Apple Pomegranate Grain Salad - Juggling with JuliaI love a delicious dish that keeps on giving, don’t you? This Apple Pomegranate Grain Salad with a quick Lemon Maple Vinaigrette does just that. It’s a fresh, easy salad  that works in so many ways, such as…

♦ A side dish for your weeknight supper
♦ A  beautiful addition to your lazy brunch
♦ The main event in your light lunch

It’s wholesome and so packed with nutrition, it’s hard to know where to begin…but I’ll try! (Scroll down a bit if you want to go straight to the recipe!)

Grains: Get your fiber, B vitamins and protein here!

I went for brown rice because we always have it on hand (‘minute’ type brown rice and frozen brown rice are both indispensible pantry items, IMHO) However, there are plenty of whole grains to choose from – bulgur, barley, whole wheat couscous – really whatever you like. Many whole grains are gluten-free, too, if you desire that – grains like brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, and buckwheat to name just a few.

Fruits: Antioxidants to the MAX!

Pomegranate seeds and diced apple add sweetness and crunch and are the namesakes of this Apple Pomegranate Grain Salad. Apples, thankfully, seem to be abundant year round. If you miss pomegranate season, though (in the U.S. it’s hard to find them after early February), then you can always use dried cranberries or dried cherries instead. But don’t delay! Make this soon. Like now 🙂

Veggies and Beans: More Fiber, More Crunch, More Protein

Carrot and red onion, standards in many of my salads, bring that yin/yang with their sweet vs spicy vibe. Edamame adds a pop of color, along with significant protein and fiber. Other veggies and beans that would work well include sweet bell peppers, leeks, scallions, peas, small red beans, black-eyed peas, or chickpeas. Fresh parsley is entirely optional, but adds such a nice fresh green flavor (does green have a flavor??) that I really love.

The Dressing: Maple and Lemon and Everything Nice

The more I make my own dressings, the less I want to use the bottled kind. While I can’t argue that they’re a ridiculously convenient go-to that supports your healthy salad-eating habits, they don’t compare in taste to homemade versions. Here I use a simple Lemon Maple Vinaigrette, a tart/sweet vinaigrette that compliments the opposing flavors in the salad.

Apple Pomegranate Grain Salad - Juggling with Julia

Apple Pomegranate Grain SaladApple Pomegranate Grain Salad - Juggling with Julia with Lemon Maple Vinaigrette
Serves 6-8 as a side

Salad
2 cups cooked brown rice (or whole grain of your choice)
1/2 cup edamame
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
1/3 cup diced apple
1/4 cup diced red onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Dressing
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon maple syrup
salt and pepper to taste

Put all salad ingredients into a bowl and mix gently (you don’t want to burst those pomegranate seeds). Set aside.

In a small jar with secure lid, put the olive oil, lemon juice, and maple syrup. Shake well, then taste. Add salt and pepper as desired. Drizzle the desired amount of dressing over the salad and stir gently. Serve at room temperature, or chill and serve cold.

Any leftover salad will stay fresh for 2-3 days if refrigerated. Use any remaining salad dressing to freshen it up if necessary (the rice absorbs much of the dressing over time).

 

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New Kicks 2016 - juggling with julia A mind-cleansing, heart-pumping, soul-soothing daily walk.

Do you indulge in a daily walk? If so, you already reap the benefits of this healthy habit. If not, however, you have every reason to start. The benefits of walking are endless!

The act of walking itself lowers your blood pressure, improves your mood, burns calories, and strengthens your bones and muscles. Furthermore, when you make it a daily habit, the cumulative effect of walking can help fight off dementia, heart disease, and diabetes. All great, right?

So, why isn’t everybody doing it?

Because it can get a little boring.

Believe me, I know. I’ve logged thousands of miles on these old feet. It gets tiresome walking in circles. And who wants to look at the same scenery every time they go out?

So, here’s 6 ways to add fun and purpose to your daily walk. Try one! Maybe you’ll notice that your walk feels less like an effort, and more like the healthy escape it is meant to be.

#1 Make a dog’s day
6 ways to add fun and purpose to your daily walk - juggling with julia

This is Jazzy. You’ve met her before. She loves eating dirty tissues, sniffing strangers in an utterly impolite manner, and smiling. Smiling is her favorite. It’s so easy to make her day – all I have to do is ask her, “Where’s your leash?” and she leaps excitedly into the air, kind of like a cross between a mountain goat and a dolphin. My daily walk is that much better when this goof is with me.

#2 Explore the beauty of local areas.
6 ways to add fun and purpose to your daily walk - juggling with julia

It’s a whole other world when you’re walking your town, instead of mindlessly driving through it. This serene view, for instance, is just a few hundred feet from a constantly-traveled, double-yellow lined street in my town. Yet, it is nothing but beauty and peace. Other great walking options include nearby state parks, low-traffic neighborhoods, or even downtown areas if you prefer architecture over arborvitae.

#3 Practice your photography.
6 ways to add fun and purpose to your daily walk - juggling with julia

Photography, for a blogger, is as important as the writing. Pictures make the words come alive. Thankfully, with food, I don’t need to worry about my subject moving around on the plate or refusing to look at the camera. Wildlife is tougher! I got lucky being there at the right time with this shot. Or, I may have ‘accidentally’ scuffed my toe to get him moving. {evil, yet somewhat ashamed, grin}. Your smartphone camera is likely better than any point-and-shoot you owned 10 years ago, so start snapping!

#4 Pump up the fitness factor
6 ways to add fun and purpose to your daily walk - juggling with julia

Spice up your walking route with a few fitness stops along the way. Push-ups on a quiet strip of grass, calf raises on a curb, or gentle stretching on a park bench are all easy ways to incorporate fitness into your daily walk. Maybe you’re thinking “In public? No way!” This is Nancy and Molly. They are stretching on a park bench. They don’t care who is watching. Be like Nancy and Molly 🙂

#5 Make your walk your destination
6 ways to add fun and purpose to your daily walk - juggling with julia

Give your daily walk purpose by heading towards your local coffee place or the library or post office. Don’t live anywhere near where you want to go? Just drive to that general area, park some distance away, then start walking. You’ll be double-dipping from the awesome box by getting your fitness and errands done at the same time. BOOM.

#6 Entertain yourself
Daily Walk - Juggling with Julia

It’s no secret that I love to play Pokemon Go while I walk. Ridiculously good fun and a little addicting. But there are plenty of ways to entertain yourself if pocket monsters aren’t your thing. Call your best friend for a catch-up. Play music (dance-walking is totally OK). Get into that podcast that all your friends have been talking about (Serial, Season One, anyone?). Listen to an audiobook. Or, ditch the electronics altogether and try identifying birds calls, meditating, or composing haiku in your head. Whatever you like 🙂

 

 

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Pumpkin Monster Bars

October 23, 2016 Appetizers & Snacks
Pumpkin Monster Bars - Juggling with Julia

All Things Pumpkin Crispy leaves underfoot, cool sunny days, and soccer, soccer, soccer? That can only mean one thing – autumn is in full swing, and Halloween isn’t far away! Pumpkin Monster Bars embrace everything I love about this time of year, like cozy evenings, my favorite sweatshirt, baking, and all things pumpkin. Make these […]

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Why I Pokemon Go for Walks

October 12, 2016 Healthy Lifestyle
Why I Pokemon Go For Walks - Juggling with Julia

Maybe it’s because I never truly grew up, or perhaps I just require daily escapes from reality, but I LOVE playing Pokemon Go while out on my daily walks. I hear you tsk-tsk-ing. I see you shaking your head 🙂 And I get it. I am an otherwise respectable 49-year-old. How could I publicly admit […]

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Summer Bruschetta and Kitchen Memories

September 22, 2016 Appetizers & Snacks

I love the Recipe Redux! Every month this fab group of foodies celebrates both tasty and nutritious food, and this month, we’re getting all nostalgic with our first memories of being in the kitchen. We’ll get to the mouth-watering Summer Bruschetta shortly, but first, let’s hop in the time machine and go way, way back, […]

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Our Favorite Beef Stew

September 7, 2016 Beef

Ooh-wee! That was one fantastic summer. Early morning walks, endless sunshine, cool clouds, and tons of fun. Hours and hours by the pool were interrupted only by the need to appear at my paying gig and the occasional slapdash of housework. Oh, and the college visits. Cue the meaningful orchestra music. There is not one […]

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Beach Preachin’ on Midcoast Maine

July 5, 2016 Life

Sand, salt, sea, sun. These are the simplest ingredients for family harmony I know. Our annual mid-coast Maine beach vacation has once again delivered miles of smiles and fantastic memories, all in the style of good old-fashioned fun. We picked strawberries (10 quarts!) for jelly and pie-making, skipped rocks, gazed at stars, and hunted for hermit […]

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Barbecued Chicken Flatbread Bites

May 22, 2016 Appetizers & Snacks

Hello, friends! It’s Recipe Redux time! This month the theme is small bites, also know as appetizers, hors d’oeuvres, or tapas. Portion control in an adorably miniature package? A dietitian’s dream 🙂 Since, at Juggling with Julia, we love anything in or on a flour tortilla, I’m sharing with you these savory Barbecued Chicken Flatbread Bites. […]

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Juggling with Julia’s 5th Blogiversary!

April 26, 2016 Appetizers & Snacks

April 26th, 2016. The 5th blogiversary for my little hobby 🙂 That doesn’t seem possible. I’m having a hard time comprehending that it’s been five whole years. In my mind, that sounds like a lot of work. A lot of time. For sure, it has been. I’ve poured immeasurable amounts of time, thought, and creative […]

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Real Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

March 31, 2016 Dessert

Hello, my dear ones! As we approach the final day of National Nutrition Month, I encourage you, as always, to enjoy your food. Enjoy every bite, every morsel, every crumb, and every calorie…fruits that sweeten your day, vegetables that fill you up, energizing grains, and power-packed proteins. And when it’s time to indulge? GO BIG. […]

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