Archive | Food RSS feed for this section

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup in a Jif!

3 Jan

Believe it or not, I had NEVER eaten butternut squash until this fall. That’s right! How crazy is that? I don’t know where it has been all my life, but I do know it hasn’t been on my dinner table. And, I’m rather certain it was never on the table during my childhood either. But, during a trip to Atlanta a couple of months back, I saw butternut squash soup on a menu and decided to go for it. I love pumpkin and spaghetti squash, and butternut squash seemed like a safe little cousin of that family. The result? I was instantly in love! Soooooo dang delicious. I wanted to eat this soup at every single meal forever and ever. Of course, we only got to stay in Atlanta for two days so that was less than possible. Instead, I decided to make it in my very own kitchen. And, man oh man, is this easy! Trust me. If you have a blender (especially if you have a Vitamix), you can make this in less than an hour with about 15 minutes of actual hands-on work. Check it out!

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

(Serves 2 as meal, or 4 as “appetizer”)

Butternut Soup

  • 1 butternut squash (probably ~2 pounds)
  • 1 C vegetable broth (chicken broth is also delish!)
  • .5 C half-and-half (totally optional – i think it gives it a certain silkiness, but you can skip it and add more broth instead)
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil (2 Tbsp for roasting, 2 Tbsp for sauteing)
  • 2 small yellow onions (or ~1 large onion)
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • .5 tsp chipotle tabasco

First thing’s first. Get that oven preheated to 375*. While the oven is preheating, you can go ahead and prep your butternut squash. Cut squash in half length wise (burrito-style for those of you who understand that better!). Be careful. The skin is generally pretty tough to get through. Watch those fingers. Best to have all 10 in tact throughout this process. Coat each half of the squash with about 1 Tbsp of olive oil. I generally pour the oil into my hand then massage up the squash. Make sure you get the skin side and the inside. Every inch should be covered. Next, place each half skin side up on a baking sheet. Once oven is preheated, bake for ~45 minutes, or until a fork can easily be inserted through the skin (that shows you the squash is all cooked and super tender). Once cooked, remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.

While your squash is getting all roasty and delicious in the over, you can work on chopping up your onions. (You don’t have to be too meticulous about your chopping because the end product is just getting all pureed anyhow.) Once chopped, add 2 Tbsp olive oil and onions to a skillet/pan over medium to medium-high. Stir occasionally until onions begin to soften – ~5 minutes. Add your minced garlic, stir to combine. Continue to leave this over medium(ish) heat until the onions are nice and golden and tender. Most likely about 10 more minutes. Once done, remove pan from heat. You’ll come back to these later.

At this point, you hopefully have both cooked squash and sauteed onions/garlic. If you do, proceed! If you do not, go back up and double check your work from the first couple of paragraphs! 😉

Into a blender, add your onions/garlic, broth, and half-and-half. Blend for about 30 seconds at high speed until smooth. Next, scoop out the flesh of the squash using a spoon. Just take the meaty flesh that comes out easily when scooped. You don’t want any of the skin in this soup. Add the flesh to the blender.

This is what should be left of your squash once you scoop out everything inside!

This is what should be left of your squash once you scoop out everything inside!

Turn blender to high and blend for another 30 seconds until all is combined and silky smooth. You can add more liquid (either broth or half-and-half) to thin the consistency if you’d like.  Oh yes! Feel free to add some salt and pepper if that’s your thing. I didn’t add it.

Butternut Soup Vitamix

That’s the end of the cooking. Can you believe it? You just made a whole batch of soup, and I bet you didn’t even break a sweat.

Now, to serve, you’ll want to drizzle the honey and chipotle tabasco over the soup. It’s amazeballs, trust me! I recommend stirring these two ingredients together to make sure they’re nicely combined. Then, scoop some soup into bowls and drizzle with your spicy honey. Additional garnishes to be considered include feta cheese or chopped up bacon (mmmmm, bacon!).

Butternut Soup 2

Butternut Soup with Bacon

All that’s left now is the eating part. So, get to it! Enjoy!!!

It’s here! The Banana & Avocado Chocolate Chip Muffin recipe!

30 Sep

Hello, friends. I hope you’re enjoying your Sunday. First of all, I should apologize for taking my sweet time getting this recipe out to y’all. Unfortunately, I misplaced the recipe and couldn’t remember it off of the top of my head. So, yesterday morning, I proceeded with what I thought was the recipe and it was a success. Score! So, without further delay, here you go!!!

Oh, and side note! I actually also made a batch with peanut butter and no choc chips and those were my fav (I’m a huge pb fan, but not always chocolate in baked goods. I know, I know. I’m a weirdy.)! Plus, I feel a bit better about eating ’em for breakfast all week sans chocolate!

Banana & Avocado Chocoalte Chip Muffins

yields 12 muffins

  • 1.5 cups rolled oats
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter (use the kind that is just peanuts, and maybe salt. Avoid those with added oils and preservatives!)
  • .5 cup mini or regular chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 375*. Combine all ingredients into large bowl and mix thoroughly until all is combined. Let sit for about 5 minutes. I read that letting oats rest when you use them in baking helps them “set up” a bit. Not sure that it’s necessary, but it sure can’t hurt.

While you are looking for something to happen to those oats in the 5 minutes you’re supposed to wait, go ahead and either line your muffin pan with liners, or grease your pan. You should know that, if you use paper liners, these will stick because you aren’t adding oil to help them keep off. That doesn’t bother me, but if it does you, just grease your pan!

Next, scoop 1.5 tablespoons of your mixture into each spot of your muffin tin. Bake for 20-30 minutes. Mine took about 23 minutes. I recommend checking at 20 minutes and going from there. They should brown slightly on top and come clean when a toothpick is inserted into the center of the muffins.

These are really yummy muffins that I love as breakfast treats or snacks after a workout. You should, however, note that these are fully sugar and flour free so they aren’t your standard Betty Crocker muffins. They are far denser and a bit more “savory”, I suppose. If you crave something more in these, try adding a teaspoon of sea salt (I just like to keep sodium as low as possible when I’m cooking at home.) or a couple tablespoons of maple syrup for sweetness. In my first batch, I actually sprinkled raw sugar over the tops before baking. This provided a sweet little crunch on the top after they baked. So, I totally recommend that if you aren’t going sugar-free at the moment.

There you go, friends. Let me know what you think if you try these at home. I actually had 3 of these lovelies yesterday before I headed out for RIPPED and Zumba (2 hours of group fitness!!!), and they held me over until lunch time. How awesome!!!

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday. I’ll catch-up with you again soon!!! 🙂

My organic non-negotiables, and some money saving tips

28 Sep

Recently, a friend asked about what I see as necessary to buy organic. While I spent an embarrassing amount of my time talking to other people about food and nutrition, there are few topics that come up more often than organic vs. non-organic. So, here are my personal opinions on the matter, followed by some of my favorite money-saving shopping tips!

If you follow my blog, you know that I made a huge career shift in June which cut my pay to a fraction of what I made before. Basically, I now have the income of a part-time college kid. It’s totally sweet, I know. That said, the reduction in income has forced me to prioritize things a bit, and I don’t consider that a bad thing. I’m a big fan of focusing more of life than on things!

So, here you go folks:

1) APPLES! Never, ever, ever buy conventional apples. Not only are they laden with chemical pesticides, they are also coated with tons o’ wax that I believe just can’t be good for you. Especially if you’re adhering to the whole “an apple a day…” thing! So, spend the money here. In my opinion, this is one of the biggest bangs for your buck. I have found the organic apples in my area to taste soooooo much better than their conventional counterparts.

2) Greens (spinach, kale, romaine, etc.). Greens are leafy little suckers, of which we eat every bit. The outside, the inside, the tops, the bottom. So, those pesky pesticides have the opportunity to burrow in every centimeter. While you can rinse your greens, you really aren’t doing much unless you are an OCD vegetable cleaner willing to spend money on those expensive, non-toxic veggie cleaners. At which point, you’d probably have saved money just buying organic.

3) Milk. Um, this topic is huge. And, kind of disturbing too. Basically, I make this choice based on what I know about hormones and antibiotics going into milk. The hormones have all sorts of nasty effects that I’ve read about including causing some sort of pus discharge to be released into the milk. I’d also recommend buying milk from grass-fed cattle where available. But, anyhow, this could be a substantial post on its own. If you haven’t read about conventional vs. organic milk, please do. I’ll spare you the other gory details. 😉

4) Fruits I eat whole. I’m talking about things like strawberries, blueberries, grapes. If I eat something whole, with the skin on, I buy organic. My thought here is that I can’t really get rid of the outside layer to shed the highest dose of pesticides in these types of fruit. So, organic I go.

5) Potatoes. Simply because they are pretty high on the list of overall pesticide load in produce, and I prefer to eat them with the skins on 98% of the time. If you are peeling your potatoes and cooking them at higher heats, I would pass up on organic.

6) Soy & Corn. I figured I’d just lump these together because of the reason I buy these organic – GMO’s (genetically modified…). If you haven’t looked into GMOs, I urge you to do so. You can decide how you feel about it once you’ve educated yourself, but I steer as clear of nasty GMOs as possible. Basically, chemists have re-engineered the DNA of the plants to resist pesticides and natural “predators”. Sounds good in terms of pure capitalism, but in terms of health (especially allergies and cancers), I simply say NO thank you with my spending dollars!

And, honestly folks, that’s my list. Other things, for me, are negotiable depending on my budget and availability. Some things that would be next in priority for me are cauliflower, asparagus, mushrooms, and broccoli. Past that, I just save money and go with conventional produce.

On a side note, not buying organic, doesn’t mean you have to throw your hands up and buy anything. Oftentimes, in the market, you’ll have options of produce based on location of production. For instance, this year in our supermarket, I noticed that we had asparagus from the USA or from Peru. In cases like this, choose the produce grown closest to you. And, buy LOCAL – as in from your community – as much as possible. True, local, small farmers are more likely to care about what is going onto their crops and into your (and their) body. Plus, it’s a pretty sure-shot way of steering clear of GMOs as most GMO crops are grown by large corporately-owned farms that are part of multinational organizations.

Now that we’ve established my stance on organics in many instances, let’s talk about ways I look to keep our grocery bill low and our plant food load high.

Frozen veggies. While I am a HUGE advocate of fresh veggies, sometimes the cost of buying fresh isn’t worth it – especially if my use for the veggies includes baking, steaming, etc. In these cases, frozen veggies work just fine. My fav uses for frozen veggies –  corn for browning in a pan before adding to soups,  veggie mixes for quick stir-fries, cauliflower for mock-mashed-potatoes.

Bulk grains. Given that I can find at least one market with bulk choices here in the nowhere land of Florida I live in, as well as my hometown in Arkansas, I’m going to assume most of you can find these choices too. Instead of buying bags of rice, quinoa, etc, scoop out your own choices and buy from bulk bins. I’ve found prices to be really good because I’m not paying for the brand or packaging. When I get home, I simply pour the grains into large Ball jars (glass jars you can buy from Walmart or Hobby Lobby for cheap), or some other class canisters I’ve purchased along the way.

Dried Beans. Yes, this is a big ol’ pain in the “you know” most of the time because it involves soaking the beans overnight, then cooking them for what seems like an eternity. However, if you’re willing to give up some time for this, you’ll definitely save some mulah! And, beans store well in the fridge, so you can make up a batch for your whole week, which is pretty spectacular.

Fruit. I’m not always the best at eating my fresh fruit each day, but I’m pretty awesome at drinking my smoothies at least a few times a week. So, I always keep frozen fruits (organic 98% of the time) on hand. This reduces waste from spoilage, and ensures that I have tasty, sweet, “fresh” fruit on-hand 24/7.

Wow! What a post. Hopefully this is helpful information to those of you who are curious about buying organic and eating healthy on a budget. More questions? Let me know!!!

Well, work calls. I’ll see y’all this weekend for the Banana Avocado Muffin recipe – FINALLY! I am so sorry for the delay. Somehow I totally lost the recipe I wrote down for these, and my brain isn’t helping me to recall the information so I have to try again tomorrow. I think I’ve got it though, and can’t wait to share. Nom, nom!!!

Last thing before I go…some links to start with if you’re interested in learning more about the above.

The “Dirty Dozen”

Why Organic Milk?

Frozen Veggies are Fresher than Fresh!

Happy Friday y’all. 🙂

Recipe sneak peak…

13 Sep

Hey y’all. I wanted to stop by this AM to leave you with a little preview of a recipe I developed over the weekend. See? Yum, yum, yum!

I’m actually enjoying the last of the batch this AM. I’m going to have to make more. They are such an easy go-to breakfast or snack.

I’m really hoping to find some spare time to work on the full post this weekend. *fingers crossed* I’ve been really busy working on a couple brand new (EXCITING) things! Can’t wait to tell you all about that too. 🙂

Now, go enjoy your Thursday. Don’t forget to smile, and to be kinder than necessary!

 

A clean failure, living on a budget, and creamy cauliflower mash!

5 Sep

Let’s start here – my end of summer cleanse = total flop. I started it on a whim without being 100% mentally or grocery prepared. Despite that, the first few days went okay. Not perfect, but good. Then, Hurrican Isaac headed our way and we fled to Arkansas to ride out the storm. Arkansas is where our families (as in mine and the Mr’s) live. That means, lots of home cooking and eating out. Maybe some drinking too. That all means total cleansing destruction. That said, I feel a little badly that I didn’t complete the cleans since I told you lovely readers I would, but overall, it’s all good. I try not to stress too much over these things. I find that putting extra stress in my life over things like cleanses, crash diets, and crazy exercise goals are just plain unnecessary at this point in my life. Heck, good ol’ life throws enough my way to keep the stress clock ticking. I don’t need to help it along worrying about silly things that pass anyhow. So, the cleanse is over and I have little to show for it. The end. 😉

Onto something more recent and not in the “game over” phase:  me living on a super-d-duper tight grocery budget. When I had my previous “real adult” job, we were fortunate enough to have lots of wiggle room in our budget. Since leaving that for a 20 hour per week part-time gig, that’s changed. I mean, we are still totally fine, but are changing-up priorities a bit. That means that my crazy obsession with buying all organic and local is on big time hold. At first, it was sort of a shock for me, but now it’s SO.MUCH.FUN! It’s like a game to see how cheaply I can get our weekly groceries. Man! I love it. I still totally support buying local and organic whenever possible. And, when I say we aren’t buying local and organic, that does not include our milk or meat products. Those are total non-negotiables for me. (Want to know why? Check out some food docs like Food Matters or Food, Inc. You will totally understand!) But, in terms of veggies, fruits, etc, there are some things that I’ve changed that are saving us TONS OF MONEY! First of all, I have to admit that changing from shopping at local markets to shopping at Walmart is a big win. I used to work for Walmart back in the day and actually appreciate so many things they do as a company; but, in the past, I’ve just been utterly disappointed in their sluggishness to bring in local and organic products. I guess that kept me away far enough for that to change because yesterday, this is what I found:  wild salmon, cod, and smoked salmon (win!); local onions; organic limes; and tons of other organic goodies ranging from green onions to vegetable broth to frozen pizzas (winning again!). So, with that said, I will tell you that I totally stocked our fridge and freezer for $60. Yes, all of our groceries for three meals a day for two people (one of whom is a MAN!) for only $60! That’s compared to around $120-$150 during our normal trips previously. And, for $60 I got smoked salmon, frozen salmon fillets, frozen cod fillets, frozen shrimp, milk, half-and-half, one dozen eggs (cage free, organic even!), zucchini, romaine hearts, frozen cauliflower, frozen stir fry veggie blends (2), frozen spinach, frozen asparagus, onions (2), avocados (2), 3 lb bag of organic limes (super good deal on these!), individually wrapped cheese snacks, canned crab meat (2), and a package of red solo cups (ha!). Isn’t that cool? I may be missing something as I’m attempting to recall this by memory instead of by receipt. But, I figure you get the idea, right? I’m a money saving diva. Okay, maybe not a diva, but I’m off to a good start. Can you even imagine how excited I’m going to be if I start couponing? Get ready world!!! 😉

Now, let’s talk FOOD (not groceries), shall we?!?! We shall.

When Mr. Military Man and I were home last week avoiding the hurricane, we got a couple hours to visit with my grandma (Hi, GRAM! – she reads my blog. Yay!). During out visit, she mentioned that, during her birthday dinner recently, she tried cauliflower mash for the first time and really loved it. She asked me if I had a recipe for it. At that moment, I realized that, not only do I not have a recipe, I had never had the dish. So, during my shopping trip yesterday, I made sure to pick up cauliflower so I could develop a scrumptious recipe for her to create in her kitchen. Oh goodness y’all. Not only was this embarrassingly easy, it was totally delicious. The Mr. and I both exclaimed that we would “totally eat this instead of mashed potatoes!”. Yum, yum, and YUM! So, without further delay, here’s how it goes!

Quick & Easy Cauliflower Mash

(serves 2-4)

  • 1 1-lb bag of frozen cauliflower
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 6 Tbsp milk (We use 2% in this home – any will work – but, the higher the fat, the creamier your mash.)
  • 1 oz of cheese – optional (I used 1 slice of Gouda – Cheddar or Havarti would be yum.)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Start by boiling your entire bag (1 lb) of frozen cauliflower, uncovered, until fork tender. Mine took about 10 minutes. Drain and pour into a blender, bowl, or food processor (this depends on how you plan to “puree” everything together. Use whatever you use for making homemade mashed taters!).

To your blender, bowl, or food processor, add butter, milk, and cheese. Blend/mix/puree until smooth (I let mine go for about 1 minute). Add salt and pepper to taste.

That’s it, you’re done and ready to enjoy. Could that even be easier? I think not!

A couple of things you should know: (1)  I didn’t have any on-hand, but think that garlic powder would be AWESOME in this. Try it and let me know! 🙂 (2) 6 Tbsp of milk will get you a very “thin” mash. For a thicker, heartier mash, start with only 4 Tbsp.

This recipe is also available for review and printing on my Recipage. Check it out!

Now, I’m off to make a smoked salmon fritatta for the Mr. He’s not flying today because of weather so we get to spend the whole morning together. Yay for husband and wife time. I figure that calls for a special weekday breakfast, right?

I hope you have a happy hump day! Thanks for spending some time with me today. Bye y’all!!!! 🙂

(Love you, Gram! Hope you like the recipe!!!!)

End of summer cleaning!

22 Aug

Hola chicos. Today, I come to you with news of some end-of-summer cleaning. The cleaning I’m talking about doesn’t involve my broom, organization, or scrub, scrub, scrubbing. Instead, this cleaning involves giving my body a break and hopefully cleaning up my insides. That’s right! I’m on a cleanse! What, what?! This is not something I’m super excited about (although I am faking it a bit for this post…). I mean, I love the idea of cleansing, but going days with juices and raw veggies isn’t always the most pleasant and scrumptious experience. But, it’s important to my overall health and wellness, so I push through. I’m actually joining Jodi over at Ultimate Kitchen Commando on her cleanse that kicked off today. When she mentioned via Facebook a couple days ago that she herself was starting a cleanse and hoped to get people on board with her for motivation and support, I was in. It’s been a very long time since I’ve given my body a break.

Jodi sent all of us cleanse participants an outline of the cleanse she is doing to give us ideas for what we might want to do. How nice! She will be juicing and making green smoothies to drink throughout the day. Mid-afternoon, she’ll have a large raw salad for lunch. Other than that, it’s warm lemon water, clay and psyllium husk drinks, and colonics.

I have to admit, as much as my life is so much cleaner and healthier than before, I just don’t hang with the most intense of raw vegans and juice kings yet. That said, I’m adjusting my cleanse just a tad to fit ME! Remember, we’re all very very different and there really isn’t a one size fits all solution for anything related to diet and health. YOU must do what is right for YOU!

Lemon water – Either warm or room temp. No cold water here! Definitely first thing in the morning, then throughout the day to get my hydrated and stimulate lymph drainage (cleansing!!!) I’ll also have some cold water while I’m at work. I work with kids and spend most of my working times chasing them around a gymnastics gym or playing games outside in the 90 degree heat. Cold water is a must for me! 🙂

Smoothie – I’ve got pineapple, strawberries, bananas, and lots of greens on hand for this. For my liquid, I’ll try sticking to water and will add a little unsweetened almond milk if needed. I also plan to incorporate 1/4-1/2 of an avocado once I can get to the store to get some. This should have to keep me satiated after my smoothie meal.

Green juice – I am not a big juice fan. I like something thicker and more fibrous, which is why I typically stick to smoothies. But, drinking juice shoots nutrients straight into your blood without much work from your body, so I am going to try hard for one a day, at dinner time. I’ve got greens, cucumbers, apples and carrots on-hand for this now. I plan on stocking up more once I figure what best suits my tastes.

Salad – Lunch will most definitely a honkin’ salad. I’ve got spring mix, arugula, and spinach on hand to build upon. I also have broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, and cucumbers on-hand. Dressing will be a vinaigrette of olive oil and lemon or lime juice.

If I feel super hungry/munchy, I will snack on a small amount of raw nuts – walnuts or almonds. Hopefully I won’t have to reach for these guys much!

I anticipate missing coffee most. And, to be honest with you guys, I did have 1/4 cup this AM. Ahhhh!!! It’s almost silly to have so little, but it helped me through the morning with just my smoothie and lemon water. Hey! I’m not perfect, but I sure try to be better than I was yesterday! 🙂

On the clay and colonics side of things, I’m not going there just. I have done clay drinks in the past and think there is some legitimacy to the health and detoxification claims, but I don’t feel that I necessarily need to add that just yet. I’ll listen to my body and proceed accordingly. Also, no colonics. Again, I’m just not there yet; nor do I have the disposable income to fork out for ’em. Maybe one day. 😉

As I proceed with the cleanse, I plan on getting pictures of the different smoothies, juices, and salads I come up with to share with each of you. We’ll see how it goes. I haven’t attempted anything like this since being married, and already I see additional challenges trying to alter my diet at all with a husband in the house. He wakes up and has a bagel with cream cheese as I run the Vitamix and chug down a smoothie. It can be challenging my friends. But, I will survive. And, perhaps I’ll even motivate him in the process, right?

Well, thanks for listening to my little cleanse rant/announcement. I’ll keep you posted on my ability to maintain my sanity, errr…complete the cleanse!  Below are some links to cleansing, smoothie, juicing information that I like. I figured I’d share in case you’re interested in some of the points I hit on above. Until later my friends! 🙂

Fit Sick and Nearly Dead (movie – available on Hulu)

Green Smoothie Girl

Why You Should Drink Warm Lemon Water

In closing, I wonder – Have any of YOU completed a cleanse? What did you do? How did you feel? Would you do it again? I want to know!!!

Fiesta Brown Rice Salad

20 Aug

Top o’ the morning to ya! It’s Monday again. Doesn’t Monday always seem to come so quickly? I think so. The start of a new week means thinking about prepping meals for the hubs and me to take on the go to and from work. Breakfast and dinner always run smoothly in our house (hooray!), but lunch is always a big ol’ pain in the butt! In the morning, I’m good with a quick smoothie, some oatmeal, or a piece of toast with peanut butter and banana. And, dinner is always some combination of veggies from our fridge with whatever sounds good. But, lunch, oh lunch. What to eat? I don’t like to eat anything too warm, heavy, and comforting because I just want to sleep. But, I do need something substantial enough to carry me through to dinner without constantly snacking to satisfy my hunger. If you’re like Mr. Military Man, you’re thinking, “Why doesn’t this girl just eat a sandwich for lunch?!”. Well, folks, I am not a sandwich girl. Never have been really. I’m not sure why. I don’t really remember eating a lot of them growing up, so perhaps that’s part of it. Secondly, I don’t eat meat on the regular which eliminates the go-to sandwich fillings. And, constantly keeping an array of fresh veggies and spreads on hand to make a filling veggie sandwich isn’t always realistic given time and budget restraints. All of that said, lunch is just a weird middle ground of eating. But, luckily, with make ahead “salad” type dishes, I’ve sort of solved my “what the heck to have for lunch” dilemma. Here’s one of my current favs. I’m a sucker for Mexican seasonings (LOVE ME SOME CUMIN!) and black beans, so the base is just perfect. I hope you try this and enjoy some for lunch too! Plus, unless I’m overlooking something, this dish is totally Vegan too. Woot!!!

Fiesta Brown Rice Salad

2 cups cooked brown rice (okay if you have it in your fridge from a couple of days ago when you cooked it…)

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 onion, diced

1 red pepper, diced

1 cup frozen corn (Canned corn will also work – just be sure to drain and rinse. And, buy ORGANIC corn. If you aren’t sure why, look up genetically modified corn and spend your afternoon reading. I trust you will then understand.)

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

2 Tbsp taco seasoning (buy the stuff withOUT MSG!)

1 lime

Heat oil in saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot, add diced onions. Stir onions occasionally until soft and transparent. Add red pepper, corn, and black beans. Stir occasionally until red pepper and corn are cooked (soft, perhaps slightly browned) and all is combined (about 5-10 minutes). Lastly, add taco seasoning and stir to combine.

In a large bowl, combine rice (cold or room temp is fine here) with onion, red pepper, corn, black bean, tomato mixture. Stir to combine. Squeeze in the juice of 1 lime and stir again. Note: If you prefer things a bit heavier on the seasoning, go ahead and add another Tbsp of taco seasoning at this point so that the rice is more heavily coated. 🙂

Place in refrigerator and scoop out to enjoy for lunch throughout the week.

Because I am not always good at slowing down completely at lunch time, I typically eat this on its own, straight out of the fridge (cold). But, you could most definitely throw this on top of a bed of  lettuce and drizzle with a lime vinaigrette for a festive green salad, or heat it up for a more comforting meal feel. Oh! And, to make this more kid friendly, you could stir in some chunked or shredded cheddar cheese – about 1 cup. Cheese is always a winner with the younger crowd!

In other news, Mr. Military Man and I decided we should work on a puzzle yesterday. Like a 1,000 piece, Thomas Kinkade, puzzle. Doh! 1,000 pieces is a lot, and my attention span is short. It’s currently taking up my entire dining room table (which double as my office currently), and probably will be until we move. I really suck at puzzles. I’ve been blaming poor lighting for my lack of puzzle skill. So far, the Mr is buying it! 😉

Have a magnificent Monday. It’s the start of a BRAND. NEW. WEEK! What possibility!!!