And it feels SO good to be home. Don't get me wrong- I had a great time in both Hawaii and St. Louis, but it has been a very busy two weeks. Especially this last weekend in St. Louis. This was my very first trip to the midwest and it was not at all what I was expecting. St. Louis is BEAUTIFUL in the springtime, and in addition to the incredible wedding we went to at the City Museum (if you haven't seen their website, you should check it out- inSANE sort of 10-story playground made of all recycled and donated materials) we also visited the top of the famous arch and the Botanical Gardens. A big thank you to Alex's family who graciously housed us and toured us around the city- it was an amazing trip.
However, after two weeks of travel across 5 different time zones, Ty and I are finally back and have had a little time for some much needed rest and healing. Ty has been sick with a nasty bout of laryngitus, and has unfortunately given it to me just as he has started to feel better. We got in last Sunday after midnight from St. Louis, just in time for me to start my new long-term sub position at Albiani Middle School (7th grade!). Needless to say, after two weeks of traveling, our lonely little fridge was a hot mess. I cleaned out what I could before we left, and what was left was not looking so good. So did I run out and go grocery shopping as soon as I got home?
We ate pretty poorly last week. Boxed Mac and Cheese (at least it was Annie's), frozen raviolis, and cereal. Lots of cereal. I did the best I could to make do with mostly canned and boxed goods until I had the willpower to actually make a shopping list and go out into the world. Then late in the week I got a very specific craving for Trader Joe's spicy bean dip- a slightly sweet, beautiful black bean concoction that comes in a disappointingly small jar. I found a list of the ingredients online, and low and behold, I had everything I needed!
I had to play around with measurements a little, and added a few ingredients, but I think it came pretty close to the original. Next time I would suggest to add a little more peppers, since the jalapenos I used were a little milder than I would have liked. Also, I know it's a black bean dip, but I don't know HOW the TJ's version is so...well...black. Mine turned out more of a dark brownish color.....but trust me- it still tastes great.
Sweet and Spicy Bean Dip
2 cans black beans, loosely drained
4 oz tomato paste
2-3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (I used Braggs)
1 1/2 red onion, chopped
1 jalepeno pepper, chopped
3 large cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp honey
salt and pepper to taste
3 Tbsp salsa
Pour about 3-4 Tbsp of olive oil (more than you would usually use) in a medium skillet and turn on medium heat. Add onions, garlic and jalepeno and saute for about 5 minutes. Then add chili powder and cumin and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat.
In a food processor, add ALL other ingredients. Once the onion mixture has cooled a bit, add that as well. Mix on low until all ingredients are incorporated. Occasionally scrape down the sides mix again. If the dip seems a little thick, you can add a little water to thin it out- but be careful! Only add a tablespoon at a time...you don't want runny bean dip. (Ew.) Add salt and pepper to taste, and a couple dashes of tapitio if you like (I did). The dip should be nice and smooth, so don't worry about over-mixing....you can't really hurt it.
I dug into this before I even had the chance to put it in a bowl and make it pretty. It goes great with some homemade nachos too!