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To Enjoy List & Pineapple Salsa with Colorful Black Beans & Rice

Early Morning Run
I had really hoped to go for a run with my friend, Thad, this morning. If I plan on running at all, I'm going to have to really get focused on getting up and out by 5:30. He wasn't really up for a run though, which I totally understand. I don't want someone to feel like they have to run with me of course.

Since it's not completely light by 5:30, I am a bit leery of going to the river trails alone. It's pretty empty at that time of the morning. I thought today may end up being either a rest day or maybe a leg day. However, I found myself up and awake at 5:30, so I did something I haven't done since the fall - I ran in my neighborhood.

After my IT band injury, I stopped running in the neighborhood because of the severely cambered roads. And of course, once I got going, I remember all this. It wasn't the best run for me, but I really enjoyed watching the world wake up around me. It's just so peaceful at that time (too bad I'm not a morning person).

My quads were really sore from spin class last night - felt like I'd done a million walking (weighted) lunges actually. It was also very humid and already 74 degrees out, so I was sweating like a fool by half a mile in. I managed just over 3.5 miles though. Oh, and I forgot how many looooonnnnggggg, gradual inclines are on this route. Yikes.

I got in and tried to cool down while I stretched and rolled on my TriggerPoint Therapy Kit . It was really nice having my workout done and over with so early. I sort of have morning workout amnesia where I pretty much forget that I've worked out at all by about 10 am.

To Enjoy List
I don't normally do a lot of reflective, sappy or mushy posts. Maybe I should...but today I am going to, well briefly. I suppose this mostly stems from coming down from my vacation high. But I've been doing a great deal of thinking, reflecting on what I can do to enjoy my life more even when I'm not on vacation.

This quote was posted on Facebook by my friend Lindsay & Cotter Crunch: "I will do this today! 'Instead of focusing on a to-do list today, create a 'to enjoy' list and check those things off instead.'"

This couldn't have come at a better time. I was chatting with my friend Jessica just yesterday about this very thing. About learning to live each day more like it was your vacation day. Yes, I may have to work, run errands, do chores, but I need to learn to enjoy everything else in between - maybe learn to make those other must-do items a little more enjoyable as well.

So I think I am going to actually challenge myself to write a daily "to enjoy" list. Some days might be longer than others of course. But maybe, just maybe, it'll be the reminder I need to recognize all the smaller joys in life, not just sitting on a beach with not a care in the world, but watching the world wake up as I run, or even enjoying the fact that I'm lucky enough to have A/C when the heat index is 98! So here's just a start for my list:

To Enjoy
  • Early morning runs
  • Delicious home-cooked dinners with hubby
  • Evening conversation with hubby NOT in front of TV
  • Snuggles from furbabies (or at least Heath since Maddie's not so snuggly)
  • An evening in the pool just relaxing (aka pretending to be on beach)
  • Working out with my friend
  • Gardening (both veggies and flowers)
  • A bubble or Epsom salt (or both) bath

I want to extend this challenge to you all as well - if you'll humor me. Will you make it a point to write a daily or weekly "to enjoy" list?

Seitan & Salsa
So, moving on from reflective and mushy, let's get to dinner. Since I had my workout done, I had time after work to get some seitan made. I wanted to make more strips and cutlets.

Yesterday I picked up a pineapple. I've been craving juicy pineapple, likely because of the heat. Jason has been wanting to make a fruit salsa, so tonight I made my Pineapple Salsa to go on top of the homemade Seitan Cutlets. I also made an easy Colorful Black Beans and Rice dish (based on my Colorful Black Beans, which I've served with Tomato Barley) as the base for the cutlets.

Colorful Black Beans and Rice
Ingredients:
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/4 red onion, finely diced
2 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 - 1 minced jalapeno (depending on heat preference)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained or 1 1/2 cups cooked
To taste: salt, pepper, cumin, cilantro, chili powder
1 can no-salt diced tomatoes, drained (fresh would be best)
1/2 cup dry brown rice (cook per package directions - typically 1:1 ratio rice/water)

Directions:
Cook the brown rice per package directions (I like to add in some of the same seasonings I will use in the dish as well as use vegetable stock instead of water).

Meanwhile, in sauce pan, saute bell peppers, onions, jalapeno, and garlic in small amount of olive oil until begin to soften. Add in beans and spices and cook until beans are warmed through then stir in the tomatoes and rice. Allow to cook until the tomatoes are heated, re-seasoning if needed.
 

Can I just say how much I love pineapple? The spice from the jalapeno is very well-balanced from the juicy sweetness of the pineapple.The salsa pairs so nicely with the black beans and rice as well. Wonderful combination of flavors and textures. The salsa actually tastes incredible just blended in with the Colorful Black Beans & Rice.

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