Mother’s Day Grilled Montage (because I didn’t forget Mother’s Day)


Do I lead with a causal explanation that it was yesterday when I realized Mother’s Day was this Sunday. Or do I invent a cover story, knowing that my mother is probably my most avid e-mail subscriber?


My forgetfulness really shouldn’t be taken personally, Mom. I routinely forget about my cup of coffee only to rediscover it hours later. I am constantly finding myself absent minded in front of the refrigerator without any intentions of consumption whatsoever. I somehow seem to emit sheer inattentiveness everytime I pull up to the ATM consistently leaving my debit card (enough to put me on a first name basis with the tellers at my local branch). Long story short..I tend not to remember things.

So, uh, don’t be mad Mom. I still have time. I’ll grill you dinner. Here’s a sneak peak of some recipe inspiration for Mother’s Day 2014. 😀

Zesty Lime Corn Salad. Quick Weight Loss Recipes. Mother's Day. Recipe, gift, mother

Taken from Zesty Lime Corn Salad.

Cilantro Dressing, The garden grazer. recipe, mother's day, gift, homemade, vegetarian, vegan, mother

Taken from Cilantro Dressing





Pinto Bean Burgers with Cumin and Cilantro

Healthy Vegetarian Pinto Bean Burger on Naan with Avocado Spread and Spinach Recipe, Food

Healthy Vegetarian Pinto Bean Burger on Naan with Avocado Spread and Spinach.

Vegetarian Pinto Bean Burger: Served on Naan with Avocado Spread and Spinach Leaves


“I like refried beans.That’s why I wanna try fried beans, because maybe they’re just as good and we’re just wasting time.You don’t have to fry them again after all.”
-Mitch Hegberg


Pinto beans, pepper jack cheese, crushed tortilla chips, onions, cilantro, cumin egg white, olive oil, recipe, homemade, food, pinto bean burgers, ingredients


  • 1 (15 oz) can of pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup of shredded Pepper Jack cheese*
  • 1/4 cup finely crushed tortilla chips**
  • 1/4 cup of onions
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 large egg white
  • Olive Oil

*Both Colby and Monterey Jack Cheese can be used as well

**Bread Crumbs can be used as a substitution

STEP 1: Place pinto beans in a medium bowl; mash with fork until beans form a lumpy paste.

STEP 2: Add cheese, crushed tortilla chips, onions, cilantro, cumin, and egg white. OPTIONAL: Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to enhance flavors.

Pinto beans, pepper jack cheese, crushed tortilla chips, onions, cilantro, cumin egg white, olive oil, recipe, homemade, food, pinto bean burgers, ingredients

STEP 3: Cover bottom of non-stick pan (I used a cast iron skillet) with olive oil. Heat oil over medium-high heat. Make sure the oil has time to heat up before adding the burgers.

STEP 4: Place patties in pan and cook 3-4 minutes on each side or until patties are browned. Inside will still be slightly soft, but still heated throughout.

Pinto beans, pepper jack cheese, crushed tortilla chips, onions, cilantro, cumin egg white, olive oil, recipe, homemade, food, pinto bean burgers, ingredientsgrilled, cast iron pan, browned

Cook 3-4 minutes each side or until lightly browned

SERVE: Place burgers on warmed Naan or Pita bread. Dress with spinach leaves and crushed avocado/guacamole and extra cilantro if desired.



Corn and David Hume

Grilled corn on the cob, food, recipe, homemade, grilling

Deliciously grilled corn on the cob. Ear perfection.

I subscribe to Scottish philosopher David Hume’s opinions regarding the nature of human behavior.  Reason doesn’t drive decisions I’ve made, I am instead guided by desires.

I’m not concerned with the embarrassment of a kernel filled smile. It’s an after-thought, a small second helping.  Reasonably considered to be a served side downside. There’s only a few more weeks of grilling weather here in Northeast United States and I’m craving the sultry smoke aftertaste of corn well grilled.  I could even say I desire it.

Break out your grill skills a few more times before winter. I’ll even share a foolproof way to keep your corn succulent, and smoky.  Plump and juicy.  Perfectly cooked.  Now doesn’t that sound like a meal to be desired?


  • Ears of corn, one per person
  • salt
  • seriously, that’s all you’ll need

recipe, corn, grilled corn, food, homemade, grill, prep

Here’s what you do:

1. Peel the husks away from the ear and down to the base (see figure 1).  Be careful to not detach them!  Remove silk. I’m pretty lazy with this step, so more than a few stray silk strands are bound to remain (luckily they are easily removed before consuming).  I have a friend that will sit there for 45 minutes and pluck the silk individually with a pair of tweezers.  Don’t be that friend.  No one has time for that shit.

2. Return the husk back into place (figure 2).

3. Fill a large pot with cold water and about 1 teaspoon of salt.  Submerge corn and let soak for 10 minutes.

4. While corn is soaking warm up the grill to a medium heat.

5. Place corn on grill.  Grill for 25 minutes, turning ears every 5 minutes.  Pierce the corn with a small knife. The corn is done whenthe  kernels feel tender.

6.  Remove  husks. Serve. Enjoy with salt and butter.

corn preparation, lifestyle, recipe, corn, grilled corn, food, homemade, grill, prep

Right: Just finished soaking and on the grill. Left: Almost done, just a few more minutes.

Taking advantage of my father’s grill and the last few weeks of nice weather.

Sweet potato wedges, grilled corn, and perfectly cooked barbeque chicken. Fall Grilling.

Sweet potato wedges, corn on the cob, and perfectly grilled barbeque chicken.

The other night I had some friends over for dinner (check back later for some awesome grilling recipes!) and managed to churn out quite the deliciously impressive grilled menu.  I love cooking for other people because it gives me filling validation.  There aren’t many things as rewarding as someone reaching for a large second helping, or a plate licked clean.

My family always gathered together for dinner.  Even amid the chaos of three very busy kids with very different schedules; without fail, we always share a meal together at the dinner table.  I know I’m in the minority, but even now I will feel a little odd when people don’t find a communal dinner necessary.  So I try to continue my family tradition. Invite people to your dinner table, fill them with food, and basque in the afterglow of good company and a meal well served.

Kale Chips

kale chips

“Can’t eat just one”…more like “Will eat almost all”

If I paused for a second while shoveling two trays (direct from the oven) of kale chips into my pie hole, I would have a better picture.  Alas, it was not my immediate priority. I had a firm focus and one track mind for consumption.

I know the name is misleading, but these are not really a substitute for chips! Healthy snack food: yes. Disguisable as potato chips: not so much.  But don’t be led astray, they are insanely delicious and will curb any crunchy/salty/chip-like craving.

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who like kale, and those who don’t. Be realistic. If you don’t like kale, you probably won’t enjoy these.  If you do like kale this will become the basis of your go-to kale recipe. Trust me, I know things.


  • 10-12 Kale Leaves
  • 2 tablespoons oil**
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt** (less or more if desired)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic** (less or more if desired)

** Alterations to this recipe are unlimited.  Get inspiration from your pantry.  This is my favorite recipe, scroll to the bottom for more recipe ideas!


Rub a dub dub, some kale in a tub

Step 1: Wash your Kale.  I grow kale in my garden so unless I want an occasional slug in the mix, this step is essential. Be aware that you will need to completely dry the kale in order to achieve the ultimate crispy experience.  I use a colander to rinse and wait until after the the kale has been cut to finish drying.

Step 2: De-stem and cut the Kale.  I find that it is easiest to de-stem when the leaf is turned upside down.   See diagram: Kale A for optimal cutting techniques.

Cutting Kale

Diagram: Kale A

Step 3: Thoroughly dry Kale.
 Seriously, I use a paper towel and a clean dishtowel.  If the kale is wet it will not crisp to perfection.  No excuses.

Kale Chips

Dry the kale thoroughly! I use both a paper towel, and clean dish towel.

Kale Chips

Add oil, seasonings, and shake, shake, shake!

Step 4: Place Kale in a bag and add your ingredients (olive oil, salt, garlic). Don’t drench your kale in olive oil, you just want the pieces to be lightly coated! Add one tablespoon at a time if you are unsure. Seal the bag and shake.

Mush everything around with your hands, shake some more.  Make sure everything is just lightly coated and the seasonings aren’t left in clumps.

***TIP:  I’ve found the bag method minimizes cleanup. Another method is to lightly spray the kale with an oil aerosol.  Then sprinkle on the seasonings.  Or you can mix it all up in a bowl.***

Step 5: Assemble Kale on baking sheet.  Spend some time arranging the kale!  You will want to make sure the pieces haven’t folded over, and none overlap.  Try to lay the pieces curly side down (for some reason these will crisp better).

kale chips

Arrange kale on a baking sheet. Bake 300-350 for 8-10 minutes. This batch got a little too crispy!

Step 6: Bake Kale at 300-350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.  Flip kake or rotate tray at 4-5 minutes. Disclaimer: All ovens are different. There is a fine line between kale chips and burnt kale.  I used a convection oven set to 325. When 4 minutes have passed I flip the larger pieces of kale. At 8 minutes I check again. Many times they will need an extra minute or two.

Other Kale recipe ideas:

  • Great recipe, the spices are fantastic, I’m a little jealous I didn’t come up with this!
  • Oil, chili flakes,  chopped almonds,  garlic powder, onion powder
  • Substitute half of the oil with low sodium soy sauce
  • Oil, garlic powder, chipotle pepper spice
  • Add sesame seeds to any recipe
  • Be creative with oils, truffle oil, sunflower oil, etc.
  • Add cheese: parmesan, asiago, romano
  • Add a teaspoon of Sriracha to the oil if you like heat
  • Oil, chili powder, garlic, and sprinkle with lime juice after baking
  • Substitute half of the oil with vinegar for a “salt and vinegar” chip
  • Nutritional yeast gives a wonderful cheesy taste, great with garlic and onion powder.

Black Beans and Rice


Last summer I discovered a deal on organic canned beans that I could not ignore.  I exploited it every chance I had, returning from each weekly grocery shop with a loot of at least six cans of beans.  I felt like a valiant super shopper;  I would giggle as I filled up my cart.  I imagined myself as a savvy thief, finding a coupon loophole and robbing the local grocery store of their organic beans at 12 cents a can.  Not really.  But I did always worry my well-researched deal would be rejected at the register.  It didn’t.  And I began to horde can upon can of beans.  I had never really cooked with beans before.  My culinary legume experience ranged from an atrocious split pea crock pot soup recipe I dreamt up after a heavy night of drinking (it was dreadful) to purchasing several varieties of hummus.  Now I had a whole pantry full of the vegetable.  That’s hindsight for you.   Here’s a recipe that was cultivated that summer.  I’ve never made it the same way twice, but when it’s served I always get asked for the recipe! Here’s a no fail formula for a deliciously cheap (and healthy) dish of Black Beans and Rice:

Ingredients (feel free to substitute)

  • 2 cups of rice (any kind)
  • 1 medium onion – diced or chopped
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic – minced
  • 2 medium peppers – diced or chopped
  • 2 cans of black beans, undrained – you can use any kind of beans, but black beans will give you the best flavor
  • 1 cup broth (any kind)
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • salt to taste

Cook rice according to directions.  It doesn’t matter what type of rice you use because it does not get cooked with anything else.  I prefer brown long grain, but I’ve used everything from minute rice to jasmine rice.  Use whatever is available to you!

Black Beans and Rice Recipe

I always add oil and salt to rice to keep it from getting mushy and sticky! But always read the directions on the package!

While the rice is cooking chop up your veggies!  This recipe turns out best with:

  • one medium onion – diced or chopped
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic – minced (I’m a garlic lover so I used two),
  • and peppers – diced or chopped (I used both a small sweet and hot pepper)

You can add up to another 1/2 cup of veggies if you feel up to it. Sometimes I’ll put in a little celery to give it a crunch, or zucchini to add volume.  I would stay away from stronger tasting vegetables such as carrots and beets as they will affect the flavor too much.

Black Beans and Rice Recipe

Chopped onion, garlic, and peppers.

Pour a little oil into the bottom of a frying pan, coating the surface area.  When the oil has heated up (and not before!) throw in the veggies and saute until they have softened and the onions are translucent.

Black Beans and Rice Recipe

Saute away! Make sure you’ve given the oil enough time to heat up! If you drop a droplet of water in the pan and it sizzles, you’re ready to saute!

Other Ingredients

  • 2 cans of black beans, undrained
  • 1 cup chicken broth (that’s the red tupperware in the back, it is homemade but feel free to use any broth on hand ie. veggie, beef, bouillon)

TIP: Broth will spoil in the fridge in less than a week.  Freeze it to use later.

  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (or more if desired)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • salt to taste
Other ingredients - Black Beans and Rice Recipe

Here’s the other ingredients. Isn’t this marble countertop fancy?

Add beans (undrained!) broth, vinegar, bay leaves, black pepper, cumin and salt to the sauteed vegetables.  Stir until combined.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer covered for 10 minutes.

Black Beans and Rice Recipe

Let it simmer for 10 minutes after boiling.

Remove bay leaves.   You can either scoop bean mixture over rice or mix it all together (which is what I like to do).  Garnish with scallions, green onions, sour cream or greek yogurt if your heart desired. ‘Cause, ya know, beans are good for the heart and all.

Black Beans and Rice Recipe

Voila! It’s ready!

And Dinner is served!  I will usually serve this as a side if I am cooking for a group of people, but it is balanced and heavy enough to serve as a main dish.  Enjoy!

Black Beans and Rice Recipe

Mmmmmmmmmm beans.