Flavoring With Lemon Instead of Salt: Lemon Pepper Salmon and Spiced Sriracha Asparagus

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Sunkist lemons. All delicious recipes and opinions are my own.

Hello Friday!

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I want to share with you a dinner that Neil and I made the other night. I was challenged by Sunkist lemons to remove some (or in our case all) of the salt that is so prevalent in cooking these days.  Americans, on average, consume twice the recommended amount of sodium. By using lemons, this amount can be significantly decreased.

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Now I love salt as much as the next person, but I was willing to give this a try.  According to the recommendations, you don’t have to completely remove the salt, but I do everything to the extreme, so the salt was off the table (oh man I’m funny).

What I found interesting was that they advised using lemon zest before cooking and saving the lemon juice for after. Adding the juice after cooking allows for more flavor, more vibrant colors on vegetables, and it helps to protect the texture of meats.  I don’t have a zester, so I used a fine grater.  I don’t think it’s quite the same, but it did the job.

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We picked salmon because it’s pretty salty on it’s own (is that cheating?).  Neil came up with an interesting coating for the asparagus that actually turned out really well.  All the food was delicious and I didn’t miss the salt (too much).  I am pretty basic with my flavorings on food though and usually eat salads without dressing, so that may be why I thought this was so good.  Try it out and let me know how you like it!

Lemon Pepper Salmon

  • 2 6 oz salmon filets
  • pepper to taste
  • lemon zest to taste
  • juice of half a lemon
  1. Sprinkle pepper and lemon zest onto one side of the filet.
  2. Grill for about 5 minutes.
  3. Once removed from the grill, squeeze half a lemon over the filets (or more or less to taste).

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Lemon Spiced Sriracha Asparagus

  • asparagus spears
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • few sprigs of dried rosemary
  • 1/2 Tbsp Sriracha
  1. Grill (or roast) asparagus until tender.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and Sriracha together.
  3. Once removed from heat, brush the lemon mixture over the asparagus.

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We also cooked up some quinoa to go along with dinner. Feel free to omit or use any other grain you’d like such as pasta or rice.  Happy eating!!

For more information on the research behind using lemons to replace salt, recipes you can make at home, and Sunkist lemons in general, please visit their site here.

Question(s) of the day: Do you eat a lot of salt? What other foods would be good with lemons instead of salt?

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Year One

Today is mine and Neil’s one year wedding anniversary!

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If you came in late to this blog, we actually have two.  Before we got married, I hadn’t had health insurance in 4 years.  I wasn’t able to go to the dentist or just get regular annual exams because the cost was too prohibitive.  To be honest, I also wasn’t making my health as big of a priority, so the years went by without any medical care.

Once I got into recovery and started making an amends to my body for the way I had treated (or mistreated) it, I realized that I wanted to get my basic exams out of the way so that I could make sure that I had a clean bill of health.  Right before I lost my job and my health insurance, I had gotten some questionable results and never followed up on them, so now my overactive and often irrational imagination made up all sorts of deadly plagues that now afflicted me. (Don’t worry, I was fine).

Neil and I were already engaged by this point, but our wedding was being planned for the end of October.  We decided that since we were going to get married anyway, we would just make it official in July and I could get health insurance.  I went through all kinds of emotions because we were doing things in a nontraditional way and I was worried about what other people would think.  You can read about how I got over that in this post if you are interested.

We went to the courthouse, had some vows, then had some delicious food.  Everything worked out really well because our ceremony and reception in October had about 300 people and this was a way for just the two of us to take the time to commit to each other in a simple way.  Our relationship is the two of us and that’s what we wanted when we actually made it official.  Today is actually our dating anniversary as well, so it all worked out quite nicely.

The past year has been filled with ups and downs, but I wouldn’t change any of it.  Since we lived together for 2 years before getting married, I didn’t expect the first year of marriage to be any different.  It does seem to be true what they say though, that the first year of marriage is the toughest.  (Well I can’t attest to future years, but you know what I mean).  I can’t tell you why and I don’t know what changes when you marry someone, but there have been challenges to work through that weren’t there before.  Today I am happy for challenges, though, because they help us grow as a couple and as individuals.  If you can talk about everything, you can get through anything.

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Tonight we are going to have dinner at the same restaurant as last year and make it a thing. I hope everyone has a great day!!

WIAW: Office Edition

Hello friends. Thankfully it is Wednesday, which means there are only two more days this week.  My birthday is this Sunday, so I am seeing family on Saturday and have virtually nothing planned on Sunday because I like calm. Realistically, I’ll probably get antsy and need to go do something, but I like that the option is there for nothing.

Let me jump into this week’s What I Ate Wednesday. I didn’t have many exciting meals this weekend, so I figured I would go back to my typical work week eats since it has been awhile. Check out Jenn’s blog for her WIAW linkup and explanation.  Thanks Jenn!

Breakfast

I had my normal breakfast yesterday of chocolate blueberry basil smoothie (I’m still not sick of it) and scrambled eggs and mushrooms.

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Snack #1

I had my daily double espresso, a banana, and a pumpkin pie Lara ALT bar.

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Lunch

I picked this up at Costco the other day because I thought it would make for a quick lunch. Granted, I can make this at home since the ingredients are all so simple, but I was feeling lazy.  I put it on a bed of mixed greens but forgot to take a picture of the final product.  If/when I make it myself, I am going to cut WAY back on the oil.  It is delicious, but too oily for me.

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Snack #2

I have inhaled all my homemade almond butter, so I ate this apple plain.  That’s still ok with me because it is a jazz apple and the best apple ever made in life.

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Dinner

Neil and I made dinner: salmon, asparagus, and quinoa.  Stay tuned on Friday for the recipe.  I am working with Sunkist on replacing salt with lemon juice.  This was all pretty bangin.

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So those are my eats from yesterday. My eating routine at work is basically the same every day which is why I don’t always like to feature it for WIAW.  I’ve had enough fancy weekend meals lately, though, so it’s always good to come back to basics.  Happy eating!

Question of the day: What have you been eating lately?

Half Marathon Training

Happy Tuesday everyone!

I started today out with a 7 am run before work.  Generally in life I like to assume that I know everything and that I am always right, so when it comes to training for this half marathon, I GOT THIS.  Because of the consequences that that mentality have gotten me, however, I have come to accept in my (almost) 30 years that I do not know everything and I am not always right, as much as I would like to be.

So I decided to actually research training for a half marathon.  The first thing that popped up in my research was Hal Higdon’s training plans.  For anyone unfamiliar with Hal, check out his bio here.  From his site, he has been “running and writing for half a century.” He has written more articles for Runner’s World than any other contributor, authored 36 books, and has an incredible and prestigious running career.

He has 4 different training plans for a half marathon: novice 1, novice 2, intermediate, and advanced.  There is even a training plan for walking a half marathon if you’re interested.  Since I have been running for awhile, I felt that the novice 1 was a little too basic for me.  I settled on the novice 2 because once you get to intermediate there are a lot of tempo runs and serious pace work.  I run because I enjoy the way it makes me feel mentally and physically and I am not very interested in PRs or actual competitions.

The novice 2 plan is a very doable regimen for me and doesn’t involve much of a change in the way that I currently structure my runs.  The only main difference is the increasing length of the Saturday run.  For a complete breakdown of the program, visit his site.

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The race is about 8 weeks away, which puts me at week 4 this week.  Two weeks ago my long run wound up being 6.6 miles (the benefits of running with a friend and losing track of time), and last Saturday I got in 7 miles.  I was a little ahead of myself those last two weeks, but my friend Carly and I have a 7 mile run planned this Saturday and an 8 mile one next week.

Looking ahead, August is filled with weddings that take up a lot of weekends, so I may have to get creative with my run structuring.  It took me two weeks to realize that Sunday says cross training, which I may do or I may eat.  I haven’t decided yet.

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So that is my plan. This morning I did 3 miles and plan to run tomorrow and Thursday mornings as well.  You guys can keep me accountable so that I can rock this race.  Once I fine tune my fueling for this training, I will share that as well.  Have a great Tuesday!

Question of the day: Have you ever followed a training program? Did you find it helpful?

Running and Relaxing

Happy Monday!

Even though I didn’t do too much this weekend, it felt like it flew by.  Maybe I’ve been spoiled by those three day weekends.  So now it is back to work and figuring out this training schedule for my first half marathon in September.  Sweet.

Saturday

Neil had a work thing that kept him out until around 5 pm, so Saturday was mine for the taking.  I woke up and went for a 7 mile run.  Thanks Fitbit for this sweet recap. I’m still undecided on how I feel about it, but once I solidify my opinions, I’ll let you know.  I need to wear my Garmin and this at the same time, because I feel like the Fitbit is a little generous on the distance.

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I barely survived because a) I think I started a little too late and the heat tried to kill me and b) I need to adjust my fueling to the increased mileage.  After I injured myself and took a month hiatus, my appetite went down and I wasn’t eating as much.  I also get most of my carbs from fruit and vegetables, which isn’t going to cut it during training mode.  I need to do some more research on getting enough carbs while also avoiding gluten. More to come on that.

After the run I went immediately to the pool (pit stop for all the ice water I could gulp and my chocolate blueberry basil smoothie) and acted like a lizard for 2 hours. It was glorious.

Once I came home, I grabbed my daily espresso from Starbucks and got to working on my media kit for this site.  I spent a good 2 hours trying to do 8 things at once (connect with me on LinkdIn!) and ended up with a headache.  Sometimes my need for immediate gratification gets the best of me.  I want everything RIGHT NOW.

When Neil was free, I met him and some of his co workers for pho (forgot to picture) and then we grabbed some frozen yogurt from Tutti Frutti. There are two frozen yogurt places that opened up in the same shopping center and I like to go to the smaller one because I feel bad for them.  That’s not the entire reason; they also have Taro flavor which I haven’t seen anywhere else.  It’s my favorite.

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Sunday

Sunday I headed to MD to hang out with a friend and came back to VA around 2 pm.  We met for brunch and I got a veggie omelet. I’m comfortable in my box.

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After brunch we wandered around nature:

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Neil and I went to see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes when I got back which was pretty good. The visual effects were incredible, but I’m not sure the story line was anything exceptional. It was good, not great, but enjoyable.

After the movie we headed to Froots, a local smoothie/wrap place that I had wanted to check out.  We didn’t get a smoothie, but both got wraps for dinner.  Again, it was good, not great, but enjoyable.  Neil had a turkey wrap and I had a tuna one.  Neil doesn’t like taking pictures.

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The rest of the night was pretty low key and I finished off the rest of my almond butter by slathering it all over some medjool dates. I can’t stop!

I hope everyone had a great weekend!!

Question of the day: Have you seen any good movies lately? What’s your favorite frozen yogurt flavor?