The Bitter Truth and Garbage Salad

Please, don’t judge my horrible absence.  Its been a month since I’ve shared anything with you lovelies.  I’ll confess that I thought it had been MUCH longer.

I’ll make another confession….  I’m fighting off the desire to paint my sorely neglected toe nails to bring a post to my even more neglected readers.

It’s been a summer of GO! GO! GO!  With Tucker’s cowboying schedule, Grady’s recent weekend cattle shipping schedule, 4-H projects, the county fair, keeping up with the garden and the everyday routine of work and household responsibilities, I have felt busier THIS summer than I ever felt any summer that Grady was actively ranch rodeoing.  It’s. Been. Nuts!

So…. there’s my excuse as to why you haven’t seen any updates from me in recent weeks.  The fair is over and shipping season is coming to an end which means that both my cowboys are done with their travels for a while.  School is getting ready to start in a week and a half which I welcome with open arms.  School = ROUTINE!!!  …and I LOVE routine.

I know I’ve talked about my battle with water retention over the past year.  After a visit with my doctor and some routine testing just over a year ago he determined there wasn’t a serious underlying cause (thank heavens!) and prescribed a low dose water pill and continued monitoring.  The meds did their job until about six months ago.  I started to notice that no matter how hard I tried to keep my sodium intake at the daily recommended allowance I woke up every morning swollen.  Back to the doctor I went.  We retested and determined that I am one of a small percentage of people whose body simply can not process sodium.  This was NOT pleasant news, but better than other possible causes for the retention.  Now, I have to keep my salt intake to the absolute bare minimum.

This has made me look at my nutrition and health plan in a whole new light.  Canned foods are off limits, as much as possible.  Cheese and lunch meats are big no-no’s, which makes me want to stomp my feet and throw a big two-year-old tantrum.  Salting recipes is now strictly measured.  If you thought I made everything from scratch before…  I REALLY try to stick to 100% homemade now.  It’s important to me to know how much of everything I’m putting in my body.

Do I allow myself to have some of these things on occasion?  Yes, in moderation and not too often.  I read labels religiously.  If I allow myself some cheese, I make sure that everything for that day is in line with fitting that salty cheese into my menu.

I have to say that it’s been eye opening realizing just how much salt we consume in this country.  IT’S OFF THE CHARTS!!!!  After a month of the drastically reduced intake I can barely eat “regularly” seasoned foods.  It’s too much, folks!!!!  I would challenge each of you to reduce your salt intake and see just what I’m talking about.  It’s quite amazing how much of our food we’re NOT really tasting because we cover it up with so much salt.  Yes, we need salt to accent the flavors in most things, BUT what we don’t realize is that we’re so used to OVER-salted food that we are really completely covering up the amazing flavors of the natural ingredients.  It does take some adjustment and some getting used to.  It’s like kicking any old habit.  We have to wean ourselves off of it.  …but what you find out in the end is so much better!!!

With this new way of eating I’ve worked on getting creative with my menu.  It’s been kind of fun.  I recently made straight from the garden, homemade spaghetti sauce.  It was out of this world!  I used it to make a goulash type dish for the family and a simple veggie sauce for myself with whole wheat pasta.  I LOVED it.

Another new love I’ve found is what I’m calling Garbage Salad.

DSC_0239 copyI recently tried a panzanella recipe that I enjoyed.  Then I saw a post about a fresh salad without greens.  I love salad.  I eat it as a meal at least 4 or 5 times a week, but I was getting kind of bored with my same old version.  I took a little direction from both the panzanella and the green-less salad.  The point of the green-less salad was to use up veggies in the fridge that would be on the verge of going bad.  This is where my name, Garbage Salad, came from.  If it didn’t go in the salad it would end up in the garbage in a matter of days.  (I’m also trying to turn over a newly frugal leaf and wasting food is unacceptable!!!)

Thursday night I came home and got busy emptying the fridge of my “on the verge” veggies.  Here’s what I used that night.

Garbage Salad

1 large red garden tomato, chunked

1 large yellow garden tomato, chunked

8-12 large cherry tomatoes, any variety (we have Indigo Rose tomatoes from the garden)

1 medium zucchini (raw), cubed

red onion, thinly sliced (approx. 1/4 of a large onion)

1 can garbanzo beans, thoroughly rinsed and drained

1 medium cucumber, seeded and chunked

1 ear of sweet corn, cut off cob

1 handful cilantro, chopped, or 10-12 basil leaves, chopped (if you don’t like cilantro)

1/2 cup dry quinoa cooked in 1/2 cup low sodium chicken stock and 1/2 cup water (season with garlic powder, onion powder and fresh ground pepper)


1/8 cup olive oil

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

juice of one lemon or lime (lemon will work for either basil OR cilantro, but the lime works best for the cilantro version)

1/4 tsp Morton Lite salt

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

Mix all the veggies and cooked quinoa in a large bowl.  Add all the dressing ingredients in a small mason jar and shake vigorously until well mixed.  Dress the salad and toss to coat well.  Serve.  Should make approximately 3, 2 cup servings.  It may not seem like much dressing, but trust me on this one.  I actually made twice as much that night and it was way too much!

And there you have it.  I actually did have some romaine lettuce.  I put the salad over a bed of the lettuce and it was fabulous!  If you’ve never tried a salad with quinoa added, I HIGHLY recommend it!  I loved the texture it added.

Here’s the skinny: (The sodium level is PERFECT!  …and you’ll never miss the salt for all the flavor.)

Nutrition Facts
Servings 3.0
Amount Per Serving
Calories 253
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 11 g 17 %
Saturated Fat 1 g 7 %
Monounsaturated Fat 7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 1 mg 0 %
Sodium 162 mg 7 %
Potassium 711 mg 20 %
Total Carbohydrate 35 g 12 %
Dietary Fiber 6 g 25 %
Sugars 7 g
Protein 8 g 17 %

I challenge you to “clean out your fridge” tonight and create your own Garbage Salad.  The sky’s the limit!


Peace, love and trash talk!!!



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