Black & White Bean Salad

I just made a batch of this for tonight's dinner and there will be yummy leftovers for the 4th. Bean salads are especially yummy leftover as they have a chance to marinate more and the flavors soak into the beans.

Shelly's Black & White Bean Salad

1 (15 ounce) can Black Beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can Cannelini Beans, drained
1/2 Cucumber, chopped
10 Cherry Tomatoes, halved
1/4 Red Onion, diced fine
1/4 cup Artichoke Hearts, chopped
1/4 cup Kalamata Olives Chopped
1/2 cup Feta or Myzithra Cheese, cubed
1/4 cup Pignolis (Pine Nuts), toasted
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
2 Tablespoons store bought Pesto Sauce
2 Tablespoon store bought Balsamic Dressing
a few twists of Black Pepper
Kosher Salt to taste

Mix all ingredients together. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

You can eat it as is as a side dish or salad. I'm going to add cubed cooked chicken to it tonight for a complete meal. You could also add grilled beef, tuna (smoked or canned), crab, grilled shrimp.

So what is everyone doing for the 4th?

I'm a creature of habit I do pretty much the same thing each year well with the exception of one notable year... 2006. 4th of July 2006. I was two weeks post-op eating mashed carrots and smelling everyone's BBQ smoke in the neighborhood. I was smack dab in the "what the hell did I do to myself" phase. I sat and cried on my bed. Wondering... "Did it have to come to this?" So pre-ops and those in those first few hard months of this journey have no fear because good food is in your future. I promise.

So what am I doing tomorrow?

I'm going to take a nice long walk and then BBQ. I usually do steaks, BBQ'd corn on the cob and a homegrown tomato salad but this year I'm thinking about doing Kabobs. I need to decide this within the next few minutes.

Luckily the two houses I have lived in in Southern California have had views of local firework displays from the backyard so for the past 22 years I have not had to battle crowds or troll for parking spots. This house's view is not as good as the last one but it's good enough. The last house you could smell the fireworks we were that close... hmmm come to think of it in Southern California where we are so crispy it's probably better to be farther away.

We always end the day inside watching the Boston Pops "Pops Goes the 4th" and eating dessert.

Highlights of the day:

* Did you see this morning's Today Show? Check out my beautiful pal Kylie representing teens having weight loss surgery. Go Kylie!

I so wish I wouldn't have spent the best years of my life trapped. I applaud Kylie and other teens and 20 somethings for taking back control at such a young age.

* Made another couple of yummy flavors of Protein Ice Cream. One of which will be part of tomorrow's dessert. Have you done this yet? Word of warning it is addictive and you will find yourself dreaming up different flavor combos.

* Went for a great morning walk. It's been so hot and kind of humid (not usual for us) that I wanted to get some exercise in before it warmed up. Yesterday I went mid day and almost melted.

Listening to: The Psychedelic Furs "Heartbreak Beat"