Saturday, April 7, 2012

Extra: Lunch Idea - Salad Bar!

I love food. I love making it. I love serving it. I love seeing others' enjoyment as they eat the food I enthusiastically prepared for them.

BUT - trying to please four kids, who all have their own likes and dislikes concerning what foods they will or won't eat has become quite a drain on me and quite frankly...I've had it!

So here's the plan I came up with ... well, for lunch anyway.

First, the details of how I came up with this plan:

My family and I stopped off at a grocery store to get some lunch on an unusually hectic day that was filled with many errands. While inside the store, I thoroughly enjoyed their salad bar and all its many delicious choices. My plate quickly piled high with scrumptious romaine lettuce, spinach, sliced cucumbers, sliced olives, sliced onions, cherry tomatoes, sprouts and a sprinkling of bacon pieces and feta cheese - YUM!

It got me thinking ... I'm quite tired of making meals where, without fail, I deal with at least one or two children pecking at their food with a frown on their face and dread in their eyes as if it were some kind of slimy slop. Good grief, is it really that bad?!?!

But seeing as how my children do like to eat salads I spent some time dreaming of having a perfectly huge kitchen that also came equipped with - a salad bar!!!

Can you imagine it? "Ope, it's lunch time. What should we eat? No worries - go to the salad bar and make yourself a salad!" "Oh no, it's been a crazy day and I haven't even thought about dinner. No problem, let's all head over to the salad bar and have ourselves a hearty salad!" Throw in a slice of buttered, naturally leavened bread to help keep that food stickin' to our ribs and we're set!!!

I wondered when that fancy day would come ... the day we would have our grand kitchen with that lovely salad bar. But then, while staring into my fridge one day, I realized that I could enjoy the conveniences of having a salad bar! I just need to clear out some space in my fridge, purchase some more containers for all the different ingredients we'll be storing and cut up all the ingredients (I love food processor's!) for our own make-shift salad bar.

So I did it. And it feels SO good! Of course, we'll have to keep up with keeping the chopped veggies stocked up and the containers filled but I'm happy, very happy, about this decision. For now, lunch will be a salad from our delightful salad bar! And the kids can choose what they do or don't want on it.

Mom's happy. Kids are happy. Everyone's happy. Ahhhhh, feel the bliss!

Simply pull out the containers, open the lids, fill our plates and voila! Lunch is done. Every day. No more stewing about it!

Here are the ingredients we're keeping stocked:

Romaine lettuce, chopped
spinach leaves
red onion, sliced
olives, sliced
beets, sliced
red cabbage, chopped
quinoa or millet, cooked
cherry tomatoes
celery and cauliflower, chopped
carrots, sliced or shredded
pre-packaged broccoli slaw mix, already chopped
thawed peas
sunflower seeds or chopped walnuts

To make the salad even heartier or to change it up a bit we can also add chopped sliced turkey or chicken, raw cheeses, or chopped boiled eggs.

We keep our salad toppings super simple (and healthy): a splash of vinegar and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. (We use either balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar.)

Or we top our salads with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper or some homemade ranch dressing.

What a great idea!

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