Let’s start out with a black bean burger

What better way to start out 2014 than with a quick post on black bean burgers.

I’ve been a pescatarian for the last 6 years. A should say a strict pescatarian for the last 5 but have dipped my toe into the fowl world in the last year (I blame it on my allowing myself to “cheat” with turkey on Thanksgiving Day 2012… it was all downhill after that). I still don’t eat a lot of chicken or turkey, but find that I crave it after not having it for a few days. So, I don’t deprive myself of it because I believe the body craves what it needs.

Anyway, I’ve had two delicious black bean burgers of late. One that my husband made out of the Isa Chandra Moskowitz vegan cookbook called the Island Black Bean Burger (though we went with the alternate route just using black beans, no black-eyed peas, and mild chili powder and cumin instead of the Jamaican curry powder). Yum!! Even the kiddoes loved it!! A much healthier alternative to beef and pretty easy to throw together.

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The second is the Spicy Baja burger from Smashburger here in Austin, TX.

Delicious on both counts!! Seriously, you forget that you ever ate beef. Give ’em a try and let me know what you think! Or, if you have a black bean burger recipe that you love, please share!

HAPPY 2014! Make it a healthy and deliciously happy year!

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Fabulous chocolate chip cookie

What better way to come back to the blogosphere after a long respite than with a delicious recipe!!

The inspiration for this ridiculous deliciousness is none other than the Levain Bakery‘s Chocolate Chip Walnut cookie. The recipe is not an actual Levain Bakery recipe, as they keep that recipe close to the chest, as close as Coca Cola keeps the Coke recipe close to theirs. It’s a close copycat from Parsley, Sage, Deserts and Line Drives. I substituted pecans for walnuts, and put in half the amount of chocolate chip cookies just because we’re not big fans of too many chocolate chips.

These are excellent! I am going to continue to try my hand at making them gooier. Granted, the reduction in chocolate chips probably made a difference, but I think I also needed to cook them for less time to make them more “undercooked”. Regardless, these were a big hit, and I must bid my farewells as I make my way to the kitchen for a cookie and a glass of milk.

Try them out and let me know how you’ve perfected them!

Barbecue Grub

‘Tis the season. That’s right, it’s barbecue season. We had our first this past Saturday and I had to bust out a tried-and-true and a new recipe. Both that are so darn good, I have to share.

New Potato Salad / Image rights, Food Network

New Potato Salad – yep, the old standby, potato salad. But Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten, has given this little favorite a most delicious little twist. Even my kids love this recipe (except my youngest; I told  you, she’s a picky eater).

The only thing I do differently with this recipe is I don’t put as much dill in it, or red onion. Neither of which are big favorites in our house. Otherwise, still an unbelievably delicious potato salad. (The weird part about that picture above, that I grabbed from the Food Network, is it shows what appear to be carrots, or red peppers … neither of which are in the recipe. That’s annoying.)

Best Baked Beans Ever / Image rights - The Pioneer Woman

The Best Baked Beans Ever (that’s what she calls them!) – this was my first time making these. This is from one of my favorite bloggers (and photographers), The Pioneer Woman. Now, because it’s made with Pork and Beans (yes, canned beans), and bacon, I did not indulge. I don’t do meat, but my kids and Palo Alto do. For them, I wanted to try it out. This too got rave reviews from my family and friends (except tiny kiddo; she’s lucky I adore her so much). The bacon slices were especially delicious on the hamburgers, I’m told.

I want to try this out next time with home-made beans (dried beans, soaked overnight), and sans bacon. It’ll be a few tries before I get one that’s tasty, but I’m on a mission. My summer mission.

Hey, if you have a great baked beans meatless recipe, please let me know!!

Best Blueberry Muffins

Best Blueberry Muffins / Image rights - thebittenword.typepad.com

I’m always leery of anything that self-proclaims being the “best”. However, when searching for a tasty blueberry muffin recipe, of course I Googled “best blueberry muffins”.  At least then I felt like I had a good starting place. Someone had tried the recipe out and determined, in their opinion, that it was worthy of a “best” title.

I looked at a few of them and I went with this one only because of the source, Cook’s Illustrated. I love Cook’s. I used to subscribe to them a couple of years ago but due to some budget constraints, it had to be cut from my “non-essential” items. (Boo) Well, these were without question worthy of the title.

They were moist, and full of blueberry flavor! My oldest is a huge blueberry muffin fan and was quick to take on the task of judging whether or not these met her tastebud requirements. She loved them! I pretty much followed the recipe as is, with one exception. I didn’t do 1 1/8 cups of sugar. I’ve mentioned it before … I have a problem with dropping so much sugar in a recipe. I think I cut it back by 1/2 a cup. I opted for the sugar/lemon topping, and even that one I didn’t sprinkle too much over the tops of the muffins just to not overdo the sweetness factor. I’d love to try the Almond or Streusel topping. Next time!! And there will most certainly be a next time!

I’m not allowed to re-produce the recipe here so I’m pointing you to the site where I found it, and who has gotten permission to re-post it. (Thanks The Bitten Word!)

The BEST Blueberry Muffins – recipe, Cook’s Illustrated May/June 2009