Recipes, Photography, Musings

Tag: salsa

Black Bean-Mango Salsa

Black beans, mango, and corn make up the main part of this colorful salsa.  Cilantro, red onion, mint, lime juice, and honey add irresistible flavor.  Packed with protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber, this salsa is a beautiful, healthy, and tasty addition to any table.  Top a salad with it to add nutrition and flavor, or spoon it onto tortilla chips, or as in my photos, try it with crispy polenta discs. Or just take a spoon and eat it straight!  Either way, it is delicious!

black bean-mango salsaIf left to my own devices, I would probably eat way too much bread and cheese.  So it’s really nice when I can find a super-healthy, clean eating recipe that I love, a dish that can energize my body and help me work hard and stand strong.  The balance of flavors in this salsa is wonderful.  A bit of sweetness from the mangoes and honey is mixed with a bit of zing from the lime juice and cilantro.  It is a great snack, salad topper, or side dish.

black bean-mango salsaI adapted this recipe from my husband’s beloved “Thrive Energy Cookbook” by Brendan Brazier.  I was drawn to it because my grocery store has had mangoes on sale for the past couple of weeks, so we have had mangoes in our fruit bowl waiting to be used.  Now that I have found this salsa, I expect it will become a regular in our rotation, because it is so delicious, easy, and versatile.  I used thawed frozen corn instead of fresh, and substituted honey and olive oil instead of the agave nectar and hemp oil called for in the Thrive recipe.

The days and evenings of this month have been very full.  I have not posted as often as I would like to.  It’s not that I haven’t been in the kitchen–quite the contrary!  I just haven’t gotten the photos or the recipes organized.  But that is about to change.  I am about to get back on track.  Recently, I started playing the piano again, after almost three years away from it.  Since my dad died, I have been unable to touch the piano.  I think it has something to do with the emotions released when playing the piano.

black bean-mango salsaIn any case, although I am very rusty, it feels good to have that part of my life back again, and I know my dad would be glad about it too.  I stumbled across a really pretty song that I am now working on, called The Dance, written by Tony Arata.  Apparently, Garth Brooks also is known for singing it.  I am not usually a country music aficionado, but this song really caught me.  The melody is so beautiful, and the words….they are a good reminder.  We don’t always know how things are gong to turn out.  Sometimes it’s better that way, otherwise we may not take risks or go for our dreams.  If we try to avoid heartbreak, disappointment, or failure, we might miss out on the things that make life worth living.  “Our lives are better left to chance….I could have missed the pain…but I’d have had to miss the dance.”  It’s not like we haven’t heard this message or something similar to it before, but when it is put to music in a beautiful song, sometimes it’s like hearing the message for the first time again.

I hope you all have a great weekend, and enjoy the beautiful fall colors if you live in an area like mine, where the leaves are just starting to turn beautiful shades of red and gold.  And if you try this salsa, I hope you enjoy it as much as we do here!  I’m sharing this recipe at Angie’s Fiesta Friday, co-hosted this week by Julianna @ Foodie on Board and Zeba @ Food For The bean-mango salsablack bean-mango salsa

Black Bean-Mango Salsa

  • Servings: about 3 cups
  • Print


  • 1 cup of cooked or rinsed canned black beans
  • 1 cup of mango, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup of sweet corn kernels, fresh or thawed from frozen
  • 1/4 cup of red onion, finely diced
  • a handful of fresh cilantro leaves, torn and stems removed
  • 3 or 4 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh squeezed lime juice (about 1 lime)
  • 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • salt and pepper to taste


Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl.  Stir gently and thoroughly.  Best served immediately, but can also be kept tightly sealed in the refrigerator for up to a week.  Use on top of salads, with tortilla chips or polenta discs, or however you like. Enjoy!

This recipe is adapted from the Thrive Energy Cookbook by Brendan Brazier.


My Favorite Pico de Gallo

Luscious, juicy tomatoes, bright, distinctive cilantro, slightly spicy onion and chili pepper, and tangy lime juice with salt combine to create a fresh salsa just bursting with summer flavor.  Pico de gallo, also known as Salsa Mexicana, is a beloved condiment in Mexico.  It has become a summer staple in my home, and it goes great with tortilla chips, in tacos, or as a topping for chicken, among many other uses.  I am not an expert in Mexican food, but I am definitely an enthusiast.  And with tomatoes ripening on the vine in our garden (finally!), it is easier than ever to mix up a batch of this pico de gallo and capitalize on the freshness of the tomatoes.

ripe tomatoesMy son fell in love with pico de gallo at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants earlier this summer, and I have been trying to recreate it at home ever since.  There are countless recipes out there, and variations as well, though most pico de gallo recipes seem to consist of tomatoes, onions, cilantro, chili peppers, lime juice, and salt.  Some add cucumbers, avocado, or radishes–all versions I would like to eventually try.  But first I wanted to get the basic version down, since the varying amounts of each ingredient can change the taste.  pico ingredientsI finally hit upon a version that my family and I just love!  I will share it below, in case you are still searching for a pico de gallo recipe that you’d like to try.  The amounts of the ingredients can be adjusted to suit personal tastes, but one thing is ultra-important: the freshness of the tomatoes is key.  Roma tomatoes are typically used, but since we are not growing those in our garden this year, I used our tomatoes and just cut out the seeds (the seeds would make the salsa too watery).  I like things only mildly spicy, so I cut out the seeds of the jalapeño pepper before dicing it.  If you want to add more heat, add some pepper seeds.  And if you have a variation of pico de gallo you love, I would love to hear about it!

pico in red bowlpico on benchIt has been awhile since I have been in this space, and I have missed it.  I have missed posting, and I have missed keeping up on what my fellow bloggers are up to.  But it was for a good cause–I was on a lovely vacation with my extended family, and was “unplugged” for a few days.  It was very relaxing and inspirational to be around so much nature and water.  I fell in love with paddle boarding on a small, quiet lake, and we saw loons and a bald eagle as we were paddling.  We also spent time at Lake Michigan, which is one of my favorite lakes on earth, and got a chance to go for a long sail on my brother’s boat.  Herendeen LakeMy mother coordinated the vacation in order to have time to spend with each other and to celebrate the memory of my dear father.  It would have been their 50th wedding anniversary this summer.  It is not easy to get everyone all together in this busy world, and we dearly missed one of my brothers, who was unable to come.  But my other two brothers and their families came, as well as my husband and children.  We rotated dinner-making duty, and had some delicious, simple dinners, enjoyed outside on picnic tables, with a view of the lake.  The kids had lots of cousin time, which is mostly loud, crazy fun, making memories they will keep forever.

wildflowersI hope you are all enjoying the summer, and savoring all the fresh fruits and vegetables available this month.  August is one of my favorite months with its mellowing sun and humming insect noises at night.  And with all the blooming around here, it is easy to find a bouquet of fresh flowers to brighten up any room.  Have a great weekend! Fiesta Friday is beckoning, with lots of intriguing recipes and photos!pico on railing

My Favorite Pico de Gallo

  • Servings: makes about 2 cups
  • Print


  • 1 and 1/2 cups ripe tomato (about 2 medium-sized tomatoes), diced and seeded
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped (and seeded, unless you want lots of heat)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of lime juice (about 1 lime-worth of juice)
  • salt to taste


Wash and chop tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, and cilantro.  Combine in a medium-sized bowl.  Squeeze the lime juice into the bowl, and add salt to taste.  Feel free to adjust amounts of ingredients to taste.  Stir gently, cover, and refrigerate for at least one hour.  Serve with tortilla chips or use in tacos, or as a topping for many other dishes.  Pico de gallo will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days, but is best when used within the first day.  Enjoy!