This is easily one of my most favourite ways to eat black beans. This recipe is quick and easy and can get you out of a pinch when extra guests arrive unexpectedly for dinner. I almost always have a black beans in the pantry and salsa in the fridge. The rest of the recipe is pretty forgiving and flexible which means you really can’t go wrong. Don’t have bread crumbs, no worries, simply use some oatmeal. Don’t have cilantro? No problem. The burgers will still taste great!
Black Bean Burgers
1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
1/2 medium cooking onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 lime, freshly squeezed
1/4 c salsa
1/2 c bread crumbs
1/4 c cilantro
Mash the black beans in a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Form into 4-6 patties. Fry on the stove in a little coconut oil or grill on the BBQ on medium heat. They don’t take long to cook – a few minutes each side.
There is so much more to camping & cottage food than hotdogs and s’mores over the fire. Take it up a notch this Summer by spending a little time planning your menu ahead of time.
Here are my top 5 tips to make your outdoor holiday a success!
1. Plan ALL meals and snacks before you pack up the car for your adventure. Planning your meals ahead of time and thinking through the cooking process will help you pack all of the appropriate gear required to make your meals. On one family getaway, we found ourselves in the predicament of pancake production without a flipper!
2. Eat highly perishable items near the beginning of the trip and pack the cooler in order of use.
3. Freeze drinks to use as extra ice packs. Keeping all drinks in a separate cooler from food will also help keep the perishable foods from being in a cooler that is often opened.
4. Tape 3-5 empty, ‘tic-tac,’ containers together and fill with spices such as salt, pepper, garlic powder or cinnamon. This makes your spices easy to find and in a user friendly container.
5. Dedicate a large plastic tote to your make outdoor makeshift kitchen. We keep this bin in our basement with all of our other camping gear and pull it out every trip. This bin has shaved off hours of prep because it contains all the miscellaneous items we might need…and have forgotten in the past. The items in our bin are mostly retired things from our kitchen that we have upgraded or replaced.
• Dish cloths, tea towels, dish soap and a rectangle bucket for a, ‘sink.’
• Can opener, bottle opener & at least 2 sharp knives.
• Frying pan, oven mitts, long tongs and a flipper.
• Plastic or metal plates, bowls and cups. Consider cups with lids to keep out curious critters!
• A full set of cutlery.
• An electric kettle and a toaster.
• A box of plastic baggies, plastic wrap, foil wrap and a roll of paper towel.
• Lighter and newspaper for starting a fire.
• Rope and clothes pins for drying kitchen linen, etc.
Now What to Eat?
A few tips before we get right into the menu ideas. Do whatever washing, chopping or prepping that can be done ahead of time. It is so worth the investment of time before you go! We always take with us a large container of pre-cut veggies. Fruit is pre-washed, dried and stored in large plastic storage bags.
Here are some menu ideas for you to consider:
• hard boiled eggs
• whole grain pancakes that just need to be warmed in the toaster – don’t forget our local maple syrup
• oatmeal – add in raisins, nuts, cinnamon and maple syrup
• whole grain wraps or pitas filled with tuna, avocado & veggies, hummus & veggies
• mini pita pizzas – mini whole grain pitas, pizza sauce, sliced nitrate free turkey pepperoni, diced green peppers and grated cheese
• sandwiches – sliced cheese, nitrate free deli meat, whole grain bread, lettuce, tomatoes and mustard
• Good old PB & Jelly – whole grain bread, unsweetened peanut butter and naturally sweetened jam
• foil dinners – prepare these ahead of time at home and use near the beginning of your trip. (chicken & veggies, roasted potatoes)
• precooked sausage
• produce that doesn’t bruise easily – oranges, apples, carrots, celery
• trail mix
• nut butter & apple slices
Summer days are here! Trips to the cottage, camping excursions and backyard barbeques are thankfully becoming easier to enjoy as covid restrictions begin to ease. Holidays are meant to restore us and give us rest from our everyday routine. It makes sense to take good care of yourself over the holidays – emotionally, physically and nutritionally.
I have a simple request for you this summer – please don’t take a holiday from healthy eating! While in vacation mode, there can be a tendency to throw caution to the wind and eat less sensibly than usual. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am all in for beach fries and a few trips to the ice cream shop, but it needs to be kept in balance. We live in a truly abundant geographical location where the choices of fresh veggies and fruit are too many to count. We would be wise to eat well, especially when it is so easy to do so. I urge you, love your local farmer and purchase their produce – right at their laneways or at the market.
To help you stay on track with healthy eating, try this delicious & balanced smoothie recipe.
1 cup blueberries
1 small peach
1/2 small banana
1 cup baby spinach
1/2 c Greek yogurt
a little water to get desired consistency
Blend in small personal blender & enjoy. You can also try freezing smoothies into delicious frozen treats using popsicle molds.
Deciding what to eat for breakfast in the morning can seem like solving a complex mathematical equation at times. We are often still half asleep as we make our way into the kitchen looking for some nourishment. We get stuck in a rut and usually end up eating something that leaves us feeling uninspired.
I recommend that when thinking about the week ahead of you, come up with 3 different breakfast options that you can rotate your way through. This alleviates trying to re-invent the wheel everyday and makes your morning routine a whole lot easier. One of my favourite breakfasts is a breakfast sandwich. It checks off all my boxes for deliciousness, balance as well as ease.
Open Faced Breakfast Sammie
1 slice whole grain or sprouted grain bread, lightly toasted
1-2 tbsp hummus
1 slice of tomato
1 free range egg, hard boiled & sliced or over-easy
1/2 sliced avocado
drizzle of balsamic vinegar
crumbled feta, optional
Place toast on plate. Spread hummus in place of butter. Place tomato slice on bottom, followed by egg and then avocado. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with feta. Use a fork & knife to eat, unless you are incredibly skilled and not making a mess. Enjoy.
Here is a little fun fact about me. I have the honour of celebrating my birthday! I have completed another trip around the sun and what a ride it has been! One of my favourite ways to celebrate my birthday is by eating good food with family and friends. One of my favourite foods is salad. It is true. I am not just saying that because it feels like the appropriate answer as a Nutritionist. As long as I can remember, salads have been at the top of my list. I never had to try to like them, I just naturally did. I am forever indebted to the natural tendencies of my taste buds. Whether you also like salads as much as I do, or you are kind of on the fence in regards to these leafy bowls, this recipe is sure to please!
Greens & Yummy Bits
1 head of local romaine lettuce
2 big handfuls of local baby spinach
1 c. chopped apple with skin left on
1 c. blueberries
1/2 c. toasted sliced almonds
1/4 c. toasted pumpkin seeds
1/2 c. olive oil
1/3 c. white wine vinegar
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 tbsp. Elmira maple syrup
2 tbsp. fresh chives, chopped
1 tbsp. curry powder
1 tsp. soya sauce or tamari sauce for a gluten free option
Toss almonds & seeds in a little avocado oil and sea salt. Toast in oven for a few minutes at 250°F, being careful to stir frequently and not to burn. This should only take a few minutes. Allow mixture to cool.
Meanwhile, add ingredients for dressing into a glass jar and give a shake. You can make this the night before if you wish. Allow it to sit in the fridge for at least 10 minutes before using to let the flavours blend.
Now prepare the greens & yummy bits in a large salad bowl. Just before serving add as much dressing as you wish. If you don’t use it all, you will have some for tomorrow!
Happy Canada Day. Every year I am grateful for the country I live in. I am fully aware and mean no disrespect to those reeling from the recent residential school discoveries. As a country, we still have a long way to go in regards to reconciling both past and present atrocities against Indigenous peoples. This cannot be overlooked one second longer! We can and must do better. But this year more than ever, I am proud of us as Canadians for enduring one of the most challenging years we have had to collectively face in this century. I think we can agree that this past year has left us all feeling a little tattered and torn in at least one way or another. We miss our friends and family. We long to travel with ease. And, while those things are all on the horizon, I think it is important to find value and gratitude in the moment we currently find ourselves in.
It is with this in mind that I encourage you to find 3 things to be grateful for right here, right now. I’ll start.
My family – While there have been times this past year that I wanted to find a little unknown nook or cranny in my house to hide from everyone, I am so incredibly grateful for my family. We have stuck by each other, supported one another and driven each other a little crazy. By the way, there is no unknown nook or cranny in my house, trust me, I’ve thoroughly looked…a few times.
My friends – While I miss sipping tea together in my living room, or sharing a meal around my dining table, we have become really good at staying connected through backyard visits, sending surprises in the mail and online video chats. We have figured out how to play games where the delay of video chatting only added to the silliness of it all. These are good people and I am blessed to have them in my circle.
Strawberries – This may sound a little trite, but it is true. Good food is something to be absolutely grateful for. Strawberries are a definite highlight for me as we celebrate the deliciousness of the season. Years ago while working full-time in childcare, one of the children proudly exclaimed that strawberries are like the candy of fruit. I couldn’t agree more! As we prepare to celebrate Canada Day, why not celebrate with some fresh & local strawberries? While you are at it, throw in a handful or two of rhubarb!
Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
3 c strawberries, diced
3 c chopped rhubarb
1 tsp cinnamon
1 c old fashioned oats
1/3 c spelt flour
2 tbsp flax seed, ground
1/2 c raw cane sugar
1/3 c. melted coconut oil or butter
Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 9″ x 13″ pan with coconut oil or butter. Place fruit in bottom of pan & sprinkle with cinnamon – feel free to use more cinnamon if you wish! In a mixing bowl, combine oats, spelt flour, flax seed, sugar & melted oil or butter. Spread oat mixture on top of fruit. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Serve with a dollop of freshly whipped cream. Enjoy!