Almond and Olive “Faux-Bulgur” Salad [and me chin-wagging about CrossFit]
I haven’t told you, have I?
Time to rectify the situation: I finally started doing CrossFit!
That’s right! I finally worked up the courage and took the plunge. A little less than 2 months ago, I found it in me to walk through the box’s door and, right then and there, committed to starting the very next Monday.
I haven’t looked back and have been going 5 times a week since.
How is it, you ask? FANTASTIC, I reply. While I can’t say it made me a complete convert and that I like nothing more in life now than to work out, I must admit that CrossFit really does have something going for it.
I was at a point in my life where I knew I had to do something. No matter how great the P90X and Body Beast programs are, working out alone in my basement just wasn’t cutting it for me anymore. I was getting really demotivated and had to seriously kick myself in the butt to get through my early morning workouts. Oh, I wouldn’t skip any of them, only I would half-ass them a little bit too often for my taste.
The thing is, I wasn’t progressing anymore… and the workouts were getting so boring and repetitive that I didn’t even WANT to progress.
With CrossFit, though, things are completely different. You get to do different exercises EVERY SINGLE TIME you hit the box. So you never even know what’s in store for you before you actually get IN there. Also, each and every exercise can be performed at a level at which you are comfortable, with a possibility to improve over time.
CrossFit has you stretch your limits and make a steady progression while making you stronger and fitter by the day. It’s a beautiful thing. For example, when I first started, I couldn’t imagine ever being able to perform ONE “Toes to Bar”. Well yesterday, I managed to touch that bar with my toes not once, but TWICE! No big deal for some, but for me, this was a HUGE thing. I was ecstatic! Now I can very well see myself do 2 or 3 more reps in a few weeks time, and who knows, maybe I’ll be able to finish 5 rounds of 10 reps a year from now.
Same goes for “Rope Climbs”. You know how I’m afraid of heights, right? Needless to say that for me, Rope Climbs are a heck of a challenge. Both physically and psychologically! Well, this week, I managed to climb over three quarters of the way up that rope before my brains locked up on me and refused to go any higher. But still, I was so proud to have made it THAT HIGH! Next time, I decided, I WILL TOUCH THAT TAPE!
See, THAT’S the kind of motivation I needed to have me wanting to work out again. Plus, something really HAS to be said for having people around you who are doing the exact same thing, giving you some kind of a benchmark, helping you out, motivating you, cheering you on and experiencing the same pains, too!
Seriously, if you too have been considering giving CrossFit a try but didn’t dare pass that door yet, by all means, GO FOR IT! You will not regret it!
Now, about my brains not really being in the mood for real food lately, another strategy that I like to use when that happens is to have beautiful salads all good and ready to go sitting in the fridge for me to eat all week.
You know, the kind of salad that only gets better with every passing day (well, provided you don’t go over a certain number of days, that is… not sure that it would be all that tasty after sitting for a full month in the fridge!); The kind of salad that you throw together on a Sunday afternoon and polish off with Thursday night’s dinner (and yet, maybe you could stretch that by another day or two, if you really had to…)
Well, this, right here, is exactly THAT kind of salad.
And one of the best of the genre I’ve had, too!
For me, something really has to be said for the combination of riced cauliflower and finely chopped almonds. The two of them paired together have a crunchy / chewy texture that is simply unparalleled. Add a whole bunch of super flavorful ingredients to that equation and you’ve got yourself a truly winning combination.
And when it comes to tasty ingredients, this salad here leaves absolutely nothing to be desired. Every single bite feels like a New Year’s party is happening right inside your mouth and the entire city of Manhattan has been invited. Even the fireworks are accounted for.
I know, you’re probably going to read through the list of ingredients and think: “WHAAAT”? Raisins, dried plums, dried apricots and OLIVES? And I will say: yes. That is all correct. Please, trust me on that one. This salad is a true explosion of textures and flavors: the sweets and the salty all too happily mingle with the softy and the crunchy.
Just trust me. You WANT to make this.
- 1 large cauliflower head
- 1½ cup raw almonds, chopped
- 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- ¼ cup finely chopped red onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¾ cup sliced Kalamata olives
- ¾ cup sliced green olives
- ¼ cup raisins
- ½ cup dried prunes, chopped (about 10)
- ¼ cup dried apricots, chopped (about 10)
- the juice of 2 limes (about ¼ cup)
- ¼ cup avocado oil (or extra-virgin olive oil)
- ½ tsp Himalayan salt
- ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- ½ tsp garam masala
- ¼ tsp pure Ceylon cinnamon
- Generous grating fresh nutmeg
- Cut the cauliflower into little florets and add to the bowl of your food processor. Process on pulse until your cauliflower has the texture of very fine gravel. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
- Add your almonds to the food processor and again, process until you get fine gravel. Add that to the cauliflower.
- Throw in the rest of the ingredients and toss gently until fully combined.
- If time permits, let your salad sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to allow for flavors to fully develop (but there’s no need to, really… you CAN dig in right away if you’re that hungry!)
- This salad will keep in the refrigerator for 5-6 days.