Chris and I did some major adulting back in January. We worked hard on our budget and retirement investments - super adulting, am I right?! Just typing about it makes me feel old. Ugh. But as we were going through where the heck our money goes, one big thing we noticed...or Chris noticed and I really didn't pay much attention to, was how much we spend on groceries! I mean, we gotta eat. Honestly, we don't go out much because our little town kinda sucks when it comes to restaurants. I'd really rather cook something at home that I love, then paying to eat out for something that's just OK. So, our grocery bill is higher than average - and I'm OK with that.
After looking hard at where we were spending lots of dough (no pun intended), I was more mindful about what I was actually picking up at the grocery store. I'm trying to be less wasteful and more conscious of what I have in the house as I make my meals for the week so I don't make unnecessary purchases or over buy - which can happen pretty easily when I get excited about trying new recipes at home. But one big thing I noticed was how much meat we were buying. A ton! I usually go to Costco because they have a really good selection of organic meat, but I noticed I was kinda going there a lot for meat. I buy a bunch and do lots of freezing of the extras, but still...
So how do we solve this? Well, there is no negotiating about cutting meat out of our dinners for Chris, I am just getting him to ask "what veggies are we having with this..." I'm not going to push my luck to start a "Meatless Monday" meal just yet. However, I can totally cope with cutting meat out other ways. I remember in college, I would go days without eating meat, because, well, meat is expensive! But, I kept to my budget during that time and really didn't miss meat at all, so I am going to be trying more meatless lunches to see how I do.
Lately, I've been messing around more with beans and now lentils for lunch options. Both these are packed full of protein and fiber - not to mention very reasonably priced in the bulk bins.
Now, this salad has entered my life and I'm not even missing my chicken that I usually add into my mid day meals. Legumes and beans keep me full just as well as meat does and if I really feel like I need a little extra protein boost, I'll add an egg to the mix.
My office mate asked me what was in my bowl the other day and I described this salad to her - she didn't seem impressed thinking the flavors didn't really go together, but I promise they do. And yes, hummus is weird on a salad, I don't deny it, but it works! Also, kumquats! I first discovered kumquats last year after I saw a pack at Trader Joe's and tried them out randomly. I loved them and was so excited to see them pop up again this winter in the store. They are tangy and sweet at the same time. I like to keep them on hand for when I need a little snack every now and then. I can just pop them in my mouth and keep on going. If you can't find kumquats in your local store, you can try using a tangerine or tart orange instead.
So let's adult today. Let's go to work. Let's eat more salad. Let's eat ....lentils and try kumquats. :)
Lentil, Kumquat, and Hummus Salad
- 1-2 cups of greens (I typically use a mix of chopped kale and spinach)
- 4oz cooked green lentils
- 3-4 kumquats, sliced in half
- 1-2 tablespoons hummus
- 1 tablespoon pistachios
- 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
Cook lentils according to package directions or gets some tips here. Wash and dry your greens of choice. Chop or tear the greens into small bite size pieces. If using kale, massage the oil into the kale and then toss in the rest of you greens. If not, just toss your greens with the oil to coat. Top the greens with your cooked lentils, sliced kumquats, hummus, and pistachios. Salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!
Other Everyday Salads: