Monday Meals: Avocado and White Bean Salad

Well, we might’ve overdone it a bit at our house this weekend.  Even though we celebrated RF’s birthday last weekend in SC/GA, I thought it only fair to plan him a Birthday Weekend Part Deux once we were back home.

It was actually a pretty chill and relaxing weekend of sleeping in, watching football (but let’s not talk about that, since both our college and pro teams lost some big rivalry games this weekend!), snacking, and eating out.  Ah yes, snacks and restaurant food, where we most often go overboard.  Is there a word that means more than overboard?  I think that would probably apply to our weekend.  In fact, I suggest that you skip down to the recipe if you fear a vicarious heart attack!  Don’t worry, I won’t blame you…but here’s how it all went down.

On Friday evening, I picked up RF at the park & ride and we headed straight to 8oz Burger where we both opted for some pretty intense customizations and a vodka root beer float to share.  RF updated their Classic to have a Western flare, whereas I went completely à la carte with Beecher’s Flagship cheddar, balsamic onions, garlic tomato jam, and candied bacon.  Hey, I had it on a lettuce wrap!  That’s healthy, right?!  Did I mention we shared the float?  OK, ok…pure indulgence, all the way around.  Delicious indulgence, at that.

Midday Saturday, we hit up our usual spot for brunch.  In true birthday weekend style, RF ordered a waffle combo.  I’m not usually jealous of his wheaty selections, but boy did that waffle smell (and look!) amazing.  Put my farmer breakfast to shame, that’s for sure.

We snacked on Doritos and Dr. Pepper during the game, then went to Razzi’s for gluten-free chicken parmesan.  (Yes yes, insert bug-eyed emoji here.  Is there an emoji with a giant belly?  Go ahead and put that one in too!)  I don’t miss many things about living in Brooklyn, but chicken parm with garlic knots from Smiling Pizza is one of them.  It’s a total dive, but I’m pretty sure that’s where you should get things like chicken parm.  For a gluten-free alternative, Razzi’s does a pretty good job.  Oh, and again we shared.  I know that counts for something somewhere.

By Sunday, we couldn’t be stopped!  We both love the roasted garlic potato cakes that accompany Wild Mountain Cafe scrambles.  RF had the Florentia, and I cheated on my usual Surefire Thing with The Purdy Girl.  I will definitely be torn on future visits – both are great.

Since a birthday weekend wouldn’t be a birthday weekend without cupcakes, we stopped at Trophy on the way home.  They rotate their cupcake schedule and we knew that RF’s favorite vanilla cupcake with chocolate frosting was planned for Sunday.  We brought them home to eat during the game, but made a detour to the Seahawks Team Shop on the way home.  Even though the game was away this week, we debated whether or not a trip to the stadium would be a smart move.  So glad we went for it!  Blue Thunder was rehearsing and we were treated to a practically private concert – an excellent happy accident.

We did indeed enjoy our cupcakes during the first half of the game, and then made a run to Aladdin’s for gyros at the half!  Why yes, I did say gyros.  Can you feel the burn?  As in…heartburn??  Seriously, it is a wonder that we didn’t end up in the ER.  At least we’ll both have heart attacks together.  Now that’s true love!

Suffice it to say that, by today, I was beyond ready for a break from heavy food.  Working around a pint of itty bitty cherry tomatoes we already had on hand, I decided that Avocado and White Bean Salad would make a great lunch.  I pinned this recipe from Forever After Blog’s awhile ago and have been holding onto it for just this type of occasion.  Other than the avocado, these are things I often have on hand anyway, so it’s a perfect impromptu meal.

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I used packaged beans because they’re quick and easy.  Soaking your own and freezing them works well too, and is even more cost-effective, but I prefer to stock up on these organic beans when they’re on sale.  Dicing a quarter onion and an avocado is also very quick.  And, I didn’t even have to slice these tomatoes since they were so small – though, it did take me some time to pluck off their cute little tops.

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Honestly, this salad would have worked well with my standard balsamic vinaigrette.  I always have some in a jar in the fridge, so it would have taken no time at all to add a little on top.  It’s not altogether different.  I typically use fresh chopped garlic instead, and balsamic as the acid instead of lemon juice.  Of course, lemon juice is the better option here if you’re not going to immediately eat it all.  The lemon will keep the avocado fresher.  So, with the goal of saving some for tomorrow’s lunch, and in the spirit of giving this recipe a try, I whipped up the suggested dressing.

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Not listing exact seasoning amounts is one of my recipe pet peeves.  It’s taken me a long time to trust my own instincts about this, and I still prefer it when the amounts are listed out.  So, for you…instead of dried basil, I used a teaspoon of Herbes de Provence.  Then, a scant half-teaspoon of garlic powder and salt, and a quarter teaspoon of pepper.  And whisk!

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I drizzled the vinaigrette over the top before mixing the ingredients together and I think that was a good choice.  Avocado has a tendency to break down while stirring, which does create a nice overall creaminess to the dish but I like the little chunks.  Not over-stirring kept it from getting too mushy.

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This would be great as a side dish, but a little bowl hit exactly the right spot after our crazy food weekend.  I had a great time celebrating RF with some culinary extravagance, but there’s a reason birthdays come only once a year!

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