Summer is coming… and I need a tan.
Truly. After a long winter, my very fair skin has the blue-tinged hue of freshly fallen snow, which is something that looks attractive on no one. And while it would be perfectly lovely to call my skin tone “porcelain” – which babies somehow master with their smooth, dewy, glowy, slightly pink skin – I probably more closely resemble the color of watered down skim milk. That, and I have become a religious sunscreen user at all times, which further contributes to my complete lack of golden, sun-kissed glowiness.
Now, as mentioned above, I use sunscreen every day, even in the winter. This is, in part, due to my medical education and experience diagnosing some of my patients with skin cancer, but also (secretly) due to my desire to ward off the ever-dreaded wrinkles and age spots. Ahem. So, now the conundrum – how does one go about getting such a lovely glowy tan while wearing sunscreen? Self-tanners? Well, okay, but seriously, what a pain….
Interestingly, I recently read an article that states people who eat lots of beta-carotene in their diet tend to have skin with a healthy, glowy color boost that looks like a light tan. And, in fact, a study found that most observers preferred the high beta-carotene eaters as having a more pleasing skin tone than the sun-tanned group. This must be my answer. I must start eating carrots. Daily. Of course taking care to avoid developing carotenoderma (the benign reversible condition when your skin, particularly the palms and soles, turn orange from excessive beta-carotene intake).
So, beta-carotene, a form of Vitamin A, is generally found in fruits and vegetables that are deep yellow or orange in color, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash, cantaloupe, mangoes, and oranges. It is also found in deep green vegetable such as spinach, kale, broccoli, and other leafy greens. Essentially, by eating a healthy diet full of bright orange and green fruits and vegetables, you can get a lovely tan!
In honor of green and orange fruits and veggies, and in the hopes that someday we all might achieve that perfectly healthy, glowy, tanned skin (ha!), I am sharing today’s recipe. Actually, I just really love this salad, and it just happens to be full of green and orange fruits and vegetables. It has been my main go-to side salad for years now because it is just so tasty. This salad has the perfect blend of fresh flavor, crunch, sweet juiciness, and acidic tang from the red wine vinaigrette. And the sugared almonds are the perfect finishing complement for this salad. You cannot skip the almonds – they are essential!
- ¼ cup slivered almonds
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2-4 tbsp olive oil
- 2-3 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2-3 tbsp sugar
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Romaine lettuce or other salad greens, washed and torn
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 3 or 4 green onions, sliced
- 1 (15 oz) can mandarin oranges, drained
- Combine the almonds and sugar in a small saucepan. Stir constantly over low heat until the sugar melts, turns lightly golden and coats the almonds, about 10 minutes. Watch carefully, or the sugar could burn. Remove from heat immediately and spread the almonds on a sheet of foil to cool.
- For the dressing, combine the oil, vinegar, sugar and salt and pepper in a small bowl or jar; stir or shake until combined. Refrigerate.
- Combine the salad greens, celery, green onions and mandarin oranges in a large glass bowl. Sprinkle with the almonds. Pour dressing over the salad and toss lightly just before serving.
You can easily increase or decrease the oil, vinegar, and sugar amounts in the dressing to your taste. I often use slightly lower amount of oil and slightly more vinegar, adjusting the sugar to taste.
I usually make a double or triple batch of the sugared almonds and keep the extra in an airtight jar in the refrigerator, so I can enjoy this salad anytime!
Recipe from Laura’s Cozy Kitchen.