Vail Simply Seasonal column: Kick off the new year with healthy salads
January brings resolutions, often as unforgiving as the crisp snap of winter air. No more Christmas cookies and cocktails; instead, plenty of people have the popular goal of losing pounds and eating a healthier diet.”Pack your day with fruits and veggies,” said Michael Mayer, executive chef at Cima. “A fruit smoothie for breakfast starts the day off right and makes you aware of other choices throughout the day. The healthiest options always include plenty of greens and vegetables.”Salads are a terrific choice for a lunch or dinner entree. Experiment with mixes of greens with complementary flavors and textures, and dress with a light but flavorful vinaigrette. Get creative with protein in your salad – by adding small amounts of cheeses and nuts, you can make your salad a meal. Winter citrus or dried fruits also will add a burst of flavor.One of the keys to a healthy salad is to make your own dressing. Commercial dressings are loaded with sugars and oils that will combat your efforts. You can whip up a tasty dressing in a couple of minutes, and you’ll know all the ingredients you are using. (Can you say that about the labels on the dressings in your fridge?)Then, treat yourself to a new workout regimen. Find a class that interests you. By having a set time to schedule the class into your week, you are less likely to miss it. Working out with others is so much easier than going it alone. Accountability and camaraderie give you a sure chance at success, and the benefits of a steady workout plan will make you feel great. In addition to burning calories and toning the body, exercise is meditative and allows your brain to relax and de-stress.With your new health program, you’ll forget the fun and overindulgence of the holiday season in no time and be looking and feeling sharp by winter’s thaw.Orange-walnut vinaigrette1⁄3 cup walnut oil 1⁄3 cup orange juice1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar1 clove garlic, minced1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest1 teaspoon soy sauce1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper Place all ingredients in a bowl or a jar with a tight-fitting lid; whisk or shake until well-combined. Store in refrigerator for as long as five days.Makes 3⁄4 cup.Honey tahini vinaigrette1⁄2 cup lemon juice1⁄3 cup extra-virgin olive oil1⁄3 cup tahini2 tablespoons honey2 cloves garlic, minced1 teaspoon saltFreshly ground pepper, to tastePlace first five ingredients in a bowl, and whisk until well-combined. Season to taste with salt and fresh-ground pepper. Store in refrigerator as long as three days.Makes 11⁄4 cup.Classic dijon vinaigrette1⁄4 cup red-wine vinegar1⁄2 teaspoon Dijon mustard1⁄2 teaspoon sugar1 shallot, minced1 teaspoon coarse salt1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper3⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, sugar, shallot, salt and pepper, and then whisk in the olive oil. Store in refrigerator for as long as five days.Makes 1 cup.Sue Barham is the director of sales and marketing at Cima, now open in The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa. The newest restaurant concept from chef Richard Sandoval, Cima is a contemporary Latin kitchen, featuring bold, vibrant flavors with Latino roots, created with fresh ingredients and global cooking techniques. Visit http://www.richardsandoval.com.
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