The Notebook Brunch: Starring the Turkey Taco Salad

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You might recall, recently I met and fell in love with Mr. Tom Welling. I wasn't really sure what to do to make things better. Even though I'm married and all, I couldn't help but picture myself in Tom's arms and our future children wearing Superman jammies. Yet, I knew something had to be done before I become a full-fledged stalker. And so I decided the best way to get over my new-found love is to fall in love with someone else. Like Ryan Gosling. And during the past few weeks, I've been on a Ryan Gosling movie spree.

I watched three RG movies in two weeks, until finally there was nothing left.  Except The Notebook. I recall when this movie came out. People, and I mean the ladies, swooned over it. That was enough to keep me away. Until last week. Last week, I decided to see what all the fuss is about. It can't be that bad. People told me it was good. I was ready to believe. And support my man.

I knew that the only proper way to screen this girlie movie was to host a girlie brunch. On the menu: Turkey Taco Salads with Mango Salsa. The only other time I had made these salads was for a girls dinner six years ago, so it had been a while. But a taco salad is not brain surgery, no recipe required, you can use what you want, layering your ingredients. Now what you might want a recipe for, is the delicious and refreshing mango salsa. It was sweet, spicy and crunchy. It was actually so good, it made a mango-salsa-lover out of the only mango-salsa-hater in the group. If you're not a mango salsa lover, don't be quick to judge. I've included this original recipe below. Give it a try.

Back to the salad. My layers, from bottom on up were:
- a tortilla, baked for about 10 or so minutes in round pyrex for that classic bowl shape, see photo below
- beans, I used a one can of refried and one of pinto, mixed together, heated and seasoned with salt and pepper
- ground turkey, I seasoned the meat with garlic, onion powder, salt, pepper, paprika, cumin, chili powder and oregano. Then, when almost cooked, I decided to add some tomato paste and El Pato sauce
- iceberg lettuce, shredded
- avocado dressing, a brunch contribution from my lovely friend
- mango salsa
- queso fresco, optional

On the drink menu -- first up, Bloody Mary's. Second in line, champagne, to go along with the delicious chocolate-covered strawberries another friend brought.

The movie? Well, it had Ryan Gosling in it, that's for sure. And, even though I tried to like it, I didn't. Sorry to all the Notebookers out there, it's just not my style. But, the brunch was delicious, the company hilarious, and I did feel a little less in love with Tom Welling by the end of the afternoon. I call that a success.
Having a blast! It's because they are almost done with their drinks. And I've yet to start.
Mango Salsa
Serves 4-6

2 ripe mangos, peeled, pits removed and diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced fine
handful of cilantro, chopped
half of a red onion, diced
2 tablespoons of pickled red onion, diced (if you don't have some around, add more fresh red onion)
1 rib of celery, diced
juice of two limes
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt (I used fancy lava rock salt) and pepper to taste

1) Chop all your ingredients and combine! 
2) Let sit in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. The lime juice will marinade the mango nicely.

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