Tex Mex Bean Dip
I LOVE birthdays! They're the perfect excuse to throw a party and surround yourself with your favorite people. The Bell House parties won't always be something straight out of a pinterest post, but at the very least, involve the birthday person's favorite meal and a cake. You did know that not eating birthday cake on a birthday is bad luck, right?
There was a time when I did go slightly overboard for birthdays. My son was born in August and I was off for the summers so I had time to make (and mail) cute little invitations, create activities for kids of all ages, set up photo ops, decorate, serve tons of food and of course, cake. His first birthday was a pirate theme. Partly because Fletcher looked like he was in a bar fight with all the bruises from falling into things as he was learning to walk and the claw marks on the side of his face from when Bubby Smalls, may he rest in peace, wacked him in the face when he got to close. The cat was faster than I.
Not only did the kids have enough to occupy their time, but I also had a scavenger hunt for the adults. The treasure, a bottle of rum. I made up little hints and hid them all around the yard. Unfortunately, SOMEONE decided to skip the clues and just found the hidden treasure. As I get older I've come to a grim realization adults can be worse than children.
Another year I had my brother dress up as Batman. There was a contest for the best superhero costume made out of crepe paper. Then we did an outdoor movie themed party and watched, Over the Hedge. Oh, and when Fletcher was about 5, we did a Halloween themed party and all the kids came in their costumes from the year before. You could tell how much the kids had grown. It was adorable. There was "trick or treating," a pinata, scary ghost stories and a best costume contest.
Then I gave birth to my daughter, in the beginning of January, right after the holidays, a week after our traditional New Year's Eve party and just as school had restarted for the year. I gave the first birthday the good ole college try. I sent out invitations, set up games, did the whole "mini mouse themed cupcakes," decorated homemade marshmallows for a goody bag, the whole nine.
The next year, Charli's birthday snuck up on me and I was not so planned or organized. Her birthday is seriously a week after New Year's Eve and up until our kitchen renovation two years ago, we threw some pretty epic parties. I completely dropped the ball and her party became a last minute text message with the party date and time. I don't remember even having food. We may have only served the birthday cake. I did step up with one super mom duty and bake the cake she requested. It was the year I decided future January birthday parties were going to be much different.
Don't get me wrong, I love a good party and I'm all over the planning stages, but right after the holidays? It also doesn't help that 19/20 people in my immediate family celebrate their birthday's from September through the first two weeks of Janaury. There is a lot of pressure there to keep up.
There are birthdays that I feel a twinge of guilt for not being the super mom party thrower for my daughter, but what I lack in home grown parties I make up for in outside the home party creativity. She is always pleased.
TEX MEX BEAN DIP:
1 can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of stewed tomatoes with juices
1 can of green chilis, chopped
1 1/2-2 tablespoons of Penzey's Bold Taco Seasoning, or your favorite
1/2 of a large white onion, diced and half reserved for topping the dip
Salt and pepper to taste
1 handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
1/2 cup of extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/3 cup of queso fresco, crumbled
Sour Cream for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In an oven safe pie dish or casserole dish, smash the pinto beans with the bottom of a glass.
In a large bowl, mix together the black beans, half of the diced white onion, green chilis, bold taco seasoning, stewed tomatoes, pinch of salt and pepper.
Chop up the stewed tomatoes the best you can and then pour the mixture over top of the pinto beans
Sprinkle the cheddar cheese over top of the bean mixture and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the dip is nice and bubbly.
Pull the dip from the oven and top with the reserved diced onions, cilantro and queso fresco cheese.
Serve with a side of sour cream and tortilla chips. This dip would also be good in a lettuce wrap or on a soft taco shell. We eat this for dinner often. Sometimes I will even squeeze on a little fresh lime juice before eating. YUM!