a few simple moments with a side of eggs.

Once again, time has gotten a hold of me.

I twist and I turn and I try to pull free, but somehow it becomes 3 o’clock and I’m just eating lunch.  It becomes 6 o’clock and I realize that I’m eating spaghetti squash for the second night in a row.  And, somehow, it becomes 8 o’clock and I once again realize that I’m fighting a losing battle.  A losing battle that has really already been lost.

Time.  Where do you go?

I’ve learned over the years that I can’t control time.  As a little girl, I could never make Christmas morning come any faster no matter how hard I wished for it.  As a freshman in college, I could never make time go backwards for just “a little more time to study.”  And now, as I sit here in my fuzzy socks, drinking tea, and blogging I realize: Sarah, you can’t control time.

But..BUT!

There is always a “but”.  But, I can control what I do with my time.

Even on the busiest days, I need to remind myself what “slow” feels like.  What it means to feel the wind on my face.  Or a water droplet splattering against my cheek.  The sound of a mallard duck flying overhead.  Even the sound of my footsteps on the ground.  Just a few things.  A few things to settle me down and realize that I’m okay.  That despite how busy life feels, the slow things in life continue on as well.

Sigh.  This is so satisfying.

Eggs, spinach and quinoa are satisfying too (yes, together!)  Maybe it’s the fact that I finally broke away from the repetitive nature of my spaghetti squash.  Or maybe it’s because the meal felt so out of the ordinary and totally random.  A splash of surprise for an otherwise normal, busy day.

Yes.  It satisfied every tastebud. 😀

QUESTION: What are some of your favorite “simple” moments that you see or experience on a day to day basis?  If you’re not really sure, I recommend trying to seek them out tomorrow!  You’ll be surprised with what you notice. 😀

all about the beans

Sometimes I just want a big bowl of hummus.

I’m aware that this isn’t entirely normal, and that most people who experience any sort of food craving won’t usually find themselves craving mashed-up beans of any sort.

“Quick!  Run to the supermarket!  I need my bean fix!”

Or…

“You know, I always stash a couple of extra beans in my purse.  You just never know when that urge will strike.”

You see?  Totally not normal.

I’m not trying to exaggerate my craving.  Because, really, when I want a big bowl of hummus, I want a big bowl of hummus.  This is serious stuff.  And so, tonight, when I found myself with such a craving—and no cans of chickpeas in sight!!!-–I needed to improvise.  White beans, I decided, would do just fine.  I added a drizzle of olive oil, a splash of zingy red wine vinegar and a sprinkle of rosemary to pull it all together.

It’s that simple.  It’s that delicious.  And it’s how my dinner became my dinner.

Anyways.  Continuing on with the bean theme…

I found this bag of “Beanitos” at the grocery store the other day and simply had to purchase them.  It’s nice to see a corn-free version of tortilla chips, especially when it revolves around black beans!

Love the ingredient list…

Love the nutrition facts…

Low salt!  High fiber!  Protein!

(Love those beans!)

Love that flavah and c-r-u-n-c-h!

A big ol’ scoop of the white bean dip found its way onto my roasted vegetable salad.

Dinner was simple.  Dinner was fabulous.  Simply fabulous.

Sometimes it’s all about the beans.

White Bean Dip

Beans are loaded with fiber, protein and nutrients.  They’re also loaded with flavor and they can be incredibly versatile.  Try whipping this quick dip together and make a veggie sandwich out of it.  Or serve over a couple of crunchy crackers.  Add it to a platter of veggie sticks for an easy appetizer.  Enjoy! 😀

  • 1 15-oz. can of white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. rosemary
  • pepper to taste
  1. In a food processor, combine all ingredients until smooth and creamy.  Enjoy on your favorite crackers, salads, flat wraps, etc!
QUESTION: What is your favorite kind of bean and what is your favorite way to eat them?

gleaning the veggie drawer.

I went all crazy and wild with the vegetables, tonight.

First, I chopped up some butternut squash.  Then I sliced some mushrooms.  And then I decided—since I was at it—may as well chop the broccoli, bell peppers, mushrooms and onions too.  Feeling deliciously wild and free, I squished and smashed a few cloves of garlic and spread them all over the top.  And then—as if that wasn’t enough!—I bathed it all in a little bit of olive oil.

It feels good to go wild now and then.

Inspiration for these vegetarian quesadillas came from Trader Joes, which is where I found these cute ‘n’ wrinkly sun-dried tomatoes.  I knew they’d be perfect for some impromptu pizza or maybe some scrambled eggs.

Or, as in tonight’s case, perfect for a veggie quesadilla.

(Or eaten as is, straight from the bag…yum!)

This fresh and local mozzarella was a bit on the pricey side as far as cheese goes, but it does make a fun splurge now and then.

Dinner was fabulous.

On the side, I roasted some brussels sprouts.  They came directly from the freezer isle and tasted sweet and amazing.

(But don’t tell their fresher cousins that I told you so.  They think they’re so much better than these guys, but they’re really not.) 

The Great Vegetarian Quesadilla

Serves 4

This is the “Great” Vegetarian Quesadilla because it requires a “great” clean up, as you glean your way through the veggie drawer.  If you have an extra stalk of broccoli, throw it in.  Half a red bell pepper?  Chop, chop, chop it.  A few mushrooms on their last leg?  Perfect.  Use it all up and don’t be afraid to try some of the more uncommon quesadilla additions, such as butternut squash or turnips.

Top these melty quesadillas with a scoop of fresh, zingy salsa and you’ll have yourself a delicious, easy meal in no time!  Enjoy!

  • Mixture of your favorite vegetables (I used mushrooms, broccoli, butternut squash, red and green bell peppers, and onions)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 whole wheat tortillas
  • 6 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced thin
  1. Preheat oven to 425.  Spray baking pan win with cooking spray.
  2. Chop all of your vegetables into bite sized pieces and layer on the cookie sheet.  Sprinkle garlic over the top and drizzle with olive oil.  Stir lightly to combine.  Place in oven for 20-25 minutes, flipping once in between cooking times.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a nonstick griddle over medium heat.  Place tortillas down, place cheese on half of the tortilla, and fold over.  Flip tortilla once it has become golden brown on one side.  Continue cooking on the other side until golden brown.
  4. Once vegetables are cooked, unfold tortilla and fill half with the vegetable mixture.  Fold back and cook for another minute or so.  Serve hot with salsa.  Enjoy! 😀
QUESTION: What is your favorite quesadilla filling?

a favorite kind of soup.

There are many recipes that I just don’t blog about.  Recipes that simply feel too…well…simple.  Overused and much overdone.

Like oatmeal.  Or hummus veggie sandwiches.

Or my daily consumption of peanut butter.  (Besides, I’d hate to think that I might scare you away.)

Soup is a pretty regular thing in my kitchen too.  Sadly, many of these recipes flitter and float around but never really get spoken of.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy them.  Or that I want to ignore them.  It’s just that.  Well.  They’re just nothing special (ouch!)

However, this recipe made me very, very happy.

And for that reason alone, I am blogging about it.  Because I think you’ll feel delightfully happy and content with it as well.  And that’s a feeling worth sharing.

Bountiful Black Bean Soup—as seen on the back of the package of Bob’s Red Mill Black Beans

This soup pairs perfectly with homemade corn bread or cheese quesadillas.  You could tweak it and make it your own by adding spinach, mushrooms, and other such veggies as well.  Or, spice it up with some cayenne or red pepper.  I absolutely love this soup and I almost always double the batch so that I can have some for lunch during the week.  Enjoy! 😀

  • 2 cups roasted corn (roast frozen corn in 350 oven for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally)
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, including leaves, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 8 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 package of Bob’s Red Mill black bean soup mix (or about 1-1/2 to 2 cups dry black beans)
  • 1-28 oz. can tomatoes, diced
  • 2 cups butternut squash, cut into large, bite sized cubes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat; add onions and celery.  Saute until translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and saute for one more minute.
  3. Carefully pour in stock and scrape the bottom of the pan to release any browned bits.  Stir in black beans and tomatoes.  Add butternut squash and roasted corn.  Add herbs, stir and bring to a boil.
  4. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 1-1/2 hours, stirring every 1/2 hr.  Add more stock or water if beans and squash absorb too much liquid.  Enjoy!

QUESTION: What is your favorite kind of soup?

an unlikely pair.

No matter how unlikely it may seem, you just never know who you’re going to hit it off with.

Who might suddenly be your new best friend.

Chick peas and pumpkin are a very unlikely combination.  Slightly unexpected.  And while they’re not quite on the level of black bean brownies, they’ll still make you step back for just a moment or two.

Chick peas and pumpkin? Who would have thought.

I still haven’t decided if this is a smooth and creamy hummus or a sweet and spicy, gingerbread dessert spread.

I have decided that I love these flavors together.  That blackstrap molasses makes everything (yes, everything!) better.  That walnuts and molasses were meant to be.  And that next next year I need to stock up with one or two more cans of pumpkin.

Serve the spread on a crispy cracker.

Or swirl it into your yogurt with a sprinkle of Natures Path Pumpkin Flax Granola.

No matter how unlikely it may seem, you just never know who you’re going to hit it off with.

Who might suddenly be your best friend.

Gingerbread Hummus

Serve this sweet and spicy spread with crackers or yogurt.  Or, top off your morning bowl of oats (or pancakes!) with a scoop or two.  There’s not a trace of “bean” flavor to be found, and—like me—you will probably find yourself wondering why you didn’t stock up with more cans of pumpkin as well.  Enjoy!

  • 1-15oz. can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp. blackstrap molasses
  1. In a food processor, combine all ingredients together.  Adjust salt and molasses to taste.  Enjoy! 😀

QUESTION: Hummus…yay or nay?  What is your favorite hummus flavor?

Stuffed To The Brim

I am absolutely STUFFED to the brim…

…with happiness and smiles…

…quiet calm and simple joy…

…peace and absolute contentment…

…veggies and quinoa.

Isn’t life delicious?

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers—tweaked from the original recipe as seen in Moosewood Cookbook

These rustic peppers are delicious as is, but feel free to top them with a bit of zingy salsa or creamy guacamole for that little something extra.  Any leftovers will freeze and reheat really well, making for an easy peazy weeknight meal.  Or you can simply toss them in a container and eat them with a side salad for lunch the next day.  Enjoy! 😀

  • 1 cup raw quinoa, rinsed
  • 6 medium bell peppers
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1-1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1-1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup peeled and diced carrots
  • 3/4 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced zucchini
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup canned black or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1-1/2 cup grated mozzarella or cheddar cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 400.  Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Place quinoa  and 2 cups of water in a medium pot and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until water is absorbed.
  3. Meanwhile, cut bell peppers in half lengthwise and carefully seed them.  Place peppers cut side down on baking pan and roast for 15-20 minutes, until softened and lightly browned.  When bell peppers are roasted, reduce heat to 350.
  4. Meanwhile, in a skillet, place 1 Tbsp. olive oil in pan and place over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic; cook for about 5 minutes.  Stir in cumin through beans.  Cover pan and cook for 10 minutes or until vegetables are very tender.
  5. Combine vegetables and quinoa and add salt to taste.  Turn over the roasted peppers and stuff each half.  Sprinkle each pepper with some of the cheese and bake for 10-15 minutes or until cheese has melted.

QUESTION: What are you *stuffed* to the brim with today?+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

not your average brownie

Well.  I never thought I would say this. But.

I made a batch of black bean brownies.  And I ate one.  And I liked it.

I don’t know where this idea first originated.  I mean, who puts beans in their brownies?

I honestly don’t know, but I figured that while I was at it, I may as well just throw some pumpkin in there too.  May as well.

For better or worse, into the oven you go…

The kitchen smelled like chocolate.

The brownies looked like chocolate.

These brownies are chocolate.  No doubts about that, the flavor is all there.  No off putting beany flavors, whatsoever (phew!)

I don’t know what it is that came over me tonight.  All I know is that I have but one can of pumpkin left.  I’ve eaten my weight in almond butter this week.  And after this shenanigan, I imagine that my kitchen will end up living in a state of shock for just a while.

But that’s okay.  It was all well worth it.  I think you’ll agree.

Black Bean Brownies

These are brownies with health benefits, thanks to the filling fiber from the pumpkin and the fiber/protein combo from the beans.  And while I wouldn’t try to claim that these are going to be your new “go-to” recipe for brownies, I think they make a fun new twist as a healthier dessert for during the week.

These brownies are moist—fudge like!—and soft and filled with sweet chocolate.  I highly recommend adding the walnuts, chocolate chips and coffee, as these ingredients will really help to intensify the richness.  Smear these babies with almond butter, raspberry jam or sprinkle with shredded coconut and enjoy with a tall glass of ice cold milk.  Enjoy!

  • 2 cups canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder + 2 Tbsp.
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1-2 tsp instant coffee
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)
  • 1/4 cup walnuts (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8×8 inch baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a blender, combine black beans, eggs, pumpkin, cocoa powder, sea salt, vanilla extract, sugar, and coffee until smooth.  Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.  Transfer to prepared baking dish.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes.  Brownies are ready when the top appears dry and the edges start to pull away from the sides.  Serve warm with a smear of your favorite nut butter or fruit jam.  ENJOY!

QUESTION: What is the most unusual ingredient you have ever cooked with?

I know I’m busy when…

I know I’m busy when I bounce out of bed at 5:00am on a Sunday morning, with a feeling that I’m late for something important.

I know I’m busy when a quiet movie night at home becomes the highlight of my week.

I know I’m busy when I can’t for the life of me remember what year we’re in.  How old am I again?

I know I’m busy when my calendar begins to look as if a two year old randomly scribbled a bunch of chaotic marks across the page.

I know I’m busy when I make three large salads, just so that I can have lunch already made for two more days.

I know I’m busy when I forget about the broiler.

I know I’m busy.  And yet, through it all, I know I am okay.

Because I actually kind of like early mornings, even on Sunday.  My scribbled calendar secretly makes me happy.  And larger than life salads never get old.

Oh.  Yes.  And I’m also okay with improvising.

 

QUESTION: Even when you’re in a time crunch, what is one thing that you refuse to give up? For me, it’s spending at least 15 minutes for breakfast.  And going for at least three runs or walks a week.  AND, spending at least half an hour at night to read in my book.  😀

a sweet, sweet potato

Just in case you didn’t think dinner was going to be on the table in 45 minutes or less tonight…

Just in case you didn’t think it was possible to turn your humble sweet potato into a meal…

Just in case you wanted a comforting, non-fussy sort of meal…

You know. Just in case.

This recipe is for you.

Broccoli-Feta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes—as seen in Moosewood Cookbook and on this website

Serves 4

Salty feta cheese and sweet, sweet potatoes; what an irresistible combination.  This luxurious (but simple!) dinner carries with it a faint reminder of my mom’s famous broccoli pie that she serves every Christmas.

Serve this creamy dish with a fresh, crunchy side salad.  Save any leftovers for a quick and easy lunch the next day.  Enjoy! 😀

  • 4 medium-large sweet potatoes, with skins
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups finely chopped broccoli
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  1. Pierce sweet potatoes and rub with olive oil. Bake at 450 degrees until soft-about 45 minutes. Or microwave.
  2. In a large skillet on high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until the garlic is golden, about 1 minute. Add the broccoli and stir-fry for a couple of minutes. Add the water and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered until most of the water has evaporated and the broccoli is tender, 8-10 minutes. Add the salt and pepper and set aside until the sweet potatoes are baked.
  3. When the sweet potatoes have baked, cut them in half lengthwise and scoop out the pulp, leaving a shell at least 1/4 inch thick. Set the shells aside. Mash the pulp a bit and stir it into the broccoli mixture along with the feta cheese. If the stuffing has cooled, turn on the heat under the skillet and rewarm. Add water, if too crumbly.
  4. Fill the shells with the stuffing. Serve each half separately or push back together with stuffing showing between the two shells.  ENJOY!

QUESTION: How long does it usually take you to get dinner on the table on a week night? 30-45  minutes is average for me.  Unless I’m feeling lazy and decide to go the omelette route (i.e., 10 minutes. 😉 )

in the early morning

While I’ve always been a morning person, I don’t always bounce out of bed with limitless energy.  And yet, that’s exactly what I did this morning.  At 4:30 am.  On a Saturday.

What is wrong with me?

Anyways, I put the extra morning time to good use.

First, I got to work on fixing yesterday’s conundrum.  The misspelled word on my poster.  There was absolutely no way—no way!—that I was going to pay another $30 to have the poster printed.  So I took some photo quality printer paper and printed out part of the poster on an 8×11 sheet.  I really just wanted the word “The” so that I could paste it on top of the word “To.”

(It practically killed me to replace “to” with “the” on my saved version, without being able to so easily change it on the hard copy!)

While I wouldn’t say this was the most perfect, flawless solution, it did solve the problem…

My hope is that most people will stand far back and not even take notice. 😉

The sun was still barely waking up, as I rolled the poster back into its case.  It was just shy of 6 o’clock.  I didn’t have a long run planned.  I didn’t need to be out of the house until 9:30.  I literally still had an entirely full morning left.

Obviously, it only made sense that I bake a batch of blueberry muffins for breakfast.

I have always said that if I were to ever make it famous in life, I would want to be most famous for one of these two scenarios: (1) Owner and operator of a gourmet oatmeal buffet (don’t laugh, I can totally picture this!)  Or (2) a baker.  Of breads and pies and pastries.  And, mostly, of muffins.

Whole Wheat Banana Berry Muffins

Whole Wheat Banana Berry Muffins

Warm from the oven, these muffins make for an absolutely fabulous weekend breakfast.  They’re delicious as is, or crumbled into yogurt with almond butter too.  They also make the perfect breakfast-to-go, but honestly, I prefer eating them in the comfort of my home on some Saturday morning, in my pj’s, with a hot cup of coffee.

I used whole wheat graham flour for the fun, nutty texture.  But really, you can use any whole wheat flour that you happen to have on hand.  Enjoy! 😀

  • 2 c. whole wheat graham flour
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 c. mashed, very ripe banana (about 1-1/2 bananas)
  • 1-1/2 c. frozen blueberries
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Whisk together first 5 ingredients up to nutmeg.  Whisk together next 7 ingredients up to banana in a separate bowl.
  3. Add blueberries to dry mix; stir until blueberries are coated with the flour.
  4. Add wet mix to dry mix.  Stir just until moistened.
  5. Pour batter into 12-muffin pan coated with cooking spray.  Bake for 17-20 minutes in preheated oven.  Once done, run knife around edges and pop out onto cooking rack to cool.  Serve warm for the ultimate muffin experience.

Sigh.

I love muffins.

I love early mornings.

Question: What was the highlight of your Saturday?