♫ Cooking to Red Lights by Tiësto
It was only a matter of time until I mentioned one of my latest obsessions on this blog. And no, I’m not talking about a newfound vegetable or clever kitchen gadget. I’m talking about the best workout of my entire life…Barry’s Bootcamp! They opened their first location in SF last June, and working out there 4-5 days a week has been transformational. I’m happier and feel better, both inside and out. The Barry’s Bootcamp instructors are super positive and energetic, the hour-long workouts are intense, and the music is just what you need to push your limits. There’s a real sense of community, especially when you start to see the same faces sweat it out at 7am.
So now that we’ve got that out of the way, I can introduce you to one of the craziest challenges I’ve had to go through: a 30-day no added sugar, no white flour, and no alcohol challenge. This was organized by one of my favorite Barry’s instructors, the amazing Erica Stenz. I signed up to test my willpower – could I really do this? I usually roll my eyes at these types of challenges, but I was really bought in on giving this a shot.
And…I made it! Don’t get me wrong, there were definitely a slip ups on the sugar and flour, especially because sugar is added to everything – even bacon! It was much easier than expected to cut out the alcohol even when faced with a bachelorette party, the Beyoncé + Jay Z concert, Outside Lands music festival, and many more tempting events over the last four weeks. Was it worth it? Well, after 30 days, I look and, more importantly, feel the best I ever have.
So, with all that in mind, I’d like to share a new salad recipe with you that I enjoyed while on my challenge. No added sugar is quite the challenge for a girl with a sweet tooth, so I’ve been finding ways to sneak fruit into some more savory dishes. In this salad, the spicy radishes, sweet green grapes, and tart goat cheese all work really well together, especially when tossed with mache lettuce (aka lamb’s lettuce), which has a nutty flavor. I prefer to lightly dress this salad with a really simple champagne vinaigrette (recipe below). During the challenge, I used lemon juice or balsamic vinegar with olive oil, salt, pepper, and minced shallot, if I had it on hand.
Tip for cutting goat cheese: Let the cheese chill in the freezer for about 10 minutes before you attempt to cut it. It’ll be much easier to cleanly slice through and the cheese won’t smear all over the place when you’re tossing the salad.
- Champagne Vinaigrette:
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cups mache lettuce (can substitute with baby spinach, arugula, or mixed greens)
- 1½ cups green grapes, halved
- 5 medium radishes, thinly sliced
- ⅓ cup herbed or plain goat cheese, cut into small pieces
- For the vinaigrette, combine the vinegar, shallot, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking quickly to form a creamy vinaigrette.
- In a large salad bowl, add the mache lettuce, green grapes, and radishes. Toss the salad, adding as much vinaigrette as desired. Add the goat cheese and gently toss. Serve immediately.