We’ve had the most incredible summer in terms of weather here in E. Texas. I’ve only been blogging for a little over three years, but during that time span, we’ve experienced both the worst and the best summers of my lifetime. Two years ago, it was the worst, with 100 straight days of 100+ temps (you would get in your car, and the thermostat would read: 117, and the skin on your thighs would fry against the leather seats). Things start to run together, but I think that was the same summer that we had a severe drought, complete with wildfires (or it could have been the year before; either way, it was a rough couple of summers).

But this year. Oh THIS year has been (relatively) cool and rainy (apparently, it rained practically every day we were in Europe in June). But other than the rain, the most brutal aspect of our summers has been noticeably reduced. And that would be the humidity. Typically, within five minutes of stepping outside from May to–oh, you know–November, you’re sweating. Profusely. No matter what you’re wearing.

But this summer has been surprisingly dry. We’ve only broken 100 degrees a handful of times, and let me tell you, 91 and mild humidity feels like the Swiss Alps compared to 103 with 386% humidity!

In fact, yesterday morning, it was in the 60’s, and some friends of mine had a good laugh at church as we noticed that we had all busted out the scarves, even though it was barely cool enough to warrant jeans.

So, why the weather rundown?

Well, it’s been so nice that we’ve been eating outside on our patio every chance we get (when normally, we would stay huddled around our kitchen table, on which the air conditioning vents conveniently blast).

Last night was no exception, and dinner was so yummy that it just felt selfish not to share the best part, so I thought I’d show you today how I make a super delish, super healthy, super easy black bean salsa that goes great with all things Tex Mex and beyond.

To get started, you’ll need:

  • 2 cans of black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 can of corn (drained and rinsed)
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup purple onion, chopped (you could also substitute scallions or any other kind of onion)
  • 1-2 avocados, roughly chopped
  • 1 large lime
  • 1 handful of cilantro (I usually just shred mine with my fingers, but you could chop it)IMG_4628

Pretty bowls are optional, but I’ve been slowly collecting all of these specimens on super-clearance or from Ross, and I couldn’t resist the chance to line them all up for a picture.


Apparently, they made everything look so especially appealing that our cat, Scout, had trouble keeping his nose out it.



After everything is chopped up, dump it all together in a bowl…


…and add the seasonings and “dressing” which basically consist of:

  • 1 – 1 1/2 tbs of olive oil (depending on the juiciness of your tomatoes, you may need more or less moisture)
  • 2 tsp of red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • the juice of one lime


Give everything a good stir, add a bowl of tortilla chips, and–TADA!–you’ve got the perfect accompaniment to pretty much any casual dinner.


I serve this at parties and family gatherings a lot, and it always gets gobbled up before any other dips.

We ate ours last night with brisket tacos.


{I like it so much, I had it on the side and on top of my taco; also, did anybody else spot the floating piece of corn?)

I hope my kids remember these patio dinners with as much fondness as I know I will ten years from now (when, hopefully, they’ll still be going on).

IMG_4655 IMG_4659 IMG_4661

Talking with her hands…such a girl.IMG_4681

{This would be Nola trying to mesmerize me with her baby blues, all while looking innocent and stealing my phone}


This kid has been losing teeth (literally) right and left. Pretty sure, he’s not going to have any left to chomp his tacos soon. IMG_4686

{Evy knows how to work those blue eyes too; all the better with a little hair swoop}


And as much as Simon pretends to hate it when people comment on his dimples, I’m pretty sure he’s fully aware that they’re his secret weapon.


Shaun absolutely loves it when his girls snuggle with him, so I don’t think he was too sad when Nola heard gunshots (we live in the country; this is normal), and made a beeline for him, wailing, “Daaaaaadddy!”

Oh, and in case you’re wondering what my boys’ latest obsession is and in case you had begun to believe that all things at our dinner table were either ridiculously cute or pretty to look at, here’s what was staring me in the face for practically the entire meal:


I know, right?

Appetizing in the extreme. (Better yet, they’re in my kitchen right now, and Simon and Ezra informed me this morning that a grasshopper and a stick bug have gone AWOL. To which, I replied: “Better them than the spiders; now put another layer of plastic on that jar!!!“).

And just so I don’t leave you with a jar full of your bugs as your last image…


Do you have a version of this black bean salsa recipe? I can’t remember where I first had it, but I’ve encountered lots of different variations (sometimes, I hear it called Texas Caviar) over the years. This is just the version that our family loves best, but I’d love to hear what you do differently if you make it too.

What kind of summer weather did you have? I feel like I’ve been spoiled for life, and when it goes back to being ultra-sticky and sweltering next year, I’m not even going to know what to do with myself.

Is your house a glorified bug zoo too? It’s gotten so bad around here that I don’t even blink when I find some sort of critter hopping across my kitchen table. Ugh.





  1. Love brisket tacos – always order them in restaurants if they have on the menu. How did you cook yours or could you post the recipe? Tried cooking brisket once & it was so so.

  2. Mmmmmm, this salsa is so good!

    We don’t currently have any bug “studies” going on, but you’ve reminded me of my twin brothers when they were 6-8 years old. They spent an entire summer capturing stink bugs (of which we had an extreme abundance), and scotch taping them to a wall in rows. Apparently stink bugs “don’t die”, because we were privileged to see a wall of stink bugs doing a slow kick, ALL SUMMER LONG. It was a real conversation starter with guests.

I love hearing from you guys!