That means, my close friends and relatives, my comfortably unchanging neighborhood, and lots, lots of meals that smell like home. More about those irresistible, comfort foods later.
Montreal is really a beautiful city, which I wholly underestimated. We spent time visiting it's natural splendor, watching some animals roam in their natural habitat. You know, things I wouldn't do if I actually still lived there.
They even posed for me.
We also went strolling through the old port. A historic neighborhood in downtown Montreal, that makes you feel, even just for a second, that you're in Europe. The city has a deep history, charming architecture, and eclectic shops. All of which, coupled with pleasant weather, made for delightful afternoons.
But you're probably wondering about the food. Rest assured, we worked the restaurant scene. We frequented Pizza Pita more times than I care to admit. We made our rounds between Chez Benny, Chops, and Sprinklez. I know, I'm terrible, I should have taken pictures to share with you. But for the most part, I spent meals at my mother's table.
My mother, she's a very traditional cook, preferring fried schnitzel and fish bathing in deep oily sauces (think corbina filet in tomato lemon sauce, a Libyan dish). And so, I couldn't resist the smells that permeated my mother's cozy orange-walled kitchen. The smells I grew up inhaling, and the ones that trigger those cozy, homey feelings inside. Naturally, I saluted my Clean diet farewell and dug deep into the dishes that remind me most of home. (With time, I'll share a few.)
Reality hit when I landed back in LA. I missed the healthy habits I had been slowly integrating into my life. So I thought I would start a theme. Yes, a fun theme to get me back to munching on greens. My next few blog posts will feature some of my favorite salads. You have to admit, there's no better time than in the summer to enjoy the lightness and crispness of a big bowl of fresh, colorful vegetables (and fruits!).
The first in this small series is a Pineapple Lentil Salad. I first came across the idea of putting lentils in a salad in the recipe section of the Clean book I mentioned here. Initially, I thought it was weird. Lentils pair up well with rice, couscous, and even mushrooms, but with lettuce it seemed like an odd match. To me, at least. I tried it anyway, for the sake of stretching my comfort level. I added pineapple, and it was perfect. Such a balance of sweet, salty and crunchy. I also threw in a sprinkle of seeds to boost its nutritional value and voila, a perfect lunch or dinner that left me undeniably satiated. The high protein content combined with the healthy fat will keep you surprisingly full for longer than you think.
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Pineapple Lentil Salad
1 cup of lentils, cooked with a touch of cumin and a sprinkle of salt
1/2 cup of pineapple, diced
1/4 cup of baby carrots, sliced
1 head of remaine lettuce, chopped
a handful of parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon of chia seeds
1/2 tablespoon of raw sunflower seeds
1/2 tablespoon of flax seeds
1/8 cup of extra virgin olive oil
juice from half a lemon
sea salt and pepper
In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients. Add dressing and toss to coat.