Near the end of my master's degree program, I had the wonderful fortune to meet eight women from whom I would learn more than I had from most of my coursework. Our friendship began in an intensive writing workshop, where we poured our souls onto paper for eight hours a day, five days a week, for most of a summer. That exhausting and glorious workshop led into three semester-long courses on writing and teaching writing where a brilliant professor pushed us to the limits of our aptitudes and attention spans. In those two short years, several among us got married, had babies, got teaching jobs, quit teaching jobs, and ferried grown children off to college. At one point, we all got together at the professor's house to celebrate the impending birth of a classmate's baby boy. We each brought along a covered dish and a book for baby Noah's brand new library. The food was amazing (of course!), so we all exchanged recipes. Cowboy Caviar was contributed by Sara R. I loved at the time, and I've made it often since. I thought this would be a nice time to share it with you since I've recently become addicted to totally smitten with enchanted by The Pioneer Woman's blog. The author is married to a real life cowboy, and I walked right past him when I was in Chicago. I didn't know who he was at the time, but we made eye contact, and I was struck by his remarkably handsome clear, blue eyes. When I saw his picture on her site, I remembered that moment in the hotel lobby at BlogHer. Isn't it strange how a random brush with a stranger will linger in your subconscious like that? Anyway, in honor of my dear girlfriends from graduate school and my new found love for The Pioneer Woman and her Marlboro Man, I give you Cowboy Caviar.