Hot summer afternoons means gardening. My garden has doubled from last season. I have a special herb garden filled with cilantro, basil, mint, orange mint, rosemary, hot and spicy oregano, chives, and parsley. Plus two huge planter boxes my husband made me stuffed with red, yellow, orange, and green peppers, serrano peppers, jalapeno peppers, green beans, carrots, several types of tomatoes, garden salsa peppers, okra, sugar peas, potatoes, and cucumbers. I know—it’s a lot of plants! (I have 15 basil plants! My backyard smells heavenly). But my goal is to be self-sufficient this summer and autumn, and I think I’m right on track. With all these fresh vegetables and herbs, salads are a must!
Two of my friends started CrunchTime Fitness, a website focused on helping individuals attain their physical fitness and nutritional goals. Thanks to them, I started and finished one round of p90x (next round to be started soon) and rejuvenated the way I look at food. This salad has been modified from their recipe box. The dressing was delicious! I plan to mix up this dressing with different salad variations throughout the summer. It’s the perfect way to meet your veggie requirements on a hot, sunny day.
Today was rainy. On my way home from my bar class, hail the size of golf balls started to impale my car. Cars huddled under the closest bridge seeking refuge. I was lucky enough to have Sally (my car) completely under the bridge. But the whole experience was mildly scary. When the hail first started, it sounded like my car was being shot at. I was honestly worried that they were going to break my windshield. While I am far more susceptible to being frightened, I knew I wasn’t the only person concerned when all the cars under the bridge created a barricade, stopping all traffic. But by the time the song on the radio was over, the storm had lifted and so did the barricade.
This cold, rainy weather meant a warm dinner was in order. One thing I often have trouble with is portion control when it comes to those warm casseroles. And while the weather outside mirrors autumn more than summer, next week (or maybe even tomorrow) will be swimsuit weather again. Thankfully these spinach lasagna rolls realize this and come with built-in portion control. Instead of having to eyeball how many inches your slice should be, you roll the lasagna–making each roll a serving size. Much easier to stay on track and still enjoy a warm slice of lasagna.
I have made a conscious decision. This is going to be the best summer ever. See, I am unemployed and studying for the Minnesota bar. In short, I go to 3 hours of class a day and spend the rest of the day doing whatever I want. Sure, I gotta get some studying done. But it’s completely self-scheduled studying. No meetings. No office I have to be at. No uncomfortable suit jacket to wear. No recording every 6 minutes of my time. Instead, I get to sit on my porch, drink a beer, crack open my Barbri books and relearn everything I learned my first year of law school. It’s not too bad. In fact, I love it. Because I have complete control over my schedule. If I want to work-out at 3 in the afternoon, I can. If I want to run to Target, I can. If I want to study in my swimsuit and get a tan, I can. This is far better than sitting in an office all day. And chances are, I will not get the opportunity to have such freedom with my afternoon schedule ever again.
Still, with watching Criminal Minds and falling deeper in love with Matthew Gray Gubler studying for the bar, I haven’t had as much time to make full meals. Rather, I have resorted to snacking. And of course, when I think of great snacks, anything that can go on chips sounds like the perfect study aid. This black bean salad is excellent on chips–its a great garnish for tacos and is even tasty all by itself. Even better, all you gotta do is throw all the ingredients into a bowl and mix. Even a brain mushed from too much studying of property law can manage that!
I never knew my love for Indian food until I moved to the Twin Cites. My friend Leslie was coming to visit and wanted Indian food. She did some online research and found The Dancing Ganesha. The food was amazing! It quickly became my favorite restaurant, and I have celebrated many occasions there. Since starting to cook, it has been a goal of mine to make Indian food at home. It took a while for me to track down garam masala, but once I found it, I couldn’t wait to make this. And it was definitely worth the extra effort.