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August 29, 2017

Better Veggie Burgers

Not your everyday black bean patties!

Here is a major short cut recipe:

Easy Black Bean Cakes

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

½ cup panko or other breadcrumbs

½ cup salsa


½ cup corn

½ cup chopped peppers

2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 Tablespoon chopped red onion or shallot

Combine beans, breadcrumbs, and salsa in a bowl.  Smash together with hands or the back of a spoon.  Shape into 6 or more cakes or patties.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet.  Cook black bean cakes over medium heat for 2- 3 minutes on each side.  Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.

Serving ideas:

Make a pita pocket with black bean cakes, shredded lettuce and cheese.
Serve on their own with a side of rice or pasta and a green vegetable such as string beans or snow peas.
Dip in guacamole, veg-wee dip, or salsa of your choice.  Serve some chips on the side.



March 11, 2017

Lentil Quinoa Salad

Lentil Quinoa Salad with Tahini Dressing

¾ cups French lentils

1 cup quinoa, rinsed in a fine-mesh colander

2 cups water or vegetable broth

¼ cup olive oil

3 to 4 tablespoons lemon juice, to taste (from about 2 lemons)

2 tablespoons tahini

1 large clove garlic, pressed or minced

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped

1 bunch radishes, scrubbed and quartered

1 small zucchini, finely chopped

1 tablespoon chopped chives

 Rinse the lentils and place in a medium saucepan.  Cover with an inch or two of water and add a big pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil and keep at a low boil for 20-22 minutes until cooked through.  Drain and rinse, and set aside.  

 Meanwhile, combine the rinsed quinoa and the water or broth in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then cover and decrease the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook until the quinoa has absorbed all of the liquid, about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat, insert a clean towel or paper towel under the lid, and let the quinoa rest for 5 minutes, which gives it time to fluff up without any condensation falling back in to the pan.

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, tahini, garlic, salt and several twists of freshly ground pepper. Taste, and add up to 1 more tablespoon of lemon juice and/or more pepper, if desired.  

Place the quinoa in a large bowl. Add the lentils, parsley, tomatoes, carrots, radishes, zucchini and chives.  Drizzle the dressing over the salad, and toss to combine. Serve immediately, or let it cool and refrigerate for later. This salad is a great make-it-ahead dish for work week lunches or a fun picnic.  

December 7, 2015

Granola for a Special Day


There is always homemade granola in my pantry, and as much as I love it, that everyday granola is not much like this one.  Here is a granola worthy of birthday mornings, special weekend get-aways, and gift-giving.  I’ve adapted this recipe from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook, and you can make it your own by changing the nuts, seeds, and fruits you use.

Granola for a Special Day
½ cup raw almonds
½ cup pecans
½ cup cashews
3 cups thick rolled oats
½ cup raw pumpkin seeds
½ cup raw sunflower seeds
¼ cup sesame seeds
¼ cup water
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup honey
1 cup chopped dried apricots
½ cup dried cherries
½ cup dried blueberries

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.  Coarsely chop all the nuts and combine them in a large bowl with the oats, and seeds.  In a small saucepan over low heat, gently warm the water, salt, oil, syrup and honey.  When it is warm, pour it over the nut mixture and stir until well combined.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the granola over it evenly in a thin layer.  If it is thicker than ¼ inch, spread it out on two baking sheets.
Bake the granola for 40 minutes, turning it and spreading it back out in a thin layer every 15 minutes.  Set aside to cool on a rack.
Five minutes after you remove it from the oven, stir in the dried fruit.  Leave to cool in the pan.  Store in an airtight container.
Enjoy this granola with your favorite yogurt or milk, or as a topping for a frozen dessert.

November 4, 2014

Cinnamon Pumpkin Muffins

These muffins are a perennial favorite in my family.  We always bring a double batch to our Thanksgiving weekend at the beach, and with all the great food there, they are the first snack to be GONE.  We’re talking moist and flavorful, cake-like muffins. One is never enough.  They were equally popular in the days when I hosted a high school advising group for breakfast.  It’s a good thing for sure when you discover a food packed with nutrition that teen-agers clamor over.  This morning’s batch is dedicated to a young man who is now at Holy Cross – he liked these pumpkin muffins so much his mom requested the recipe.  So easy to make, and you probably have all the ingredients on hand except the pumpkin.  Pick up an extra can next time you’re at the grocery store.  Make a batch and freeze the muffins when they have cooled to room temperature.  You’ll have fresh-baked pumpkin goodness on hand whenever you’d like a little something sweet!



Cinnamon Pumpkin Muffins
Makes 12-15 standard-size muffins

1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 15-oz can pumpkin
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the topping:
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and put liners in muffin cups.
Whisk together the flour and baking powder in a small bowl.
In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, oil, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugars, baking soda, and salt.  Beat until smooth and then whisk in the flour mixture until just combined.
Stir together the additional cinnamon and sugar for the topping.
Divide the batter among muffin cups (each should be about three-fourths full), and then sprinkle tops with cinnamon-sugar mixture.  Bake until puffed and golden brown and a tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
Cool in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes, and then transfer the muffins from pan to rack and cool to room temperature.

October 6, 2014



 yields 18 regular muffins or 54 mini-muffins

2 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 1/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese, divided
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon honey

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare muffin tins with liners or grease the pans.  
Combine the dry ingredients and stir in 1 1/2 cups of grated cheese.  
In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, tomato paste, egg, and honey.  
Mix the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture, and stir just until combined.  
Divide into muffin tins, filling each about 3/4 full, and sprinkle remaining cheese over each muffin top.  Bake for 15 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.  
Keep at room temperature in an air tight container for up to three days, or freeze and reheat for an on-the-go snack.  

Playing around: 
Try different cheeses or mince and mix in a favorite pizza topping  – consider pepper jack cheese, cheddar, bacon, pepperoni bits, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach, or anything you enjoy on a pizza!  

October 2, 2014

Mexican Meal Muffins


Mexican food is always a winner at my house, and these muffins pack a lot of Mexican flavor with the simple addition of some seasoning to the dry ingredients.  Maybe the best part is that all of the ingredients are probably waiting in your freezer, fridge, and pantry… and if they aren’t, this is a muffin that can take numerous substitutions to use what you have on hand.

Mexican Meal Muffins
makes 12 standard-size muffins
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup milk or buttermilk
1 large egg
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon chopped chives
1/2 teaspoon grated garlic
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 cup freshly grated cheese, such as cheddar or Pepper Jack
1/4 cup corn kernels (frozen work fine)
1/4 cup small-diced red or orange bell pepper
1/2 cup black beans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare a muffin tin.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cumin.  Set aside.
In another bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, tomato paste, chives, garlic, honey, cheese, corn, bell pepper, and beans.  Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, just until combined.
Divide the muffin batter into the prepared tin.  Bake for 13-15 minutes.

Playing Around:
Create your own variations on this recipe by changing the ingredients to suit your preference or what you have on hand.  Try diced pimiento peppers instead of fresh bell pepper, or consider green peas, pinto beans or small-diced meat instead of black beans.

June 11, 2014

Veggie Dumplings


We don’t typically have dumplings at home, but I had a chance this afternoon to cook with a six-year old, and I had a hunch she would enjoy this recipe.  There is a lot for little hands to do here, and the assembly is all together FUN!  It was a big hit with her, for sure.  A few hours later,  the dumplings passed the taste test with our boys, ages 15 and 10, too. So that’s an all-around winner at our house! And better still, the recipe makes a pretty big batch, so I have half in the freezer for a protein-packed snack another day.

Veggie Dumplings from It’s All Good  (makes about 30)
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove
1 1/2 cups cabbage, roughly chopped
1/2 cup firm tofu, crumbled
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
square dumpling or wonton wrappers (I found these in the produce section at the grocery store)

Combine onion, garlic, and cabbage in food processor until finely chopped.  Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil over medium high heat in a large pan and cook the cabbage mixture with a pinch of salt for about 5 minutes, until softened.  Add the tofu, peas and quinoa and cook 2 or 3 minutes until the peas are soft.  Set aside. Off the heat, mix in the soy sauce and sesame oil.  Let the mixture cool to room temperature.

Lay a few rows of your dumpling wrappers on a clean, dry counter and put a tablespoon of the filling mixture in the center of each square.  Dip your index finger in water and use your fingertip to moisten the edges of each wrapper.  Bring the four corners together to form a pyramid or fold in half on the diagonal to make a triangle, but either way make sure you press all the edges to make a tight seal.

You could steam these, but I prepared mine “Chinese restaurant style” by heating just enough canola oil to coat the bottom of a hot pan and cooking the dumplings for 2 minutes before adding 1/4 cup of water to the pan and covering it, allowing another 2 minutes until the wrappers were totally soft.

We enjoyed them with a dipping sauce of soy sauce, water, lemon juice and toasted sesame oil.  Just mix together:
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon water
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Delicious.  Fun to make together.  So nutritious.

June 6, 2014

Best Ever Strawberry Ice Cream


I have never liked strawberry ice cream.  As a kid at the ice cream shop, I would never have wasted my order on a strawberry cone – not with chocolate peanut butter, mint chip, and rocky road all calling my name.
But this strawberry ice cream is the real deal.  Not just the best ever strawberry ice cream for a strawberry ice cream lover, but the kind of flavor that makes you a believer.  That converts a fruit-does-not-belong-in-my-ice-cream stalwart into a born-again ice cream chowhound.  No joke.  I bought four gallons of strawberries in two weeks.  I made a lot of ice cream!  I had an almost three-year-old helper the first time, and this is definitely a recipe little ones will enjoy.  Strawberry season is coming to a close for us here in North Carolina.  You need to hit the farmstand and make this ice cream!

Best Ever Strawberry Ice Cream
1 quart of local strawberries
sugar, to taste, between 1/2 and 3/4 cup (but you won’t need any if your berries are very ripe)
a dash of kosher salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Smash the strawberries (we used clean hands).  Add any sugar you are using, and stir until the sugar dissolves.  This will yield about three cups of strawberry juice.  In a separate container, combine the buttermilk and heavy cream.  Add the dairy mixture to the strawberries and stir together.  Freeze in your ice cream maker, and serve right away or store in an air tight container.  If you make it ahead and leave it in your freezer, it will need up to ten minutes at room temperature to be soft enough to scoop.

For a really decadent treat, mix in a cup of dark chocolate chunks before the ice cream finishes freezing.