Sunday, May 27, 2012

Homemade Veggie Burgers

These are my favorite veggie burgers!  They do take some time to make, but it's worth it- I like them so much better than store bought!  I just make them on a weekend when I have some time, and the batch lasts me throughout the week.

The recipe comes from here:

I omitted the sprouts this time, because I forgot to buy them.  I used toasted whole wheat pitas for the bread crumbs.  I used white beans instead of garbanzo beans.  I used 2 or 3 times as much cilantro as the recipe called for.  Veggie burgers are versatile- you can follow the recipe as a loose guide and do what you want!

 So first, I rinsed and strained 2 cans of white beans.  Into the blender went the beans plus 4 eggs, plus 1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt.  I blended these 3 ingredients together, and poured mixture into a bowl.  Then to the bowl I added chopped onion, chopped cilantro, and lemon zest.  Next, I toasted 3 whole wheat pitas and crumbled them into the batter.

(A food processor, ninja, or mini-chopper can make the onion and cilantro chopping much easier.)

For this batch, I used extra lemon zest and it made a definite difference!  I could actually taste it this time, and it was wonderful.

I heated a couple tablespoons of olive oil on a frying pan and let the batter absorb the bread crumbs for about 10 minutes.  This is important!  If the batter is too thin, the burgers totally fall apart.

I poured 3 burgers at a time onto the frying pan, covered the pan, and let them cook on med-low heat for 7 minutes.  Then I flipped them, covered them again, and let them cook for another 5-6 minutes.

Cooking 3 burgers at a time for 13 minutes, 5 times in a row, is what makes these take so long. During these long cooking times, I cleaned up the kitchen and studied for school until the timer went off to flip the burgers.

I laid them on a plate to let them cool, then packaged them up for the week:

During the week, I heat a couple burgers in the microwave for about a minute and top with mashed avocado and salsa.  So dinner during the week takes about 2 minutes to prep.  

So easy, so healthy, so good!!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Strawberry Shortcake

In celebration of Mother's Day, I wanted to make a fresh summery dessert as we are easing into the warmer months.  And what could be more summery than strawberry shortcake?

The way I did it was really simple- I picked up a vanilla pound cake from Whole Foods, along with 2 containers of strawberries and a carton of whipping cream.

So, the recipe:
1 vanilla pound cake
2 pints strawberries
Sugar for sprinkling
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons powdered sugar

First, chop up the strawberries and put them in a bowl for later.  You can leave them be, or sprinkle with sugar to sweeten.

To make the whipped cream, chill a metal bowl and your beater blades in the freezer for 10 minutes.  Then when you're ready, pour the cup of cream into the bowl and beat on high speed until stiff peaks have almost formed.  At this point, add the teaspoon of vanilla and a tablespoon of powdered sugar.  Taste to see if it needs more sugar, and add another tablespoon accordingly.  Then beat again until stiff peaks are formed.


Now you're ready to serve!  Slice the pound cake, top each slice with a generous serving of juicy red strawberries and a huge dollop of homemade whipped cream.

It was really easy, really fresh, and of course, delicious.

And of course, you could bake the cake from scratch if you prefer.  A great choice for a summer dessert!  Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers!  I love you, Mom!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Healthy Colorful Pasta Salad

I wanted to make something simple and nutritious that I could pack for lunch for the week-  I cooked up half a box of whole wheat pasta and added a can of white beans plus whatever veggies were in the fridge.


Choose whichever veggies you like!  Can be anything.

Recipe (everything is optional):
1/2 box whole wheat pasta
1 yellow bell pepper
1 squash
1/2 onion
2 tomatoes
1 clove garlic
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup feta or goat cheese
Olive oil

Directions: Bring water in a pot to a boil.  Meanwhile, chop veggies and sauté all except garlic in a pan with olive oil.  When water boils, add pasta and cook according to box directions.  Sauté vegetables until onions become translucent.  Then, add the chopped garlic.  Sauté for 2 more minutes, then add the drained and rinsed white beans.  Sauté for another minute or two, then remove from heat and combine with pasta.  Salt to taste.  Sprinkle with feta or goat cheese.

This is delicious served warm, or also cold as a pasta salad or over a bed of greens drizzled with balsamic:

So easy and healthy- and you have lunch for the week!  Just throw together whatever you have!  Hope you enjoy!


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter Cookies

It's a gorgeous Easter weekend, I'm going to an Easter party later, and I signed up to bring a veggie tray.  But in my heart I wanted to make something with pastel frostings and sprinkles... So here I present to you my Easter sugar cookies.

The recipe was based off of this sugar cookie recipe from  I did this:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. 

1&1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbsp milk
1/2 c butter

Add dry ingredients to a bowl and mix very well.  Add milk and vanilla to melted butter in another bowl.  Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients.  Mix and use your hands to roll into balls, or roll out the dough and use cookie cutters.  I rolled them into balls, and then for some of them I flattened out the balls slightly by squishing them down a little - those turned out the best.  Lay them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 9 minutes, remove from oven (they will look a little under done, but still take them out) and let cool for 5 minutes before touching them.

Then... I tried to make an array of pastel icings.  I put powdered sugar and a few drops of water in a bowl and added liquid food coloring.

Not... what I had in mind!  Luckily I found some fluffy white Duncan Hines frosting in the cupboard, which saved the day:

With this, you'll get a much better pastel color.

Mix up a few little bowls of pastel icing, spread them on the cookies, and add sprinkles!

And here's to the reject cookies who didn't make it on the final tray:

 Happy Easter!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

White Bean Bruschetta

This is fresh.  You're going to love it.

 It's also easy... I don't tend to make recipes that are time-consuming.

I whipped out my mini-ninja chopper for this recipe and it made it so quick and effortless.

1 can white beans ($0.67 at Harris Teeter!)
3 regular tomatoes, or a container of cherry tomatoes is what I used
1 red onion
2 cloves garlic
Fresh or freeze-dried basil (I used freeze-dried)
4 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper 
1 french baguette

Toss your tomatoes, your garlic, and 1/3 of your red onion into your chopper and chop them right up.  Drain and rinse your can of beans.  Put chopped vegetables, beans, and basil (however much you like) in a bowl, and add 3 tbsp. olive oil.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Slice a few pieces of bread, and drizzle them with olive oil.  Broil them in the oven, about 3 inches beneath the broiler, for 1 - 2 minutes.

Top your crispy bread with your fresh, white bean bruschetta and enjoy your lovely lunch!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Monkey Bread

My mom tore this recipe from a magazine and requested that my sister and I make it...

Ooey-gooey, warm, cinnamon-sugary monkey bread?  Haven't had that since we used to have it for Sunday brunch back in the day!  Don't mind if I do!

So on this gorgeous March afternoon, my sister and I put on some happy music and started baking!

Lady Antebellum's Hillary Scott's MONKEY BREAD

Serves 10 to 12

4 (7.5-oz.) cans refrigerated biscuits

2 cups sugar, divided

3 tbsp. cinnamon, divided

1½ sticks butter or margarine

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Combine 1 cup sugar and 2 tbsp. cinnamon in a zip-top bag.
 We used half white sugar and half sucanat, which is the brown whole cane sugar.

3. Cut biscuits into quarters, add to bag and shake until coated.

Cutting up this biscuit dough was definitely the most fun part.  (Sarah P- I thought of you...)

5. Melt remaining butter, add remaining sugar and cinnamon, and bring to a boil.

Pour over biscuits and bake until biscuits are puffed and liquid is caramelized, 35 to 40 minutes. 
It puffed up huge in the oven.  I now recommend putting it on a tray in the oven because the cinnamon sugar boiled over!

6. Remove from oven and cool completely.

7. Invert onto a plate and serve whole, allowing people to pull apart. 

This is almost too delicious.  Every bite has all that gooey cinnamon that can only be found in the center of a cinnamon roll.  Here's the link to the recipe: Monkey Bread recipe on

Hope you make this!  Happy Springtime!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Peanut Butter Cookies... Easy as Pie. Way Easier than Pie.

These are the simplest, and probably the best peanut butter cookies you could make.


Josh bought a bag of peanut butter cookies from the grocery store hoping they would be like his favorite cookies he used to get in the lunch room in high school.  Fresh, warm, melt in-your-mouth peanut butter cookies from the lunch line.  Remember those?  Well, the ones he bought at the store were nothing like those.  So I became inspired.

I combined the following: 
1 cup of organic crunchy peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

...And came up with these.  Don't look at my cookie sheet.  

A chocolatey one:

And an original, pressed with a fork of course:

Packaged up and ready to go.


His roommate liked the ones with the chocolate chips, said they tasted like a reese's.  Josh said I should make them every day.  And anyone could, because they're that easy!

This batch only made 10 cookies, so I would double the recipe if I were taking them to a cookout or a party.  Double... or triple... But they are sure to be a hit!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Tropical Breakfast Bars

The inspiration to make these bars came from a request to make a delicious, healthy, breakfast cookie.  You might even be able to bake this dough in the form of cookies.

The recipe was based on this one for Tropical Lemon Cranberry Coconut Chia Bars.

I used cherries instead of cranberries, pecans instead of pistachios, and altered some measurements.

  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (approx 1.5 lemons)
  • 1.5 cups regular oats, ground into a flour in food processor
  • 1/2 cup regular oats (not ground)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1.5 cups unsweetened shredded coconut + additional for sprinkling
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup Agave nectar
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries

First, you combine 3 T of chia seeds with 6 T of fresh squeezed lemon juice and let it sit while it gels up.  Meanwhile, you process 1.5 cups of oats in the food processor to make oat flour.

In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients, including the cherries, lemon zest, and coconut flakes.  I only had 1 cup worth of coconut flakes so I was a half cup short.  In a separate small bowl, mix together the wet ingredients, adding the chia/lemon juice mixture last. Here, I also ran out of agave and used less than was called for.  I think this resulted in the crumbliness of the bars later on!

Add the wet to the dry and mix, mix, mix.  You're going to think you might need more liquid but you don't.

It starts to form a fantastic consistency.
Line an 8" square pan with parchment paper, squish the dough into it, and bake at 350F for 20 minutes.

Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer it to a cooling rack for 30 minutes before cutting them into bars.

Voila!  Mine were too crumbly but still tasty.

These are good, but I'm still on the hunt for the perfect breakfast cookie recipe!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Homemade Reese's Cups

A few years ago, one of my good friends was eating Reese's peanut butter cups when she suddenly had an allergic reaction.  Her throat closed up and she had difficulty breathing - and it was determined that she had developed an allergy to peanut butter.  Ever since the incident, she hasn't had peanut butter or Reese's cups, which she used to love.

SO, as a present, my roommate and I made her a nice batch of homemade almond butter cups!

So easy to make and so dang good. 

In one bowl, you melt some chocolate chips.  I used Hershey's Special Dark.  In another bowl, you combine any nut butter of your choice with a tablespoon or two of nutritional yeast flakes.  These give the nut butter that salty Reese's cup taste.  If you don't have any nutritional yeast, you can do just fine without!

Next, spoon some of the melted chocolate into the bottom of a cupcake liner, just enough to coat the bottom.  Spoon some nut butter on top of that, and then cover the nut butter with more melted chocolate.

Put them into the fridge, and in a few minutes they'll be ready to enjoy!