Black Bean Burgers

Black Bean BurgersIt has been quite some time since I have blogged.  Life has been keeping me busy despite my good intentions of sharing my new recipes.

After many attempts I have found the perfect vegetarian burger for our family.  In recent posts, I made what my husband and I considered great quinoa burgers, but the kids didn’t “love” them.  Tonight I tried a new Black Bean Burger mixture that hit the spot for everyone…a thumbs up from all!  I am happy to report this will be part of our summertime rotation.

2 cups cooked 1(15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup plain whole wheat bread crumbs
1 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 cup water
1 egg (omit egg for vegan option)
1 tablespoon tomato paste (or ketchup)
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro (optional)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 small onion (diced small)
About 2 tablespoons olive oil

Heat beans in microwave for 1 minute 30 seconds.  Drain and rinse.  Mash the beans with a fork in a mixing bowl.  Just mash them some so no whole beans are left.  You should leave some half beans, they don’t need to be pureed.

Add the bread crumbs, chili powder, cumin, onion, water, egg, and ketchup (and cilantro if using), but don’t mix yet.  Use a grater to grate the garlic in.  (A garlic press or very well mince garlic works, too.)

Mix everything together with a fork, and then knead with your hands until the mixture is firm and uniform.

Preheat a frying pan or saute pan over medium heat.

Divide the burger mixture into six equal pieces.  Roll each piece into a firm ball.  Press the ball down into the shape of a patty.

Pour a thin layer of olive oil into the pan.  Cook the patties for 5 minutes on each side, gently pressing down on them with a spatula until cooked.

Serve with your favorite toppings on burger buns.

Servings: 6


ImageIt’s been over a year since I’ve experimented with kale so today I decided to introduce kale in place of my daily spinach smoothie.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with kale, it is a dark leafy green that is packed with Iron, vitamin k, vitamin a, vitamin c, and calcium.  Kale is also known to be high in fiber and is considered a great anti-inflammatory food.

Kale has a distinct taste, stronger than that of spinach.  One of the benefits of blending is that I was able to disguise the taste with the ingredients below.  I have finally discovered the perfect combination! Kid-friendly.

2 large organic kale leafs
1.5 cups chopped fresh pineapple
1 cup frozen organic blueberries
3/4 cup water
1/2 ice

Blend and enjoy!

Clementine-Pineapple Smoothie



Tis the season for CLEMENTINES!  This creation was a new favorite with the whole family.  This recipe packs a very fresh and sweet flavor.  My neighbor gifted us with these wonderful Silicone Ice Pop Makers, so we even decided to freeze these for future afternoon snacks!  

3 clementines, peeled and segmented
1.5 cups cubed fresh pineapples
1 cup fresh peeled and sliced mango
3 tablespoons of Oikos Organic Plain Greek Yogurt
1 cup cubed ice
1.5 cups water


4 large cups & 4 popsicles

Autumn Brie


Happy Holidays!  I am finally getting around to sharing one of my favorite appetizers, Autumn Brie.  This recipe is perfect for fall/winter events and is always a hit.  I serve this brie with Carr’s Table Water Crackers.  I also double the below recipe, using around a 7 inch brie.  Hope you enjoy!

1 small McIntosh or Cortland apple
1/3 cup golden raisins
1 cup apple cider
1 (4-inch) round Brie cheese
Chopped pecans for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Core and chop the apple.  Place in a saucepan with the raisins and cider and boil gently until the apples are tender but not mush (approximately 1/2 to 2 minutes).  Put the Brie in an ovenproof dish slightly larger than the Brie.  Strain the liquid from the apple/raisin mixture and put the drained apple and raisins on top of the Brie.  Garnish with chopped pecans and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Serves 4

Quinoa Black Bean Burgers

One thing I have enjoyed most about this vegetarian cooking journey are the many different ingredients that can be combined and just how flavorful & healthy our foods can be.  In one of my past post, I shared a recipe for Quinoa-Feta Burgers which were delicious.  Today I’d like to share the Quinoa Black Bean Burger, our Sunday night creation.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah), it a highly nutritious gluten-free seed (usually considered to be a whole grain) that contains all eight amino acids, a great source of dietary fiber, B vitamins, iron and PROTEIN!  Quinoa is cooked by boiling water and simmering for around 15 minutes.  I usually cook extra Quinoa , keeping some on hand for vegetable stir fry.

The Quinoa Black Bean Burger was my favorite thus far, and somewhat of a hit with the kids.  They would have preferred if I had left out the chopped yellow bell pepper, but otherwise, they enjoyed it!

1 (15 ounce) can organic black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup cooked organic quinoa (I use Nature’s Earthly Choice from Costco)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup bread crumbs (I use Trader Joe’s organic or Ian’s brand from Earthfare)
1/4 cup minced yellow bell pepper
2 tablespoons minced onion
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
*1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (*optional)
1 egg
3 tablespoons olive

Bring the quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the quinoa is tender and the water has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Roughly mash the black beans with a fork leaving some whole black beans in a paste-like mixture.

Mix the quinoa, bread crumbs, bell pepper, onion, garlic, cumin, salt, hot pepper sauce, and egg into the black bean mixture using your hands.

Form the black bean mixture into 5 patties.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.

Cook the patties in the hot oil until heated through, about 3 minutes on each side.

*I served our burgers on Arnold’s Whole Wheat thins and added Pepper Jack cheese to the adult burgers and Cheddar Cheese to the children’s burgers.
Servings: 5

Meatless Monday!

Meatless Monday…have you heard of it? Meatless Monday is a movement that was created to encourage individuals to take a look at their diet and cut out meat, one day a week. According to Meatless Monday going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save resources like fresh water and fossil fuel. If you do eat meat on other days, Meatless Monday strongly recommends grass-fed, hormone-free, locally-raised options whenever possible.

I would like to express that I have no intention of pushing any of my readers to be completely meat free, as I do have the mindset of “all things in moderation.” If you haven’t heard of this wonderful movement, I encourage you to visit their website at

Meatless Monday was a big motivator when I was first venturing into the “meat free” territory of cooking. It’s amazing how starting out one night a week “meat free” led to our whole week of dinners being “meat free” and now it’s just a way of life!

So, what are you having for dinner tonight? I will be cooking up my Extra Easy Spinach Lasagna! (click on the blue to be linked directly to recipe)

Enjoy the rest of your Monday!

Broccoli Casserole

Broccoli Casserole is one of my favorite side dishes from childhood.  My Mom handed down the recipe to me years ago, and it is also a favorite side dish with my family today.  It is great served alongside of chicken or turkey, and we actually will serve it with other vegetable sides for a meat free dinner. KID FRIENDLY!

2 packages frozen chopped broccoli
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup (I use an organic one from Earthfare)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons minced onion
1 cup grated 2 % cheddar cheese
salt & pepper to taste
breadcrumbs *keep to the side
3 tablespoons butter *keep to the side

1. Cook broccoli & drain
2. Mix all ingredients (except for breadcrumbs and 3 tablespoons butter) and place in a lightly greased (I use butter) 8×8 glass casserole dish.
3. Top with breadcrumbs (I use Trader Joe’s Organic Breadcrumbs or Ian’s Original Style)
4. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter and drizzle evenly over breadcrumbs
5. Bake at 350 covered for 25 minutes and 15 minutes uncovered until breadcrumbs start to brown.

6-8 servings