Black Bean Burgers

I have been wanting to make black bean burgers for ages…but for some reason, I was a little afraid of them. You know how sometimes you can get in your head and convince yourself that a dish you’ve never tried is going to be really difficult to get right?…

Well, I was completely off base about that. And I’m glad I finally got my act together to make these burgers for my two best friends when they came to throw me a baby shower! Thanks, Stephanie and Debby, for being my guinea pigs 🙂

These black bean burgers were delicious, and sooo easy to make! They were moist and flavorful, with a bit of a southwestern flair—definitely not like the dry pile of beans I feared so much. I definitely recommend you make these burgers. They are hearty and healthy…a great way to end the summer!

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Fleur de Sel Caramel Chocolate Cookies

Oh my gosh. These cookies are divine. You must make them. Right away.

Soft but slightly crumbly dark chocolate cookie covered in sweet, sticky, stretchy caramel…*drool*

So I’ve got to warn you before you make these. It’s impossible to eat just one. That’s partly because if you stack them together, it will be very difficult to pull them apart…but it’s also because the combination of sweet and salty goodness is just impossible to resist! I brought these cookies to my Bible study, and everyone just dug right in, pulling the caramel apart in long strands, digging it off the plate with their fingers…it was amazing.

Now, these cookies do require you to make your own caramel. It is possible, of course, to melt down premade caramels for dipping the cookies, but it will probably cool into a hard, overly chewy coating, which is not as awesome. Don’t worry! Making your own caramel is easy. And you will be so glad you did it!

Let’s get baking.

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Caprese Bites

During summer, there is nothing I like better than ripe, fresh tomatoes. I love to walk past a stand of tomatoes in the farmer’s market and just breathe them in…it’s hard to describe what tomatoes smell like, but you know what I mean. They just smell like summer!

I tend to eat a lot of tomato sandwiches during the summer. And salads loaded with tomatoes. And burritos loaded with tomatoes.

But what could be a better use for some perfect, juicy tomatoes than a caprese salad? Once I got the hankering for tomatoes layered with fresh mozzarella and basil, it was a quick jump from there to a bite-size version of the treat. Mini is definitely in…plus, this way I don’t have to deal with the little voice in the back of my head that’s saying “something made half out of cheese is not really a salad.”

These are so simple to make, and they will definitely disappear fast!

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Pad Thai

So, my husband loves Asian food. That sounds like an over-generalization, but I can almost guarantee that if the cuisine originated from somewhere in the Far East, he would be perfectly happy eating it every day for every meal. Korean food, Chinese food, Thai food, Vietnamese food…you name it, he’s there.

I find it challenging to make most of these foods at home, because most of the dishes he truly loves require a lot of somewhat unusual ingredients and really are easier to make in huge portions. That’s why I was excited to be assigned A Scientist in the Kitchen for this month’s Secret Recipe Club swap. Here is a girl who is currently living in Thailand, making her own versions of classic Thai dishes at home!

I knew I had to try making Pad Thai, which is one of Dave’s new favorites. He is in love with this amazing Thai place near our house that makes an award-winning spicy Pad Thai (maybe you remember seeing Nong crush Bobby Flay on TV in a Pad Thai throwdown?), so I knew that if I were able to make a good Pad Thai at home, it would be a hit.

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Marbled Mocha Coffee Cake

What can I even say about this amazing cake? Chocolate, coffee, and vanilla batters, all mixed together to form one single cake? Get outta here!

I hesitate to call it a breakfast food, because it’s really full of butter and sugar and other unhealthy but delicious ingredients; it might really be better as an after-dinner treat with a steaming cup of java. But I will leave that up to you.

No matter when you decide to serve it, this coffee cake is sure to be a hit! It’s moist and crumbly, sweet but not too sweet…in short, it’s delightful. Unfortunately for you, it does require about a thousand bowls (er…three). Also it’s really a danger to keep around the house when you are home alone, because slivers of it will just keep disappearing…

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Ginger Scones

Okay, so with all the Olympics going on, I have been in a very British mood. And what could be more British than scones? The last time I popped into a coffee shop in London, about half of their baked goods contained candied ginger, so that seemed like the perfect complement to my scone craving.

Now, it may seem a bit off-season to be making a spiced scone, but I promise that the flavor of these is light and fresh, brightened by the lemon zest. You won’t feel heavy or warm after one of these babies, and I know you’ll think they are completely delicious!

Given that I was inspired to make scones by a series of amazing athletic feats, I thought I should up the health factor of my regular scone recipe just slightly, so I went for half white whole wheat flour (though I suppose you could use all wheat flour and skip the refined all-purpose flour entirely). Unfortunately, they are still quite buttery, so they aren’t exactly a health food. Maybe take a quick jog around the block after you eat one. Do a few laps in the pool, bike to a friend’s house, maybe slam down a couple of cartwheels…anything that reminds you of your favorite Olympian 🙂

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