Summer Salads: Haloumi and marinated capsicum salad w asparagus

Haloumi saladSummer is now upon us here in Australia and we are finally being graced with some warm weather! As we jump back into swimsuits it is a reminder that we need to eat a little lighter. The best way to eat lighter is to eat fresh foods with a side of protein and to reduce your fat and carb intake.

I generally like to eat really well throughout the week when I am in a more controlled environment like work and home so that on the weekends I can eat whatever I like and really enjoy it.

I realised recently that my Fiance and I had got into a bit of a healthy food rut. We were eating such basic healthy food that it was becoming less appealing and the thought of pizzas, snitzels and Thai and take away was more appealing. Both of us being a little tired after work not a lot of thought was going into our night time dishes, well not every night at least and we were eating just simple steak and veg or Tuna salads. As with all foods if you eat them too often they become less desirable and boring so I could tell… we needed to spice things up a little!
Yesterday I decided I needed to reinvigorate my tastebuds and passion for healthy foods so I popped down to the market in my lunch break and picked up some things to accompany the very boring selection of mixed leaves, cucumber and tomato on my fridge.

What do I like eating when I am out? I LOVE salads when I am out so why am I not making these yummy salads at home??
I Love roast beetroot, pumpkin and pine nut salads, rocket pear and balsamic, waldorf salads with walnuts, apple and blue cheese, greek salads with chicken and mint and of course haloumi salad!
I grabbed some Haloumi, asparagus and marinated red capsicum at the shops.

When I got home I washed my mixed lettuce leaves and dried them off roughly with a paper towel ( so important to do this or they will get bit watery and dilute the dressing)
I topped the leaves with some blanched asparagus, red onion, roast capsicum and some Haloumi I fried in the frying pan till it was gold on the outside and soft in the middle.
I dressed the salad with lemon juice and olive oil and salt and pepper and there you go.. a really yummy salad that I made in 10 minutes that was restaurant quality and healthy .
If you were quite hungry you could add some chicken or chick peas to it just to add in some protein but mine was fine without!!

Now that summer is back I am going to try and eat at least 4 big salads a week, I am experimenting with some new flavours tonight so I will let you know how I go!!

20121205-200343.jpg

Advertisements

Drawing, Cannelloni and other therapies!

I just had the most stress full couple of weeks, it was incredibly busy at work so I was starting earlier and finishing later and broke my usual exercise habit and of course didn’t have time to go to the local fruit and veg market so I was picking up meals here and there. On top of all this was the anniversary of the passing away of somebody dear to me which always makes me a little emotional.

I was an absolute mess, a ball of tension and emotion. As I realised my back was hunched over and my shoulders were up near my ears I realised… Girl you got to look after yourself!

I stopped and told myself not to get so worked up and looked at ways to be kinder to myself. I dedicated some time during the week to me and the things I love. Instead of coming home and plonking myself on the couch in front of the TV I turned it off and did a drawing other days I would turn some music on and ceremoniously  prepare a meal or have a nice bath with candles and music.. I even booked myself in for a 1 hour full body Aromatherapy massage, best $55 I ever spent!

It was bliss and a reminder that sometimes you have to stop for a second and prioritise yourself. Quite often we place so much pressure on ourselves, stop it! There are so many hours in a day, there is always room there to work in some “relax time”.

Usually on a Sunday afternoon my fiancé and I  make a yummy meal and relax in front of the TV. I had started a drawing earlier in the day and was enjoying myself so much I didn’t want to stop, I had downloaded some cool tunes and had my head phones in at the dining table singing away with my new art supplies I had purchased. I looked up and noticed he too had turned the TV off and had picked up a book and looked very relaxed on the couch having a read. I thought to myself, what a peaceful little household this is, how heavenly, we were both so relaxed. So Simple, just turn the TV off!! Of course I drew tropical places and exotic animals.. a sign I need a holiday soon I think!!

Image

I saw one of my friends in a similar position, work had been demanding and she felt like she was being pulled from all angles. We were making plans to meet up on the weekend and I suggested we make cheese and spinach cannelloni together and have a feast at your place. Perhaps it is  the Italian in me but in my opinion Sometimes you need that grounding experience of friends in the kitchen together, with a good glass of wine hand making a yummy meal together ceremoniously. The best bit is, you get to taste the results of your labour afterwards, around a big table with company of your choice, music of your choice and a comfortable setting. We made Cheese and Spinach Cannelloni with a red meat sauce ( a fusion of mine and my friends recipes to add some oomph to the sauce) I will post the recipe shortly.

Image

Don’t get me wrong sometimes you just need a good movie and some popcorn and some down time but do also take time out for yourself and do something else you love too! Re discover an old passion, run out and take some photos, try a new recipe, do a drawing or painting, pick that book up again! I know.. its not rocket science but sometimes we forget!!