Mango, Avocado and Black Bean Salad

mango avocado black bean

My prerequisites for a summertime salad are: it must be easy to make,  it muse take little to no time in the kitchen, and it must taste light and refreshing.  Oh, and bonus if it incorporates the use of fruit.

This Mango, Avocado and Black Bean salad recipe is one of my favorites because it contains all of the qualities listed above.  And, it’s beautifully colorful too.

We do love mango and try to get our fill during the summer either as a casual snack, sliced into pieces, or in our soup recipe, chilled Mango Gazpacho –it’s a nice precursor to any grilled meal.

The beset part about the salad is that it will keep in the refrigerator for a few days and the flavors keep improving.  And, you can get creative and  serve it with crunchy vegetables like cucumbers and/or jicama.  Obviously this is ideal for BBQs and picnics.


Chocolate Pudding Pops


This snack is perfect for any hot summer day.

I originally got the genius pudding pops idea from the blog Chocolates and Dreams. It immediately peaked my interest. Although, I knew I would have to tweak it to make it kid-friendly (in place of coffee and rum I added in some pure vanilla).

Jello Pudding Pops were my childhood fave so, why not try to create something similar from scratch at home? Plus, the recipe is quick and easy (all the ingredients can be found in your well-stocked pantry) another seamless opportunity to involve the kids.

When school’s out for the summer, you can spend an afternoon with your“Pudding Pop Experiment “ where the pudding base (cocoa and sugar and milk) is mixed and whipped by your mad scientists.

The recipe is simple (requiring no real culinary skill) so both of my kids are able to make their own “pop potions” with very little guidance (except for the microwave — I was the designated “heat helper” here).


We poured the chocolate pudding into ice pop molds, placed them in the freezer, and waited for our molds to transform into [Read more…]

Chilled Cucumber Soup

How refreshing does this look?

How refreshing does this look?

Summer is upon us.  Just as we switch out our clothes from winter to summer, so too can we change our recipe repertoires to augment the changes in the season.

Move over slow-cooked stews, hearty chillis, and dense casseroles, and say hello to lighter dishes evoking fresh, tangy flavors to compliment the summer breeze!

When most people think of a “summer” dish, soup probably doesn’t immediately come to mind. Summer warrants cool and refreshing, not hot and comforting.

That’s why I adore experimenting with chilled soups. They’re the most refreshing appetizer to any summer meal and they’re beyond simple to make.

My mom was known for her Chilled Cucumber Soup.  It always perked eye brows and taste buds whenever it was served.  She usually whipped up a fresh batch before we went over someone’s house for dinner.  The Cusinart would be humming as the cucumbers and yogurt and buttermilk were mixing.  After her pinky finger taste tests, when she was satisfied with the taste and consistency of the mixture, she’d pop the finished product in her large round Tupperware container for a few hours to chill and set in the fridge.

Then, off to the neighbors we’d go.  No bowl of Judy’s Cucumber Soup would be complete without her generous dollop of fresh sour cream to help pollinate all of the different flavors.

Try if for yourself.

Lemongrass-Scented Rice Noodle Salad with Mint and Cilantro


I’m a huge fan of iced tea.  My mother drank it all day long.  What I just recently learned is that tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world next to water, and can be found in almost 80% of all U.S. households.  Did you know that:

·  On any given day, over 158 million Americans are drinking tea.

·   Approximately 85% of tea consumed in America is iced.

·   Iced tea now the most consumed beverage at lunch time

Next Wednesday is apparently National Iced Tea Day (I’m really not sure who’s responsible for declaring these days but, why NOT celebrate).

To honor the day, I’m excited to feature a very tasty recipe from Top Chef judge and culinary expert chef Gail Simmons.  I met Gail last year at an event launching her partnership with Pure Leaf Iced Tea where I learned that Pure Leaf is one of the only iced teas brewed from real tea leaves; giving us that refreshing, authentic ‘farm to bottle’ experience.

Needless to say I was hooked and I’ve been cooking from Gail’s recipes ever since.

Gail’s Rice Noodle recipe is just perfect for a hot summer’s day. It’s light and airy yet surprisingly filling. And, who can deny the light zing of  summery flavor from the mint and cilantro.

Go on, try it.


This post is not, in any way, sponsored by Pure Leaf. I was not compensated to help promote Pure Leaf or Gail Simmons, I’m just a big fan.



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