Monthly Archives: March 2013

Post-Op Roller Coaster

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Wednesday marked three weeks since my back surgery. Somehow it’s only been three weeks and it’s already been three weeks at the same time. I’m not doing as good of a job as I thought I would being positive. I’m impatient.

I went back to work last week Tuesday. I meant to go in only a couple of hours, but ended up there for six. I even got on the treadmill that night. Don’t worry, I hadn’t planned on pushing it. I walked just one mile.

And it took me 25 minutes.

That’s right, I was pushing myself to walk 2.5 miles per hour. Rough. But I told myself that I’d continue to do it everyday since walking is supposed to make my back stronger.

But I didn’t. I think that that pace and time may have even been too  much to start. I followed up the rest of the week working five to six hours each days. The sad part? I work at a desk all day, but by the time I got home, I was exhausted.

Physically exhausted. Every night.

The week was rougher than I expected. When I was at home, I felt like I should have been  outdoing so much more… that I felt okay, just a little sore. But then, when I’d leave the house, it just seemed to be too much. I have to remind myself that I feel much better than I did even one week ago. That this is progress. That I should be grateful.

Also, I think I tried to stop my meds too soon. I didn’t want to become dependent on them. I didn’t want to run out and worried that they might not give me another refill. What kind of thinking is that?! By the time I run out, I’d be feeling better than I am now, right? My husband and friends reminded me that I have them for a reason. So I stopped fretting about that. And in the last few days, I’ve tapered off a little bit each day naturally. Now I’m just taking them at night. Silly worry.

I think the hardest part, though, right now is that I look fine to everyone else, so I feel like I should be fine all the time. I can walk normally now – YAY! So I feel like I should be able to move and do just about anything. But instead, I still have a hard time focusing at work and I’ve gone in late a couple of days due to lack of sleep. The pain I have is not nearly as bad, but it is a different kind of pain.

My biggest problem right now may be my mental state.

It’s frustrating that while I can walk, shower, sit, stand and lie down on both my back and side now, that there are still so many things that I can’t do. I attempted the treadmill again tonight  and put the speed on 2.0. It took  me 30 minutes to walk a whole mile. And it was still difficult – over one week later.

Instead, I need to be grateful.

I need to remember that this is just the beginning. I’m going to start charting my walking so that I can see my progress. I think that will help. I need to focus on what I can do. Maybe I should note those things, too. I need to take things slowly and realize that this is a process. While progress is slow, it’s still progress. I’m just anxious and impatient! And the fact that spring is taking so long to come around these parts doesn’t help all that much either.

Phil, you were oh-so-wrong!

So I found a couple of quotes to help get me through this roller coaster of emotions and physical capabilities. Here are a few of my favorites.

Q-Strength

And I think my favorite:

“Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity.”

~Hipprocrates

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What kinds of opportunities have you experienced during challenges or times of healing?

To Your Health~

Carrie

Restaurant Wine: Best Priced Bottles in the Twin Cities Metro

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Sure, you can usually find a $20 – $25 {or even less} bottle of wine at a local restaurant that really isn’t known for wine. These sorts of places have wine on hand only for the occasional request, but wine generally isn’t their focus. Furthermore, the wine isn’t of high quality and it is quite often just cheap – meaning probably around $7 retail.

Wine markup is high in most restaurants though – between 100% and 200% per bottle. And oftentimes, it’s much more per glass. You may even find that the most expensive wines on the menu have the least amount of markup. We’ve found that restaurant wines in the $40 – $45 range are usually pretty decent. However, when we can afford it, wines in the $50 – $60 range are worth the splurge. Still, it’s tough to justify paying that for one bottle of wine. That’s when it’s best to take advantage of half-priced bottle of wine nights!

But what if you could find a high quality wine in a restaurant at an affordable price?

Well, if you live in the Twin Cities metro area, you can! Just head yourself down to Historic Main Street Minneapolis to Vic’s Dining, a restaurant overlooking the Mississippi River.

The cobblestone streets of St. Anthony Main offer riverfront dining from a selection of restaurants. My friend Jen and I popped into one for some gelato when walking in the area a couple of summers ago. And Pracna was on her list of restaurants to try when it was her turn to pick where to dine one month. But another restaurant won out.

And as per the usual, it took us a Groupon to get our butts down there!

We made reservations, but there were very few people when we arrived. We took seats at the bar and asked for a wine menu. We had already perused it online, but knew that it changed often. The Vic’s Dining website advertises a “fabulous 99 bottle wine menu where all bottles are priced dangerously lower then anywhere around town”. I completely agree with this statement! Check out the wine menu the night we dined there:

Vic's Dining Wine Menu: February 15, 2013

Vic’s Dining Wine Menu: February 15, 2013

Have you seen such prices for 90 and 91 point wines or those from specific appelations?! These prices are insane! It almost made me feel a little bit guilty using a Groupon. Now the trouble was choosing a bottle. I had no idea what I was going to eat and there were so many unique wines that caught my eye. I don’t like going with well-known wines when I order off of a wine menu. Variety is the spice of life, so why not try some new wines? We did find a bottle that the two of us could agree on and it wasn’t one I’d had before:

2010

2010 The Federal Visionary ZinfandelDry Creak Valley, California – $19.00

We love a big, bold spicy Zin. {For those of you who are still drinking White Zin, this is nothing like it. I’ll post about the difference on a future Wine Wednesday!} I find that it’s hard to find a good one that isn’t overpowered by vanilla these days. You usually have to pay a bit more for a good quality one. And we found an excellent one here for just $19 – at a restaurant!

What I’m about to tell you next reminds me of an episode of Frasier. Do you remember the episode where Niles realizes that he never rebelled as a teenager? When he thinks he’s eaten a pot brownie and decides now is the time he’s going to rebel he exclaims: “I’m thinking of pairing this Chilean Sea bass with an aggressive Zinfandel!”

Haha. Yes, while I’ll always stand by my mantra that you should pair any wine with whatever food YOU like it with; generally big, bold red wines don’t go with seafood. And that’s just what I ordered!

Scallop Pappardelleseared scallops, pine nut basil pesto with grapetomatoes, roasted peppers & Parmesan..........................22

Scallop Pappardelle
Seared scallops, pine nut basil pesto with grape
tomatoes, roasted peppers & Parmesan$22

Doesn’t that dish just scream my name? I adore scallops and one of the best scallop dishes I ever had was one with a pesto sauce at a Minneapolis restaurant that has since closed. I hadn’t been able to find anything like it since, so there was no way I was going to pass this dish up, even if it meant pairing it with an aggressive Zinfandel!

It didn’t disappoint. However, after a while the dish became a little too heavy. Maybe it was just the sheer amount of food, or the fact that I’m getting used to eating normal-sized portions? In any case, it was worth ordering it.

Rob, the burger guru, really wanted to give theirs a try. It’s also a more appropriate pairing with an aggressive Zinfandel!

burger

“V” Burger
8 oz U.S.D.A. choice ground chuck, basted in a rich Demi Glace – $15

Guru Verdict? It was okay – just an average burger with average fries. It won’t make the Top 10 Twin Cities Burgers or Fries list, nor will he order it again. But this isn’t really a burger joint, anyway.

There are so many places to discover along the St. Anthony Main Mississippi riverfront {we did stop for an aperitif and a digestif at two of them!}, that we’d come to Vic’s for a bottle of wine and an appetizer next time. It definitely wins my vote for best-priced quality wines in the Twin Cities!

What’s the best wine you’ve ever had in a restaurant (regardless of price)?

Cheers~
Carrie

15

Thai Cooking Class

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Last week, I posted about a Thai restaurant in our neck of the woods that we totally fell in love with this past August.

A couple month’s later, on October 24th to be exact, my friend Jen and I took a Thai Cooking Class at the Kitchen Window in Uptown, Minneapolis.

The class was called Spicy Thai Street Food and was taught by Joe Hatch-Surisook, Co-owner & Executive Chef of Sen Yai, Sen Lek {meaning Big Noodle, Little Noodle in Thai} also located in Uptown. It was advertised as one of the most popular classes. Since both Jen and I love Thai food, we gave it a try.

The classes that I’ve taken at the Kitchen Window have varied greatly in style. My Knife Skills class was instructional in nature; however, we did get to practice what we learned. It was life-changing! The food that we chopped was cooked into a dinner we ate later. The Cooking from Your CSA Box class was completely demonstrative in nature. We sat and watched as we obtained ideas for using CSA box items and ate all of his delicious creations in courses!

However, in this Thai Cooking Class, we were separated into groups to cook together by following the recipes, creating our own dinner! We were instructed on specific techniques and learned about lesser known ingredients throughout the evening, too. We’d cook a few dishes together and then the entire class sat at one big table and ate what our group cooked. We repeated the process after a few other dishes.

While the class was a ton of fun, I remember thinking that some of the ingredients weren’t practical for me to buy just for one specific dish. It’s just way too easy to get excellent take-out Thai all throughout the Twin Cities metro area instead. But now that I look back at the recipes we were given in class, there really aren’t all that many unique ingredients.

If anything, though, this class did get me out of the Pad Thai/Green Curry box to try new Thai dishes. Here was our menu that evening:

  • Gai Satay – Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce
  • Cucumber Salad (The dressing was made with Thai chilies!)
  • Som Tum – Green Papaya Salad
  • Khao Neow – Steamed Sticky Rice
  • Pad See-Iew Gai – Stir Fried Wide Noodles with Sweet Soy, Chinese Broccoli and Chicken
  • Khao Soi – Curried Chiang Mai Noodles with Beef

I was having so much fun that I didn’t think to take photos until we reached the end of the evening…

Pas da'sdj

Khao Soi – Beef and noodles in a coconut curry sauce and topped with crispy noodles

Yes! We made that! And it was excellent. I can’t imagine making it now, though, without the help of my teammates.

But both Jen and I found our new favorite Thai dish!

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Pad See-Iew Gai – Stir Fried Wide Noodles with Sweet Soy, Chines Broccoli and Chicken

Those of you who know me well are probably wondering how I loved a dish with broccoli. But Chinese broccoli is nothing like the broccoli we know.

source

Chinese Broccoli (source)

To me, it’s more like a bitter green. Click here for more information on Chinese Broccoli {also known as gai lan} and what you can substitute if you can’t find it.

Since the class, Jen has ordered Pad See-Iew (but with pork) at a local Asian restaurant. It’ll be the next thing I try at Spice! And now that I’ve revisited Chef Joe’s recipe, the Pad See-Iew doesn’t look difficult to make at all. I’ve decided that I’ll attempt to make it the next time I host my girlfriends for dinner. {Jen and Kim, you now must hold me to that!}

While it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to share a restaurant’s recipe from a class for which I paid, you can do a search for pad see-iew {there are spelling variations} online and yield great results!

And I do need to take my husband for a trip to Chef Joe’s Sen Yai, Sen Lek. It’s an award-winning Minneapolis restaurant where I already know that the food will be made with fresh ingredients and taste delicious!

What new vegetable have you tried lately?

Cheers~
Carrie

Singles with Dogs ~ Treats for You Both

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Subscription Box Saturday – BarkBox Edition

Whenever a BarkBox is delivered, my dogs go nuts when I’m about to open it. Truthfully, they go ballistic when I open any subscription box we get. But that’s because they are always expecting a treat for them inside!

This month’s BarkBox was no different. However, while it was the contents that intrigued the pooches, it was something else written on the insert that peaked my interest:

Tawkify

Have you heard of it? It’s a matchmaking service for people with dogs or who love dogs.

Yes, my dear single friends! You can be set up on dates with your pooches, so you’ll always have something to talk about {or have an excuse to get away if it’s not a match for you!} If you are single and love dogs, but don’t have one yourself, you can still be matched to someone with a pooch. Hey, if I was single, I’d check it out. While Tawkify is the general matchmaking service, Connie is the Dog Matchmaker. You can check her out here:

www.Connie.Tawkify.com

Okay, so now on to the contents of March BarkBox:

adfad

Treats, toys, waste bag carrier to clip to a leash, coupons and offers

Teeny Treats Feel Good Treats – Liver Lover’s Gourmet Mix – About a week ago, we took Sophie to the vet because she was walking three-legged. She had injured a hind leg while jumping off the couch. After her exam, we wandered around Pet Smart and found some liver treats she loved as a puppy that I haven’t seen in a while and bought them. She went crazy over them! And she’s been crazy over these, too, since they arrived. I like that they are teeny because that makes them perfect for training. Rob loves teaching Sophie new tricks. I wish I could try to figure out how to have her get him a beer. 😉

Just three ingredients

These teeny treats are made of just three ingredients!

Harry Barker Hemp Bone This squeaky toy is made of eco-friendly fibers. Even though I didn’t think this was that exciting of a toy, Sophie enjoyed it. She loves finding the squeaker!

Lollycadoodle Wool Mouse – For some reason, whenever Sophie gets new toys, she knows she is supposed to play with them. She goes back to some of her old favorites often, but she nearly always gives the new ones a chance. Our very first Christmas in our house, we invited our parents and Rob’s grandma to town to stay with us. We gave up our bed and slept downstairs on the two couches. We had dog beds placed on the cold floor in the basement, too. When we went to bed the night that we opened gifts, one by one, Sophie brought each of her new toys downstairs and lined them up on and next to her pillow. It was the most adorable thing!

Here’s Sophie with her new mouse posing just for you:

BB-Mouse

Little Eatz Peanut Butter Cookies – These are treats for both you and your dog! They are made with ingredients that both humans and canines can digest. While we do give our pooches people food, some of it can be harmful to dogs. These treats are designed to be ones that both of us can share. Check out the ingredients and nutrition facts.

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Little Eatz Peanut Butter Cookies

Rob refused to take a taste, but I did! I wanted to share a treat with my pooches! They weren’t all that flavorful, but they weren’t disgusting either. Still, I’ll save them for Sophie and Benny. I love the premise of these treats, though. I still want to make these Peanut Butter Dog Cookies that were made by volunteers for the Spooky Tails 5k. The ingredients look like something both dogs and their owners could share, too.

If you have a dog, what kind of items would you like to see in a monthly dog subscription box?

If you already have a favorite item, treat, or food you’ve bought for your dog, what is it?

Cheers~

Carrie

Spice – Savage

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We had been meaning to get to Spice for ages. But it took us a Groupon with an expiration date to actually get us there. It’s not very far from us, but it’s not very convenient either. It’s not a place where we’d just stop because it’s kind of out of the way. There would have to be a specific occasion or reason to go there. In fact, many other restaurants have failed in its location.

Now I’ve been meaning to post about Spice for ages because, when I check my calendar, it looks like that first visit was in back in August!

Spice is a Thai restaurant, a cuisine I’ve found that whatever you order, you pretty much can never go wrong. We arrived and ordered our beverages. I was surprised that there was no Riesling on the wine menu. There were mostly dry whites. A sweet white wine is preferred with spicy Thai and other ethnic foods because the sweetness counteracts the spice. The wine glasses were small without correct pours, but I wasn’t expecting them to be. At Thai restaurants, my only expectation is a low-end, but enjoyable, quaffing wine.

~

We asked for recommendations on the menu, too. I really wanted to try something other than my usual Thai standybs of Green Curry and Pad Thai. Our server recommended the Basil Noodle, Pad Thai and the Curries.

Go figure. Rob had been eyeing the Basil Noodle and already knew he was going to get it. In fact, he usually orders some sort of noodle dish with basil when he eats Thai food. Maybe those are safe recommendations when you don’t really know what your customers like.

While waiting for our dinners, I noticed this:

What?

Can you explain this to me?

It’s some sort of shrine setup, but there is a plate with a banana in front of it. I really know very little about Thai culture, so I’m quite curious what this is all about. If you know, please do share!

Rob’s dish:

Basil NoodleThai rice noodle stirfried with basil, onion and chillies

Basil Noodle
Thai rice noodle stirfried with basil, onion and chillies

It was a Monday after work and I had just run four miles because I was training for my first ever 5-mile race in October. I had only run four miles a couple of times, so I wasn’t feeling all that great. I was a bit nauseous and not exactly in the mind frame to think nor even to eat anything spicy. However, I knew whatever I didn’t eat could come home with me and would reheat well. So I didn’t step outside the box.

My dish:

Gaeng Keow Wan (green) with shrimp

Sweet green curry, coconut milk, bamboo shoots, basil, and peapods

This restaurant’s spice levels range from 1 to 5:

  • 1 – Mild
  • 2 – Medium – This is what I went with this time. If I chose a higher spice level, I knew I’d eat too much rice to mellow it out. I decided to try to see if I could cut back on the rice by choosing a lower spice level than I usual order.
  • 3 – Hot – This is my usual preference and what I tend to order when we get any sort of Asian take-out.
  • 4 – Thai Spicy – This is the level that Rob ordered. He likes just about the same amount of spice as I do, maybe just a bit more. His verdict on this level? TOO HOT for him! He said he needs to go down to a 3 next time. The heat didn’t keep him from enjoying his meal, though!
  • 5 – Challenging – I love that this is the way this level is described! There was a couple who was seated next to us who both ordered Pad Thai. The woman ordered it mild and the guy ordered it challenging. I would have loved to have stayed to see his reaction!

So our thoughts on this place? We loved it! Rob has gone back (out of his way) to get take out several times since! I know some people aren’t fond of Groupons because they feel that they take advantage of the company and can cause them to lose money. While that could quite possibly happen, it’s really just another way to spend advertising dollars. And this is one instance that proves that the Groupon got a customer into their restaurant and brought them back again and again!

Spice is thriving in a location where other restaurants have not. So much so, that they have opened up another location on the Apple Valley/Lakeville border. It’s another location where I’ve seen many restaurants come and go! My guess is that they’ll be around a while.

What is your favorite Thai dish and why?

Cheers~
Carrie

Nicollet Island Inn – Minneapolis (Wine Pairing Dinner)

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Wine pairing dinners can be pricey. I have only been to one before, with my friend Jared. It was actually a Champagne-pairing dinner at the Urban Eatery in Uptown, Minneapolis. It was fantastic!

So when Jared asked me to join him in a Seven Course Tasting Menu in January at the Nicollet Island Inn with a Groupon he had bought, I jumped at the chance. I had never been to the Inn itself, just to the pavillion for the Homegrown Experience this past summer. I can tell why this is a romantic hotel and a popular venue for weddings.

In fact, this is a the place to take a date with whom you’d like share a romantic evening and impress. And of course it was only natural that Jared and I added the wine pairings {being fellow Wineaux and all} to our seven courses for just $25 extra per person. This dinner was not an organized one like the one we attended at Urban Eatery, but just the opportunity to try their regular tasting menus. The Grand Tour Tasting Menu offers the choice of one of two options for each course. We decided that we would just try them all! He would order one and I would order the other.

First Course – Starter

Steak tartare

Petit Steak Tartare with Malbec & Lobster Bruschetta with a California Bubbly

I had honestly never had steak tartare before, quite frankly, because it scared me. It always makes me think of raw hamburger meat. And who would want to eat that!? But here was my chance to give it a try. And I loved it! I couldn’t believe how refreshing of a flavor it had. I honestly could have handled eating the whole thing, but if I wanted Jared to share the lobster bruschetta, I was going to have to share the tartare. The bruschetta was excellent, too. However, Jared said that this tartare wasn’t as flavorful and spicy as most of the other tartares he’s had.

Second Course – Soup

Root Vegetable

Root Vegetable Soup with a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc & Onion Soup Gratinee with a Pinot Noir

Jared was surprised that I guessed the red was a Pinot Noir without hesitation just after smelling it. As you may know by now, I’m a Pinot Noir snob, so I know that aroma anywhere. However, Jared’s palate is better than mine, so I felt like while I didn’t find that all of the pairings worked, he appreciated them much more than I did.

Also, I am not a huge French Onion Soup fan, only because I often find it too salty. However, this one was not! I ate the majority of that soup. Thanks, Jared!

Third Course – Salad

Beet Salad

Beet Salad & House Salad

At this point, I went to the restroom and when I returned the wines to be paired with the salads were placed on the table. I told Jared not to tell me what they were, that I wanted to guess. It’s not too often that I get to play that game. I usually pose it on others! While I can’t remember what one of the wines was, I do remember that the aroma of the other was very familiar. I just couldn’t place it. At first I thought – Burgundy! “It’s got a mineral quality to it!” But then I second-guessed myself because I didn’t think that the restaurant would open a quality white Burgundy to serve pours by the glass. But I knew something was off… I kept thinking French though and finally I got it – Riesling! But a dry Riesling – perhaps from Alsace. Oh how I love those! They have such a unique aroma and flavor. But I was wrong on the region. This Riesling was from Chile! I had never had a Riesling from Chile and it very much resembled the style of Alsatian Rieslings. I prefer the drier ones over the sweets, so I’ll definitely be in search of one like this from Chile, if only because it’d be a better value for similar quality.

The salads were good, too. The beets, extremely colorful. On first glance, I thought that some yellow tomatoes accompanied those beets, but when I bit into them, they were beets as well!

Fourth Course – Pasta

Mushroom Agnolotti & Lamb Bucatini

Mushroom Agnolotti with Rioja (Tempranillo) & Lamb Bucatini with a French Rhone (Grenache-Syrah)

Holy Agnolotti! Those melted in my mouth… not to mention those perfect parmesan crisps adorning the bowl… The Lamb Bucatini was nice in flavor, but I think I’m learning that I don’t like the bucatini-shaped pasta. It’s a thick spaghetti with a hole in the center. I don’t know why it is – the texture? There is just something about it that rubs me the wrong way.

Fifth Course – Meat

Duo of Scallops with Burgundy and Tenderloin with Cabernet Sauvignon

Duo of Scallops with Burgundy & Tenderloin with Cabernet Sauvignon

I enjoyed both of these, but I adore scallops and while I’m picky about my steaks, the tenderloin is one of my favorites. Both were cooked perfectly, although the duo of scallops just seemed to be one cut in half. These were very satisfying dishes!

Sixth Course – Cheese

Artisnal Cheeses

Artisnal Cheeses with Ruby Port

It has been almost two months and I didn’t take very clear notes (although we asked the server twice) on which cheese these were. So I can’t share that info with you. There was a soft cheese that I believe was a camembert-style from Georgia and I know another cheese was from Wisconsin. We enjoyed them all immensely. Hey, it’s cheese!

Seventh Course – Dessert

Pistachio Cheesecake &Caramel Ganache

Pistachio Cheesecake with Conundrum & Caramel Ganache with Ruby Port

Yum. They are desserts, so there is not much that I wouldn’t like! Have you had Conundrum before? It’s a white wine blend that yields a slightly sweeter style of many wines on the market. However, it is not as sweet as, say, a sweet riesling, a moscato or a dessert wine. That’s why it didn’t work. Wine paired with a dessert should be sweeter than the dessert itself. Jared agreed with me on this one. The cheesecake would have worked much better with perhaps a Moscato d’Asti or a Muscat Canelli. Oh well, maybe it was a substitute for something else no longer on hand.

Overall, it was an elegant, well-executed, delicious meal. I’d recommend it to anyone who is a foodie or, if you aren’t, for a special occasion! In total, we dined for about about two and a half hours, so it was great time to catch up. It was a very relaxing evening. Sometimes it’s just nice not to feel rushed.

It’s been a while since I’ve had wine considering all of the meds I’ve been on as of late, but Jared and I are planning going to FACES mears park next week. It’s a Groupon Living Social voucher I have for a five-course dinner with wine pairings. I had actually never heard of the place before receiving the offer! But, it’s a restaurant featuring Chef David Fhima. I’ve heard great things about his food. However, his restaurant, called Fhima’s, closed back in 2008 before I ever was able to give it a try. It’ll be another night out catching up with the older brother I never had.

Have you done a wine dinner?

If so, what was the most memorable wine pairing or part about it?

If not, what would you like to/expect to experience at a wine dinner?

Cheers~
Carrie

Protein for Salads

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About six months ago, we started Salad Mondays at our house. It came about because I wanted my husband to eat more vegetables. Sure, I can also make vegetable side dishes from time to time, but I wanted to have a quick and easy way to do salads without having to do too much thinking on a Monday.

However, due to my husband’s allergies and a few other reasons (to be listed shortly), it’s very hard for me to get protein in these salads for dear hubby. I can top mine with chicken or turkey any time!

Until yesterday.

Because I made him a Big Mac Salad.

That’s right. I found *this recipe* for a Cheeseburger Salad with Big Mac Dressing. And, yes, it does taste just like the sauce on a Big Mac!

At first, I was a little leery about putting ground beef on a salad. That just sounded weird. But after thinking about it, we eat taco salads topped with ground meat with taco seasoning all the time!

And when I was taking our bowls back to the sink, it sort of smelled like McDonald’s in there! It was a combination of the cooked ground beef smell and the dressing from the bowl in which I made it.

I completely forgot to take a photo, but this is a salad that will be going into our rotation.

The only things I changed from Andie’s recipe:

  • I halved it because leftover salad just doesn’t sound good!
  • I used non-fat Greek yogurt instead of sour cream because it’s what I had on hand (It added a little extra protein, too!)
  • I used white wine vinegar instead of white vinegar.
  • I finely chopped a dill pickle instead of buying relish. (We never use it, so why buy it!?)

I don’t think these minor changes affected the flavor of the salad in any way.

I cut my tomatoes in wedges and arranged them around the outside edges of the bowl, just in case Rob didn’t want them. He normally doesn’t eat raw tomatoes. I also cut a couple of small dill pickles in half and put them around the bowl for the same purpose.

Success!

Now I’m in search of more novel ideas to make Rob’s salad nights more protein-filled for him. Normally, the salads I made him included veggies, shredded cheese or blue cheese crumbles, some bacon bits (the real ones, not the soy ones), and a few croutons. I him put on his own dressing.

Here are ideas that I know will be suggested that I can’t do:

  • Flank steak – He doesn’t like this cut of meat.
  • Poultry, fish or shellfish – He’s allergic.
  • Beans – He’s allergic to some and doesn’t fancy others.
  • Chickpeas – He’d probably eat a salad with these if I put it in front of him, but would say that he wouldn’t want it again.
  • Eggs – While he likes yolks in fried or scrambled eggs, he doesn’t like the yolks when their hard-boiled. I can add hard-boiled whites, though!
  • Nuts – I’m going to try this one, but when I’ve asked if he’s wanted them in a salad in the past, he always says “No.”
  • Cheese – I already add this, but it doesn’t offer a lot of protein and if I added more, that’s just adding more fat, too.
  • Tofu – Neither of us are fans. I don’t mind it because it takes on the flavor of whatever you put with it. But I just don’t get the whole processed soy thing. If I’m going to eat something processed, I want it to be something I really enjoy!

Ideas I came up with while writing this post:

  • Barbecued Pork Salad – I don’t like BBQ sauce, so I’d be making this for just him. Does anyone have a recipe that I can use to know what else to add?
  • Taco Salad

So my question for you today is:

What protein ideas do you have for salads?

Recipe sharing encouraged!

Cheers~
Carrie