Beets. Bulgur. Balsamic Vinaigrette.

All this weather has made me want to do is comfort eat. Rainy and dreary weather practically pushes a person to eat food made for the soul. If I hadn’t prepped the majority of my meals this week on a sunny Sunday, my eats this week would have been a little tragic. Not that comfort food is bad or anything, but I’m an emotional gal and my emotional eating does have the tendency to get dangerous. But actually- when I was out to dinner with a bff on Tuesday, I almost ordered a platter of loaded nachos topped with everything from black bean dip to guacamole to sour cream to shredded roast beef. I ended up going the more responsible route THIS TIME and got a healthier sandwich of some sort but man, it was a close call. Not going to lie.

Outside of this dinner- my meals have been looking like a lot of salads. What can I say- it was what I was in the mood for when I was meal planning for the week. Plus- they’re so easy. Unfortunately, salads just aren’t rainy weather food for me. Even though my heart hasn’t been digging all the salads I’ve had on the menu this week- the rest of my body has been thanking me.

BUT I will admit to you something a little weird… sometimes I eat warm salads. Or heat them up in the microwave. Does that make something no longer a salad? Where is the line between warm bowl of food and salad? If it’s crisp, cold greens then I’m getting a little iffy over here calling my meals as of late salads. Wait. I actually just looked up “salad” on wikipedia- how hilarious is it that “salad” has its own wikipedia page?

According to the almighty wiki salad page:

Salad is a non-runny, ready-to-eat dish made of heterogeneous ingredients in a wet or once wet base served chilled or at a moderate temperature. Many people use the word “salad” to describe light, savory leafy vegetable dishes often served with a sauce or dressing but the category usually additionally includes dishes made of such ingredients as fruits, grains, meats, seafood, and sweets. It has been pointed out that is difficult to define what is meant by the term “salad” – many salads use raw vegetable, but some salads use cooked ingredients, and most salads use vegetables, but such things as fruit salads (which use fruit rather than vegetables also exist.

Reading the proper “definition” for something that seems so simple always cracks me up. If you have the time- check out the full page for the background on salads and their history. Call me a geek, but it’s actually kind of fascinating!

ANYWAY- the reason why I’ve been on this “heating up your salad” kick is because it has been so cold at work! And not that warm outside. SO I have been taking the chill out of my salads by heating them up in the microwave. Sue me- go for it. The greens get a little wilty and mix right in with the other veggies, the creamy avocado, and soft feta or goat cheese- it’s delicious. Warm salads are a lot more comforting than cold ones- I’ll just say that. ESPECIALLY on crappy weather days. Who wants a bowl of cold, crunchy salad on a rainy day? Not I.

I mentioned in a post earlier this week that I tried out the whole grain bulgur this week. And I promised to share with you the salad recipe I whipped up.

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This brings me to the title of this post: Beets, Bulgar, Balsamic Vinaigrette. WHICH I hope reminds you of this episode of the Office:

Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica. That’s what I was going for if you were curious. This post in some weird way actually pays tribute to my beloved show in the NBC comedy block rotation. I’ve been watching all these years and there are officially only TWO more episodes left- one being on tonight. EEP! Then it’s only the season finale. How is that even possible? Craziness. Thus, they deserve a blog post dedication from me at the very least. Anything to potentially grab the attention of my love interest and Boston native, John Krasinski.

Speaking of Krasinski… just watch this video if you too love him. If you don’t love him- you probably will after this.

Fallon + Krasinski + lip-syncing contest = all of the smiles and swooning {thank you to my friend Liz for bringing this to my attention}

BACK TO THE SALAD. Again, I decided to venture out and try bulgur. I cooked it according to the quick cook instructions on the bag (aka add to boiling water for ten minutes) and then drained out the excess water and mixed the bulgur in while still hot with a delicious mix of veggies, arugula, goat cheese, avocado, olive oil, basil, s&p, and balsamic vinaigrette.

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For some reason the “Trader Giottos” label always cracks me up. The Italian alter ego of Trader Joe.

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The colors were really quite pretty!

The veggies of choice were: beets, cucumbers, green beans (cooked and chopped up), green pepper, and cherry tomatoes.

Because the bulgur was still piping hot when I added it to my big salad mixing bowl- it warmed everything else up, made the goat cheese a little schmelty, and changed the texture of the avocado. I mixed it all together quite vigorously with a big spoon. I also made sure there would be plenty o’leftovers for future dinners in the week.

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If the whole “warm salad” isn’t your thing- rinse the bulgur with cool water first before adding it to the salad. OR make this in advance and let it sit in your fridge. Sometimes salad leftovers are even better than the first salad you made because the flavors have had a greater chance of blending all together.

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Surprised by how much bulgur the little bag I cooked made- I used the remaining bulgur in place of oatmeal for a couple of morning breakfasts.

The verdict on bulgur? I didn’t think it was anything special. I’m willing to be convinced otherwise and am anxiously awaiting some recipes from a friend whose family uses it a lot in their cooking. I’m sure if you took more time to cook it, season it, and maybe cook it in some type of broth- it would be way more delicious.

But for my purposes- it was a good way to break away from the brown rice I’ve been making on the reg. Just like brown rice- it works as a simple way to add some whole grains to your meals/salads.

For all my great Trader Joes finds that I’ve made as of late- one of my favorites has been what I’ve been snacking on for dessert…

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And no- it wasn’t the low fat blurbs that drew me to these. It wasn’t even the word “chocolatey.” It was TOTALLY the cats. When I saw these about a month ago- I was convinced I needed them in my life for the sole purpose of having cat cookies (for people!) They’re so adorable! I caved last week and bought them.

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MEOW! Cat cookies are totally for twenty-somethings, right? They’re not clean eating per se but hey- I gotta live a little. Plus, they taste even better after they’ve pounced into some peanut butter. Just sayin’

Keep it wicked healthy xoxo

Hello Hurricane

Sandy, what are you so angry about?! This storm is definitely a crazy one. Today has been such a weird day- being stuck inside to watch the hurricane wreak havoc. Definitely a Monday different from the ordinary.

For the first half of today, it was really just raining and nothing too exciting was happening outside. It felt like a Sunday Part II or something. Bonus day!

Today after work I was going to try spinning for the first time. I was signed up for the class and everything. But when I saw that it was cancelled (and you know, there was a hurricane and work was not happening either) I had to deal with the fact that Sandy wanted me to do something else. As lame as it is most of the time, I am thankful for the gym in my apartment building on days like today.

I decided to do a workout that was published online by Health magazine called: “Get In and Out of the Gym in 60 Minutes.” It was written by Tina Haupert, author of the blog Carrots N Cake. I improvised due to a lack of equipment and just what I was feeling today.

Here was my Sandy Sweat-athon:

  • 10 min. jog on the treadmill
  • Then for each of the five minute segments below, I did as many rounds of those two exercises as possible. So I did the two exercise sets non-stop for 5 minutes.
  • 5 min. 10 jumping jacks + 10 burpees
  • 5 min. 10 lateral raises + 10 squats with free weights
  • 5 min. 10 push-ups + 20 sit-ups 
  • 5 min. 10 squats with free weights + 20 alternating lunges
  • 5 min. 60 second plank hold + 10 up/down planks
  • 5 min. walk on the treadmill/cool down
  • Stretch

There were a couple other people from the building also working out. We had the Food Network on the gym TV and bonded over Alex Guarnaschelli’s show “Alex’s Day Off.” You may recognize her as one of the judges on Chopped. But it was cool to hangout with some people in the building for a little while! You make new friends when you’re stuck indoors.

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