This past summer was the summer of what the hell and sure I’ll have another piece of pie and now I’m paying for it, friends. The old metabolism isn’t what it used to be and while skipping one or two runs doesn’t matter much in the grand scheme of having healthy lungs and a perky tush, skipping several months of running does. Add in a sweet tooth that took over and I’m back to zipping up jeans with a wire coat hanger. You remember those days, right?
Fall is the real New Year, with kids going back to school and many of us recommitting to habits and goals. I did the same and went back to boot camp twice a week in September. Twice weekly workouts are okay, but aren’t going to revolutionize anyone’s health and fitness, and I have no intention of going off the deep end and cutting out cake and cheese because that’s crazy talk and…well…cheese.
Some sanity and balance is called for though and that means lacing up the running shoes for more frequent sessions of boot camp, running, and my favourite — kick boxing. It also means that lunch can no longer be a square of dark chocolate, a handful of carrot sticks scrounged from the back of the fridge, rice crackers, and lukewarm coffee. Time to get back on track with easy-to-make, delicious, and nutritious lunches that provide the energy needed for a full day of work-kids-sports-homework.
My go-to salad is tomatoes, goat cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette, but it’s lacking in enough calories and healthy fats to see anyone through until the next meal, let alone a busy parent. Avocado, escarole — same family as endives, but not as bitter — and a few sunflower seeds to give a nice crunchiness to the salad, takes this recipe from a side to a full meal for two people.
Slice goat cheese into 1/2 centimeter rounds and place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Drizzle olive oil on cheese and bake at 325F for 5 minutes.
Wash, pat dry, and lay out 1/2 a handful of escarole leaves per plate.
Open the avocado, scoop it out, and slice each half into thin wedges. Place one avocado on each plate of escarole leaves.
Slice the tomato and place 1/2 over top of each avocado. Add four rounds of warmed goat cheese and sunflower seeds per serving.
Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle lemon juice and balsamic vinegar over the salad. Serve.
Makes enough for two.
* If you’re bringing this salad to work, pre-warm the goat cheese at home and reheat in a microwave. Alternatively serve with cold goat cheese and balsamic vinaigrette.