cheater caesar salad – and some news

A quick and easy fish-free Caesar dressing for when you need a Caesar salad Right. Now.

Cheater Caesar! A quick and easy fish-free Caesar with wholegrain olive oil croutons // www.heynutritionlady.com

Gosh, it’s been a while!

I want to thank you all so much for your patience while I’ve been on hiatus, and for all of the very kind comments, emails, and messages you sent in response to me taking a break. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

The break? It was good. It was necessary. It was grounding. And it went on for a little longer than I expected.

A few weeks into it someone asked me if I had a lot more free time than I did before, and in that moment the honest truth was no. It just made me wonder how I had been fitting it all in for so long. And I must admit, I really enjoyed the freedom that not blogging afforded me. Waking up on a Saturday morning and knowing that I had a full day of doing whatever I wanted ahead of me was total bliss.

But eventually I started to feel a little lost without doing this thing I do. And I was almost constantly drafting blog posts in my head. So a couple of weekends ago I dusted off my camera for the first time in months, and it felt good. Now I’m back, and my plan is to go at it at a slower pace than I was before, focused more on quality than quantity, and better work-life-blog balance.

It was fortuitous, though, that I took a break when I did, because shortly after I announced that I was hanging up the apron strings this happened:

ultrasound_13_weeks

And I quickly learned that pregnancy hormones are no joke.

I’m now 16 weeks along, and expecting baby Muffin Myth to arrive some time towards the end of February. We are, of course, ecstatic beyond belief.

I think that in terms of morning sickness, I was one of the lucky ones. I had exhaustion and constant low-grade nausea for about six weeks, but I was only actually sick one time. Food aversions, though, are another story altogether.

It was predictable, I guess, that the nutritionist would be hit with severe food aversions, and boy oh boy, was I ever. If I hadn’t of been on hiatus already I probably would have had to shut the blog down anyways, otherwise it would have been a blog about crackers. And bagels. And more servings of a certain boxed macaroni and cheese product than I care to admit. Because that’s AALLLLLL I could eat for a good six weeks in the beginning. But if there’s anything I’ve learned about the first trimester it’s this: just do whatever you gotta do to get through it.

Cheater Caesar! A quick and easy fish-free Caesar with wholegrain olive oil croutons // www.heynutritionlady.com

For me, the worst of it was vegetables. The mere sight of some salads, especially anything with beans (in particular black eyed peas) or corn in the mix was enough to make me feel physically ill. I could hardly scroll through my instagram feed without feeling nauseated, and reading food blogs was absolutely out of the question. But it was particularly terrible when I went back to the family homestead for my vacation and well-meaning guests would proudly plunk a salad in front of the nutritionist / food blog lady only to have me turn green at the gills and push it away without explanation. Folks, I’m sorry. It wasn’t your salad; it was me.

Fortunately, the moment I rounded the corner on 12 weeks both my energy and my appetite started to come back, and I’ve been reintroducing vegetables, albeit a bit gingerly. For the most part, cooked vegetables go down easier than raw, though I’m also making progress in the salad department. I still can’t do anything with black-eyed peas or corn in it, though, and remain on the outs with beets.

Cheater Caesar! A quick and easy fish-free Caesar with wholegrain olive oil croutons // www.heynutritionlady.com

I thought that I’d welcome you all back to The Muffin Myth the same way I’ve been welcoming salads back into my life: with a little hand holding in the form of bread, and a really good, and admittedly slightly indulgent, dressing.

Truth be told, I’m back to eating much more complex salads these days (I promise, mom, with all the colours!), especially if someone else makes them (Paul has been a rockstar in that department), but this is the only one that I really crave again and again. I was sitting on the couch one day and realized that I wanted a Caesar salad Right. Now. I do have a go-to vegetarian friendly Caesar dressing that I love, but it involves a bulb of roasted garlic and nobody has time for roasting a bulb of garlic when you need a Caesar salad Right. Now.

I considered a bottled Caesar dressing but a) they all looked pretty grody to me, and b) they mostly all contained fish. A traditional home made Caesar dressing starts with raw eggs, which I’d find gross at any time, but are definitely on the no-no list during pregnancy, so that was out as well.

Cheater Caesar! A quick and easy fish-free Caesar with wholegrain olive oil croutons // www.heynutritionlady.com

So I turned to a tried and trusted mayo-based Caesar dressing (store-bought mayo is pasteurized, so safe to eat) and riffed on it to keep it veggie friendly and bump up the flavours the way I like them. This means using miso in place of anchovy paste for that hint of umami, soy sauce in place of the Worcestershire, extra lemon, extra Parm, and just a splash of hot sauce. And of course, since I’m weaning off of an all-carb diet, there had to be bread involved, so whole-grain olive oil croutons are in the mix.

A batch of this dressing will last the week in your fridge. I love packing torn romaine in a wide mouth mason with a little jar of dressing tucked alongside and a baggie of crunchy croutons to get tossed together at lunchtime. Paired with a hardboiled egg or some marinated tempeh for protein, this makes for a fine lunch.

The dressing is also great as a dip, in moderation, for fresh veggies. I’m really digging dunking carrots, radishes, cucumber, and baby romaine leaves right into the jar. And, err, I’m really enjoying it with sauerkraut. But maybe that’s just me?

One last note: while sharing the happy news of impending parenthood with you, I feel compelled to also let you know that this pregnancy is not my first. I know all too well what a painful and isolating place the internet can be when you’re struggling with loss and grief, and how difficult it can be to read this kind of post. If that’s you, please know that you’re not alone out there.

 

MM_Know_Icon_FINALReal talk: this dressing is a bit of an indulgence. It’s definitely not an every day salad dressing (in fact, I almost never put dressings on my weekday salads, just don’t like it) but when you’re in need of a Caesar salad it’ll do the trick. Good nutrition is all about balance and moderation, so maybe keep this as a weekend treat, and keep the weekday salads on the healthier side of things. Whenever you decide to eat it, promise me you’ll enjoy it. Savour every bite. Put your fork down between mouthfuls. Close your eyes. And really taste the goodness.

Cheater Caesar! A quick and easy fish-free Caesar with wholegrain olive oil croutons // www.heynutritionlady.com

One year ago: Turmeric Tofu Scramble and Spiced Saucy Corn on Toast
Two years ago: Spicy Black Bean Ragout
Three years ago: Chocolate Blueberry Oat Smoothie and Caprese Salad
Four years ago: Chickpea Salad Sandwich
Five years ago: Chocolate Zucchini Loaf with Quinoa and The Sandwich System

cheater caesar salad

A quick and easy fish-free Caesar dressing for when you need a Caesar salad Right. Now.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 3 /4 cup
Author Katie Trant

Ingredients

  • DRESSING
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce I use Bragg's liquid aminos
  • 1/2 cup good quality mayonnaise
  • scant 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • generous 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp miso paste
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • CROUTONS
  • 2 cups whole grain bread cubed
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • SALAD
  • Romaine lettuce torn, washed, and dried
  • whole grain croutons
  • Cheater Caesar dressing
  • extra Parmesan for sprinkling on top

Instructions

  1. DRESSING
  2. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk well to combine.
  3. Taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  4. CROUTONS
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C
  6. Toss the cubed wholegrain bread with the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, stirring a couple of times, or until crunchy.
  7. SALAD
  8. In a large bowl toss cleaned and dried romaine lettuce with a small amount of dressing (this recipe will make more than you need for one salad). Add croutons and extra Parmesan, and toss again.
  9. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

-Cheater Caesar dressing will last a week in the fridge in an airtight container.
-If your oven has a convection setting, it's great for making croutons.
-Packed lunches: layer cleaned and dried romaine dressing into a container. Tuck a small jar of dressing and a baggie of croutons along side. Assemble the salad when you're ready to eat.

 

Cheater Caesar! A quick and easy fish-free Caesar with wholegrain olive oil croutons // www.heynutritionlady.com

 



 

Comments

  1. Joyce says

    Welcome back! And congrats – hope this baby does well.
    Have missed you, and tried other bloggers but somehow none filled the hole. But do take it easy on yourself.

  2. Kathryn says

    Congratulations! I’m so happy for you guys and so excited about Baby Muffin Myth! I’m glad that you’re feeling good now that you’re out of the first trimester and I hope that all continues to go well 🙂

  3. Jess says

    I don’t normally comment, but congratulations! And hope everything goes well with the baby. I’m 28 weeks pregnant and my eating went to hell during the first trimester. All I ever wanted to eat was bread and cakes and tinned baked beans and cheese. I couldn’t cook for two months! Even now I’m still eating something sweet everyday, which is so unlike me. But at least I’m cooking from scratch again, even if I’m also baking too much…

    You might find your fondness for beans and corn returns, I went right off peppers but have been able to eat them again the last few weeks. Take care of yourself anyway!

    • Katie Trant says

      Good to hear your taste for peppers has come back! I’ve pretty much lost my taste for chocolate (what???) and I’m hoping it’ll come back soon. And yeah, had no interest in cooking for a a couple of months and bread is definitely my favourite food group at the moment. Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy, Jess!

  4. Christine says

    congratulations! Wishing you an amazing pregnancy- enjoy being queen! And I look forward to your posts with whatever frequency you choose to offer them! Be kind to yourself.

  5. Anne Titcomb says

    Big Hugs Katie – so glad you are back, slow and steady wins the race for your blog (don’t mention that to Paul today – congrats Paul on the awesome race, mind numbing just thinking of it). Look forward to hearing how you are doing and some great recipes, at a slower pace.

    Love from Soames Point

  6. Kimberly Adkison says

    Katie,

    Wow, I was thrilled to get the blog post notice in my email box, and then doubly thrilled to hear your news! So glad you took the summer off, and now you must stick to your slower pace and better work-life-blog balance. A little someone will force you to soon. Your pregnancy history and current experience really mirror my own, and I love that you recognize your post may be hard for some. You are such a caring and thoughtful person, which shines through your blog. I’ve also really missed your nutritional insights and realistic approach to a healthy lifestyle. Welcome back!

    • Katie Trant says

      Thanks Kimberly! It feels good to be back and know that I can do it at a slower pace, especially since life is changing so much at the moment! Thanks for your kind words, and sorry to hear you’ve been through a similar experience. I know reading posts like this was really hard for me, so I wanted to tread carefully but still share the news. Hope you’re doing well!

  7. Linda @ Veganosity says

    Congratulations and welcome back! I’m so happy for you and your husband, Katie. Food aversions when pregnant are no fun. I developed one to salmon when I was pregnant with Alex, and she has never liked it. I hope baby muffin myth doesn’t feel that way about veggies. 🙂

  8. Jackie says

    Congratulations!

    I had an unfortunately aversion to left overs during the first few months of my pregnancy. It was so strange since the food was fine for me the day before! This recipe looks great!

    Good luck with your pregnancy and I hope everything goes well for you.

    • Katie Trant says

      I know what you mean! I found that in the first couple of months I could eat something one day and the next day it was completely disgusting to me. The general rule was that if it was in my fridge I didn’t want it. Ate a lot of takeout, because it was all I could eat! Thanks for the well wishes, Jackie!

  9. Kiersten says

    Congratulations Katie! I am so thrilled for you! And YES, I know all about those food aversions. I totally subsisted on bagels and pretzels those first few months and couldn’t stomach the thought of vegetables, but hey, that’s what the prenatal vitamins are for, right? 🙂

    • Katie Trant says

      Exactly. Luckily I know enough to know that nutrition really doesn’t matter in the first trimester, and I refused to beat myself up for my terrible diet (although my digestive system did pay the price of an all-carb diet), but I did think of you often in those early months and was glad to know I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t stomach vegetables! Thanks for the well wishes 🙂

  10. Alissa says

    Welcome back! I’ve missed your posts. I’m glad you had a nice break, and so excited to hear your news! Congratulations!!! Maybe somehow you knew you’d be needing a break before you even decided to take one. Isn’t that how life works sometimes? Anyway, I’m so happy for you and glad you’re feeling better. Looking forward to future posts and baby updates at whatever pace feels balanced to you. 🙂

    • Katie Trant says

      It is very, very lucky that I had already decided to take a break, but maybe the break was what I needed. Ironically, we had also decided to take a break from trying to get pregnant for the summer and as soon as that break started I was knocked up. Funny how life works that way!

  11. Sarah says

    How exciting! We are so happy for you and Paul and can’t wait for your new little someone special to join the bunch at Camp! Gooey squares are going to taste better and campfires are going to seem brighter… Sending you lots of love!

  12. kellie@foodtoglow says

    Wow wow wow wow wow! Yay!!! The word congratulations seems an understatement. I am so pleased for you and Paul. Obviously your body was crying out for a rest, and what a rest 😉 Enjoy the remainder of your pregnancy. Btw, I had cravings for watermelon and asparagus. In the winter time – not very convenient. I can’t remember if I had any aversions as such (20 years ago!) but I was wearing those SeaBand things constantly and sipping ginger tea, which probs helped. The best is yet to come. But, enjoy your freedom while it lasts. Your life will change for the better, but it won’t be quiet! And yay to yummy leafy Caesar salad!

    • Katie Trant says

      Those SeaBands are total lifesavers! I wore them pretty much constantly throughout the first trimester, especially during the long trip to and from Canada. Not much in the way of cravings yet, mostly just aversions. Maybe the cravings will come? Though watermelon does sound pretty good now that you mention it!

  13. Emma {Emma's Little Kitchen} says

    Hooray! Many congratulations, so exciting!! I had terrible food aversions too- vegetables just weren’t doing it for me, even into the second trimester. So happy you’re back blogging, and so happy for this new adventure you’re embarking on!

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