This Warm Brown Rice Black Bean Chicken Salad is filled with chicken and fresh heirloom tomatoes that is perfect for lunch or a light dinner.
Being happy is something I think a lot of people take for granted. The simple pleasures of life are often over-looked and forgotten about in lieu of the more drawing, over-the-top, grand moments in life that people expect to make them happy. For me, happiness has been a struggle, and something I’ve had to learn to strive for and savor. I’ve learned it is something to treasure, care for, encourage, and never take for granted. I’ve implied, but never flat out discussed, my depression on this blog. Yes, I was depressed. I won’t provide all the details, because frankly – it’s depressing.
However, baking and cooking helped to pull me out of it. It gave me something to focus on, to put all my energy into, and most importantly, to make me happy. It was something I was good at, and in a time where everything felt like it was falling apart, baking somehow seemed to mend me back together. I’ve come so far since my 16th birthday, when I was diagnosed with depression. They were extremely hard times, and it’s hard to think that only one year ago, I was struggling to come off medication and learn to cure myself.
These days, I still have my hard days, because doesn’t everyone? I’m off medication – for good. I’ve learned to take control of my body and my emotional state, how to make myself happy and fight off any fleeting feelings of depression through exercise, eating well, surrounding myself with those who push me though and help me be strong, and baking.
What’s the best, is I can truly say I’m happy. This morning as I walked my dog, blasting my favorite songs through my ear plugs, basking in the San Diego sunshine and sweating as I powered through my favorite hiking trail, overlooking the ocean, all I could think about was how genuinely happy I was. I feel strong, I feel healthy, and I’m so appreciative of all the people who have helped me get to where I am today, especially my family. They are the fuel that drives everything I do, and without them, I wouldn’t have this blog, I wouldn’t have direction, and I sure as heck wouldn’t have the kind of happiness that I do today. So, again, thank you.
I don’t want this post to be rambling, over-the-top, or long and boring, but I did want to be honest, and share my bits of gained knowledge with you. Hopefully, each of you reading this can find and treasure your happiness. I mentioned that eating better has helped me be happier, and it’s definitely true. It makes me feel cleaner and healthier than I have before, so these days I strive to make healthier eating delicious.
I whipped up this black bean and brown rice salad for lunch the other day, with no intent of taking pictures, but when I stole a bite out of the pan I knew I had to share it! It’s a wonderful, super quick lunch or dinner, and it is really healthy to boot! It’s full of fiber, protein, a little bit of healthy fat, and veggies! What’s not to love? Oh, and when you make this, be sure to look for heirloom tomatoes! The slight sweetness that comes from this ties the whole dish together wonderfully. Enjoy!
Warm Brown Rice & Black Bean Chicken Salad
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- 1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon sun-dried tomatoes diced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne if desired
- 1 cooked boneless skinless chicken breast, diced
- 1 small heirloom tomato diced
- Salt & pepper to taste
- In a medium sized saucepan, heat olive oil. Add garlic and saute until golden brown and fragrant. Add in brown rice, black beans, sun-dried tomatos, and spices. Stir together, being careful not to mash the black beans. Put a lid on the saucepan, and let it heat together for about 5 minutes, stirring a few times. Meanwhile, saute the diced chicken breast just enough to heat it up.
- To serve, place the black bean and brown rice mixture into one, or individual, bowls. Top with diced, heated chicken and heirloom tomatos. Serve as a side or main dish. Enjoy! If you have leftovers, store in an airtight container for up to 2 days in the refrigerator. It tastes delicious cold as well!