Category Archives: Snack-O-Rama

Simple Black Bean Nachos

Columbia County, New York I Friday, 29 March 2019

Last June, I blogged about Black Bean Nachos, and I’ve been eating them quite a bit ever since. I’ve been sticking to a very simple recipe, which is cheap and easy.

Tortilla chips
Black beans, drained
Red onion, thinly sliced
Taco sauce, Ortega brand
Sour cream

Choose a microwave-safe plate and layer tortilla chips, black beans, and red onion. Drizzle taco sauce across. Repeat layers, then microwave for one minute. Add several small scoops of sour cream on the side. Enjoy!

I use one bag of tortilla chips to make this three times. (No, I’m not really interested in knowing how many servings the bag of tortilla chips claims to have, so keep that little factoid to yourself, please. Ha!)

One can of black beans and a small red onion make three servings. An eight-ounce jar of taco sauce and an eight-ounce carton of sour cream last me for six servings.

I eat this as an entire meal, and not just as a snack. I never seem to get tired of it, and it fills me up for a long time. Try it! I hope you like it!



Raj’s Black Bean Nachos

Columbia County, New York  I  Tuesday, 26 June 2018

I’ve had a certain love affair for a long time now, going way back to college.

Who is it, you ask? Well, turns out it’s not a person, but a thing, and that thing is chips and salsa!

I’m not sure how it started, and I know I didn’t eat them while I was growing up. It might be because we, The Rockets, sometime splurged and went to a Mexican restaurant in Orem, on a street colloquially known as The Diagonal, to a place called Chi Chi’s.

Also, I remember one time Lori, Julie and I were headed up to Idaho in Lori’s big white Oldsmobile. Of course, neither Julie nor I wanted to be the odd one out, sitting in the back seat, so all three of us crammed into the front seat.

Poor Lori, that must have been an uncomfortable way to drive, elbow-to-elbow with me.

On the way up, we were eating chips and salsa. I specifically remember I was wearing a matching navy blue skirt-and-shirt combo, and by the time we got to our destination, I was wearing a bit of salsa, too. Hahaha!

Later on, after college, when I got working full-time, I remember frequent trips to Chili’s, for Chicken Crispers with an amazing honey mustard sauce, and one of those little cobettes of corn.

But first, a basketful of those amazingly warm and light, airy-thin tortilla chips, with their signature salsa, not chunky, but thin. Sometimes, I would even go there alone, after all The Rockets moved away, and I didn’t have as many close friends around.

I’ve never been one of those people who’s afraid to go out to eat alone. Sometimes I’ll bring a book or a magazine to look at, or some writing to do, and oftentimes (I admit) I pretend in my own mind I’m a career woman, traveling for business, and that’s why I’m alone.

Sometimes, in my head, I’m also a food critic and secretly writing a review for a magazine, newspaper, or website. Heh heh…

You overhear the most interesting things when you’re alone, and observe a lot about other people. It’s fun for me to spy a bit and try to imagine what other people’s lives are like.

But, back in my Utah days, I also remember lunches at Los Hermanos, a nearly legendary Mexican restaurant on the corner of University Avenue and Center Street, in Provo.

When I worked in a marketing department, we went there a few times for business lunches, or when it was someone’s birthday. (Man, I miss those days, and the group of people I worked with. It was my favorite job, but of course I didn’t know it at the time.)

Lots of times we would order Nachos Supreme as a group appetizer, and by the time our entrees arrived, we were already bordering on full, after gorging on cheese-smothered chips.

Much later, many years after I married, I started making a dip I call guacamole, but it also has tomatoes and onions in it. My friends seem to like it and think it’s something special, but it’s actually really easy and simple.

There was also one time when we were staying late at Barnes & Noble, doing inventory, and one of my coworkers (the one who makes killer hummus I still crave) brought chips and a large container of Costco’s Mango Peach Salsa.

It was so good, I didn’t even want to do inventory, I just wanted to stay in the break room and eat this stuff by the gallonful.

I admit, I’ve been guilty of (and perfectly satisfied with!) many meals which were nothing other than: chips and tomato salsa, chips and mango peach salsa, or chips and guacamole.

But now, I have a new favorite.

My friend Raj shared this recipe for Black Bean Nachos. He and I go back a bit to when we worked at Barnes & Noble together.

I managed the front end of the store, which included the cashiers, their registers, and the gift department. Raj managed the nooks (Barnes & Noble’s tablets) and they were also located at the front end of the store.

Oftentimes we were dreadfully bored, when it was slow, so we’d talk a lot and discovered we have a mutual love of pens. Not those expensive Mont Blanc types or handmade ones (that was my friend Phil, the editor from the marketing department) but just nice-quality black felt tip pens from the office supply store.

One time Raj and I even conducted ultra-scientific smear tests, seeing which pens held up to water best. (Shhh! Don’t tell our manager!)

Well, Raj eventually quit and moved away, with his wife and kids, back to Nebraska, but we’ve stayed in touch on Facebook. I asked for cheap and easy meal ideas one time on My Copper Kitchen Celebrations! This is what he came up with.

Basic ingredients:
Tortilla chips
Black beans, drained
Red onion, shaved
Taco sauce
Shredded cheese

Add ons:
Ground turkey or ground beef (fried), or
Shredded chicken or pork (cooked)
Cherry tomatoes, halved, or
Grape tomatoes, quartered
Black olives, sliced
Green onions, sliced

Add this on the side, after heating:
Lime wedges
Sour cream, cream cheese, or cottage cheese

Choose an oven-proof plate or round pan. Layer your basic ingredients in the order shown above, (and any add-ons if you choose them), and then repeat.

Toast a few minutes in a warm oven, or in the microwave for 30 seconds to one minute, to melt the cheese. Squeeze lime across the chips and add dollops of sour cream, cream cheese, or cottage cheese on the side.

You can get away with hotter taco sauce if you have some type of dairy on the side, or milk to drink.

This is my new favorite snack which becomes a meal, and I don’t feel too guilty about it, because it has a bunch of the food groups and it’s quite inexpensive.

I bought the basic ingredients, plus a lime and a carton of cottage cheese, for $12. It made three big servings, so that’s not bad for $4 a serving,

Lemme tell you why I prefer cottage cheese over sour cream. Lately, I’ve been craving cottage cheese when it’s hot out, or when I’m feeling sick. The past few times, when the urge has hit me to eat cottage cheese, I haven’t had any in the fridge.

Lemme tell ya, here’s never once been a time when I’ve craved eating sour cream on its own. Seeing as how I end up having leftover cottage cheese after the tortilla chips are gone, I can be reasonably confident I’ll eat the rest of the cottage cheese, and it won’t go to waste.

But how many cartons with a bit of putrified sour cream left in them have I thrown away? Quite a few…

Try it! You’ll like it!



Making Love Mix

Columbia County, New York  I  Wednesday, 21 February 2018

On my birthday, February 14th, My Copper Kitchen turned three years old!

A few weeks before the anniversary date, I took a look back at my first few posts, the ones I launched on  February 14th, 2015.

One of them was called Valentine’s Day Candy Dishes, so I decided to revisit this idea, and re-incorporate it into my  blog, but in a different, updated way.

I feel like I’ve matured and grown since then (thankfully!), and so have my ideas and the quality of my blogposts.

So, I didn’t want to just repeat the same thing, with better quality photos, I wanted to use the old idea as a springboard, but come up with something new, a different idea, which more accurately reflects who I am now, in 2018.

When I first moved here, back to Columbia County, in October of 2016, I started going to the Hawthorne Valley Farm Store a lot.

On my very first visit, in July of 2015, I discovered how much I love their salt bagels, made at their on-site bakery.

My sister and I also really like their maple ginger cashews, which are processed at nearby Tierra Farm. Problem is, a small, square box of these cashews costs $7.99, and they’re quite addictive. We can easily polish off a whole box in one sitting!

Anyhoo, I started thinking awhile back about using the cashews in a trail mix, to stretch them out further. The idea kind of snowballed, and this is what I came up with.

I probably won’t make Love Mix on a regular basis, since it has so many ingredients. But it was a really nice treat for my own birthday month, and I’ve given away a few bags of it, so far.

The red gummy hearts and black anise bears are what I decided to use for Valentine’s Day, but you could easily modify it for any other season or holiday.

For example, in the fall, throw in candy corn or gummy pumpkins. For Easter, how about some Jelly Belly jelly beans? And during the Christmas holidays, try some small, brightly colored gumdrops, spearmint leaves, or gumdrop wreaths!

Once you’ve stirred up a huge bowl of the stuff, put some into Ziploc bags, and leave ’em in a small tote bag in your car (unless it’s blazing-hot summertime, then don’t do this, of course). Whenever you feel like giving a spur-of-the-moment gift to someone, voila, you’re all set!

Use your imagination! Then, let me know what you come up with, by sharing your pix on the Facebook page, My Copper Kitchen Celebrations!

Corn Chex cereal
Pretzel twists
Dark chocolate chips (I prefer Hershey’s Kitchen)
White chocolate chips
Twizzlers red licorice (cut into pieces)
Maple ginger cashews
Lightly salted cashews
Dried papaya spears (cut into pieces)
Dried apricots (cut in half)
Dried pineapple
Dried cranberries (orange-flavored)

Mini Shredded Wheat (strawberry-flavored)
Red gummy hearts
Black anise bears

The maple ginger cashews are available from
Tierra Farm, in Valatie, New York.
Organic Maple Ginger Cashews

The black anise bears are from
Vasilow’s Confectionery, in Hudson, New York.

The orange-flavored dried cranberries are from
Hawthorne Valley Farm, in Harlemville, New York.
(I don’t think you can buy them online through Hawthorne Valley, so just substitute regular dried cranberries if you can’t find the orange-flavored ones.)

To read Valentine’s Day Candy Dishes, go to:


Valentine’s Day Candy Dishes

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAPut candy in your prettiest dishes for Valentine’s Day. This type of presentation would also work well for those get-togethers after religious ceremonies such as baptisms, blessings, communions, LDS missionary farewells or homecomings, and even weddings.

The bowl on the left is a combination of cherry sours, butter mints, and wintergreen lozenges. The conversation hearts in the milk-glass bowl go without explaining! And the little bowl in the middle is a mixture of party mints and cashews, my favorite nut, although any other type of nut mixture would work equally well. The combination of salty and sweet is pretty tasty, I think…


GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAA close up of that yummy candy. If your party is in the fall or winter, you could substitute Whoppers for the red cherry sours. IMO, the cherry sours look spring-like, while the Whoppers would look more fall-like.