes patience and some creativity. A little help from the grocery store doesn't hurt either. Did you know you can get pre-chopped cauliflower and shredded carrots? They're a little more expensive, but if one is in a hurry, they're a great option.
While returning from visiting my parents in Nevada, I stopped in The Chop House at the McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. I wanted something light, but still filling, so I opted for their chop chop salad. What a culinary surprise. This isn't an ordinary chopped salad with boiled eggs, turkey or ham. It had garbanzo beans, roasted chicken, smoked gouda cheese and pumpkin seeds. It was delicious. The dressing was a light vinaigrette.
As I have mentioned in previous columns, I am usually fairly exhausted from traveling and subsequently, preparing a meal of any size isn't something I anticipate with glee. Picking up a few fresh ingredients from the grocery store makes the job a little easier. It's amazing what one can create with a little lettuce and ingenuity. For my own salads, I prefer lots of crunch. I always add lots of celery, cauliflower and carrots. The addition of pumpkin seeds as well as sunflower seeds give this salad that extra texture that I enjoy. I also substituted small shrimp for the chicken because they cook quickly and have fewer calories. As with most of my recipes, leave out the ingredients you don't like and add ones you do.
Making it should be as much fun as eating it.
This week I present a very healthy and easy to make dish to start the year off right: Midgi's Chop Salad.
Midgi's Chop Salad
2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
½ cup celery, chopped
½ cup carrots, chopped
½ cup cauliflower, chopped
¼ cup roasted pumpkin seeds
¼ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup tomatoes, diced
¼ cup smoked gouda cheese, small cubes
½ cup small shrimp, cooked (I prefer roasted)
¼ cups sprouts
Combine all ingredients in large bowl. Toss so that everything is well incorporated. Dress with Vinaigrette.
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
½ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine dressing ingredients in bowl and whisk with fork. Pour over salad, toss and eat immediately.