Thursday, August 31, 2017

Kidney Bean Salad

Summer 2017 is coming to a close, and what a summer it has been!  One day after the last day of school we welcomed baby Clara to our family. We had a lot of snuggles, a baptism, a trip to the family farm, and of course the older kid's summer camps and lessons. School and work start up again in a few days, and while it is always sad to bid another summer goodbye, I'm excited for what this new year will bring. As a teacher the new year starts in September, not January!

As one of our last big summer activities, we did a little group camping with a bunch of other Catholic families. Camping with a brand new little one can be challenging, but we knew with all these great friends around us we could handle it. It was an amazing experience. Not only did the kids play outside all day long without ever once seeming to miss t.v. or video games, but we had mass every day in the camp lodge, praise and worship music around the campfire, and overall a great chance for fellowship with other Catholic families doing the best they can to get each other to heaven.

There was quite the large group of us there, so getting everybody fed was a group effort. With everyone pitching in we had plenty to go around! For one of our meals I brought one of my favorite salads my dad used to make a lot when I was little. The official recipe in the family cookbook uses several different kinds of canned beans, but my dad usually stuck to kidney beans, green bell pepper, and onion. For my version I added some fresh green beans, which I think made a great addition. The ingredients are marinated in a simple sweet dressing, which pairs wonderfully with the cool, crisp vegetables. I love the contrast between the soft kidney beans and the crunchy peppers and green beans.

Everyone else loved it too! I had a lot of people tell me how good it was and even ask for the recipe. There weren't any leftovers to take home! It may sound silly, but I think that was one of my favorite parts of trip. As regular readers know, I married a picky eater that comes from a picky eating family and we brought forth picky children who constantly challenge my notions on how to get kids to eat healthy and varied foods. We're working on it and things are slowly getting better, but the only person who would eat this salad in my house would be myself. Coming from a very food-centric family that likes almost everything, this has been one of the great frustrations of my adult life. It felt so good to see so many people truly enjoy a dish that I made;  I knew I had to share it!

Kidney Bean Salad
(amounts for veggies are approximate - I don't really measure for that part. Add as much or as little of your favorite ingredients as you want!)

2 cans red kidney beans
2 green bell peppers, diced large
1/2 large sweet onion, diced
1 large handful fresh green beans, cut into short pieces

1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup vinegar
3/4 cup sugar

Mix together vegetables and add dressing. Serve chilled. I prefer to serve with a slotted spoon to  help drain any excess dressing. 
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