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Monday, June 6, 2011

Black-Bean Burgers, Stuffed Peppers & Weight-loss Update

It's finally feeling like summer here in Ohio, after an extremely long winter and an equally wet spring.  But all of that cold and wet melted away with the first sunny day, the reappearance of barn swallows, butterflies and all things 'summer'.

These longer days keep me outside until all hours and I only reluctantly drag myself in pulled by a vague sense of spousal and vegan duty....didn't I say I was going to help my husband eat healthier by making sure he had good meals prepared?  Why yes I did!

Duty was a little late in calling the other night and I found myself in a bit of a panic with darling husband on the way home and had not clue one on what I would make.  I thought,  hey, how 'bout a veggie burger?  I mean, how hard can it be just to whip one up.  With child-like enthusiasm I opened frig and cupboard doors and started dumping ingredients into Viv (my trusty superhero blender).....

Feeling a little like a superhero myself, I tossed in a can of black beans, some salsa, chopped onions, carrots, some spices and, figuring it would need bulk, a bunch of oatmeal.  I then pulled out the secret ingredient (every recipe needs one).....roasted corn.
If I used the phrase "this stuff is the bomb", I would say it about this stuff....but since I don't use that phrase....disregard.  It does rock though.

Viv blended all ingredients up for me and I was left with something that looked a bit like pureed mud pie....never one to give up (read:  admit defeat when all evidence indicates it), I kept adding things, especially more oatmeal as this stuff was seriously runny.  I added some chopped zuccini and some more spices...blended again.  Now it was more like pate...I sampled with a pita chip and actually, it was pretty good!  I saved some for a spread/dip.  The rest I made into patties, browned in a pan and then finished off in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes.

They kind of reminded me of salmon patties while cooking.  I served with sweet potato and regular potato fries and while it wasn't a heroic success, it did pass for dinner and has inspired me to try my own recipes more often.  (The dip really was very good though....I'll definitely make again!).

Speaking of creating new dishes....darling husband went off to Lake Erie to maim and torture fish....sorry, that is plainly how I see it, but it relaxes him, and he didn't actually catch anything, so guess it is win-win.  This left me free to eat as late as I want and not worry about his palate.  For all we have in common, one big, big parting of the ways, is the wonderful red pepper.  I love them.....he hates them in a 'don't-even-think-about-letting-them-touch-anything-I'm-going-to-eat' kind of way...

I'd been having some cravings for this baked stuffed pepper dish I used to live on ....was browned hamburger and rice, basically, in a pepper and tomato soup/milk for a sauce.  Loved it.  So I thought, why not try to come up with something similar.

I made up some short-grain brown rice.  I really like the sweetness in the short-grain rice....definitely has a different flavor to me.  In a bowl I assembled some more of the roasted corn, sweet peas, some sauteed chopped onion and added the rice.

For the sauce, I made up some almond milk --about a cup or so---- (soak raw almonds in some water, and blend in high-speed blender), added about half a cup of nutritional yeast, and about half a jar of salsa.  I added water to adjust consistency, but left it a bit runny as I knew the nutritional yeast would thicken it up a bit during baking.

Here it is pre-baking.  I baked it for about 20 mins in a 350 degree oven, and then turned the heat off and let it sit in the oven for another 15 mins.  (Not because I thought it would be better, but because one of the dogs took off on walkabout....).

Here it is out of the oven.  This is one of those recipes that would have endless varieties according to your tastes and you could vary the vegetable being stuffed, although I think the flavor of the red pepper really makes it.  It hit the spot for me and no cows were harmed in the process!


I traveled to one of my favorite places in the world recently, Yellow Springs, Ohio.  It's a beautiful place to shop (has the feel of the 60s), and as a bonus, has Clifton Gorge nearby with lots of hiking trails.  I always get a sense of wonder when I'm there and come away feeling a bit more inter-connected, grounded and with an affirmation, that, as Max Ehrmann said so eloquently in "Desiderata".....'no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should'.  While we were in Clifton, my son's roommate snapped a picture of me with my son.....I was stunned when I had a chance to view it and realized, I really have made progress.  I've been so refocused on BUILDING health, that I had nearly forgotten my weight loss goals.  I knew I was down another size in pants, but somehow just didn't realize I actually look smaller.

I am nearing my goal and now feel I probably only have about 10 pounds to lose, but I am also working on my fitness and wanting to build up some muscle, so the scale may not end up budging much, but I expect things will continue to shift around a bit.  Best of all, I have so much energy and continue to feel so much better.  And the spiritual benefits, of living a life a little more harmoniously with our planet and the creatures we share it with, is also coming to the forefront....yes, is still a beautiful world.

Wishing you the best in health.  (Upcoming blog soon on my symposium notes from Dr. Esselstyn and Jeff Novick.)

Sue, rocking the red peppers, in Ohio

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