Zesty Lime Black Bean Dip

It’s officially summer! Which means it’s officially time for summer foods. It’s felt like summer for at least a month here but I’m still celebrating it’s calendar arrival. I think my favorite food is summertime food: grilled chicken or fish, kabobs, fruit salads, grilled veggies, peach cobbler. Yum!

To enhance our summer experience, this weekend we are building a deck in our backyard. And by we, I mean Matthew and my father-in-law. I’ll make them some lemonade. I’m really excited about the deck because the spot where it is going to be is currently a pit of mud, which doesn’t do much for our backyard. Homeownership is definitely a discipline of contentment. There are about 1,000 things I’d love to do to our house, but it’s good to save and plan and do one thing at a time. I’m so thankful for our home and I’m excited to have summer dinner parties on our new deck!

Speaking of summer foods, this black bean dip is exploding with flavor and super easy to make. This is my mom’s
recipe that she always brought to summer swim parties and cookouts. It’s quite limey, so you can definitely tone that flavor down if you prefer. This dip is healthy and takes about five minutes to make which is a plus in the hot summertime. It’s great with chips but we also put it on tacos and I think it’d be a great topping for grilled chicken or fish. Enjoy!

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Zesty Lime Black Bean Dip

Ingredients:
Makes about 3-4 cups worth of dip

1 16oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup of chunky salsa*
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
Salt to taste

to make:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Cover and allow to sit in the fridge for an hour before serving. This allows the flavors to meld and soak into the beans. Serve with tortilla chips!

*make sure you use chunky salsa, smooth salsa won’t work well for this dip. You can make your own or buy it. My mom always used jarred picante sauce. I bought some fresh chunky salsa from Whole Foods. Pico de Gallo would work well too!

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Eating with the Armstrongs

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(perks of hosting a wedding shower: leftover flowers to brighten our home)

In true fashion, spring has been feeling quite full! Wedding showers, friends visiting, parties, and yard work have overflowed into our lives. We had a wonderful get away last weekend to a personal retreat center and we are excited to celebrate our third anniversary next week with a night spent in New Orleans!

The retreat last weekend was truly a gift. We spent two days at an amazing little bed and breakfast/counseling center about thirty minutes away from us with an incredible husband and wife who ministered to us, counseled us, and served us the best homemade Mexican food(thank you, Lord!) Coming up on three years of marriage, my teeny piece of marriage advice is this: get counseling even when you don’t feel like you “need it”. Honestly, Matthew & I are in a really sweet and peaceful season in our marriage, so we didn’t have a long list of issues to bring to our time of counseling. We went into the weekend asking the question: how can we grow in our marriage? I’m not sure why, but for some reason I expected to spend our time there weeping and hashing things out. Instead, our time was peaceful and refreshing, and our eyes were opened to some important things to work on and some revolutionary ways to communicate and grow closer as husband and wife. Even if you can’t get professional counseling, find a couple who is older and wiser than you and get time with them for advice and wisdom. However, if you can, find a professional marriage and family therapist to meet with! It is worth it!

In the midst of a full spring, here are some recipes we’re enjoying:

Smitten Kitchen’s Three Bean Chili. I love to try new chili recipes. Smitten Kitchen is one of my favorite blogs and I always know the recipes will be delicious. My change is adding some ground beef to up the protein factor for my husband. If you do add ground beef, add about 1.5 pounds, sautéed with the onions. Also, when adding the water, you’ll need to double it so that it doesn’t dry up & burn during the simmering process. I may or may not know this from experience.

The Pioneer Woman’s Heavenly Hummus Wrap: really anything with hummus is a favorite for me. Homemade is best, but I also absolutely love Whole Food’s Original Hummus. Randomly, last night I dreamed that I read the ingredient list for their hummus and it included ground up pancakes. Don’t worry, this is not true.

Spicy Sriracha White Bean Dip from White on Rice Couple; My go to for appetizers and snacks is usually a good ole classic hummus. But I really enjoyed this switch up with white beans and an Asian flare.

My Roasted Vegetable & Brown Rice Bowl with Peanut Sauce: I will never get tired of that peanut sauce! Such an easy and delicious meal, use whatever seasonal veggies are available!

Rachel Ray’s Pasta Carbonara: This is quite a creamy meal but a little less heavy because she doesn’t use cream in the sauce.  A few changes: I used brown rice fettuccine, I did not use lemony breadcrumbs as a topping, although that sounds delicious! Instead of asparagus, I used spinach and instead of pancetta, I used bacon. Overall, this is a great restaurant-style meal that’s easy to make at home.

Raw Brownies from A Couple Cooks: wowowowoweeee. These brownies have gotten rave reviews from friends and from my husband. Topped with some simmered down berries or served over coffee ice cream, this is the perfect dessert. These are totally easy to make and much healthier than your average brownie.

I’d love to hear what recipes you are enjoying lately! I hope you try and enjoy some of these.

These are some photos from our retreat. Isn’t Louisiana beautiful?!

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