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Monday, July 11, 2011

Recipes from French Women Don't Get Fat

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I just finished reading "French Women Don't Get Fat" by Mireille Guiliano and I thoroughly enjoyed every last page!  I had heard great things about the book and was actually pleasantly surprised to read that many of her insights as to how French women view eating or dining rather, is very similar to my personal views. Food is more than eating to me, hence the idea to start my blog about recipes I come up, trips to the Farmer's Market on Sundays and how much I love making my food look pretty enough to eat!

The book also shared a couple recipes that I can't wait to try!  Here's one of her famous Magical Leek Soup that's sure to help you jump start your recasting if you need weight loss.  But the French women method is never about dieting.  It's about balance, enjoyment and pleasures.  One of the many things I learned and will start putting into practice, is having my meals with a glass of champagne!

Magical Leek Soup Recipe from French Women Don't Get Fat

2 lbs leeks

Clean the leeks and rinse well to get rid of sand and soil.  Cut off the ends of the dark green parts, leaving all the white parts plus a suggestion of pale greens.  (Reserver extra greens for soup stock)

Put the leeks in a large pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 20-30 minutes.  Pour off the liquid and reserve.  Place leeks in a bowl.

The juice is to be drunk every 2 to 3 hours.  1 cup at a time.  When you're hungry eat 1/2 a cup of the leeks itself.

The book says to do this for 72 hours to kick off your re-casting and I can't wait to see it's miracles work.  I'll post more recipes from the book soon and can't wait to grab the French Women Don't Get Fat Cookbook!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Meal Plan: Week of June 26

A sample of my menu for this week's meals.  I'm the type that can eat the same lunches and dinners every day but I do need to switch it up every so often.

1 cup Fage greek yogurt
1 cup Grapefruit juice

Mid-moring snack
1 medium peach or apple

Grilled corn, spinach salad
1 veggie patty or hard-boiled egg

12 almonds or 1 cup red peppers

Sole with steamed asparagus (cooked in parchment paper) or cooked spinach

Under 1200 calories

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Recipe: Mini Breakfast Pizza

I've been dying to make a breakfast pizza with an over easy egg on top.  I had some whole wheat flat bread (from Trader Joe's) and decided to make the perfect individual pie.  This recipe was super easy and I used a lot of the ingredients I had bought to make my greek salad earlier in the week.  Can't wait to make this more often, or make for friends for brunch!

Mini Breakfast Pizza

1 whole wheat flat bread (try Middle Eastern Flatbread from Trader Joe's)
Sliced sugar plum tomatoes (add as many as you wish)
1 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsely
1 tbsp sliced shallots (or red onions)
1 tbsp olive oil (I used Garlic flavored olive oil)
2 tbsps shaved parmesan cheese (I don't feel guilty for adding more since parmesan is pretty low cal!)
1 egg

Spread olive oil on flatbread.  Add shallots, sliced tomatoes, parsely and parmesan cheese.  Crack egg in center of flatbread.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Bake in a baking sheet on 450 degrees for about 8-10 minutes or until egg is cooked.  (I cooked the egg over easy so it runs when you slice into it)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Recipe: Strawberry & Almond Butter Sandwich (200 calories and under)

I always crave something sweet after every meal and this little concoction tricks my brain into thinking I'm having some kind of strawberry cake! This recipe would actually make a really good breakfast since it covers your protein (almond butter), serving of fruit and a little bit of carbs to make your meal feel complete.

Strawberry & Almond Butter Sandwich

1 slice whole wheat sandwich thin (about 50 calories for 1 slice)
3-4 strawberries, sliced (about 20 calories)
1 tbsp Almond Butter (about 100 calories of good for you fats)

Toast sandwich thin and spread almond butter so it melts evenly.  Top with sliced strawberries. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What's in my fridge? : Week of 6/20

I tend to do my food shop on the weekends and plan out my meals for the week.  Actually, I'm pretty obsessed about writing down my menu for the week and have a couple of standard items I re-stock each week. Here's a peak at some of my fridge must-haves:

1. Mango Butter (Trader Joe's)
2. Blue Diamond Almond Butter
3. Fage Fat Free Greek yogurt 
(goes perfectly with a tbsp of mango butter!)
4. Bowl of fresh fruit with mint (top on yogurt or eat as dessert)
5. Eggs (usually hard-boiled or use for fritattas
6. Organic cherry tomatoes (Trader Joe's)
7. Frozen Dover Sole (Trader Joe's) defrosting in the fridge for dinner
8. Individually portioned Greek salads I made for lunch during the week
9. Middle Eastern whole wheat flatbread (Trader Joe's) goes great with hummus or a quick almond butter and mango butter dessert sandwich! yum!

Recipe: Bathing Suit-Friendly Greek Salad

Happy official first day of summer!  I always crave Greek Salads during this time of year a) because it's cool and refreshing and b) it's easy on the calories and bathing suit-friendly!  I added some mint and flat-leaf parsley to brighten up the flavors! Enjoy!

Bathing Suit-Friendly Greek Salad
1 cup Organic mini cherry tomatoes (sliced in halves)
1 cup cucumber (diced)
1/2 cup red onion (sliced thick or to your liking)
2 tbsps Fat Free Feta
2 tbsps Extra Virgin Olive Oil (use the good kind)
chopped mint leaves (to taste)
chopped flat leaf parsley (to taste)
Squeeze half a lemon
Salt and pepper to tast

Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Sprinkle feta on top and serve.  *Make a big batch early in the week and portion out for a healthy lunch all week long.  Serve with 1/2 a whole wheat pita.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Fort Mason Farmer's Market (Marina)

My Sunday ritual equals a trip to this quaint little farmer's market where I can load up on just the vegetables, fruits and flowers I need without feeling too overwhelmed. It's a great place to get organic produce for so much less and support local farmers.

Each Sunday at Fort Mason from 9:30-1PM.  

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Recipe: Roasted Corn and Goat Cheese Salad

Note: Corn doesn't look roasted from the photo but I promise you can
taste the char on each kernel as if you just roasted it from the grill!
Already made roasted corn salsa from the grocery aisle at Safeway

Summer is almost here and there's nothing I crave more than roasted corn on the grill!  I wanted to make a freshly roasted corn salad, but let's be real, I didn't have a charcoal grill nor the patience to make my own.  Luckily, I found an already made roasted corn salsa at Safeway that came complete with red onions, peppers, and packed with flavor!  It was the perfect topping for a bed of spinach with a sprinkle of goat cheese.  And, it literally took 5 seconds to make!

What to buy:
1) Already made corn salsa (like this Spicy Corn Salsa from Fresh Party Favorites)
2) Bag of spinach salad
3) Goat cheese crumbles

Add in your own protein (tofu, salmon, chicken, etc)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Recipe: Beet, Pomegranate & Mint Salad

This salad may look like Christmas but it has the bright, refreshing flavors of summer.  I put this salad recipe together inspired by the Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad from True Food Kitchen in Newport Beach.  (I highly recommend that restaurant if you're ever in the OC) I love beet salads and the pomegranate and mint added some brightness to the earthy flavor beets.  This is my perfect summer salad.

All the ingredients can be purchased at Trader Joe's so it really is quick and easy to make!

Steamed Beets, quartered (I buy the already steamed packs from Trader Joe's.  One box is 80 calories)
Pomegranate seeds (again, you can buy this pre-packed at Trader Joe's)
Goat cheese crumbles
Mint leaves, finely chopped
Lemon zest
Lemon juice
Olive oil

As always, I toss everything into a Glad container and give it a good shake so there's little to no clean up and the olive oil coats the salad evenly!

Recipe: Kale Chips

This was my very first attempt at making my own kale chips.  I bought some organic Kale at the Fort Mason Farmer's Market and was inspired to try this recipe out.  After rinsing the kale with cold water, I patted it dry with a paper towel then ripped them into pieces in a mixing bowl.  Then I tossed 2 tablespoons of olive oil with sea salt and everyday seasoning.  Spread the kale leaves on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees.

Let cool before eating.  *Warning: don't put the warm kale chips directly into a plastic bag.  I did this and it instantly made the kale chips soggy.  Not so good!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Brunch: Girl and the Fig (Sonoma, CA)

I finally had a chance to explore wine country (about 1.5 hours from San Francisco) and I immediately thought, "why did I wait soo long to do this?!?"  We were headed to Coppola Winery but decided to veer off to try Girl and the Fig, the most adorable french cafe in Sonoma.  It was a little out of the way from the winery (40 miles to be exact!) but well worth the detour!

We yelp'd Girl and the Fig to see recommendations on what to order for brunch from fellow Yelpers and Stuffed French Toast and the Quiche Lorraine popped up many times.  So, we ordered both and ohmygosh...both were amazing!!!  The Stuffed Brioche French toast looked a bit heavy on the plate but once you took a bite, the Fromage Blanc stuffed inside just melted in your mouth!  It was covered in Huckleberry compote with meyer lemon which was to-die-for!  We also ordered the Quiche Lorraine and I picked out the ham which was conveniently positioned at the bottom of the quiche along the crust which made it easy to eat around it!  (Although, I did also pick around the crust because that was amazing too!)  The quiche was so fluffy and creamy, almost the texture of flan which was unlike any other quiche I've ever made (like my basic quiche recipe I posted before)

I highly recommend this place when you check out Sonoma.  Plus it's in the most picturesque town that almost feels like a movie set! Also, highly recommend making a reservation first!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Lunch: Venice Gourmet Boutique (Sausalito, CA)

My parents were in town and we stopped in Sausalito to enjoy the gorgeous sunny day by the water.  It was too beautiful to sit inside at a restaurant for lunch so we opted to grab some sandwiches from Venice Gourmet Boutique in Sausalito which looks like a gourmet grocery store, cooking gadget store and gourmet deli in one.  I ordered the avocado and brie sandwich from the deli which had sprouts, red onion and tomato.  It was tasty and felt light but very satisfying.  The creaminess of the brie and avocado made this sandwich nice and moist since I opted for no mayo and just a little bit of dijon mustard.

Perfect little Saturday!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Recipe: Easy Veggie Stir-Fry with Tofu

Just bought a wok from Cost Plus World Market and was really excited to try it out.  I've heard woks are super easy to cook with and only takes a couple minutes.

This recipe was made-up on the fly with whatever veggies I had in my fridge, and others my friends brought along.  (I invited some girlfriends over for dinner and this was perfect dish for sharing) And very healthy!

Veggie Stir-Fry with Tofu

Diced white onions
1 tsp chopped garlic
Chopped kale
Chopped brocoli
Sliced mushrooms
Green beans
Chopped carrots
Sliced almonds (for garnish)
Any asian stir-fry sauce (I used Mae Poy Sweet Chili Sauce available at most grocery stores)
Extra-firm tofu (chopped into cubes)

Heat wok on stove with a spray of canola oil spray.

First sautee onions and garlic.  Add tofu.  Gradually add the rest of the ingredients according to their cooking time (veggies that take longer to cook go in first)  I added in the broccoli, carrots, kale, green beans, and lastly the mushrooms.

Add in sauce and stir around until veggies are tender.  Sprinkle sliced almonds for garnish.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Chinese Take Out: Yum Yum Hunan (Pac Heights)

Prawns with Veggies
Found a yummy yet healthy Chinese take out spot that could possibly be added to my take-out speed dial list.  I actually yelp'd "healthy chinese food" and Yum Yum Hunan popped up.  It had 4 star reviews so I checked out their menu.  They had tons of options for vegetarians and seafood options if you eat fish.

I ordered the Prawns with veggies which came with a nice mix of broccoli, snap peas, corn, zucchini, carrots and tomato (a few added veggies that aren't typically in this dish) The prawns were sauteed and it didn't feel too greasy or unhealthy.  I also ordered a spinach and tofu soup which also had button mushrooms and egg.  It tasted like a wonton soup and was also really good.  Last, I ordered veggie dumplings- 5 came in an order for $4.50 and they were just OK. It had too much dough and could have been filled with more veggies.

Definitely recommend this place if you're looking for a go-to Chinese delivery/take-out spot.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Recipe: Really Simple Quiche

Broccoli and white onion quiche served with a side salad

This is an easy quiche recipe that my sister got from Real Simple.  Quiche is not only a great brunch item, but it makes for a perfect lunch or dinner meal when paired with a side salad.

Follow the basic Real Simple basic quiche recipe then add in your own toppings like broccoli, mushroom, onion, etc.

Real Simple Basic Quiche

  • 1 9-inch refrigerated piecrust (I use a whole wheat kind)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • medium onions, chopped
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • large eggs
  • 3/4 cup half-and-half
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 8 ounces Gruyere, grated (you can also use fresh shredded parmesan cheese for a lighter option)
  • 2 cups chopped vegetables of choice (mushroom, broccoli, asparagus, etc)

  • Heat oven to 375° F. Fit the crust into a 9-inch pie plate. Place on a baking sheet.

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and vegetable of choice and ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the parsley.

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, nutmeg, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Stir in the onion mixture and the Gruyère.

  • Pour the egg mixture into the crust. Bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Recipe: Veggie Bacon Wrapped Frittatas & Sweet n Savory Filled Pancakes

Had the most amazing brunch at my friend Kasia's house.  This Sunday we decided to cook up veggie bacon wrapped frittatas with a side of sweet and savory filled pancakes. Kasia made the recipe up along the way adding in whatever veggies she had in her fridge.  I brought over some veggie bacon which I love the Morning Star brand from Trader Joe's that I swear tastes like the real thing!  Instead of making them in one big dish, she put them in muffin tins which created the perfect individual servings.  I love cooking frittatas in muffin tins because you can make a big batch on a Sunday and eat them for breakfast Monday through Friday!  

She also made these adorable looking mini filled pancakes made with her fancy pan from William Sonoma.  We did some savory (mixed with the same veggies in the fritatta) and sweet (blueberry and plum jam) and they were delish!

This literally beats any other brunch dish we could have ordered at a restaurant!

Veggie Bacon Wrapped Frittatas

Sliced mushrooms
Shredded zucchini
Chopped onion
Chopped brocolli
Shredded parmesan cheese
5 eggs beaten
1 tsp crushed garlic
Morning Star Veggie Bacon 
Salt and pepper

Lightly saute all vegetables in a pan with some olive oil.  Beat eggs in a bowl and add salt, pepper and garlic to taste.  Mix in the vegetables with the egg and add in parmesan cheese.

Lightly cook the veggie bacon in a pan.  Watch carefully and don't overcook it because it will cook a little longer in the oven.

Line the veggie bacon in the greased muffin tins.  Pour in egg mixture and top with a sprinkle of chives.

Bake in the oven on 415 degrees for about 10-12 minutes.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lunch: Veggie BBQ at Jo's Coffee (Austin, TX)

I was in Austin, TX this past week for SXSW and couldn't wait to try the food that the city's most well-known for: BBQ.  But, since I'm a veggie, I really can't eat much beyond the sides. Fortunately, we found this place called Jo's Coffee on 2nd street that had the most delicious Veggie BBQ sandwich, that I swear tasted like the real deal! It had a tangy bbq sauce with a little kick of spice.  The Veggie BBQ sandwich was made just like the Pulled Pork BBQ sandwich which came with BBQ sauce, red onion and cabbage slaw on a sweet bun, except made with a wheat (non-meat) roast.  I think it was made with Seitan which is a gluten of wheat that's chewy and almost looks like meat.  (When slathered in BBQ sauce, you can hardly tell it's not meat) The bread was sweet and almost tasted like Hawaiian bread.  (Side note: Austin has some of the best bread!! Everywhere I went had amazing bread so don't live here if you follow a low-carb diet!)

Anyhow, I was thrilled to find that Jo's Coffee had some veggie options so I didn't feel left out of the fun, or just loaded up on mac n cheese for a week! 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

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Recipe: T.P.E (Tuna, Potato, Egg Salad)

Sundays are my cooking day.  I usually do my food shop then cook up my meals for the week.  Today I made my T.P.E (Tuna, Potato, Egg Salad).  This salad is a take on the salad I found at the deli counter at Real Food Daily in the Marina.  It was such an interesting trio and I love that it's packed with protein and blends three of my favorite salads.  These types of salads usually use mayo but since I despise mayo, this is topped off with my usual olive oil, sea salt and lemon pepper.  The egg yolk adds a little creaminess so it's not too dry.

T.P.E (Tuna, potato, egg salad)

3 cans of canned albacore white tuna (in water or olive oil)
3 hard boiled eggs
Handful of small boiled potatoes
Grilled asparagus spears
diced green onions
diced red onions
lemon pepper
sea salt 
Olive oil

Toss tuna in a large bowl then egg and potatoes.  Drizzle olive oil, sea salt and lemon pepper.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix together.  

Pack them up in individual containers and you're all set for lunch for the week.

Dinner: Spork Restaurant Mission District

Had dinner tonight at Spork in the Mission right on the corner of Valencia and Hill (near 22nd St.)  They are known for their "inside-out" burger so I wasn't sure what to expect from the menu from a vegetarian/pescatarian point of view.  They had two vegetarian dishes available under the pastas and grains section: La Pasta Melanzane, which is fresh made pappardelle with breaded eggplant fritters and tomato sauce or the Rustic Farro Risotto, which was a slow cooked farro with lentils, wild mushrooms, kale, cauliflower, and butternut squash.  I asked our server (who took a really long time to finally greet our table) which of the two he preferred and he said they were different in that the Pappardelle pasta was pretty heavy with the hearty tomato sauce, and the risotto was a lighter option so it depended on what I was in the mood for.

I chose the risotto and although it was pretty tasty, it felt more like a rice pilaf than a typical creamy risotto. (Side note: I was just watching an episode of Top Chef earlier in the day and they were discussing how risotto should be properly cooked which is to let the rice be the "star" of the dish and not to let the garnishes over power it.  The rice should also spread out when you plate it on a dish instead of holding itself up.  Spork's risotto definitely was not your typical risotto dish since it was made with farro) The flavoring was really mild with just a light parmesan cheese, olive oil and lemon juice.  I felt like it could use a little something like truffle oil which would have made it amazing.  I also thought it was something I could easily make at home, and add as another salad recipe.

Overall, I wasn't blow away by this dish and Spork has a very limited vegetarian offering.  If you are pescatarian, they do have quite a few seafood dishes that looked really good.  Although, I was disappointed that my dish wasn't served with a spork! Only one of their dishes on the menu actually comes with one!

We didn't order dessert but they're dessert menu looked amazing and the reason why I would go back and try this place again.  They also say they do brunch so would be curious to see what that menu looks like.

Here's Spork's menu to see for yourself!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Recipe: Strawberry, Apple Salad

This reminds me of the perfect summer salad recipe.  Light and refreshing!  Thanks to Nicole and Tracy for passing this along to share, who got the recipe from their friend Cristy.  The great thing about this one is that you can substitute it with any fruit or lettuce you like!

Strawberry, Apple Salad
Add any kind of lettuce you wish
Sliced strawberries
Sliced green apples
Sliced almonds
Olive oil & fresh squeezed lemon juice
Salt and pepper

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Recipe: Salmon, Bruschetta Salad

Just came up with this salad from some of the leftover salmon and Trader Joe's Bruschetta topping I made last night.  I tossed together a few random things I had in my fridge and it ended up really good!  The garlic, basil flavors from the Bruschetta adds so much flavor so you don't need to add cheese or even a flavored dressing to it.

Salmon, Bruschetta Salad

2 cups spinach leaves
1 small boiled red potato, cubed
1 hard boiled egg, chopped
2 tbsp Trader Joe's Bruschetta sauce, drain liquid
2 tbsp Olive oil
3 oz grilled salmon, sliced
Lemon pepper
Sea salt

Toss spinach leaves in a Glad plastic container.  Toss toppings on top and drizzle olive oil, salt and pepper.  Shake to coat olive oil evenly.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Recipe: Salmon Bruschetta

I'm a vegetarian but still eat seafood so technically I'm a pescatarian.  I love making grilled salmon and I usually season it with a little lemon pepper and sea salt and grill it on my grill pan.  Sometimes the salmon could use a little kick so I tried putting a little bit of this Trader Joe's Bruschetta Sauce on top to act like a relish.  It was quite tasty and the best part is that 2 tablespoons of it is only 20 calories!  Such an easy way to fancy up some salmon!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

No Mess Salads

To cut down on the number of dishes I have to wash when making a salad, I always toss all the ingredients in a big Glad plastic container like this one.  I place the salad in first, then the toppings, drizzle on the olive oil, close the lid and give it a good shake.  This coats the dressing nice and evenly and you can eat it right out of the container!

Brunch: Porkstore Cafe in the Mission

Last weekend, I had brunch at the Porkstore Cafe in the Mission and was very surprised with the number of vegetarian options on their menu, given their name.  Aside from carrying just vegetable based omelets and scrambles, you also have the choice of getting veggie bacon or veggie sausage.  I had their Veggie Nest (which is scrambled eggs tossed with bell peppers, onions and veggie bacon on top of a bed of hashbrowns), with a small order of French toast with fruit, and a side of their grits, which I split with my friend Kasia.  Everything was quite tasty and this will definitely become one of my go-to brunch spots.

They also offered a variety of vegan breakfast options and healthy "low-carb" plates.  Don't be fooled by the name because this brunch spot is quite veggie friendly.

Check out my Yelp review of the Porkstore Cafe.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Recipe: Kale Coloré Salad

I've been wanting to try a recipe using kale and am so obsessed with this one inspired by a salad I tried at my friend Erin's potluck dinner! This salad has a sweetness to it and hint of spice, which pairs so nicely with the bitterness of kale.  It's flavorful, packed with nutrients and so pretty to look at! I usually make a big batch on Sundays and portion them out to take to lunch during the week.

Kale Coloré Salad

2 bunches of Kale (it will look like a lot but it wilts down like Spinach)
2 red bell peppers, sliced
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
Cilantro leaves
1 can Corn or Hominy
1/4 cup vegetable stock
1 tbsp of sugar (to taste)
pinch or 2 of crushed red pepper flakes
1 tbsp crushed garlic 

In a large deep pan, heat the veggie broth and garlic together.  Add in the sugar and crushed red pepper flakes. Add in the kale and sautee on low heat until it wilts.   Then add remaining ingredients and toss together on low heat. I add cilantro in the pot and also sprinkle a few more when I plate it.  I love cilantro so I add a lot in. 

Eat warm or cold.  

Audrey's Recipe: Simple Salad

This salad recipe is one of my go to recipes when I want something fast and easy.  I tend to make it for dinner after a late night at work when I don't want to eat something heavy, but still pack in some protein and nutrition. And, I always have these ingredients in my fridge.

Simple Salad Recipe

2 cups arugula
chopped red onion
shredded parmesan cheese (I love the fresh version usually in the deli section)
1 fried egg
olive oil
sea salt and pepper

Cook one fried egg as you like it.  (I prefer mine over medium.)  Toss arugula, chopped red onion and parmesan cheese into a Glad plastic container.  Drizzle olive oil and salt and pepper.  Close with lid and shake salad to evenly coat with olive oil.  Plate salad and place fried egg on top.

*Note: most of my salad recipes only use Olive oil and sea salt and pepper for dressing.  I like to add in a lot of flavorful toppings that don't require much dressing, which makes it even more healthy.  I'd recommend investing in a good, sweeter olive oil or even some flavored ones like a lemon-infused.  We Olive in the Marina carries a great selection of olive oils or the vendors in the Ferry building.