Monday, April 22, 2013

Lunch in a Box: Curried Salad with Egg and Cashew, and Cauliflower Pizza Bites

This weekend I researched the heck out of vegetarian, low-carb recipes. And while the title of this particular lunch sounds really odd, it's packed with lots of good (and good for you) food that just happens to be low carb. I spent a reasonable amount of time menu planning, but didn't want to spend all afternoon in the kitchen prepping food for the week. So I found a few interesting salad ideas, and some easy to put together dinners, and headed off to HEB with my list. What I thought would only be about a $70 grocery bill turned into $128 by the time I checked out. It just kills me how expensive it is to eat healthy, fresh food. About 3/4 of my cart was filled with produce, and the rest was things like tofu, fish, coffee, cat litter, and a few bathroom items. I can't imagine how expensive it must be to buy groceries for more than 2 people. But we do prepare breakfast/lunch/dinner at least 4 days out of the week, so in reality that comes out to about $5 per person, per meal. I guess it's not so bad when you look at it that way.

But..back to my lunch. I found the recipes for the Curried Salad with Egg & Cashew on the Eating Well website (a current selection for our cookbook club), and the recipe for the gluten free Cauliflower Pizza Bites on the Damy Health website. I'm interested in trying a few of the other cauliflower recipes on her site, as it's a great way to sneak in some serious fiber in your diet. Plus, it masks the taste that I'm not a huge fan of.

For the salad, I used the following ingredients:

1 cup spinach
1/4 red bell pepper, chopped
1-inch piece of cucumber, chopped (with skin on)
1-inch piece of celery, chopped
2 T cashews, lightly toasted on the stove
1 hard boiled egg
2 T dressing (I used 1 T. of real mayo in place of the 1/2 cup of low fat)
**I omitted the cranberries because of carb count

For the cauliflower pizza bites, I pretty much followed the recipe exactly. But the only hot sauce I had was Valentina's Mexican hot sauce, which apparently is loaded with calories. So for the next batch I'll use something else like Cholula or Tabasco. Other than being a little messy (I had grated cauliflower everywhere), these were really easy to make. And now that I know they are worth the effort, I'll make a double batch to freeze the next time. I paired it with some spicy red pepper pasta sauce that I had in the pantry, and it made for a satisfying side dish to the salad.

I've been using the LoseIt app to track calories and carb percentages for each day, and my goal each day is for my overall carb percentage to be under 45%. Right now I'm at 34% (that's including all the meals I plan on eating today), so I'm doing really well. But it's really hard to feel full when all you're eating is salad, which is why I like these Cauliflower Bites so much. It feels like I'm eating something starchy when I'm really not!

Is there anyone else who is watching their carb intake, and have found any go-to recipes that you really love?! It has been a bit of a struggle for me, considering how much I love all things bread, but I'm slowly making progress.

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