Tag Archives: Salad

Black Bean Salad

It occurred to me this morning that I haven’t been sharing many recipes with you lately. I have had a few written up, just ready to share, but I’ve just been more interested in talking about other things in the past few weeks! Today, however, feels like a good day to share a nice summer dish with you.

Summer makes me crave meals full of fresh ingredients and flavor, and I also like them to keep me cool on hot nights.

Thankfully, I’m a part of this whole crazy blog community, and you can pretty much find any kind of recipe you’re looking for within our community. So, soon enough, I found a recipe for a Black Bean Salad.

Of course, based on the ingredients in my kitchen and my own tastes, I had to change it a little. Sometimes I think I can’t help myself.

I ate a big serving of this as an entree, but I think it could be served as a salsa at a party or as a side dish at a BBQ. It’s really quite versatile!

Black Bean Salad

makes 3 entree-sized servings or a big party bowl

Ingredients

  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 large red pepper, diced (next time, I might use 1/3 each of a red, yellow and orange — just for the color!)
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1/2 cucumber, sliced & quartered
  • 1 small avocado, diced
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 tsp grapeseed oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • salt & pepper to taste

I bet it’d also be great with a cheese — maybe cojita? I just thought of this now.

Directions

It’s quite simple, really — just chop the veggies and stir together with the beans, oil, lime & spices.

This took just a few minutes and was delightful to eat for lunches outside in the sun.

The avocado and the beans made it creamy while the pepper and tomato gave it great acidity. This was a meal with a good balance of tastes.

Enjoy!

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Maroon 5, Train & Gavin DeGraw

This past Monday, I went to the Hollywood Bowl again.

This time, I was going to see two of my favorite bands and a musician I like quite a bit — Maroon 5, Train and Gavin DeGraw.

I knew this would be a real treat, but I don’t think I knew just how much of a treat it would be. These guys all put on incredible concerts. And it was long! It started at 7pm (though I was about 20 minutes late) and didn’t end until after 11pm. There were hardly any breaks between the acts, too. It was actually pretty seamless.

I went with a mixed group of friends — both people from work and other bloggers (specifically, Katherine and Kelley again!). Katherine, Chris and I went separately (Chris and I were running late at work and Katherine was kind enough to drive us there).

Since we were late (Hollywood traffic at rush hour is no fun), we missed most of Gavin DeGraw, but we made up for it by getting beers (well, I didn’t, but they did) and acting super cool on our trek up to our seats.

You know how we do.

Once we got to our seats…

…We met up with Jodi, Vanessa and Rachel on one side…

… and Kelley and Irving on the other!

(Isn’t Kelley WAY TAN?!)

We caught the tail end of Gavin DeGraw, but we only heard two songs.

Fortunately, one of them was the one Katherine and I most wanted to hear — “I Don’t Want To Be.”

Chris, not so into the music of the night, made lots of jokes.

Between acts, I broke out my go-to dinner for the Hollywood Bowl — that same salad goat cheese & red pepper salad from TJ’s!

So good.

Soon, it got dark and TRAIN came on!

I was so excited to see them. I love all of their music (not just the singles — I own every album!), but I most NEEDED to hear “Meet Virginia,” which is one of my favorite songs of all time. Happily, they delivered. 🙂

They also sang a big crowd favorite, of course — “Hey, Soul Sister.” (Terrible quality, sorry).

And that’s Katherine you can hear singing, by the way. Actually, you can hear Katherine singing in just about all of the videos.

Train sang all of the big hits and a few other songs. I was thrilled.

Next up… the main event! MAROON 5! I also own all of their albums and may or may not know all of the words to just about every single song.

I cannot even tell you how amazing they were. Adam Levine is one sexy, sexy man.

They played all of their hits, which was fantastic. I taped most of them, but I’ll only share the two best quality and the two with surprise GUEST appearances!

“Makes Me Wonder”

“Misery”

“Man in the Mirror” with JAVIER COLON from The Voice!

I was sort of obsessed with The Voice, so this was really cool. I had a huge hunch that it was going to happen, but I still kind of lost my shit got excited when he came out.

And finally… “Leather and Lace” with STEVIE NICKS!

That was really exciting. What a cool surprise!

I lead a pretty great life.

Who have been some of the best bands/ musicians you’ve seen in concert? I’m going to have to say Hanson is my all-time best live experience (they’re so amazing live), but Train and Maroon 5 are up there too. I also saw Savage Garden live years and years ago and remember being impressed with how great they were live. Random!

Now you!

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South Beach Diet Lunches

As you all may have realized (if you’ve been keeping track in terms of timing), I just completed phase one South Beach Diet. I have a big update about that to come, but until then, I want to fill you in on some of the stuff I’ve been eating.

Phase one, which lasted two weeks, took out a bunch of food but the general idea, for me, was that it took out most carbs — no grains, no fruit, no sugar and no alcohol (amongst other things).

Breakfast was the hardest for me — no fruit in the morning?! — but lunches and dinners weren’t that different at all. I mostly just kept eating as I was eating anyway.

Nonetheless, I think I ate a nice variety of South Beach Diet lunches, so I figured I’d share a few. They’re also just nice, light, summery dishes, even if you’re not on the SBD (which I assume most of you are not).

Summer Chopped Chickpea Salad

I pretty much just used this recipe, except I used diced heirloom tomatoes instead of cherry tomatoes, no scallions, and no basil (it had gone bad, to my surprise — otherwise, I definitely would have used it.).

Chicken Salad

Into the mix went:

  • baby romaine mix
  • cucumbers
  • cherry tomatoes
  • diced bell peppers (one of those two times I made it, anyway)
  • low fat feta cheese
  • dressing made of balsamic vinegar, EVOO, salt & pepper

Simple and delicious.

Hummus-Mustard Tuna Salad

I used to make this with honey, but I had to cut it out for the SBD. Honestly, I didn’t miss it. It’s good with honey and it’s good without!

Into the mix went:

  • 1 can white tuna (in water)
  • 1/3 cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 tomato, diced
  • heaping tbs hummus
  • a few squirts of mustard (No sugar added! Try this one from OrganicVille. It’s fantastic.)
  • salt & pepper to taste

So much better and so much healthier than mayonnaise.

Roasted Veggies & Chicken


You all know the deal with this one by now, right?

Into the mix went:

  • brussels sprouts
  • snap peas
  • asparagus
  • red & yellow bell peppers
  • broccoli
  • EVOO
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • garlic gold nuggets to taste

Roasted for 45 min at 375 degrees.

After the veggies were roasted, I added:

  • parmesan & romano (duh)
  • grilled chicken

All healthy, all easy, all yummy, and all South Beach Diet friendly. 🙂

By the way…

Rehab Day 20 (Tuesday)

Elliptical for 45 min at level 3, on Random, in Aerobic Mode

Rehab Day 21 (Wednesday)

Physical Therapy

Rehab Day 22 (Thursday)

Elliptical for 45 min at level 5, on Random

Today, per my PT’s instructions, I really focused on leaning forward on the elliptical in order to activate my gluts, since that has been a big problem for me. My quads naturally want to take over for my gluts, and that is a significant reason for which I ended up in so much trouble with my knees when running.

The bottom line here is that you just want all of your muscles to work evenly and together, not in place of each other.

Oh, and… I’ll (hopefully!) have an interesting update soon about the elliptical and suggestions that my PT has made in light of my recent improvement… 🙂

What are some of your favorite light, summery lunches?

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Sunday Dinner

So on Sunday night, I had a dinner party. Except that I didn’t have it at my own apartment. My friend Marc and I hosted it at his apartment, which is also the apartment of my friends Josh and Aaron. So, really, I invited myself and a few other people over for dinner.

Ehh, don’t worry. Despite my lack of social graces, I think it all worked out.

We made the most delicious salad, which is a creation perfected over time by Aaron and Josh. There are so many contrasting yet complementary flavors packed into it. It truly is an art form.

I mean, can’t you just tell how good it was by looking at it?

That’s the salad, minus the chicken.

The Milus Salad


makes about 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • about 4 packages of salad mix (we used fresh greens from the farmer’s market combined with a baby romaine mix)
  • 8 chicken breasts
  • EVOO
  • rosemary-infused salt (I’m going to go ahead and guess you could also just use a little rosemary and a little salt)
  • lemon pepper
  • ~2 cups grapes, cut in half
  • 2 golden delicious apples, sliced
  • ~2 cups strawberries, sliced
  • 2 bell peppers (1 red, one green), diced
  • 2-3 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced very thin
  • ~1 cup candied walnuts
  • ~1 cup slivered almonds
  • ~1 cup crumbled bleu cheese
  • dried cranberries

Directions:

Really, this is more of a “preparation method” than a recipe. Whatever. Make it anyway.

Trim & prepare (whatever you do — I hate touching raw chicken) your chicken breasts. Marinate in EVOO, rosemary-infused salt and lemon pepper. Just eyeball what looks like enough to cover the chicken. Pretty sure that’s all we did (again, I didn’t touch this part).

While the chicken is marinating, cut the grapes in half, slice the apples, dice the peppers, slice the strawberries, dice the tomatoes, and slice the celery. Or, more simply, cut up the fruits and veggies.

Grill the chicken. We used one of those counter-top grills.

You can also toast the almonds in a pan on the stove.

Oh, and if you want to candy your own walnuts, you totally can! First, toast the walnuts. Then, melt brown sugar on the stove, stir in the walnuts, and then separate them (immediately!) on wax paper. This will take a little speed and elbow grease. Well, not really elbow grease, but it’s a little tedious. It’s worth it!

And then, when everything is ready to go, arrange your salad!

That’s Aaron, the salad-master (and co-creator).

All done! (Mostly.)

Top it with balsamic vinaigrette (and, you know, the chicken) and you’re ready to party.

My salad was kind of sad next to those epic salads, but it was worth it to stick to my diet.

I really didn’t want to break it for anything and I’m proud that I didn’t, even in the face of an amazing-looking fruit-filled salad. (Oh, and my walnuts were of the not-yet-candied variety).

Party people!

Hooray!

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Grease Is the Word

I had such an action-packed weekend full of fun pictures that I’m going to do it in three posts. Hooray! We’ll start with Friday night, which was at the Hollywood Bowl.

It was — wait for it — a Grease Sing-A-Long!

Sometimes, I think I lead the coolest life.

I went with a mish-mosh group of work friends, blogger friends, and film school friends. I like combining my worlds!

The people: Chris, Rachel, Amy, Irving, Kelley (not pictured above) and Katherine.

Amy was particularly prepared for the picnicking. Check out her kit! (TWSS? No…)

I managed to stick to my diet despite being surrounded by cookies, chips, wine and beer… yay me!

That salad is awesome, by the way. Get it. TJ’s (duh).

A few happy friends shots…

Chris & Amy:

Kelley & Irving:

Kelly, Katherine & me (please note that Katherine and I maintained our poses, per usual):

Me & Chris:

Oh, and here’s another shot of the Bowl, complete with the Hollywood sign in the distance.

After we finished picnicking, it was time to take our seats. We were able to catch the tail end of the costume contest. It was adorable. It was also led by Didi Conn, who played Frenchie! Her voice hasn’t changed a bit.

Meanwhile, we entertained ourselves with the little goodie bags they handed out. These goodie bags were full of props to play with during the movie (ADORABLE, by the way).

We got a head start and played with them before the movie started. 🙂

My blogger friends were slightly better behaved.

Once the show started, it was too dark and not worth taking pictures, but let me tell you — it was a blast. The crowd was so much fun and sang loudly along with everything. I would totally, 100% do it again and highly recommend it next year (if they do it) to any fellow Los Angelites.

Rehab Day 9 (Friday)

40 minutes strength training circuit (all arms & upper back)

Rehab Day 10 (Saturday)

1 hr 15 minutes yoga (I’ll post about this tomorrow!)

about an 1 hr 30 min walking (I’ll post about this tomorrow, too!)

Rehab Day 11 (Sunday)

5 minutes swimming. It was supposed to be more, but my goggles were completely defective and I gave up. So…

Rest Day 🙂

Rehab Day 12 (Monday)

Swimming: 30 laps in 30 minutes

Oh, don’t forget to enter my giveaway! My friends are awesome and my cookies are epic!

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Vegetarian Nicoise Salad

So, the other day, Mark started craving his friend Annie’s Nicoise Salad. He asked her for the recipe and she sent it over, and when I came home from the wine tasting on Sunday night, I was greeted with my wonderful roommate asking if I was interested in having any.


Salad? Sure! Plus, who passes up a free homemade dinner? So, you know, I was in, but I didn’t really think beyond that.


But lemme tell ya something. This salad was the bomb. Seriously, I could not handle how good it was. So, thank you, Mark’s-friend-Annie-whom-I-have-never-met, for introducing this salad into Mark’s life, and then into my life, and now, ultimately, into your lives. And maybe your friends’ and family’s lives. You never know. Annie just became blog-famous.

Annie’s (Vegetarian) Nicoise Salad

makes about 4 servings

Salad Ingredients

  • lettuce (we used about 1 1/2 bags of baby greens)
  • 3-4 eggs
  • ~ 2-3 cups French green beans, washed & trimmed
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • baby potatoes (any kind)
  • (Annie also uses seared tuna, but we didn’t — just thought I’d let you know)

Dressing Ingredients

  • 1/3 c rice vinegar
  •  Juice of ½  – 1 lemon
  • 2 tbs spicy mustard
  • 1-3 minced garlic (to your taste)
  • 1-2 tbs minced shallot
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup EVOO  (you be the judge — use just enough to balance the acidity of the lemon)

Directions

If you wash your lettuce, let it dry completely.

Hard-boil your eggs, then immediately put them in a bowl with ice water for a few minutes to remove the sulfur (the grey stuff around the yolk).

Boil the green beans for about 30 seconds — you want them to be crunchy.

Boil the potatoes until soft enough for eating.

Cut/ slice up the hard-boiled eggs, potatoes and avocado.

In a cup, whisk all dressing ingredients other than olive oil together. Once evenly mixed, slowly add your EVOO until you think it looks balanced and not too oily.

Toss all salad ingredients with the dressing, then add kosher salt and fresh pepper.

So good, I even brought it for lunch. Twice.

Yes, for those of you good at math or with keen attention to detail, Mark ended up only having one serving of his own salad. You see, when Mark decided to fulfill his craving, he kind of forgot he was going away for the next two days.

Good news for me! 😉

The Pretzel Crisps giveaway ends tomorrow…

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“Budget” Healthy Lunches From My Fridge

I read something in a magazine recently about how a lot of people think it’s too expensive to eat healthy without it getting boring. I’m sorry, but that’s ridiculous. In the last week or so, I made three very different lunches out of the same set of vegetable ingredients. All were healthy, all were different, and all were delicious.

Oh, and my grocery bill basically never goes above $60/ week (unless I’m restocking something like protein powder or coconut butter) and can be as low as $30/ week.

These are the vegetables I had in my fridge:

  • zucchini
  • mini tomatoes
  • baby greens salad mix
  • red peppers
  • baby spinach
  • baby carrots (I actually never used these in a meal below, but I ate them often for snack)

Lunch #1: Italian Salad

Into the mix went:

  • baby greens
  • mini tomatoes
  • diced red pepper
  • kidney beans (1 serving)
  • parmesan & asiago
  • Annie’s Tuscany Italian dressing

It was so fresh. I had it twice last week!

Meal #2: Fresh Vegetable Scramble

This was a weekend lunch.

Into the mix went:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • handful fresh baby spinach
  • grated parmesan & romano
  • (ketchup on the side)

It’s probably no surprise to you that this ended up as one of my options.

Meal #3: Thai Yellow Curry Stir-Fry


It’s also probably no surprise to you that I found an excuse to use my TJ’s Yellow Curry sauce.

I actually made this as a dinner first, and then brought leftovers to work for lunch.

Into the mix (for 2 meals) went:

  • 2 zucchini, sliced
  • red pepper
  • baby spinach
  • kidney beans (about 1 1/2 servings)
  • EVOO
  • TJ’s Yellow Curry Sauce

All just sauteed for a few minutes!

I think these meals are a good example of how you don’t have to spend a ton of money at the supermarket getting a bunch of different stuff — you can just re-purpose the same foods into totally different meals!

In other news, I made the best smoothie (well, tied with my Cake Batter Smoothie) this morning, but I can’t share it with you yet due to my no breakfast (blogging, not eating) challenge!

So, I’m just going to tease you. It was a Snickerdoodle Smoothie. Yes, a Snickerdoodle Smoothie. You’re just going to have to wait ’til next week for the recipe!

Oh, and just a couple more days left to enter my Pretzel Crisps Giveaway

How many vegetables do you usually buy at one time? I try to stick with 3-5.

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