Summertime celebrations: A little holiday menu

Saturday, July 5, 2014

I just loooove Fourth of July weekend! For one, it gives us a great excuse to see friends and family. Secondly, it's the weekend that leads up to the husband's birthday! And clearly, I love Fourth of July weekend because that means we get to eat FOOD! 

After an awesome trip to the South Bend Farmer's Market today, we took a drive to Buchanan, Michigan, to go to Dan's favorite meat market, Lowery's, to pick up a GIANT slab of ribs that he plans to spend tomorrow smoking in the backyard. Sounds awesome to me! Dan's family and my parents will be coming over, which makes a lovely Sunday BBQ for a party of nine. 

Our little post-Fourth of July/pre-birthday menu is as follows: 

Giant slab of smoked ribs
Hot dogs (in case our favorite nephew isn't digging said ribs) 
Pasta salad
Baked beans (made with love by my mother, the tastiest baked beans baker ever!)
Corn/black bean/avocado awesomeness (recipe below)
Fresh fruit 
Birthday cake (naturally) 
Oatmeal brownie gems (recipe below)

I wish I could explain to you how much I love this corn/black bean/avocado deliciousness. I first had it last summer when I went to a bridal get together for my best friend Andrea. Her former neighbor had made it, and I loved it so much, I messaged her the next day for the recipe! I can't decide weather I should call it a salsa? A dip? A bowl of amazing? It's INSANELY delicious and a super big crowd pleaser! Oh, and did I mention it's easy to make? It's easy to make!

Here's what you need: 
1 can corn
1 can black beans
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
3 avocados, chopped
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup oil
2 packets of dry Italian seasoning 

Throw it all together. Find a giant serving bowl. Put out with favorite corn chip of your choosing. Easy-peasy! 

I threw the avocado pits in just for giggles. :)
And for dessert, another favorite crowd pleaser are Oatmeal Brownie Gems. See, they're healthy cuz there's oatmeal in 'em! This is a recipe my mom introduced me to a long time ago, and I never ever get tired of them! 

Get in my belly! 
Oatmeal Brownie Gems:
2.75 cups quick cooking oats, uncooked
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup butter (or margarine), melted
1.75 cups M&Ms Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Baking Bits (one bag)
1 (19-21 ounce) package fudge brownie mix, prepared according to package directions (but not baked yet!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, combine oats, flour, sugar, nuts, and baking soda. Add butter until mixture forms coarse crumbs. Toss in M&Ms and mix until evenly distributed. Reserve 3 cups of the mixture. Pat remaining mixture onto bottom of 15x10x1 inch pan to form crust. Pour prepared brownie mix over crust, spreading into thin layer. Sprinkle reserved crumb mixture over top of brownie mixture; pat down lightly. Bake 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs. Cool completely. Cut into 48 bars. 

I'll add photos tomorrow after the deliciousness is complete. But for now, trust me, and go make these treats for your crowd! 

Happy Saturday, all! 


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