Lately it feels like I have about a dozen plates spinning at once. As always, there’s the coursework I’m completing for my registered dietitian certification, freelancing, volunteering, and an exciting new project in the works that I hope to tell you about soon! On top of that (and attempting to have a little bit of a social life), this week I’m embarking on a journey I’ve been meaning to take for oh, say, a decade now.
I’m joining Toastmasters.
Yep, Toastmasters. If you’re not familiar with the organization, its goal is to help its members improve their speaking and presenting skills in a “no-pressure atmosphere.”
And by no-pressure atmosphere, the nice people at Toastmasters mean facing down your fear of public speaking in front of a group of other Toastmasters, many with decades of experience, one of whom will be making a note of every fidget, every “um” and “like” and “er” uttered. Said Toastmaster will then critique your speech in front of all the other members present. No pressure whatsoever, right?
Given that at least a portion of my professional life is going to involve promoting plant-based diets for health, though, public speaking will be unavoidable. In fact, I’m finally doing Toastmasters at the suggestion of a dietitian I respect and admire, who said the experience was immensely helpful to her. Besides, better to learn (and correct) my weaknesses in front of a supportive group of fellow Toastmasters than in front of a crowd at a conference.
At least that’s what I’m telling myself!
Luckily everyone I met at my first Toastmasters meeting seemed friendly, enthusiastic, and genuinely interested in helping other members improve their skills. So I think it’s going to be a positive experience, if not a comfortable one.
The downside? (Besides sweating bullets, of course!) It’s yet another weeknight obligation, which means I’ll need to get dinner on the table pronto before running out the door.
Enter the 10-minute black bean taco recipe. Born as an impromptu lunch a few weeks back, these tacos are so quick and easy it’s almost criminal, yet they’re surprisingly delicious. (And healthy!) And not only are the beans tasty in tacos, they’re equally good over a crunchy bed of romaine lettuce as a taco salad topping. Better yet, you can probably make them with ingredients you have on hand right now.
As a bonus, you’ll score a whopping 18 grams of plant-powered protein, along with 14% of your daily value of calcium, 17% of your zinc, and 77% of your folate.
So whether you’ve had a long day at work, or you have to run out to a piano recital, or book club—or even Toastmasters!—you can have a healthy dinner on the table in no time.
10-Minute Black Bean Tacos
I like Whole Foods organic corn tortillas, because they’re gluten free, low fat, and non-GMO. In terms of salsa, I like Muir Glen mild, because I’m a wimp when it comes to spice. (My husband, on the other hand, likes the serious heat of Trader Joe’s Chipotle Salsa.) These tacos are also delicious served with Mexican jicama and orange salad!
- 2 cans salt-free or low-salt black beans (or 3½ c cooked black beans), rinsed and drained
- 1¾ cups thawed frozen corn (or 1 can of corn), rinsed and drained
- ⅔ c salsa
- ½ tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ¼ c chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
- 8-12 corn tortillas
- Optional toppings: salsa, guacamole, shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, diced onion, shredded jicama
- Combine the first 6 ingredients and warm in the microwave for 3 minutes.
- Stir in the cilantro and serve taco filling in warm tortillas with whatever toppings you like.
Nutrition Info (¼ of recipe, using salt-free beans and frozen corn, including 2 tortillas per person): 385 calories, 21 calories from fat, 2g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 320mg sodium, 738mg potassium, 79g carbohydrates, 19g fiber, 5g sugar, 18g protein