Black Bean and Pineapple Tacos

One of the things I love about blogging is the community. Getting connected with other bloggers has made this blog better. I’m constantly learning and trying new things.

One of the things I’ve been diving into much more often this year, thanks to being friends with The Baking Fairy, is vegan cooking.

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I can’t say I think that our family will ever go fully vegan, but even small steps help lessen the environmental impact of our food system. A few meals a week without animal products? That’s something we can totally do.

Today is World Vegan Day and I’m excited to share these super easy, super flavorful tacos – that just happen to be vegan too.

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Strawberry Avocado Salsa #ImprovCookingChallenge

It’s strawberry season here! The kids and I spent yesterday morning at one of our favorite local farms picking a whole flat of gorgeous berries – so now we’re making everything strawberry.

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Do you want to take bets on how many things I can stick strawberries in over the next few days?

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Italian Chopped Salad

Did you know May is National Salad Month? It seemed like the perfect reason to round up some food blogger friends – today we’re sharing all kinds of awesome salads to celebrate!

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The salad I’m sharing today has been one of my go-tos for the last few months.

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Barbecue Chicken Spaghetti Squash Boats

The winter can be a tricky time to eat healthy. Coming off the holidays, I know my body wants things that will actually fuel it, but I’m still craving all the cold-weather comfort foods. This dish is a fantastic compromise.

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These spaghetti squash boats are warm and comforting like a casserole, but chock full of veggies and lean meat instead. And if you’re looking for healthy barbecue sauce to use, I’ve linked an easy recipe for one below.

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Bacon Parmesan Green Beans

We are a green bean loving family, and this is our new favorite way to make them.

Bacon Parmesan Green Beans

I made these green beans as a possible option for the upcoming holidays, and my family gobbled them up. I can’t remember the last time we didn’t have leftovers of our veggie dish!

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Whisky Chocolate Bacon Chili #Choctoberfest

Note: I received complimentary products for this post. All opinions are my own.

One of my favorite parts of #Choctoberfest is getting a chance to show how versatile chocolate can be. Everyone always jumps to cakes and brownies, but there’s so much more than that – how about some chocolate for dinner?

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This delicious chili uses a full bar of Forte chocolate but if you’re thinking “chocolate with meat? gross!”, you’ve got it all wrong. The chocolate isn’t going to be obvious when you dig in, but it add a great depth of flavor and an amazing smoothness to the chili.

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Forte’s motto is “Celebrate Life through Chocolate”, which I’m totally on board with. This chili is simple enough that you can celebrate any day.

Forte is offering a special deal during Choctoberfest – use code CHOCTOBERFEST2018 for buy 3 get 1 free chocolate bars.

And be sure to check out all the other chocolaty goodness being offered up today here: An InLinkz Link-up

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Whisky Chocolate Bacon Chili
(adapted from Wallflower Kitchen)
Serves 6

8 slices of bacon, chopped
2 lbs. ground beef
1 red onion, diced
2 red peppers, diced
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 Tbsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne powder
1 tsp. paprika
1 Tbsp. cumin
1/4 cup whiskey
2 oz. dark chocolate (I used Forte 64% dark)
Green onions, chopped

In a large pot, crisp the chopped bacon over medium high heat. When cooked, remove the bacon to a bowl with a slotted spoon but leave the drippings. Add the ground beef and brown, breaking up the chunks as you go. When it’s about halfway cooked, add in the onion and peppers. Cook until the meat is no longer pink and the onion is soft.

Stir in the tomatoes, garlic, chili powder, cayenne, paprika and cumin. Bring to a boil. Stir in the whisky and half of the bacon. Reduce to low and simmer for an hour.

Stir in the dark chocolate until melted and evenly combined. Serve topped with chopped green onions and remaining bacon.

Fresh Corn Salsa (3)

Balsamic Grilled Vegetables

In the food blogger world, we’re often working ahead. Like, I’m currently working on Christmas cookies, as absurd as that sounds on this 80 degree summer day. Sometimes I feel like I’m living three steps ahead, not in the moment, so I was super excited that more than 80% of you were still up for summer recipes when I asked on Facebook this week.

Hurray, summer!

I feel like I’ve missed most of it, honestly. The move chewed up so much of my time that I feel like I’m frantically playing catch up now before school starts.  Grilling is something I’m catching up on – we finally got our grill ready to go this week. This was the first thing I made.

This “recipe” is really flexible – it’s more of a method. You can use any vegetables you have on hand. Want it to cook faster? Cut the pieces smaller. Want the veggies to caramelize a little more? Don’t stir as often. Sub the balsamic for fresh Parmesan. Add a nice, crusty loaf of bread and serve it as a meal. So many options!

It can also be served warm, cold, or at room temp which makes it so flexible for potlucks or entertaining.

Balsamic Grilled Vegetables

Balsamic Grilled Vegetables
(adapted from Stop & Shop)
Serves 6-8 as a side

1 eggplant
2 zucchini
1 red pepper
1/2 red onion
1 pint cherry tomatoes
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. fresh basil, julienned
2 Tbsp. balsamic glaze

Preheat the grill to medium-high.

Chop the vegetables into bite-sized pieces. Toss with olive oil and season with slat and pepper.

Add to a grill basket. Grill for 20-25 minutes, stirring every few minutes.

When done, transfer to a serving bowl. Top with fresh basil and drizzle with balsamic glaze.

Fresh Corn Salsa (4)

Fresh Corn Salsa #farmersmarketweek

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One of the things I love about being part of a CSA farm is that I’m learning a lot about how to prepare food. Like, last year I got schooled in sweet corn. Do you cook it? Then you’re doing it wrong!

Fresh from the field corn is so, so good raw. One day when we were there, they taught the kids how to pick and husk the corn in the field, and told them to try it raw. It’s even sweeter raw, and the kids gobbled it up. For the rest of the summer, it was their snack of choice and I didn’t get a chance to cook another ear!

This easy salsa uses farm-fresh sweet corn. If you have a local source, that’s your best option. We love this with chips, but it’s also great tucked in burritos and to top tacos.

FreshCornSalsa

Fresh Corn Salsa
(a Kate’s Recipe Box original)
Makes about 2 cups

3 large ears of sweet corn, cleaned and cut off the cob
1/2 green pepper, finely chopped
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. lime juice
Salt and pepper, to taste

Stir together the corn, pepper, onion and cilantro.

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lime juice, salt and pepper.  Pour over the corn and toss to coat.

Fresh Corn Salsa

Looking for more #farmersmarketweek inspiration? Here is what my fellow bloggers are cooking up today!

Tuesday #FarmersMarketWeek Recipes