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Summer, It’s “Bean” Fun!

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The Ferris Wheel

Sorry about the fail on posting some salad recipes last week; work and school preparations left me a little wiped out. Speaking of school, ewww! Although I am excited to get back to it I didn’t think my four month break would go by so fast. This summer has been pretty awesome and I expect it to stay warm through September. Do you hear me weather? (shakes fist at sky).

One summer event I try not to miss is the old PNE. There’s something about the permeating smell of fried foods and spun sugar mixed with farm animals and screaming children that I just can’t do without. It didn’t disappoint this year! I got to sit in Captain Kirk’s chair!!! His real chair from the original Star Trek!!! Sorry to let my nerd out but it was amazing!!! My boyfriend was even luckier because he actually got to meet Data and Troi from TNG (Star Trek The Next Generation for the non-nerds reading this). I am seething with jealousy but am thrilled for him!  But I digress, as summer winds down I wanted to think of some way to keep it happening food wise.

Classic Fair Fare! (sorry about the pun)

Mexican inspired dishes come to mind so I thought I’d share a super easy and quick recipe for some healthy and vegan dip!

Black Bean Chipotle Dip with Pita Chips

2 pita pockets

1 can black beans (540 ml) drained (reserve liquid) and rinsed

1 1/2 T chopped cilantro

2-3 T canned chipotle in adobo sauce

1/3 lemon wedge, juiced

1/2 t ground cumin

1/2 salt (plus more to sprinkle on chips)

oil (to drizzle or spray)

-plain greek style yogurt (optional)

-put oven on broil and cut the pitas into eighths, separating the pockets so you have 16 triangular chips for each pocket (I find it easiest to use kitchen scissors)

-lay in single layer on baking sheets

-drizzle oil or use oil spray on chips  and sprinkle with salt

-place under the broiler for 2-5 minutes, you will probably have to check them every 30 seconds or so after the first two minutes. The length of time will vary depending on your oven. Keep a close watch as these chips go from done to burnt quickly!

-combine all the ingredients plus 2 T of the reserved bean liquid in a bowl and blend with a hand blender or a food processor if you have one

-top with some plain yogurt (or not if you want to stay vegan) and some more cilantro and enjoy!

Hopefully these spicy summer flavours will help the warm days stay a little longer! You could also use this in a 7 layer dip for added yum. Or have a dip party with my yam dip and my guacamole!

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Strawberry Fields Forever (or for a couple of hours)

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Happy Belated Canada Day! I hope everyone had a sensible and safe good time like the true Canadians they are! Unfortunately for those of us in Raincity (or its official name, Vancouver) the long weekend was mostly a bust weather wise.

a patriotic shot!


              It did clear up fpr a few hours on Sunday though, and out in Ladner where I was it cleared up quite nicely. My good friend Nicole had the idea to go strawberry picking months ago. and I was stoked that we managed to find a day where not only we could go but our significant others as well. Our schedules rarely mesh during the day so this was a real treat! By the time we got out to the farm, the sky was lightening and blue was replacing our now standard June grey skies. We had been picking once before but the strawberries were much bigger and more numerous this go around. I had my box filled pretty quickly. Picking fruit from the bush is so fun! It’s also hard work and I have new respect for professional pickers.              There were lots of people out and many cute kids sitting on wagons, picking berries and eating their efforts. They had a stand with fresh strawberry milkshakes, sundaes and smoothies. I had a sundae and it was one of the best decisions I made that day.

the source of the sundae


               After we had our fill of strawberries we moved on to the raspberry fields where we picked a couple of pounds. The raspberries were an incredible deal compared to the ones you see at the grocery store. After we finished our strawberry adventure we agreed to regroup in a couple of hours for a Canada day must: a barbeque! Veggie burgers ho! I made a pie that didn’t quite have enough time to set up although it tasted pretty good. I’m not going to share the recipe because I wasn’t too impressed it with it.I got it off epicurious which is usually great but the glaze called for too much liquid, blah, blah blah. Upshot, it didn’t really work. It looked nice though! I had planned on making preserves with most of the strawberries anyway. We had an awesome barbeque and many beers were enjoyed. I didn’t get around to dealing with the rest of the fruit until the next day after work.

Another good friend of mine, Christine, has always like to bug me about acting like an old lady mostly because of my propensity to use slang from fifty to a hundred years ago. I blame this on old movies, old books and a bit of an obsession with retro everything (also an antique dealer father). I mean, didn’t all children of the 80’s grow up reading Big Little books from the 1960’s and listening to tapes of old Sherlock Holmes radio shows? The other night while watching Murder She Wrote in a polka dot apron and making strawberry preserves I had to think Christine has a point. I had trouble locating a recipe for what I had in mind regarding the preserves. I wanted to keep the strawberries whole and just jar them but all the recipes I found were for more jam-like confections. Finally, I decided to just not crush the berries and follow the other instructions. I also added some vanilla. I ended up with four jars of berries and an extra one of just syrup.

syrup and strawberries

The berries are great with yogurt and I’m planning on putting them on ice cream and into milkshakes. They’re also good eaten out of the jar with a long spoon and a happy face! I’m going to use the syrup with some soda water to make a strawberry Italian soda! The summer weather appears to finally be here however and we will go back in a month or so to pick some blue berries that aren’t ready yet! I hope everyone had a great Canada Day and/or 4th of July!

soon!!

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