2 Salads and an 8-Mile Run

For today’s post, I’ve got recipes for two fresh, simple, delicious, nutritious salads! One of my most recent obsessions is to whip up big batches of grain or pasta salads. I love to make them and then store them in the refrigerator. They last a good week and are fantastic as a quick, easy meal option. I always serve them in a big, wide bowl, on top of a bed of fresh, crisp lettuce. Seriously, it’s the best, easiest, tastiest and healthiest summer lunch ever!

Mexican Black Bean Rice Salad

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:
1 cup cooked/canned black beans, strained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups cooked short grain brown rice
1 large carrot, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cucumber, chopped
handful cherry tomatoes, chopped
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
OPT: 1/3 cup fresh cooked corn
1 avocado, chopped

Dressing:
3 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp safflower oil
1 tsp agave nectar
1 hot chili/serrano pepper, seeded and finely diced
1/4-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing and set aside. Combine the remaining salad ingredients (except for the avocado) in a large Tupperware container. Pour the dressing over top and toss to coat. Store, sealed, in the refrigerator, for up to one week. To serve, scoop salad on top of a bed of baby spinach or mixed lettuce greens. Top with fresh, ripe avocado, and enjoy!

Sweet Potato and Couscous Salad

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:
2/3 cup uncooked couscous
1 cup water
1 medium sweet potato
1 (packed) cup spinach
2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1/2 yellow bell pepper
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup shelled pistachios
75g crumbled feta

Dressing:
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 tsp honey
pepper, to taste

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Put the water into a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Add the couscous, stir, cover, and shut off the heat. Let sit for 5 minutes. Place the spinach and fresh herbs into the saucepan, on top of the couscous, while still warm. Return the lid so that the spinach will steam and wilt slightly (about 5 minutes). Stir to combine, then cool to room temp.
Meanwhile, scrub the sweet potato under cold water, using a potato brush. Dry it off, then wrap it in tin foil. Bake in the preheated oven for about one hour, until slightly soft throughout. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 1 hour. When cool enough to handle, chop the sweet potato into bite-sized pieces. You can remove the skin if you’d like, but I don’t mind it and it’s full of wonderful nutrients, so I always keep it on. Set aside.
Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing and set aside. Combine the remaining salad ingredients in a large Tupperware container, along with the chopped sweet potato and couscous mixture. Pour the dressing over top and toss to coat. Store, sealed, in the refrigerator, for up to one week. To serve, scoop salad on top of a bed of baby spinach or mixed lettuce greens. Voila!

Next weekend, I’ll be making my first and only (because I’m moving back to Vancouver in 2 weeks) trip of the summer up to my family’s cottage! I’m super excited and I really hope the weather is nice and sunny and warm. I’ll just have to keep my fingers crossed!

I plan on doing a whole lot of lounging, swimming, boating, relaxing and reading. However, my half-marathon is coming up in just over 2 weeks, so I’ve also got to continue my prep for that, which means I’ll be doing a little bit of running too.

These last couple months, I’ve stuck to my regular 3- to 4-mile runs, three to four times a week, as my “training” plan. I’ve been running outdoors on cooler mornings, and indoors on the treadmill when it’s been dreadfully hot. I’m feeling great and confident that I’ll be ready to at least run-walk the half-marathon.

I’ve mapped out an 8-mile route (on MapMyRun), that starts at my cottage and ends in the local town of Apsley. I am planning to jog it next weekend, on Sunday, while I’m up north, one week prior to my half.

It will be my one and only long-run that I will have done as prep for this race. I am going to try to jog the entire thing, which shouldn’t be too difficult, as the route is fairly flat. A little something-something to urge me to continue is knowing that I’ll definitely be rewarding myself with a Kawartha Dairy ice-cream cone upon my arrival in Apsley! Yum! 🙂

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