Category Archives: Bean recipes

Black Bean, Avocado and Tomato Salad


Chicken on Grill – is there anything better? Its one of our families favorites.  Here are our top 5 ways/hints to make Chicken on the Grill even better. Barbecue Chicken – use a good (or make your own) barbecue sauce. … Continue reading

No Labour Here – 2 Labour Day Simply Colourful Salads


Its Labour Day Weekend, which is kinda funny since the last thing I want to do on Labour Day is – you know labour! Not in the work sense (or the have a baby sense either lol) … here are 2 of my Colourful Salads – easy to make – Non-Labour intensive – Labour Day Salads.

Cauliflower-Tomato Salad

This is so easy to throw together at the last minute and a family fave.  I used a purple cauliflower that I picked up at the farmers market but a regular one is just as good.  I also made my dressing from 1TB cider vinegar, 1 tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp Dijon Mustard and  4 tsp EVOO, but a bottled Italian dressing works perfectly too!)

  •   1/2 head of cauliflower (I used purple but any cauliflower will do)
  •   2-3 Ripe Tomatoes (I used yellow heirloom & red roma`s)
  •   1/4-1/2 small purple onion (sliced thin) – optional
  •   Green or Black Olives – optional
  •   Oil & Vinegar or Italian style dressing to suit.

Mix dressing. Clean cauliflower*, and rinse tomatoes, cut both into bite sized chunks, add to bowl, add the rest of ingredients & dress salad. Best if you let it sit for 15 min for dressing to mix.

* best way to clean cauliflower (or broccoli) – fill a bowl with warm water and add a dash of salt to it – cut up vegetable and pop into the salted water, let soak for 5-10 min, drain (rinse if you want), the salt will draw out any bugs hiding out in the florets.

Best Black Bean-Tomato-Avocado Salad

This is another fave – you can cut salt by soaking your black beans, however a can of black beans rinsed will work wonderfully and rinsing the liquid will both cut the salt & the flatulence factor.

  •    1 (28 oz) can black beans – drained & rinsed
  •    2-3 Firm Tomatoes (I use roma`s)
  •    1/2 red/purple onion, sliced thinly or diced
  •    2 avocados – peeled, pitted and cut into chunks
  •    juice of 1 lime
  •    cilantro to taste (dried about 1 Tsp, fresh – a handful)
  •    salt & pepper to taste

This is best made just previous to serving to prevent the avocado from browning (although the acidity in the lime juice also helps prevent this as well).  Place drained and rinsed black beans in a bowl, add tomatoes, onion, and avocados. Mix together. Cut the lime in half and squeeze the juice* over the bean mixture. Add the cilantro and S&P. Mix again, let sit 5 minutes before serving. (tightly wrap plastic wrap over the top  so there is no air getting in if letting sit for longer).

* hint:  roll lime (lemon or orange) over counter top previous to juicing and you will yield more juice.


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Get some Pork on your Fork!

Looking for an elegant but easy  – dinner on the grill?   One that’s quick enough for a weekday – but nice enough for company?  Try this  one (another go to for us!).
Fairly often Pork Tenderloin goes on sale around here, whenever it does I grab a few and keep them in the freezer, on hand for a quick meal.

One of our families fave’s is Crispy Grilled Pork Tenderloin, crispy on the outside but tender & juicy on the inside.

Crispy Pork Tenderloin


  • 1-2 Pork Tenderloin**
  • Sesame Oil or Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or your choice)
  • 1-2 TB minced garlic.
  • 1/2 -1 tsp dried parsley
  • dash or 2 pepper
  • 1/2-1 tsp dried rosemary
  • or whatever other herbs you prefer ( Italian blend of spices is nice, or tried & true Salt & Pepper)

Sorry about the recycled pic – I realized after writing the post that my camera died and I couldn’t take a pic…

Mix all ingredients except pork into paste.  Rub into tenderloin.  Cook on bottom grill on high flame for 1 min per side (to crispen), reduce the flame and keep temperature at 400 degrees F move to top rack, close cover and roast until internal temperature is 160-165 degrees.   Dependent on how big your tenderloin is this may be anywhere from 25min-45min so keep an eye on it.  Occasionally base with more of the oil mixture.  Remove from heat, loosely cover in tinfoil and let sit for 10 min before slicing.

Serve with rice or quinoa, and fresh tomato salad.  Or make the entire meal on the grill!  Bake some cored apples (fill the core with butter and brown sugar for a treat) sprinkled with cinnamon and wrap in tinfoil and bake in the 400 degree BBQ with pork. At the same time, in a disposable tinfoil container, add some Extra Virgin Olive Oil, to some (preferably  local) new  potatoes  (cut up into smaller bite sized pieces), an onion (chopped), local peppers & mushrooms  (if desired) sprinkled with a little (Gluten Free) onion soup mix or onion & garlic powder & salt & pepper to taste, (cover with tinfoil), (or use market fresh sweet potatoes, carrots black beans, corn, and cumin & cinnamon), grilled asparagus (or peppers if not using in the potatoes), green garden or cabbage salad and dinner is served!  enJOY!

Optional sauce to serve with this on the side:  mix some fresh salsa, dijon mustard, minced garlic and sliced apples together and cook in disposable dish on top rack while pork is cooking.  The sharpness of the dijon makes a lovely contrast to the sweet apple and succulent pork.

Love to hear your comment s and feedback!.

** (dependent of number of people we feed 2 adult and 2 small kids with 1, if we cook 2, my husband gets a lunch for work and I get some to top a salad the next day)

A Sweet Quest or a Quest for Sweets?

I finally hit the wall… the sweets wall.  Trying to eat Gluten Free while cooking & running a cooking business for a living is difficult, and some times you just need a nice little pick me up. Unfortunately most sweet little pick me ups contain wheat – including my all time fave candy – red licorice… yes there is wheat in red licorice!   Who knew!  In my quest to satisfy my sweet tooth without going broke (went to the Gluten Free Bakery the other day and spent $10 on 2 (regular sized) cookies + 1 small square) I decided to try Black Bean Brownies.  I know – some of you just barfed a little in your mouth right? Beans – Brownies – GROSS! – Wrong! So good! The beans serve as the binding ingredient instead of flour, and all ingredients are blended or pureed so that the batter looks just like regular brownie batter.  The result a yummy Kid Approved – slightly lighter in texture tasting delicious brownies!
Kid 1 (age 6) gave it a 10 – These are AWESOME Mom!  and Kid 2 (age 4) – Yum – can I have these for breakfast?
We love peanut butter here so I added it into this recipe.  I would usually use Stevia  however I didn’t have any available so I used sugar instead.  Next time I would also pump up the instant coffee and use dark chocolate and make it into a Latte Brownie.  Try it and let me know what you think!

Peanut Butter – Black Bean Brownies


  • Peanut Butter (1/4-1/2c)
  • 1 –  15.5 oz can Black Beans – drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp instant coffee (grinds)

3/4 Cup white sugar (or equivalent in Stevia)

  • 3 TB oil (safflower oil is ideal – or used EVOO or Vegetable oil)
  • 3 eggs (can try  flax eggs if you are vegan)

1 tsp vanilla

  • 1/4 cup Cocoa Powder
  • pinch salt
  • my secret ingredient: 3 milk chocolate/peanut butter cups (or use
    1/2 c milk chocolate chips)


  1. Preheat Oven to 350 & lightly grease 8 X 8 square dish

Beat the eggs slightly in large bowl.  Drain & rinse black beans – add to bowl with eggs, add the rest of the ingredients except
peanut butter cups and peanut butter.

Use a hand mixer with wand (or place all ingredients in a blender or food processor) and blend until smooth.
Pour half of the mixture into the pan. Chop up the cups and sprinkle on top.  Melt peanut butter (25 seconds in microwave) and pour 1/2 of it all over brownie mixture.

Pour the other half of the brownie mixture on top.  Pour rest of melted peanut butter on top and swirl it through the brownie mixture with the end of a butter knife.
Place in oven and bake for about 40 mins, or until the sides are coming a way from the pan.  The brownie should look set but not completely solid.  Allow to cool in pan for a 1/2 hr before removing (this will allow the middle to set).

enJOY!  & leave me a comment to let me know what you think!  Don’t forget to follow me on
Facebook and Twitter (joyskitchen) 

Excer-SIZE & get your Ass off the Couch Hummus

Does anyone else get uninspired about what to blog about sometimes?  Ever feel like you sit down and your mind is blank?  I call this my – Too Comfortable-Sitting-Vegging-On-The-Couch-Mode.   Gotta get out of this habit – so easy to get into!  They say to create a habit it takes 3 weeks, hmmm, so I’m thinking the 3 weeks left in April are my 3 weeks to turn my bad habits back into good ones!

Last weekend I catered the Grand Opening of Royally Fit Fitness Boutique in Bowmanville, owned and operated by Ashley Dale Roy – who has been  my bootcamp instructor and general ass kicker on and off over the last few years.

To combat my non-committal  to a topic and laziness this week and in an effort to get my ass off the couch (somehow I fell off the exercise wagon lately) – I am challenging myself OUT loud and announcing it to you (harder to get out of the commitment this way).  I’ve decided to make a commitment to get my ass out to at least 3 of the classes offered at Royally Fit.  There are 4 that I want to try this month, but I need to make it out to 3 this week (or in a time pinch make it out to 2 and go for a run for a 3rd workout).

The classes that I want to take are: Kettlebell Ass Kicker  for cardio, strength & flexibility, Flashdance for fun my core, and stress relief, Piloga for abs and stretching and UGI Fit for a full on total body workout in 30 min (plus time for stretching).  Which ones would YOU do?

So there I said it – now I have to do it!  Right? Right!   Anyone want to join me?

After a workout – its aways a good idea to snack on something with a protein and a carb (no a hamburger does not count!!) Here is my Get Your Ass  off the Couch to get the Humus reward recipe.

Spicy-Garlicky-OH-SO-Good Humus

  • 1 Can of chick peas, retain 1/2 of the water in the can, drain and rinse the rest of the chick peas
  • 2 TB Tahini
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 TB minced garlic
  • 1/4-1/2  tsp salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • chipotle chili powder OR 1 chipotle chili & 2 TB adobe sauce
  • raw carrots for dipping

In a  food processor (I would refrain from using a mini processor as you may burn out the motor), add all ingredients and process for about 1-2 minutes or until smooth. Adjust seasoning as needed.  Cover and refrigerate, for a 1/2 hr -1 hr before serving to let the flavours come together.  (Recommended but not necessarily).  Will keep in the fridge for a few days.   Serve with raw veggies, pita’s or crackers!  Also great in a sandwich with some red onion.  enJOY,

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Last Minute Red Beans & Rice

You know those days that you take something out of the freezer to thaw – and think – I’ll figure out a plan later then all of a sudden its 3:45pm and you have no idea what to do with it?  … or is that just me? In any case – that was my situation yesterday afternoon.  At about 3:30pm I realized I had thawed the chorizo (a Spanish sausage) and had no inspiration, and no peppers in the house. Sausage, peppers, onion and potato bake is my “go to” when I am feeling uninspired to come up with something – also a family favourite so at least it works out.  I did what any idea-less foodie would do – I called upon (tweeted) to a few of my foodie friends for suggestions!   @hotpinkapron tweeted back that she was making some red beans and rice with Portuguese sausage – and I though – YUP thats what I want! Obviously from my past posts – you’ve caught on that I really really like southern foods (see my gumbo recipe).   However – I was making dinner for  6pm or so – and didn’t have time to soak my beans and simmer them the way you should (I know I know sacrilege @MSQueenFoods)so I though – what the heck – lets do this the o’ol fashion – hmmm what have I got in the cupboard to make these with?  I gotta say – these were some of the best red beans I’ve made!  Hubby and I each had  servings, my  year old practically licked her plate and my 4 year old – ate most of his (he’s not a big dinner eater – unless its Spaghetti & Mommy’s Meatballs, Mommy’s Taco’s or Mommy’s Pizza …. go figure) . (recipes to  be posted shortly!)

The “Joy” of Red Beans and Rice – southern style – Joy-ified 🙂


  •  8 cups of canned kidney beans (rinsed & drained)
  • (this is equivalent to a large commercial 100 oz sized can of kidney beans )
  • 1 1/4LB (approx 500g) Chorizo (chopped)
  • 1 cup chicken stock

  • 1/2 c tomato sauce (I had some leftover homemade so I threw it in – you could just use tomatoes)
  •  1TB minced garlic
  • 2 Tsp HOT Cayenne Pepper Sauce (like Lousianna Sauce)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

  •  3-4 small (2 large) bay leaves
  • 2 TB dried parsley
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 LB onion diced
  • white parboiled rice
  • optional:  Additional hot sauce like the Gator sauces line or Melinda’s  to add at the table.

In a large saucepan saute the garlic and onion in EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) for a few minutes until onions are soft, add parsley and bayleaf, add chorizo and cook until no longer pink.

Add beans, chicken stock, and the rest of the spices (except optional additional hot sauces). Simmer stirring occasionally for 45 min- an hour.   Cook rice, serve red beans over rice (some people like the rice added in and some like it over the top.  I added steamed asparagus for a veggie.

Enjoy!  From My Kitchen to Yours – Happy & Healthy Eating!

Summer time easy lunches & snacks

You might have noticed by now that my theme for the summer – especially for lunches is EASY and healthy.

Need some inspiration?  Here are a few of my fave lunches (old fave’s that you may have forgotten about)  – simple nothing fancy just easy and tasty.

Tuna and Tomato

Tuna – mixed with 1 TB olive oil , half fat mayo, pepper, a touch of salt and red onion and a tomato sliced.

Calories: 280.4  Fat: 5.8 (Saturated .6), Cholesterol: 54.5 mg

How about Hard Boiled egg (boil up a few and keep them in the fridge for handy snacks or lunches), on rye toast with tomatoes.

Calories 191, Fat 9.5 (saturated 2.2g)  Cholesterol: 212.0 mg



Fresh Spinachwith some strawberries  (buy local!!!)   and a hard boiled egg (to cut the fat and cholesterol – just use the white only) and top with some balsamic vinegar.  Calories 104, Fat 5.7 (Saturated 1.6g) Cholesterol: 212 m


Red Clover Limonade!

My new favorite summer drink is Red Clover Limonade!  Thanks to my local  organic produce supplier  @svetecfarms  for the red clover and the recipe! I will never look at a field of red clover and wonder what the heck to do with it again!

I changed it up a little because I started making it and then realized I had no lemons (a little difficult to make lemonade without lemons!)  so I substituted limes instead – next time I would add orange slices with the strawberries  too!

Here’s the recipe!

(makes about 8 c)

2 Quarts red clover blooms (disregard the leaves and stems) (about 8 cups)

8 cups water

1/2 c honey

1 c sliced strawberries

1/2 c fresh squeezed lime juice.

Step 1.  Remove stems from red clover blooms







Step 2.  Boil in water for 5-7 min.








Step 3.  Strain blooms from water, add honey.







Step 4 – Add strawberries  and fresh lime juice (this is where I would add orange slices as well next time).





Step 5 – Stir, and refrigerate until cold.







Step 6 – Serve! Enjoy!  YUM!!! A great change from Iced Tea or regular Lemonade!

Beans, Beans, the musical fruit …

We’ve all heard the old rhyme Beans, Beans, the musical fruit, the more you eat them the more you…. but how much more do you know about beans?

Beans,  aside from green and yellow beans out of your garden, are a powerhouse food.   You can buy them canned or dried.  They are counted  as proteins not vegetables.  Canned beans carry a higher sodium count than those which are dried and need to be soaked but are a great time saver in a pinch.
I try to use dried beans as much as I can and reserve canned beans to make a quick salad or if I don’t have time to soak  and cook the beans.

One of our favourite recipes for a last-minute beans salad is

Black Bean, Avocado & Tomato Salad

  • 1 can black beans – drained & rinsed
  • 2 hard fleshed tomatoes (we like Roma Tomatoes) – chopped into small pieces
  • avocado – peeled and pit removed chopped into bite sized pieces
  • juice of 1 lime
  • cilantro to taste (we use about a 1/2 tsp of dried or a handful of chopped fresh)

Add all ingredients to a glass or non-metal mixing bowl (metal mixing bowls can change the taste when mixed with the acidity), and serve immediately.
If you make this ahead – make sure you store in an airtight bowl or place some plastic wrap tightly on the food – eliminating as much air exposure as possible – exposure to the air will turn your avocado brown (the lime juice does help with this).

Enjoy! – Awesome compliment to Taco Night!  Great as a side salad on those hot summer days too – and eliminates the need to cook up a starch to balance your meal!

Joys Amusing Muttering:  One thing you may want to keep in mind, when serving beans with company  is the “musical” portion of the rhyme….take it from me – if you have your Financial Planner over to your home to set up your new baby’s RESPs, and have eaten some beans for dinner – make sure you turn off the baby monitor when you go to “check on the baby” …. I think you see where I am going with that …. enough said …

Other Fun Bean Facts:

  • 1 cup of raw kidney beans has an estimated Glycemic load of 6
  • 1 gram of fat, 0 g of saturated fat
  • 0 mg of cholesterol
  • 8g of carbohydrate
  • 11mg of sodium

here is a great site for more information on the nutritional value of beans

Self Nutrition data – know what you eat