simple bean salads

I’m really into bean salads right now. Once I realized how truly simple – yet satisfying – they could be…let’s just say I’m sorry it took me so long.

I like to keep it really basic: no fancy home-made dressings, no crazy chopping of vegetables, just beans + herbs + olive oil + spices and maybe some cheese if it works. I love the complex bean salads, with more flavor, lots of tiny vegetables and delicious dressings, but simple bean salads deserve their place in the world too! This salad has been a lunch staple lately and in my effort to keep lunch-cooking/prep to a minimum, it’s been perfect.

Other Simple Bean Salad ideas:

  • garbanzos + parsley + feta
  • black beans + cilantro + queso fresco
  • garbanzos + mint + feta
  • white beans + chopped arugula + parmesan
  • lentils + red pepper + goat cheese
  • garbanzos + sun-dried tomatoes + parmesan
  • black beans + avocado + cilantro (a splash of oj would be great in this one!)

Am I missing any bean salad staples? Share your favorites below! 

expo west 2013: favorite finds {part 2}

These are the products that didn’t necessarily make the first list, but they certainly deserve a mention! Some I genuinely think are great products and some are just too interesting not to share!

1. bison bar by epic bar / This is NOT jerky…we were sternly corrected. Think dried meat and dried fruit. I’m still not sure how I feel about it…

2. nuscoop by straus family creamery / It’s a frozen dairy dessert made with organic nonfat milk and cream, agave, whey protein, coconut oil, oat fiber, ghee and a whole lot more – essentially a healthy treat that tastes almost like ice cream. (They can’t call it ice cream because it is so low in fat!) A good way to sneak in some nutrition if necessary.

3. kimchi tortilla chips by food should taste good / Since becoming obsessed with Korean BBQ in the last year, I’ve subsequently also become obsessed with kimchi. I think even if you are wary of kimchi like I used to be, you would still like these chips. I’m trying to think of an amazing korean-style dip to eat alongside them…anyone?

4. savory tea by numi organics / I still don’t know how I feel about these…I have yet to try it and the sample I grabbed is fennel spice, which sounds infinitely better than carrot curry tea.

5. kids mac butternut squash puree / Mac & Cheese gets an upgrade in this convenient frozen meal. Tastes yummy too!

6. organic chia cereal by chia rezza / I have never made chia “pudding” before, but I think I tried it at the show. (Although, I would hesitate to call this pudding…cereal makes more sense) These cereals are made with chia, hemp, dried fruits and buckwheat. The nutrition stats are great, I hope to see them in stores soon!

7. powerful yogurt / Because apparently men need their own yogurt! “Greek yogurt in a man-sized package”

8. almond water by victoria’s kitchen / Sweetened water with almond (and other) flavors, this isn’t something I would drink on its own, but I love their ideas for using it as a cocktail mixer or fun ice cubes or popsicles.

9. egg white chips by ips (intelligent protein snacks) / This concept is pretty interesting, they combined popped corn chips with egg whites. Think pop chips + protein. Each serving has 130 calories, 4 or 5 grams of fat 15 grams of carbohydrates and 7 grams of protein per serving – pretty good stats for chips!

10. chobani soho creations / The Chobani booth had lots of great products (though they had just ran out of the key lime flips which I really wanted to try) but they were also serving up some of their creations from their yogurt bar in New York. I was ecstatic because I’m constantly drooling over their instagram pictures – the cucumber + olive oil did not disappoint! Come to the sunnier coast! Chobani Weho Creations has a nice ring to it…

And there you have it. Six hours of eating and drinking – just for you!


expo west 2013: favorite finds {part 1}

This was my 6th year at Expo West and it never gets old. I don’t think it ever will!

Being at the show always brings back lots of memories and is probably part of the reason that I ended up moving to LA. If it weren’t for the yearly trips to Anaheim, which then meant yearly trips to LA, how would I have ever fallen in love with LA?

Anyway, enough babbling let’s get onto the good stuff! There were some really great new products this year. Obviously gluten-free products are still all the rage and it seems that almost every brand has at least 1-2 gluten-free items. I also noticed a lot of meat and jerky products but was surprised I didn’t see more “paleo-friendly” products like bars, cereals, breads or treats. It was as always a mix of healthy, kind-of healthy and organic junk-food.

Here are some of my favorites from the show:


1. habenero pineapple bbq sauce by hak’s / This bbq sauce was ridiculously good. It is currently in Whole Foods on the West Coast but should be making its way to the other regions soon…

2. raw strawberry macaroons by hail merry   / I love their plain macaroons, and this year they introduced strawberry and salted caramel. I was totally expecting to love the caramel, but both Richie and I preferred the strawberry!

3. kombucha by reed’s  / The Reed’s booth was a very popular booth, what with serving cocktails like dark & stormys, moscow mules or vodka + kombucha. Lot’s of fun drinks!

4. frozen burrito + guacamole by evol.  / The frozen burrito is nothing new, but the packet of guacamole on the side is – I love this idea. An instant upgrade to your frozen burritos.

5. unsweetened almond coconut milk by blue diamond / This is my new milk. Part coconut milk, part almond milk, same low-calorie count. Hope to see it in Trader Joe’s or Costco soon!

6. raw onion rings by brad’s / These raw snacks were delicious and not overly-oniony. I’m sure they will be pricey, but for the occasional healthy snack, they are worth it!

7. raw banana nut bread by rawxies / I know I have had this product before but can’t picture it as the packaging has recently changed. The banana nut bread is delicious. You can order them online, right now they are only available in the Kansas City area.

8. goat whey protein by tera’s whey /I’ve loved tera’s whey for years (they are a Wisconsin company) but I had still never tried out the goat protein powder – cool, right? The vanilla flavor (coming soon!) is my new favorite and I will definitely be stocking up on it the minute it comes out. The organic dark chocolate comes in at #2!

9. thai coconut curry hummus by hope hummus / Curry hummus is such a great idea, why have I never thought of that? They also had new cute little tubes of hummus for on-the-go snacking.

Part 2 of my favorite finds are the products that I just have to mention – they are either really cool ideas or really crazy ideas. :)


top uses for prepared pesto


Pesto is one of those staples that everyone should always have on-hand. It comes in handy for so many things and adds such fresh flavor to everything it meets!

While homemade pesto is usually better, I rely on prepared pesto from the store a lot. Here are some of the ways I use it:

  • Tossed with pasta (tortellini is my absolute favorite, but any pasta is good)
  • Spread on a tortilla, topped with a little cheese, rolled up and microwaved for 30 seconds
  • As a sauce for pizza
  • Thin with a bit of olive oil and serve with roasted vegetables
  • As a sandwich spread
  • On meat, chicken or fish
  • Blend into white bean dip
  • As a crostini topping with parmesan or goat cheese
  • Mixed into shredded chicken with a touch of mayo (recipe)
  • Tossed with a grain, topped with goat cheese crumbles

What is your favorite way to use pesto?