Saturday, July 19, 2014

Spinach, Berry, & Walnut Salad



 


Summer is at it's mid-point.  School will start up soon (end of July for my kids). My home will be a lot quieter, and a lot cleaner.

...I don't really want to talk about it.

Instead of dwelling on the impending school year, I want to focus on the fruits of the season:

BERRIES!!

Fresh, in-season berries make for a treat that's hard to beat. And while not the cheapest food item around, NOW is definitely the time to be enjoying their deliciousness and their prices, as fresh produce tends to be cheaper when it's in season. We love berries plain, as a topping on vanilla ice-cream, mixed in oatmeal and cereal, made into jams, and in salads...

...And we will eat them in a box,
And we will eat them with a fox,
And in a house,
And with a mouse,
And over here,
And over there,
We'll eat berries ANYWHERE!

You get the idea. We feel about berries the way "Sam-I-Am" feels about green eggs and ham.

When I was young, we used to make the long drive from Idaho to Des Moines, Washington (near Seattle) to visit my grandmother who lived in a beautiful home on the Puget Sound. I loved going there! 

One of the best things about that area is that blackberry bushes grow wild all over the place. And I'm talking HUGE, gorgeous, perfectly flavorful and juicy berries.

We would go on a short walk from my grandmothers house with plastic buckets/tupperware, and go to town picking wild berries, eating them, and making a sticky berry-stained mess of our fingers and faces. 

We'd bring them home, and my mom would proceed to bake them into the most delicious pies you've ever tasted. 

Mmmm... pie... I'll definitely have to post that in the future...

Back to this salad.

I feel a little silly posting this "recipe" because I don't feel it really qualifies as a recipe... more a concept. But definitely one that deserves recognition. 

There's no real measuring involved... though I'll give you some measurements below to use as a guideline, and really, the ingredients are subjective to what you have on hand.

I used fresh spinach, and an equal amount of blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries. I shopped up a small handful of walnuts (not even toasted or candied... though you could toast/candy them if you wanted) and topped it with a lemon-poppyseed dressing I bought for myself with a coupon. I know... store-bought. For shame. But it's sooooo good!

My husband and kids eats it without dressing. Wierdos. (Just kidding.)

Although amazingly simple, this salad is a favorite in summer-time. 

So, enjoy those delicious berries before summer bids us farewell till next year!




Spinach, Berry, & Walnut Salad

*Serves 6



INGREDIENTS
9 oz. spinach
1/2 cup chopped strawberries
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup blackberries
1/2 raspberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts 

*dress as desired (dressing, feta cheese, bleu cheese, etc. I used a lemon-poppyseed dressing)

DIRECTIONS
In a large bowl, toss the spinach. Top with berries and walnuts. Chill till ready to serve. Dress as desired, and serve immediately.



Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Black Bean & Corn Salad





We did it!

We are safe and sound and (sort of) moved in to our new place!

Okay, so there are still a few random boxes lying around, our mattress is on the floor, and the basement is kind of a disaster, but whatever. We're HERE!!!!

Oh! Quick question to all of you with second-story bedrooms that face the burning-hot rays of the setting sun:

How in the world do you keep those rooms from turning into dry saunas?? I feel like I'm sending my girls to bed in an oven. We've attempted window fans, black out drapes, and blasting the air conditioner (to no avail since the silly vents are on the ceiling... plus it costs a fortune to keep up that approach). Any new ideas would be much appreciated.

A little while ago, I received a very sweet email from a reader requesting a healthy, inexpensive, summer salad recipe.

As it happens, I came upon an idea for one the day we moved into our new town home.

We had little by way of food, so I hopped in my minivan, and drove to the nearest grocery store to pick up a few necessities.

I'm not going to lie.

I was hungry. Moving is big-time work, and eating in never at the fore-front of my mind. I pushed my cart past the deli section, and a colorful container of something called "black bean salad" caught my eye.

Normally, I'm not an impulse buyer, but that night all bets were off. The pre-made black bean salad ended up in my cart (along with a container of chocolate-covered cinnamon bears... someone should earn some sort of prize for creating those, by the way).

At home, I took a spoon the container of salad, and went to town. It was so good! I broke out a bag of tortilla chips, and continued my rather embarrassing consumption (inhalation??) of black beans, corn, peppers, onions, and cilantro.

I did wish for a few things... like a tiny bit of salt, and lime, and garlic, and maybe some heat... but other than that the simple, healthy ingredients were completely refreshing.

Shortly after, I made my own black bean and corn salad with a few tweaks to the original in order to suit my desires.

HEAVEN!

This black bean and corn salad recipe is packed with nutrients, vitamins, fiber, and all kinds of healthy goodies. Plus, it tastes amazing, comes together in NO time, and is relatively inexpensive to make. The subtle addition of lime, garlic, salt, and jalepeno elevate the flavors and make this salad absolutely incredible.

I think I'll be making this on many summer days to come.

Enjoy, everyone!!



Black Bean & Corn Salad  
Printable Version  

Makes about 7 cups

(Note: This recipe can be made even cheaper, and healthier if you decide to cook your own black beans, or use fresh corn... in which case, use 3 1/2 cups black beans, and 2 large cobs of corn.)

INGREDIENTS
2 15 oz. cans low-sodium black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 15 oz. can sweet whole kernel corn (drained and rinsed)
1 red bell pepper (diced)
1/3 cup red onion (finely diced)
2 scallions (finely diced)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1/3 cup diced cilantro
2 Tbsp. lime juice (Or the juice of 2 limes)
1 tsp salt
*opt. 1 small jalepeno (minced)

DIRECTIONS
Combine all ingredients in a large serving bowl. Toss gently. Serve immediately. This salad is great as a stand-alone, or you can serve it with tortilla chips. Store in the refrigerator 3-5 days.



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