Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burgers


I’ve been in a cooking rut. It’s been really boring. Maybe it’s my odd work hours or maybe it’s something else, but we’ve been eating a lot of the same stuff around here. So I made these burgers in hopes of turning things around. I tend to make a lot of veggie burgers. It’s so quick to whip them out of anything in the pantry, whether its beans, quinoa, or even some sort of vegetable fritter on greens. When I saw this recipe with the combination of sweet potato and black beans, I knew it would be a favorite. I love being right about this kind of thing.

I’m one to stray from recipes and throw in what I have in the fridge just to use it up. Thats what happened here with the green onions (because I’ve been growing my own!) and bell pepper. It ended up being a great addition and the texture was wonderful. I’m always looking for that.

We ate these on some homemade brioche buns and that may have just put them over the top. You can find that recipe, where else? Smitten. I’ll make a batch in the bread maker and keep them in the freezer for burger emergencies like these. Perfect every time.



2 cups coarsely mashed sweet potatoes (about two large)
1 cup black beans
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1/4 cup yellow bell pepper, chopped
1/3 cup panko or bread crumbs
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
11/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2-3 tablespoons olive oil


Pierce potatoes all over with a fork and wrap loosely in paper towels. Microwave for 10 minutes, flipping halfway through. Remove the potatoes from the microwave and slice them down the center to allow them to cool.


In a large bowl, mash the black beans. Add in sweet potato and mix together. Add in spices, salt, pepper, green onions, bell pepper, bread crumbs, flour, and the egg. Mix together until well combined. Chill mixture in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.

IMG_4460Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil. Scoop large spoonfuls of mixture into the hot pan, pressing them flat and round.(I found it easier to shape the patties while dropping them into the pan, rather than forming them on a separate surface) Cook about 5-6 minutes, until the bottom begins to golden. Gently flip the patty and cook the other side for another 5-6 minutes. Repeat until you’ve used up the mixture. Top and build burgers as desired.


Source: Adapted from How Sweet It Is


Soyrizo and Black Bean Empanadas


I’ve noticed that when we go out into the world on weekends, we spend money. Done. I’ve solved our problem. No seriously though. We met friends for lunch a few weekends ago and we ended up buying a bed. Don’t get me wrong… we are the furthest thing from impulse buyers. Before that day, we had shopped and shopped and shopped until I didn’t ever want to look at another piece of bedroom furniture again. It was just a coincidence that the restaurant our friends chose just happened to be across the street from a West Elm, which happened to have the bed we were considering, and after seeing it in person I was sold. Now I’m done with that purchase for life…until the next round, at least. Woo hoo!

So back to my thing about us spending money. I’ve been getting really creative about using up leftovers because I’m trying to keep us on track for our grocery bill each month. So far, I’ve been doing pretty well. After making these, I’d say I’m stepping up in the leftover-world because this was one of the best creations to come out of my kitchen in a while. Yep, I said it.

IMG_4345The dough was the second half of a batch leftover from having made a pie and the soyrizo was leftover from burritos the night before. I buy black beans dry and had cooked them up a few days previous. I like to have beans on hand to sneak some extra protein into our meals throughout the week, plus bean burritos are my go-to quick lunch. So really, everything was already made. I’m sure next time, some chicken or any other filling that I have left over will get used up.

If you don’t have dough on hand, check out this great tutorial here. To be honest, I think store bought may work for these, but you would have to use round cutters instead of rolling them out like I did.

Ingredients (Makes 16 small empanadas)IMG_4291

Half a batch of pastry dough, thawed if frozen, but still chilled

11/2 cups cooked soyrizo
1 cup black beans, cooked
¼ cup queso fresco
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Coarse salt


Preheat your oven to 375 F degrees

Make sure your pastry dough is still chilled. Divide in half, and in half again, and so on, until you have 16 equal pieces of dough. I found that keeping the rest of the dough I wasn’t working with in the refrigerator was very helpful. This dough gets very sticky as it comes to room temp.

Roll out a small piece of dough to about an ⅛ of an inch thick, keeping it as equally oval as possible. Place about a tablespoon of soyrizo towards the bottom half of the oval. Add a few teaspoons of black beans on top of the soyrizo and top the pile with queso fresco. Fold over the top of the dough so that it covers the filling, lining up the edges as equally as possible. Trim away any large excess, but a bit of extra dough is fine. Seal the edges together with the tines of a fork. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with silpats or parchment paper.


When all empanadas are complete, melt two tablespoons of butter in the microwave or a small saucepan. Brush over the tops of each empanada. Sprinkle each with a bit of coarse salt and a sprinkle of pepper.

Bake for 16-18 minutes until edges begin to golden. Serve warm.

Albondigas Soup


Let me tell you about one of the coolest gifts I’ve ever been given:

When I left for college, my mom gave me this collection of family recipes that she typed up and organized into a notebook. On some pages, she writes about where each one comes from, which family member started cooking the dish that way, whose favorite it is, and of course, pictures and/or artwork to go along with each recipe. She was blogging before it was easy. What a hipster.

I love having access to the recipes I grew up with. When I was away at school, this notebook made it easier for me to have those comforting dishes that brought me familiar smells and tastes, easing the tinges of homesickness. My mom was also great to leave some blank sleeves in there, which I quickly added to.

So I mentioned last post that I had been having a tough week and when our toilet overflowed, I was ready to call it quits on being an adult. Instead throwing a fit (which has yet to get me anything. Ever. I must not be doing it right.), I went to this notebook and decided a bit of my mom’s kitchen was what I needed.

IMG_4071Growing up, this soup was pretty much the only soup I asked for. My brothers and I loved it. The clever part about this meal is you can change it up based on what you have in your kitchen; all the veggies can be substituted, you could use ground turkey, sirloin, or tofu even… the possibilities are only limited by what you choose. Our family usually ate it with turkey meatballs so that is just what I’m used to, but because I happened to have ground beef, thats what I used. See? Change can be good.

(Enough for 4-6 Servings)

Half a pound fresh ground beef/turkeyIMG_4065
¼ of a white onion, diced
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
1 clove garlic, diced
1 egg
¼ cup breadcrumbs

8 cups water
1 tablespoon chicken bouillon granules
2 tablespoons tomato paste or 1 small can tomato sauce

1 small carrot, chopped
1 red potato, chopped
½ a zucchini, chopped
1 cup cauliflower florets


In a large-ish pot, bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Mix the first seven ingredients in a bowl and roll into 1 inch meatballs. Add the chicken bouillon and tomato paste/sauce to the boiling water and stir it well. Carefully drop the meatballs into the boiling water. Let them cook for about 10  minutes.


Prepare whatever veggies you are going to add. Carrots and potatoes take longer to cook than zucchini, so add those first. Once all your veggies are in, cook perhaps an additional 8 minutes. When your veggies are tender, your soup is ready. I like this soup served with fresh salsa and avocado on top and a hot corn tortilla on the side.

Source: Momma Jan

Quinoa Cakes on Greens


I must have cursed myself. I boasted about what a great start the year was off to far too soon. I should have known better. Thirteen is a temperamental number… I must proceed with caution. It’s been almost a year, (that can’t be true?!) since I’ve been sick. So this now unfamiliar pain in my throat is throwing me off. Is it the normal January cold? The awful flu I’ve so artfully avoided? It can’t possibly be strep again, that won my tonsils in the war of ’08… Allergies? I’ll go with that until further notice.


After getting a call from my boss telling me to take Tuesday off I wasn’t sure what to do with my sudden abundance of time. So, naturally, I made a mess in the kitchen. After ruining half a batch of cupcakes, I scored with these. Major win. I had made these before, but never with all the additional veggies. On a whim I added the lime juice and cilantro. In my opinion, that was the best part.

This is a pretty customizable recipe. I think that as long as you have the binder (breadcrumbs and eggs/other vegan substitution) it would stand up to substitutions. You’ll just have to try and let me know.


2 cups quinoa, cooked and cooled
2 green onions, finely chopped
1/2 a yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup white cheddar cheese, grated
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 eggs, beaten
Olive oil for the pan


In a medium bowl, combine everything except the bread crumbs and the eggs. Sprinkle over the breadcrumbs and make sure all ingredients are all mixed together well.  Add the eggs and give the mixture one final mix-up until the eggs are incorporated. Form the mixture into evenly shaped patties, about 4 inches in diameter.


Heat some olive oil in large pan set over medium heat. Add the patties to the pan, giving enough space between each one. Cook each patty until lightly browned, about 4-5 minutes, depending on your heat. Using a spatula, carefully flip the patty over and cook the other side until it is the same golden brown. Repeat with remaining patties. You may need to add more olive oil to the pan between batches.

Note: I prefer mine served warm on top of greens and hardboiled eggs with a lemon vinaigrette. 

Source: Adapted from Annie’s Eats, via Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson via The Curvy Carrot

Homemade Pizza Sauce


I’ve been on a “from scratch” expedition lately. Everything from chocolate syrup, doughs, salad dressings, extracts, and sauces. (Plus so many more on my list!) With Jordan and I trying to save and live on a tighter budget it makes zero sense to buy things like this when I already have the ingredients in my pantry. Plus, now that I’m tasting the amazing difference, I’m not sure I can ever go back.

I found this recipe over on Food Wishes. (It’s actually a whole series on homemade pizza!) What I love about it is the way you start out browning your spices, which I hadn’t thought to do before. The possible flavor combinations seem endless here, but I haven’t strayed too much yet, just adding some basil, extra garlic, and pepper. (Jordan’s favorite) The consistency of this sauce is solid and I think it could handle any number of substitutions, so I see it as the perfect place to start. Plus the fun addition of baking soda takes me right back to those early elementary school volcano experiments…

 Yield: enough for 4 medium pizzas, depending 


1 can whole peeled tomatoes (28 ozIMG_3019

4 cloves garlic

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes

salt to taste

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried Italian herbs

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano IMG_3065

A few fresh basil leaves

pinch sugar

small pinch of baking soda

1/2 cup water


Empty the can of tomatoes into a bowl. Cut each tomato in half, squeezing as many seeds out as possible into a separate bowl. Discard seeds. Run the tomato liquid through a strainer to catch the leftover seeds. (Note: if a few seeds make it in, it’s fine. Just aim to get the majority.) Crush tomato halves with a masher or clean hands.

Set a medium sauté pan over low heat. Add olive oil and garlic and cook just until it starts to sizzle. Add all the dry herbs and pepper. Stir into garlic and oil for about a minute, keeping low heat. Take care not to let the garlic or herbs burn.

Add tomatoes to the pan. Give it a good stir. Add in salt, pinch of sugar, and the half cup of water. Stir well. Let sauce come to a light simmer. Add a very small pinch of baking soda. A foam will begin to rise out of the sauce. Using a spoon, skim the foam off the top and discard.

Let the sauce simmer on medium-low heat for about 30 to 40 minutes. Toss in some basil. If you prefer a thinner sauce, run it through a blender until it reaches desired consistency.

Slightly adapted from Food Wishes

Chicken Soup With Dumplings

Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that I’ve never loved. What?! She has a food blog… She should love food. I don’t trust her, let’s go! Wait. Don’t leave. Let me explain. There’s something about the abundance of food all at one time… and I hate feeling over full… let me continue by playing the world’s tiniest violin so you can actually feel some sympathy for me.

What I do love about Thanksgiving is getting to see most of my favorite people all at one time. This year was no exception. I could go on about how thankful I am for all of them, but I’m pretty sure you all stopped reading after I told you my feelings towards over-eating.  I will say I’m so proud to come from such loving and generous people. Also, if the future of the world rests in the hands of my younger cousins… well, I’m more than ok with that too.

So after eating like a baby dinosaur, (I know, I blame myself, not the day) I didn’t have an appetite for anything. I figured some soup was in order, specifically the chicken type. I had never actually made chicken soup from scratch before. Not only was I surprised at how easy and simple it was to throw together, but I realized it’s an amazing way the use up what you have left in the kitchen. And in order to entice Jordan into eating it, I threw some dumplings in there. Fluffy, delicious, goodness. A hot bowl of this and I may never get out of bed.


1 large chicken breast, cooked and shredded

Fresh herbs, optional 

Lemon, optional

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 carrots, diced

Half an onion, diced

2 celery sticks, diced

Half a butternut squash, peeled and cubed

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped 

5 1/2 cups chicken broth

Salt and Pepper to taste

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup flour

1 egg


In a sauce pot, cover chicken with cold water. I like to add whatever herbs or citrus I have in my fridge. In this case, it happened to be a sprig of rosemary and half a lemon.  Bring water to a boil. Cook until chicken is tender, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from water, shred and season with salt and pepper.

Add olive oil to the bottom of a pot. Add vegetables and sweat them down, about 5 minutes. Mix in shredded chicken and cilantro. Add broth. At this point, give it a good couple of stirs. Let everything simmer until the veggies soften. Mine took about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, for your dumplings, bring milk and butter to a boil. Remove from heat and add salt and garlic. Stir in the flour. A dough ball should form around the spoon. Add the egg. Spoon dumpling dough into soup, each about a tablespoon in size. Take care not to compress the dough or roll them into balls, as this can make the dumplings tough. Cover and simmer for another five minutes. When the dumplings float up to the top, they’re finished cooking.

I like my soup topped with extra cilantro or oregano and a little bit of cheese. Enjoy!

Source: Dumplings adapted from Mr. Bobby Flay