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Black Bean Casserole

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrickís Day everyone! I am having spinach pizza tonight to ďcelebrate.Ē Ok, really it just sounds good. (see my last blog for a picture)

The last couple of nights I have been sad and alone. My husband was out of town to visit his family. Ok, I wasnít too sad, but I was pretty lonely! I am so used to having my husband around. Especially now since he was laid off.

I wasnít sure what Iíd be doing for dinners while he was gone, since we have planned basically all of our dinners for the two of us. Everything I make up has two servings and we eat them, and thatís the end of it.

I am NOT a fan of leftovers. Foods never taste good to me unless they are made fresh. The only exception to this is the black bean casserole I make, which ONLY tastes good to me when eaten the next day. I also eat it cold, because it tastes like leftover pizza. (Ok, so I guess leftover pizza is the only other thing I like better the next day. But only pizza from a restaurant. Store-bought pizzas taste funky the next day.)

The only problem with the black bean casserole is that it is not clean in any sense of the word. I tried to make sure to eat cleanly the whole rest of the day to make up for it.

Black Bean Casserole


2 cups chopped onion
1.5 cups chopped bell peppers
1 14.5 can diced tomatoes (do not drain)
3/4 cup salsa
2 tsp ground cumin
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans black beans, thoroughly rinsed and drained
4 medium tortillas
8 oz shredded cheese


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

After preheating the oven, the next thing I do is grab the largest skillet we have. Itís probably about a 12 inch pan, but use what you have. In that add the onion, bell peppers, diced tomatoes, salsa, ground cumin, and garlic cloves.

Mix it all together. Bring that to boiling and then reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Stir in the black beans (remember to fully rinse and drain them).

Then grab a 9 x 13 pan and spread 1/3 of the bean mixture over the bottom of it.

Top with two of the tortillas, overlapping as necessary and then four ounces of cheese.

Add another 1/3 of the bean mixture, the remaining two tortillas and then the final third of bean mixture.

Bake, uncovered for 25-30 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake for another five minutes. Here it is fresh from the oven.

If desired you can top individual servings with chopped fresh tomato, shredded lettuce, green onions, cilantro, olives and/or serve with sour cream (plain greek yogurt).

One serving is 1/6 of the casserole which has about 350 calories, 50g carbs, 11g fat, and 21g protein. Here it is the next day, all cold and looking just like a piece of leftover pizza.

I used to top it with fat-free sour cream, but I have switched to full-fat sour cream as it doesnít have the funky chemicals that reduced-fat and fat-free versions contain. I mixed a half tablespoon of sour cream with an ounce of plain greek yogurt. I topped that with a bit of chopped green onion. Tasted great!

It is definitely higher in sodium than most of my dinners now (it has about 850 mg of sodium per serving). And there were more chemicals than I usually eat (in the salsa, tortillas, cheese and the can of tomatoes). But with more preparation I could probably make it cleaner. I wasnít sure how it would turn out if I used Ezekiel tortillas, so I skipped those so I could ensure the taste factor being great.

I also had my favorite side dish.

Making my own great tasting ranch dressing gets me excited to eat salads. It helps to actually love the taste of your food.

What are your opinions on leftovers? Am I the only picky one here?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CATIEBELLE 3/19/2010 7:17PM

    I will have to try your casserole because it looks so good and has all ingredients that I like. It depends on what I cook because some things taste better the second day.

Comment edited on: 3/19/2010 7:31:52 PM

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DNJEN471 3/18/2010 3:02PM

    That looks yum. I don't eat leftovers much either.

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AUBREYINGMAN 3/17/2010 11:41PM

    I missed you to honey. I am glad that there was some of the casserole left over when I came home. I really enjoy it.

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_RAMONA 3/17/2010 6:24PM

    DANG!!!! THAT looks SO GOOD!!!! I'm going to try it. Thank you!

BTW, I've been lurking on your blog a while now, and I really appreciate the honesty, introspection and objectivity that you share in your blog.

{{{{{{{{{ HUGS }}}}}}}}}}

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Switching Up Your Routine

Monday, March 15, 2010

Hello friends! I hope everyone is having a great Monday.

I have realized that I have been in kind of a rut lately when it comes to exercise. I know exactly which machines at the gym will give me the most calorie burn in the least amount of time. I know which strength training moves arenít too difficult. The problem with this is I know that my body will not progress if I donít shock it with something new!

So I thought, Iíd ask you all, what exercises are you doing right now? How often do you switch up your routine?

As for food, I havenít really made anything new lately. Had another Amyís pizza. I have LOVING the low-sodium spinach one. It is just so good!

It pairs quite nicely with a salad. My favorite veggies for a salad are broccoli, radishes, romaine lettuce, red cabbage and shredded carrots. Topped with my homemade ranch, it is amazing.

(Edited to add the ranch dressing recipe I have been using lately:

1 6 oz container of plain greek yogurt
2 tbsp daisy sour cream
1 clove garlic mashed with 1/8 tsp kosher salt to make a garlic paste
1 tbsp chopped chives
1 tbsp chopped green onion

I have been blending the yogurt by itself first to make it a thinner consistency without having to add anything else. Then adding the rest of the ingredients and stirring together.

The amount of servings depends on how much you want on your salad. I have been getting away with four-six servings out of this.)

And we had black bean burgers the other night too. The recipe we use is here www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo

My favorite part is the potatoes. Sprayed with olive oil spray and topped with some pepper, parsley and chives. YUM

I also tried a vegan cupcake from New Seasons. It was a bit dry, but otherwise pretty tasty. Next time, I think I will make my own sweet treat. It will probably be cheaper and I know I can make something that is a lot moister.

As always, let me know if you have tried any new recipes lately!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DNJEN471 3/16/2010 1:34AM

    If you ever want to splurge there is a vegan cake mix made by Cherrybrook that is chocolate paired with their chocolate frosting- its to die for! We only have it once a year for Jeffs bday.

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LIVING_FREE 3/15/2010 9:44PM

    I just changed up my routine by walking outside. Today, I walked 5 miles. Last Friday, I only walked 3.5 miles. Gradually increase miles and try to get faster. I got sunburned today, so can't say I will keep this routine. California, California, California...I don't know what I will do with you.
I changed my strength training by using spark people's strength training.

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KNMMOMMY 3/15/2010 8:43PM

    I am in the same rut. However in Alaska there isn't much alternative for me except some skiing (but I don't own skis). So I'm here working it hard on the treadmill.

Ruts. BLAH!

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*AMBER512 3/15/2010 8:27PM

    I updated the blog to include my ranch dressing recipe! =)

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DOLLBABE56 3/15/2010 7:42PM

    It all looks so good! Is your ranch dressing recipe posted here on Spark?

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TWIN412 3/15/2010 7:34PM

    Hi I'm new to sparkpeople my Monday went really well burned
606 calories today. the dishes look very tasty

Twin~ emoticon

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Ice Skating, Forbidden Rice and Black Beans

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Yeah, they donít really have anything to do with one another, do they? But I did go ice skating yesterday and I did try a little something different with black beans for my bean wraps.

Ice skating was fun! I technically had tried it one time before when I was a kid, but I did it for only a couple of minutes. I couldnít figure out how to go forward and I remember that I kept flapping my arms and then I just gave up.

This time I went around the rink about five times. It was scary! There were people EVERYWHERE so I almost collided with quite a few of them. And the ice was torn up! I would think I was going one way, only to find myself in a couple of divots being led a different direction. I think if I got the hang of it, it would be a great workout!

On to forbidden rice. My husband loved the idea of forbidden rice. He talked about it for weeks. Seriously, I think it was weeks of going to the store, seeing it, talking about eating it, and then continuing on with the grocery shopping. Well, we finally decided to buy it and try it.

It doesnít really taste any different than say, plain white rice. Personally, I prefer brown rice. But I am glad that we tried it! It is no longer forbidden. =)

And we also had some bean wraps. While I have yet to find a clean tortilla that actually folds up, I do love the filling of this bean wrap. Black beans, peppers, green onions, cilantro, lemon juice and greek yogurt.

Sooo good! We used a can of black beans (thoroughly rinsed and drained), about a 1/4 cup of bell pepper, one tablespoon of fresh lemon juice, three ounces (86 grams) of greek yogurt, and green onions and/or cilantro to taste. Steamed broccoli and brown rice with salsa on the side. Yum!

I have used that picture before, but I didnít remember to take a picture of the whole meal this time. The only difference is that I used a whole-wheat tortilla wrap instead of the flour tortilla in the picture. I did find a whole-wheat tortilla with less preservatives than the ones we were using before.

I hope you're having a great weekend! Tried anything new lately? Care to share?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HUNNYTHISTLE 3/19/2010 10:17PM

    I've never tried forbidden rice -- does it look purple when it's cooked? The bean wrap looks really good -- it's toatlly making me hungry. Good thing I'm about to eat dinner!

I miss ice skating. When we lived in MN, you just went to the park or the frozen lake. The parks put up a fence, and add water, so the kids all have someplace to play hockey. I don't miss the weather, just the free skating!

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PINETREEGIRL 3/19/2010 8:34PM

    The Forbidden rice is really intriguing, no? We bought some last year, I think because of the name. When it was cooking the vent hole of our rice cooker was close to the wall, and it sputtered and left a "V" of purple polka dots!
It was good, but not worth the price (I think we paid $7 for 4 ounces).

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DNJEN471 3/15/2010 2:55PM

    You look so tiny in your ice skating pic!

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MDTWEETY 3/15/2010 9:36AM

    The forbidden rice story made me laugh. At least you guys finally got to try it. :)
I LOVE to ice skate! I got ice skates as a gift for the holidays end of 2008 but then I found out I was pregnant and didn't want to risk falling. Well, I've since had the baby but I have yet to use the new skates.

Comment edited on: 3/15/2010 9:37:11 AM

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KNMMOMMY 3/15/2010 1:29AM

    That looks delish!

I've been experimenting with the oatmeals. I like a honey/almond mix that I've been eating. It's quite yummy!

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*AMBER512 3/14/2010 11:51AM

    lol, I know! That was so weird.

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AUBREYINGMAN 3/14/2010 12:27AM

    I was really excited to try the Forbidden rice. The cool part was during cooking it turned the water purple.

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Toasted Quinoa

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I love quinoa, so I couldnít wait to try this toasted quinoa recipe I found on Healthy Tipping Point www.healthytippingpoint.com/recipes/
by Caitlin.

I didnít have maple syrup like the recipe calls for, so I just subbed in some honey, although I used half of what they called for. I mixed together the raw quinoa, honey, flax, and cinnamon.

Then I baked it in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. When it came out, it looked really good and it didnít taste that bad.

But the texture was absolutely awful to me. It was crunchy, but not in a good way! It actually sort of hurt my teeth to try and chew. So I decided to just eat something I knew would taste good.

Chobani greek yogurt, banana, Kashi Go Lean cereal with cinnamon and unsweetened vanilla almond milk

My husband will eat basically anything, so he ate the majority of the toasted quinoa. He said that the quinoa balls kept getting stuck in his teeth and he eventually found something else to eat, too.
The recipe I like of hers that goes along with this is the Pumpkin Yogurt. Now THAT is good! Just about 1/4 cup of pumpkin, 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon, and some plain Chobani.

Mixed all together it becomes a lovely, smooth and creamy pumpkin-flavored yogurt! Itís a little bit grainy, due to the cinnamon, but the texture isnít really that compromised.

My next plan is to try the quinoa again, but this time using Caitlinís Breakfast Quinoa recipe (which you can find by scrolling down the page from the link above). Itís basically just like oatmeal, except with quinoa. Oats upset my stomach sometimes, so Iím hoping to find some more uses for quinoa!

Have you tried quinoa yet? How do you use it or what puts you off from trying it?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AUBREYINGMAN 3/11/2010 11:32PM

    The toasted quinoa was ok. I enjoyed the flavor.

Comment edited on: 3/11/2010 11:43:03 PM

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PINETREEGIRL 3/11/2010 8:24PM

    I love quinoa, and for some reason eat it more in the spring. It's best paired with the bitter greens, I think. I'm lazy and never pre-rinse! It comes out just fine without--or maybe it's not as good but I just don't know that because I usually skip that step.

But your yogurt idea has really got me intrigued--that sounds good. I usually make myself individual desserts, and one thing I have made is pumpkin pie without the crust--the yogurt sounds very creamy and good, perfect for a night when I'm craving something rich and decadent.

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-NAMASTE- 3/11/2010 8:14PM

    I love quinoa as well and was so excited to read this post! Bummer that it turned out terrible. Oh well, I will just keep cooking it like I always have :)

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*AMBER512 3/11/2010 7:01PM

    I use a fine mesh sieve, it works GREAT! I put the measured amount into it, rinse, and dump it in the pot. Takes just a few seconds! =)

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DESIREEGOMEZ 3/11/2010 6:51PM

    hunnythistle - you should get a nut milk bag. They are made of a fine mesh so you can still rinse small graing but not get them all over the place.

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HUNNYTHISTLE 3/11/2010 5:15PM

    Quinoa is okay -- I don't like the basic flavour as well as I like rice, especially the Indian Basmati that I love. But I like to eat a wide variety of grains, so quinoa is a staple in my kitchen. Mostly we eat it with saucy beans, spicy curries, and some stir fry's -- just subbing it for the rice. It's perfectly fine. I haven't tried doing anything else with it.

The most difficult thing is the pre-rinsing required, and the little seeds that get everywhere! But, that's really not a big deal!

Comment edited on: 3/11/2010 5:16:03 PM

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Grilled Banana Sandwich

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

I read a few blogs regularly and one of my favorites is Healthy Tipping Point www.healthytippingpoint.com/ by the creator of Operation Beautiful operationbeautiful.com/ , Caitlin.

She always has some amazing recipe sheís come up with (Iím going to try her Pumpkin Spice Toasted Quinoa for lunch tomorrow). I eventually get around to trying a lot of them! One I have been thinking about for awhile is her grilled banana sandwich. I basically made it exactly like she says to except I didnít use any powdered sugar. Oh, and I used one egg white instead of two eggs. My bread must be smaller than hers, because I didn't need nearly as much egg!

You can see the original recipe here (scroll down a bit). www.healthytippingpoint.com/recipes/

She also has grilled strawberries instead of the banana and said it was even better. But I had bananas, so thatís what I used. The first time I made it that is all I ate, and I was only satisfied for a couple of hours.

The taste is AMAZING and especially healthy since you donít need any syrup. The grilled banana smashed on there is enough! I made it a second time and had some yogurt on the side, hoping it would be more satisfying.

Still tasted fantastic, but still not very filling. I think my body is just used to more food at a time. I might have to try only having one piece of toast with half a banana and cook up an egg and some shredded potatoes on the side.

Edit : so the french toast meal is about 400 calories, with 29 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber, so it really should be filling! I wanted to edit this and add that about an hour after I ate it I had some pistachios. So I did technically eat some nuts "with" the meal as suggested in a comment below. Although I have read recently that you shouldn't exceed 30 grams of protein at a time because that's all our bodies can handle at once and the rest is converted to fat. I wish I knew where I'd read it so I could put a link here, but I can always Blackle it later.

Here are my pistachios before:

and after I CHOWED DOWN. =)

Do you read any food blogs? Do you ever get inspired by their recipes?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TINK9305 3/10/2010 12:40PM

    yum I'll have to try this

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*AMBER512 3/10/2010 12:32PM

    I think so too! Grilled bananas made the whole kitchen smell so good!

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AUBREYINGMAN 3/10/2010 12:33AM

    The bananas smelled good when you where grilling them.

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STMUELLER 3/9/2010 8:18PM

    Yummy yummy, but very little protein to keep you full, try sprinkling on almond slivers (or crushed nut of choice) or peanut butter spread on the warm bread. Yummy and heartier!!!

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