This post is sponsored by Yahoo! All opinions and content are my own. Thank you so much for your continued support!
Back when I was working in an office, we had a reoccurring staff meeting that was a bit like show-and-tell for adults. We’d go around the circle all showing off something that inspired us in hopes that it might inspire our colleagues in a similar manner. I worked in a creative job, and it was always a struggle because we were constantly trying to harness inspiration and use it for business. It’s taxing trying to be creative in a business world. And so we didn’t get totally burnt out (although, I eventually did—hence why I no longer work there), we did just about anything we could do to keep the inspiration flowing.
Sometimes people ask me where I come up with the ideas for my recipes (I have 300+ on the pages of this blog, and an additional 200+ in my two cookbooks), and I’d be lying if I said it’s always easy. Sometimes it is. But more often than not, being inspired takes work. You have to prime yourself for inspiration—really be willing to accept it. And you have to go out and seek it. A lot times, we have this image of “waiting for inspiration to strike,” but I’m a big believer that inspiration doesn’t just strike, you have to work for it.
So that’s why I try to absorb as much food-related content as possible when I’m trying to come up with my recipes. I subscribe to more food magazines than I care to divulge. I read tons of blogs. I spend a good chunk of time each day on Pinterest. I study menus at my favorite restaurants. This makes it sound like that my inspiration is actual thieving of ideas—but it’s different from that. When we were brainstorming at my previous job, we had a no negativity rule—you weren’t allowed to shoot down any idea. Because that idea could birth another idea which could birth another idea which could birth another idea that was the idea you went with. And if you nixed the first one, you might never get down that path. I apply that same logic to food. I see something that appeals to me, and I let it swirl around until it turns into something all mine (and often times completely unrecognizable from the original).
One of the places I’ve been getting inspiration from lately is from Yahoo! Food. Yahoo! has put together a bunch of really fun online magazines that center around one topic. Go figure, my favorite of the bunch is the one that is packed with drool-worthy food! The content comes from all around the internet—bloggers, print magazines, cookbook authors—and is curated all into one place for easy reading. I like to flip through it while I’m trapped under a sleeping baby (thankfully the site is easy to navigate one-handed on my phone).
When I was flipping through Yahoo! Food last week, I was inspired by this recipe for Black Bean and Edamame Burgers. I’m always looking for more ways to bring vegetarian eats into our dinner plans, and these burgers were just the spark of inspiration I needed. One problem—I’m currently not eating soy. That meant it was time to take the rough idea of the burgers, and create something all my own!
These burgers are delicious, meaty, and hearty, but they are not, in any way, shape, or form, fast. They are tasty enough to be worthy of your time, but I wouldn’t put these on your menu for a Tuesday night. What I would do, is devote a few hours on the weekend and make a double batch to freeze. These freeze beautifully after cooking, and make a great office-friendly lunch after a minute in the microwave.
May you find inspiration all around you! Enjoy.
You'll never miss the meat in these hearty, vegetarian, black bean burgers.
Adapted from Yahoo! Food/The Kitchn
This post is sponsored by Yahoo! All opinions and content are my own. Thank you so much for your continued support!
If you and I were to sit down for coffee this morning, I’d start off by asking you how you are doing. I was such a bad listener last time. And I promised I’d be a much better friend this time.
So, how are you doing?
Good? Good! You’re so nice, you’d probably say something like, “You look great!” because that’s the kind of thing everyone says to a new mom—regardless of if it’s true or not. I’d thank you, and tell you that I’m starting to feel much more like myself. I’m still not finding a lot of time to workout, but I do try to walk every single day. And I’m trying to fuel my body with healthy food and drink lots of water. I’m slowly dropping weight (did I tell you I lost ten pounds in the past two months?), but I’m not so worried about that. I’m mostly just happy that I’m starting to feel like myself again!
I’d tell you that you look great, too (and I’m not just saying that, you’re totally gorgeous), and you’d tell me about the new fitness class you’re going to. And then you’d invite me to go with you, and I’d be all over that. We’d make a sweat date for next week.
You’d, of course, ask about the baby girl—because she’s pretty much the most amazing thing on the planet and everyone is curious about her goingson. I’d tell you that she just turned four months old, and her personality is showing like crazy. She laughs out loud, blows raspberries, and screams (not cries…screams) with a fiery passion when she doesn’t like something. She’s a whopping 17 pounds and wearing 6-9 month clothes pretty exclusively. She’s also working hard on her two bottom front teeth.
Since you’re a totally confident parent, you’d probably give me some of your tried-and-true teething remedies. I’d be really thankful for the advice, but then sheepishly admit that teething hasn’t really been that bad for her so far. She’s had a few screamfests where she seems like she’s struggling—and those sucked—but overall, she’s still the super happy, smiling baby she normally is (except with two white-caps in that smile). I’d tell you that we have so much fun everyday with our little June Bug. I had a lot of preconceived notions about motherhood, but I had no idea it would be this much fun.
Then I’d knock on every piece of wood in the coffee shop.
I’d, of course, ask about your family. You’d tell me all about the way cool vacation you got back from. And then you’d give me the most perfect gift you picked up for me at a quirky little shop you found off-the-beaten path on your trip—because you’re thoughtful and sweet and pretty much the coolest person I know. I’d then take the opportunity to pull out a plain kraft paper bag for you and give you a few jars full of canned food from my stash (probably some spiced peaches, bread and butter pickles, and pickled watermelon rind). I hope you like them. I know the pickled watermelon rind sounds weird, but it’s really, crazy good.
I’d then confess that I’ve missed canning so much this season. I didn’t have the mental capacity this year to take on the kind of canning undertaking I like to do each year, but I have socked away a few things. I’m excited to get back to “normal” with food preserving next season. I already am starting garden plans (of course). I’d then ask you if there were any canned goods you’d want next year. I’m always taking requests!
On a not-so-positive note, I’d then rage spiral into complaining about all the things that have broken in our house in the past month. I’d tell you that it started with our washing machine crapping out (pun intended) in the middle of a load of diapers. Followed the next day by our bathroom fan stopping working. And then a few days later by an outdoor water leak (which required an emergency call to a plumber and a whole lot of digging). And now, finally, last week, we found out our chimney needs four-figures worth of repairs.
Since you’re so wise, you’d tell me that things like this happen in cycles and that we’re bound to be near the end of this one. You’d then offer to let me do a load of laundry at your house. I’d thank you, and then tell you it isn’t necessary because we sprung for a new fancy pants machine a few weeks ago, and it’s the bomb dot com. It even has it’s own iPhone app that it can “talk” to. Considering our washing machine that bit the dust was purchased by my grandparents when I was 11 years old—our new model is definitely an upgrade.
I’d tell you that even though I’m raging about all the stuff breaking in our house, it’s actually okay, because the universe gifted me a nicely-sized refund check from my labor (yes, I got a refund for childbirth—go figure) on the same day the washing machine broke. I had about 10 minutes of fantasizing on how I’d spend that surprise money on fun things before Craig told me the washing machine was broken. Life, right?
Then I’d realize how silly it was that I was so upset about life’s minor inconveniences—especially ones that we can afford to fix. I’d quickly change the subject and ask you if you’ve seen any good movies lately.
Speaking of movies, I’d tell you all about our new Friday night ritual. We bring my laptop into the nursery on Friday evenings, and while baby girl nurses to sleep, Craig and I watch a movie. We usually stick to kids movies, because even though logically, I get that June Bug is too young to understand what is going on (and we wear headphones and she’s sleeping), she’s a good excuse to watch all the fun Disney and Pixar movies we’ve missed over the past few years.
I’d move on to asking you about work. You’d probably complain about your boss (I’m sorry you’re stuck with such a jerk!), and I’d listen compassionately while you ranted, while secretly being so thankful that I don’t have to deal with office politics anymore. You ask me how being my own boss is going, and I’d admit that it is about 1000% more stressful than my office gig was, but it’s a healthy stress—if that makes any sense. I’d tell you that I can’t imagine ever going back to an office—I really thrive being able to wear all my different hats. I love that when people ask me what I do, my response is filled with slashes. Graphic designer slash food writer slash recipe developer slash photographer slash awesomeographer.
I’d tell you I’m so proud of my work to make my blog better. I had no idea it would go as well as it has been going. I feel really proud that I’ve been able to turn it into a a successful business without selling my soul. I am having so much fun with my blog again!
Speaking of work, I’d then tell you that I really need to do a better job of figuring out some kind of work-life balance. I’d ask for your advice on how to draw the line. I’d tell you that I desperately want to be an engaged and attentive parent, but I’m afraid that my work life might be detrimental to that. I think it’s good to show my daughter the importance of a strong work ethic, but I also think it’s important to model balance to her.
You’d laugh at me and say, “Welcome to the Mommy Guilt Club. Here’s your membership card.”
Because I can’t go more than 10 minutes without thinking about food, I’d ask you if you wanted to split one of those really decadent chocolate chip scones they have up at the counter. Then I’d remember they probably have dairy or soy in them, but since this isn’t reality, let’s just pretend I can eat dairy and soy in this realm. Let’s split a scone.
Speaking of food, I’d of course ask you if you’ve tried any good recipes lately. You’d tell me all about this super cool cookbook you found, and I’d, of course, ask to borrow it. Then you’d ask me what I was noshing lately, and I’d tell you that I’m trying really, really hard to kick my sugar habit. And try to replace all those sugary foods with some nourishing yummies. I’ve been eating a lot of salads, green smoothies, and anything with protein.
I’d then laugh at the irony of me downing a sugar-filled scone while I tell you all about how I’m trying to cut back on sugar. Hey, at least we’re splitting it, right?
When we both have finished the last remaining crumbs of our scone (it was so good!), I’d reluctantly tell you that I have to get going. I’m having a blast, but I miss my baby girl, and I’m sure she’s getting hungry. Maybe next time I’ll bring her along with me. It’s been so nice catching up with you! Give your family a hug for me. Until next time…