Black Bean Veggie Burgers

Despite the weather not cooperating, some friends came over yesterday and we had a (indoor) BBQ.  Moving indoors was really fine by me…my grilling skills have yet to be discovered, and these tender and delicious veggie burgers hold up better on a flat skillet.

These definitely aren’t trying to be regular hamburgers, but I think they’re delicious in their own right.  Because the burgers are very soft, I recommend using crusty rolls instead of regular soft hamburger buns.

Black Bean Veggie Burgers

Makes about 18 patties

Adapted from Simple Bites 

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 large can (29oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups cooked lentils (or 1 box of the Trader Joe’s precooked lentils)
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
Heat olive oil in a large skillet and saute onion, red pepper, and garlic until softened, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Pulse sauteed vegetables, cilantro, jalapenos, beans, and lentils in a food processor in batches if necessary.  You’ll want the beans and lentils to become pasty.  When mostly smooth, mix in salt, pepper, and eggs.  Add in the bread crumbs until incorporated and the mixture starts sticking together.  Form patties.
Cook in a well-greased skillet over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes on each side.



Baked Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Growing up I was not a fan of oatmeal.  It was just so mushy and boring.  But baked oatmeal has changed all that.  This recipe makes a delicious, creamy, flavorful, custard-like dish that I could eat all day long.

Baked Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Serves 6-8

Adapted from Budget Bytes

  • 1 can (15oz) pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp dried ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (almond milk works great too and makes it slightly sweeter)
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 1/2 cups dry old-fashioned oats

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Whisk together the pumpkin, brown sugar, eggs, spices, salt, baking powder, and vanilla until smooth.  Mix in the milk and yogurt.  Stir in the dry oats.

Pour into a greased 8″x8″ pan.  Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, until center is set.

Serve with your choice of toppings, milk, whipped cream, toasted nuts, maple syrup, peanut butter, or just enjoy it on its own!

Carrot Herb Rolls

My kneading muscles (who knew that was a thing) are out of shape!

Monday I spent most of the day making delicious rolls.  I think this was the first time I’ve ever made rolls myself, although I’m sure I’ve been around when my grandma or mom made them.  It’s definitely not a quick process, but it was very satisfying.  I made two recipes (not a double because they need space to rise, so I had two separate doughs going at the same time) which worked really well.  If you’re going through all the effort and time you might as well get twice as much out of it!  I was also able to try one recipe with white whole wheat flour, and one with regular all-purpose flour.  They were both delicious (I didn’t notice much of a taste difference), the all-purpose flour were a bit fluffier/bigger, so use whatever is on hand and convenient for you.

I followed this recipe, but without any special equipment (like a thermometer or a plastic bin for the bread).

Carrot Herb Roll

Makes 16 3″ rolls

Adapted from Farmgirl Fare

  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose flour)
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 1/4 cups carrots, finely shredded
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme (or 1 Tbsp fresh)
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt

Mix the bread flour, white whole wheat flour, and yeast in a large bowl.  Make a well in the center and pour in the water and melted butter.  Stir until combined.  Mix in the carrots, parsley, rosemary, and thyme and stir until a soft sticky dough forms.

Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead 5 minutes, sprinkling on a little more bread flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking to your hands and the work surface.

Cover the dough with bowl and let rest 20 minutes.

Sprinkle the salt over the dough and knead for another 5 minutes until the salt is fully incorporated and the dough is smooth and still slightly sticky, adding more flour if necessary.

Put the bowl in a large, warm, greased mixing bowl covered by a damp towel (just damp enough so that the dough won’t stick to the towel).  Let dough rise until doubled in size about 1 to 2 hours depending on how warm your kitchen is.

Once the dough has risen, punch it down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.  Let rest 10 minutes, then divide into 16 pieces. Press down on each piece to expel any air bubbles, then shape into balls.  Place rolls on parchment paper covered baking sheets, cover with a towel and let rise until double in size, about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Just before placing rolls in oven brush on a little salted water for a light shine and crisp baked crust.  Bake  until tops are golden brown and the bottoms ound hollow when tapped, about 25 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.  Store in an airtight container or freeze.  If desired, reheat at 350°F for 5 to 10 minutes before serving, this will crisp the crust up again.

Pumpkin is delicious any time of year!

I spent all day yesterday making Carrot Herb Rolls for SCL.  I think they’re fantastic.  Totally worth all the time it took!  I’ll post that recipe (and the other recipes from tonight’s SCL dinner) soon, but in the meantime here’s one of my favorite snacks!

I’m a big fan of pumpkin.  I’ve also totally taken for granted that I can get cans of pumpkin year round at my local grocery store, so I’ve never really thought about pumpkin as being fall specific.  But if you think pumpkin should only be eaten in the fall, or that’s the only time you can get it, make sure you bookmark these recipes!

Pumpkin Granola Bars

Makes 10 granola bars

Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

  • 3  1/4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Cover an 8″x8″ pan with aluminum foil with enough hanging over that you can use to lift it out of the pan when they’ve finished cooling.

In a large bowl, whisk oats, spices and salt together.  In a medium bowl, stir brown sugar, pumpkin, applesauce, honey, and vanilla until smooth.  Pour over dry ingredients and mix well.

Press mixture evenly into prepared pan.  Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes, cut into bars, remove from pan and allow to cool completely.

I like storing these in the freezer and then just putting one into the toaster oven when I want to eat one.  I especially like them crumbled over fruit and yogurt…makes a delicious parfait!

My new favorite pumpkin recipe, that my friend, Elan discovered is from the Pioneer Woman.  I normally would stay away from a recipe like this because you have to cut the butter into the dry ingredients.  However, I recently read about a trick to freeze the butter and then grate it in.  I find this much easier (since the pieces of butter are nice and small like you want them)!

Moist Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Makes about 24 muffins

Adapted from the Pioneer Woman

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1  1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1  1/2 tsp salt
  • 12 Tbsp (1  1/2 sticks) butter, frozen and grated
  • 1 large can (29oz or about 4 cups) pumpkin puree
  • 1 (regular size, I think 14oz) can evaporated milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1  1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Grease two muffin tins and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt.  Cut in (or grate frozen) butter into dry ingredients until fully incorporated.

In a separate bowl, mix together pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, and vanilla.  Pour pumpkin mixture into flour mixture and fold gently until just incorporated.

Scoop into muffin tins, filling almost to the top (they don’t rise very much).  Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool 15 minutes before removing from the pan.

Seriously amazing.  So moist!

Chickpea Casserole

Ever since my sister went vegetarian 6 or so years ago, I’ve always been on the look out for good substantial main dishes that I could make for her and her boyfriend.  This casserole will be my new go-to dish.

My friend, Elan, and I had a cooking adventure this weekend and made this casserole to test it out before I made it for SCL.  We both loved it!  It comes together pretty quickly and is protein-packed!

Chickpea Casserole

Aren't Elan's plates pretty?!

Serves 7 (about 376 calories, 7g total fat, 21g protein)

Adapted from The Kitchn

  • 3 (15oz) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup cooked barley
  • 4 large shallots, minced
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup fat-free cottage cheese
  • 3/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt (not Greek yogurt)
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan, divided
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 stalks fresh rosemary, (leaves only) minced
  • 2/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs

Preaheat oven to 375°F.  In a large bowl, combine first 8 ingredients (chickpeas through yogurt), mix well.  Add 1/4 cup Parmesan, parsley, and rosemary, mix well.  Pour mixture into a greased 9″x13″ pan or another 3-quart dish.  Sprinkle with 1/2 cup Parmesan and bread crumbs.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly.



Happy Birthday, Chocolate Lover

Today is the 70th birthday of a very dear friend.  I’ve been going to church with Mary Carol my whole life!  In honor of her birthday, I made two decadent chocolate cakes.

Since we celebrated after church on Sunday, I made a chocolate sheet cake so there’d be lots of cake to go around.  This was pretty popular, and seemed to bring back lots of memories for other people of cakes they’d had in their childhood (Texas sheet cake and crazy cake were mentioned).  I, personally, would cut back on the sugar in the frosting, but I tend to like things a little less sweet.

Chocolate Sheet Cake

Serves 48

Adapted from the Pioneer Woman

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 Tbsp (heaping) unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1  1/2 tsp vanilla extract
In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, sugar, and salt.
In a saucepan, melt butter.  Add cocoa and stir.   Add the boiling water, allow to boil for 20 seconds, then turn off the heat.  Pour over the flour mixture and stir lightly to cool.
In a measuring cup, pour the buttermilk and add beaten eggs, baking soda, and vanilla.  Mix buttermilk mixture into the chocolate/flour mixture.
Pour batter into a large sheet cake pan (18″x13″) and bake at 350°F for 20 minutes.
While cake is baking, make the icing.
Chocolate Frosting
  • 1  3/4 stick butter
  • 4 Tbsp (heaping) unsweetened cocoa
  • 6 Tbsp milk
  • 1  1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 lb (minus 1 cup) powdered sugar
Melt butter in a saucepan.  Add cocoa and stir.  Turn off the heat and then add milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar.  Mix well and then pour over the warm cake.

Then, in order to make it extra special, I made a chocolate cheesecake.  This was my first time making a cheesecake.  It’s a little time consuming, but totally worth it.  This turned out so well!  In fact the birthday girl herself said it was the best cheesecake she’s ever had!

Chocolate Lovers’ Cheesecake

Makes 1 9″ cheesecake

Adapted from Annie’s Eats


  • 1  1/2 cups finely ground chocolate cookie crumbs (less than 1 pkg of Nabisco chocolate wafers)
  • 2  Tbsp sugar
  • 4 Tbsp butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Line the bottom of a 9″ springform pan with a round of parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine the cookie crumbs, sugar, and melted butter.  Mix with a fork until all the crumbs are moistened.  Add the crumb mixture to the springform pan and gently press about 1 inch up the sides and in an even layer over the bottom.  Bake for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.


  • 1/2 cup sour cream (I used fat free)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • 8 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3 (8oz) packages cream cheese, room temp. (I used two 1/3 reduced fat, and one regular)
  • 3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1  1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temp.

For the filling, combine the sour cream, vanilla, and espresso powder in a small bowl.  Whisk to blend and set aside.  Melt the chocolate in a double boiler until completely smooth.  Set aside and let cool slightly.

Beat the cream cheese, cocoa powder, and salt with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy.  Beat in the sugar and continue mixing, scraping down the sides as needed.  Add the cooled chocolate and mix well.  Beat in the sour cream mixture, then beat in the eggs one at a time until just incorporated.  Don’t over-beat the eggs or the cheesecake will puff too much.

Pour the filling into the cooled crust.  Bake until the center jiggles very slightly (mine was still pretty jiggly), about an hour.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool for about two hours before covering and refrigerating for at least 8 hours or overnight.  After a few hours in the fridge, top with the chocolate glaze.

Chocolate Glaze:

  • 3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 6 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature

Bring cream to a simmer in a small saucepan.  Turn off the heat and add chopped chocolate to the saucepan.  Let sit for 1 minute, then whisk until smooth.  Add butter and whisk until incorporated.  Pour the glaze over the chilled cheesecake.  Chill thoroughly.

To serve, carefully unmold the sides of the pan.  Run a sharp knife under hot water to warm the blade, and wipe dry.  To slice cleanly wipe the blade clean after each slice.  Serve chilled.

Cocktail into Cupcake

In honor of Becky’s birthday a few weeks ago, I made these White Russian Cupcakes for her birthday party.  I don’t think I’ve ever had a White Russian, so I don’t have the real thing to compare these too, but I thought they were pretty tasty!

My only problem with these was that the buttercream looked like it was starting to separate, so I put the cupcakes in the fridge before taking them downtown for the party.  Fortunately, Becky had some edible glitter which was a lovely distraction from the slightly odd frosting.  Pretty and delicious!

White Russian Cupcakes

Makes 24 cupcakes

Adapted from these White Russian Cupcakes

  • 2  1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1  1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup (1  1/2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs + 2 egg whites
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup Vodka
  • 1/2 cup Kahlua, divided

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease or line a cupcake pan with paper liners.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat together the butter and sugar.  Add eggs and egg whites, one at a time.  Then add vanilla, vodka, and 1/4 cup Kahlua; mix well.

Gradually add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk, ending with flour.

Bake 17 – 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  While the cupcakes are still warm, brush the tops with the remaining Kahlua.  Let rest for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

Kahlua Buttercream

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 7 Tbsp Kahlua

Beat butter until creamy.  Add salt.  Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating until combined, alternating with Kahlua.

Peanut butter and Chocolate = match made in heaven!

I’m a BIG fan of peanut butter and chocolate.

This recipe is pretty simple and super delicious.  The mix of salty-sweet is perfection.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 29 cookies:  About 135 calories per cookie

Adapted from The Pastry Affair

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1/4 scant cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1  1/2 cups semisweet mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the egg, vanilla, and peanut butter.  Beat until smooth.  Mix in the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Using a cookie-scoop,  drop the cookies onto a greased (or parchment paper covered) cookie sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned.

So delicious.  Try not to devour the whole pan yourself…it’d be so easy…

Kalamata Olive & Sun-Dried Tomato Muffins with a Goat Cheese Center

These muffins were quite tasty.  I’m a big fan of olives, but didn’t find these to have an overwhelming olive taste (so if you don’t like them, don’t be scared; if you do like them, you might add some extra).

Kalamata Olive & Sun-Dried Tomato Muffins with a Goat Cheese Center

Makes 32 muffins:  About 217 calories (7 g protein!)

Adapted from The Best Quick Breads by Beth Hensperger

  • 6  3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 Tbsp yellow cornmeal
  • 2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1  1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 cups milk (I used skim)
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup pitted black olives, coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 10 ounces plain goat cheese, cut into 32 pieces and rolled into balls

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Grease muffin pans and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.

In a separate bowl, beat the milk, olive oil, and eggs with a whisk until well mixed.  Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until ingredients are just combined.  Do not overmix!  Gently fold in the olives and tomatoes.

Fill muffin cups halfway, place goat cheese ball in center, then spoon more batter over the top until muffin cups are full.  Bake in the center of the oven for about 15-20 minutes.  A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.

Store leftovers in the fridge or freezer.

Ratatouille Soup (no rats involved)

Tuesday started the second term of the School of Christian Living, so the catering continues for at least another 6 weeks!  Yay!  I’m enjoying it way more than I ever thought I would!

This week was really hard to find something I was inspired to make.  After much discussion with Mom, and looking through all of the magazine cutouts we’ve collected, I decided on Ratatouille Soup, Kalamata Olive & Sun Dried Tomato Muffins with a Goat Cheese Center, Salad, and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Ratatouille Soup

Serves 24:  About 98 calories per 1 1/2 cup serving

Adapted from Food Network Magazine (September 2010)

  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 large onions, diced
  • 20 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 6 Japanese eggplants, diced
  • 6 small zucchini, diced
  • 6 yellow bell peppers, diced
  • 5 large cans (28oz) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 (32oz) boxes vegetable broth
  • 5 Tbsp herbes de Provence
  • 2 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 large handfuls of fresh basil leaves, chopped

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and the smashed garlic and cook until soft, about 3 minutes.  Add the eggplant, zucchini, and bell peppers; cook for about 5 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, broth, herbes, cumin, honey, and half the basil.  Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

I’d definitely recommend serving this with some parmesan cheese on top…sadly I forgot to bring some (nor did I have any money left in my budget) for Tuesday night.

So the great debate on Tuesday was about calorie counts.  Based on some feedback from last term of SCL, I’m calculating the calorie counts.  I went ahead and put the count on the labels I make for the buffet line.  At dinner I overheard one table discussing how they didn’t want to know the numbers.  I think in the future I’ll have the nutrition facts available on a side table but not written on the food labels.

What are your thoughts?  If the knowledge is available would you want to know?