Here it is. The long awaited, much-built-up (yes, I’m making up a phrase) tuna dinners from late August that I’ve been meaning to write about for weeks. Normally I wouldn’t revisit a meal this far out, but honestly I was so psyched about these two dinners that I can’t help but share them.

As you remember, I made a mean bean salad as part of my no cook week back on August 24th. It was so good, I made it twice. While I was making the bean salad, I couldn’t help but think how good it would be with a nice piece of fish. So on Tuesday, August 25th I whipped up a quick and easy tuna dinner using the leftover bean salad and it was a complete success.

This was also a super easy meal because I did most of the prep beforehand: That morning, I threw two tuna steaks that Steph had picked up at Trader Joe’s in the fridge to thaw, I boiled a cup of quinoa in two cups of water and threw it in the fridge to chill, and I had the bean salad that I was using as a topping left over from my no cook weekend.

I still haven’t mastered the technique of a medium rare tuna, so to keep things easy I  put the two tuna steaks in the oven at 300 degrees to heat slowly all the way through. Once the fat had risen to the skin of the tuna and it was cooked all the way through I pulled it out, topped it with the cold bean salad and made side salads out of the local grown green lettuce, yoga sprouts, slivered almonds, and quinoa with my signature healthy salad dressing of canola oil, salt, and pepper.

Aug 25 - tuna and beans

It was a delicious easy meal and one more win for the bean salad, which I plan to make much more of next summer (and maybe a warm version this winter as well).

The Trader Joe’s tuna steaks had made more than enough for two dinners and two lunches the next day, which inspired me to try a dish I’d never attempted before with the extra: Nicoise salad. I’m no French chef. And after seeing Julie & Julia this weekend (super cute, wish it was longer), I’m pretty certain I won’t be anytime soon. But Nicoise salad looked like something firmly within my skill set, so I decided to give it a whirl – to great results, if I don’t say so myself ;). I had so much fun making this dinner.

My version wasn’t *quite* an authentic Nicoise salad, but it got the job done on my schedule and within my budget, and tasted fabulous all the same. I started by boiling 5 eggs the night before to get a leg up on the work for the next day. Then I picked up 10 small yellow potatoes and a couple handfuls of fresh green beans from the Food Coop on my way home from work and threw each in pots of boiling water until they were nice and soft – then I set them aside to chill . From there I quartered two large organic beefsteak tomatoes and filled a large salad bar with Foxy Organics romaine lettuce to serve as the base of my salad. Once all of the parts had been prepared, I assembled the salad – starting with the chilled tuna in the middle followed by the quartered tomatoes and then half of the boiled eggs, potatoes, and green beans on either side.

my first nicoise

For the dressing I whisked together Napa Valley Naturals organic olive oil, salt, pepper, basil, thyme, and mustard seed in a seperate bowl until well blended and drizzled over the entire salad for one delicious and easy dinner.

nicoise oil

nicoise served
The Breakdown (Tuna and Bean Salad)

Where I Got It: Trader Joe’s, Flatbush Food Coop

What it Cost:

  • Trader Joe’s tuna Steaks about $7.00 each x 2 steaks = $14.00

The grand total: $14.00

What I Already Had:

  • Bean salad [prepared for my no cook weekend]
  • Trader Joe’s quinoa
  • Trader Joe’s slivered almonds

How Many it Served: Two dinners + two lunches coming out to roughly $3.50 a meal since the bulk of it was leftovers from previous dinners that week. Not a bad way to squeeze a tuna steak into the menu at an affordable rate.

What’s Left Over: Trader Joe’s tuna steaks are large enough to make three meals each, leaving me enough tuna to make the Nicoise salad the next night. This was the last of the bean salad, which had a good run leading up to this. The quinoa and yoga sprouts also lasted the rest of the week in various combinations (see Detox Diet in Action for another glimpose of this quinoa batch). And the Foxy Organics romaine was also the base of my salad in my spaghetti dinners later that week. The canola oil is still sitting happily on the shelf.

Why it’s Healthy: This meal essentially speaks for itself, offering up a nice dose of lean protein, omega 3 fatty acids in the tuna, complex carbs with the quinoa and of course a large serving of green leafy goodness, essential to your daily diet.

The Breakdown (Nicoise Salad)

Where I Got It: Trader Joe’s, Flatbush Food Coop

What it Cost:

  • potatoes $1.79 lb coming out to  $2.11
  • green beans $2.99 lb to $1.79
  • tomatoes $2.99 lb to $3.56
  • olive oil around $11.00

The grand total: $18.46

What I Already Had:

  • Trader Joe’s tuna steaks
  • Foxy Organic Romaine Hearts $3.99 [you’re getting used to these by now ;)]

How Many it Served: Two large dinner salads and one leftover lunch salad coming out to $6.15 per salad (and that calculation of course swallows the cost of the olive oil, making it a “free” ingredient for all my future meals).

What’s Left Over: The Napa Valley Naturals olive oil has been used on every salad since this and still has plenty to go. I ended up only using 6 potatoes in the salad, which left me with four leftovers that I used for lunch the next day. The rest of the ingredients were used up in the meal and were well worth it. 🙂

Why it’s Healthy: The tuna once again offers up a nice serving of omega 3 fatty acids alongside the healty benefits of the tomato (hello lycopene), potato (vitamins C and B as well as potassium and a nice dose of fiber), the lean protien, amino acids, and and vitamin D of the boiled egg, and the wealth of vitamins and minerals found in green vegetables such as green beans and romaine lettuce.

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Link of the Day: HealthyTuna.com. Get lost exploring this great website all about tuna, including a ton of info on how it’s caught, why it’s healthy, and delicious recipes that I’ll be trying very soon.

Grateful for: Peaceful morning commutes, a short work week to recover from a long weekend, and delicious seafood at affordable prices!

xo,
kim

saltwaters

Beach trip number 2 was a success, and a full recap is coming soon. For now, a pic of my fave beach accessories: Saltwater Sandals.

Hope you all had a great Labor Day weekend!

Healthy Step of the Week: Detox, Detox, Detox
(See: Detox Diet in Action)

Personal Step of the Week: My Healthy Checklist is up and in action. I’ll be taking this step by step and adding to it as I go, starting hopefully this week.
(See: How I’m Getting Healthy)

Financial Step of the Week: I desperately need to catch up on insurance claims! I have 4 or 5 doctor’s receipts that I need to file this week as the first step in rebuilding my (now drained) savings account.

Professional Step of the Week: Remember Galatians 5:22 – self control! My goal this week is to only allow myself one cumulative hour of “personal browsing” online a day. Distractions are a major occupational hazard with my job, so I’m going to try to reign it in and focus on those things I’m actually supposed to be spending my days looking at online. Ironically enough, that means I need to spend less time looking at recipes, and more time looking at rapper’s MySpace pages. Oh, the things I get paid for :).
(See: Galatians 5:22-23)

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” [New Living Translation]

This verse popped into my head this morning on my way to work, specifically the virtues peace and faithfulness. What a nice reminder that God wants us to be at peace. He doesn’t want us to be stressed out.

I’ve also been turning over the bit about self-control and have decided the way for me to experience peace at the office is to exercise more self-control over how my day goes. In an industry that thrives on chaos and urgency, any sense of control can seem nearly impossible. But starting on Tuesday, I’m going to begin each day with a clear plan and do my best to maintain control of it, even if that means ignoring some of the dozens of workplace firedrills brought to my attention throughout the day. Sometimes a girl’s just gotta say no.

xo,
kim

The past week has been all about detoxing for me as I’ve been doing my best to get rid of the nasty little neurotoxins I accumulated during my brief stay in my last apartment. It’s also been about resting and rejuvinating, which means my meals have been simple, easy to prepare dishes that take as little energy as possible but still provide the nutrition I need to bounce back.

Overnight oats have already become a breakfast mainstay in my diet. Lately I’ve been dressing a bowl of overnight oat bran and almond milk with peanut butter, agave nectar, and a sliced banana.

Sept 2 - bfast
Simple, filling, and incredibly delicious.

And I’ve been relying quite a bit on quinoa, which I made a giant pot of late last week and put in the freezer to use as my complex carb of choice for the next few days. Since I was home all day Wednesday, I boiled 2 Applegate Farms chicken hotdogs and sliced them up alongside a spinach, romaine, carrot, and quinoa salad.

Sept 2 - lunch

Later that night, I heated up two chicken (pre-cooked) breasts (from the b-day groceries we received on Tuesday night), some quinoa I made late last week, and some instant mashed potatoes (it was a sick day… I had to cut some corners here and there) in a skillet over medium heat.

Sept 2 - dinner in pan
I served it with a sliced beefsteak tomato and half an avocado and sprinkled the whole plate with my homemade salad dressing of olive oil, garlic, basil, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper.

Sept 2 - dinner is served

And last night, Steph made a giant pot of brown rice, organic black beans, crushed tomatoes with basil, and olive oil, which I ate next to another large salad of spinach and romaine with the olive oil and garlic dressing.

Sept 3 - dinner

Sept 3 - dinner close up
I’ve been taking full advantage of the medicinal benefits of garlic while detoxing, and I have to say I do think it’s helping. After yet another long and steamy detox bath last night, I’m feeling better than I’ve felt all week and it looks like I’ll be making it to the Jersey Shore tomorrow for my second “daycation.”

Hope you’re all having a great Friday. Talk soon!

xo,
kim

Grateful for: Short workdays, long weekends, delicious food, beautiful weather, detox baths, and detox diets!

In keeping with the theme of “looking back,” this picture was taken last Thursday, on my first official day of “staycation.” Tropical Storm Bill finally hit us here in New York City, so my plans for a picnic in Bryant Park were scratched. I ducked into a Le Pain Quotidien instead where I bought a homemade organic  granola parfait (plain yogurt between layers of fruit and what I think was pumpkin seed granola, sweetened with only a little bit of honey) with a super hot mint tea and curled up in the window to read Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper. This is the first novel I’ve read in five years, and I couldn’t put it down.

Aug 28 - Le Pain

jersey shore header

Hi all. I can’t believe summer is almost officially over. I finally have some pics to share with all of you from my “daycation” to the Jersey Shore on August 15th. I haven’t had a legitimate vacation in three years, so this was a much needed escape from the day-to-day in the city.

I started the day by waking up early, picking up the latest issue of Women’s Health Magazine and grabbing the Q train to Herald Square, where Steph and I picked up the PATH train to Hoboken, NJ. I ate a Larabar when I woke up but by the time we got to Jersey I was starving again. So Steph and I each got a goat cheese, spinach, and tomato omelet at a deli by the PATH station before meeting our friend Jerry for the two hour drive down to Belmar Beach.

This was my first time visiting Belmar, and I was instantly in love with all of the beautiful old seaside Victorian houses leading up the beach. I’ve been trying to talk the fam into a family reunion on the Jersey Shore, and this only solidified that goal.

Steph played photographer while we strolled to the shore, set up, and took cheesey Jersey Shore themed pictures.

strolling seaside

the album cover

Then we laid out, snacked on Renew Life’s Fiber Bars and kiwis and relaxed in the sun.

jersey girls

beach bums
Can I admit that after losing so much weight with the Lyme, I’m kind of proud of that little pudge in my tummy? The next step is of course to make sure that as I’m gaining my weight back, I do it right. Which means, I need to step my stretching and toning game up asap.

The water was surprisingly warm, so we spent a full hour playing in the waves which was an awesome work out in and of itself.

After that, Steph and I took a lunch break for goat cheese, walnut, and cranberry salads with mixed berry smoothies from a local deli by the beach. And once the pros started heading home for dinner, I got up the guts to try my hand at volleyball. It’s been at least 12 years since my “net sports” class Freshman year of high school, so I was more than a little rusty. But after a couple tries, I got the basics down and was at least able to make it look like I knew what I was doing ;).

can i do it

volleyball crew

(I love this picture of Steph looking all “I am woman, hear me roar” after she just hit the ball.)

hear her roar
We stayed at the beach until dark and then headed to nearby Sea Girt, NJ for dinner at Parkerhouse‘s summertime Porch Bar, complete with lobster, shrimp, clams, and more.

three of a kind
lobster dinner
I won’t even begin to tell you how incredibly affordable all of this was compared to Manhattan prices. If the weather holds up, I’ll be heading back to the shore for one last “daycation” this Saturday before the beach closes for the year. We’ll be trying out a different beach, but a Parkerhouse dinner is guaranteed to happen afterwards. This time, I promise I’ll get pics up a little sooner.

Hope you all had a great day.

xo,
kim

Grateful for: Long weekends just around the corner!