The Beach House Cookbook (and a Giveaway!)

31451098You guys know how much I love a Mary Kay Andrews novel! I’ve read them all. She’s a fantastic storyteller and loves to write about woman’s friendships. She also likes to throw in a mystery, some antiquing and heroines who love to eat. In the past she’s occasionally included recipes in her books. Well guess what? Mary Kay Andrews wrote a cookbook. Yes she did, and it’s fabulous. I was lucky enough to get an early copy and made her black bean and corn salsa, which will be a staple for my family this this summer.

Okay, here’s the deal, I’ve never ever written a cookbook review. Truthfully, I don’t think I have the culinary skills to do so, but I can tell you four things:

  • There are tons of very pretty pictures of the dishes, which will make your mouth water. Do not page through the book if you’re hungry.
  • MKA wrote an interesting introduction to the book, explaining her love of the beach and her history with beach houses. Also, each recipe has a personal annotation that’s fun to read.
  • The book is organized by menus. For instance, there’s a menu for a New Year’s Day Open House, Thanksgiving, Souper Supper, and a Full Moon Party (which was inspired by one of her books). The salsa I made came from the Game Day menu, which also includes a great chicken wing recipe. Each menu features recipe dishes for a full meal – appetizers, salad, main dish, sides and dessert!
  • MKA throws a hell of a book launch party (but more of that below).

So as I mentioned above, I made the black bean and corn salsa. I’ve been avoiding gluten and dairy, and this dish fit my current dietary requirements (or shall I say, restrictions). It can be served as a dip with chips, or I bet it would be delicious as a topping for grilled fish or chicken. Personally, I ate it as a salad, and it was yum. Lucky you, I’m going to share the recipe:

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1 (15.5 oz) can of black beans, drained and rinsed

1 ½ cups of cooked fresh corn kernels (about 4 ears) ****Allie Confession: I used frozen corn niblets, rinsed in hot water and left out for about an hour to thaw completely.

2 tomatoes, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

2/3 cup for freshly chopped red onion ****Allie confession: I love red onion, however no one else in my family does. I had to leave it out.

2 serrano chiles, seeded and minced

1/3 cup of fresh lime juice (3 limes)

1/3 cup of olive oil

¼ cup of freshly chopped cilantro (no cheating here – fresh makes the dish)

1 tsp of sea salt

½ tsp of ground cumin

½ tsp of cayenne pepper

Tortilla chips for serving

  1. Combine the beans, corn, tomatoes, peppers, onion, and chiles in a medium bowl.  unnamed (8)
  2. Whisk together the lime juice, oil, cilantro, salt, cumin, and pepper in a small bowl.unnamed (6)
  3. Pour over the black bean mixture and stir well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

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How easy is that?

Now, party details.

Mark Kay Andrews lives in the Atlanta area and she hosted her book launch party on Sunday. Fittingly, it was held at The Cook’s Warehouse (local peeps, they can give Williams Sonoma a run for their money) in Midtown. My friend LynnAnn loves to read and cook, so she was my date. Also, it was her birthday celebration.

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They had so much food there, you wouldn’t believe it. They made food from the book – deviled eggs, chicken salad, pulled pork, pimento cheese sandwiches, and butterscotch brownies. It looked so good, but I behaved myself because of my diet. Unfortunately, I didn’t think to take a picture of the spread untill half the food was gone. My bad. They also had a bar, serving wine and Bloody Marys. Y’all (it’s a southern cookbook, remember), the cocktails had a kick, but they were yummy – and I consider myself quite the expert when it comes to what makes a good Bloody Mary. Also, the Bloody Mary recipe is in the book.


LynnAnn and I got our cook books signed by the author herself. I’ve met Kathy (MKA’s real name) a few times and she’s just so charming. I also got to meet her publicist, Megan, who I’ve worked with the last few years.unnamed (4)

After she was done signing, MKA got on the microphone and introduced us to her team – including her assistant and publicists – and her family. She teared up when she introduced her daughter Katie, and then, of course, I teared up. She also introduced her husband, who was her high school sweetheart! They are so cute. He was the grill-master for the event, out in the parking lot cooking food for her fans.

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MKA and her “Starter-Husband” – her words, not mine.

They sold raffle tickets for charity. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you there were at least twenty Mack daddy prizes. It was our lucky day! I had my eye on a cool retro print beach bag that was filled with beach gear and books. Guess what? I won that sucker. I felt bad, because LynnAnn bought the raffle tickets for us, so I told her I’d split the contents with her. She said, “No way. Plus, I’m going to win the Green Egg.” Are you familiar with the Green Egg? I’m not sure if it’s a Georgia thing, or a national craze, but people who have a Green Egg love them – ridiculously so. It’s kind of a cult. Anyway, I’ll be damned, but LynnAnn won that damn Green Egg. We were soooo excited! We’re Mark Kay Andrews’ fans for life!

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I’m going to pay it forward and giveaway a copy of her cookbook. All you have to do is comment below. I will randomly pick a winner on Monday May 8th.







18 thoughts on “The Beach House Cookbook (and a Giveaway!)”

  1. Omg, I literally just saw the announcement for this book through BookBub and was thinking of buying this book when I could get to the bookstore here. So, I have my fingers crossed for the win in all honesty, but if I don’t I still will be buying. So thank you for the awesome review and the opportunity to win, too!! :)

  2. Allie! You are so cool! That you got to go to this, meet Kathy (again?!!?!? – rock star) and you WON! And your friend won! Holy awesome wow! Also, so so sorry I missed our phone date – Tucker’s been sick the past two days and it’s been one of those “I can’t rest unless your hand is on my neck” times…

  3. Allie,
    Thankful to you for a memorable birthday celebration. Also, a big thanks to Kathy and her crew for such an enjoyable evening.

    I’ve been paging through the book and can’t wait to try these recipes. I’m hoping my will turn out half as nice as the beautiful photos appear. Oh, and I’m thrilled to be part of the Green Egg Club!

  4. What?? Fabulous! I love her! And I love the story about her high school sweetheart.
    Regarding the salsa, it looks so amazing. Personally I can’t do cilantro but that is such an easy fix. When I was an innkeeper, one of my guests made a black bean and corn salsa and I’ve never been able to re-create it. It was magic.

  5. I’m not sure how you turned up in my feed, but I’m so glad you did. I know I will enjoy your blog. My interests definitely mirror yours… reading, writing, pretty cookbooks (but not cooking so much), and we have a daughter with autism. I loved your Bear story. My daughter didn’t run away until she got older and angry about her life limitations. So that story isn’t funny, even now. She’s doing fairly well now. And we have had so many angels, too. Thx for letting me ramble. I am now a follower.

    1. Hi Dorothy! I don’t know how I ended up in you feed, either. But it sounds meant to be:)! I’m so glad you’re following. I look forward to learning more of your story.

    1. I’ve met her a few times. The first was when I first started writing, and joined the GA chapter of RWA. She was so kind, and suggested that I write under my maiden name, not Smith. She said Irish sells! I know she used to have a beach house in South Carolina, so they can totally claim her. She know has TWO on Tybee Island. BTW, you won the book. I’ll mail it this week.

  6. I love how you fan girl on MKA! Way to come away with some swag, too.

    Btw- Trader Joe’s sells frozen roasted corn that I have used in similar recipes – I highly recommend it!

  7. My luck continues! According to, I win the cookbook. Not kidding, I tried again, and then LynnAnn won the cookbook (the lady who won the green egg!). Since I know she has a signed copy, I tried again – Allison Carter, third times a charm. I have your address, so I’ll go ahead and send it to you. Congrats!

  8. Well, I’m late to the giveaway but so glad I could ‘attend’ the party anyway here! That bean corn dip sounds amazing- I have made similar recipes and they are SO GOOD and the fresh cilantro is a MUST- you’re right about that.

    Kathy sounds like an amazing and talented woman- I mean she’s a writer AND a cook? That is awesome.

    This cook book sounds like a wonderful gift for any friends or family members who love to cook! I’ll keep it in mind when I need to buy a gift!! (I’m not a big fan of the kitchen, so I’m afraid it would land with all the other recipe books I have… in the dust covered neglected basket where they meet their fateful death. LOL

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