Spicy Vegetable Chili Bean Burgers


I love me a good veggie burger!  These sounds so easy and look delicious!

1 cup Fiber One® original bran cereal
1 can (15 or 16 oz) organic spicy chili beans in sauce, undrained
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/4 cup chopped green onions (4 medium)
1 egg, slightly beaten
1   1/4 cups washed fresh baby spinach leaves
5 slices tomato
5 whole wheat burger buns, split
  1. Place cereal in resealable food-storage plastic bag; seal bag and crush with rolling pin or meat mallet (or crush in food processor).
  2. In medium bowl, mash beans with fork until no whole beans remain. Add crushed cereal, oats, onions and egg; mix well. Shape mixture into 5 patties, each about 3 1/2 inches in diameter.
  3. Spray 12-inch skillet with cooking spray. Add patties; cook over medium heat about 10 minutes, turning once, until brown.
  4. For each sandwich, place 1/4 cup spinach leaves and 1 tomato slice on bottom half of bun; top with bean burger and top half of bun.
Makes 5 sandwiches

Mushroom Pies with Pear Salad


I adore a good hand pie!  These pastry wrapped little beauties look absolutely delicious and are surprisingly easy to make!  They would be cute & easily portable for a picnic or impromptu lunch at your honey’s office, or served with eggs for a delicious breakfast.  Add a lovely side salad for a divine brunch or dinner.


  • Cooking spray
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of a 17.3-ounce package), thawed
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 large portobello mushroom caps
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar and/or muenster cheese
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 ounces mache or other salad greens (about 6 cups)
  • 1 pear, thinly sliced


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and mist with cooking spray.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a 14-inch square and cut into four 7-inch squares. Brush the center of each with mustard and season with salt and pepper. Place the mushrooms gill-side up on the pastry and season with salt and pepper.

Toss the breadcrumbs and cheese in a bowl and sprinkle over the mushrooms. Fold in the pastry edges, pleating to fully cover the mushrooms; press to seal. Brush both sides of the pastry with the beaten egg. Place seam-side down on the baking sheet, make slits in the top and bake until golden and crisp, 25 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, combine the shallot, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl, then whisk in the olive oil. Toss the dressing with the salad greens and pear. Serve the salad with the mushroom pies.

Serves: 4

Per serving: Calories 736; Fat 47 g (Saturated 18 g); Cholesterol 106 mg; Sodium 1,045 mg; Carbohydrate 54 g; Fiber 6 g; Protein 27 g

Photograph by Antonis Achilleos

Veggie Sliders

The Mr. and I have been frequenting going to a local vegetarian cafe’ that we just discovered.  They make the most delicious and flavorful dishes, that it inspired me to find a really good veggie burger recipe.  This one, while it’s still untested by yours truly… looks like it’s delicious!
Prep Time:
45 min
Inactive Prep Time:
30 min
Cook Time:
6 min
4 servings


Veggie Burger Sliders
(Makes 16 sliders)
– 4 Tablespoons olive oil
– 1/2 onion, chopped finely (I used a few scrap onions)
– 1/2 red pepper, chopped finely
– 1 jalapeno, chopped finely
– 4 cloves garlic, guess what, finely chopped
– 12 ounces black beans (about 2 1/2 cups)
– 12 ounces chickpeas
– 4 Tablespoons black olives, chopped
– 4 Tablespoons artichokes, chopped
– 8 ounces rolled oats (2 1/2 cups-ish)
– 4 Tablespoons breadcrumbs
– 4 eggs (note that this is more than the original recipe. I couldn’t get the mini burgers to hold together with the amount he used)
The Flavor
– 1 Teaspoon paprika
– 1 Teaspoon chili powder
– 2 Teaspoons oregano
– 1 Teaspoon red pepper flake
– 1 Teaspoon cumin
– 1 Teaspoon celery salt
– 1/2 Teaspoon sage
– 1 Tablespoon chopped basil

Helpful Equipment: Cast Iron Skillet


In a medium saute pan over medium heat, add 1-ounce olive oil and all raw vegetables except beans. Saute until translucent. Remove and cool.

Add veggies to beans and mix thoroughly. Add all dry ingredients along with the egg. Thoroughly mix all ingredients and form into 4 patties, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

In saute pan add 1-ounce olive oil, and cook patties 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Spanakopita ~ Greek Spinach Pie Appetizers or Entree

When I was in my early 20’s I used to get pizza from a lovely Greek man.  He taught me his version of spanakopita and I’ve been making it ever since.  Don’t be intimidated by the phyllo dough, it’s really not that hard to work with. Just keep it covered as you are assembling the pie.  If  a piece dries out too much, toss it out.

These also make great appetizers.  Using a sharp knife, cut the filo into 3 by 11 inch strips, and recover with the towel. Use a pastry brush to brush a strip of filo with melted butter. Place a small spoonful of spinach filling 1 inch from the end of the pastry. Fold the end over the filling to form a triangle, then continue to fold up the strip in triangles, like folding up a flag. Continue with remaining strips of dough, placing filled triangles on the baking sheet and keeping them covered with a towel until all are ready to bake.

Brush the triangles lightly with butter, then bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Serve hot. (These may be frozen before baking, layering waxed paper between layers of triangles to keep them from sticking. Bake frozen triangles an extra 10 minutes.)

This recipe once cooked can be easily frozen in pieces and reheated. Just wrap them well.

  • 2 1/2 lbs. of frozen spinach.  Thawed and drained well. Squeeze out all moisture.
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup feta, crumbled
  • 1/2 lb. cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 4 large onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint chopped
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 12 sheets phyllo dough
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Thaw spinach completely and squeeze out excess water. Spinach should be dry.

Heat the olive oil in a deep saute pan or large dutch oven. Saute the onions and green onions until tender. Add the spinach, parsley, mint  and dill and cook for 5 to 10 minutes until the spinach is wilted and heated through. Add the nutmeg and season with salt and pepper.

If using frozen spinach, you will want to cook until excess moisture evaporates. Spinach mixture should be on the dry side.

Remove from heat and set the spinach aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the feta, eggs, and cottage cheese. Add the cooled spinach mixture and mix until combined.

Combine the melted butter with the olive oil in a bowl. Using a pastry brush, lightly grease one 9 x 12 rectangular pans.

Unwrap the Phyllo:

Carefully remove the Phyllo roll from the plastic sleeve. Most packages come in 12 x 18 inch sheets when opened fully.  To prevent drying, cover  stack with wax paper and a damp paper towel while working with the sheets.Prepare the Pita:

Layer about 10 sheets on the bottom of the pan making sure to brush each sheet with the butter/olive oil mixture. Add half of the spinach mixture in an even layer and press with a spatula to flatten.

Layer another 10 sheets on top of the spinach mixture making sure to brush well with butter/olive oil mixture.

Before baking, score the top layer of phyllo (making sure not to puncture filling layer) to enable easier cutting of pieces later.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven until the pita turns a deep golden brown.

How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds ~ Healthy & Yummy Goodness!!

Madison, Maine

Pumpkins are beautiful and one of the best parts of fall in my opinion.  I love how they grow in crazy shapes and sizes, colors and textures.  I also think they are a much underused source of healthy, affordable,  good food.

You can do a lot with a pumpkin.  Breads, pies, raviolis, muffins, soups and those delicious roasted seeds!

Izzy Octavia in Madison, Maine

In looking up recipes for roasted pumpkin seeds, I deviated as I tend to do on the interweb and found out that they are actually really healthy for you!

Did you know?

Prostate Protection
They promote overall prostate health and alleviate the difficult urination associated with an enlarged prostate.

Improved Bladder Function
In some studies, pumpkin seed extracts improved bladder function in animals.

Depression Treatment
They contain L-tryptophan, a compound naturally effective against depression.

Prevention of Osteoporosis
Because they are high in zinc, pumpkin seeds are a natural protector against osteoporosis. Low intake of zinc is linked to higher rates of osteoporosis.

Natural Anti-Inflammatory
Pumpkin seeds effectively reduce inflammation without the side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs.

Prevention of Kidney Stones
They prevent calcium oxalate kidney stone formation, according to studies.

Treatment of Parasites
They are used in many cultures as a natural treatment for tapeworms and other parasites. Studies also show them to be effective against acute schistosomiasis, a parasite contracted from snails.

Great Source of Magnesium
1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds contains 92% of your daily value of magnesium, a mineral in which most Americans are deficient.

Lower Cholesterol
Pumpkin seeds contain phytosterols, compounds that that have been shown to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol.

Cancer Prevention
The same phytosterols that lower cholesterol also protect against many cancers.

That’s pretty much a miracle food!  So don’t worry about over indulging in these little beauties!!

Traditional Roasted Pumpkin Seeds Recipe~

  • Yield Makes 2 cups

  • 8 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, toss together pumpkin seeds and olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Evenly spread pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet and transfer to oven. Cook until toasted and fragrant, 10 to 12 minutes

Now, if ya’ll want to get a bit crazy and need a change from the regular pumpkin seeds, try these out! From Betty Crocker

13 ways to flavor:

  1. Cinnamon sugar: This recipe for cinnamon sugar pumpkin seeds will satisfy any sweet tooth.
  2. Salt and vinegar: 1 teaspoon salt and 2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  3. Parmesan garlic herb: 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
  4. Taco: Check out our recipe for peppy roasted pumpkin seeds for a Tex-Mex twist.
  5. Truffle chive: 1 teaspoon black truffle salt or oil, 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives and 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  6. Buffalo wing: 1 tablespoon melted butter and 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  7. Chile lime: ½ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon chili powder and 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  8. Brown butter: 2-3 tablespoons browned butter (melt butter in sauce pan over medium-high heat until it bubbles and starts to brown) and 1 teaspoon salt
  9. Jerk: Toss the pumpkin seeds in a batch of our scratch jerk seasoning.
  10. Pumpkin pie: 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves and 1-2 tablespoons sugar
  11. Ranch: 1-2 tablespoons minced fresh chives, 2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  12. BBQ: Our Cajun spice rub adds smoky depth.
  13. Sesame ginger: 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 teaspoons sugar and 1 teaspoon ground ginger

Expert tip: Want a pumpkin-seed sampler? After tossing 12 handfuls of seeds with 12 different seasonings, roast them in a muffin pan to separate each flavor.

50 States of Chex

50 States of Chex

I adore Chex Party Mix!!!

No, not that stuff that they’ve recreated, ready made in boxes, at the store.  Yuck.   That is pretty lackluster to me and has a lot of extra chemicals that you’d otherwise never get in the real deal.

I love Chex Mix  homemade, still warm out of the oven with all that spicy goodness, clinging to those crunch bits and nuts!

When we’d go to parties as kids, someone always seemed to make a batch and I’d promptly eat my 60 pound weight in it!  I think as an adult, I’ve made it all of twice, because of that very reason.  I’m pretty certain, either me or The Mr. would eat the entire batch in one sitting.

Okay, not pretty certain.  Definitely.

Yesterday, our daughter Gwyneth found Betty Crocker’s site and sat there reeling off recipes to me as I made dinner. (more of those to follow in later posts).  But, this was one in particular she came across.  While I may not be inclined to do fruity sweet Chex Mix, as I’m partial to the spicy, savory variety… many of these would be fun to make for a family gathering or party.

And it should be noted that if you want to do it organically, Nature’s Path makes a yummy, organic cereal. Check your local co-op or natural food store.  : )


Now, onto the recipes!

Here are 50 varieties of Chex Mix,  One for each U.S. state!


Bread Machine White Breakfast Bread Recipe

Another one of my old favorites from the best bakers ever.  King Arthur Flour.

This always tastes great and is not too overly sweet.  Lovely!  Lovely!

One (1 1/2-pound) Loaf

1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons (3/4 ounce) butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons Baker’s Special Dry Milk or nonfat dried milk
3 3/4 cups (15 3/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

Place all of the ingredients into the pan of your bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Program for white or basic bread, light setting, and press Start. Check the dough’s consistency about 7 minutes after the kneading cycle begins, adding additional water or flour to form a smooth, soft ball of dough. Allow the machine to complete its cycle. Remove the bread when it’s done, and let cool completely before slicing. Yield: 1 loaf.