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It is the first full official day of spring, and I could not be more stoked!  Sure there may be a blizzard warning only an hour east of here, but I am not letting that get me down. Oh no, I am instead looking forward to bright beautiful new things this season brings.  I am talking about clothes and food y’all!

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love clothes, so I thought it would be fun to share some of my summer style pics with you!  I have been getting ready for an upcoming trip to Texas, and I cannot wait to be soaking up the sun.  I am planning on packing lots of bright tanks paired with some simple denim cutoffs for the trip, plus lots of colorful accessories!

Summer Brights
Orange and Turquoise

 

I am starting to break out some of my summer menu favorites around here too.  Like this corn and black bean salad. It is one of my favorite things to make ahead and take along for a picnic in the mountains.  It also is great rolled up in a whole grain tortilla with some crispy lettuce.  Sure the corn maybe of the frozen variety and the tomatoes were grown in a greenhouse, but it still works to evoke my summer mood.  I did cook the beans from scratch as I often do.  If you are buying the same cans of beans every week, I definitely suggest cooking your own.  It doesn’t require much hands on time, and dried beans are even cheaper than cans!  Plus you can free yourself from worrying about BPA lined cans or how much sodium those suckers have,  and the beans really do taste better.

To cook your own black beans measure out 2 cups of dried beans.  Spread them out on a white sheet of paper, a handful at a time.  Remove any really wrinkled or split beans and any pieces of rocks.  Rinse the beans in a colander.  Place in a large stainless pot and cover the beans with 6 cups water.  Cover and allow the beans to soak for at least 6 hours and up to 12 (overnight is easiest).  Once the beans have soaked, drain and rinse the beans again in the colander.  Return the beans to the pot and add 6 cups of fresh water.  Heat the pot on the stove on medium high heat until the water begins to boil. Cover the pot and reduce heat to low.  Let the beans simmer for 2 hours.  Makes about 4 cups of beans.

Once you have your beans ready then you can get to work making the salad.

Summer Style Corn and Black Bean Salad

1½ cups cooked black beans (or one can), drained and rinsed

2 medium-sized hot-house tomatoes, diced

½ large sweet yellow onion, diced

1 cup corn kernels (thawed if using frozen)

1 jalapeno pepper, finely diced

1 large handful of cilantro, diced

Juice of one lime

1 garlic clove, minced

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon paprika

Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine.  Serve cold or at room temperature.

For other ways to use those black beans, try my Southwestern Black Bean Burgers , Chili Rellenos or Sweet Potato Tacos with Black Bean Tortillas!

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