Black Bean, Mango, Avocado, and Quinoa

quinoa salad

I love this salad.

It is so versatile: main entree, side salad, lunch, or dinner.  My mom, Jod, introduced me to this recipe.  At first I made it as a side for dinner.  Then I started making a big batch of it on Sundays and packing it for a healthy lunch for the week.

The ingredients might seem like a weird combination.  Just try it; you’ll love it too!

Ingredients – taken from Angela @
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed drained
  • 1 fresh mango, cubed
  • 1 ripe avocado, cubed
  • 1 cucumber, seeds removed and diced
  • ½ cup mint, chopped – I often leave this out.
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • I like to add in chopped kale – super food, super yummy:)
  1. Place the quinoa along with 2 cups salted water in a medium saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce to the lowest heat setting. Simmer until water is completely absorbed and quinoa is fluffy, about 20 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, and garlic.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients, including the quinoa, and gently combine. Season with salt and pepper. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes to let the salad cool and flavors combine. Serve immediately.

Note:  Double the recipe if making lunch for the week.



Pesto and Shrimp Pasta

MJ's Pasta

Pesto and Shrimp Pasta

A favorite dinner each time I come home from CA is fresh pesto pasta with shrimp.  Jodi always has homemade pesto in the freezer so we start that…

1-2 bags frozen homemade pesto (Jodi’s is best)

1 large bottle of drained pitted kalamata olives

1 t0  1 1/2 pints of cherry tomatoes cut in half

4-5 lbs. thawed shrimp or prawns (thaw prawns in cold salt water)

top with Pecorino cheese

1 to 1 1/2 box of fettuccine pasta

Thaw 1-2 bags fresh pesto, warm up in extra large skillet.  When hot,  add thawed shrimp, olives and tomatoes.  Cook till shrimp is pink and sauce is hot.  If too thick, add a little olive oil, wine or milk.  Add cooked fettuccine and serve with Pecorino cheese.


Fresh Citrus Salad Dressing and Kale/Romaine Salad

Mash 1/2/t. salt and 2-3 cloves garlic in bottom of wooden salad bowl.

In jar, mix 8 T. citrus olive oil (infused lemon, lime, blood orange);  4 T. fruit flavored vinegar (peach, blackberry, strawberry, etc.),  1 tsp. mustard (dijon), salt and pepper.  Shake.

Mix kale and romaine lettuce with fresh cilantro, small cubed pecorino, candied walnuts or cashews, tomatoes, green onions, Jodi’s homemade croutons.


Pizza Night

Before heading out to spend some time this afternoon with Grandma G, I quickly put together the homemade pizza dough.  My recipe inspiration comes from Debb P’s homemade crust recipe.  Here’s my crust recipe…

Dissolve 2 tsp. yeast in 2 cups warm water

Once the yeast starts to bubble, mix with…

4 cups flour

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup olive oil

Note:  mix in more flour as needed

Let the dough rise for several hours.

  photo 1     photo 2

A couple of hours later we arrived home to a hungry house. Luckily, Ken had prepped most of the pizza ingredients.  Tonight’s pizzas were pretty basic: all meat and supreme.   Grease the pans with olive oil.  Roll out the crusts.  The homemade pizza sauce also adds to the quality of this meal.  Here’s my pizza sauce recipe…

12 oz. can of tomato paste

3 cloves of crushed garlic

1 tsp. dried basil

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. garlic salt

Mix together and add in water.

I gradually add in the water until I get to the sauce consistency I like.

Sometimes it is a thicker sauce and other times thinner.

The meat pizza was topped with sausage, pepperoni, and bacon bits.  The supreme pizza begins the same, but I add to it fresh sliced mushrooms, sliced green peppers, and sliced onions. Both pizzas are topped with cheddar and mozzarella cheese.  I bake these at 400 degrees for around 15 minutes.  I have a small problem with burning the crust, so tonight was a group effort with regards to timing.


While I assembled the pizzas, MJ put together an amazing salad of romaine and kale salad.  Her dressing is what really hit it out of the park.


Ken’s Steak and Caesar Salad

ken:jod steaks

Kens’ Caesar Salad
A dash of salt in large oak salad bowl
Two to three cloves garlic crushed with a fork in the salt
Two tablespoons anchovy paste
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
One T Dijon mustard (gray poupon)
Squeeze of half lemon or less
Mix ingredients in bowl
Slowly pour thin stream of olive oil into mix while continually mixing to nice
Add romaine lettuce
Garnish with homemade croutons, rile olives and graded Parmesan or Pecorino.
Can lay two anchovy fillets in top for presentation
Three servings


Ken and Jod’s Steak Marinade

1/4 c Teriyaki sauce
2T Soy Sauce
2 T Red wine
2 T Red wine vinegar
Clove garlic crushed
1/2 tsp. tenderizer
3-4 T fresh chopped chives