Despite losing almost 200 pounds, I still can't stand the heat. Sure, I tolerate it a bit better at 138 pounds than I did at 335 pounds, but it still makes me grumpy. I don't like to sweat unless I'm at the gym, and I just hate the lethargy that comes with summer in the Central Valley.
But there is one perk to the weather heating up, my body develops a craving for salads that almost defies description. If my husband was a salad eater, I would probably never turn on my stove in the summer months. I could survive entirely on cold ingredients tossed in a bit of dressing and be perfectly happy.
I don't usually crave basic salads. I'm not the type to crave a Caesar or cobb salad. Sure, I'll eat them, but when it comes to my cravings, I always want something out of the ordinary. This week, my strongest cravings have been for tomatoes and strawberries.
The tomato craving led to me spending three consecutive days living on caprese salads (sliced fresh mozzarella cheese with sliced tomatoes and fresh basil marinated in olive oil and balsamic vinegar). There is just no flavor that can compare to those found in a caprese salad. The sweet tomatoes and basil blend so nicely with the mild cheese and tangy balsamic vinegar. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
To finally feed my craving for strawberries, I picked up a flat of the luscious berries at a stand at the corner of Corral Hollow and Valpico roads in rural Tracy.
When I got home, I washed the berries and surveyed the contents of my fridge to figure out lunch. I settled on a salad, of course. I took some leftover baked chicken breast, chopped it up and added it to a bowl with about a cup of spinach greens. To that, I added two gigantic sliced strawberries, a quarter-cup of shelled pumpkin seeds, 2 tablespoons of ground toasted flaxseed and an ounce of crumbled chevre (soft goat cheese). I drizzled 2 tablespoons of Safeway-brand orange-poppyseed dressing...and it was a little bit of heaven in a bowl.
It hit the spot, kept me cool and offered me plenty of protein. Who could ask for more?
If any of you have favorite salad recipes you'd like to share, post them as a comment. I know I'm always looking for new ideas. I'm sure others are, too. Now if you'll excuse me, I have quinoa to make so I can take the Aztec Platter that I posted last week to work this week for lunch.