the heat wave

Happy hump day Swagsters!

Usually Wednesday being hump day doesn’t really do much for me. Working in the restaurant business kinda steals that away from you. But this week, I get a rare opportunity to enjoy this weekly phenomenon because after work on Friday, I’m officially on stay-cation until the following Tuesday! Yippee! I have lots of fun things planned starting with dinner at my all time favorite restaurant It’s Only Natural, in Middletown with two of my all time favorite people: Heather and Cait. Maybe you’ve heard me talk about them once or twice. 🙂 The next morning we’re going to a huge outdoor community yoga class in the middle of West Hartford Center. Saturday is also the day that my college best friend Holly comes to town! I can’t believe I haven’t seen her in nearly 3 years. Time flies, sometimes. Holly pretty much made my college experience amazing. We live very far apart now, she’s working on her PhD in Columbia, Missouri and is around my area attending a professional conference, so I am overjoyed to have the opportunity to see her. We have a lot of fun stuff planned as well, and I can’t wait to share it all with you! (Speaking of my college, Murray, KY was just named the Friendlies Town by USA Today Best of the Road 2012! Hooray Murray and MSU!)

Moving forward…

Let’s talk fitness. I feel like my workout routine is beginning to shift just a bit. It seems to have begun to do so pretty organically, on it’s own, and the past couple days I’ve been mulling over the ways in which I’d like to refine it. I’ve really been into doing BodyRockTV workouts lately. I love how intense they are, I’m always panting like a dog afterwards and even though they only last 12 minutes, I feel like I just worked for an hour. The problem I’ve encountered is that as much as I love to do high intensity almost every day, it’s a lot on the legs and after a couple days of HIIT, I need a break. But that’s the truth about HIIT workouts. They are called intense for a reason and your body needs adequate time to bounce back from that. So, for the sake of adding structure to my weeks, I’ve officially decided that for now, I’ll do two HIIT days followed by one yoga day. If I’m feeling it, I may throw in some upper body focus on yoga days. Rinse and repeat. I like the idea of this. It seems like a nice mixture of strength and flexibility!

So… it’s really hot. Again. I hate winter, I really do, but it’s hard not to wish summer away when I break a sweat making coffee in the morning. You’d think Mother Nature would be a little more considerate of those of us who don’t have the luxury of central air!

Because of this current heat wave, there is no part of me that wants anything to do with hot food. My lunch was hot yesterday, and it was sure tasty, but afterwards I knew that I had to keep it cool for the rest of the day. When it came time to think about dinner there was only one real option: salad. But I didn’t want just any average salad. I wanted something that was going to be interesting and memorable. Immediately I thought of that mango, coconut and pepper marinade sitting all cool and inviting in my fridge. But it’s kind of thick, so the bag of spring mix lettuces I had, I knew, wouldn’t stand up to it. What to do, then?

Enter: Jicama.

hello, lover.

I was impressed with my own genius on this one. Crunchy, light, and just a little sweet, jicama makes the perfect base for a summer salad.

I had planned to use the whole jicama, as it’s not very big, but as I got to slicing/shredding, I had a huge mound of salad after getting through just half of it. I also decided to shred some brussels sprouts into the mix. I almost never eat brussels sprouts any other way than crispy, roasted and lightly dipped smothered in ketchup, but I felt like going raw tonight was my only option. The last two components of my salad would be toasted coconut and tofu. Here’s what I ended up with:

the heat wave salad.

I call this baby The Heat Wave Salad, for more than one reason. First off, it’s PERFECT on a super hot day, when cooking seems like it could only lead to your own spontaneous combustion. Secondly, it’s SPICY thanks to the marinade.

This salad was so. good. It was so satisfying for being so light. I loved the raw, shredded brussels sprouts and definitely plan to eat them this way more often. The jicama was amazingly refreshing and the flavor profile of this marinade continues to blow my mind. Enjoy, swagsters!

The Heat Wave Salad
1 serving

1/4 block of extra firm tofu, pressed.
2 tbsp coconut flakes or shreds
1/2 medium jicama
4 brussels sprouts, stems removed
3 tbsp Cindy’s Kitchen Mango, Coconut and Pepper marinade

Cut your tofu into bite-size pizzas and place in a ziplock baggie with 1 tbsp of marinade. Set in the fridge to marinate while you prepare the rest of the salad.

Shave, shred or slice (to matchstick size) the jicama and set in your salad bowl. Cut the brussels sprouts in half, length-wise and then shred, working from the top of the sprout to the bottom. Place in your salad bowl and toss with jicama by hand. Pour the remaining 2 tbsp of marinade over jicama and sprouts, toss once more and set to the side. In a small skillet over med-high heat, place coconut shreds and toast until aromatic and browning. Careful not to burn! Once toasted, pour over your salad. Finally, remove tofu from the fridge, spray your skillet with non-stick spray and sautee your tofu. Careful, the hot pan may cause your sauce to spatter a bit. I took a few hits to the arm but nothing major. If you’d rather, use a new skillet that isn’t already hot as to avoid potential burns. Sautee tofu until it is crispy on all sides and pour over the top of your salad.

Eat, swoon, and look longingly forward to your next opportunity to munch on this baby.

Last thing for the day Swagsters… if you’re going along with me and listing 3 reasons you’re proud of yourself every night, keep going strong! I know it’s awkward at first, but it’s such great practice. It’s important to remind yourself you’re praiseworthy every day!

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6 thoughts on “the heat wave

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