This salad literally takes FIVE minutes to prepare if not less and it only has FIVE ingredients. Basically if you want something super easy to prepare – this is it! This salad is both crunchy and tangy making it the perfect compliment for whatever your entree fancy may be! As soon as I made this salad, I literally couldn’t keep my hands off of it, mouthgasm 101.
If you did not know, cucumbers are an excellent source of hydration, and a single 8-ounce cup is just as hydrating as an equivalent amount of water. Cucumbers are low in calories and rich in anti-inflammatory properties. Even though there are many, many more benefits of cucumbers to discuss, I will list my favorite which is their ability to cool and soothe (Hint: think of when you’ve sipped on cucumber water at the spa or when you’ve put cucumbers over your eyes to relieve puffiness).
- 2 medium sized cucumbers; cut into thin circular halves
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes; halved
- 2 heaping tablespoons of dijon mustard (seed based – I love this one from Trader Joe’s)
- 3 tbsp balsamic vinaigrette
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- In a tupperware container combine all ingredients then cover and shake well.
- Remove cover from tupperware… and serve!
xxx – Sarah
If you’re anything like me – airports can be stressful when trying to stick to your meal plans or stay within a budget. Let’s face it, $5.50-7.00+ for a 16-24 ounce water bottle is legit nuts. Since air pressure can lead to migraines – I try to limit my sugar intake which would only aid and abet. As a frequent flier fanatic, I’ve perfected my travel routine, and compiled some travel secrets that will help you to eat and drink like a champion.
- Reusable tumbler or water bottle (24 ounces+): Most airports have begun to go green and offer water re-fill stations thus locate em and start walking! This is a great way to save on expensive water purchases.
- Snack sandwich bags: Great for portioning your food. I always say – eat half on the departure trip and save the other half for the return trip. These are some great items to toss/mix into sandwich bags:
- Beef or turkey jerky: Great way to consume lean protein when on the road. I opt for either the Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s brand of basic jerky. I love the teriyaki versions but then that means more additives – so no. Pick and choose your poison.
- Nuts: I love pistachios that are shelled since they keep my fingers busy during the long flights. Raw nuts are also a great option (almonds, cashews, pistachios, macadamia, etc.) if you’re doing work or want an easy munch.
- Plantain chips: Great alternative to regular potato chips and are usually just seasoned with S&P – for these, I usually go to the bulk section of Whole Foods or buy the packaged version(s) from Trader Joe’s then re portion into a sandwich bag.
- Protein powder: Pre-portion one full scoop for mixing later during the trip to help meet your protein needs if you are not a meat eater nor wanting to open up a can of stinky beans or fish.
- Protein bars: I love nut/fruit bars especially those gluten and dairy-free. When choosing bars opt for those above 5-7 grams of protein and less than 10 grams of sugar. There are SO many out there but my favorites include: Kind and RXBAR.
- Sealed bag of cucumbers, basil, mint, or berries: This is an easy way to make your plain water more ‘artisanal’ when on the road and not wanting to opt for powders such as Crystal Lite.
Happy and Safe Travels Y’all!
xxx – Sarah
Bread, buns, and cakes stress me out sometimes. I try to find gluten-free options in the store that are appealing but lately none stand out. I’m in the mood for texture/grittiness but without the wheat. Rather than buying overpriced gluten-free options I opted to make my own… These cakes are pretty darn good if I may say so.
I am heading out of town this weekend and wanted to use everything in my pantry/refrigerator… Successfully did just that. The recipe calls for quinoa which is a fantastic gluten-free grain. It is a great protein source for vegetarians and vegans since it is a complete protein – contains all of the nine essential amino acids! Had a taste tester who said these were like a healthy but yummy version of hush puppies hence the name!
- 1 cup quinoa, cooked (utilized the Organic Tricolor Quinoa from Trader Joe’s – so delish)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 4 eggs
- 1/3 cup aged parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 cup asparagus, minced
- 2 tbsp garlic, crushed or minced (when in a bind I opt for ready-to-use garlic products which are a staple in my refrigerator – I love the Roasted Minced Garlic from Spice World)
- 1 cup coconut flour
- 1/2 tsp sea salt or ‘to taste’ (I did about 3 full grinds of my salt – equivalent to 1/2 tsp)
- 1/2 tsp black pepper; ground
- 1/2 tsp red pepper; flakes
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, olive oil, eggs, asparagus, garlic, and flour, stir well.
- Add the necessary spices (S&P) then stir well or mix with your hands.
- Under medium-high heat drizzle olive oil in a large saucepan then using your hands create Ping-Pong shaped balls and place on the pan. Keep a space between each ball then flatten with a spatula.
- Allow to heat each side for 3-4 minutes until slightly browned then finish with a 30 second-1 minute sear on each side.
- Set to the site on a cool plate or wire rack.
- These cakes are absolutely heavenly when added to a salad, topped with meat, or topped with cooked veggies.
xxx – Sarah
To cook quinoa: Combine 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water bring to a boil atop stove then reduce to a simmer and cover. I usually allow it to sit out on the stove top covered for 2-3 hours then start utilizing it by itself or in other recipes such as this one.
Just the beginning…
We all have vices or guilty pleasures – mine is coffee. I absolutely love coffee and it is a staple in my daily routine. Lately I have been so busy that I am unable to stop at Starbucks or at the local coffee haunts by my house (Commonwealth, Local, or Rosella) so I have started packing my own to go. My poison of choice is cold coffee – sometimes hot but with the warm weather approaching an iced beverage is ideal. Now that I am preparing my coffee at home I am getting creative with what I put in and so far this is the winning combination…
Before I give away my beverage secrets I must share some facts about my favorite ingredient… Cinnamon is a great spice and is shelf stable for about 2-3 years as long as it is sealed well. Just a single teaspoon of cinnamon contains 6 calories and 1.4 grams of fiber – if you are low in fiber intake then this is a great low-calorie addition. It is a great addition to cereals/, desserts, fruit dishes, spicy dishes, and beverages due to its sweet aroma.
- 4-ounces, cold press coffee – my favorites are Chameleon which I usually obtain from Whole Food’s Market or HEB (Black Coffee Concentrate or Mocha Coffee Concentrate) and Trader Joe’s Cold Brew Coffee
- 4-8 ounces, water (depends how strong you want your coffee)
- 1-1.5 Tbsp, cinnamon
- 1-2 drops, liquid stevia (in moderation)
- Handful cubes, ice
- In a mason jar with a lid or shaker – combine: coffee concentrate (follow the recommended amount on the jar which is usually 4-ounces per person), water, cinnamon, stevia, and ice.
- If you are serving more than one person, multiply the number of people you are providing caffeine for by the serving amount for each ingredient.***
- Shake well and enjoy.
- Or if you want a blended ice beverage – whip out your blender and blend away!
xxx – Sarah