Thursday, September 29, 2011

Black Bean Burgers w/ Guacamole

No one will ever be more shocked than I that I actually get to post this recipe as "Husband Approved". My husband really did say, "Wow, these are actually good!" He also really did go back for seconds. AND he really did ask, "when are you going to make those veggies burgers again? Those are good." So I did. Both times he gobbled them up. Shock and awe people. Shock and awe.

Black Bean Burgers

2 cans black beans, drained but not rinsed
1 to 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1/2 of a bell pepper, chopped up small (the color is up to you I've used red and green with great results)
1/2 cup onion, chopped up small
1 tbs chili powder
1 tsp granulated garlic
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 eggs

Drain black beans and place in a medium sized bowl. Using a potato masher, mash up beans well. Add in onions, bell pepper, chili powder, garlic and cayenne pepper and mash with the beans. The onions and pepper won't exactly mash up but it helps get the flavors incorporated in to the beans. Mix in panko. Add eggs and mash those in to the bean mixture as well. {In case you are wondering why eggs? The eggs help hold the burgers together during cooking} Once all of the ingredients are well incorporated. Make into burger sized patties. I like mine thick, about one inch.

You can either:
grill them like regular burgers over medium heat
bake them at 375 degrees for 10-12 min {flip them over half way through}
or cook them in a pan with a little oil over medium high heat for 10-12 min

I prefer baking.

Serve on whole wheat buns. Top with guacamole and any other desired toppings {cheese, lettuce, tomato, etc...}

Serves 4-6

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Pumpkin Smoothie

We've been drinking a lot of smoothies lately. I recently got the book, The Food Bible. It's all about how the book can cure different ailments by the food you eat. Under the section I'm following I need to be consuming eight servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Which isn't too bad. Fruits and vegetables should be a big part if any diet. Everything I read always comes down to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and less animal product.

Well I opened up a huge can of pumpkin purée and so we started having pumpkin smoothies. So good. I don't know why I waited so long to have one. It's really like eating pumpkin pie.

3/4 c pumpkin purée
1 frozen banana
1/2 c milk
Handful baby spinach {I always throw spinach into my smoothies, you can't even taste it. I've even done carrots and red pepper}
1/2 t cinnamon
1/8 t nutmeg
1/8 t ground cloves

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. If you like it more liquid add more milk and if you like it thicker add ice cubes or add less milk.
Drink with a straw. Yum!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ham Fried Rice

I have always had a soft spot in my heart for Chinese food. Unfortunately, most of the Chinese restaurants around here {while very much delicious} probably aren't the greatest choices for you. I absolutely love this version of ham fried rice that I've sort of adapted from several different recipes. It's full of veggies, super easy and delicious!

Ham Fried Rice

1 tbs canola oil
one half of a small onion, minced
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 tbs grated fresh ginger
2 cups carrots julienne style
2 cups broccoli florets
2 cups sugar snap peas
1 cup ham, diced
4 cups brown rice, cooked
2 tbs soy sauce
2 eggs

In a large non stick skillet heat the oil over medium high heat. Add onions, garlic and ginger and saute for about one minute. Add carrots, broccoli, peas. Saute for another 4-5 minutes. Next add the ham and rice. Cook until heated through. Once the rice is heated through make an empty space in the middle of the pan. Add eggs and scramble until fluffy. Stir them in to the rest of the ingredients. Add soy sauce and stir until well mixed. Serve.

100% Whole Wheat Bread

I've been considering what I actually eat over the course of the week and I realized I've been consuming way too much sugar. After a little researching, it astonishing to find so many things contain sugar and Americans eat way too much of it. Not all sugars are bad, though they aren't necessarily great for you. White table sugar is so refined, there is nothing in it that is nutritional, which hopefully you all knew. So I set off to find a bread recipe that didn't contain sugar.

If you are going to sweeten your food, honey is a much better option. And if you can buy orange blossom honey from a farmers market even better. It hasn't be refined as much and your body can handle it so much better. Usually when I bake 100% whole wheat my food does not come out how I imagine. But this recipe was by far the best 100% whole wheat bread I've come across and it has so few ingredients. I wish I could afford to buy Great Harvest bread on a regular bases, but at $6 a loaf that is steep, even if we weren't on a student budget. Now I don't plan on always making my own bread because, a) we usually end up eating the loaf within 24 hours and b) it's too much work. But this was perfect to go along with our homemade chicken noodle soup.

100% whole wheat bread
adapted from

2 3/4 c hot water {run water and hold your finger under, once it starts getting too hot to keep your finger in the water it's ready}
1/3 c olive oil
1/3 C + 2 T honey
1 T salt
7 1/2 c 100% whole grain wheat flour
2 T dry yeast {I used rapid rise}

Mix water, oil, honey and yeast together and let bubble, about 10 minutes. Add salt. Slowly add flour, you don't want it to be too dry. It should be sticky to the touch. Once mixed, leave in the bowl and cover with a towel and let rise for 45 minutes. It doesn't have to double in size. Grease two medium bread pans. On a flour surface kneaded the bread and separate into two loaf and place in pans. Cover and let rise again, about 30-45 minutes. Preheat oven to 350. Bake for about 34 minutes. With about 10 minutes left I had to cover the bread with tin foil to prevent the top from burning.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

I have been out of the blogging world lately. For the past two weeks I've felt like I can't keep up with anything! However, I do have only the most delicious cookie recipe to share! I got this recipe in high school from a friend of a friends mom. It's been a while so I don't remember who. So unfortunately I can't give credit where credit is due. These are seriously sooo good. I can't make them very often because my husband and I just sit and eat them And they aren't exactly "healthy" to say the least. In all seriousness you have HAVE to try them. They are quite possibly my favorite cookie. Oh just so you are warned... this recipe makes a lot of cookies.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies


1 cup butter - softened
1 cup peanut butter
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cup flour

2 packages mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

Cream together the first 6 ingredients using an egg beater. Then add the baking soda, salt and flour until well mixed. Roll in to one inch balls and place inside a well greased mini muffin tin. Bake at 375 degrees for 7-10 minutes. The cookies will be golden brown on top and the centers of the cookies should be sunken in a bit. After removing the pan from the oven immediately place unwrapped peanut butter cups in the center of each cookie. Let cookies stand about 5-10 minutes before removing from tins.

makes about 40-50 cookies

Notes: I used a silicone mini muffin tin {I guess it's not really a tin if it's silicone} it makes taking out the cookies a lot easier because you can just pop them out. I've also lined the pan with mini muffin paper liners to make removing them easier.

Acorn Squash Peach Baked Chicken

Technically it's still summer, but Autumn is just around the corner and I'm getting so excited. Today was the first day it felt like it's cooling down, however looking at the weather forecast it's going to be back in the 80s soon enough. I'm not complaining, but I would like to be able to go to the park without sweating.

More proof that Autumn is coming are the squashes and gourds that are filling the bins at the grocery store. I picked up an acorn squash with no plans for it, but after watching a recent documentary, Forks Over Knives, I'm really trying to focus on more vegetables and fruits in our diet. We do pretty good, but there is always room for improvement.

I'm so happy I stumbled across this recipe. It was really good. I didn't have chicken thighs or legs, like the recipe called for, but I'm sure it would taste even better if I had. Or even a whole chicken. Once again it has rosemary. I promise I use other seasonings. This meal was so good my 2 year old ate it all up.

Acorn Squash Peach Baked Chicken
adapted from Taste of Home

2 small acorn squash
2-4 minced garlic cloves
2 T olive oil
4 chicken drumsticks & 4 bone-in chicken thighs {or 2 chicken breast cut into smaller pieces}
1/4 c packed brown sugar
1 T rosemary
1 t Kosher salt
1 can sliced peaches in 100% juice, undrained

Cut squash in half lengthwise; discard seeds. Cut each half widthwise into 1/2 in slices; discard ends. Place slices in ungreased 13x9 baking dish. Rub garlic over squash and drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil. In a skillet, brown chicken in remaining oil. Arrange chicken over squash. Combine the brown sugar, rosemary and salt; sprinkle over chicken and squash. Bake, covered at 350 for 45 minutes. Pour peaches over chicken and squash. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes or until meat is cooked through.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Breakfast Burrito

I got a request for a kid friendly meal. I don't know about you, but it's exhausting thinking up things to make for lunch for a toddler. Everything I read says they like repetition, but I'm pretty sure my son can only handle a pb&j, or noodles so much. But I hate doing a big meal for lunch when I still have to cook dinner. I'll be honest some days he just has snacks all day, because I don't feel like arguing. Often times I'll give my son greek yogurt for lunch with some granola and frozen blueberries in it. He loves it, and it's easy.

My son loves to eat things that come on sticks or rolled up. We've been known to put whatever meal we are eating on toothpicks because he will eat it up. Also if we call it baby he'll eat it. The other day he ate just vegetables from a stir fry because we called them baby carrots, baby peas and baby corn. Worked like a charm. The other day I made him a breakfast burrito for dinner. Oddly he likes beans and eggs so it was a perfect option.

1 egg, beated and mixed with milk {get cage free, there is a noticeable difference, the yolk is a better color and holds up better}
1/4 c black bean
1/8 c grated cheese
2 T chopped Kale
1 flour tortilla
1 T Coconut oil

Heat coconut oil in frying pan and satuee Kale for a few minutes. Add egg mixture and scramble together. You really can add whatever you like but I put sour cream, cheese, and mashed black beans on the tortilla topped with scrambled eggs and rolled it tight. It fit perfectly in my sons hand and he ate it up.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Sweet Potatoe Fries

I'm sure many of you have seen sweet potato fries popping up at many restaurants these days. We love them. I actually prefer them to french fries, though I still occasionally have a craving. Making sweet potato fries is very easy and doesn't involve a deep fryer. Sweet potato fries are not crispy, instead they are soft and delicious. The hard part is cutting them. Sweet potatoes are a lot harder to cut then a white potato, so watch your fingers.

Now many times when I go to buy a sweet potato I cannot find a sweet potato but yams. While researching the difference online I came across this blog that examined the difference. Turns out what we call a yam is really a sweet potato, though there are different kinds. After reading the blog it seems that what I usually pick up is a camote, they are bigger.
2 sweet potatoes
Lemon Pepper
Kosher salt
Italian Seasoning
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 475. Cut the sweet potato in half long ways. Cut in half again and then cut into strips. Line a baking pan with tin foil {saves on clean up} and drizzle olive oil coating the pan. Spread the sweet potato strips so they are even, then season to taste with salt, lemon pepper and Italian seasoning. Bake for 20 minutes.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Honey Lime Fruit Salad

I made this fruit salad for the first time at the beginning of the summer. Since then I've made it at least 5 times. Each time I've tried a new fruit in it and each time I've gotten compliments on this yummy salad! I love how fresh and light it is! I got the original recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe. It originally called for some canned fruits but I modified the recipe to use all fresh fruits. So much better!

Honey Lime Fruit Salad
adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe


1 cup strawberries, quartered
1 cup grapes
2-3 kiwis peeled and sliced in to half moons
4 clementines peeled and sectioned
2 cups fresh pineapple chunks
zest from 1 lime
2 tbs honey

Combine fruit in medium sized bowl. Add lime zest and drizzle honey over the fruit. Gently mix until evenly coated. Serve.

Serves 4

Notes: This salad is works best if you add the lime and honey right before serving. Otherwise the strawberries turn everything pink. It still tastes great it just doesn't look as pretty!