Fresh Peach Salsa

They are BACK.

We’ve waited since October. 8 long months for them.

Fresh PEACHES!

Of course you have been able to purchase peaches from Chili, Mexico or California for quite some time. But this is just about the very first of the Washington peaches. They start out small and cling but a month from now they’ll be incredible! These peaches are a teaser of better things to come.

I made up my own recipe based on a few that I read on pinterest.

Fresh Peach Salsa

12 small peaches, washed and chopped (I peeled about 1/2 of them, peel if you want, you don’t have to)

2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

2 jalapeño peppers, diced (toss seeds out if you want less spicy)

1/2 onion, chopped

1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped

2 cobs of corn, roasted and kernels chopped off cob

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 TB salt

Toss everything together gently. I have found salsas to be tastier the next day, drain excess liquid before serving.


Black Bean Burgers

My mom went through this fantastic health food phase in the early 90’s, and that is when I was introduced to manufactured “Garden Burgers”, they have greatly improved over the years, my mom and dad still get garden burgers on occasion.

I think it was the Morningstar Farms brand that came out with a spicy black bean burger that was delicious. That was my inspiration for this recipe. I absolutely love black beans. If you took all the bean varieties and rated them by their percent of nutritional awesomeness black beans are right up there with the top 3 in my opinion.

They’ve got loads of protein, iron, calcium, B-vitamins and lets not forget FIBER. Very important for many reasons.

Oh, and yes, this meal does constitute as a COMPLETE PROTEIN, there is egg in the patty. The only fat in addition to the beans is in the egg, so this is an incredibly low-fat, high protein meal. Mmmm yum.

We ate these burgers with spinach, tomato, Dijon mustard and ketchup.

Black Bean Burgers

3 cups black beans

4 slices bread toasted*

2 eggs

1 1/2 tsp black pepper

2 tsp salt

2 tsp cumin

2 TB hot sauce

Toast 4 slices of bread (I used stale oatnut bread) tear up and pulse in food processor until desirable size (see above photo, anything works really). Pour bread crumbs into large bowl. Pulse black beans in food processor with eggs, pepper, salt and cumin until smooth (if it all doesn’t fit in processor then blend beans in smaller portions and mix all together in bowl). Mix black bean mixture with bread crumbs (add hot sauce if that’s your thing), roll into 10 balls. Spray small pan with non-stick coating, press a ball into a patty with hands and place on heated pan (medium heat) cook on each side until browned, about 3 minutes on each side.

This recipe made 9 burgers, but could have EASILY made 10, I just wasn’t paying too much attention.

*I suppose you could use bread crumbs, commercially packaged bread crumbs, however, without sounding like a nutritional snoot, I would encourage you to read the ingredients and nutrition facts on a container of . . . let’s say Progresso Bread Crumbs, it’s kind of yucky. Many more ingredients that just a slice of bread and often additional trans fat. One of the few food products STILL on the market with significant amounts of trans-fat. You’ve been warned.

More Bean facts (I LOVE WSU)


Refried Beans, but not

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I grew up with canned vegetarian refried beans. That was the bean product of choice for tacos. I really didn’t like them. Something about how they “slurped” out of the can and how thick they were, even when well heated, just didn’t sit right with me. I remember getting Rosarita’s “vegetarian refried beans with lime”, which was more tolerable, but still mildly dreadful.

I liked the lard laden ones at the local taco joint, those were great, but not really something I would want to eat on a regular basis.

Now, I’ve always enjoyed whole beans in tacos, black beans and kidney beans primarily.

But it wasn’t until I went to my friend Laura’s house  (owner of a white plate that I borrowed for blog photo purposes), that I discovered homemade “refried beans” style mashed pinto beans. She made them from whole dry pinto beans with a few seasonings and mashed them.

Mind blown.

You mean, you can make refried beans from scratch??? (I’ve obviously never considered this)

Last week, while visiting my mom, she gave me some dry beans she didn’t get around to usingImage

Pinto Splits? Good enough.

I found it funny, that the bag said “No Cholesterol”. Well, there better darn well not be any cholesterol in DRIED BEANS. I would be terrified if there was. Made me think of Almost Pizza.

I dumped a half a bag of them in my slow cooker with water, a diced onion, garlic, cumin, hot sauce and black pepper, let it do it’s thing for awhile and then, according to other recipes, I drained the water out, and then mashed the beans up. At that point I added salt, adding it before would have made the beans more difficult to cook. I then re-added additional water to get it to a perfect consistency, and squirted a little lime juice in for flavor.

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Oh my. Delish.

The beans were so good, we just wanted to eat them plain with chips or tortillas. We were out of tortilla chips so we made some with leftover corn tortillas.

But then we burnt them, smelled the whole house up, practically caught the oven on fire (not the first time we’ve done that). We threw up the white flag and ran to Rosauer’s instead.

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Refried Beans, un-fried

2 lbs Pinto Splits

8 cups of water

1 TB ground cumin

1 onion, chopped

3 TB fresh garlic, chopped

3 TB Valentina Hot Sauce (I think this is in every recipe I’ve made, lol)

1 lime

4 tsp salt (to taste)

Toss beans, water, cumin, onion, garlic and hot sauce in slow cooker for 6 hours on high (or over night), drain liquid from beans and reserve. Mash beans with masher or puree in food processor if you desire a more uniform texture. Add salt and the juice of one lime.

Eat as a side dish, as a dip with chips (ideally not burnt ones)


Soba noodles with tofu and veggies

To be quite honest, the jury is still out for me on soy.

Soy is in EVERYTHING these days, modified soy protein in so many processed foods.

Soy contains phytoestrogens, chemicals that imitate the hormone estrogen. That doesn’t even sound good, right?

Soy also has phytates in it which can slow absorption of minerals. Quite a few foods when eaten with other foods inhibit or increase absorption, so it’s something to be aware of but probably not freak out about.

I don’t want to write off soy products completely. It is a bean afterall. I tend to think that soy becomes a danger when it’s the majority food product in your diet. Soy cheese, soy milk or tofu at every meal. That is why I question a strict vegan diet, especially if you are just “replacing” dairy and meat with soy products. I understand loving animals, that’s great. I love them too. But that doesn’t mean you have to stuff yourself with soy in an effort to avoid eating them.

BUT on the other hand, soy beans have a lot of great benefits as well, low fat, high protein, associated with reduced risk of hypertension, high levels of isoflavones, the list goes on and on.

Well, as LeVar Burton used to say on Reading Rainbow and what he now tweets all the time #BYDHTTMWFI

“But you don’t have to take my word for it. . .”

Neonatal Phytoestrogen Exposure

Soy protein and triglycerides 

Soy Protein and reducing reoccurrence of Breast Cancer

Soy and Sperm (because you always wondered, right?)

Uh oh. I just got a little opinionated there, better be careful. Ahem, back to the meal.

I had picked up some Soba noodles for some variety, traditional Japanese buckwheat noodles.

I just got home from a weekend in Vancouver/Portland visiting my family. So, I didn’t have time to grocery shopping, I thought I’d just throw together a meal with the veggies I had on hand, red onions, fresh green beans and broccoli.

I like my tofu to not taste like tofu, obviously, right? So I “dry fried” it, pretty much just chopping up your tofu and  pan frying it (sans oil) to get the extra moisuture out so it will easily soak up the marinade.

I chopped the tofu up, that wasn’t a great idea, it would have been easier to dry it out if I had left them in slices. Just cooked them on medium low heat for 5 minutes, pressing down with a spatula and flipping periodically.

I then made a marinade poured it into a ziplock and tossed the tofu in there to hang out for 2 hours

Then cooked the veggies, carmelized the onions, boiled the noodles and then heated everything up. It was yummy.

Totally a chopsticks food.

I’m a little bit of a chopsticks snob, I’ll admit it. I actually think some foods taste better when consumed with chopsticks. And I picked up some bamboo ones recently I was excited to try out.

Soba noodles with Tofu and Veggies

1 lb Super Firm Tofu, chopped (or sliced, then chopped like I mentioned above)

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce

2 tsp sesame oil

6 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tsp Sriracha sauce (add more if you want more heat)

2 TB honey

1 TB Fish Sauce (omit if you want vegan)

Slice up tofu, dry fry for 10 minutes, flipping from side to side until tofu darkens slightly and is dry to the touch, mix up marinade of rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, sriacha, honey and fish sauce, pour over tofu and allow to marinate for at least 1 hour (I did 2). Overnight would be ideal!

1 red onion, sliced

1/2 lb broccoli, chopped

2 cups fresh green beans, ends chopped off

1 package Soba noodles

Caramelize onions on a covered pan for 10-15 minutes, pour onions into a bowl, set pan aside. Using onion pan add 1/2 cup water, broccoli and green beans, heat to medium heat and cook covered 5 minutes or until broccoli turns bright green. Remove broccoli, allow green beans to cook another 5 minutes or until tender, drain excess water. Add broccoli, onions, green beans and tofu with marinade to pan, heat on low heat while cooking the noodles.

Boil soba noodles (they take significantly shorter time than wheat pasta noodles, follow package directions, but usually 4-5 minutes). Drain and add noodles to pan. Toss until noodles are covered in marinade.

Serves 4 easily.

Matt and I added more sriacha sauce, I would have LOVED to top it with chopped peanuts and cilantro!


Crunchy Tofu Cabbage Salad

During Christmas break, I was grocery shopping with my mom and she sent me into the produce area with one goal in mind, pick up 4 bags of coleslaw. When I asked, WHY in the world we need FOUR bags of chopped cabbage in the middle of December she answered “Your father is addicted to cabbage.”

I laughed, it’s true though, my dad eats cabbage with almost every meal, usually in raw chopped form with dressing on it, or wrapped in a tortilla with other goodness. He uses cabbage instead of any other leafy green because he loves how it tastes and it stores well. Who could blame him really, cabbage is one of my favorite foods too. And not to go all nutritional on you, but it’s packed full of healthy things, Vit C, the B-complex not to mention lots of fiber!

My sweet friend Sarah makes a Teriyaki chicken salad that this recipe is reminiscent of.

I loaded this recipe up with healthy oils, from almonds to seasame seeds, even sunflower seed oil, it’s vegan too! Mmmm. It’s good, even better the next day around. Great large crowd side dish.

Crunchy Tofu Cabbage Salad

1 head of green cabbage, chopped (but for kicks and giggles feel free to do half red & half green)

5 green onions, chopped

1 cup carrots, shredded

3/4 cup sliced almonds

2 packages ramen noodles, broken up

1 package Trader Joes Teriyaki fried tofu, cubed

1/4 cup  toasted sesame seeds

1/2 cup sunflower oil

1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce (Trader Joe’s is THE BEST soy sauce Evah!)

3 TB white vinegar

3 TB honey

2 TB sugar

Toss cabbage, onions, carrots, noodles, tofu and sesame seeds together, mix gently. Mix oil, soy sauce, vinegar, honey and sugar together, pour on top of cabbage mixture. Toss together until incorporated, refrigerate overnight for best results.


Crock Pot Lentil/Garbanzo Masala Stew

Well, April in Spokane involves snow and lots of rain. And really still cold temperatures. So, I’m still cooking stews and soups like it’s January. My most recent invention was inspired by a recipe I pinned, but I altered the recipe significantly, so it’s pretty different.

I got the recipe from http://www.eatliverun.com/crock-pot-chickpea-butternut-squash-and-red-lentil-stew/

I couldn’t find garam masala (I’m sure it’s here in Spokane somewhere, but I didn’t feel like hunting), so I rerouted the recipe and used Masala simmer sauce instead.

I LOVE our new Trader Joe’s (TJs) it’s a blast, I love to go early in the morning before it’s too busy. This recipe is almost entirely from there, so if you don’t have one near by call me and I’ll send you some masala simmer sauce to make this! Mmmm yum!

Crock Pot Lentil/Garbanzo Masala Stew

Served 12? (a lot anyway, poor Matt might be tired of it, I LOVE it still)

1 onion, chopped

4 carrots, chopped

1.5 tsp minced garlic

1 bag chopped Butternut Squash, (32 oz) from TJs

1 jar Masala Simmer Sauce from TJs

1 cup mixed lentil and dry bean mix from TJs

1/2 cup brown lentils

1 large (28oz) can whole tomatoes (I chopped them once I dumped the can in the crock pot, diced would work too)

1 quart organic chicken broth (use veggie if Vegan)

2 cans garbanzo beans

1/2 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp ginger

1 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp cardamom

Salt, Pepper and Sriicha to taste

Heat onions and carrots in a little oil on a pan until carrots are bright orange and onions are softened. Dump in slow cooker with everything else. I let it simmer/cook for 4.5  hours on low, 1 hour of high, that was a minimum, it probably needed a little longer.

We ate it with Naan from TJs.

OMG. It was so good. Very flavorful, aromatic without being too overwhelming. You could easily eat this over brown basmati rice too.

It was cheap too. Despite purchasing pre-chopped butternut from TJs (I hate chopping butternut squash), it was a $12 meal and fed us forever. Also froze well for Matt’s work lunches.

Yum ya yum yum yum.