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Crunchy Romaine Toss

Crunchy Romaine Toss

I like to eat healthy. But I also like to not eat healthy.

I find that instead of munching away on carrot sticks or Snickers bars and whatnot, nuts help to keep hunger at bay.

Despite their high fat content, they’re packed with protein and fiber, both of which give you that full feeling.  I could probably eat a whole bunch of celery and not feel full.  And if I ate a bag of Doritos, I’d feel nasty, and then want another bag in 20 or so minutes. Thus, I eat almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews and pistachios.

Sure, nuts have plenty of fat.  But it’s the good kind of fat.

They have Omega-3 acids, vitamin E, and a whole host of other impossibly weird sounding scientific names that basically spell out how healthy they are for you.

They’re known to lower cholesterol and stop development of plaque in your arteries.

But you know what I like about ’em?

They taste good.  They’re crunchy, which tends to fool my brain into thinking I’m eating something like biscotti or Tostitos.  And it works out my jaw muscles, so I get pretty tired of eating them fairly quickly.

But besides eating them plain, I’ll eat them smoked, salted, and even chocolatized.  Yeah, I just made that word up.

Eating the chocolatized ones are sort of like eating a candy bar.  Sort of.  Not really, but… sort of.  The chocolate ones are slightly sweet, so I pretend that instead of eating chocolate almonds, I’m eating a chocolate candy bar with almonds in it.  Weird, I know, but it’s the way I roll.

I’m also a huge fan of pistachios.  They take time to eat.  And after I’ve shelled a handful, I’m over it.  By then, my stomach feels full too.  I like how that happens.

I’m a big fan of using them in all sorts of food too.  Even the not-so-healthy kind.  It makes me feel like I’m getting a modicum of healthiness in my not-so-healthy food.

I especially love nuts in salads.  I never ever had nuts in a salad until I met my mother-in-law, who is a vegetarian.  I basically grew up eating salads that were sort of what you’d find at a buffet line – plain old iceberg tossed salad, maybe with some croûtons, and a handful of “safe” veggies like tomatoes, carrots and celery thrown in.  And always a bottled dressing too.   But my mother-in-law made her own dressings and added fruits, nuts, seeds, cheeses and more to her salads.  Still does.  Even though my daughter absolutely loves her grandmother’s salads, she calls them garbage salads, because anything and everything is thrown in!

One of my favorite nuts to add into a salad are pecans because they add a little bit of sweetness to it.  A friend made this salad with pecans and ramen noodles for us once, and it is absolutely scrumptious!  Usually when I go to a potluck, I offer to bring salad, because it seems like a healthy thing to do,  even if it might be loaded with all manner of non healthy add-ins.  Still, half the battle is getting something green into your mouth, so this is a recipe that I often make.  I can pretty much guarantee that wherever I take it, someone will always ask for the recipe,

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Crunchy Romaine Salad
Topping:
1 C pecans, chopped
1 pkg. Ramen noodles, crushed (discard flavoring packet)
1/4 C butter
Melt butter, and add in pecans and noodles; cook until toasted.  Set aside to cool.

Dressing:
1/2 C olive oil
1/4 C coconut palm sugar (you can use white or brown or even honey)
1/3 C red wine vinegar
5 T soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste
Mix together. Set aside, but shake or stir before tossing into salad.

Greens:
1 lg. head romaine lettuce
1 bunch of broccoli, coarsely chopped
4 green onions, sliced

Set aside a few green onions, and a small handful of the pecan mix.  Toss all other ingredients together.  Garnish with the remaining onions and pecan mixture.
Makes 8 side salads

See?  KInda sorta healthy, but oh-so-very good!


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