Sunday, July 1, 2012

Black Bean Burgers/Tacos

It's bee a while, how've you been? We've been GREAT!! We went on a little family trip, which was a true test of how well we are coping with Archie's medical status. The results? Not great. It was very tricky, and a little sicky, but I think we learned a lot. Armed with a big rubbermaid tote filled with his snacks, and containers of Cuban Beans and Rice with quinoa, cooked oats, and rice grits, we headed off. It was good for a bit; about a day actually. Then we had a night of hotel-dry-heaving, 3 days of a blistering, red bum, and we are still going with day 6 of diarrhea. To top it off nicely, he did not much enjoy his medicinal baking soda bum-wash in the teeny hotel sink.

 We don't really know what set him off. We are suspecting Honey Nut (almond) Chex, or too much watermelon? It may be the soy lecithin in the presumed-friendly cereal bars. We just don't know. That's kinda our little motto lately. The day we headed home, we were running low on Archie-supplies, so it was perfectly timed. We also learned that he can only take so many meals of Cuban Beans and Rice in a row. Poor guy was over them by day 3, but who can blame him? We all like a little variety in our lives, right?

The day after we got home, we were all vacation-fooded out, so I made one of our favorite vegetarian meals, Black Bean Burgers. YUMMY! Except, I like them as tacos on corn tortillas instead of on a bun, just my preference. I don't know if I've said this, but I pretty much prefer anything better with corn tortillas...masa is my best friend! I originally found this recipe years ago on the website cuisinenie, and it has been a favorite of ours for a while. The only tweeks I have to do, is substitute a gluten-free bread crumb, and not give him the cotija or cilantro-lime mayo (poor guy! Those are the best parts!). When I made this on Saturday, I used a prepackaged corn-chip crumb which worked with the flavors really well! If you do this, or make your own corn-chip crumbs, note that I used only a 1/2c, and it was a little more than I needed. I hope you love this as much as we do, it is simply spectacular!! A flavor fiesta in your mouth!

Black Bean Burgers with Lime-Cilantro Mayo

From the kitchen of Cookin' Canuck

4 pieces day-old or toasted whole wheat sandwich bread
2 tbsp olive or canola oil, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp minced jalapeno pepper, membranes and seeds removed 
1 tsp ground cumin
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/4 cups cooked brown rice
2 tsp fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Cilantro-Lime Mayo:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp fresh lime juice
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

4 whole-wheat buns
1/2 cup cotija cheese (found in most supermarkets)
4 large slices tomato
12 slices avocado
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse sandwich bread to form breadcrumbs.  Pour into a bowl and set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive or canola oil in a large skillet set over medium heat.  Add onion and sauté until soft.  
Add garlic, jalapeno, and cumin.  Saute for additional 2 minutes.  
Scrape the mixture into the food processor.  
Add black beans, brown rice, lime juice, salt, and pepper.  Pulse until the beans are chopped, but not pureed.  
Scrape the black bean mixture into a large bowl.  
Add half of the breadcrumbs and the chopped cilantro.  Using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture until combined.
Divide the mixture into 4 equal portions and form into patties. 
If the mixture is too moist to form patties, add more breadcrumbs.  
Place the patties on a baking sheet lined with plastic wrap and cover with additional plastic wrap. 
 Refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour.
Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large skillet (preferably not nonstick, so a good crust can form) set over medium heat.  
Add the burgers and cook for 4 minutes per side.

Cilantro-Lime Mayo:
In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, lime juice, cumin, cilantro, and pepper.  Stir well.
 Lightly toast the whole wheat buns.  Spread 2 tablespoons cilantro-lime mayo on each bun,  and top each with a black bean patty, 
2 tablespoons crumbled cotija cheese, 1 slice tomato, and 3 slices avocado.  Serve.  

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Warm Summer Salad

Poor little Archie. It is so hard to know what is causing what, and what I'm supposed to do about it. I was going to experiment with lentils again soon, to see if they are causing his upset tummy, right? I'm talking to my sister about this, and she says, "aren't those lentil chips you're feeding him?" DOH!! So, the experiment has begun. That was for dinner, and the next morning, he did indeed have a little upset tummy.  Nothing massive, but it was definitely not good. So, lentils are not looking so good. That was a few days ago, and he is still having what we lovingly call "acid-poo". I don't think it's still from the lentils, but what is it??!?! We may never know.  Poor little Archie. He doesn't know he's poor little Archie though. He's still as happy as ever, learning to walk, and learning a few more signs: "eat" and "help". 

This recipe is for Archie in a few years. He's not much of a salad eater yet, being only 1, but he will love it someday, I just know it! I got this recipe last summer in the Arizona Republic newspaper, and Mike and I loved it. I think I substituted lime juice for the red wine vinegar just because it seemed more like the Mexican flavors I love. Enjoy!

Sorry about the beer in the picture, and the tiny text, I'm new at this food blogging stuff!! Here is the link if you want to see it a little bigger:

Warm Summer Salad With Black Beans, Sweet Corn and Brown Rice

Jul. 4, 2011 04:15 PM Chef Charles Wiley of Cafe Zuzu
Be the first of your friends to recommend this.
For the brown rice: 1 cup brown rice 21/2 cups water Pinch kosher salt
For the tomato-cumin vinaigrette: 1 large tomato, cut in chunks 1 clove garlic, chopped 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil 1 green onion, thinly sliced 1/2 teaspoon cumin, freshly toasted and ground 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, coarsely chopped Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the salad: 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 small red onion, cut in half and sliced 1 clove garlic, chopped 1/4 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, sliced 2 ears corn, kernels removed from the husk Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 1 can, 15 ounces, black beans, drained 1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded and cut into strips 1/4 cup, packed cilantro leaves Tomato cumin vinaigrette, divided Brown rice 3/8 cup baby spinach 1/4 cup pumpkinseeds, toasted
For brown rice, combine the rice and water in a 2-quart saucepan, season with a little salt and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender, about 45-50 minutes. Transfer to a mixing bowl and cool to room temperature, fluffing with a fork a few times.
For vinaigrette, combine the tomato, garlic, vinegar and oil in the bowl of a food processor; puree and transfer to a mixing bowl. Whisk in the
green onion, cumin and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.
For salad, heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, onion and garlic. Saute a few minutes until onions begin to caramelize. Add the mushrooms and corn, season with salt and pepper and cook until mushrooms are done; about 5 minutes. Add black beans
and red pepper and heat through. Remove from the heat, toss in the cilantro and 4-5 tablespoons tomato cumin vinaigrette. Check seasoning and set aside.
Spoon the rice into a bowl and top with the spinach. Pour the warm vegetables over the spinach (this will wilt the spinach slightly) and sprinkle
with the pumpkinseeds. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of tomato cumin vinaigrette, and save remaining for future use. Makes 4 servings.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Everyday EEts

I just wanted to make a note of the things Archie eats most days. He is actually a pretty picky little eater, but what toddler isn't!? I worry about the variety in his diet, but again, what toddler doesn't exist on mostly the basics: chicken nuggets and Cheerios? There are a few "fall-back" items I can get him to eat if I haven't prepared anything  allergy-free lately. He LOVES quinoa and refried beans, his IAn's  allergen free chicken nuggets and fish sticks, Glutino cereal bars (technically, these have soy lecithin, but he tolerates them well), rice and refried beans, bananas, apple sauce, veggie chips, Kix or Trix cereal, or oats. Any given day, he probably eats at least of half of this list.

Here is a quick recipe for the quinoa we cook!

Cooking Quinoa
1 cup quinoa, rinsed thoroughly (it is naturally coated in a bitter powder to keep the bugs away! Trust me, it    doesn't taste good.)
2 cups chicken (or other) stock, or water

Bring chicken broth to a boil in medium stockpot. Add quinoa and turn heat to med-low (or low, depending on your stove). Put the lid on and simmer for 20 minutes. You'll know it's done when the little "tails" no longer clinging to the grain, and the quinoa is translucent. Let it sit for a bit, and fluff with a fork! YUMMY! Great in salads, wraps, alone as a side, or mixed with pretty much anything.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Strawberry Shortcake Muffins

These are from a recipe I found online at this website. I had to adjust it a bit for Archie's specific allergies, but it still turned out pretty good. I'm not saying they're going to win a bake-off any time soon, but they are good! I had to replace the greek yogurt with coconut yogurt, and the eggs with flax meal. 

I have a few tips for you when making this. I tried to follow the instructions and just whiz it all up in the blender, but it was too thick, even for my mighty Vitamix. Not to mention, it was hard to get out from under the little blades once it was mixed. So, next time, I would just grind the oats into flour in my blender, then mix it all separately. Another tip.....ADD SALT!! There is no salt in the recipe, and I didn't notice until I tasted them later. Bummer. One final tip, use the plunger provided when damping down the mix in your blender, not a red rubber spatula. Bits of red spatula are hard to pick out of the batter....just guessing. 

Strawberry Shortcake Muffins


2 1/2 cupOats (old fashioned kind, not quick cooking)
6 ouncesPlain coconut yogurt
2 T Flax meal soaked in 6 T warm water for 5 minutes
3/4 cupSweetener of choice, (that measures the same as sugar) or 1/4 cup baking tbs stevia sweetener1
1 1/2 tspBaking powder
1/2 tspBaking soda
1 1/2 cupStrawberries, diced, and patted dry 
Optional1 tsp lemon juice
*NoteSilicone cupcake liners are recommended.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 12 muffin tins with silicone or foil liners, (or just use a silicone muffin pan).
Place all of the ingredients (except the strawberries) in a blender or food processor, and blend until oats are smooth. Pour mixture into a medium sized bowl, and stir in strawberries. 
Divide batter among cupcake liners, and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

Serve and enjoy!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Baked Blueberry Oatmeal

One of the saddest things about Archie's allergies is the impact it has on his ability to eat breakfast food. What's better than fluffy pancakes, or egg burritos, or french toast?!? Poor little guy. For now, he doesn't know what he's missing, and if I can get creative with some recipes, he may never be missing anything!
(He has a little mustache from his green smoothie, another favorite for breakfast)
I am working on finding a good pancake recipe for him, but until then, this baked oatmeal is yummy too. I love oatmeal. I already know that he loves oatmeal too, it was his first solid food after all! When he was 6 months old, I started grinding brown rice and steel-cut oats in my Vitamix blender, and boiling it up for his cereal. He loved it. When he was a little older, we graduated him to old-fashioned oats, and now, he is on to gluten-free oats. He loves them all. His big brother is happy too because he loves oats and he gets to eat them when I make them for Archie. I like to make a big batch of oatmeal early in the week, and then just scoop some out every day and warm it up with some apple sauce. Quick, and he loves it!

This baked oatmeal (or "boatmeal" if you're in a hurry) is yummy, and I didn't have to make it the night before, which was nice. I never like instant oats, not chewy enough, so I used Bob's Red Mill  Gluten Free oats, and they are a little thicker, so I added a little extra coconut milk, and warmed it in the microwave for 3 minutes before adding the other ingredients. Just a little tip!

Dairy and Egg Free Baked Oatmeal

Serves: 8

Total time: 40 min     Prep time: 10 min

112 cups quick-cooking oatmeal
14 cup sugar
12 cup coconut or rice milk
14 cup applesauce
1 tbsp flax seeds (ground)
2 tbsps warm water
1 tsp baking powder
34 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup blueberries

1Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2Mix the 1 tbsp ground flax seed with the 2 tbsp of water and leave it for a couple of minutes to thicken.
3Put the blueberries in the bottom of a 9 inch square pan.
4Mix rest of ingredients together in a bowl and dump on top of the fruit. Bake for 25- 30 minutes or until golden brown.
5Top with rice/almond/soy milk, soy yogurt, or eat plain.
6The oatmeal can be prepared ahead of time and then just thrown into the oven in the morning.
7Try this recipe with any kind of fruit.  The possibilities are endless!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Mexican Food Feast!

Archie is a walking fool! He isn't standing up on his own yet, so he has to start on a couch or chair, but he loves to let go, and surprise us by walking into a room with a big grin on his face. He is a little behind the walking standard of some of his little friends, but we figure he's been working on some other issues in his life. The walking is coming along now that we're getting a handle on his yuckies.

Tonight I made a yummy dinner that was Archie approved, and Lucy, Elliott and Mike approved too; that's a big deal! True, Archie didn't eat it because the textures are a little mature for his 8 little teeth, but he could have! We had refried bean tostadas and Mexican brown rice. You may begin to see a trend in my postings. I am an Arizona girl born and raised 3 hours north of the Border, and NOTHING makes me happier than some yummy Mexican fare! Much to my culinary delight, Mexican food is widely allergen-free (sans cheese and sour cream of course!). Who doesn't love chiles, cilantro, masa, beans, rice and marinated meat!?!?!?! C'mon! Another thing I love about Mexican food is that you don't really need a recipe to enjoy a taco, salad or tostada. Just gather some basic sauce recipes, or spice combinations, throw in some beans and chips, meat and rice, and you are good to go!
Enjoy this America's Test Kitchen rice on your tostada, next to your tostada, wrapped in your burrito, mixed with the beans as a yummy corn chip dip, or on it's own; just enjoy it!
**If you want to make this with white rice, just cut the chicken broth down to 2 cups, and cut the cooking time to 30-35 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes.


Serves 6-8 as a side dish.   Published March 1, 2005.  


Our perfect Mexican rice recipe had to be rich but not oily and moist but not watery; furthermore, it had to boast clean, balanced flavors and tender, perfectly cooked rice. We produced superior grains by rinsing the long-grain brown rice and sautéing it in canola oil until it toasted, before adding the cooking liquid produced superior grains for our Mexican rice recipe. Testing confirmed that broth and fresh tomatoes were ideal for a flavorful liquid base. We coupled the liquid base in a 2:1 ratio with the rice and some tomato paste to produce just the right flavor, color, and texture (a mid-cook stir through the rice mixture reincorporated the tomato mixture). Baking the rice in the oven (rather than keeping it on the stovetop) ensured even cooking.
Because the spiciness of jalapeños varies from chile to chile, we try to control the heat by removing the ribs and seeds (the source of most of the heat) from those chiles that are cooked in the rice. Use an ovensafe pot about 12 inches in diameter so that the rice cooks evenly and in the time indicated. The pot’s depth is less important than its diameter; we’ve successfully used both a straight-sided sauté pan and a Dutch oven. Whichever type of pot you use, it should have a tight-fitting, ovensafe lid. Vegetable broth can be substituted for chicken broth.


  • 2medium tomatoes ,ripe (about 12 ounces) cored and quartered
  • 1medium onion , preferably white, peeled, trimmed of root end,and quartered
  • 3medium jalapeño chiles
  • 2cups long-grain brown rice
  • 1/3cup canola oil
  • 4cloves garlic , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 4 teaspoons)
  • 2 1/2cups low-sodium chicken broth , or vegetable broth
  • 1tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 1/2teaspoons table salt
  • 1/2cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1lime , cut into wedges for serving


  1. 1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Process tomatoes and onion in food processor until smooth and thoroughly pureed, about 15 seconds, scraping down bowl if necessary. Transfer mixture to liquid measuring cup; you should have 2 cups (if necessary, spoon off excess so that volume equals 2 cups). Remove ribs and seeds from 2 jalapeños and discard; mince flesh and set aside. Mince remaining jalapeño, including ribs and seeds; set aside.
  2. 2. Place rice in large fine-mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water until water runs clear, about 1 1/2 minutes. Shake rice vigorously in strainer to remove all excess water.
  3. 3. Heat oil in heavy-bottomed ovensafe 12-inch straight-sided sauté pan or Dutch oven with tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat, 1 to 2 minutes. Drop 3 or 4 grains rice in oil; if grains sizzle, oil is ready. Add rice and fry, stirring frequently, until rice is light golden and translucent, 3 to 3 1/2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, add garlic and seeded minced jalapeños; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 1/2 minutes. Stir in pureed tomatoes and onions, chicken broth, tomato paste, and salt; increase heat to medium-high and bring to boil. Cover pan and transfer to oven; bake until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, stirring well after every 30 minutes.
  4. 4. Stir in cilantro and reserved minced jalapeño with seeds to taste. Serve immediately, passing lime wedges separately.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Pork Thai Lettuce Wraps

Last night was another rough night. Mike and I couldn't think of any allergens he had yesterday, but he still woke up swimming in his know. All over his back, his front, and filling up his little footie pajamas. It's mornings like these that I'm glad Mike and I are a team. I am beginning to wonder if Lentils aren't to blame. He had them for lunch yesterday, and they are first cousins to peanuts and soy beans. But, he has no problem with the other legumes: pinto and black. I don't know. Maybe he has just built up little bits of allergens during the last week, maybe it's the trace gluten in the Lucky Charms. Who knows. Maybe it's an allergen we don't even know about yet?!?!?! All we can do is press on, I guess. We meet with the pediatric GI doc in a few weeks, and you can bet I've got a nice list of questions for him. Luckily, he's a very nice guy.

Ok, on to the food!

This is another America's Test Kitchen recipe. I fear you are going to be seeing a lot of these....I love them. Disclaimer: I haven't actually made these for Archie, but I have made them, and they were good! I am kind of using this blog as an Archie-friendly cookbook of sorts, so the fact that I can cook these for him down the road is enough for me! For some reason, I haven't given Archie much meat. I don't know if it's because he's just 14 months old, and the texture just doesn't seem doable, or because I'm kinda a meat-a-phobe (not vegetarian, but not full carnivore either). He has eaten some of his allergen free chicken nuggets and fish sticks, which he loves, but other than that, not really very much. He's only had this diagnosis for a few weeks and it seems I'm already in a rut! Geesh! Oh well, that's what this blog is for, right?
When I made these lettuce wraps, I ground the rice with a mortar and pestle instead of a spice grinder, and although it was very fun and felt authentic, it was LABORIOUS!! I think I bought a grinder the next day. But just know, if you don't have a spice grinder, it can be done!


Serve 6 as an appetizer or 4 as a main course.   Published September 1, 2009.   From Cook's Illustrated.


To get uniform, moist pieces of meat in our Thai pork lettuce wrap recipe, we chopped pork in the food processor and then marinated it in a little fish sauce so it would retain moisture during cooking. To refine our Thai pork recipe’s taste, we added sugar to balance the tart (lime juice), salty (fish sauce), and hot (dried chiles) flavors characteristic of Thai cuisine.
We prefer natural pork in this recipe. If using enhanced pork, skip the marinating in step 2 and reduce the amount of fish sauce to 2 tablespoons, adding it all in step 5. Don’t skip the toasted rice; it’s integral to the texture and flavor of the dish. Any style of white rice can be used. Toasted rice powder (kao kua) can also be found in many Asian markets. This dish can be served with sticky rice and steamed vegetables as an entrée. To save time, prepare the other ingredients while the pork is in the freezer.


  • 1pork tenderloin (about 1 pound), trimmed of silver skin and fat, cut into 1-inch chunks (see note)
  • 2 1/2tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1tablespoon white rice (see note)
  • 1/4cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2medium shallots , peeled and sliced into thin rings (about 1/2 cup)
  • 3tablespoons juice from 2 limes
  • 2teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3tablespoons roughly chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 3tablespoons roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1head Bibb lettuce , washed and dried, leaves separated and left whole


  1. 1. Place pork chunks on large plate in single layer. Freeze meat until firm and starting to harden around edges but still pliable, 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. 2. Place half of meat in food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped, 5 to six 1-second pulses. Transfer ground meat to medium bowl and repeat with remaining chunks. Stir 1 tablespoon fish sauce into ground meat and marinate, refrigerated, 15 minutes.
  3. 3. Heat rice in small skillet over medium-high heat; cook, stirring constantly, until deep golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and cool 5 minutes. Grind rice with spice grinder, mini food processor, or mortar and pestle until it resembles fine meal, 10 to 30 seconds (you should have about 1 tablespoon rice powder).
  4. 4. Bring broth to simmer in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and cook, stirring frequently, until about half of pork is no longer pink, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon rice powder over pork; continue to cook, stirring constantly, until remaining pork is no longer pink, 1 to 1½ minutes longer. Transfer pork to large bowl; let cool 10 minutes.
  5. 5. Add remaining 1½ tablespoons fish sauce, remaining 2 teaspoons rice powder, shallots, lime juice, sugar, red pepper flakes, mint, and cilantro to pork; toss to combine. Serve with lettuce leaves.