Warm Green Bean Salad with Toasted Walnuts
This colorful salad makes a fine prelude to a hearty dinner. Walnut oil’s distinctive flavor delivers a rich hit to the dressing.
1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 tablespoon walnut oil
12 ounces haricots verts, (see Ingredient Note) or green beans, stem ends trimmed
2 tablespoon coarsely chopped walnuts
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
6 cups mâche, (see Ingredient Note) or Boston lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
To prepare dressing: Whisk shallot, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil.
Cook haricots verts (or green beans), uncovered, in a large pot of boiling water until crisp-tender; 3 to 4 minutes for haricots verts, 4 to 6 minutes for green beans. Drain, refresh under cold water and pat dry.
Toast walnuts in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl to cool.
To prepare salad: Combine the beans, tomatoes and parsley in a large bowl. Toss with the dressing. Divide mâche (or lettuce) among 6 salad plates. Spoon bean mixture onto the greens, sprinkle with the walnuts and serve.
Haricots verts is simply French for “green beans.” However, the term is often used for the very slender beans, also called French beans, found in produce markets.
Mâche (“mosh”), also known as lamb’s lettuce or corn salad, is a tangy green that resembles watercress. Popular in Europe, it is enjoyed in the first salads of spring. Look for it in specialty stores and farmers’ markets.
Calories: 135; Carbohydrates: 16g; Fat: 7g; Protein: 4g; Dietary Fiber: 5g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Potassium: 827mg;Sodium: 142mg
Exercise and Menopause
There was a time, not so long ago, when the word “menopause” was never spoken, not even between a mother and daughter. Although still referred to as “the change”, menopause is now no longer such a taboo subject. Menopause is a natural transition in a woman’s life. The emergence of menopause as a hot health topic is likely the result of newer research that has shown that exercise can play a key role in easing the transition into menopause, enhancing a woman’s health, happiness and productivity.
The medical definition of menopause is cessation of menses for 12 months. Menopause occurs when the ovaries stop making the hormones estrogen and progesterone. While the average age of menopause onset is about 51, some women may enter menopause as early s their 30’s or as late as their 60’s. Symptoms of menopause can include: hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, headache, lethargy/fatigue, irritability, anxiety, depression, joint pain as well s other symptoms.
The risk of heart disease and osteoporosis can increase after menopause. The good news is that this risk can decrease substantially with regular physical activity emphasizing cardiovascular conditioning and weight bearing exercise and high-impact activities (if tolerable). The mood-elevating, tension-relieving effects of aerobic exercise help to reduce depression and anxiety. Aerobic exercise promotes the loss of abdominal fat which is a common place for postmenopausal weight gain. Strength training helps bones to retain the minerals that keep them dense and strong, preventing the loss of bone density, thereby osteoporosis. The effects of exercise and a healthful diet help to prevent heart disease. Regular exercise can also help reduce and prevent symptoms of hot flashes, joint pain, insomnia as well as other menopausal symptoms.
If you’ve been exercising consistently before reaching menopause, you’ve already gained health benefits. Aerobic activity during childbearing years reduces the risk for breast cancer, which is more prevalent after menopause. You will have also gained a jump start on your bone health since your strength-training exercises may have increased the density and strength of your bones. To really reap the benefits of exercised, a balanced program of cardiovascular conditioning to reduce the risk of heart disease, strength training to decrease risk of osteoporosis, and flexibility to maintain range of motion in the joints is essential. Consistency is also important. Strive to be moderately active for at least 30 minutes every day, or at least most days of the week, every week to feel your best.
Until next week…