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And the New England weather strikes again!

Dun dun duuunnn

Ok, for all of you who aren’t blessed with Boston weather, this summer has been weird! hot, cold, humid, rainy, dry- it’s ridiculous. It makes planning a menu for the coming week difficult!

Last week was pretty humid so I decided that I would definitely be able to fit some grilling in during the week. Well, Tuesday, when I went to light up the grill, it was drizzling, cool and super windy. Lighting my mini charcoal grill with matches was um, a bit challenging! My roommate, Allie, came to my rescue though and schooled me on grill lighting. After he helped, I had the grill blazing within 5 minutes! Of course, with the wind, I was 92% sure I was going to burn my apartment down. I caught myself staring at the dancing flames with huge eyes, shoulders tense, knuckles white while gripping some fancy tong thingies, just waiting for something to catch fire.  BUT we all survived and I had a wicked yummy dinner to show for it.

Not that these pictures do my yummy veggy tacos justice. The fact is, I failed you in the picture area again my friends. My achilles heel in food photography seems to be mexican food. Remember my chimichangas? yeah…I still blame the refried beans…

Grilled Veggie Tacos

Black Beans:
from Crockpot 356

  • 1 pound black beans, soaked overnight, then drained*
  • 6 cups veggy broth
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, or 2 cups fresh chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
Use a 6-quart slow cooker. Soak your beans overnight and drain.
 
Put the drained beans into your slow cooker, then add the chopped garlic, broth, tomatoes, cumin, and chili powder. Stir well to combine. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
 
*The original person who posted this recipe suggested using the Quick-soak method, which is bring your dried beans to a boil for 10 minutes, cover and let sit for 1 hour. This did NOT work for me. My beans ended up being crunchy after 8+ hours and I had to put them on high for an additional 3 hours. Save yourself the trouble and soak them over night!
 
Guacamole: 
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 tsp lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
Mix all the ingredients together. If you have left overs, store them with the avocado pit. It slows the browning process a bit.
 
Grilled Veggies:
  • 1 summer squash
  • 1 zucchini
  • 2 portobello mushroom caps, stems removed and cleaned
  • 3 TBSP olive oil
  • Mrs Dash Fiesta Lime Seasoning (find it in the spices section of any grocery store)
  • salt
  • skewers (optional)
Dice up the summer squash and the zucchini. Toss them with 2 TBSPs of olive oil and 1-2 tsps of Mrs Dash Fiesta Lime Seasoning (depending on how Fiesta-y you want your vegetables). You can either skewer the vegetables after you are through tossing them or you can wrap them in foil, whichever you prefer. Both ways will give the veggies the smoky taste of grilling but the foil wrapper will take a bit longer.
 
Brush the mushroom caps with the remaining TBSP of olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
 
Place the vegetables on your grill (I have a charcoal grill so I have no settings. I would imagine its about medium heat though). Cook until tender about 15- 20 minutes on the skewer, 20-25 in the foil pouch.
 
Place the mushroom caps on last. They will only take about 5-10 minutes.
 
Additionally you may need:
  •  small taco shells (I used corn this time but I prefer flour. They hold together a little better)
  • salsa (fresh salsa would taste great with this or I used Stir It Up Cuisine’s Pepper Jelly with Lime. I bought it at the Farmer’s market on Sunday and it is seriously delicious! I believe Stonewall Kitchen has something similar)
  • vegan cheese
  • fresh tomatoes
  • lettuce

Slather your freshly cooked beans, grilled veggies, guacamole and other toppings onto your taco shell and enjoy dinner!!

Seriously? Why does that mushroom at the top of the picture look so weird??

This recipe seems long and complicated but the great thing is, it really comes together pretty fast. The beans cook over night and while your at work and the veggies cook up pretty quickly on the grill. While they are cooking you can make the guacamole. And it doesn’t require you to heat your oven up!

Plus, you can substitute  in almost any veggies you find at your local farmers market- peppers, onion, different mushrooms, tomatoes, etc. Yeah for summer food!

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

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I had several odd jobs during my high school years.

I’ve fought the madness that is my local fair by working the ticket booth at the entry gate. The fair only lasted a few days but the shifts were long and I handled so much money that I would actually dream about counting out change. And dealing with townies was always…interesting.

I worked at a record store, which was unfortunately more Record Town then Empire Records. I was working for The Man, not fighting him. Polo shirts and black slacks were involved. Not my best look.

But,  the icing on the cake was the tiny coffee shop I worked at while I was trying to save money for a Paris trip, junior year of high school . It was run by this mean cat lady who owned the place. Usually, on the weekends, it was just me and her. She would plop herself on this stool and watch everything I did, only getting up to yell at me/fix something I did. And I ALWAYS wrapped the wraps wrong. They were to tight. Too lose. Too much filling. Not enough. On more then one occasion she would trash what I had done and start over.

So needless to say, I have a mental block about making wraps and burritos. Seriously, I can never get them right. My brain refuses. Filling is always spilling out and the ends never stayed tucked in.

This became glaringly obvious this week when I tried to make burritos for lunch. I tried to 3 days in a row before cursing furiously, plopping everything in a bowl and eating it like that.

And guess what, it tasted just as good! Too bad I couldn’t have done that at my job. I’m pretty sure mean cat lady would have had an aneurism if I even attempted it.

Quinoa and Bean Burritos/Bowls
 inspired by Whole Foods and Rachel Robin’s Nest
makes roughly 6 or 7 wraps or bowls full, depending on the size of your wraps, can easily be halved

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (any color will work)
  • 1 can of black beans (you can also use dried but I had a can kicking around from way back when), drained and rinsed
  • 1 block of extra firm tofu, pressed
  • 1 TBSP of olive oil
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 sweet onion
  • a pack of taco seasoning
  • water (amount based on the taco seasoning you are using. Mine was left over from a taco night I had with friends and it called for 1 cup of water)
  • wheat wraps (optional)
  • optional toppings: taco sauce, salsa, avocado, guacamole, vegan cheese, vegan sour cream, lettuce, additional veggies

Add one cup of quinoa and two cups of water to a medium sauce pan. Bring to boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, when all the water is absorbed, remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Stir in the black beans.

Meanwhile, slice up the pepper, the onion and the tofu to your liking (I cut mine my veggies long strips like fajitas and my tofu in cubes ). Heat the olive oil to the pan and then add the veggies and the tofu. Saute until the tofu is golden brown on the outside. The onions with me soft and the peppers should still be a bit crunchy. Add the taco seasoning and water to the veggie/tofu mix and stir until the seasoning thickens to a sauce. It should only take about 2 minutes or so.

Scoop quinoa/bean mix onto a wrap. Add veggies and tofu and any additional toppings you like.

Alternatively, if you can’t keep your wrap together (like me) and it all falls apart by the time you get it to work the next day, you can mix everything together in a bowl. My favorite combo so far has been: quinoa, beans, veggies and tofu with taco seasoning, half an avocado cut into cubes, and a little BBQ hot sauce (yes…even my hot sauce is BBQ flavored). I keep the wrap on the side, slice it in triangles before work and then toast them at works as sort of a make shift tortilla chips.

aww…look how compact it is. Too bad as soon as I unwrapped it at work, the whole thing fell apart. Grr.

It’s really easy, full of protein and keeps you full for the rest of the afternoon. Win, win and win!

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