This weekend was a time when I was repeatedly reminded of how fast time is flying by. We spent a wonderful evening with a large group of friends and their kids and, for the most part, the kids just played on their own. Sure there were a couple skirmishes, especially as the evening wore on and kiddos got pooped, but for the most part it was really the grown-ups talking and the kids off, doing their own thing.
Then we spent a late evening with an old friend, playing cards and laughing a lot. It was a wonderful reminder that even as time goes by, even the closest relationships that continue to grow and change.
And then the weekend ended with a family dinner with all the cousins running around (4 boys in 4 years). Similar to the friends gathering, the kids were off entertaining themselves, having an amazing time, and the grown-ups could watch from a distance and enjoy each other.
This feels like a major milestone in parenting—that time when the kids are off entertaining themselves and you can (sort of) trust that no one is going to fall from a great height or poke their eye out. It feels like the time just flew by, and yet I am SO GRATEFUL to be here now.
Along with all of these gatherings was a lot of cooking—because you have to have food to share with one another!! Part of that cooking extravaganza was a huge, and I mean HUGE, batch of black beans. I figured while I was cooking for 16, I might as well make some extra for our family as well. So beans were soaked overnight and out came the biggest le Creuset pot I’ve got (an inheritance from my grandmother). As the they were cooking and I was stirring this ridiculous vat of beans, I thought I might have gone off the deep end and, indeed, there are a lot of beans left over. Of course, some beans are going into the freezer for a later date, but as I was getting ready to put them all away, I decided to use this as an opportunity to try something different with the beans: Black Bean Burgers.
All the recipes I found seemed kind of blah. Black beans, onions, and spices. A good start for sure, but I wanted something that had more pop to it. And then I discovered a number of recipes for Sweet Potato-Black Bean Burgers. Now, I don’t know about you, but sweet potatoes and black beans is one of my favorite food combinations of all time. The sweet, the salty, the smoky. Mmmmmm. So I pulled inspiration from a number of the recipes and came up with my own version. I have to say, they are amazing (I couldn’t wait until dinner to try them).
I’d recommend making a double batch and then freezing the raw patties. Then you’ve got frozen veggie burgers on-hand for busy nights! To freeze them, lay the patties out on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the freezer for an hour. Then take out and put into a Ziploc bag, in layers divided by the parchment paper you used on the cookie sheet, which you can cut in half to fit into the Ziploc bag.
- 1 ½ lb sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 2-inch chunks
- 2 tbl coconut oil (or olive oil)
- 1 cup cooked millet (could also use brown rice or quinoa)
- 2 cups cooked black beans (or a 15-oz. can rinsed and drained)
- 1 cup old fashioned oats
- ½ cup finely diced onion
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- ½ tsp salt
- cayenne pepper, to taste
- Oil for cooking the burgers
- Preheat oven to 425. While the oven preheats, peel and chop your sweet potatoes. Toss the pieces in 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and a little bit of salt. Roast on a cookie sheet for 20 minutes, or until soft. Set aside to cool.
- If you don’t have leftovers of an already cooked grain on hand, toast ⅓ cup of millet in a saucepan over a high heat until they start to pop and take on a nutty smell. Add ⅔ cups of water and some salt. Bring the water to a boil, then turn down to low and simmer and cook covered for 15 minutes. Then turn of the heat and allow the millet to sit, covered for 10 more minutes.
- In a small pan, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil on a medium-high heat and sauté the onions until they are just starting to brown. At the last minute, throw in the minced garlic and stir.
- In a food processor or blender, grind the oats until they are slightly broken up, but not turned into flour.
- In a large mixing bowl, mash the sweet potatoes with a potato masher or large spoon, add in the rest of the ingredients and stir/mash until well mixed (it is ok if the black beans get mashed up). Or, if you prefer, put all the ingredients in the food processor and pulse until just combined (don’t overmix).
- Scoop a scant ½ cup of the mixture and shape into a patty. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a cast iron skillet or non-stick pan, pan fry until starting to brown, about 3-4 minutes per side. Serve on buns or toast and with your favorite toppings. Enjoy!
-A great place to include your kids in the cooker is at the mashing part. Let them mash away! They will love it!
-I recommend making a double batch and then freezing the raw patties. Then you’ve got frozen veggie burgers on hand for busy nights! To freeze them, lay the patties out on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the freezer for an hour. Then take out and put into a Ziploc bag, in layers divided by the parchment paper you used on the cookie sheet which you can cut in half to fit into the Ziploc bag.