We traveled around the pond to the Chicago area and then up to Northern Illinois. We visited friends in both places. It was such a blessing. Good friends are a blessing!
Jena is a fellow blogger (and she wanted to know if she was going to make the blog), and her husband works with Mr. Hippie in organizing a men's retreat each spring. This is the first time I've spent much time with them and their family, though Mr. Hippie roofed their house a few winters back and bunked up with them then.
We had a great time of conversation and meeting of the minds. They are yogis, so she taught me some moves to get my core well and truly engaged.
We also did some crafting. I know. I don't do crafts. But, I branched out. Once I got an idea, I was able to actually make something pretty. These are alcohol ink paintings on little 4x4" tiles. I did the gerber daisy-ish one on the left. Mr. Hippie painted the tulips on the right. The white streaks and speckles are where we painted and/or sprayed rubbing alcohol. Thus the term...alcohol inks.
I think crafts stress me out because they often don't come with a set of instructions. So, I'm supposed to be creative right on the spot. Which is really hard, and not terribly relaxing, for me. But, once I had an idea to kind of copy, I was able to enjoy myself.
And this is the gorgeous view that greeted me when we arrived home. I am so happy with my perennial garden. Every time I drive, run, or walk up, I smile.
I love all the colors and textures. Greens, pinks, reds, yellows, blues, whites.
It's a work in progress, but I'm liking how it has progressed this year!
I also got my green bean seeds planted on Wednesday. That was a hot and sweaty chore! Digging down into the dirt to turn it. Pulling up lots of weeds. Stacking rocks. Marking rows. Planting the rows. I poured and poured-which was probably good for my pores. Also, I made some honest progress on my farmer's tan...
Aren't you glad it's time for summer food?! I love the soups and stews and crockpot meals of the winter. But, I am always thrilled to dig into the grilled meats, fresh fruit, and entree salads of the summer. Easy is totally the name of my game.
We also ate three fantastic main dish salads. They were light but filling.
I love this Chili Cornbread Salad because it has all kinds of color. Look at it!
Greens, yellows, reds, whites. I'm all about color. Colorful food. Colorful flowers.
There is a cornbread layer, topped with a sour cream-mayo layer. And then pinto beans, green onion, green pepper, bacon, corn and cheese.
It all blends together amazingly!
And it makes a ton! Like more than enough for 6+ people to eat as a main dish. As a side dish, I'd guess 12-15 servings.
Oh, and next time I may swap out the pinto beans for some black beans. That would look gorgeous too.
It does need time to chill, and there is a bit of chopping, but really, it is quite simple to make.
Chili Cornbread Salad (Make Ahead by a couple hours!)
Prep time: 30 minutes, Bake time: 25 minutes, Chill time: 2 hours, Total Time: 3-1/2 hours
1 (8-1/2 ounce) corn bread mix
1 can (4 ounce) chopped green chilies, undrained
1/8 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp oregano
pinch rubbed sage
1 cup mayo
1 cup sour cream
1 envelope ranch dressing mix
2 cans (15 ounce) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans (15-1/4 ounce) whole kernel corn, drained
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 bunch green onion, chopped
10 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled (or about 3/4 cup Hormel Bacon Bits)
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
-Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
-Prepare cornbread according to package directions. Stir in chilies, cumin, oregano and sage.
-Spread in a grease 8x8” square baking pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool.
-In a small bowl, combine mayo, sour cream and ranch dressing mix. Set aside.
-In a lasagna pan (deeper than a regular 9x13” pan), crumble half the cornbread. Layer with half the beans, mayo mixture, corn, tomatoes, green pepper, onions, bacon and cheese. Repeat the layers.
-Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Have a great weekend!