Spicy Black Bean Burgers

August 3, 2010

This recipe is a mixture of an online recipe I found and some additional ingredients we added.  My husband and I enjoyed a black bean burger at Ale Asylum in Madison a few weekends ago and this is our take on their burger.   Some sweet potato fries would be excellent with this burger.  Here is what we did:

2 cups of cooked black beans or 1 can of black beans with juice removed
1 egg
1/2 cup corn, cooked
1/2 cup brown rice, cooked
1/2 cup onion, diced (any kind will do)
1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs (I just took one of my bread ends and made crumbs in my small food processor)
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. chipotle in adobe sauce (or a little more if you want more spice)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
dash of hot sauce
Chipotle Ranch Dressing (Found at Whole Foods Market)
In a large bowl, mash the beans with a fork and then add all remaining ingredients.  Mix well and shape into 4-6 patties (depending on how big or small you’d like them.).
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat and arrange patties in a single layer.  Cook patties until heated through, flipping once (very carefully so they don’t fall apart).  In about 10 minutes or so they will be heated through and a slight crust will have formed on each side.  Place on toasted buns and layer with lettuce and chiptole ranch dressing.  Enjoy!

Homemade Enchilada Sauce and Slow Cooker Thai Chicken

July 31, 2010
The first recipe is for Homemade Enchilada Sauce.  I use this recipe in place of canned sauce.  It is easy to make and very yummy.  You can play with it a little as I have.  I typically make up a large batch by doubling or tripling the recipe and then will freeze it for future recipes.

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

4 garlic cloves, pressed
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour
14 1/2 oz. beef broth or a can of beef broth (I use Better Than Bouillon and make up large batches of beef broth for future recipes as well)
15 oz. Very Veggie juice (found at Whole Foods) or 1 can tomato sauce
2 Tbsps. chili powder
2 tsps. ground cumin
2 tsps. rubbed sage
1/2 tsp. salt (I often omit)
In a saucepan (or large pot if you are making a large batch), saute garlic in butter until tender and butter is melted.  Stir in the flour until it is blended, for about 1 minute.  Slowly whisk in the beef broth and bring to a boil.  You’ll want to cook and stir this for about 2 minutes or until it begins to bubble at the surface.  Stir in the Very Veggie and all the seasonings.  Cook for a few minutes until sauce is heated through.  Yum!!

The next recipe is for Thai Chicken.  It is a slow cooker recipe and is super easy.  Ever since becoming a mom of two I have used my slow cooker more.  It has been a life saver and a great kitchen tool.  I’m not sure where I came across this recipe, but it is fantastic and worth sharing.

Thai Chicken

8 chicken thighs or about 2 lbs. of chicken without the skin
3/4 cup hot salsa
1/4 cup peanut butter (I use smooth, but chunky would be nice.)
2 Tbsps. lime juice
1 Tbsps. soy sauce
1 tsp. minced or ground ginger
1/4 chopped peanuts
2 Tbsps. or more (I like more) chopped fresh cilantro
Place chicken in 3 1/2 to 6 quart slow cooker.  Mix remaining ingredients except peanuts and cilantro and pour over chicken.  Cover and cook on low 8-9 hours or until chicken is cooked.  (Mine only took about 4 hours in a 3 1/2 quart slow cooker.)  Remove chicken and sauce .  Pour sauce over chicken, sprinkle with peanuts and cilantro.  Enjoy!  Super yummy and super fast!


April 23, 2010

Right now I am loving…

Baby naps…yay!

2-year-old ‘helping’ me tell the birds to poop on our grass and not on our swing set

2-year-old who will soon turn 3…can’t believe it

Sack lunches

A great chiropractor

Sesame Street…never thought I’d sit my child in front of a TV, but it has been a god send

My husband…so supportive and even took the day off yesterday to spend with us…life is too short not to

My mom…without her support I don’t know that I would have gotten through the last 8 weeks sanely…thanks mom

Meals…all the people who have made and brought us meals you are fantastic…don’t know when or how I will start cooking again


Sisters…you have been my rocks and constant support…love you!

Preschool activity book…fun and learning in one.  Little 2-year-old has impressed me with all of her knowledge

Front load washer…works like a dream and saves water too

Vegetarian meal we had the other night and recipe for it in the works…yum

Anticipation of Mother’s Day…I love feeling appreciated and it is a special day for me to remember and thank my mom for all of her sacrifices

Lavender bubble bath…smells so yummy and 2-year-old loved it

Diaper laundry done for two days

Thought of a nap

Bunnies in my backyard

Coos and smiles

Bedroom time…great motivator for two-year old to listen


Cozy tan blanket and

Essential Oils

February 18, 2010

I learned so much at my Holistic Mom’s meeting last night!  I am so excited about all the information I learned regarding Essential Oils.  I currently have 4 EO’s, but wasn’t quite sure what to do with them other than Lavender for cloth diapers, Peppermint for deterring mice and ants, Tea Tree for acne soap and Frankincense (don’t remember why I had purchased this).  I’m excited to try out the EO’s I currently have with some of the new ideas and applications of them I learned last night.

For teething, I am going to try Thieves and Cloves mixed with Agave nectar.
For any upper respiratory sickness I am going to use Thieves on my thumb and then place it in the back of my throat.  It is supposed to make you feel well again very quickly.
Last night and today our daughter got Lavender rubbed on her feet with a little olive oil before bedtime and nap.  It seems to make her relax and feel special during this chaotic time.
For a fever, Lavender is going to be my go to in place of Tylenol. 

I learned that pharmaceuticals are based off of EO’s and herbs.  I never knew this.  I learned that your feet have the thinnest layer of skin and when you put EO’s on them, the EO’s go through every cell of your body within 20 minutes…powerful stuff.  I learned 19 EO’s that are safe for children…this will come in handy.  I learned how to use Lemon EO to take fluoride and chlorine out of your water.  I learned how to make my own hand soap using Theives….I will eventually try this.  Oh, I learned so much and still have so much to digest.  Can’t wait to share all my adventures with EO’s!

Hope you are all well!  Hopefully this little one will arrive soon and I will be MIA for a while I’m sure.  Take care!

Grateful For

February 2, 2010
*  Sore ribs…love this little one growing in my belly
*  New recipes…homemade ice cream and homemade caramel sauce…need I say more
*  Fun movie date with my sisters, mom and neice…Extraordinary Measures is definitely a tear-jerker that you will need tissues for
*  Car seat inspection last week.  It was freezing cold…seriously 16 degrees, but we found out that my daughter’s car seat was broken at the base and we have a new one on the way.  We have been homebound and this has definitely allowed for less stressful mornings.
*  Casadian Farms cereal on sale at Copps.  We bought 5 boxes and got a coupon for organic milk, so the total for each box comes out to $2.60….can’t beat that for organic cereal and it is yummy.  We are buying 10 more boxes, as this sale is too good to pass up and my husband eats cereal every morning before work.  Quick and easy.
*  Warm home.  We have been keeping our heat set at 65 day and night.  We have been covering up and wearing warmer clothes, but it has greatly saved on our heating bill.
*  Internet…this keeps me connected to the outside world, especially during these cold months where we don’t get to the park or out and about that much.
*  Fettuccine Alfredo leftovers.  Yum!  This was a great lunch yesterday.
*  Nap time…ahh…nap time!

Fettuccine Alfredo

February 1, 2010

This recipe is yummy and super easy to throw together…even with children underfoot or helping.  This recipe is from a daycare cookbook I received for Christmas years ago.

Fettuccine Alfredo

1 (16 oz) package egg noodles
1 stick butter
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Fresh ground pepper and salt to taste
Cook noodles per directions.  While noodles are cooking, melt butter in large skillet.  Add garlic to butter.  Stir in heavy whipping cream, add grated cheese.  Stir until smooth.  Drain noodles and toss lightly in cream mixture.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serves 6 (or two hungry adults and a child with some leftovers).

This recipe is super delicious and worth the fat and calories.  I personally don’t worry about fat and calories.  I think everything is moderation is the key.  Some garlic toast, cheesebread or a nice salad would be a perfect addition to this meal.  We usually add a side of broccoli and that is yummy too.  Enjoy!

Birthday Shirt

January 31, 2010

Well, I have been doing some serious nesting lately.  I’m not sure if it is because of the weeks flying by and my urgency to get things in order, or if it is the fact that we have been homebound without a car seat for a few days.  Anyway, here are a few things I’ve accomplished.

*  Birthday Shirt for our daughter’s birthday in May.

*  Cloth breast pads purchased, washed and ironed (this part may just stink, but I have about 50 disposable pads to fall back on if needed.  Love the organic cotton.  I hear these are the best and super absorbent. 

*  Baby closet went through again and organized more.  Each time it looks like it is done I find some easier way to organize it.

*  Baby toys out and ready to be played with.  Our daughter is already enjoying this.

*  Pillow that has been ripped for years got a little sewing / mending TLC.

*  Sheets washed.  This doesn’t get done as often as it ‘should,’ so it was nice to get done.

*  Hospital bags mostly packed.  A lot less stuff is going with us this time.  I don’t know what I was thinking taking a blow dryer and make-up when our daughter was born.  You don’t have time for that stuff and really could care less.  Plus, I’ve been hippie like in my personal maintenance anyway, so no need for all that.

*  Notes wrote to whomever takes care of our daughter.

*  Lots of meals frozen:  garlic beef enchiladas, italian beef sandwiches, coq au vin, goulash, black been soup, 36 pancakes (hey, we need to eat breakfast), lots of cheese grated and placed in 1 cup jars, mac and cheese flour / spice blend all prepared, and lots of other stuff.

*  New car seat ordered for our daughter.  We had to choke down the good will half price gesture of $125 for a new seat for her.  Ugh, but should be here mid-week.

*  Laundry washed, dried and ironed.  For now anyway.

*  Baby books (boy and girl) bought and ready to take to hospital.

*  Books read and information stored about how to do things more greener this time around.  What a lucky baby that his or her mommy takes so much time to educate herself on this.  Pat, pat on the back to me.  🙂

*  Breast pump washed and ready to go.  Hopefully I won’t be such good pals with the pump this time around.  Since I was working with our daughter, I really hated that pump, but this time around I hope to only pump one time a day so that daddy can feed him or her.  Also, we need time away, so some expressed milk will be gold some day.  You never know what life will bring.

*  Feminine pads in order…yuck!  The disposable ones are stinking up my bathroom…the fragrance they put in those things are horrible.  One thing I love about pregnancy is not having to do the whole monthly cycle.  I’m going to be very brave and put this out there…I purchased some reusable cloth pads for a very reasonable price.  I just bought three, but since we are cloth diapering, I figure why not try it out.  I got 3 pads for $8 on Nicki’s Diapers sale of the week.  If I like them, I will get more for sure.  I also have a pattern to make them, but just did not get around to it.  If you are interested in how it goes, just ask me and I’ll give you some honest answers after I’ve had a few weeks of them.  I have a few friends that love them and the cost savings is super!!!

So much other stuff, but I have to get a nap, so more another time.  What did you do to nest?  Anything I’m forgetting?  Take care!

Recipes To Try…Yum

January 30, 2010

Individual Pumpkin Cheesecakes  We haven’t tried this yet, but this is definitely on my to-do list.  I just need to buy 2 more ramekins before making this.  I’ll let you know how it is.

Sweet Pea Risotto  We had this recently.  I really liked it, but I would probably add a little more cheese and another tablespoon on butter for a little more flavor.

Garlic Beef Enchiladas:  Yum!  I just made this last night.  Super good!  I originally found this recipe in Taste of Home magazine a few years back.  This one takes a little bit to make, but while you are making it, just double or triple the recipe and freeze a few for those chaotic times that are bound to pop up.  We froze two batches for post baby.

1 lb. ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
2 Tbsps. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. sage
15 oz. tomatoes, chopped (I used Roma and put in the juices)
1/2 cup Very Veggie Juice (You could use tomato juice…preferably in a glass jar)
4-6 garlic cloves, pressed or minced finely
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
15 oz beef broth
15 oz. Very Veggie Juice
1-2 Tbsps. chili powder
1-2 tsps. ground cumin
1-2 tsps. sage
1/2 tsp. salt
8-10 flour tortillas (mine 13×9 pan typically fits 8)
2 cups shredded montery jack cheese (or cheese of your liking)
In a saucepan over medium heat, cook beef and onion until meat is no longer pink and then drain.
Add flour and seasonings; mix well.
Stir in tomatoes and Very Veggie Juice; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
In another saucepan, saute garlic in butter until tender. 
Stir in flour until blended.
Gradually stir in broth and bring to a boil.  Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until bubbly.
Stir in Very Veggie Juice and seasonings.  Heat through.
In an ungreased 13×9 pan, pour about 1 1/2 cups of sauce and spread. 
Spread approximately 1/4 cup beef mixture down the center of each tortilla.  If you over fill, it will be a mess.  Top with about 1-2 Tbsps. cheese and tightly roll up.  Place the seam side down in the pan.  Prepare all tortillas this way.
Top with remaining sauce.
Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake uncovered for approximately 10 minutes or until the cheese melts. 
This makes a large portion for our family of 3.  We always have plenty leftover for another meal!  Enjoy!!

Fish Tanks And Roller Skates

January 29, 2010

Here are some photos of our play today.  We used tomato trays and Dixie cups to make a fish tank.  This provided lots of fun for my daughter and I.  Super simple and we didn’t have to buy anything to make this fun game.

Roller skates…made out of the same cardboard tomato containers.  Our daughter invented this one herself.  I love the creativity of 2 year olds!  She plays roller skates a lot!

She Is Going To Be A Big Sister

January 29, 2010

Soon our daughter will become a big sister.  We are looking forward to the interactions between our two children.  I have so many memories of my siblings growing up and I hope our daughter makes many memories with her sibling too.

Here are some things I want to write down so I won’t forget this time:

*  You ask a lot of questions.  Some of them are:  What can the baby play with?  Can the baby eat that?  Is the baby out of your belly yet?  Does the baby have legs?

*  You are excited to become a big sister.  You tell me this little one is my belly is a girl, but we don’t won’t know until the day he or she is born.  I know you will love him or her no matter what gender he or she is.

*  You like to look at all of your baby toys and baby clothes.  You ask questions like:  Who did I meet when I wore that?  Did I play with that?

*  You enjoy kissing my belly and giving the baby hugs.

*  You tell people,  “That’s the baby’s bottom.”  You say it so seriously too.  Very adorable!

*  You happily moved into your new room and now call the crib the baby’s bed.  You transitioned very well!  Thank you!!!

*  You say things like, “The baby pooped in your belly,” or “The baby peed in your belly.”  Then you will laugh or smile.

I will really miss this precious time with you.  I am trying to soak you in before this new family member arrives.  I hope we don’t lose each other in all the chaos and I hope you always know and feel how much you are loved!  We love you dearly!!!