Monthly Archives: June 2012

A delicious dish for summer fun – black bean and corn salad!

Summer is always full of fun activities – this year we started off the season with a relaxing weekend on Lake Cobboseecontee in Maine. It’s such a calm and refreshing lake – with only a few boats going by here and there, it reminded me what quiet sounds like:

Ahh… peace and quiet!

Aside from spending time playing around the lake with family, I got in a nice long run on Saturday morning and started reading Catch-22, a book I feel a bit guilty about never having read as an English major. I didn’t bring a laptop and had very little cell service, so I wasn’t tempted to check in on work or obsessively play Words with Friends. Note to self: unplug more often!

No weekend away is complete without good food. One of the many (delicious) dishes we had during our stay was a very simple black bean and corn salad, put together by White Flour Catering out of Augusta. It was just the perfect light, citrus-y dish for a summer evening. I knew I needed to have the recipe, so I asked for the basics and then made a few adjustments of my own once I started putting it all together.

This didn’t take long to prepare and chances are, you have most of the ingredients at home already. I know cilantro is one of those ingredients that people either really love or really hate, so feel free to leave it out if it’s not your cup of tea.   

Black bean and corn salad, with just the right amount of cilantro!

Ingredients

  • 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cans corn, drained
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 3 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions

  1. Combine ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Chill until ready to serve.

See… I told you it was easy! You can have it made and ready to go in just about 20 minutes, making this the perfect dish to take on summertime beach or boat adventures.

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Cheesy Zucchini Bake

Quick post to share a new go-to recipe! I love zucchini… I love cheese…. so when I saw a pin for an “Easy Cheesy Zucchini Bake,” I was immediately sold. I modified the original recipe (which you can find in this post on www.kalynskitchen.com) by adding olive oil and I didn’t use basil. I think it really comes down to a matter of preference, including (or not including) EVOO or basil won’t make or break this dish. It’s a great side – I served it with baked chicken – and it held up alright overnight in the fridge.

Enjoy! And stay tuned for a couple new recipes that I plan on posting in the next couple of weeks that I discovered on a recent trip to Maine including a delicious black bean & corn salad and a scandalously decadent chocolate cake!

Cheesy zucchini bake!

Ingredients

  • 2 medium-sized zucchini, sliced
  • 2 medium-sized yellow squash, sliced
  • 2 T thinly sliced green onion
  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup + 1/2 cup low-fat Italian cheese mix
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Spray an 8″ x 8″ baking dish with non-stick spray.
  2. Combine zucchini and squash in large bowl with olive oil, green onion, thyme, garlic powder, and 1/2 cup of cheese. Mix until well-combined and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Pour into baking dish and bake for 25 minutes, or until zucchini is almost done.
  4. Remove from oven and add remaining cheese on top; return to oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and zucchini cooked through.
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Remember what is important to you…

A couple of weeks back, we got some bad news: an extended family member and family friend had both passed away (from unrelated causes). I’ve been feeling a mix of emotions – sadness in their passing, sympathy for my family and friends, and a sense of relief that they were no longer suffering. Then, on the complete opposite end of the spectrum, this past Monday I visited some dear friends in the maternity ward where they were celebrating the birth of their baby girl. There is nothing quite like juxtaposing birth and death, each celebrations of life in their own ways, to put everything else into perspective.

And there has been a lot of “everything else.” Work has been going really well, but then my boss and mentor announced that she was leaving the company to pursue a great opportunity elsewhere. While I know this is an awesome step for her, I am a bit nervous about what the impending changes might mean for, well, everyone. I’ve tried to approach this news with a renewed sense of what really matters, given the previous week’s events, plus the thoughts I’ve been giving to the TED talk about work/life balance. As I’ve said before, change is more than good, and I am trying to keep that in the front of my mind.

Aside from work, we have had a crazy schedule with lots of moving parts – and barbeques which unfortunately means that my diet has taken a major hit. It’s like everywhere I turn there are cookies, and I have been eating like crap. I’m not sure what happened to my self-control, but I am making every effort to rein it back in. The scale hasn’t moved, thankfully, but I know it will if I keep this up. More than the number on the scale, I haven’t been feeling my best and most energetic because I’m not eating well, which is almost worse than gaining weight.

With all that, I am taking this weekend as an opportunity to start over and tackle this summer with a vengeance. My renewed energy nicely coincides with a fitness challenge at work where our CEO charges us with meeting goals as a team regarding health, nutrition, and exercise. I certainly don’t want my team disappointed in me (and the competitive side of me wants to beat everyone else) so it’s win-win. I’m getting back on track with more intense workouts and have done some serious meal planning: on the docket to cook this weekend is a baked zucchini dish and healthy chicken parm.

With all the ups and downs of late, one constant has remained: a necklace I’ve found myself wearing a lot. One side has some straightforward advice: remember what is important to you; the other has a very simple tree of life. It seems to sum up all of the things about which I’ve been reflecting lately – life, birth, death, renewal, seasons, phases, priorities. It’s been a helpful reminder, especially when I know it’s hanging around my neck. I, for one, am looking forward to a great and healthy weekend.

 

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