7 Simple (and Healthy) Salad “Dressings”

I’m a weirdo… I LOVE vegetables! And that includes salads…



But, when you put a ton of dressing on the salad you miss out on the deliciousness of the veggies AND you’re usually adding extra calories, preservatives and fat to your otherwise healthy meal. I’d rather not sacrifice the amount of calories I can eat in a day for salad dressing, so I turn to my go-to salad “dressing” options. Here they are (in no particular order).

1.) Salsa

With less than 10 calories per tablespoon, salsa is great on southwestern style or tacos salads. I choose picante style usually since it’s more like a sauce and I can drizzle it over my greens.

2.) Tajin

This one can be a little bit harder to find, but it’s a chile, lime, salt spice mix that is so tasty on salads. I usually use it on  grilled chicken salads that include lots of cucumber and carrots.

3.) Citrus

A squeeze of orange, lemon, lime, or even grapefruit on your salad right before you chow down is delicious! If you want something a little less sour… squeeze the citrus into a small bowl and whisk in some melted honey or liquid/powdered stevia until it’s at the sweetness level you desire.

4.) Hot sauce

Okay, this one may seem a bit odd, but it goes hand in hand with my love of all things Mexican and hot. Sprinkle some salsa picante (not Frank’s Red Hot or Tabasco) on your greens and see how you like it. I LOVE this on a salad topped with an over-easy egg or two!

5.) Over-easy Eggs

Since I mentioned them above… over-easy or over-medium eggs are a great way to have some sauciness on your salad. Just cook the egg, allow to cool for a second or two so you don’t wilt your salad and then place directly on top of your greens. When you’re ready to chow down, cut open the egg and let the yolk be your dressing!

6.) Reduced or Aged Balsamic Vinegar

So, this one is a bit more complex if you want to make it yourself, but balsamic vinegar on its own makes a great salad dress. I find that the regular, un-aged or non-reduced stuff is too thin for me. So, I take my balsamic and reduce it in a small pot over med-low heat until it simmers and thickens up a little bit. You can also buy aged balsamic that is a bit thicker and tends to have a more robust flavor.

7. Aminos!

Aminos are an amazing soy sauce substitute, so they’re also great sprayed on Asian-inspired salads like a Mandarin orange, grilled chicken salad or a bok choy, mushroom, bean sprout salad. Just a few sprays or a light drizzle is all you need!

What are your favorite salad toppers? 


#TBT? No no no…#TTO…Endless Uses

I have a growing love for essential oils and this little image from Swanson Vitamins came into my inbox today… thought I’d share the wonders of Tea Tree Oil (TTO).

Tea Tree Oil

Personally, I use it as a skin cleanser. It has anti-bacterial properties so placing a small amount on blemishes a few minutes prior to washing you face helps kill the surface bacteria. Some people hate the smell though, but you can add some Sweet Orange essential oil to the tea tree for use on your face… not only does it enhance the smell, it also helps with pore cleansing as well (win-win!).

What’s your fave #essentialoil?

Thankful Thursday!

So, I know I’ve missed the opportunity for quite a few Thankful Thursday posts, but today I’m truly thankful for…

family ziplining



I just spent a week in Florida visiting two sides of my family, and boy am I exhausted! We did saw so much, and now that I’m back I think I may need another week just to recuperate!

But, that’s definitely not happening because tonight it’s also back to teaching spin! My students better be ready for me because I put together a Back in the Saddle playlist for them knowing I’d need a good post-vacay workout (altho I did get in a spin class, a nice long run, and walked and walked and walked while I was away).

Check out the playlist on Rhapsody

It’s a climb, jump, hill, sprint profile that features a song from Aerosmith’s new album and a classic from LL Cool J 😀 I’m super tired but pumped to try it out!

What are YOU thankful for this Thursday!?

Is it March already!?

I can’t believe we are already almost a week into March! And that I haven’t posted my final FebruHABITS update! I did pretty good… only missed two days!

Like all my stickers? (I promise I’m really not a nerd)

Finished FebruHABITS

But I think I developed a serious drinking problem… I’ve become a camel! 1 gallon of water everyday sometimes isn’t even enough! I try to stick to just 1 gallon though so that I don’t desalinate my insides too much (and I’ve started craving salt, so I think I’m in the danger zone).

So, how did things wrap up for you guys?! Is there anyone out there who made it through the whole month?  

My reward to myself was…



My cousins and I had a little reunion in Florida for one cousin’s birthday, and we scored some free passes to Disney! (We are going to see Harry Potter later today!!!! again… I promise I’m not a nerd…okay maybe just a little bit)

I’ve eaten so many delicious things it’s not even funny, but I AM starting a new challenge hosted by Powercakes and a few others. It’s called #PowerlBowlADay and you can sign up through this awesome app called ChallengeLoop (you don’t have to download the app tho)! If you’re wondering what a powerbowl is check out the Challenge description… Powercakes describes it all!

Here’s one of my powerbowls from vaca… Powerbowl1

Steamed broc, a can of sodium-free diced tomatoes with chiles, spinach, and some nooch/yogurt sauce. I ate it with some corn chips…um…YUM! I LOVE vegetables…especially broccoli!

Do you have a fave veggie? Or, a favorite meatless dish that could be turned into a powerbowl? I need more ideas! 


Thankful Thursday!

Happy Thursday!!!

I’ve been thinking about how many things I have to be thankful for in my life, and I love alliteration, so it’s Thankful Thursday! This morning I woke up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 6:30am (and I’m NOT a morning person)…no alarm…just woke up! And, I’m so thankful that I had the extra time to do some devotional readings, catch up on the news, go to the post office, and have a quick chat with a dear friend…all before work! God is certainly good to me in more ways than I can even realize!

Waking up early also gave me time to think about how I could celebrate that today’s #powerplant letter is G! So…

G is for…

G is for..

Gift giving… I love sending packages to friends 🙂

Green goodness in a glass… this morning I made my smoothie with 1C kale, 1 pear, 1C almond milk, some aloe vera juice, a scoop of chlorella, a few ice cubes and some stevia… It was delicious!

Green goodness on a plate… my co-worker made us lunch! Salmon filets on a bed of spinach! So, I added my home-made rainbow salsa and chowed down #plantpower style.

Getting to get away! I’ll be headed to the Sunshine state in 20 days!!! Just another reason why FebruHABITS are so helpful this month… summer is just around the corner!

What are you thankful about this Thursday!?

Are you looking forward to anything at the end of the month? 


It’s almost February! AH! How did that happen?! February…hmmm…Will Phil see his shadow? Is it a leap year? And, what sort of sadist decided to lump all the holidays together where being single seems to equate you with a leper? But at least it means there’s only 6 more months until the Canfield Fair with my boo Deanna!

Canfield Fair

Ok, but seriously…February also seems to be a month where people start falling off the wagon in terms of their 2013 goals. It gets bitterly cold and dank out (altho this nice warm spell in DC is GREAT!) and I know I would rather sit on the couch in my comfy sweatpants than think about being social, working out, or trying a new recipe!

So, along with some other challenges that are floating (#Plantpower with Powercakes and the 2013 Challenge) a few friends and I have decided to band together to keep one another accountable and encouraged as we work on building new habits!

You may have heard that it takes 21-30 days to build a habit… I thought that was a cold hard fact! But, recent research from the University College of London suggests that the 21-30 day habit building ideal is actually a myth, saying that evidence for the 21-day cycle is purely anecdotal. WHAT?!? Then how do you build new habits effectively, and how long does it take? Welp, it depends on YOU! Everyone is differently, beautifully, and wonderfully made, so any kind of cookie cutter diet/fad/plan/etc will either leave you feeling like…

  • A: a CHAMP… you are already on step 9 of 12 and it’s only day 2
  • B: a WIMP… you don’t even know where to start and figure you’ll fail anyway
  • C: like CRAP… you started off great but it’s been 2 weeks and you’ve seen 0 changes

Sound familiar? For a long time I always ended up in category C… I start off with great intentions and then life happened, someone brought birthday cake to the office and I would feel like IT’S ALL OVER…today is shot, might as well throw in the towel and have a cheeseburger or Chic Fil-A (mmm Chic Fil-A waffle fries are made of 100% magic) right?

WRONG! Building a habit, a new lifestyle, a new diet (and I mean diet as in the way you eat NOT some unattainable fad you adopt for a month and then crash because you can’t live on cabbage), isn’t about beating yourself up. It’s about taking small steps FORWARD!

I started to see results in my own life (health and fitness wise as well as discipline wise) after really taking a look at what I was eating through My Fitness Pal, chatting with my friend Tracy about nutrition and exercise, and generally keeping myself honest with… well… MYSELF!

So what’s FebruHABITS all about?

It’s NOT just about HEALTH GOALS…although those are great and would be a good addition. It IS about setting small, attainable goals that you’re comfortable sharing with others, getting accountability to KEEP MOVING FORWARD in your pursuit of those goals, and CELEBRATING your achievements at the end of the month!

How does it work?

#1 you need to a pick a reward… that’s the fun part! Maybe you’ll get that new pair of shoes you’ve been eyeing, dinner at your fave restaurant, or a new piece of cooking equipment…whatever you choose, but make it something out of the ordinary.

#2 choose at least one simple daily goal! You can choose more than one (I broke mine down into categories, two small goals for each, 6 in total) but keep them S.M.A.R.T. & don’t go overboard!  It could be health and fitness related (do 25 push-ups everyday), spiritual (read a new Bible verse each day), or even interpersonal (talk to one stranger everyday!) They shouldn’t be… lose 5lbs, eat more veggies…that’s not specific nor measurable enough! (shoot me a comment if you need help developing your goals)

My goals…

  • HEALTH: Drink 1 gallon of water every day (that seems like a lot but I’ve been working up to 1gal for awhile now, so I know it’s attainable)
  • HEALTH: Make my daily food intake from #Plantpower with Powercakes except on Mondays
  • SPIRITUAL: Read a Proverb every day & Journal on Monday nights
  • PERSONAL: Read at least one chapter of Great Expectations a night (I have been trying to finish this book for FOREVER)
  • PERSONAL: Keep in touch with all of YOU by posting for FebruHABITS each week!

#3 Download the FebruHabits Calendar, put your goals at the bottom, print it off and hang it somewhere you see everyday… I’m guessing that for most of us that’s the refrigerator! AND post your goals below so we all know what you’re up to 🙂


#4 check off each day when you’ve completed your goals and start doing a happy dance as we sail through February! Miss a day? NO PROBLEM! Tomorrow is a new day! And you get 3 cheat days (that’s 90% success rate)…although no cheating is the preference 😉

#5 Be sure to check in each week to see what’s new, get some encouragement, and let me know how you’re doing! You can also follow me on instagram @spoonfulofsara and post your #FebruHABITS pics (maybe extra accountability? 😉

So…what are your FebruHABITs goals? Are you nervous, excited, both? 

Two new adventures and the healthiest chocolate pudding you’ve ever eaten!

So Monday I got to experience Inauguration 2013 firsthand! It was COLD, but it was also an amazing experience that I will remember for a lifetime and my first new adventure of 2013! I love living in Washington, DC!

We were even closer than this during the ceremony!

inaug 2013

What’s adventure #2? Well, over the past few years I’ve been trying to decide what career path would make me excited to go to work each day while providing me with the opportunity to grow and help others do the same. A few months ago I had a lightbulb moment, and decided I wanted to pursue a career in the health and fitness field. Yesterday, I finally took a huge step on my journey into a new career by submitting my application for a Master’s in Health Promotion! It’s only one small step on the road to a career in the public health field, but it feels like a giant leap after years of feeling like I don’t know where I’m headed. One application down, one to go!

Fingers Crossed!

Photo on 1-22-13 at 4.39 PM #2

So, to celebrate my new adventure (even tho the real celebration will be if I get into the program)…I made the best/healthiest pudding/most antithetical dish you’ve probably never made/tasted/everthoughtexisted…

Chocolate Avocado Pudding/Dip (2 servings) 


  • 1 ripe avocado, medium in size (about 150g)
  • 2 TBSP Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder
  • 1-2 TBSP honey (depending on how sweet you like it and how much stevia you use)
  • A few drops of chocolate flavored liquid stevia (which you can leave out)

Put all ingredients in a food processor. Whir whir whir until smooth, and then put it in the fridge for about an hour (if you can wait that long).

Since I like to keep my snack/meals balanced between carbos and protein, so I took this yummy chocolatety deliciousness and put it on top of some greek yogurt, added a dollop of Straw/cran Chia Jam and some crushed walnuts…YUM-O!

My Avocado Pudding Concoction

Bonus? Avocados are rich in Potassium, B vitamins, vitamin K and E, and contain monounsaturated fats, which help reduce LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol). And… avocados are high in fiber (about 6.7g fiber per 100g avocado), which when added to the 2g of fiber you get from the cocoa powder gives this recipe a whopping dose of roughly 12g of natural fiber and 3g of protein per serving.

Do you have any new adventures going on in 2013 or a crazy combo recipe to share?