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Right Now

December 10, 2012

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Right Now -
-Baking sweet potato banana muffins, so light and delicate I’ll have to convince you they are gluten-free.
-admiring the salt dough creations Max, Gabe, and Amelia made today drying in the cooling oven.
-surprised how loud a child can scream in pure delight.
-nursing Maxwell as I type
-proud of the almost complete 300 piece puzzle Amelia and I worked on today.
-glad I made extra waffles for breakfast tomorrow.
-blessed our city has a thriving community education department with affordable dance, gymnastic, child yoga, and swimming lessons.
-Tired from a long day of being, mom.
Good night!

Sometimes I fail

December 1, 2012

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Gluten-Free Black Bean Pumpkin Burgers

December 1, 2012

ImageBlack Bean Burgers with a Twist (Pumpkin!)

Pumpkin and black beans? Don’t be a hater until you try it, I promise you will be hooked! And after you do, scroll on down to my recipe post for Pumpkin Black Bean Soup. It’s delicious!

And I might also add this recipe is perfect for those nights when the meat you planned to make is still frozen solid. Doh!

Gluten-Free Black Bean Pumpkin Burgers

(inspired by Sprouted Kitchen Pumpkin Black Bean Patties)

It looks like a LOT of ingredients, please come back…do not be deterred. This is SUPER easy!  And even if your pantry doesn’t have enough to survive a zombie apocalypse like mine, I am sure you can round these ingredients up. (Single? Got a cute neighbor, now is a great time to borrow a clove of garlic or some cumin. Strike up a conversation and invite him/her over for dinner. :::wink:::  Married with children? The flirt with the neighbor thing is probably out, so bring over some cookies or homemade jam. It’s a great time to make new friends and build community. Example: On Thanksgiving my neighbor sent her seven-year-old daughter over in search of lemon juice. I was glad to help. Of course I had lemon juice!)

:::Moving right along:::

If you are not gluten-free, just use regular oats and whole wheat flour. No pumpkin purée?  Use cooked sweet potato, cooked carrots, or any cooked veggie purée you have on hand. Try mashed potatoes! I haven’t, but you can. My cooking mantras are: take a deep breath, use what you have, experiment, and most importantly HAVE FUN! Cooking should be fun, in my humble opinion. And you are here, so I guess my opinion counts for something.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 shallot/ or 1-2 TBSP diced onion
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin purée (or any veggie purée)
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2  – 1 tsp. chili powder (if you like it “hot hot hot” add more)
  • 3/4 tsp. salt (sea salt preferred)
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 cup cooked and cooled brown rice (I make a big batch and store the extras)
  • 15 oz. can black beans (or about 2 cups)
  • 1 TBSP ground flax
  • 1TBSP ground chia seeds (I pre-grind a 1:1 ratio of chia and flax and store in the freezer for baking, puddings, smoothies, making vegan eggs, etc…)
  • 4TBSP HOT WATER
  • 1 egg (optional – see notes)
  • 1/8 – 1/4 cup GF AP flour (optional based on the consistency of the mix)
  •  1/2 cup GF oats (or GF breadcrumbs)
  • coconut oil for cooking

HOW

Regarding the egg. You can make this vegan by subbing in a vegan egg in place of the chicken egg.  To make a vegan egg: combine the ground flax and chia with 4 TBSP of HOT HOT, boiling is preferred, water. Stir up with a fork to make a “slurry”. It will be thick, if dry add a little more water. You are looking for something that is stirrable, but not watery or runny.  Let this sit and thicken while prepping the recipe. It will be a glob. You really can’t mess this up. This will act as a binder.The burgers in the pic have both the EGG and the chia/flax meal (not made into an egg) but added directly into the mix. If you do this and mix seems wet,  just add more oats and flour to absorb the liquid until desired consistency is achieved. I only added both because I desired the extra protein and omegas for my kids.

  1. In a blender or food processor, combine the garlic, onions, pumpkin, olive oil, chili powder, salt and cumin. Pulse until well combined. Add the rice and some of the beans, flax/ chia meal egg or egg, and oats. Pulse them in a couple of times. Add the rest of the beans and give it and whirl it up a couple more times. The mixture will be sticky, with a little texture to it. If you like the mixture smooth, keep pulsing. If the mix seems too wet, add flour/ oats one teaspoon at a time. Either pulse it in or hand mix. You are looking for a wet cookie dough-like mixture.
  2. Form the dough into burgers. I found the easiest cleanest way is to take a notebook sized piece of plastic wrap, plop approx. 1/4 cup of the mixture in the middle. Fold the plastic wrap neatly (bottom up, top down, sides in) and mold into a round 1/2″ thick patty. Do this until you have about 4-6 patties. Viola, clean hands!
  3. Film your skillet with a small amount of coconut or olive oil over medium-high heat. (I highly recommend the coconut oil, if you have it, as it is super tasty and can withstand high heat.) Once the oil is hot and a water drop skitters, gently unwrap the patties over the pan, being careful not to let the plastic wrap touch the pan (this is where the neat folding comes in handy) and cook for 2-3 minutes on the first side until you get a golden brown crust, (don’t flip early or it will stick), flip and repeat. Add more oil as needed to keep them frying up crispy and brown.

Tips: Use plastic wrap to form the patties, this will reduce waste of the mixture (from sticking to your hands) and once wrapped up, they are easily refrigerated up to 2 days or frozen for up to one month. (I have not tried freezing these, but I am sure it is possible. This may require additional protection, such as a freezer bag. I usually don’t advocate the use of plastic wrap, I probably go through a roll every 2 years. But this is one of those cases where it comes in handy.

My picky four-year-old thought they were burgers and dug in. Realized they weren’t beef, shrugged, and kept eating. “Mommy these aren’t burger-burgers, but they are yummy!” Success! My husband (who came home around 9pm) was sad there was only one left for him. (Sorry babe, I couldn’t stop eating them, Better come home earlier!  Just kidding, I’ll make more next time.)

Pumpkin Bean Soup

November 20, 2012

This healthy soup, comes together in less than 30min, is sure to satisfy appetites and impress friends. Most pantries contain these ingredients. If not, please use what you have, play, have fun.

Pumpkin Bean Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2  15oz canned beans drained and rinsed (I used black and navy beans)
  • 1 can pumpkin (organic is best)
  • 3 cups stock or broth (I prefer homemade)
  • 1 med yellow onion diced
  • 3-4 cloves roasted garlic – 1 heaping TBSP (I usually have homemade roasted garlic  if not just use 2 cloves)
  • 1 -1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 TBSP Apple cider vinegar
  • Seasonings to taste. (I used Sel de Cuisine from the Golden Fig, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.)

How To:

  1. In a large dutch oven saute the onion in a little olive oil until soft and slightly translucent. Tip: lightly salt onions to bring out the water and speed up the process. Add roasted garlic and cumin and cook about 1-2 minutes longer until warm and fragrant.
  2. Transfer the onions/garlic mixture to your blender (like a Vitamix or Blendtec) to this add the rinsed beans, and enough stock to get it moving. Blend until smooth. Transfer back into the dutch oven. Add the canned pumpkin into the blender with some stock to loosen it up, add this to the dutch oven with the remainder of the broth.
  3. Add the vinegar and seasonings. Simmer on low until heated through. About 10-15 min.
  4. Season to taste. Additions to this are endless, we rocked it with some salsa. Sour cream would also be lovely. 

This base recipe is a wonderful launching pad for endless possibilities. No pumpkin try cooked sweet potato or carrot. No black beans? Try cooked lentils or garbanzos. No cumin? Try curry, or Italian seasoning. Have left over veggies? Add them in. Left over chicken? Stir it in at the end. Don’t have a blender? Hand mash the beans, and serve it chunky style.

Oooh ooh…I just had an idea. This would be a tasty soup to make with Thanksgiving left overs! Sub in sweet potatoes/ mashed potatoes/ roasted veggies for the pumpkin. Homemade turkey stock for the broth. Throw in a couple cans of white beans, onions, garlic, some poultry seasoning or curry. Stir in left over turkey. Garnish with left over cranberry sauce or stuffing. YUM!!!

Create, have fun, enjoy!

Have a wonderful and SAFE Thanksgiving.

 

Time

November 17, 2012

This morning at the library my son, Max, was a total two-year-old, complete with screaming, crying, hitting, lack of attention, saying “Hiii Ya!” while emptying complete shelves of books. Topped off with a moody librarian stimulatinously scolding my child as I was correcting him. Um, thanks. Amelia, my daughter, who desperately wanted Aurora, and The Helpful Dragon read to her, dug deep into her patience reserves, acting more like a ten-year-old, not the four-year-old she is, while observing her brother losing it and her mother trying to hold it together in front of an audience of strangers.

Long story short, we left. We didn’t complete the Aurora story, and Amelia held it together. She also didn’t fight with her brother over the car seat, as I requested begged. She was empathetic to me, and I noticed.

When did this transformation happen? The unfurling from a two-year-old learning to self-regulate into four-year-old able to empathize with her mother. An unfurling so slow and gradual, like a fiddlehead of a fern. Yet, look away for a moment, an hour, a day it’s easy to miss.

This got me to thinking about time, in addition to hearing a very poignant installment of radio lab about time, what happened? How are these little beings growing up so gradually and yet so immediately?

“Slowness unlocks something in the original, maybe it was there all along, but we couldn’t hear it (see it). Change the meter and the music has a different story to tell. A secret perhaps, locked up inside the routine. Change the routine, you make new discoveries.”

Time is what allows us to see something change. Living in the midwest we are very attuned to the seasonal transitions. Summer to Fall. Fall to Winter. Winter to Summer. (We don’t seem to have a Spring, Minnesota is funny this way. It will snow until May or June and then be 75 or 80 the next day straight through until Fall.) Growing a garden and having children also bring mindfulness to the transition of time. They remind me I should be more mindful and present. Perhaps I wouldn’t be surprised my daughter is no longer a toddler, or even a young child, but a full-fledged kid. I desire to hold her in time, for even just a moment so I may look at her and see her for who she is right now. But, time can not be contained.

As a parent, I can try and embrace slowness. Perhaps, I  just may unlock something in the original that was there all along, but I couldn’t see it. Life and time were moving too fast. But if I change the meter, my children, my husband, my friends, LIFE, may have a different story to tell. A secret perhaps, locked up inside the routine. Change the routine and perhaps make new discoveries. Perhaps cup time in my hands just long enough to satiate my thirst.

Einstein said something to the jist of, “Time is not universal, it is held by the observer.”

I am going to embrace my total two-year-old because he will be a three-year-old soon enough with new celebrations and challenges. And my two-year-old will be gone, locked somewhere inside the unfurling fiddlehead. Hopefully, I may slow time down enough to notice.

Blue eyed boy meets a brown eyed girl…

October 23, 2012

Oh, oh oh, the sweetest kids…

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I love these kids

October 15, 2012

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