This post is dedicated to my fellow food obsessed friend and Smitten Kitchen lover: Susie.

Several of my close friends have told me that they wish they could cook more, but they just don’t have the time. Truly, if I can do it, they can do it and I try to tell them that, but I get shrugs and subject changes. Sigh. Cooking is, indeed, a serious commitment, but only if you’re the kind of person that wants to cook a new meal every single night. In our household, we pretty much live off of dressed up veggie dogs and pastas all week and try to be creative with the very little time and energy we find ourselves with at the end of the day.

This blog might make people think that I have oodles of time on my hands to make these creations, but honestly, I don’t. I view cooking as an escape from all of the other crap going on in life. If I let myself wind down by sitting in front of the television, I would never get up again. I let my escape from all the madness of life be making new recipes. I get to be creative, focused, and most importantly, fed.

So here’s the deal: I cook 1-2 new things a week and throw them on this blog. I always give shout-outs to the other blog that I most likely pulled the recipe from and I will always link said blog so you can try their version of the recipe as well. I take maybe 2 hours out of a Sunday to make something new and hopefully someday that can be more. That’s it!

So, making it last is obviously important, which is why I’m throwing one of my favorite black bean salads on here. I got it from the Smitten Kitchen blog and I’ve made it at least a half dozen times since discovering it.

Why this recipe is cool:

* Throw it in some tupperware, throw it in the fridge and be creative with different meals.
* Make it for a party and everyone will attack it! So good!

Meal #1: Simple salad with avocado.

Meal #2: Black Bean and Pepper Quesadillas

Snack/Meal #3: Salsa and Chips (If you’re me, you make this a meal. Woops?)

So what is this glorious recipe? It’s the easiest thing in the world to make, that’s what it is. The only slightly time consuming part would be chopping the peppers and onions, but just commit to it and you’ll have several meals right at your finger tips for the next few nights! (Oh yeah, and it’s healthy. Side note.)

Black Bean Confetti Salad:
from Smitten Kitchen

2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and well-rinsed
4 bell peppers, a mix of colors, chopped into a small dice. I used red, yellow, orange and green.
1 medium white onion, chopped into a small dice
Juice of one lime
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/8 teaspoon cayenne (we used more, but we are obsessed with heat on our food.
Handful of chopped cilantro (this could be optional if you’re one of those super freaks who hates cilantro.)

Mix beans, bell peppers and white onion in a large bowl.

In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk remaining ingredients into a vinaigrette. Ideally, you’ll have a 1/2 cup of dressing. Pour it over the bean mixture, toss it well and adjust seasonings to taste.

Shared with: John and an entire crew at game night!, and put it on a floured work surface. Gently roll is out to form a loose log, about 2-3 inches in diameter.

Cut the log into 1 ½ inch slices and give them a little pat into a patty form. Don’t make them too small, they get dry. Lay on the baking sheet. Bake on the middle rack for 40 minutes until golden. Remove and cool.

For serving, slice open and toast. They have a raw bread flavor inside (like a bagel or English muffin) so toasting is crucial.

Shared with: John and Dani
Paired with: Coffee from Coffee and Tea LTD, Minneapolis. Delicious mornings.