Salad Meal Prep Plan

20140123-193808.jpgWhen you’re on a mission to get to your body toned, you’ve got to make some serious dieting changes. I’ve lost about 6 pounds from adding a daily salad to my diet. I worked unreligiously once a week for an hour.

I’ve always loved salads, but it was Salad Jam on Instagram that really got me going. When looking for tasty salads to eat, my inspiration comes from salads on restaurant menus. I loved Panera’s tossed salad, and I get the Boston House Salad from Cheesecake Factory all the time. So I just wrote down what was in them, gathered ingredients and brought everything home.

I usually buy the one pound mixed greens and one pound of spinach from my local Safeway. I do a mix of the two every day. Then I add plenty of carrots, green/red/yellow peppers, red onion (must have!) and cucumbers. I shouldn’t do it, but I tend to add kalamata olives and feta cheese too.

Sometimes, I can get away with eating my salad without dressing. The feta is usually so flavorful that I forget I’m not using any. I typically go for balsamic vinaigrette, or EVOO and red wine vinegar.

I eat this salad everyday–for breakfast. I’m not a breakfast person, so it works great because I tend to just dive in. This totally happened by mistake. I brought a salad for lunch one day, but when my stomach was growling at 9am, I decided to just eat the salad.

In my opinion, this plan worked because I started eating breakfast (I usually skipped and just had coffee) and I pack my morning with veggies.

My Cookbook Collection Just Got A Little More Exciting

Ah, the Baltimore Book Festival. Keisha and I have been plotting our trip for the entire year! She’s in it for the books, demos and foodie life. I’m there for the Food For Thought Stage. That’s basically it. Every day, there are food demos by top authors who share a few recipes from their books. The goal was for me to arrive at 1pm on Sunday, to sit through all six demos. But no, Ravens + Orioles + Brunch= Erin in her ultimate comfort zone. Three hours later…

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The first demo we sat in on was by J.M. Hirsh, Food Editor at Associated Press. I was really excited to get the “Beat The Lunchbox Blues” because it is packed with ideas to liven up your child’s lunch. But you know what? I don’t really make Kaitlyn’s lunch that often yet, but I sure need to make mine. Check out this two minute mac ‘n cheese. My stepp-y would be elated if she opened a thermos and found macaroni and cheese! He made this using a mix of pre-boiled noodles, shredded cheese and creme fraiche.

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Next up was Eat Your Vegetables by Joe Yonan. I couldn’t even concentrate, though. Pati Jinich was sitting there with her family (in the red shirt). The main reason i came was for her, since I had a slight obsession with Mexican food. I swiftly purchased her book, hoping she might still sign it for me. I stood by the book stand with Keisha, chatted about some random stuff, looked over, and Pati was gone! Well, I blew that one.

I walked away with Pati’s Mexican Kitchen  and Beat the Lunchbox Blues. I need all the inspiration that I can get. Now that I’m balancing student loans, a wedding budget, and paying off some credit card debt (woops!), I have to curb those eating out habits once and for all. Stick around as I share some of the meals I’ve created from my new cookbooks!

Iced Coffee Addict: Annapolis Whole Foods Offers Java by the Jug

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I have to say, Whole Foods in Annapolis is definitely one of my favorite locations. They have such a personal rapport, like Cheers as a grocery store. I stopped in for no real reason, as I was just at the Harbor East location the day before. And then I see a display for iced coffee by the jug. 

Let me just explain my coffee “obsession”. Much like taking a shower or getting dressed, I have to have an iced coffee in the morning. I’ve been trying all types of methods to make my own, but nothing gives me that fresh out of the $10,000 coffee maker taste that shops tend to give me. So I typically wait around until Atwater’s opens at 7am, get a cup for $2.80, and then start my day. 

But things have changed, folks. Whole Foods Annapolis offers a 32 oz. jug of iced coffee concentrate for $8. That’s 64 oz. worth of delicious iced coffee for eight freakin’ dollars. For me, that’s easily 10 days worth of coffee! 

But wait! It gets better! Bring that same jug back to Whole Foods, and refills are $4. Sweet baby Jesus. So yes, I’ll have to take the trek to Annapolis every now and again, but that would also include a trip to Sur La Table, Anthropologie, Paper Source, Lulu Lemon and the other 30 awesome stores in the shopping center. Happy Summer to me! 

-ejb

Farmer’s Market Finds: Snake Oil (Fish Pepper Hot Sauce) from Five Seeds Farm

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Sundays are known as the day of rest, but for Keisha and I, it usually includes a trip to the farmer’s market. We do the usual—circle around the lot for free parking, contemplate what we want to snack on while we walk, and stand in an obscenely long line at Zeke’s coffee (but it’s totally worth it).

Within the first hour of the day, we made it over to Five Seeds Farm, drawn over by the beautiful display of their produce, and the wedge salad they were giving away. With an iced coffee in one hand and a fork in the other, we got a deeper look at the family and signature products that the farm had to offer.

Have you ever heard of Fish Peppers? If you lived in the Chesapeake Bay Area during the 18th century, I’m sure they would be a staple in your household as a go-to sauce for local fresh seafood.

Fish Peppers are African American Chesapeake bay heirloom peppers and at the height of their popularity, they were mainly consumed along the Philly to DC corridor in the 18th century.The pepper was first introduced to Africans as slaves by the indigenous people.

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Soon in homes in Maryland and Pennsylvania, it was discovered that the peppers paired really well with fish, terrapin, crab, basically local seafood.

As crab houses developed throughout the region, each crab house developed their own fish pepper house sauce. The fish peppers drifted into memory as the waters of the chesapeake became polluted and people were eating less oysters and seafood.

Five Seeds Farm were introduced to fish peppers by a local farmer/chef and they started to grow them locally onsite and provide them to local establishment, Woodberry Kitchen. Snake Oil was born and is now being served via Five Seeds Farm and in Woodberry Kitchen.

Check out the link to the recent issue of The Art of Eating Magazine which features the locally grown Fish pepper.

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You can find more about Snake Oil and Five Seeds Farm at their website and keep up to date with them socially on Facebook and Twitter.

Next on our trek was to check out the produce at (blank farms). Much to our surprise, we found edible flowers: Nasturtium.

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We found the taste to be a blend of honeysuckle and red peppers, perfect for those summer grill sessions.

This week’s trip to the market proved to be a very exciting and interesting one. We can’t wait to showcase more farmers as we bring you our top stalls to see at JFX.