Sanderlings & Sustenance

Sanderlings are the little birds that run around at the edge of the surf looking to dip their beaks into the wet sand in search of small crustaceans before the next wave chases them to a new spot.  I imagine a wooden clicking sound accompanying the rapid movement of their stiff little legs.  And like the sap that I am, I read a little joy into their frenetic movements.  Joy to look for – and probably more likely – joy to find food.


I don’t have to look very far for food.  It’s all around me.  There in the refrigerator.  Over there at the grocery store.  And I sometimes do experience joy getting my food from those places, but far more joy is involved when I ‘find’ it in my garden.

As I stare at the waves, take some deep breaths and realize just how blessed I am, I do feel that part of the blessing that is my life is the re-connection with food that has taken place since I began gardening 15 years ago.  Gardening renews the joy of supplying my life with more of what I need to continue living.  It’s my daily job, my daily duty, my daily dose of reality.  The reality of the procurement and preparation of food is an attainable and simple joy that continues to sustain me mind, body and spirit.

Add family and a good discussion about evil, Monsanto, capitalism, personal responsibility, the word heinous, bees, colony collapse disorder and congress (whew!) and dinner becomes a memorable and important bit of living.

It was my turn to supply the calories for the laughter and heavy discussion so I turned to Angela Liddon and a recipe I have used before but could present in its deconstructed form to please the variety of diets and preferences in our group of 9 with ages ranging 5 – 79.

Assembling the goodies

She calls it “Time-Crunch Vegan Enchiladas”

Inspired by Susan’s Summer Squash Enchiladas.


2 handfuls baby spinach
1.25 cups enchilada sauce or pasta sauce (I used an all natural salsa)
1 bell pepper, color of your choice (I used orange)
1 zucchini, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tsp mild chili powder
1/4 tsp sea salt, to taste
1 tsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp lime juice (optional) – I threw in a little zest as well
1.25 cups cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
2 whole grain tortillas
Vegan cheeze sauce for the topping: (4 tbsp hummus, 1 tsp or a bit more milk, 1/2 tsp nutritional yeast)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350F. Throw chopped onion into a large pot and heat until caramelized, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes on medium heat. Add in the chopped pepper, zucchini, beans, and spinach and cook another few minutes until the spinach wilts. Add in the pasta or enchilada sauce, nutritional yeast, sea salt, chili powder, and optional lime juice and stir very well. Cook for about 3-4 minutes on medium heat. Take a baking dish and pour about 1/2 of pasta or enchilada sauce onto bottom of dish. Now take 2 tortillas and fill with mixture. Wrap tortillas and place into dish, fold side down. Cover the tortillas with the remaining enchilada veggie/bean mixture and place into the oven uncovered at 350F for about 18-20 minutes. While it is cooking prepare the vegan cheeze sauce and then drizzle it over the enchiladas before serving. Makes 2 servings.

In order to accommodate everyone I saved some of the raw peppers & spinach, some of the cooked black beans, grated some cheddar cheese and offered 3 varieties of tortilla including sprouted corn for the gluten-free diners;  Instead of baking the wrapped tortillas I laid out a buffet style wrap your own tortilla (or raw ingredients).  It was a hit and Little Sis’ picky eater discovered that she actually did like raw spinach if she wrapped a little cheese in it.  Yeah!  I especially love the flavor of the hummus/ vegan cheese sauce on top of the enchilada.  Very tasty.

I am currently surrounded by cousins wrestling with their Dad/Uncle, my mother finishing up a jigsaw puzzle and my husband cleaning the dishes… God love him.  I find the spiritual connection with food to be much stronger in the cooking end of kitchen duty.  All of these beach activities are sweetened by the recovery of a pink hue to my son’s lips after boogie boarding in the 60 degree weather rendered his lips a distinct blue earlier today.

Tomorrow we will do it all again, hopefully recalling the joy of the Sanderling in finding, and the human joy of preparing, and sharing, nourishment.

10 responses

  1. That recipe sounds fabulous. I thought it was a typo that there were only 2 tortillas, then I scrolled down to see the dish was meant for 2 😉

    • This is very tasty! I, of course, about quadrupled this recipe to feed our bunch. Plus, you know how I like leftovers. : )

      • I know all about that! My husband is out of town and I made I giant leftoverlicious lentil casserole courtesy of your blog. I added lots of veggies, but I think it will be our meal staple for a couple a days 😉

  2. Saved the recipe and hope I can make it soon. I loved your statement: “The reality of the procurement and preparation of food is an attainable and simple joy that continues to sustain me mind, body and spirit.”

  3. That’s lovely. I remember being terribly proud two years ago when I was able to cook Christmas dinner for my family for the first time. There’s something inherently fulfilling in making food for other people to enjoy together. As for the enchiladas, I’ve been eating a lot of bean burritos because they’re so simple to throw together and relatively healthy. As you point out, they are also infinitely flexible for guests!

    • Holiday dinners add to the fulfillment don’t they? I’m with you on the bean burritos – easy, delicious and wonderful. So glad you stopped by!

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