Tag Archive | summer

Summer, Summer, Summer-tiiiime… And Three Bean Salad

One of my favorite things about summer (besides sangria and pool time, duh) is all of the fresh veggies and fruits at the farmers market.  Over the past three months I have pretty much gone vegetarian, only eating meat roughly once a week. In doing so I feel so much better inside and out.

People always panic when you tell them you are making the conscious effort to not eat meat. But how will you get enough protein?!  Iron?!  OMG you are going to DIE!!!!!  Funny, I plug all of my food into my handy My Fitness Pal app and I check every day and my nutrition information begs to differ! You want to know why? Legumes and greens and other nutritious foods that are tasty, cheaper, and healthier. Go figure!

A staple every summer in my kitchen is a three bean salad I had first tried about 15 years ago at my friend Kath’s outdoor party. It’s her mom’s recipe, but over the years I have tweaked it up for my taste.  I like to make a full batch, and use it as a side dish all week.  With all of the beans, it is a great source of… you guessed it… protein!  It’s light and tangy and perfect all summer long.

three bean saladThree Bean Salad

15 oz can wax beans
15 oz can garbanzo beans
27 oz can kidney beans
½ bunch cilantro finely chopped
½ cup olive oil
½ cup red wine vinegar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
6 packets splenda (or ¼ cup sugar if you prefer)
1 green bell pepper chopped
4 green onions (including greens) finely chopped
4 celery stalks finely chopped

Drain and rinse the beans in a colender.  Mix all ingredients until well blended.  Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.  Tastes best next day.  Keeps for 4-5 days.

Note: I use the reduced salt canned beans.  If you prefer to soak dry beans, go for it, but you may need to add a touch more salt to the salad. Conversely, if you use regular canned beans, you may want to omit the salt and add to taste!

(Kiddie) Pool Punch

It gets hot here in the central valley, and by hot I mean H-O-T!  This weekend they are forecasting 108, which for those that know me, know I L-O-V-E.

A couple years ago I decided it would be fun to get a little blow up kiddie pool to dip in on the hot summer evenings.  It was probably my best idea yet.  It comfortably seated four adult women, and even had cup holders!!  This evolved into regular “pool time” which meant hanging out in the pool drinking sangria.  I don’t even remember HOW it came about, because I make a KILLER sangria, but I think I was in a rush, so I bought a jug (yes jug) of Carlo Rossi Sangria, club soda and a couple of limes.  Hello, refreshing!  It has become the hit of the summer at every pool party.  And did I mention it’s quick and easy?!

Fast forward to now.  I needed to rename this concoction, because I am a wine snob and don’t want MY famous sangria to be entangled with this swill that we make on the fly. So Pool Punch was born.  And after a few years of wear and tear (and neighborhood cats, grrrr) a new pool is due to be delivered Thursday!

Cheers!

sangria

 

 

 

(Kiddie) Pool Punch

2 parts Carlo Rossi Sangria
1 part club soda
2 twists of lime
Stir & Enjoy!

Summer Mediterranean Salad

My mother likes to bake.  She is a very left-brained person by nature.  She is a bookkeeper, a quilter, and when she feels like it, a baker.  It drives her crazy when she asks me how I made something for dinner because when it comes to measurements I wing it or eyeball it.  Cooking isn’t a science like baking.  It is an art. I always say that a recipe is like a blank canvas.  It gives you the foundation you need to create your masterpiece.  While not many of my recipes I would consider masterpieces, I do enjoy creating them, and I do enjoy eating them, so I’ve at least got that going for me!

A couple weeks ago I grabbed a recipe off the internet, Prevention.com to be exact.  It was a light and healthy salad I was looking forward to making.  Except I kept getting side tracked by friends, and fun, and work.  By the time I finally got around to making it, I had received an email with a similar salad recipe from Whole Foods.  But it was just different enough that I thought, damn, I could blend these two together and make a REALLY good salad that eats like a hearty meal.

It turned out delicious, and even better the next day when the flavors all had a chance to really meld together.  And with our recent hot weather it made for a perfect dinner on a warm night.

Remember- objects may be closer than they appear in miorror- all measurements are just approximate to be used as a guide.

Summer Mediterranean Saladmed salad

1/2 box whole wheat orzo
1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
1/2 cucumber – quartered and sliced
1 cup grape tomatoes – halved
1 red bell pepper – chopped and roasted
1/2 small red onion – chopped
2 cloves garlic – minced
2 tbsp parsley – chopped
4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp olive oil
Crumbled Feta
Salt & Pepper to taste

Cook orzo in boiling water according to directions (al dente). While cooking, drain and rinse garbanzo beans and place in large bowl.  Add all other ingredients, toss, and let set for 10 minutes.  Drain and rinse orzo in cold water, twice.  Drain and add to bowl.  Toss together and serve!

Note: If you are gluten-free, omit the pasta.  If you are going dairy free or vegan, omit the feta.  This is such a yummy recipe in many forms, find one that is best fit for you!