The other night Karel and I had a date at Ruby Tuesday's. We rarely eat out (and when I say rarely, I mean once or twice every 4-5 months). I had a coupon for Ruby Tuesdays and I was really excited to spend some time with my hubby, with no distractions (like computer or TV...although I don't mind being distracted by my furry best friend) and to enjoy some "occasional" foods and not have to do the cooking.
I always enjoy a good salad bar because of the many selections of pre-chopped foods..that I didn't have to chop.
But, I am always careful to recognize that salad bars are often criticized for outbreaks of food borne illnesses. I would recommend being mindful of possibly consuming food borne bacteria as the result of anyone other than yourself preparing and serving food, so it is important to keep food safety as a number one priority when consuming food outside the home. Even though food borne bacteria can come from food inside the home, at least you know exactly how the food was stored and prepared.
Believing the food nourishes our body, I feel as if my immune system is extremely strong (I can't recall the last time I had a flu shot or got sick, however I do have a few vaccines since I now work in the hospital). Despite working in a hospital and training for an Ironman, I try very hard to make good decisions on a daily basis in order to boost, and not decrease, my immune system. My diet is "colorful" and filled with a variety of vitamins and minerals, I get quality sleep on most days during the week, I try to minimize stress, I wash my hands all the time, I surround myself with people who give me energy (and not take it away from me), I receive lots of love in my life (and lots of love to give to others) and I focus on balance with everything I do in life.
While at Ruby Tuesday's I was delighted to see the Fit and Trim selections on the back of the menu. While I was only planning on only eating the salad bar (which includes quality protein like eggs and edemame), I couldn't pass up the veggie trio for only $1 more than the price of the salad bar!! I was able to pick 3 side items from the menu, in addition to eating the endless salad bar.
For my selections, I wanted to choose foods that I normally don't prepare or consume on a daily basis. I ordered spaghetti squash, grilled zucchini and sweet potato fries.
I don't know why I don't prepare more squash and zucchini but I guess I haven't yet learned to appreciate them in my diet yet (that is what I say to foods that I don't really eat a lot of, but I know they are good for my body). As for the sweet potato fries...I haven't met a sweet potato fry that I don't like. Although Ruby Tuesday, along with most restaurants and fast food facilities, includes a very high amount of sodium in most of their foods, I was very impressed that my three selections did not taste salty. Because I do not eat out, minimize processed food in my diet and don't use a salt shaker, both Karel and myself are very sensitive to salt and while some people may add salt to already salted food, I often can hardly stand the taste of food that is heavily salted. It's amazing that although we get use to the tastes of certain foods, we can also change our tastes (and cravings) while incorporating more wholesome food in our diet.
Here's the menu for Ruby Tuesday's with nutritional info:
Ruby Tuesday Nutritional Info
Because I am always inspired by salads, as there are endless salad "creations", I hope you enjoy my latest "crunchy" salad.
Crunchy sautéed mushrooms, onions and garlic salad
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Spread hashbrowns on large cookie sheet. Toss with a generous drizzle of olive oil and spread into a thin layer to cover sheet.
3. Bake hasbrowns until golden brown (around 20 minutes).
4. While hashbrowns are baking, pre-heat medium skillet to medium heat.
5. Add ~1/2 tbsp olive oil with chopped garlic.
6. When garlic begins to brown, add mushrooms, largely cut steak tomatoes and garlic and drizzle with a little more olive oil (~2 tsp) if needed.
7. Cook until veggies turn golden brown.
8. In a large bowl, place greens and top with veggies, then hashbrowns. Sprinkle with cheese (shredded brick cheese).