Black Bean and Avocado Loaded Baked Potatoes

Some of the perks to living in Seattle is our mild winter climate, lack of snow, delicious coffee, proximity to the mountains, clean crisp air, etc etc. I'll shut up now. This means that if you want to BBQ in your underwear in January, then you do it. You'll be cold, probably get a little wet from the 4 months of drizzle that starts at the end of November and continues into February, but you can rest assured that you won't be suffering from any frostbite. Because it doesn't snow or freeze here, there is no need to store the BBQ for the winter. We don't have to worry about our pipes freezing, plugging in our cars, snow tires, ice scrapers, shoveling the driveway, and most importantly we have no need to spend 5 months talking about the weather, the snow and the storms. This free ups lots of small-talk-time that can be dedicated to interesting topics like food and world events. Canadians love to talk about the weather. It's how we small talk. It's safe and it's easy, and a guaranteed conversation starter. It drives me insane.

Because we can grill in the winter, this means that around the halfway point (mid-Jan), when we want to scream no to soups, stews, and casseroles, we can crank the heat, change into that cute skirt you bought at Anthropolgoie as an impulse purchase and wore once, and pretend it's summer - by drinking copious amounts of margaritas, and baking potatoes and then filling them with delicious Mexican ingredients. But, if you live somewhere where grilling isn't an option in the winter, you can still enjoy my fake summer experience, but simply baking the potatoes in the oven, and bonus, residual oven heat.

I created this baked potato last week, while Brent was away on business, at the same time I decided to stop eating cereal for dinner. In the summer, veggie burgers, corn on the cob, and baked potatoes with sour cream and chives are MY THING. Twice a week, every week, from June until September. I live for potatoes - scalloped potatoes, mashed potatoes, fried potatoes, french fries - OMG so many possibilities. Is anyone now craving french fries, with gravy, and cheese curds? because I know I am. So, I decided to bake a few potatoes, because I am missing summer, can you tell? and load them up with corn, black beans, garlic, cheese, avocado, sour cream, chives, and hot sauce, and oh my gosh, are they amazing. They are my new go-to for every meal. The combinations of flavors is so incredible, and who doesn't love a loaded baked potato.

BLACK BEAN AND AVOCADO LOADED BAKED POTATOES

makes 2 potatoes

2 baking potatoes

1 tbsp oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1 - 15 oz can (1 1/2 cups) black beans

1/2 cup corn, fresh or frozen

1/4 cup chopped green pepper

1/2 cup water

dash of salt

hot sauce to taste

1/2 cup cheddar

1/2 avocado, sliced

1/4 cup sour cream

1 chive, sliced

Preheat the oven to 375ยบF.

Scrub the potatoes. Cut a slit down the middle, lengthwise. Wrap in tinfoil, and place in the oven for 1 - 1 1/2 hours, or until soft to squeeze.

While the potatoes are baking, in a large frying pan, fry the garlic and black beans for a few minutes on low heat. Add the corn, green peppers, and water and simmer until the water has evaporated. Season with salt and hot sauce.

Cut open the potatoes, sprinkle with cheese, top with the black bean mixture, sliced avocado, sour cream, and chives. Season with hot sauce.