Sunday, September 5, 2010

Saturday update and Latin inspired food

What a gorgeous day it was yesterday. The weather could not have been more perfect. The day started with temps in the mid 70’s and never got above 80. Additionally we had a lovely breeze of about 20mph. It must have been a great day on the Chesapeake for the sailboats. Our sailboat has been gone since 1997 and I still miss it. However we still have great memories of those times.

Since we haven’t been sleeping well, or long, we set our alarms for 10:30am thinking we didn’t want to sleep any later than that. We were up long before the alarms went off but it was nice to wake up when our bodies were ready as opposed to a loud noisy alarm.

With the glorious weather we turned the air conditioning off again and opened all the windows. The cats enjoyed the breeze all day yesterday and today. It has been a wonderfully relaxing few days at our house.

Lunch with my parents yesterday was a simple affair. I decided to make something that was a little Mexican, a little Spanish but nothing traditional. Here is what I did:

Black Bean and Corn Salad
Serves 6


1 ½ cup black beans, soaked and cooked until tender and cooled
2 limes, zested and juiced
2 ears corn, kernels cut off
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
¼ teaspoon sweet paprika
¼ teaspoon chili powder
½ finely diced poblano pepper (taste your pepper before adding it some are hotter than others mine was quite hot today)
½ cup cilantro, or to taste
2 tablespoons raw pumpkin seeds for garnish


Combine all the ingredients except the cilantro and pumpkin seeds and chill until ready to serve. Toss the cilantro into the salad and taste for seasoning. You may need to adjust the paprika or chili powder. Also you may want to add salt and pepper. Serve cold.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 230.83
Calories From Fat (8%) - 18.7

Total Fat - 2.23g
Saturated Fat - 0.42g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 15.29mg
Potassium - 950.32mg
Total Carbohydrates - 44.16g
Fiber - 14.31g
Sugar - 2.67g
Protein - 12.45g


Dan and I enjoyed the flavor of this dish. We liked the freshness of the cilantro and lime with the crunch of the bell pepper and pumpkin seeds. The corn added a nice bit of sweetness to the dish. I also think this dish needed the heat from the fresh chilis. If I had not been serving this to my mother I would have used a serrano or habanero in this dish instead. It would also be good with mango in place of or in addition to the corn.

To accompany this bean and veggie salad I made a quick rice dish that I add some Spanish flavor to keep with the Latin theme for the meal. Here is what I did:

Spanish flavored Rice
Serves 8


2 cup short grain brown rice
4 cups water
2 pinches whole saffron
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ cup cilantro
½ finely diced poblanos pepper
2 roasted red peppers, cut into fine slices
¼ cup toasted sliced almonds
splash of sherry vinegar to brighten the flavor (or you could add salt)


Combine the rice, water, saffron and paprika and cook until the rice is tender. Then fluff the rice with a fork and add the cilantro and poblano pepper.

To serve top the rice with the roasted red pepper and sliced almonds. You may want to add a splash of sherry vinegar to each serving to brighten the flavor of the rice.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 119.43
Calories From Fat (22%) - 25.78

Total Fat - 3.11g
Saturated Fat - 0.18g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 5.89mg
Potassium - 103.43mg
Total Carbohydrates - 22.93g
Fiber - 2.68g
Sugar - 0.37g
Protein - 2.78g


I like this as well cold or warm as hot. If you plan to eat it cold you will definitely want to add the sherry vinegar to the dish. If you like heat substitute a hotter pepper for the poblano. This would also be good with a little lime zest added after the rice has been cooked.

The final dish for lunch was a green salad that contained a quick marinated tomato, cucumber and onion salad in place of dressing. Here is what I did:

Tomato, Cucumber and Onion Salad
Serves 4


½ red onion, very thinly sliced on a mandoline
¼ cup sherry vinegar
6 cups chopped fresh tomatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
1 cucumber, very thinly sliced on a mandoline
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
½ cup cilantro
1 head romaine, finely shredded


Combine the onions, vinegar, tomatoes and cucumber rand refrigerate for at least 30 minutes so the vinegar has time to soften the flavor of the onions. When you are ready to serve add the black pepper and cilantro. Top the romaine with the marinated veggies.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 95.19
Calories From Fat (10%) - 9.37

Total Fat - 1.14g
Saturated Fat - 0.17g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 31.19mg
Potassium - 1181.4mg
Total Carbohydrates-  20.78g
Fiber - 7.31g
Sugar - 10.22g
Protein - 5.06g


Dan and I eat salads like this quite often. Since my parents aren’t used to food that is this clean I drizzled their servings with a little extra virgin olive oil which seems to work fine for them. The marinated portion of this salad can be made a few hours ahead of time but the vinegar will break down the veggies if you leave it too long. I wouldn’t make this a day ahead only a few hours. If you want to make this Italian use basil or parsley instead of cilantro. Remember that basil will turn black when it gets wet so always use more parsley since it will retain its green color.

Our Food Yesterday:

Breakfast was leftover adzuki and shitakes from the prior night. To accompany the bean dish I made a quick salad of: 1 head of romaine, 1 mango, 1 red bell pepper, and 1 avocado. I dressed with salad with about a teaspoon of miso thinned with a couple of tablespoons of mirin. It was an unconventional but tasty breakfast.

Lunch with my folks was the recipes outlined above. It was much more filling than you would expect for the small number of calories it had. On my parents plates a drizzled a little extra virgin olive oil since I knew without that it would be far “too clean” for them. As usual Dan and I had ours without oil and we thought it didn’t need it.

One thing I want to bring to everyone’s attention because it always surprises me is to taste your hot peppers before adding them to the dish. I had poblanos that I picked up from our CSA that I used yesterday. Normally I would never expect a poblano to be hot. Good thing I tasted this one since the heat level was as though it crossed with a habanero this little fellow was darn hot. When this happens I always dice the pepper very finely so the heat distributes evenly throughout the dish. It also helps to add less. ;-) I had originally planned to use two poblanos before I found out how hot they were.

The other tip I wanted to share before I forget again (I have wanted to tell you this for over a month) is about juicing lemons. If you have one of those hand help lemon squeezers (picked above) and you aren’t getting enough juice out of you lemons cut the pointy ends off the lemons before juicing them. It is amazing what a difference that makes. They are easier to squeeze and the juice seems to be much more abundant. Also I squeeze each half separately and then put them together in the contraption and squeeze one more time. It makes a difference in how much juice I am able to extract. I would love to take credit for this little trick but it was all Dan’s idea. He was watching me struggle and said why don’t you cut the ends off. Sure enough it worked great. Husbands can be so handy to have around sometime. ;-)

We ended up watching a movie last night and which mean dinner was popcorn. What? I know crazy right?  Not our usual healthy fare but since we do things like this so often I don't think it matters. We did use our air popper to make the popcorn and tried a tip from my friend Courtney of spraying it with liquid aminos to give the seasonings something to stick to which it did. We have been off salt so long the popcorn was actually too salty. Never thought I would hear myself say that. We seasoned the popcorn with nutritional yeast, dill and sweet paprika. I think next time we are going to spraying a little bit of flax oil on the popcorn with an aerosol mister and see what we think of that. Do you have any tip for getting seasonings to stick to popcorn that doesn’t include adding fat? If you do I would love to know what it is.

The movie we watched was “When in Rome”. We both thought we would enjoy it because of Italy. Sorry to say I can’t recommend it. The story line was beyond weak. The acting was okay but nothing can over a weak plot. There was so little of Rome I think it was filmed in Hollywood rather than Rome. This is not a must see move.

After the movie we had a big bowl of fruit that included peaches, blackberries and grapes.

That was all for yesterday. Now I need to write the Sunday post which honestly I haven’t started yet. Dan and I have been busy having fun and which means not too much time on the computer. I did make a really nice pasta dish today (Sunday) for lunch with my folks that I need to share. Even the omnis liked it and for pasta it was very healthy.

Dan and I are going to go for a walk around the neighborhood now to enjoy the beautiful weather. I will chat with you all again soon. I hope everyone is having a great weekend.


  1. Yay for nice weather! We finally have a very pleasant break in the heat here too. We watched that movie a few weeks back, not the best, but not the worst if you really think about it LOL. Hope you're having a great evening!

  2. Heather,

    The weather has been so nice we haven't been home or inside much. But that is what holiday weekends are for I suppose.

    I would have been bummed if I spent money to buy that movie. It wasn't the worst, but it wasn't exactly good either. I love romantic flicks but this one was a little thin if you know what I mean.

    We just got back from a nice walk through the neighborhood and I was thinking of what to make for dinner. Probably salad again because they are quick, easy and healthy which would be good after the pasta for lunch. We were running with scissors. ;-)

    I hope you are having a great weekend too.


  3. I roll my lemons before I cut them and in the winter I nuk them for about 20 second, major juice outage then. Is WHEN IN ROME about the girl with the fountain,who takes the coins and all the men fall in love with her?
    I thought all of your food looked tasty, sepecially the black bean salad!!
    I eat popcorn for dinner on the weekend with spike and nooch! No salt for me either...

  4. Brandi,

    I roll the lemons as well. But I have not trying microwaving them yet, now I will.

    Yes when in Rome was about the coins in the fountain. Though if that fountain exists I somehow missed it.

    How do you get the seasonings to stick to your popcorn?

    talk to you later,

  5. Your black bean and corn salad looks and sounds awesome! I need to try that! We saw that movie a while back also. I thought it was cute, but I wouldn't watch it again. We watched Furry Vengeance Friday night. It was too funny.

    I am also loving this nice weather we are having! Hope you have a great day! :o)

  6. Michelle,

    We liked the black bean salad, but it definitely needed a little drizzle of olive oil for my parents. ;-)

    Funny you said you wouldn't watch the movie again because that is my yardstick for a good movie. I agree once was enough for this one.

    Thanks for the movie suggestion. I have not heard of that one. I am going to look for it now.

    Glad to hear you are having great weather too. I love weather like this. Spring and Fall are my favorite seasons.

    hope you have a great Monday off,

  7. For your next movie night, try "Elling." It's a Norwegian film. Very cute. I love your salads!!!

  8. Aimee,

    Thanks for the movie suggestion. I will look for it on Netflix tonight.

    Dan calls me the woman of 1,000 salads. I guess necessity is the mother of invention. ;-)

    hope you had a great long weekend,


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