Southwestern Salsa with Black Beans and Corn

Southwestern Black Bean and Corn Salsa

I started making this recipe 7-8 years ago when a co-worker made it and brought it to work. It was delish and an extra bonus? I already had the cookbook that she got the recipe from!

Since then I have made this salsa for cookouts and take it over to dinner parties as an appetizer on numerous occasions. My Mom even makes it too! Of course when this dip gets around my brothers and my son what would typically be enough for a “big party” is devoured in no time. I’m lucky if I get a couple of chips worth!

Southwestern Salsa with Black Beans and Corn

I hosted our neighborhood book club last night and made this salsa. I had a couple of people ask for the recipe…always a good indicator that it was enjoyed!

The yellow peppers were on sale where I shopped so I substituted them for the red pepper. In the past I have used cumin powder instead of cumin seed and it works well. I bought cilantro and used parsley from my herb garden. The lime juice, garlic and red pepper flake…yummmmm…I think I’ll have more for breakfast!

Southwestern Salsa with Black Beans and Corn

 

Recipe from The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook

Chocolate Avocado Banana Smoothie

I thought the only fruit available for my smoothie this morning was bananas. I looove smoothies with “only” bananas. Was getting ready to blurt out the recipe for my banana spice smoothie but I’ll save it for another day…

Avocados are a fruit, so I was wrong, I did have another fruit besides bananas. I made an avocado smoothie a few months back and didn’t like the combo and just never tried again. Today the combo was excellent. Ripe avocados + frozen bananas (they must be frozen so the smoothie will turn out cold and thick) + chocolate protein powder + a little honey for sweetness = drinking it faster than usual because it’s so good.

Chocolate Avocado Banana Smoothie

Chocolate Avocado Banana Smoothie

  • 2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 2 frozen bananas, broken into chunks
  • 1 heaping scoop chocolate protein powder (I use Garden of Life)
  • 2 tablespoons local honey

Method

  • Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender (like a Vitamix) on “smoothie” setting. Instagram it! Serves 2. Enjoy!

Salmon Nicoise Dinner Platter

This is a salad that’s not a salad. It’s an un-salad. No lettuce, no salad, right?!

Salmon Nicoise

I love a good tuna nicoise salad when I’m out for lunch. This recipe is a riff on that salad. Yes, other people have switched the tuna for salmon before (I’m not the first!) but I thought I would try the toppings without the greens. It was good and fun to eat!

Salmon Nicoise

Salmon Nicoise Dinner Platter

For the salad

  • fresh salmon – sprinkle with kosher salt/ pepper and lemon zest. bake at 425 degrees until done
  • fresh green beans – cooked to desired done-ness
  • black and green olives
  • sliced avocado
  • new potatoes, sliced boiled and chilled
  • hard-boiled eggs, sliced
  • tomato chunks

For the vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dijon
  • 1 tablespoon local honey
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

I made the potatoes and hard-boiled eggs earlier in the day and chilled them in the fridge. This was there was a nice combo of warm and cold on the plate. The potatoes were amazing with the dressing…kind of like a no-mayo potato salad.

Arrange on a plate and drizzle with vinaigrette. (you will have extra vinaigrette for a salad the next day) Enjoy!

 

Honey Hoisin Glazed Chicken

“You should start an eatery and name it Chicken and just serve this,” stated Travis as he got up from the table last night.

A couple of other people can speak for the crispy, lick your fingers, awesomeness of this chicken. I served it last weekend when my sister Zandria and her husband Paul were visiting and they were also fans. Like the “have a second piece” type of fans.

honey hoisin chicken

It’s a tad spicy. Definitely sticky. Better than the best BBQ sauce. If you don’t eat the skin I’ll hit you. EAT the skin. Or mail it to me as a present.

We served it with a huge pile of farmer’s market kale and spinach mixed up.

honey hoisin chicken

Honey Hoisin Glazed Chicken

  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced (I used chives because I have a ton growing right now)
  • 2 teaspoons black and white sesame seeds, for serving (I forgot to use them!)

Method

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare baking tray by lining it with foil. I used a multi-pack of leg and thigh pieces but you could also use wings or just legs. Season chicken with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook in a preheated oven for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, combine the vinegar and crushed red pepper in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the honey, hoisin and soy sauce.
  • Remove chicken from the oven and liberally brush with the glaze. Return to oven and bake 10 more minutes.
  • Remove chicken from oven and glaze again. Let set for 5-10 minutes before serving to cool down. Extra glaze can be served with chicken for dipping.

Halibut with Basil-Mango-Avocado Salsa

I went to the store yesterday with cod on my grocery list but the halibut was on sale…endofstory. Just kidding, another selling point was the fact it was wild caught and sustainable.

Halibut is awesome when paired with a little sweetness and it loves when you shower it with citrus. Toss in some fresh herbs. Avocado. Tomato. Done.

mango avocado salsa

For the halibut: season both sides with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, get a pan really hot and add a splash of EVOO, then sear the fish for about 3 min per side.

I made a bed of plain quinoa, then added the halibut and topped with plenty of the salsa. We ate all of the salsa between 2 people so if you are feeding more…make MORE :)

halibut with mango avocado salsa

 

Basil-Mango-Avocado Salsa

  • 1 medium ripe avocado, peeled and cut into large dice
  • 1/2 cup frozen diced mango, thawed
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 4-5 large fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons snipped chives (I use kitchen shears…easier than a knife!)
  • 1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  • Toss together in a small. and enjoy outside!

Based on this recipe from Bon Appetit.

Estate Sale finds

Get ready to be jealous, awe-struck and start singing “because I’m happy…” all at the same time.  I went to an estate sale recently and totally scored. My awesome finds were more awesome because it was the 4th day of the sale and everything was 50% off and negotiable.

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter you may have already seen some of this. If so, here it is again!

Wrought iron bench with a high back and twisty-cool details. I’m going to do some research on refinishing it before diving in. It would look good on my porch or balcony or even in the entryway!

wrought iron bench

Left to right: Garden decor lady head thingy. A planter made out of a tree stump? YES! Awesome small, framed mirror (only $2.50!). Mercury glass ornament.

estate sale finds

Ole whisky jar with corncob stopper. Travis really wanted this. Not sure what to do with it yet but some research shows that they go for $70-90 online and we paid $15.

whisky jug

Brass pot with small lion heads from the 1950′s…$30.00.

Palm tree…FREE!

I also bought the small round stool for only $20. As soon as I realized that it swiveled I had to have it. Plans are to sand, paint it and recover.

brass pot and small bench

Buddha! Isthiscrazycoolorwhat?

Buddha

Have you ever gone to an estate sale? If so, what are your favorite finds?

“Because I’m happy!!” Sorry…now it’s stuck in my head!!

 

Springtime DIY projects

I got a major bug last week to refinish our patio furniture. I started with staining our teak bench and before I knew it I had also tackled 2 chairs and 2 side tables!

This is the bench that started it all. AFTER 4 labor-some coats of stain:

bench

This is me staining a side table while my goldendoodle helps out…I mean sleeps…beside me. That may or may not be a bloody mary behind me.

me painting

I thought it would be interesting to stain the bottom and paint the top a contrasting color. After staining the bottom with 2 coats and allowing it to dry overnight, I wrapped it up in plastic wrap and sprayed the top with a few coats of outdoor spray paint. After the spray paint dried, I gave it a coat of the clear stain for extra protection.

outdoor table redo

This side table used to be faded-rusty-black. It got several coats of the same color spray paint used on the wooden table. LOVE!

peacock blue side table

Supplies. Valspar outdoor color spray paint (I went through 2 cans for the 2 side tables) and Minwax outdoor clear stain (1 1/2 cans for the bench, 2 chairs and bottom of a side table).

paint supplies

Like??

balcony 2014