Da Bee's Knees

Food, Faith and Family

November 2, 2020
Jalanda B


Butternut Squash and Black Bean Soup

A little over ten years ago while living next door to my sister in Florida, we began to broaden the depth and breadth of vegetables that we served our family. We grew up in a typical middle class American family and ate our share of obligatory canned corn, peas and green beans. Fresh vegetables were various greens and very simple salads (think iceberg lettuce, cucumber and tomato). We also ate “crook-neck” yellow squash. Outside of that squash. Pumpkin pie wasn’t even on our plates. Sweet potato pie reigned.

We were well loved and well fed. But not exposed to many different plant based foods. We saw them while shopping. We also found them to be mysterious and bewildering. However as adults and burgeoning foodies, curiosity began to nag. And then we began to explore.

In the last two years, I have discovered butternut squash. Yes, I am late to the party. But I now adore it. This soup is stupendously good, and easy. I do hope you will try it. If you do, drop a comment.

Ingredients for the Soup

1/4 medium sized pre-roasted butternut squash (use the gourd end)

1 26.5 oz. can of black beans, rinsed well

2 Tbsp Sundried Tomato packed in oil

1 Tbsp. Avocado oil

1 medium white onion, chopped finely

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 stalk of celery, minced

1/2 tsp. smoked paprika

1 1/2 tsp. cumin (comino)

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1 bay leaf

4 cups of chicken stock (you could use vegetable stock, if preferred)

Kosher salt to taste

Ingredients for the roasted squash topping

1/4 pre-roasted butternut squash, cubed (use the “arm” end)

1/2 tsp. Cinnamon

1/4 tsp. Cumin

1/4 Smoked Paprika

Spray Avocado Oil

Kosher Salt

Ingredients for Lime Crema

1/2 cup sour cream

Juice from one fresh lime

Kosher salt to taste

Extra: fresh cilantro, sliced green onion


In a large soup pot, add the sundried tomatoes in oil (yes, you want the flavorful oil) and avocado oil. Add celery, onion and garlic and saute until slightly golden. Add the cinnamon, cumin, smoked paprika and black pepper. Continue to saute until aromatic.

Add the bay leaf, rinsed beans, stock and salt. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Discard the bay leaf. Carefully remove 3/4 of the soup and place in a blender. Add the butternut squash and blend until smooth. Return mixture to pot. Stir. Taste and adjust seasoning, and turn down to low and cover.

Next, make the squash cubes. Cube the squash and place on a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray. Sprinkle with the cinnamon, cumin and smoked paprika. Spray with avocado oil. Salt to taste. Roast in a high oven at 450 until carmelized.

Mix the ingredients for the crema in a small bowl and set aside.

To serve, ladle soup into bowls, add lime crema, roasted squash cubes and if desired, cilantro and green onions.

Serve with tortilla chips.

Be well,


September 10, 2020
Jalanda B

no comments

Taco Love

I love tacos. Let me say that right up front. I love tacos. It is always a good day, good time to eat tacos. That’s my point of view. You cannot change my mind.

I love fajita tacos, breakfast tacos, street tacos, ground beef tacos, chicken tacos, fish tacos… I think you get it… I am totally down with taco runs.

Tacos are easy to get on the table in a hurry. And that is just one more thing to make you love them, too. Things are topsy turvy in 2020, and like many folks: I work at home. I’m blessed to say that. So many do not have that option. I was able to take a twenty minute break and get these delicious, luscious and spicy tacos on the table.

Oh…. I forgot to tell you: They are Vegan.

Don’t run away!!! You will not find any soy, tempeh or tofu in these tacos. The filling is 100% from scratch and whole food, plant based. It’s also insanely delicious.

Let’s get started on what you will need:


1 Cup Raw Almonds (Do not use roasted)

1/4 Cup roasted, unsalted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

1/4 cup Hemp Seed Hearts

5 medium portabella mushrooms, chopped

Grapeseed Oil (about 1/8 cup to 1/4 cup)

3 Cloves of Garlic, minced

1/2 small onion, chopped finely

1 Tablespoon Onion Powder

1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder

1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper

1/2 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika

2 Teaspoons Ground Comino

2 Tablespoons Chili Powder

Salt to Taste ( I used about a scant 1/2 tsp)

1/4 cup water

Prepared Tortillas of your Choice

Taco Toppings (We had chopped fresh spinach, salsa and fresh tomatoes for the vegan option. There was cheese and sour cream available for those that wanted vegetarian)


Place almonds, pepitas and hemp seed hearts into food processor bowl. Process until crumbly. Add chopped mushrooms and process again until clumps begin to form and mixture looks “meaty”.

Place contents of processor bowl into skillet prepared with grapeseed oil and cook over medium heat. Do not stir immediately. Add right on top all of the spices and the chopped onion and minced garlic.

Stir and cook until mixture begins to brown. (Browning is FLAVOR TOWN) Once you see some browned bits, add the water and turn the heat up to evaporate the water. Stir frequently to avoid sticking and burning.

(Our home is Flexitarian. Foreground is vegan taco filling cooking. Background is beef filling for the teen omnivore.)

Taste for seasoning. Adjust as preferred.

Fill tortillas with taco filling and add choices of toppings.

Makes enough for six generous tacos. I chose to have mine on flour tortillas with cheese and sour cream. Lush!

Be well,


July 15, 2020
Jalanda B

1 comment

Carrot Mango Salad

This crazy life, right?

Let’s just say that current events local, national and worldwide have put a serious strain on everyone. While I relentlessly serve up fresh foods, I admit that more often, lately food has been brought in on days when the world is just too serious to bear.

I try to compromise.

I will prepare side dishes to round out meals that are otherwise “less than clean nutritiously”. I admit to meeting the low standard of “at least SOMETHING fresh and living daily”. Today is a win. There were fresh, juicy black plums at breakfast. This salad will boost the fresh food intake for the day.

Tonight we are having chicken sandwiches and fries from a local take out. But along side, we will enjoy this delicious and healthy Carrot Mango Salad. Bonus: If you have a food processor, it comes together quicker than the teen student driver and her Dad can get back with the hot food.


1 Large Ripe Mango

3 Large Carrots, scrubbed

1 Large Granny Smith Apple, washed and unpeeled

Juice of 2 Large Limes (zest one into salad bowl, before juicing)

1/4 inch of microplaned fresh ginger (Omit, if you are spice sensitive)

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/2 Tsp. Kosher Salt

1 Tablespoon of Avocado Oil

1/4 Cup of Raw Honey (or Agave Syrup)

1 Teaspoon Yellowbird Serrano Sauce (optional)


Begin by zesting and juicing limes into salad bowl. Microblade ginger into juice and zest. Add cranberries. Set aside.

Remove blades from the processor bowl and the insert grate plate.

Cut and core apple into pieces to fit mouth of food processor feed tube. Process apple. Remove shredded apple to salad bowl and mix will with lime juice mixture to prevent browning.

Scrub and cut carrots into pieces to fit mouth of food processor feed tube. Process carrots. Remove shredded carrots to salad bowl.

Remove grate plate from the processor bowl.

Cut mango, by slicing “cheeks” from around the large seed. Save one large cheek for the dressing.

Cut one mango cheek into small dice and add to salad bowl. Mix well.

Replace food processor blades in processor bowl.

To processor bowl add, mango flesh from around mango seed and flesh from the reserved cheek of mango, honey, kosher salt, avocado oil and Yellowbird Serrano Sauce. Discard mango seed.

Process until silky smooth. Check for seasoning. You are looking for sweet with a touch of salt and warmth from the ginger and Yellow Bird sauce. Adjust to taste. (Warning: the family thought that I went overboard with the ginger. So, I have adjusted the amount above to reflect that)

Add processed dressing to the salad bowl and mix very well.

Refrigerate 15 to 30 minutes.

Serves 4 (as a side dish)

Be well,


April 17, 2020
Jalanda B

no comments

BBQ Cauliflower “Wingz”

Last week my husband and I visited a local direct produce company for the first time. We purchased sight unseen one box of fruit and one box of vegetables. We had no idea what was inside. And to be honest, I was excited about that! It was a foodie adventure!

The vegetable box held three heads of romaine lettuce, a punnet of cherry tomatoes, various squashes, carrots, cucumbers, sweet peppers and a huge head of fresh cauliflower. The operative word is: HUGE.

Early on in the week, I incorporated half of the head of cauliflower into a mixed veggie stir fry. For the rest of the week, every time I’d open the fridge I stare dolefully at the cauliflower. I’d heard of people making cauliflower wingz and decided that I had nothing to lose!

The wings I had seen online usually were “Buffalo Wingz”. Being Texan, I decided to try a little something different. BBQ! I was not unhappy.

I’m happy to say that the recipe that I came up with is relatively simple with ingredients that you likely have in your kitchen. To my mind, the recipe came out so great, because the cauliflower was a few days “old” and long in tooth. So, some of the natural moisture was already evaporating. The resulting texture of the wingz was meaty. Simply astounding!

I used simple spices and the flour and oil that I had on hand. Feel free to substitute your flour type and oils. I used Garbanzo Flour and Avocado Oil. Any type would work.


1/2 Head of Large Cauliflower (I had about 3 cups of wingz)

3 Tablespoons of Avocado Oil

1/4 Cup Water

1 Tbsp. Smoked Paprika

1 Tsp. Onion Powder

1 Tsp. Garlic Powder

1/2 Tsp. Black Pepper

1 Tsp. Kosher Salt

2 Tbsp. Garbanzo Flour

3/4 cup. packaged bread crumbs (I used plain Progresso)

Non-stick Spray

Prepared BBQ sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray’s)

Let’s get started, first you need cauliflower. Break and cut it into hearty chunks that resemble the size of chicken wings. While you are doing this, preheat your oven to 450 degrees. You want a hot oven.

In a small bowl, I combined the oil, water and spices to mix. Then I added the flour to make a slurry. I added the cauliflower to a large food storage bag and added the slurry and mixed well. The idea was to get the slurry all over the cauliflower pieces.

Next, add packaged bread crumbs to the bag and shake to coat. Place the cauliflower pieces on a baking sheet that you have sprayed liberally with non-stick spray and bake. You will bake these for quite a long time, but in increments.

First bake for 15 minutes, then turn and replace in oven. Bake again for another 15 minutes. (30 minutes, thus far)

Next, turn cauliflower again and coat with BBQ Sauce. Then return to the oven for fifteen minutes. Remove and turn one last time and add more BBQ Sauce.

Now, here’s the tricky part: Broil for a few minutes, watching carefully that it does not burn. You want a good, sticky and caramelized result. This takes less than five minutes. If your broiler is particularly hot, these can burn quickly. So be vigilant!

Remove from oven and let wingz rest for about five minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Please let me know if you make these! I’m dying to hear if you and yours liked it as much as we did!

Be well,


March 25, 2020
Jalanda B

no comments

A Plant-Based Happy Surprise

As a Flexitarian household, we strive for our daily food choices to be at a minimum of eighty percent plant based. Do we always meet that goal? No. But, there are many days that we surpass that goal. There are days when our appetites intuitively guide us towards plant based choices that at times are completely vegan.

Veganism isn’t our household goal. In fact, vegetarianism isn’t our goal. Our one and only goal is to eat plant based foods primarily to feel better… our best. However, occassionally animal products (meats, dairy, etc.) will be our choice. And that is just fine.

Last year, I tried the Impossible Burger while dining out. I tried it at a local high end burger bar called Hopdoddy. It was just okay. Which I found surprising. But I was encouraged and determined to try it again. The occassion to try it again was surprisingly in a local grocery store’s café. The H-E-B Café Mueller was a favorite stop for a delicious burger. My favorite? Yup, the Impossible Burger. Alas, they have closed down indefinitely.

One day my foodie curiousity led me to a plant-based happy surprise. While shopping on H-E-B Curbside, I spotted the Beyond Beef ®. I quickly added it to my online cart and began to think of ways to prepare it for our home.

I came up with these flavorful “Asian Flavored Beeph Burgers”. The flavor was amazing and the Beyond Beef ® product was used just as one would customarily use ground beef. I noticed a tangy smell from the raw product, but not off-putting. To put that in perspective, raw ground beef has a iron-y, musky smell… but not off-putting. I mention this, only so that should you decide to try this yummy recipe (and you SHOULD) that you won’t be caught off guard.

I cooked my burgers for the time listed on the package and added flavors that our household enjoys. If you have a cast-iron skillet, now is the time to use it. These were sooooo good and, dare I say? Meaty.

Which brings us back to the surprise. Everything on our plates for this meal was plant based. Everything. Plant based and gluten free. And… DELIGHTFULLY DELICIOUS. I hope you will give this product a try. (I received no financial incentive for this post) If you do, let me know what you think! My method is below.

Asian Flavored Beeph Burgers

You will need:

1 Lb. Beyond Beef Plant-Based Ground

1/2 small white onion, diced

1 thumb of fresh ginger, peeled and minced

3 cloves of garlic minced

1 Tbsp. Sesame Oil

2 Tbsp. Kikkoman Gluten Free Sweet Soy Sauce

1 Tbsp. Trader Joes Everything But the Bagel Seasoning

1/2 tsp. Ground Black Pepper

1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt

1/4 c. Grapeseed Oil (for frying)


In a medium sized bowl, add all of the above ingredients, except the grapeseed oil. Mix well for uniformity. Divide mixture into four patties for 1/4 pound servings.

Fry on medium in cast-iron skillet. Turn when deeply caramelized. Cook other side for recommended time on package.

Let rest 3 minutes before serving. We enjoyed ours with brown rice and some leftover stir-fried vegetables from earlier in the week.

Be well,


March 16, 2020
Jalanda B

no comments

Carrot Cake Pancakes with Cashew Cream and Maple Syrup

Are there desserts that you can never turn down when offered? There are a few for me: New York Cheesecake, Pecan Pie, Homemade Pound Cake and CARROT CAKE!

Likewise, are there breakfast items that you are powerless to resist? Again, I have a few: Belgian Waffles, well toasted Everything Bagel and cream cheese, a loaded vegetable frittata and PANCAKES!

It was only a matter of time before my love for pancakes and carrot cake were combined in a manner for me to enjoy them both at the same time. That time was last week. I had a hankering for pancakes, something dense with nutrients and delightfully yummy. These cakes hit the jackpot. I hope that you will give them a try. I used cashew cream that I had made a day before in the batter. (You could substitute Greek Yogurt if you avoid nuts or do not want to make the cream) Trust me… make the cashew cream.

My Cosy Breakfast

Let’s get started. For carrot cake pancakes, we need CARROTS. Please take the time to hand shred your carrots. It is just a few extra minutes. But it makes all of the difference. Using a food processor to shred carrots results in “cut” shreds that do have not rough edges for batter to stick. Also, the cut shreds are thicker and take longer to cook than the cakes on the griddle. Not good eats!

Beautiful shredded carrots. (Finely shred by hand)

If you look closely, you will see the rough texture on the fine shreds. You want that. I also shredded these carrots using the fine shred side of my hand shredder. It took less than two minutes. I managed not to shred my fingertips. So, WIN!


You will need:

1.5 cups AP flour

1 Teaspoon Cinnamon

1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg

1/4 Teaspoon Ginger

Pinch of cloves

2 Tablespoons of Turbinado Sugar

2 Teaspoons Baking Powder

2 Tablespoons Hempseed Hearts

1/2 Teaspoon kosher salt

2 Medium Carrots, finely shredded

3/4 cup of prepared Cashew Cream

2 Tablespoons of Avocado Oil (or grapeseed, or whatever you use)

1 Large Egg or Egg substitute

Cashew Cream

Splash of Almond Milk, if too thick (or any other plant milk)

Chopped Almonds, optional

The method for these pancakes follow the typical assembly for pancakes and quick breads. Dry ingredients are mixed in one bowl. Wet ingredients are mixed in a second bowl. Then, the wet ingredients are quickly incorportated into the dry ingredients with minimal mixing to avoid toughening. (We aren’t looking to develop the gluten). It will be a stiff batter. That is fine. You want that.

Let stand while your griddle heats up. I cook these on a medium setting.

Cook each cake until bubbles begin to burst on the surface. Flip carefully and cook until cooked through. Keep cakes warm in a covered dish while you cook the remaining cakes.

To serve, spoon Cashew Cream between cakes and on top. I like to add chopped almonds for texture and flavor. Maple syrup is delicious, but not necessary.

These didn’t last long…

Be Well,


March 16, 2020
Jalanda B

1 comment

Cashew Cream

Here is an easy recipe for Cashew Cream. This is dreamy, non-dairy option that elevates dessert, fruit for dipping and pancakes.

Cashew Cream:

1 cup RAW cashews, soaked at least 4 hours.

Add a squeeze of lime juice to warm water to cover.

Drain and rinse cashews.

Add to bullet blender with:

a pinch of salt

1 tsp. of real vanilla extract

2 tablespoons blue agave syrup

1 whole peeled and seeded orange.

Blend until perfectly smooth. Refrigerate leftovers and use in 3 days. This cream thickens in the refrigerator. Plan to let it refrigerate overnight.

Carrot Cake Pancakes with Cashew Cream and Maple Syrup

February 9, 2020
Jalanda B


Eat Your Colors

“Eat your colors.”

When I first began my journey to improved balance in my eating, that was the mantra I followed.

“Eat your colors”

Fruit Salad with Vanilla Greek Yogurt

For years I battled the effects of eating the Standard American Diet (SAD) and reveling in Soul Food and Mexican Food. I was raised in a home where both of my parents were talented cooks and in San Antonio, where great Mexican food is readily available. Because I did not have balance in my food intake, my health suffered.

Before you run away… this IS NOT a self-righteous plea to you to embrace a strict diet. No! Never! (Unless prescribed by a doctor)

This gorgeous juice is a mixture of fresh beet, carrot, apples, oranges, lime and ginger. So easy. So delicious. So very nutritious. (Be sure to store juice in an airtight, glass container in the refrigerator. It’s best to consume the same day.)

This is simply, a suggestion that you “eat your colors.” By simply aiming to include minimally processed, naturally colorful foods you can improve your diet and perhaps your health. It works for me!

Can I tell you a secret? It’s delicious, too.

Be well,


June 9, 2019
Jalanda B

no comments

Lentil Salad

Growing up in San Antonio, Texas was a culinary jackpot! However, lentils were not in my vocabulary: not mentally and not taste-wise. Not even on the radar.

In fact, I never tasted lentils until about three years ago when my foodie curiosity got the best of me. Now, I feel that I need to make up for lost time.

Not only are lentils a delicious comfort food, they are highly nutritious. These beautiful little lens shaped legumes are a fabulous addition to a healthy lifestyle.

Aren’t they pretty?

Just ONE cup of dried lentils gets us started!

Okay, so I have officially begun my summer break. The high school is closed and my only remaining duty until August is to attend graduation this week. (I’m looking forward to that, for sure! Watching our students walk the stage is one of the greatest benefits of working with them.)

It can be easy to forgo proper nutrition when the lazy days of summer are upon us. This yummy salad will keep in the refrigerator for three to four days and only taste better with time.

Let’s get started. You will need:


1 Cup of dry lentils

3 Cups water (salted, as for pasta)

1 Sweet Red Pepper, small dice

3 Green Onions, sliced on the bias. (Tops and bottoms)

3 Cloves of garlic, minced (You could use less, but why?)

1/4 cup of chopped Italian parsley

1 small cucumber, small dice

2 cups of sweet cherry tomatoes, halved

Zest of one lemon

Juice of one lemon

1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Kosher Salt

Red Pepper Flakes

Black Pepper

1 Cup Athenos Feta Cheese, Tomato and Basil Flavor

Sliced Kalamata Olives (if you have them, I didn’t at the moment)

The process is really straight forward. Chop your fresh veggies and place in a bowl as you work through them. Once your veggies are ready, add the zest of the lemon and all of the juice of one large lemon. (You really want the bright flavor to shine.) Add salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste. Stir. Add the olive oil, and stir again.

I cooked my lentils about twenty minutes on a simmer until they were softer than al dente, but not mush. Drain lentils and let cool slightly.

Add warm lentils and feta to the bowl and mix again. Taste for seasoning.

This salad is best refrigerated about six hours before enjoying.

Thats the method, folks. I hope you enjoy this flavor packed and nutritious summer salad.

Be Well,


March 19, 2019
Jalanda B

no comments

Too Much To Capture

As I said in my last entry, I have folks that ask what I regularly eat. And also, as I said, “there is no normal.” I simply try to eat at least eighty percent plant based. You won’t find me to be an elitist food minder. In fact, I eat the way I do to be less vigilant. I only have a few guidelines:

  1. Eat plants. More plants.
  2. Eat fresh as possible.
  3. Nothing is off limits, with moderation

That is it.

That being said, I’m adventurous. I am always looking for ways to increase the YUM in my life. Kamut was something that I’d read about. So, I tried it. I really enjoyed it with almond milk. A little blue agave gave it just a bit of sweetness.

I tried Puffed Kamut Cereal. I liked it. It reminds me of Honey Smacks, without the sugar rush.

Some mornings, I have a “healthier” choices for breakfast like toast with toppings, cereal or overnight oats. Some mornings, I hit McDonalds for a biscuit. (I know…) But just know, I eat it with the rest of my day in mind. More plants! More fresh choices! Cara Cara oranges and roasted fruits are my new obsession.

  • Egg and Cheese Biscuit from McDonald’s
  • Dave’s Killer Epic Everything Bagel with lowfat cream cheese and fruit
  • Roasted Plums with Overnight Oats made with almond milk, chia and hempseed hearts (banana sliced beneath)

I like snacks as much as the next person. Mostly, I make sensible choices. However, I have a “thing” for chocolate and peanut butter. And while there aren’t any photos, I ate sweet potato chips and Cheetos a time or two.

Lunches and dinner are a hodgepodge. I often eat at my desk during the lunch week. If I don’t pack a lunch, I often order healthy choices through LunchDrop. About once a week, my husband and I have a meal out.

  • Brahma Wrap (brown rice, sundried tomato, hummus, spinach, corn, carrots
  • Bean, cheese and avocado taco from Ñoño’s Taco’s
  • Beef Fajita Nachos from Amaya’s

I cook a bit at home. I’d say that during the work week, I cook about three times, and re-heat or go out the remainder.

  • Chicken Breasts baked with Apples and Carrots, Mashed Potatoes and Broccoli
  • Mixed Greens salad with turkey and blue cheese
  • Homemade Roasted Tomato Vegetable Soup

I also should include that I drink about 2 to 3 cups of coffee daily. (Little or no sugar) After coffee, I deliberately switch to water. I rarely drink sugary carbonated drinks. I cannot drink more than a few sips. They are just not for me. I do love sparkling water with fresh fruit infused. I won’t turn down the occassional glass of wine, either.

Green smoothies are a huge thing especially during weekends in our home. We also juice most weekends. It is a bit time consuming to do so in the work week, so we just eat the fruits out of hand, or cooked in meals.

So… there is a glimpse of some of the things that we eat. Since we are in Austin, there is a good bit of Mexican foods and cheese. (At home, I limit cheese and dairy) But I like to think that we balance it out with most of the other things that we choose to include.

In the end, I eat quality foods most of the time. I don’t worry about the small side steps.

Be well,