There is a roadside restaurant in the Western Massachusetts town of Gill called Wagon Wheel that we stumbled upon last summer. We were heading to Vermont and looking for lunch, or ice cream, whichever came first. We found both. We started with the spicy black bean burger salad and ended with the Oreo Speedwagon ice cream (coffee and oreos-my new favourite flavour)
Last weekend we actually planned our drive home from Quebec City to include lunch at Wagon Wheel. We drove 6 hours for lunch! When we got home I started looking for recipes for black bean burgers to try and re-create the Wagon Wheel burger.
Here’s what I came up with. A hearty, slightly spicy, black bean & veggie burger.
Saute some onions, garlic and jalapeno in olive oil. Add 1 tsp cumin.
Blend 1/2 cup oats and 1/4 cup breadcrumbs and 2 tablespoons flax seed in the food processor. Set aside in a large bowl.
Pulse some carrots & parsley and any other vegetables you want in the food processor.
Add the pulsed carrot mixture to the oats/breadcrumb mixture. Pulse a 15-oz can of rinsed black beans in the food processor. Add to the carrots and oats. Add the sauted onion mixture. Add 1/2 cup steamed corn. Add an additional 15 oz can of black beans and salt and pepper to taste.
The recipe I was semi-following ended there but I added 1 egg because I couldn’t imagine how I could shape the mixture into burgers. After shaping the burgers, refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour. Then cook in pan and serve on a salad!
They were really good but way too much work to ever make again! I’m going to stick with Wagon Wheel or those frozen cardboard ones!
I think there is a fine balance between getting out there to move whether it’s walking, on a bike or hiking up a mountain…and pausing along the way to take it all in. There’s gotta be good stuff along the way and not just the endorphin high or fit bit count at the end.
I got my bike out for the second time only this year. I had done a ride with my trainer for one of our weekly sessions, and wanted to try and keep the momentum going. When I head out, I’m often already thinking about getting back home. Does anybody else’s mind go there?:-)
So as I pushed down on the pedal the first few times, I thought about trying to enjoy the time on the trail, noticing what I was riding by, saying hello to people I passed by. And not just racing to get it over with.
It worked. So I tried it again on the weekend with a paddle down the river. I’m not in quite the same hurry in a kayak, as on my bike, but I often think “okay, you have an hour…paddle to the bridge and a little farther, then turn around and get back.”
But this time, I tried to find the perfect place between effort and ease.
A few months ago I said I was done with my fitbit. Turns out, I’m not. I missed it. It actually motivated me to take the dog on one more walk to hit my step target. So I bought another one. We were just in Quebec City for a few days. My significant other was attending a conference. I walked. And walked. And walked. I enjoy getting to know a city on foot, and seeing my step totals at the end of the day was fun. Until my feet hurt! Then I stopped and had a glass of wine and read Louise Penny!
71,195 steps or 33.74 miles in three days. Fitbit is my friday favourite, again!
It’s taken me until the middle of August but I finally made homemade burgers this week. It was so worth the wait.
Homegrown beef from my friend Jeanine, tossed with local grated two-year old cheddar, and a heaping spoonful or two of my cousin Pat’s homemade pesto. I rounded out my summer backyard feast with lots of fresh veggies from my local farmers’ market – sautéed cremini mushrooms, diced tomatoes and fresh carrot sticks.
100% Simple. Local. Yum.
I initially thought we would spend the night in Burlington, VT on our way to Quebec City but after looking at a map we decided on Manoir Hovey in the Eastern Townships of Quebec for one night to break up the driving. If you are a Louise Penny fan you will know about the Inn from reading A Rule Against Murder. Louise lives very near Manoir Hovey and the Inn offers a Vive Gamache! Getaway Package.
A few days before we left, my mom forwarded me an article from a Toronto paper that said Hillary Clinton was a fan of Louise Penny and Hillary, Bill and Chelsea had been invited to Manoir Hovey as guests of Louise Penny. Our dates overlapped. You see where this is going, right?!
The secret service tried to be discreet, dressing in polo shirts and shorts, but those curly wires coming out of their ear were a dead giveaway. The front desk staff were also discreet but confirmed that special guests were on site.
We went for a walk and decided to have a drink on the patio overlooking the lake.
And there they were. Hillary, Bill and Louise! Enjoying the same view of Lake Massawippi that we were. They stopped to chat with guests as they left. I told Hillary I voted for her. I told Bill I voted for him too. He said “bless you.”
Our brush with fame!
I love the big holidays that take you away from it all, suspending you in timeless travel where your life stands still as you step into another space.
This summer, I’ve realized that I can get that same experience in smaller, shorter vacations. And these little getaways are my Friday favourite.
We already wrote about our PEI trip – for me, just over two and a half days that felt like a week.
And this week, I started a week’s vacation with about 36 hours away. We paddled into a cabin on Saturday afternoon. The lack of electricity calmed the day and my mind as the sun set over the lake. And rose again to start a perfect paddling day.
We packed up, paddled out and headed to part two of the mini vacation. A day-long, guided kayak trip around the Franklin Islands on Georgian Bay thanks to White Squall Paddling Centre. It was my second trip with these outfitters and they make the whole experience seamless, safe and really quite perfect. At many points, the paddling actually felt effortless. How is that possible?
These hours away were a great change of pace. And the scenery certainly helped take my mind off anything else. The short trip did the trick and I was ready to head home content and energized for the rest of my vacation week.
Next up: long weekend in CA. Stay tuned.
It hasn’t exactly been crockpot weather – but I had a nice little package of local beef braising ribs. I cut them up and loaded them in my mini crockpot, added BBQ sauce, a little red wine, chopped onions and quartered cremini mushrooms.
I added new potatoes after about 3.5 hours, and it was all done in 4 hours (on high).
And then – the leftovers turned into this. I chopped everything up, tossed it in a saucepan with a little white wine, freshly shelled peas and a few cherry tomatoes.
One bowl easy. Included lots of food groups. And was as tasty as it was colourful.
Our mom turns 85 this year and as soon as I posted this, we got in the car to drive to Ontario for a big family BBQ party. All 5 of her children will be there along with assorted significant others, plus 10 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren!
We can’t wait to celebrate this remarkable woman with her whole family around her – she’s our Friday favourite.
Happy Birthday Mom, MOTW, TT, Alice, Twink – and all the other names you’re lovingly known by!
(Dad and Mom are the top left corner…Mom is holding CJR…she always liked her best…I’m really happy about the whole thing in the front middle row.)
Family portrait, circa late 1960s.
Her 80th birthday gathering!