I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions, partly because I always knew I didn’t have it in me to stick with one for more than a day or two, and partly because if I was going to make a positive change in my life, I think any old arbitrary day would do as a starting point. And, well, that’s just what happened.
On December 27, 2014, the day before I turned [age redacted],
and my metabolism would officially slow forever… I joined a gym.
But it was surprising for me. You see, I have never been to a gym. I have never played on a sports team (even in school). I have never gone for a run. I have never really… well, exercised, outside of walking pretty much everywhere which- I promise you, those Hollywood starlets that play like that’s allllll the exercise they do for a six-pack and a thigh-gap are lying.
More surprisingly, I have been there every day since.
Most surprisingly of all, I love it.
Wait… no, that can’t be right?
Nope, I love the gym.
All you fitness buffs have told me this for ages, “loving the gym,” but I never believed you. To be honest, I always assumed you were insane and/or a part of some deeply disturbing fitness cult. (Maybe I unwittingly joined a fitness cult?!?!)
And I don’t just love the gym afterwards either, when my endorphins are pumping liquid happy straight to my veins. I love the gym during. I love the gym beforehand. I crave… the gym.
My actual resolution is to not drink for the month of January, since my blood alcohol has been steep and steady since mid-December. Maybe eat more greens, too? Adding more veggies to one’s diet is always a good thing, especially after padding out my consistent blood alcohol levels with cheese and bacon jam for the good part of a month.
Jeez, gym and no booze bloat, I can probably eat whatever the heck I want with that combo! But, you know, veggies are always a good choice…
I love a good salad, but if I’m going to eat one as a main, it needs to have major substance to it. I love all the different colours and textures in this salad and topping it with some salty, savoury protein is just the thing to upgrade this into Main Dish territory. If I’m feeling really hungry, I’ll even make a pot of rice vermicelli and put the salad and chicken over top the noodles- talk about a healthy dish that really hits the spot!
The dressing for this Vietnamese veggie bowl is the perfect balance of sweet, salty, sour and bitter (with a touch of spice!), making the flavours of all the fresh veggies really sing. Best of all, since bok choy, sui choy and even romaine all have rather sturdy leaves, the salad holds up well as leftovers- even after being dressed! (hellooo January work day lunches)
So, we’ll see how long this gym thing lasts, and how far I can make it without cracking into the Sauvignon Blanc. One thing is for sure, I will definitely keep enjoying this salad year round!
|Vietnamese Salad with Black Bean Roasted Chicken|| |
- 4 florets baby bok boy, leaves roughly chopped
- 6 leaves sui choy, roughly chopped
- 4 leaves fresh romaine lettuce, roughly chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 cucumber, cut into matchsticks
- 2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
- ½ bunch fresh mint, leaves chopped
- ½ bunch fresh basil, leaves chopped
- ½ bunch fresh cilantro, leaves chopped
- ½ cup peanuts, lightly roasted
- ¼ cup lime juice
- ¼ cup fish sauce*
- 2 Tbsp red onion, finely diced
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
- 1 tsp garlic, crushed
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp soy sauce**
- 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
- ¼-1/2 tsp chili flakes (less for mild spice)
- Black Bean Chicken:
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts***
- 2 Tbsp Chinese black bean sauce
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Coat chicken breasts with black bean sauce and lay in a small roasting pan. Bake in a preheated oven for 10 minutes, flip, then bake for an additional 10 minutes. If you get particularly large chicken breasts, each side might take 15 minutes so test after the 20 minute cooking time- if the juices run clear, your chicken is cooked through, if not, return the breasts to the oven for an additional 10 minutes.
- Chop all salad ingredients and place in a (very) large bowl.
- Mix all dressing ingredients together in a small mixing bowl.
- Dress salad and top each portion with the grilled chicken breasts.
** If you are gluten-free, make sure to use a GF soy sauce like a high quality tamari.
*** The chicken in this dish may be substituted with the protein of your choice- prawns, beef, tofu, etc.