Categories
Appetizers Eat Sides

Indian Summer Black Bean Salsa

Brilliant golden sunshine, crystal blue skies and a carnival of colors for all to enjoy.  THAT is what I think of when I think of Indian summer days. And this September has been no exception. Well except for the fact that it has been hotter than blazes around here, but that’s why they call it “Indian summer” right? I’m always chomping at the bit to pull out all of my sweaters and wrap myself in the romance of crisp air, warm sun and hot apple cider. Instead, I end up sweating, changing my clothes twelve times a day and cranking up the AC rather than building a fire.

Am I the only one?

Well romance aside, this time of year still offers up many wonderful veggies just begging to be used in some kind of fabulous dish. And I have the perfect one! Try this vibrant, crunchy, delectable dish for tailgates with chips or even as a perfect light lunch served in a lettuce bowl or a side to compliment dinner. It’s the perfect way to wrap up the summer months and indulge in the Indian summer days before the hearty stews and soups of colder weather set in!

These are the simple ingredients just waiting to become a dazzling array of colors that will compliment Fall’s glory! Black beans, a red pepper, corn, garlic, 1 purple onion, 1 lime, fresh cilantro and Italian flat leaf parsley.

First you’ll want to dice your veggies. Slice and dice your purple onion.

Slice and dice your red pepper.

Mince you garlic.

Chop your fresh cilantro and flat leaf parsley and put it all into a big bowl.

Next you’ll need cumin seeds.

Aren’t they cute little guys? You’ll need to toast them in a dry pan over medium heat 1 to 2 minutes until they become fragrant and a teensy bit brown. They pack a big punch of flavor and are responsible for the unique flavor of this this salsa in my opinion!

For a little kick, some crushed red pepper flakes.

The dressing, if you will, is nothing other than the juice of 1 lime, olive oil and some salt & pepper.

Squeeze the juice of 1 lime over the veggies and herbs waiting in the bowl. I find that this wooden juicer works like a dream. Gets every last little drip of juice out of that lime.

Wish you could smell this…it’s intoxicating.

Pour in the toasted cumin seeds, olive oil and some salt & pepper.

Would you look at all of those colors? Indian summer in a bowl.

Mix it all together and try not to eat spoon-fulls (or drool into the bowl) while you do .

Do you think I’m kidding? I kid you not.

About this time, I run and grab a chip or five so I can sneak a taste to satiate my senses that are screaming to be satisfied.

So there ya have it….

A beautiful rainbow of summer’s last offerings mimicking the palette that only Mother Nature can create.

Indian summer in a bowl.

Enjoy!

Wenderly

Indian Summer Black Bean Salsa
Adapted from The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook
(makes 6 cups)

You’ll need:

1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 red pepper, chopped
1 small purple onion, chopped (1 cup)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup chopped fresh flay leaf parsley
1/3 cup lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Here’s what you do:

First thing that you’ll want to do is toast the cumin seeds. Just warm a skillet over medium heat, toss in the cumin seeds and stir for about 1 to 2 minutes until they start to smell good! In a big bowl, mix the toasted cumin seeds & black beans and then the rest of the ingredients: mix well. Store in fridge, covered for up to a week!

Enjoy!

Categories
Soups & Salads

Dinner’s in the bag with Trader Joe’s

Honestly, I can’t even remember how many years I’ve been frequenting my local Trader Joe’s. But what I do know for sure is that I DO LOVE my Beloved Trader Joe’s. And what’s not to love? It’s a fun, friendly, customer always comes first kinda place- full of delicious, quick and easy meals. They also do their part in keeping their prices low, have yummy food sampling every day and encourage customers to bring their own grocery bag…

a bag that earns you a ticket in the monthly $25 worth of groceries drawing.

I have been trying to win this drawing for however-many-years that I have been happily shopping there. EVERY time I say, “one of these days I’M going to win this!”

Literally, out loud I say, “I’m going to win this”.

As a side note, I’m a big believer in the power of positive thinking! Life’s too short to be all crabby and crotchety. I believe in making a conscious effort to be happy…  I am truly an optimist, – I love to come across a really grumpy stranger in the course of my day and see if I can make them smile! If you BELIEVE… you WILL …and guess what I get the front spot almost every time.

With that being said, I was in the throngs of trying to get this blog up (with the generous help of My Yanni, my husband, and well…enough said) which was really fun and exciting, but at the same time reminded me a bit of childbirth…only without the epidural.

So maybe…just maybe…I was a bit optimistically challenged – temporarily.

And I was sick, and it was Spring Break and we were on a staycation, and I was sick and it was Spring Break…(as in the kids were home and bored and the ONLY ones that didn’t go anyplace).

So, I took my 9 year old daughter, Sweet Cheeks, with me for a quick run to Trader Joe’s and was reminded that it would be the LAST time that they would ever do the $25 grocery drawing EVER! I looked at Sweet Cheeks and she said ,(before I could coo out my usual, “I’m going to win this…” ) “I know, I know, ‘you’re going to win it'”… with that, I’ve heard this a million times tone.

And with that, we were on our way.

A week later (on April Fool’s Day of all days) I received the phone call.

I had won the drawing. There were over 900 tickets. And I had won the very… last… drawing.

You would have thought that I’d won the lotto.

I kid you not.

But in more ways than one, it was another example to my children (and to myself) that the power of positive thinking is alive and well.

AND this is were I parked when I went to collect my $25 worth of groceries (plus all the other things that I just couldn’t live without!).

Did you notice?….front spot.

Now I can’t take you all the way to Traders Joe’s and not a share a delicious, simple, easy and pocketbook friendly favorite recipe, can I?

It’s been a family staple, I call it Chicken Corn Chowder.

Well…here it is-

These are the ingredients

Now, I’ll go slow, this gets a little tricky.

Open cans and drain.

Put in pot.

Pour in box of soup.

Heat up.

Are you still with me?

Oh, yeah – add the chili pepper sauce a few drops at a time until you achieve desired heat.

And I like it HOT like My Yanni.

(Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

It’s as simple as that!

And boy is it DELISH! Even my picky kids love it! A one stop shopping PLUS a one pot meal!

Garnish with Trader Joe’s baked chips.

I’m happy! Are you happy?!

In the days and weeks to come, I will be sharing many of my favorite things with all of you. Things that make my journey in “perfecting the art of life in suburbia” a little easier. Trader Joe’s is DEFINITELY one of them!

Enjoy and may you have the front spot every time,

Wenderly