Something that I have come to appreciate more and more over the years is value of a photo. It is tangible little reminder of a person, a place or a happy time which conjures up memories that might otherwise fade or be forgotten. Pictures act as type of journal documenting our lives – monumental occasions and milestones and sometimes the more mundane, but simple pleasures and experiences. And both research and personal experience shows that time spent reflecting on the good times in the past, can often make us feel happier in the present. I was recently reminded of this when I saw a post from this time last year on my Facebook feed, which included a photo from when my husband and I went on one of our best vacations ever – a Mediterranean cruise.
We had literally only one week after our wedding to orchestrate our move from Boston to Ireland so we didn’t take a traditional honeymoon right away (although one could argue our living abroad for the past almost two years has been somewhat of an extended one). So instead, last August we celebrated our belated honeymoon by traveling to Rome and cruising to Santorini, Ephesus and Kudasi, Athens, and Crete. And it was AMAZING. We had the opportunity to sightsee ancient buildings, monuments, and archeological sites, go on a volcanic hike, swim in hot springs (in the bluest water EVER), shop, haggle, and explore. I had personally never done a cruise before, but it was the an amazing way to not only be able to see a lot of exciting places in a short amount of time, but it was also the perfect blend of relaxation and activity with daily excursions to the points of interest, but still plenty of time onboard to relax by the pool, enjoy the shows, workout, and of course, enjoy the food.
A common joke is that people easily put on about 5-10 pounds while on a cruise, since the food is absolutely limitless. Really. You can order room service 24 hours a day, go to minibars or the buffet style restaurant any time and have seated full three course meals for dinner every night. The soft serve ice cream machine was closed for about 1 hour each day to allow for cleaning – otherwise you name it, you got it. Although I personally was less enthusiastic about the limitless french fries, cupcakes and cocktails, I was able to enjoy absolutely delicious and still healthy food the entire time. The first night, I discussed some of my personal dietary restrictions and choices with our table’s server who relayed the message to the chef, who totally outdid himself, making outstanding paleo options for me every single meal from appetizer to dessert. The service and effort to go above and beyond was remarkable and so immensely appreciated. And did help that the Mediterranean cuisine more closely matches my personal preferences and typical food choices than most other genres for delicious options on and off the ship.
And so, inspired by the memory of this, this week I made a easy Mediterranean Salmon sheet pan dinner. Literally as easy as a half side of salmon topped with all the traditional flavors of that region combined. I ate mine over a bed of spinach as is my usual vibe, but you can definitely serve it with cauliflower (or regular) rice, or eat all on its own. It’s a quick and simple, Whole30 and Paleo, dinner that has me dreaming of sailing through the Greek islands again. Sigh. For now, I will have to settle for my photo album and this healthy fat and flavor packed dish.
- Half Side Salmon (or four separate filets) 160 oz (400-450 g)
- Avocado Oil (or other high heat cooking oil/spray) 2 TBSP
- Juice of 1 Lemon
- Dried Oregano .5 TSP
- Garlic Powder .5 TSP
- Sea Salt .25 TSP
- Black Pepper .25 TSP
- Medium to Large Zucchini/Courgette (diced) 1 each
- Grape Tomatoes (halved) 2 cup (400 g)
- Pitted Kalamata Olives .5 cup (65 g)
- Pitted Green Olives .5 cup (65 g)
- Capers .25 cup (35 g)
- Preheat the oven to 425 F/ 200 C
- Line a baking sheet with foil and brush a small amount of avocado oil (or other high heat cooking oil or spray) on the foil
- Lie the salmon the pan, skin side down, and squeeze lemon juice over the salmon and sprinkle the oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper evenly over the fish
- Dice the zucchini/courgette, and combine with the tomatoes, olives and capers, and 1 TBSP of avocado oil. Pour all the veggies over the salmon
- Place in the oven for approximately 20 minutes or until desired doneness. Slice the salmon into filets and enjoy!