Thursday, June 7, 2012

Once Upon A Time...2 Year Blogoversary & Salmon Salad

"I dare you to move..."

Has it already been TWO YEARS since Mangiabella arrived on the scene?
Ai yai yai. Did someone hit fast forward while I wasn't looking???
To celebrate, I whipped up a wonderful summer salad.
Cool enough to beat the heat, and light enough to keep the waistband in check.
But don't's not sissy, it's sassy, 
and these bursting flavors are sure to keep the party going.

Now I must confess my husband was not on board with this dish.
Can't appreciate a good black bean 'n' corn anything to save his life.
What's up wit dat??? Crazy Cat. 
But I'm strangely addicted to his ridiculousness.

Before I divulge all of the inner workings of this succulent salad, 
I thought you might like to know how it all began.
You know. The "birth story". 
Every blog has a "birth story."
And here's mine.

Once upon a time, in the not too distant past,
two hip youngsters with a penchant for spontaneous adventures
 were smack dab in the middle of their odyssey.
All sorts of twists and turns in the road, unforeseen obstacles blocking the path,
arrows flying in every direction.
We're talking one CA-razzzzzy expedition.

Many MANY things transpired during that time, but to summarize,
The Lord took us on an excursion that was exhausting.  And exhilarating.  
All at the same time.
The things we learned. The faith walk we were on 
was like nothing I ever could have anticipated.
We are well acquainted with "the 11th hour."

My husband likes to say that hindsight is 20/20. I couldn't agree more.
It's fascinating really, to look back and see how, very simply put,
Every moment. Every morsel.
It was then that HE began to do divine surgery on my heart.
And it was then that I finally began to learn what true faith in HIM was,
faith for day to day basics, and I was so green.
I thought I Had faith to move mountains,
but I quickly learned that I had much to learn in that department,
and it took several years for the Lord to rebuild me from the inside out.

As I mentioned in earlier posts, I never did well with not knowing.
The fear of the unknown was a burden to say the least.
I had "white knuckle syndrome" to the max.
But that whole journey changed everything.
And now....flash forward years later.
I've come to embrace and even relish the understanding
that true "surrender" means giving up attachment to results.
That no matter how it plays out, good bad or indifferent...
that I know that I know that I am going to be ok.
And even if everything falls apart, trusting and knowing
that HE will do something new. And HE did...

Then...I entered a recipe contest on a whim.
I'm not even 100% sure of why I entered that contest.
I mean, the thought of the $25,000 grand prize 
was definitely something we could benefit from.
That goes without saying.
Several people had been nudging me to "just do it."
I had just finished reading "Waking the Dead" by John Eldredge, 
and finally felt inspired enough to go for it,
as though I had a new motivation fueling me.
Not so much a motivation to win.
But a motivation to shine.
To stop sitting in the shadows.
To stop back burnering all the talents
and just begin somewhere. anywhere.
The catalyst.
One baby step was all I needed to awaken the rest within.

I began to enter other contests, and meet new people. Put myself out there.
And suddenly, I thought that maybe the devotional emails I was sending
to my girlfriends should get out to more people.
Maybe others could be inspired to not just be alive, but AWAKE.
Maybe I could encourage others to step out of the day to day drudgery
and marvel at something, even if just for a moment.
And maybe, just maybe, I could use my creativity and enthusiasm
to nudge others to express THEIR talents as well.

I would have never thought in a million years
that just stepping out of the comfort zone
would spark all of this. The domino effect had begun.

My original intention in creating this blog 
was to chronicle the adventure of making a cookbook 
that my husband had been trying to get me off of my hiney
to do after all these years. 
But one of my truest friends, one who is older and wiser than me,
told to me not to go that route even though it felt safe.
That I needed to be sharing the kinds of things I was already sharing
with my girlfriends in my emails.
That's what would keep it personal. Real. 
She told me that all I needed to do was keep shining, 
and the rest would follow.

I really chewed on that a bit. It was all so intimidating.
I mean, there are tons of blogs out there.
I wasn't sure I had anything relevant to say,
anything of value to contribute.
But the Still, Small Voice inside said otherwise.

Thus, Mangiabella was born.
With the hopes to inspire others to devour life with me.
Devour my food. Devour my words.
And with the hopes that my appetite for getting the most
out of this life journey would be contagious,
that it would make others hunger and thirst.

There was really no other plan.
And I still have no idea where any of this is going,
but it doesn't attachment to results.
However it all plays out, good bad or indifferent,
And....HE already is....

Happy Blogoversary Mangiabella!

and as always...

Keep Shining Sweet Bellas!
Salmon & Asparagus Salad w/ black bean 'n' corn salad & a side of
 grilled avocado on Mediterranean Pita Bread
On a bed of spring greens with diced grape tomatoes and cucumbers,
I laid a filet of Salmon that had been covered with
olive oil, salt & pepper to taste, and the juice of half of a lemon, then steamed in foil on the grill.
You can also steam in oven at 400 for appx. 15 minutes.
Then, I spooned black bean & corn salad on top,
and sprinkled a little feta cheese.
To make the black bean and corn salad,
I mixed a 1/2 cup of sweet corn,
1/2 cup of black beans, drained and rinsed,
1/2 of a red bell pepper, diced
2 Tbsp of purple onion, diced
2 Tbsp of olive oil
salt/pepper to taste
juice of one lime
1 Tbsp of cilantro
a generous pinch of cumin.
I roasted asparagus spears
@400 in the oven with olive oil,
lemon juice, salt/pepper.
To grill the avocado,
I cut it in half, removed the pit.
placed face down on grill for 10 minutes.
spooned out the meat of the avocado into a dish
mashed it with the juice of a lemon
salt to taste
and slivered a large pinch of fresh basil leaves.
The pita bread was toasted on the grill.
Complete deliciousness.


  1. Aw Happy, Happy second Anniversary to your Mangiabella blog sweet Bella! I love where you've been and where you're going too! I love your faith and your light that shines brightly. Keep on shining and He will shine on you! Enjoy this special day!

  2. Congratulation Bella! You are such a talented person, with so much to give, so much to teach, I'm just thrilled that your able to share your talents on this beautiful blog. It just keeps getting better and better. The most incredible talent you have is reaching in and touching someones soul without even being in the room with them. You never cease to amaze me. You are more precious than rubies, my sweet friend. God Bless <3

  3. Happy Blogoversary Bella! My heart dances with joy every time I think of how it all began and how I came to know you! God does use everything and He used cream cheese to place some of the most beautiful women in my life. When He placed you in my life and in my heart, He gave me a sister (I always craved a sister) to last for eternity and for His great purpose! Your journey is beautiful and your story is unique to you. He has always had a perfect path carved for you and He walks ahead of you to lead you to the next step. Your words bless me and so many others and your blog is delicious! Here's to more tasty morsels! Love you sis! xo

  4. Congratulations on your Blog Anniversary! What a beautiful and fresh lovely for summer :)

  5. Happy Blogoversary, sweet sister! I am so happy that you began walking on this path and that my path crossed yours. Blessed I am! Much love to you, Candace

  6. Happy Blogoversary to you!! :)

  7. Happy Blogoversary my dear bella! We are for sure "kindred" spirits, as you've said before. I did not realize that we both launched the same dream at the very same time! I also have an interesting story to tell re: how I started my food blog; which I will mention on my next post.

    I love, love, your colorful, healthy, and creative salad with the salmon, the black beans, and all the other fab fave delicious veggies that I love so much. This is my kind of healthy and delicious light and easy gourmet eating.
    I will be pinning this on Pinterest, since it has become a new "fun" sensation for me lately to get lost in all the beauty the universe has to offer...especially the beautiful places, and spaces; one can "dream" and as the song says...Sweet Dreams are made of this, or is it "these".
    You are such a blessing in my life, my sweet friend, I thank the Lord for that!

  8. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥Happy Anniversary Mangiabella♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ and I *HOPE*HOPE*HOPE* this is on the menu this wknd,,,,I loVe your *words*thoughts*and*dreams* many more blessings to you and your amazing familia! thank you for sharing your crazy adventure with us these last 10 years♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

  9. huge congrats on your blogoversary! lovely recipe, and enjoyed your post too :)

  10. Smile. Your blog is such a beautiful place. Not only do you share amazing recipes, but you share the goodness of your heart, and I know that I'm not alone in saying that your blog is a very special place. Thank you for doing all that you do. This salad looks yummy...I can't believe your husband didn't love it!

  11. You do inspire. I'm so thankful for your blog. Thank you for sharing your life with us! Happy 2 year blogiversary!



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