Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Layered Salad

Publix used to have a fantastic 7 layer grab and go salad and now they've replaced 2 of my favorite salads with newer "summer" options that include fruit and garbanzo beans.  No, Publix, I'm not a fan.  I know I'm probably in the minority here, but I just don't like mixing fruit into any kind of a salad with greens.  I'm basically not a fan of any fruit being mixed with a meat or fish.  I don't even like lemon on my fish.  Grapes in chicken salad?  Go away with that.  
A traditional 7 layer salad usually consists of layers of lettuce, eggs, tomatoes, cheese, bacon, peas with a mayo based dressing as the top layer.  I make it in clear trifle bowl for family events a good bit.  But...there's no way I'm making a giant trifle during the work week.  

It's an easy low carb option during the week.  Sometimes I make ahead a few smaller Gladware bowls as a quick grab and go option for lunch or as a side item with dinner.  

I don't like to spend a load of time in the kitchen so I'm going to give you the quickest way possible to throw this together.

         *Lettuce:  You can use iceburg, but I like using a bag of Publix Italian Blend
If I'm making for meal prep, I usually split a bag of lettuce between 2-3 plastic containers. Sometimes I'll add a layer of spinach as well.  

         *Bacon:  I stink at cooking bacon.  My mom once burned her arm so bad with bacon grease, she had to go to the E.R.   I've tried it in the oven and my oven doesn't seem to cooperate.  Hormel makes microwave ready bacon in prepackaged strips of four.  3 minutes.  Perfect, crispy bacon.  No grease, no washing a pan.  I crumble 2 slices per plastic container.  

          *Hard Boiled Eggs:  I don't like my house smelling like eggs.  Egg Lands Best makes hard-boiled, pre-peeled eggs.  No boiling, no cooling, no peeling.  I chop 2 eggs per container.  

           *Tomatoes:  For ease, I use cherry tomatoes, but very few.  I'm not a huge tomato fan (gasp--most of my friends and family have to have FRESH homegrown tomatoes), but I'm not as fond.  This is an optional ingredient for me.  However, if I'm making this layered in the trifle bowl, tomatoes are a must..because it's prettier with a layer of color.  

           *Green onion:  I chop up 1 small bundle and divide it between 3 containers.  

           *Sharp cheddar:  This is totally preference, but it's the one thing I take the scenic route on.  I grate my own cheese instead of buying the grated cheese in the bag.  To me it's worth it and tastes so much better.  

            *Green Peas:  (Thawed bag of green peas).  This is a must if I make a layered salad in a trifle bowl, but if I'm meal prepping, I leave this out of my container(s), since they have carbs.  

            *Dressing:  One cup full fat mayo
                               One cup full fat sour cream 
                               Minced dill (optional)
              This dressing sounds so strange, but I've tried this salad with a few different dressings and there's nothing that pairs as well.  Mix mayo, sour cream and dill in a separate container to store.  If I'm making this salad in a trifle bowl, I spread the layer on top, then sprinkle some additional bacon and cheese on top as garnish.  Similar to the Pioneer Woman's recipe seen here

Easy and low carb.  2 things that are a must! 
Happy Tuesday! 

Friday, July 13, 2018

It Really is the Little Things.

Last month, I went to lunch with a good friend I work with.  We went to a restaurant close by our office, had coffee before our meal (something I don't often think to order at lunch--but what a good idea.)  I didn't realize that the restaurant was freezing cold because we were drinking coffee and I also had a thin cardigan on.
It's summertime in the Midlands, so it's hotter than 10 hells,  You could leave cookie batter on your dashboard and end up with fresh baked goods by the time you return from lunch.  Since it was so cold in the restaurant, it didn't feel like the normal "I can barely breathe" heat when we walked out the door to my car.
Kelly has this awesome trait that I find so amazing that I want to share.  To describe her I would use one word.  Enthusiast.  As we walk out the door, she throws her arms out and says, "God, I love this feeling!!  When you walk out of a freezing cold restaurant or store in the summer and the warmth just hugs you!  You can feel it from your head to your toes.  It's one of my favorite sensations!"  I literally stopped in the middle of the parking lot and stared at her like she was insane. Her enthusiasm for ridiculously small things like this is INSANE to me....but SO inspiring.  
That whole experience made me think about how I perceive things.  This isn't the first time this concept jiggled around in my brain.  Earlier this year I started listening to a few motivational podcasts that helped me through a really stressful tax season.  A lot of what I continued to hear repeatedly was about perception and how our happiness depends on what we give positive or negative energy to.
I'm generally a glass half empty type of person.  I lean more in the direction of worry and doubt rather than positivity.  I come from a long line of worriers and overracters.  My initial thought of any situation will always be worse case scenario.  I know this about me.  I hate this about me.  My therapist figured this out within the first 5 minutes of meeting me.  Anyone who knows me knows this.  But I'm trying to let the worry go a little.  I'm trying to have more faith and start enjoying the little mundane everyday awesomeness that surrounds me.  I never would have thought about the fact that walking out into the muggy Columbia sun actually felt good for once.
I'm probably going to remember that the next time I leave somewhere and feel warmth like that again....but right now I'm realizing I've felt that sensation so many times and never thought about it as anything other than a tolerable walk across a parking lot thanks to some good cranked up air conditioning.

I live with huge anxiety.  HUGE.  Some days I feel great, but there are other days when I feel inadequate, stressed and uneasy.  The past 2 weeks have been hard.  Tears come for no reason.  And then all of the sudden, I remember to try to find something to ground myself.  It all goes back to 2 things I heard on a podcast that make so much sense!
I have them written in my bullet journal:

"If you are depressed, you are living in the past" 
"If you are anxious, you are living in the future" 
"If you are at peace, you are living in the present" 

"Expect and enjoy the unexpected" 

Once in a while I treat myself to a massage.  I've been going to the same girl for a few years now and not only is she hilarious, but she's always good at giving me advice when I'm stressed out or anxious.  A few weeks ago, I went to see her.  I was an anxious mess when I walked in the door and she could tell.  When I left, she hugged me and said, "do yourself a favor and go get the book 'The Secret' and read it.  And QUIT living in the future.  That's the best part about the future.  We don't know what's ahead of us that could be great!"

I've been worried and anxious so much over the span of 2 weeks, I literally made myself ill. 
Wednesday, I was scrolling through shows that were included with Amazon Prime and lo and behold, there it was, 'The Secret.'  So, I gave it a try.  I know it's old and I missed the boat on this when it was a big thing years ago, but it turned my perspective around by the end of the week.
Everyday is different, but for right now, this was just what I needed.

I'm trying to make a conscious effort to live in the present and enjoy the mundane, everyday wonderful things that surround me. After all, there is plenty to be grateful and thankful for...and one of them is my husband.  I'm grateful everyday that I married a man who is positive, upbeat and is strong enough to deal with my crazy ass.  I'm not kidding.  Everyday, I have to stop myself and remember how lucky I am that he understands my anxiety and worry and does nothing but try to help me through my mood swings and the ridiculous things I throw his way.

If you live with anxiety and stress, I feel ya.  I understand the frustration of worrying about things that are out of your control and trying to find new ways to stay grounded and present.  It's not easy, but I'm working on it.  Today is a better day.  A much better day and I'm just going be happy with that.

Happy Weekend Guys!

Oh and FYI: Keisha at Occo Salon on Pulaski --she's THE BEST if you need stress reducing massage--you're welcome in advance.