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Bright Black Bean + Rice Salad

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There are lots of things I embrace as constants in my life.  Like waking up with one less sock than what I went to bed with.  Or the fact that nearly every morning there will be coffee.  Dark, fragrant and perfectly-prepared coffee, in my favorite cup, handed to me by my favorite person.  And also that I will make far more rice than is needed for whatever is for dinner.

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That last one is something I’ve almost come to depend on, because it means finding fun ways to reuse the stuff.  And there’s lots of fun options and a lot of them depend on the type of rice you have.  If you’re like me, and you like to play with lots of stout, hardy rices like this one, or the one in this recipe (brown sushi rice), then you can do what I do… make a salad!

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Now, funnily enough, I was reading a very timely similar recipe post by Molly at Orangette while I was creating mine.  Same elements: leftover grain tossed with a bean-ish type protein (hers chickpeas, mine black beans) and a tasty dressing.  This makes me cheer and feel confident in my recipe choice.  Then Molly wonders to herself in writing it if this is the sort of thing that even warrants a full-blown recipe post… since it’s really just crashing a few pre-cooked ingredients together and calling it a day.  This makes me doubt myself in and hate the day my recipe was born…

But that’s a short-lived feeling and I’m now glad I’m sharing this with you.  Many of the very best recipes I make on a regular basis are simple one like this, made with a leftover something, and often that sort of “why didn’t I think of that?” moment.  So here it is.  A recipe about things you might have laying around after, say, a Mexican fiesta dinner.

Can I get an “Olé”?

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Cherry Rosemary Quinoa Granola

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Growing up, ‘granola’ was a bad word in my book.  It brought back memories of a health food store in Oak Park, IL that I would rather have forgotten.  It was a typical mid-1980’s health food store, with that universal musty carob powder and B vitamins smell.  My mother would drag me inside to peruse the rows of bulk dry goods, the canisters with wan-looking yogurt-covered pretzels pressed their waxy faces against the insides of their jars in a way that reminded me of abandoned puppies. And there was a frozen yogurt machine in the corner that dispensed pure disappointment in the form of a soul-crushingly tart and icy ‘alternative soft serve’.

To the eyes of an adult, there clearly was some kind of appeal here, but much like the Iran-Contra affair, this was something my six-year-old self was unable to fathom.

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Healthy Snacks: Whole Wheat Sesame Crackers

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So maybe you’re wondering why someone would make their own crackers when you can obviously buy them at practically anywhere that sells things resembling food (grocery stores, gas stations, vending machines!)?  Well, obviously fresh things usually taste better.  Crackers are just one of those things.  Like canned soup vs. homemade.  Once you make your own, you start to wonder how those stale little boxes ever made it into your pantry.  Plus, it’s ridiculously simple to make your own and then you also know exactly what went into them.

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