Easy Sauteed Brussel Sprouts

I made these tonight. While I love to cook vegetables and am proud that my kids eat them well, I had never made brussel sprouts before and I was a little nervous. I made broccoli as well just in case. The verdict? There was a little broccoli left over but no sprouts. Yay!

1 package/1 lb. fresh brussel sprouts

2 tablespoons olive oil or grapeseed oil

splash of balsamic vinegar and/or red wine

kosher salt/ freshly ground pepper

crushed red pepper flakes

1 clove of garlic

1 tablespoon honey

Rinse, dry, and slice brussel sprouts into halves. Add oil to a cast iron skillet and heat on medium high to high heat. Add brussel sprouts and sautee for 2-3 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar and/or wine and the remaining ingredients. Toss to coat. Cover and cook at a reduced heat (low) for 10 minutes until tender.




Tortilla Soup

This soup is a crowd-pleaser. I made my version vegetarian but you could add boiled chicken and chicken broth if you like.


1 medium yellow onion chopped

3 large carrots, chopped

1-2 Tablespoons olive oil or grapeseed oil

2 cans Eden Organic Black beans (rinsed)

1 container of Pomi chopped tomatoes (26.46 oz)

1 container of Pomi strained tomatoes (26.46 oz)

1 container vegetable broth (4 cups or 32 ounces- I use the Pacific brand)

2 cups water

3-4 cloves of garlic chopped

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon ancho chili pepper (dried spice)

and/or 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust accordingly to your preference for spiciness)


1 cup shredded monterrey jack cheese

warmed corn tortillas or tortilla chips

2 avocados, diced

fresh sprigs of cilantro

(cooked chicken* optional)

lime wedges


Saute onion and carrots in olive or grape seed oil for 2-3 minutes or until onions become soft and translucent. Add black beans, strained tomatoes, chopped tomatoes, broth, water, garlic, and spices. Bring to boil. Lower heat, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.  Add additional water if soup becomes too thick.

To serve, place desired condiments in bowl, pour soup over condiments. Squeeze lime juice from wedges into soup. Enjoy!


Roasted Sweet Potatoes

As you know, I love roasted vegetables. Love them! I love roasted mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, etc. I found this recipe on pinterest. I tried it once and mostly followed the recipe (adding some olive oil instead of all butter and adding garlic because garlic makes everything better, in my opinion.) It was a hit with my family. I tried to make it again a month or so later and when I went to retrieve the recipe from pinterest, it was gone! The picture was there but the original website it was linked to was no longer available so I had to improvise since I couldn’t remember exact proportions. This is the recipe I used and they turned out delicious.  I am sure that you and your family will like these! Mine did! Enjoy.


2 sweet potatoes or yams

1 tablespoon of butter

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1-2 cloves of garlic sliced

Kosher Salt to taste


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash, peel and cube sweet potatoes into 1 inch pieces. Place in a glass baking dish. Place slices of garlic in olive oil in a small bowl to coat garlic. Add olive oil mixture to sweet potatoes (this ensures the garlic won’t scorch). Use more or less olive oil depending on how many sweet potatoes or yams you use.  Cut butter into small pieces and add to mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir to coat.  Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender and slightly browned and caramelized. Enjoy!

I served this with red lentils and homemade pita bread. Recipes to come!

Black Bean-Quinoa Burgers

I love veggie burgers! Although I always order them when we go out for dinner, I had never made any at home before. Then I discovered this recipe. They are delicious and a little complicated to make, but well worth the effort.

The reason this recipe is adapted is because I accidentally added all the black beans and all the quinoa into the food processor instead of leaving some of each to stir in as the recipe calls. When I realized my error, I had to add some flour to help them bind. Regardless of my error, they came out delicious.

The next attempt at making these, I followed the recipe exactly as it was but the patties crumbled up in the oven. They would have made a great taco filling but I was disappointed that they didn’t remain intact. Additionally, the original recipe calls for cooking the quinoa for 20 minutes. When I tried this, it burned. 10 minutes is all you need.

So this recipe shows the version that worked for me. I have included the link to the original recipe for reference.


1/2 cup quinoa

1 small onion finely chopped (1 cup)

6 oil packed sun dried tomatoes drained and finely chopped (1/4 cup)

1 and 1/2 cups cooked black beans or 1 15 oz. can of black beans, rinsed and drained

2 cloves garlic minced (2 tsp)

salt and pepper

1/2 to 3/4 cup of flour

8 hamburger buns

Lettuce, tomato, cheese, onion, pickles, avocado, ketchup to taste


1. Stir together quinoa and 1/4 cup water in saucepan. Bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer for 10 minutes. (*original recipe called for 20 minutes but is too long and burns the quinoa.)

2. Meanwhile, place onion and sun-dried tomatoes in medium skillet and cook over medium heat. (The oil left on the sun dried tomatoes should be enough to saute the onion. Add extra oil if needed). Cook 3-4 minutes, or until onion has softened. Stir in black beans, garlic, slat and pepper and 1 and 1/2 cups water. Simmer 3-5 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated.

3. Transfer mixture to food processor, add quinoa (all of it) and process until smooth. Transfer to bowl. Add flour slowly. Start with 1/2 cup and add more if mixture seems to wet.

4. Form into patties and place on well oiled baking sheet. ( I lined mine with foil). Bake 20 minutes, or until patties are crisp on top. Flip patties with spatula and bake 10 minutes more. Serve on buns.

I like to serve these with baked sweet potato fries or onion rings.

🙂 Cynthia

This recipe is adapted from a recipe from vegetarian times magazine.

Link: http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipes/search_recipes/?keywords=black%20bean%20quinoa%20burgers

Black beans

Even before I was a vegetarian, I frequently made a meal out of beans and rice. Homemade pinto beans were common in my house when I was growing up. They smell so delicious all day long. I hope my children have fond memories of our house and the aroma of beans when they are adults. I discovered black beans when I was away at college. They were part of the “Southwestern Food” trend in the 1990s. Does anyone remember the restaurant Les Amis in Austin, Texas in the mid 1990s? They served a black bean and brown rice dish inspired this dish.

I make homemade black beans from scratch in a slow cooker but sometimes if I am in a hurry and didn’t plan ahead, I  use the Eden Organic canned black beans to make this dish. I serve the black beans with brown rice and garnish with any or all of the following depending on personal taste: avocado, sliced tomatoes, red onions, pickled jalapenos, sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese.


1 16 oz bag of dried black beans ( I like Whole Foods 365 Organic Brand)

3 cloves of garlic

2 bay leaves




1. Method for the soak. Choose either of these:

a)Rinse and sort black beans and place in a large bown. Add 6-8 cups of water. Let stand overnight or at least 6 to 8 hours. Drain water.

b) Rinse and sort black beans and place in a large saucepan. Add 6 -8 cups of water. Bring water and beans to boil. Boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover with lid and let stand for 1 hour. Drain water

2. Add drained beans and 8 cups of water to slow cooker. Add bay leaves and peeled whole cloves of garlic. Cook on low for 6 or 7 hours. At midpoint check to see that there is enough water and add more if needed. By hour 5 add salt to taste.

Tip: Don’t add salt before you cook the beans or they won’t cook well.


From Cynthia

Quinoa-It’s what’s for dinner, Variation 1

quinoa served with roasted vegetables

From Cynthia:

I absolutely love quinoa. It is a complete protein. It is easy to prepare and it’s loaded with micronutrients since it is actually a seed. Although I had heard of it before, my inspiration for cooking quinoa came from my husband’s Uncle Bob who is an AMAZING cook!  I learned about the book  Quinoa 365 by Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming is full of delicious quinoa recipes and included vegetarian and meat dishes from Uncle Bob as well.

Quinoa varieties

We eat quinoa at least once a week. I cook with black quinoa, red quinoa and the regular white quinoa. I always rinse it prior to cooking. You will need a sieve that has very small openings or you will have quinoa seeds all over the place (trust me.) A tip: if you spill quinoa, swiffer  cloths work really well for clean up. Another quinoa tip: If you want your quinoa slightly crunchy and less mushy, saute your quinoa in a little olive oil or grapeseed oil prior to cooking. This will keep the seeds intact.

Here is variation 1. I prepare it different ways and I plan to share the variations in this blog.

Quinoa variation 1.


1 cup quinoa (rinsed)

1-2 tablespoons grapeseed oil or olive oil

2 cups vegetable broth

2 tablespoons water

1/2 onion diced

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 garlic clove, minced or pressed with a garlic press


Place rinsed and drained quinoa in a pan with oil on medium high heat. Stir and saute for 2 minutes. Add chopped onions and continue to stir until onions are translucent (2 -3 more minutes). Add salt and cumin spices. Add vegetable broth and additional water. Bring to a boil. Cover and lower heat. Cook for 10 minutes and remove from heat. Let rest for 5 minutes. Fluff and serve.

rinsing quinoa

black and white quinoa

saute the quinoa

*Feel free to add any of these or a combination of these: beans, garbanzo beans, sauteed diced vegetables, feta cheese, kalamata olives, sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, parmesan cheese, etc. …

broth or liquid added to the quinoa