Posted in Meals/Sides

If There Had Been Hashtags 15 Years Ago…

It’s hard to believe it has been a year since I wrote what remains the most shared/commented-on post about the silent hero in my life: my dad. I just re-read that post and I can honestly say there isn’t much more I could add to summarize who he was, how he has shaped the person I’ve become, and how he lives on in my heart 15 years after our final hug. I know he would be a big supporter of the year of fiscal responsibility, as his money-saving skills were far superior to anyone I’ve ever met. I know he would be shaking his head in amusement watching my mom attempt to master her new iPhone (I know, she has one before I do! It’s a crazy world we live in.) And I know he’d be overjoyed right now…because it’s Lent, and what does that mean?? It means seafood is everywhere (among other theological truths of course :-))

Now don’t get me wrong, my dad LOVED meat. And by that I mean beef in particular. He loved a juicy steak, he perfected some of the oddest meatloaf recipes I’ve ever tasted, and the man loved his hamburgers. If I remember the story correctly, he even stopped at Burger King on his wedding day. I mean, clearly the one thing better than marrying the amazing woman who is now my mom is marrying her with a Whopper in your stomach 🙂 However, his true love (in food terms) was seafood, namely lobster. Granted, his penny-pinching self only allowed for lobster about once a year, but there was the occasional homemade popcorn shrimp night for special dinners. So this week as I sat down with my weekly meals dry-erase board (really, does it surprise you that I have such a thing? Seriously, it’s amazing) I knew tomorrow would be the 27th and thus my traditional meal of a once cheeseburger, now sans cheese, and a Diet Pepsi would be on the menu. Of course, then I noticed: 27th = Friday. And it’s Lent. Now what…

Though I briefly considered talking to my pastor about some kind of sanctioned switch to meatless Thursday this week, I realized that would not at all be the best way to honor my dad. The man loved seafood…so what better way to celebrate his memory than with some variety of crustacean on a Lenten Friday? Granted, I have yet to determine exactly what that will be…but I live in Baltimore so I have a feeling crabmeat will have to be involved. Now since I don’t have tomorrow’s dinner exactly figure out yet, I don’t have that recipe to share. However, I do have another one which I’ve been meaning to share but haven’t had time (I’m currently taking not 1, but 2, online courses in addition to my regular teaching load/night class…I’m not sure what I was thinking). And fittingly, this recipe also relates to tomorrow’s celebration of my dad’s life too.

For someone who loved meat so much, it might surprise you to hear that my dad also loved veggie burgers. It’s true. There were times when his medications and treatments had his sleep patterns a bit off kilter, so he would often be up in the middle of the night. He would sit at the kitchen table, working on a crossword puzzle and eating his post-midnight snack: a frozen veggie burger. If you’ve ever heated one up in the microwave, you know they leave a pungent odor which still lingered in the kitchen when I’d stumble in at 6:00 AM. I hated them back then, but in the years since I’ve learned to love them myself. However, for those of us with food allergies, those frozen ones are not an option. Wheat, soy, and corn abound in every variety I’ve found. Fortunately, I’ve become a pro at making my own, with the help of my mini-food processor.

Katie-safe/Lenten-Friday-safe Black Bean burgers
1 can black beans
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
1-2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. garlic
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. cilantro
crushed red pepper flakes to taste
1/4 cup brown rice crumbs
3 Tbsp. flaxseed + 9 Tbsp. water (egg replacer) *NOTE: if you can eat real eggs, use them! The texture still isn’t quite the same with the flaxseed replacer*
 1. Cook the quinoa as you normally would.

2. While the water/quinoa is boiling, cut up the pepper and onion. Then sautee with the seasonings until the vegetables are tender.

3. Combine everything (cooked quinoa and veggies + remaining ingredients) in the food processor and blend until pureed. 

*NOTE: if your food processor is small, you may have to do this in batches!*
4. Form into patties and pan fry in grapesed oil!

5. Enjoy!!

Clearly, I excelled at Step 5, because I never stopped to take a picture when I made these. Anyway, there you have it: a great you-safe Lenten Friday alternative. Or a 3 AM snack while you crossword…totally your call. 
Lastly, as I sit in my living room surrounded by boxes and crates, I have one final thought. I spent my day sifting through pictures, scrapbooks, and other mementos you only seem to come across when moving; (yep, I’m on the move once again and only have 7 day remaining in this apartment so I’m in the midst of “eat everything in the freezer/how did I manage to accumulate this much stuff in 18 months??” madness at the moment. I’m only moving a few miles away, and given the frigid temperatures lately, my frozen foods can easily make the move with me…I just really hate packing so this week is going to be all kinds of crazy meal concoctions. I’ll be sure to document and eventually write a post on that too!) While I was packing I listened to a news story about how social media has changed the greiving process, how people take to Facebook, Twitter, etc. to share memories of a person which may otherwise remain unshared, to empower others through the story of someone they may have never known. As I watched the profile of a movement inspired by the untimely loss of a young dad, I couldn’t help but think to myself that the world has certainly changed a lot in 15 years. When our dad left this earth behind, there was no such thing as a hashtag, at least not in the terms we know it today. But if there had been such thing back then, I’m sure there would have been some kind of #LiveLikeEd movement (or Eddie, depending on what branch of the familly tree you happened to sprout upon). So tomorrow, and everyday, I’m going to do my best to do just that, without the hastag. I’ll do my best to spark the movement simply by living like my dad: courageously, honorably, faithfully, and joyfully. And savoring the joy of long showers and naps, of course 🙂 

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