Summertime Rituals: Book-Reading & Salad-Eating

It’s summertime and that means I start piling books in a stack for Summer Reading.  I rarely make it through them all, being the slow reader that I am and having the busy home that I have.  But I make the stack, nevertheless, with high hopes and grand ambitions of reading my way through these books over the summer.   I am excited about this year’s stack. We just got back from the beach and I am so thankful to have had reading-time while we were there to jump start this pursuit!  Here’s my Summer 2017 book stack, so far.

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Summertime also means salad for lunch!  Having big hearty, healthy salads for lunch is my attempt to deal with the season of lots of skin showing.  And if a salad is what I’m having for a mid day meal, I want it to be as filling and satisfying as I can make it, yet healthy and lean. (Don’t get me wrong, there is also a lot of buttery baking, savory meat grilling and ice cream churning going on in the summer at our house- I just try to make lunch a hearty and healthy element during these summer days!)

This salad is a winner. It’s savory, flavorful and satisfying and can be tweaked as you like!  It takes a little prep (though even this can vary depending on how you choose to make it) but if you make enough,  you have things prepped for more salads later in the week!  It makes it easy to whip up some goodness at lunchtime!

Black Bean & Corn Salad with Pineapple Vinaigrette

Greens + Sautéed Peppers & Onions + Black Beans + Corn + Cilantro + Feta + Pineapple Vinaigrette Dressing


THE WARM STUFF:

Black Beans: In a small pot on medium heat, sauté (with a little olive oil or canola oil cooking spray) 1/4 of a chopped onion and 2 cloves of minced fresh garlic. Saute until tender. Add 2 cans of Black Beans, drained and rinsed and a can filled with water.  Add salt and cumin (or whatever spices you like). Cook on medium heat for a few minutes while you assemble the rest.

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Corn: Shuck and wash a few cobs of corn.  You can grill it, or wrap in plastic wrap and microwave it, or you can even use frozen corn and warm it in a skillet or microwave.

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Peppers and Onions:  Thinly slice onion and bell peppers, toss in a skillet with cooking spray and sprinkle a little kosher salt, pepper, smoky paprika or chipotle chili powder.  Cook, stirring occasionally until tender. We have found that peppers and onions, and black beans on a salad add the warm savory that make the salad so much more filling and satisfying (while still being healthy, affordable and quick to prep).

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THE COLD STUFF:

Greens: Prepare a bowl of greens (lettuces of your choice)- wash, chop, whatever your leafy greens-of-choice require [if you are planning to have several days of salads, go ahead and prep several portions worth].

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Pineapple Dressing: This dressing was inspired by Trader Joe’s Island Salsa that we had, which I used on this salad and wished for it when it was gone.  I had pineapple in the freezer that we use for smoothies, and thought I would try whipping up something to make a chunky pineapple dressing.  It was a nice surprise!

1 cup frozen or fresh pineapple chunks

1/3 cup water

3 Tbsp. white wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar

3 Tbsp. honey

1 Tsp. fresh minced garlic

1 tsp. dried onion powder

1 tsp. coarse salt

1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1/3 cup olive oil

 

Blend all ingredients together (except oil) with a pulse setting, until nicely blended but with small pieces of pineapple still remaining. Drizzle the olive oil in as you blend on low speed, until emulsified.

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Assembly:

Pile it on! Lettuce greens, peppers and onions, beans, corn, a few sprigs of fresh cilantro (if you have it), and crumbled feta. Top with a drizzle of pineapple dressing.

If you don’t want to make the dressing, you can use any salsa you have on hand.  Or use any vinaigrette that you like.

But don’t hesitate to try making this dressing.  It’s quick, easy, cheap and lasts a couple of weeks in the fridge. DSC_0026 (1)

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I snapped a photo on a street in New Orleans this Spring. READ! READ! READ! Yes!

I’d love to know what’s on your reading list this summer!

Here’s to Summer Reading and Salad Eating!

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