Make Your Own – Salads
Hey there fellow Bitches! This is the second in what I hope will be a continuing series I’m calling “Make Your Own.”
I’m a big fan of convenience. I work two jobs, I volunteer, and I try to still make time for working out, hanging with my husband, and visiting with friends and family. As a result of the busy lifestyle that seems to plague most people these days, I turn to convenience items a lot.
One of the things that I tend to do throughout the week is eat out. Especially at lunch time.
I have two modes at work. “So busy I forget to pee” and “OMG I hate this place I need to get out of here for an hour!”
On the days that I’m super busy, if I didn’t bring my lunch, I end up scrounging for change for the vending machine at 2pm or eating whatever crunched up Kind bar is hiding at the bottom of my purse.
On the days that I’m fed up, I end up going out for lunch and dropping $20 on Thai or sushi or something so that I can forget about the crazy for just a minute.
Neither one of these options is particularly healthy or money saving.
I’ve found that if I remember to bring my lunch to work with me, I’ll remember to eat lunch even on the crazy busy days, and I won’t be so tempted to go out and drop a Jackson on greasy noodles just to get away from my desk.
Now, I am by no means a perfect specimen of physical health. I have an extra 20 pounds to lose and it’s probably my running routine that helps that not become an extra 40. But, one thing I’ve found is that it’s easier to maintain my weight when I bring a salad for lunch.
The problem with salads for lunch is that they get boring SUPER FAST.
What do you put on your salad? Cucumbers? Tomatoes?
You’ll see that super boring salad sitting on the corner of your desk and you’ll look out the window and think “I could really go for some Rama Noodles right now” and you’ll be out the door before you know it.
So, we have to make these salads fun. We have to make it so that we look forward to them!
Easier said than done.
Think back to the last time you went out to eat and got a salad at a restaraunt. What was on it? Why was it so delicious? Was it crisp romaine lettuce when you usually buy iceberg? Was there a fancy ingredient like goat cheese or scallops on top? Was the dressing just out of this world good?
Make a list of whatever those ingredients were and then head on over to the supermarket, because we’re going shopping!
For me, it’s two salads that both have something in common. Goat cheese.
I just love it. It makes every recipe better in my book. I don’t eat much dairy anymore… but goat cheese is the one thing I will not give up.
As a result I have two go-to salads that both involve goat cheese. One is my “summer salad” the other is my “winter salad.” You’ll see why in a minute.
Basic Bitch’s Basic Strawberry Salad
- Butter lettuce mix
- Sliced fresh strawberries
- Chopped pecan
- Red onion sliced thin
- ALL THE GOAT CHEESE
- Raspberry (or other fruity) vinaigrette dressing
Do I really have to tell you how to layer a salad? I’m not going to.
Put all the ingredients into a bowl – use as much or as little of each topping as you like. Measure them out if you’re counting calories. Pour the dressing into a little container on the side. \
Bring this to work and pretend you’re anywhere else but at your desk while you eat it. Yum!
I call this my “summer” salad because I really only make it when strawberries are cheap and plentiful. Most of the ingredients are not too expensive and will last you quite a few salads, so even if you’re spending $7 on 10 oz of goat cheese, that’s 10 salads worth of cheese.
I’ll break down the cost savings in a few. First, my “winter” salad.
Basic Bitch’s Goat on a Date Salad (full disclosure, I copied this directly from the menu of a bar we visit)
- Romaine/Butter lettuce mix
- Chopped/pitted dates
- Slivered almonds
- Sliced scallions
- ALL THE GOAT CHEESE
- Balsamic vinaigrette dressing
Same concept as above. Layer up a salad, put the dressing on the side, bring it to work with you and look forward to it all morning.
Here are a couple of pro-tips.
- You could layer these in a mason jar if your basic AF, or you could just put them all in a giant tupperware.
- About 1 oz of goat cheese per salad is the right amount for me, but sometimes I get crazy!
- Keep your almonds or pecans in a tupperware in your freezer. It will keep them from going rancid and it lets you buy them in bulk to keep the price down per salad.
- Use your favorite salad blend. Use kale if you want. But it has to be a variety you like or you won’t want to make salads. I hate ice berg, so I will never buy it, but butter lettuce is the shit so I get super excited for it.
Okay, so how does bringing this salad compare to going out to lunch? Let’s break down the numbers:
A “Goat on a Date Salad” at my local watering hole costs $11.49 a salad.
If I purchase the ingredients for a week’s worth of my “summer” salads, it comes out to $2.73 a salad. C’mon!
|Cost||Number of Salads||Cost Per Salad|
|Butter Lettuce (bagged and washed – 3 bags)||$7.50 ($2.50 per bag)||5||$1.50|
|Goat Cheese (10 oz)||$7||10||$0.70|
|Strawberries 16 oz||$3.49||5||$0.70|
|Red Onion – 1 onion||$1||5||$0.20|
Even if I flip the pecans to almonds and the strawberries to dates, the prices are comparable! It’s a no-brainer here.
Even if you go crazy with the nuts on each salad and double the portion you’re only spending $4.03 a salad.
You could EVEN pop open a can of white beans or a can of cooked lentils and add ¼ cup respectively to the “summer” salad or the “winter” salad to bump up the protein and make each one a bit heartier. That’s still barely bumping the cost of each salad 10 cents.
There is a lot of good here and not much negatives. The cost savings are so high you could even buy already sliced onion or strawberries from your grocery stores pre-chopped section to further save you time on prepping these salads.
Got a favorite salad mix? Sound off in the comments or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org