Guest Post – Dating & Salad

Posted: June 12, 2010 at 6:00 pm

You know I love to read, so I was very happy when Mellissa from A Fit and Spicy Life volunteered to do a book review for a guest post. Even better? She tops it all off with one of her many fabulous recipes. Thanks Mellissa!!!

With Tina out of town she offered up the opportunity to guest post and since she and I are both avid readers I figured what better than a book and recipe pairing. I run a book club in Minneapolis and for our June selection we picked a Minnesota author who wrote a unique book. Mark Allister chronicled his experience with on line dating in his early 50’s after a divorce. Here is the summary from the back cover:

On the cusp of his fifth decade, Mark Allister, a professor of English at a liberal arts college in Minnesota, is an empty- nester in a double sense: his two children are off at school and his wife of twenty-five years has filed for divorce. A friend suggests that Mark explore the possibility of a new relationship through an online dating service. A man who has centered his life on his family now finds himself going on dates with strangers, sometimes two in a single day, sharing intimacies with women who have had their own lives upended. His online search for love in middle age is both an ordeal and an opportunity. Mark records his journey of discoveries in a diary that is remarkably candid about his longings, anxieties, and embarrassments. Women sometimes complain that men are seldom willing to share these feelings. In Dated, they will find one man who is emotionally open in a personal narrative that is lively and engaging.

The author’s writing style is very personal, you feel like you are reading right out of his journal. He describes the process of writing a profile, emailing women and all about their dates. It feels as if you are with him on some of his really good first dates and some really not so good ones. I really enjoyed this book; it was candid, funny and reminds me just how funny online dating can be. I met my husband online and reading about some of the authors dates took me right back to a few of those very awkward conversations!

I thought it would be interesting to find a vegetarian recipe to pair with the book because a major theme on some of Mark’s dates is the fact that he is a vegetarian. I put together a Black Bean, Grain and Mango Salad that is great for summer and an easy side dish to take to a BBQ. This salad is easy to make with ingredients that you may usually have on hand.

Black Bean, Grain and Mango Salad



  • 4 Green Onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic, minced
  • 1 Can of Chickpeas
  • 1 Can of Black Beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 Cup of Frozen Mango
  • 1 Package of Trader Joe’s Harvest Grains (or quinoa, couscous or another other grain)
  • Zest and Juice of One Lime
  • 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon of Cumin


  • Cook the package of grains and let cool slightly on the stove
  • While the grains are cooking, mix together green onions, garlic, chickpeas, black beans, mango, lime juice and zest, olive oil, red pepper flakes and cumin in a large bowl.
  • Add the cooked grains and serve warm or store in the fridge until ready to serve. Bring to room temp before serving.

Question from Tina…Do you have a crazy dating story? Share if you do! If you don’t…what is the most interesting book you have read recently?


2 Comments to “Guest Post – Dating & Salad”
  1. This salad looks wonderful!! Saving the recipe 🙂

  2. Hiiiii!!!! I LOVE the new blog!!! Great guest post, I loooooove black beans!!!! I could eat them in anything! LOL

    Hmmm interesting dating story….I’ve been dating my Manfriend since 7th grade 🙂 Well we broke up a little in college but have been together for the most part 🙂

    Happy Sunday!!!

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