Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Black Bean Burgers

This recipe is made with things I keep on hand, it mixes up quickly, and you can make it either mild tasting (like I did) or spicy (as the original recipe indicated) just by the kind of salsa you use.  I use mild salsa all the time, it is one of the pantry items I always try to keep well stocked.

Black Bean Burger

  • 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed (or 2 cups cooked dry beans)
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup flour (I used all purpose but they suggest oat flour or gluten free if necessary)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons salsa
  • 1 tablespoon oil for pan (I needed more than that)

Mash black beans in a bowl with fork or potato masher (I used a ground beef masher).  Add the remaining ingredients except the oil and stir (or use your hands to mix like I did).  You may need to add more salsa if too dry and flour if it isn't holding together firmly (1 tablespoon at a time).

Form into 4 patties and brown in a skillet with oil on medium heat about five minutes the first side and three to four minutes the second side.  Black bean burgers burn easily so you do need to keep an eye on them.  

I served them without a bun, topped with extra salsa and chopped onions.  However, I have served black bean burgers I used to make from a mix as regular burgers and putting cheese on top.

These were delicious and while we do not eat vegan, your vegan friends will probably like them without any added dairy.  They are also gluten free if using the right flour and making certain the oats are gluten free (not processed where any gluten products are also processed).

The original recipe is from Jenn Sebestyen of the Veggie Inspired blog (and other social media).

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Vegetable Beef Soup

I will add a photo the next time I make the soup!

Vegetable Beef Soup


  • 1 to 2 lbs. chuck roast (or similar cut of beef)
  • 1 package beef bones*
  • 1 onion
  • 2 or more carrots 
  • bay leaf and peppercorns (optional)
  • soup stock
  • chuck roast, cooled and shredded
  • 2-14.5 oz. cans of stewed tomatoes**
  • carrots, sliced
  • potatoes, cut into chunks
  • corn, I use one package frozen corn or one can - drained
  • green beans, I use one can sliced green beans - drained
  • salt and pepper to taste
I like to roast at around 325 degrees the beef bones, the onion, and the carrots used for stock 30 - 60 minutes before starting the stock.  However, my mother never did this and her soup tasted just fine.

Place the bones, chuck roast, onion, and carrots into a large dutch oven or a stock pot.  Cover with water approx. three to six inches or so above the mix.  Add bay leaf and peppercorns if you desire.  Simmer until the chuck roast is tender and falls apart with a fork, at least two hours.  Check off and on as you will have to add more water.

Transfer the meat to a dish and I drain the stock into a dutch oven pot (I use a metal colander).  Discard everything but the meat.

In the dutch oven, add into the stock the two cans of tomatoes, sliced carrots, potatoes, and corn.  Some people like to add a sliced parsnip, too.  I just never have them on hand.  Simmer until veggies are tender, then add back the cooked and shredded meat and the drained can of green beans. Simmer a few minutes longer.

I serve this often the same day I make it, with leftovers the next day.  It is one of those soups that taste even better the next day.  Of course, all amounts can easily be doubled as necessary.

*When I first started making this soup, most chuck roasts at the grocery store still came bone-in.  Then it seems overnight they were all boneless and sometimes you could find packages of bones separately, if you were fortunate.  I talked to the butcher at the store (years ago) and he said most meat sent to stores were now boneless.  The few packages of bones were all there were.

I learned at that time to always keep a couple packages of bones in the freezer for when I wanted to make soup.  However, since the popularity of bone broth began, it is easy to find packages of beef bones.  Only now they cost what I used to spend for steaks!  But bones are important to this soup for flavor as well as nutrition.

**You can use other tomatoes besides stewed tomatoes but I found they are what gave the soup the same taste as my mother's soup she made.  If you don't use stewed tomatoes, you may need to add Italian seasoning or another seasoning you like better.

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

I used to make a more complicated recipe so when I found this one, it was a very good day.  Tastes just like the store bought Hershey's chocolate syrup but without the additives.
  • 2 Cups            Sugar
  • 1 Cup              Hershey's cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon    Salt
  • 1 Cup              Cold water
  • 1 Tablespoon   Vanilla extract

Combine cocoa and sugar, whisk until all lumps are gone.  Add cold water and salt.

Cook over medium heat, whisking until it comes to a boil.  Let it boil about 30 seconds, keep whisking so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.  Take off of heat.  Whisk in vanilla extract.  Let cool completely and pour into a jar.

This will keep a long time in the refrigerator but it usually gets used up before it could possibly go bad.  Great for pouring over ice cream, making chocolate milk, etc.

Makes approx. 1 1/2 pints.

Saturday, November 21, 2015


Simple Granola
  • 4 - 6 Cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 Cup or more nuts, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 Cup dried fruit or more to taste*
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon* (optional)
  • 1/2 Cup honey or maple syrup (or more if you prefer it sweeter)
  • 1/3 Cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon* vanilla (optional if using maple syrup)
Oven temperature at 350 degrees 

Mix oats, nuts, and cinnamon* (optional) in a large bowl.  Pour honey (or maple syrup) and oil in a small saucepan and warm it up.  Take it off the heat and add vanilla if you are using it. Pour the liquid mixture over the dried mixture and mix well.
Line a large baking pan with foil or parchment paper and oil it well... or plan on scrubbing the baking pan!  I use a half sheet cake baking pan.  Pour the granola mixture onto the prepared pan and spread out evenly.
Bake for 18 - 20 minutes, checking a couple of times and gently stirring to keep it evenly browning.  I find a spatula works best for this.  As you get closer to 17 minutes, check until it is finished.  It should be toasted, not burned... and it burns quickly.
Take pan out of oven and sprinkle your dried fruit* on the hot mixture.  I have found this helps soften them nicely. Let it cool completely before taking off of pan. The original recipe called for dried apples but I almost always have dried cranberries on hand so I use them.  Dried cherries or dried blueberries would be great, as would chopped dried apricots, etc.

Carefully pour into an airtight container.  To use as a
Holiday gift, pour into a cute container or Mason jar.
* I sometimes make this without nuts and without cinnamon. However, these days I am more likely to make it with nuts and leave out dried fruit.
* When I add nuts, I usually add pecans but walnuts are great, too.  I have added sunflower seeds.
* The original recipe calls for adding a cup of coconut to the dry mixture before adding the liquid.  This would be baked with the granola.  To make it even more tropical, dried pineapple or mangoes could be added after taking the granola out of the oven.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Vinaigrette Style Cole Slaw

(I will add a photo the next time I make this.)

I was reading through The Kitchen Gardener's Handbook* when I came across a recipe for cole slaw that looked very interesting.  I took the vinaigrette recipe and added it to my own cole slaw idea... and came up with this.  It has been a huge hit with everyone who has eaten it.

  • 1 large package preshredded cabbage and carrots (aka: cole slaw mix) or you can shred your own.
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • Salt

Squeeze the lemon into a measuring cup.  Add enough apple cider vinegar to make 1/2 cup liquid.  Add honey and salt.  Mix well.  Add the oil and mix well again.

Combine the cabbage and carrots with the onions and dried cranberries.  Pour the vinaigrette over the mixture.  Best made about two or three hours before serving, tossing the mixture once in awhile.

I used dried pomegranates one time since I had them on hand and I have used sliced green onions instead of the red onions.  I also added sliced almonds to the mixture when I had them on hand (about a handful).  Obviously you can add what you want to make this recipe your own!

When using a package of preshredded veggies, this comes together in just a few minutes.  It is very good for picnics as it contains no mayonnaise... which is why my husband likes it a lot.  He hates mayonnaise.

Added:  Sometimes I sprinkle 2 or 3 tablespoons of sugar over the cole slaw once it has set awhile if it needs sweetening a bit.  It's not that much sugar once it is tossed into the slaw but can be just what is needed if the vinegar flavor overwhelms.

*All book links are Amazon Associate

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Kentucky Derby Pie

I had this recipe elsewhere but now it gets its' own space!  :)

Kentucky Derby Pie (a family favorite since the 1970s)

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 C. sugar (I prefer brown sugar)
  • 1/2 C. flour
  • Pinch of salt (hmmm..1/8th teaspoon?)
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 C. chocolate chips
  • 1/2 - 1 C. chopped pecans or walnuts (I have made it without nuts)
  • 1 unbaked pie shell (regular pie shell or graham cracker crust, I've used both over the years)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together butter, sugar, and eggs until well blended, add vanilla. Add flour and salt, mix. Add chocolate chips and chopped nuts if you're using them. (There is no leavening in this pie.)

Place mixture in unbaked pie shell and bake for 40 minutes.  Let cool for awhile before cutting into slices.

I usually serve this alone but it's very good with ice cream if you serve it warm.  I prefer it at room temperature as it is less rich that way.

Note:  Original recipe has a shot of bourbon added to batter.  I never made it that way, neither did my friend who gave it to me.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Soft Lemon Scones

A few years ago when I went to a tea room in Virginia with "My Girls" (my daughter and granddaughters), we were served the most delicious soft scones.

These are very similar to the lovely scones we ate that day.  They go together very easily and as with all such items, the least you work with them the more tender they are.  (Note: I have frozen these unbaked and popped them into a preheated oven frozen to bake when I  needed them, just add more baking time.)

  • 2 Cups all purpose Flour
  • 1/3 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Peel, Finely Grated
  • 1 Cup Whipping Cream
  • 2 - 4 Tablespoons Water
  • Juice of one Lemon
  • 2 -3 Cups powdered Sugar
  • A little extra water (maybe)

  1. 375* oven.
  2. Combine Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder, and Salt, and Lemon Peel.
  3. With a fork, stir in Cream and only as much Water as needed to make dough form into a ball.
  4. Pat kneaded dough into 8" circle.
  5. Slice into wedges and place wedges on parchment paper (or greased) cookie sheet.
  6. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until just beginning to turn a little brown.
  7. Remove to wire rack to cool.
Mix together powdered sugar and lemon juice, adding about a tablespoon of water at a time until you get the consistency of glaze you desire.  Drizzle over slightly warm or cool scones.

Use two cups powdered sugar for a thin glaze, three cups if you want a thicker glaze which is what I did.  For a really lemony glaze, use juice from a second lemon (the zest of the second lemon can be added to the scone mix along with the first if you desire).

Added:  Lately I have been rolling these out gently and cutting them with a fluted biscuit cutter.  We found we like them this way when not adding any additional item like a jam or lemon curd.

I found the original link for this scone here and I tweaked it:

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Lemon Vinaigrette

There are only a couple bottled salad dressings I really like.  Newman's Own Original is a family favorite that I use in pasta salads.

But for years I've tried to perfect a homemade vinaigrette which both my husband and I liked.  Then I saw this recipe used by a TV chef and decided to try it that evening.  It was wonderful, just enough lemon for me but not overpowering as when I've tried to use just lemon for him.

It's also very simple:
Juice of two lemons
Vinegar equal to the amount of lemon juice (I now use all lemon juice since my husband became sensitive to vinegar.)
Two to three times oil to the amount of the combination of lemon and vinegar (to taste)*
Salt and pepper (optional: Italian blend herbs)**

I mix mine up in a canning jar or jelly jar and just give it a shake before using it.  Yum... I have been using it on a lettuce salad but this would also work great with an Israeli type salad of just tomatoes and cucumbers with perhaps some parsley.

*  I like to use all non GMO canola oil if it is to be refrigerated.  I use half canola oil and half olive oil if I'm going to use it right away.  I probably use 2 1/2 times the oil to the lemon-vinegar mixture.  The less oil you use, the more acidic the vinaigrette will be.

** Always add your extra ingredients like salt to the vinegar before adding the oil.  It "melts" into the vinegar easier.