Rice salad with spinach and pistachios

Rice and spinach salad-6The sun shines today and 2013 is feeling good. We have a long to do list with our move back. Our Hamburg belongings are on a ship just coming up the coast of CA as I write. O  is tracking it on an iphone app. Love that. We are also working on his USA visa and closing up shop in Hamburg. Well he is closing things up and still working a ton… he’s a champ.

On this side of the Atlantic, we are getting the house back in shape- things like the hands and knees tile floor scrubbing and re-sealing and dismantling and cleaning the six burner stove…

IMG_2945 stove cleaning

We are re-arranging rooms and painting walls that were begging to be refreshed with a new coat of paint. And then there’s the barn/greenhouse, landscape and garden- but I’ll save that for another post. We are planning a huge multi-family garage sale in the spring, passing on about twenty years of child-rearing goodies, clothes I’ve clung to far too long, random iron hooks, mop heads that never fit, multiple quantities of the same size tape measure, alarm clocks, no longer needed tools etc. Sound familiar? As I sort and separate, I am also consciously considering how I will not collect as many personal possessions in the next twenty-five years. This is how long I have lived on my own. Ok- twenty-seven to be exact. January is my spring cleaning.

It’s also the month I barely need to muster the willpower to eat clean nor do I need to clear the pantry of naughtiness, for I am superior at allowing myself to over-indulge in an extreme holiday way. I am brilliant. So come Jan 1st, I was so over it. And these first couple weeks have been a breeze. Now day seventeen. The chocolate covered expresso beans are making eyes at me. The sight of the left-over dough balls are once more appealing. And really isn’t there less calories in a little bit of dark chocolate than a rice cake with tahini and currants? But wait. This is for my health. As it was in this Jan 2012 post.

I will do my best to complete the month of January without refined sugar, processed foods or wheat. I’m no paleo so I will keep eating brown rice.

Rice and spinach salad

Loads of fresh veggies like spinach…

Rice and spinach salad-2

And nuts…

Rice and spinach salad-4

A lot of lemon. I’ve been adding zest to many many things. I have also started my day with a large glass of warm water and a squeeze of lemon. Google this and you will get loads of good reasons why to try this. But you can start here. A blogger who credited her sources. good girl. And this is not new info. Who remembers Jethro Kloss’, Back to Eden (I don’t have a kindle, this is just what my front cover from the 80’s looks like). I just upacked my copy of this and proudly placed it on the shelf. Too classic for the garage sale.

Rice and spinach salad-3

And really, I’ve been cooking and eating like a winner. Last week I made three salads. A red and white cabbage carrot salad that accompanied almost every lunch and dinner, our perennial lemony quinoa with cucs, tomatoes, peppers and capers…

salads (rice&spinach)

And last but not least the rice salad with fresh spinach and pistachios, adapted from the Jan 2013 Oprah mag. I will admit too, I love this magazine. I love me and I love my body, my life and so on. And I am a self help junkie… but I think in a good, non-preachy way. I also love food and health stats.

This is a simple side dish and it is a great way to use up the leftover rice. You can add or subtract quantities to adjust to the amount of rice on hand or if you cook it fresh.

Rice and spinach salad-5

Print oh so simple recipe Rice with Spinach and Pistachios. The others are self explanatory… I think. If not, give me a shout.

2 cups cooked brown rice (basmati is nice)
2 T olive oil
1 clove garlic minced
2 # spinach cut in strips
Zest of 1 lemon and 1 T juice
½ cup roasted and chopped pistachios
1 T dill (optional)
dash of red pepper flakes (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

For another healthy grain salad, check out this red quinoa with pistachios from The Bitten Word. I’d throw some spinach in that one, too.

So here’s to a fresh start in the new year and don’t worry, those sweets and treats will most certainly be sneaking back in through the cracks in no time and yell out to the world with glee… We’re back 🙂

Tschüß xx


One year Ago: Check out Granada, Spain



And Seville, Spain….





35 responses

  1. Hi Wendy, looks like a productive and fruitful month! As for salads and healthier meals for 2013 I know what you mean, only in my case, it’s far too hot to cook being summer & (107+F) including today! I love a salad with grains, (recently having made one myself with pearl barley!) and yours looks like perfection too!!! 🙂


  2. Wendy, just wow!! What a whole lot you’ve got going on! You are one determined, disciplined, energetic woman! You’re doing great things in the kitchen while you’re at it…love the sounds of your rice and spinach salad! Best of luck with all that lies ahead in this major transition!


    • Thanks Spree- The move seems mentioned an awful lot but that’s our reality this last five months. We have been sort of teetering between two countries. We are about to land mostly in the USA with O still doing some work this year in Germany. We are loving being back in our “real” house after several months in the cabin and have taken it off the vacation rental market- hence the reclaiming and reorganizing. All feels great!


  3. Looks like a lot of work to do but a lot already done! I’m doing my own version of a clear out of sorts but not accompanied with so much healthy food. Thanks for sharing the lemon water link. Perhaps I should do another tea detox for a start. I froze some lemon wedges and forgot about them. Time to put them to good use!
    Keep up the good work, hope that Hamburg stuff arrives safely x


    • Frozen lemon wedges? For when you run out? Interesting. The chocolate has snuck back into my diet. But I grinned from ear to ear with the first bite. Nearly 3 weeks was enough!
      We are keeping our fingers and toes crossed with the goods. It’s scary business out there with international shippers. The guys in Hamburg though were mostly meticulous in packing. cheers x wendy


  4. Fantastic salad Wendy! I’m totally into greens (and cauliflower) at the moment. Juicing a ton because the flu has hit my house. 😦
    Looks like your January is filled with quite a long “to do” list. Everything looks great, so spic and span! I too am going through the house, purging. Sort of forced to as we are in a constant state of remodel. And Ha! I said the same! After getting rid of all the things my kids collected, said I wasn’t collecting all that stuff the next 21 years. LOL! Happy Weekend!


    • I’m seeing some interesting cauliflower posts. I’ll have to put one on my shopping list.
      We are far from hoarders but I’m amazed at the collection of possessions we are sending off to hopefully please others. Next lesson: prevention.
      Good for you getting the juicer out- what do you use? Hope the household recovers soon. xx


  5. I am so hungry! This looks so delicious!
    God, so much work! I hate moving – I have moved so often that I just couldn’t be bothered to pack another box – although I love the challenges a new place gives you. Good luck 🙂 and have fun 🙂 getting set up! 🙂 Have a very HAPPY weekend! 🙂


    • Thanks! I’m feeling that now. Don’t want to move again for a very very long time. Especially to another country… or if I do I’m selling everything and traveling light!!! Realistically, we’ll be seeing where O lands a job in the next chapter. But for sure we’ve got a few years for high school. Hope you had a lovely weekend 🙂


  6. That salad looks delicious, and the pics are great, I especially like the first one! BTW – still have a copy of your orange vinaigrette recipe on my fridge door, have been making it regularly since you posted it!


  7. Wendy, what a fantastic salad … and all ingredients talks to me. Nice to read about your everyday now – didn’t know that O wasn’t a US citizen. Are O German??? You’re both busy on both sides of the Atlantic – is it the house on the island that you are getting back in shape or is’t an other place here. .. have lost track now completely, but that happens all the time.
    I also know how it’s to unpack most of all … but if it’s also very exciting and nice when every thing gets its place. I wish you good luck with all boxes. And looking forward already to the next report. Otis .. doing well I suppose.


    • O is German and will shortly be attending his “final interview” for immigration in the very near future. It was quite a load of paperwork and affidavits, marriage certificates, divorce certificates etc. My side of the form was a bit more complicated. We’ve gotten through the hard part (I’m pretty hopeful at least).
      I’m enjoying everyday life and gearing up for a new endeavor myself so we are trying to create a solid home base…. cleaning, sorting, clearing. Feels good.
      And Otis is being cute and wonderful 98% of the time! xo


      • Wendy, aren’t you American??? Have a lost the plot completely now ??? However it’s nice that you enjoy your “new” start … and all what will happen through it. You’re a happy and positive person, so it will work out very good for you two.

        98% good .. is really good.


      • I am American which makes it much easier. And because I was a resident in Germany, we were also able to apply for the visa in Frankfurt- another time saver. But it’s quite a process and he still had to apply from his own country. You cannot apply for a visa from the USA unless you came in without the “intention” of immigrating and got married and pregnant or something “spontaneously”. I won’t even get into that. It’s a bit bizarre but there is a lot of emphasis on “intention”. So being that we both like to do things right… we did it from Germany. But once he’s got it and comes to the USA – he will get his green card in 8-10 weeks. So the majority of work will be completed.


  8. Gosh that quinoa salad looks terrific..I will try it. Seeing pictures of your dining room and kitchen reminds me that I miss you, and my trip times go by too quickly. Your Jan. cleaning is awesome! Love you. Mom


    • Thanks Mom- It’s a good one to make at the beginning of the week to have on hand. Things were pretty upside down as we changed up several rooms after you left- but it’s starting to settle now. xxoo


  9. I am glad I am not alone in possessing a pantry of naughtiness – a kitchen is not complete without it. However, I am on the same healthy train as you these days with no gluten and more vegetables and some of the salads I’ve eaten have been so good I almost want to call them naughty! But not as naughty as the freshly baked croissants at the little cheese shop near my work that have been making eyes at me.


    • I just figured out a pancake but almost crepe like GF batter with a GF baking mix and almond flour. I can’t not be naughty.
      I may even do a post on it. The funny thing is I have no issue with gluten. I just do it to eliminate the breads and cakes for a bit but I always manage to find something equally yummy and calorie/carb laden to replace it. Hell, life’s too short, right?
      Fresh butter croissants will always bask in their own glory. Never to compete with a stand in. 🙂


  10. This looks amazing! Can I just ask what pan you use? I am looking for a concave skillet like this one, that you can cook on a stove and in the oven… any recommendations? Thanks so much! nerdwithtaste.wordpress.com


  11. You really have a lot of changes going on, Wendy! Good luck with your move and housekeeping! It looks like your “housekeeping” of recipes and healthy eating is accomplished… this recipe would be a great way to start, I’ve been indulging in way too much sugar! xx


    • I had a good three weeks and I’m back to some chocolate nibbling. But it’s with more intention and not just a ‘free for all’.
      Things will be settling off shortly and we look forward to some routine and the creativity that evolves when you have a good stable base. cheers… x wt


  12. I know you will be so pleased when you have your home all freshened up and are totally settled in. I think we are both trying to eat healthy and your salads and this rice dish are perfect.


  13. Since I saw your post I’ve been craving something I had once, similar to your spinach and pistachio salad but with pine nuts – maybe a different kind of green? Any ideas??


  14. I have not been doing a good job of keeping up with my favorite blogs since my baby arrived in October. It looks like a lot has changed. How exciting that you’re back in the US! I just moved from the midwest to central Pennsylvania.

    We’re trying to eat more paleo-ish here, too. At least, no refined sugars, and keeping food as close to its natural source as possible. (Disregard my post on fried chicken, that was a moment of weakness, haha.) Your recipes, as usual, look fantastic. I, too, am an Oprah mag fan. I’ll have to look for those salads.



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