I made an omelette! (subtitle: Fun with Salads!)

Okay, so maybe this isn't all that exciting for you. But I've never made one before - I've always been rather a large dunce when it comes to cooking eggs. My first try at scrambling them was an 11 on the 10-pt disaster scale. Yes, scrambling - that's quite possibly the simplest way to cook eggs ever, right? Yeah, now you see why I'm so excited...

Eggs have never been my specialty. I never liked them as a child. If there was egg in some dish that Mom or Grandma or whoever made, they'd better have made sure that I didn't know about it. So, I guess I never really had the need to learn how to cook them on my own until I reached my early twenties and apparently decided that eggs were cool. [...which brings us to the scrambled eggs disaster of 2006...]

Tonight I decided to go through the process of making butternut squash soup - something I usually do on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. And, it's quite a little undertaking, so that certainly was not going to be dinner tonight. As I looked through my fridge, wondering how exactly I was going to get my second serving of meat today (chicken was in the freezer, doh!), my eyes landed on the eggs I'd gotten at the farmer's market this past Friday. And hey - eggs are all kinds of protein, right? Sweet - fast dinner between steps of making soup!

Off to the Better Homes & Gardens cookbook with me!
...how to cook...eggs...
The powers that be opened the page very decidedly to making a basic omelette. [Don't ask silly questions like how I know that the 'powers that be' did that decidedly. You're totally missing the point of this story...]

Who am I to argue with the powers that be? It turns out I hadn't really had a lot of fat in my food today, and thus I was well under the 40-50 g daily limit, so those eggs would most certainly bring up my fat intake! [In case you wondered, this is a good thing. I'm small enough as it is - no need to eat less than I'm supposed to!)]

And so, dinner tonight was a plain omelette (mmm, eggs are really tasty!). I warmed up the rest of my roasted tri-color carrots and red potatoes as a side, and made a pear & blueberry salad with mixed greens and almonds on top. Oh, and toasted some apple-cinnamon bread and topped it with the last of my blueberry jam from my cousin. Yummy - my stomach is happy. And hey, that's all I need to rate a meal as a success!

Since the rest of you all know how to make omelettes, and roasting carrots and potatoes is also an easy thing to figure out, I'll skip the recipes for them and instead focus on my salad. Certainly, salad 'recipes' are pretty simple, but I thought I'd add a few tips I've picked up for making flavorful salads ever since the day I was ordered to stop using salad dressing.

Pear & Blueberry Salad with Almonds

2 handfuls mixed greens
2 handfuls diced pears and blueberries from a mixed fruit bowl
1/2 handful almonds

It's simple, it's pretty, it's delicious.

The hardest part of keeping salads in my diet was figuring out how to eat them without salad dressing. It'd be uber-dry, right? Naw, it's still possible to have a lot of moisture on your salad. You just have to get a little creative!

First thing: I always have fruit on my salads - they have a lot of natural moisture. I've found that mixing a really juicy fruit with a less juicy, more flavor-intensive one creates a nice mixture of flavor for my salads. Some of my favorite combos are:
- diced pears and blueberries
- strawberries and diced apples
- strawberries and halved green grapes
- diced apples, halved grapes and dried cranberries

Another thing that I worried about when concocting non-salad-dressing salads: lettuce tastes funny without another flavor to offset it. Think about it, or try just chewing on a bed of greens sometime. Less than pleasing to eat. You can do it, but it's a little, well, blah (for lack of a better term). Hence the use of fruit - they provide strong flavors. I also generally use a mixture of greens instead of just one kind. (You can find bags of mixed greens next to those bags o' baby spinach and romaine lettuce at the store.) It varies the flavor a little bit, and makes the salad look a little more fun with the different colors and shapes.

Something I've learned after trying a lot of different things with salads: go for different textures. Eating is about more than just the simple taste of the food. I feel like eating also needs to include savoring. Part of making meals is certainly the art of putting together flavors that mesh well, but the texture of the food is also a huge deal. On a salad, the lettuce certainly gives a crunch to the dish. Mixed greens, with the different shapes, with make each bite feel a little bit different in your mouth. Fruit gives a nice soft, slightly mushy texture (mushrooms will do this, too, but I'm not a fan, so you'll never see them on my salads). Adding meat, if you're a carnivore like me, also adds to the mix of textures - something for your teeth to work through. And putting a few nuts or crackers or croutons on top creates a nice dry crunch to offset the wetter leafy crunch of the bed of greens. Makes for a nice little party in your mouth with every bite of salad!

A last note:
When you're in a hurry, of course you don't really want to have to think about prepping all of this stuff to go on a salad, right? You just want to pull something out and put it in a bowl and go. And I'm all about that on weekdays - there are days when I need my leftovers and need a quick salad to go with them, before I'm off to a dance or practice or whatever. My solution: prep it all beforehand. On "cooking day," while whatever entree I'm cooking for the week is in the oven, or simmering on the stove, I chop stuff for salads for the week. [Yes, this generally means I have the same salad for 5 or 6 days, but hey, at least they're quick!]

Dice pears or apples, wash strawberries or blueberries or grapes, and then put them all in the same container. If you want dried fruit on your salad, put that in the same container as well. All of the juices will mix together and you can pour a little juice on your salad each day - instant "dressing" without all the fat and crazy junk they put in store-bought salad dressings! Cut up some chicken and George Foreman it, or sear it in a frying pan with a little oil and some rosemary. Or dice a thick slice of ham. It takes me perhaps 15 minutes to cut up my salad stuff for the week - and I can't express enough how nice it is to open the fridge on a Tuesday evening and see little containers of food waiting for me to open and dole out on some greens. 1-minute salad - done!


  1. 1) Omelettes rock. Not sure if you can eat broccoli... but omelettes with broccoli are awesome too.

    2) I love your salad and need to remember that it's here so I can make it for myself sometime. :)

  2. Unfortunately, broccoli's bad. But I'm on the lookout for stuff to put IN the omelette next time around... :)