I love salad. It's one of the few veggies that I really enjoy and I eat a lot of it. My two favorites are chef and Caesar salads. Both have several ingredients and I figured that since I eat so much salad, this would be a good place for a healthy makeover. "But, it's salad," you say, "isn't it healthy already?" Yes and no. Vegetables, of course, are a cornerstone of a healthy, well-rounded diet, but it's all the other junk I throw on a salad that lessens the health value.
My makeover starts with the base-lettuce. I found that organic romaine hearts were only $.50 higher than the non-organic ones I was buying. That's not a terrible increase, even if I pick up two packs, that's only $1-no big deal. So, organic lettuce went into the cart. I did price several other veggies and, not only were they quite a bit more expensive, but I already had broccoli, onions, carrots, and celery at home, so I didn't see any sense in buying more just for the organic factor. We probably wouldn't be able to eat it all before it went bad and that's being wasteful and not at all thrifty.
I also like cheese and ham on a chef salad and diced chicken on a Caesar salad. Those are areas that I have to work up to changing. Meat and dairy changes will happen later in the year once I have a good momentum going.
But, croutons are easy. I make a great french bread with a recipe that I found on the Towards Sustainability blog. It is a breadmaker recipe. However, my breadmaker died a while back and it's really easy to make by hand. The recipe makes 2 loaves. One gets used for it's intended purpose with pasta or as french toast. The second loaf gets cut into cubes for croutons I cut the bread into approximately 1 inch cubes and leave them on the counter overnight to dry out. The next morning I melt a stick of butter (real, not margarine) and mix in 1-2 teaspoons of garlic powder and 1 teaspoon of oregano. Put all of the bread cubes in a large mixing bowl and dump the butter/seasoning mix on top. Stir well to mix the butter and seasoning throughout the bread. If you want, you can also add 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese and stir it in as well. Spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spraying an unlined tray would work too, I just like parchment paper! Bake at 400* for 10-12 minutes stirring after 5 minutes. Start watching them closely after 7 or so minutes to make sure they don't burn. When they are golden brown, remove from the oven and allow to cool and a cooling rack, wax paper, or whatever. Store in an air tight container. I don't really know how long they last, but by virtue of the fact that it is stale bread to start with, I would think a long time. I eat them too fast to know!
Tomorrow's post: 1000 island dressing. This one is proving to be a challenge!
Update on week 1: I had not had any soda until Sunday afternoon. We went to visit our friends for the afternoon. She served a mixed drink that had Diet Coke and black cherry rum in it. Oh my, it was yummy! I ended up having two mixed drinks with glasses of ice water in between. What I noticed was that I wasn't craving it, and I had no desire to drink just a can of Diet Coke. I chose that drink because it sounded the tastiest of what was offered, not because of the soda. I didn't make a social outing plan at the start, so I feel like I handled the situation reasonably well. And, like I've said before, everything in moderation. :)