Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burgers

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I’ve been in a cooking rut. It’s been really boring. Maybe it’s my odd work hours or maybe it’s something else, but we’ve been eating a lot of the same stuff around here. So I made these burgers in hopes of turning things around. I tend to make a lot of veggie burgers. It’s so quick to whip them out of anything in the pantry, whether its beans, quinoa, or even some sort of vegetable fritter on greens. When I saw this recipe with the combination of sweet potato and black beans, I knew it would be a favorite. I love being right about this kind of thing.

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I’m one to stray from recipes and throw in what I have in the fridge just to use it up. Thats what happened here with the green onions (because I’ve been growing my own!) and bell pepper. It ended up being a great addition and the texture was wonderful. I’m always looking for that.

We ate these on some homemade brioche buns and that may have just put them over the top. You can find that recipe, where else? Smitten. I’ll make a batch in the bread maker and keep them in the freezer for burger emergencies like these. Perfect every time.

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Ingredients:

2 cups coarsely mashed sweet potatoes (about two large)
1 cup black beans
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1/4 cup yellow bell pepper, chopped
1/3 cup panko or bread crumbs
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
11/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2-3 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions:

Pierce potatoes all over with a fork and wrap loosely in paper towels. Microwave for 10 minutes, flipping halfway through. Remove the potatoes from the microwave and slice them down the center to allow them to cool.

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In a large bowl, mash the black beans. Add in sweet potato and mix together. Add in spices, salt, pepper, green onions, bell pepper, bread crumbs, flour, and the egg. Mix together until well combined. Chill mixture in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.

IMG_4460Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil. Scoop large spoonfuls of mixture into the hot pan, pressing them flat and round.(I found it easier to shape the patties while dropping them into the pan, rather than forming them on a separate surface) Cook about 5-6 minutes, until the bottom begins to golden. Gently flip the patty and cook the other side for another 5-6 minutes. Repeat until you’ve used up the mixture. Top and build burgers as desired.

 

Source: Adapted from How Sweet It Is


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Granola Bars

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Oh we’ve been so busy lately. There have been birthdays, work events, actual work, side jobs, side projects, and getting the apartment back together after it completely exploded from having to shift things around to get our new bed in and put together. Not to mention figuring out what to do with the ten thousand pieces of cardboard and styrofoam that came with it. A fort in the living room turned out not to be as cool as I thought.

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I’ve really been enjoying the birthdays lately. We have a few months in our family where everyone’s birthday is a week apart so I’ve been doing a lot of baking for gifts. I came upon this original recipe and thought something similar might be just the thing for my older brother Ryan. I took out the chocolate, reduced the sugar, and added some sunflower seeds and almonds for an extra crunch. I think they came out really yummy. So yummy that I made a chocolate version for my valentine.

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Ingredients

5 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons honey
2-4 tablespoons brown sugar, depending on sweetness preference
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup crispy rice cereal
¼ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup almonds, roughly chopped
¼ cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped

Instructions

In a large bowl, stir oats, rice cereal, seeds, almonds, and cranberries. Set aside. In a small saucepan, melt butter, honey and brown sugar together over medium high heat until it comes to a bubble. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add in the vanilla and stir. Pour over dry ingredients and mix well to moisten everything.

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Pour into a lightly greased pan, compressing the mixture to be about 3/4 inch in thickness. (You may only need to use half of the pan.) Cool on a countertop to room temperature for two hours. Wrap in parchment or plastic wrap and store at room temperature.

Source: adapted from Lauren’s Latest

Chocolate Syrup

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Now because Jordan and I are grown adults, making important life decisions and all… we choose to drink chocolate milk. A lot. I’m slightly embarrassed to truly admit the extent of our intake. After we’ve eaten our daily portion of vegetables, fruits, and protein (of course I’m telling the truth here) we look forward to this treat served up with some bonus nostalgia. Ah, the days.

Now, you might think I’m crazy to be making my own chocolate syrup. Right? But I promise you, not only is it less expensive because it comes from pantry staples, but it tastes significantly better. Not to mention, it will save us another trip back to the store to return our previously beloved chocolate powder due to a recent recall. “Um… Yeah.” Is the exact response Jordan got from the store manager who thought he was crazy for returning chocolate powder. We were heartbroken. I promise you this isn’t a rebound recipe, its a keeper.

IMG_2818Ingredients

1 cup sugar (more can be added, to taste)
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

In a medium saucepan, combine the cocoa and sugar, whisking to get rid of the extra lumps. Add in the water and salt and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring very frequently. Once the mixture starts boiling, reduce to a lower heat, letting it simmer for about 5 minutes. The mixture will be slightly thickened. Remove from heat and let stand for another 5 minutes or so. Add in the vanilla, stirring well. Let it cool. Keep it in the fridge and it will last you a long time.

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Source: Adapted from Pennies on a Platter and Annie’s Eats


Albondigas Soup

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Let me tell you about one of the coolest gifts I’ve ever been given:

When I left for college, my mom gave me this collection of family recipes that she typed up and organized into a notebook. On some pages, she writes about where each one comes from, which family member started cooking the dish that way, whose favorite it is, and of course, pictures and/or artwork to go along with each recipe. She was blogging before it was easy. What a hipster.

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I love having access to the recipes I grew up with. When I was away at school, this notebook made it easier for me to have those comforting dishes that brought me familiar smells and tastes, easing the tinges of homesickness. My mom was also great to leave some blank sleeves in there, which I quickly added to.

So I mentioned last post that I had been having a tough week and when our toilet overflowed, I was ready to call it quits on being an adult. Instead throwing a fit (which has yet to get me anything. Ever. I must not be doing it right.), I went to this notebook and decided a bit of my mom’s kitchen was what I needed.

IMG_4071Growing up, this soup was pretty much the only soup I asked for. My brothers and I loved it. The clever part about this meal is you can change it up based on what you have in your kitchen; all the veggies can be substituted, you could use ground turkey, sirloin, or tofu even… the possibilities are only limited by what you choose. Our family usually ate it with turkey meatballs so that is just what I’m used to, but because I happened to have ground beef, thats what I used. See? Change can be good.

(Enough for 4-6 Servings)
Ingredients

Half a pound fresh ground beef/turkeyIMG_4065
¼ of a white onion, diced
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
1 clove garlic, diced
1 egg
¼ cup breadcrumbs

8 cups water
1 tablespoon chicken bouillon granules
2 tablespoons tomato paste or 1 small can tomato sauce

1 small carrot, chopped
1 red potato, chopped
½ a zucchini, chopped
1 cup cauliflower florets

Instructions

In a large-ish pot, bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Mix the first seven ingredients in a bowl and roll into 1 inch meatballs. Add the chicken bouillon and tomato paste/sauce to the boiling water and stir it well. Carefully drop the meatballs into the boiling water. Let them cook for about 10  minutes.

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Prepare whatever veggies you are going to add. Carrots and potatoes take longer to cook than zucchini, so add those first. Once all your veggies are in, cook perhaps an additional 8 minutes. When your veggies are tender, your soup is ready. I like this soup served with fresh salsa and avocado on top and a hot corn tortilla on the side.

Source: Momma Jan

Garlic and Rosemary Wheat Thins

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I’ve been a little out of it lately. I guess its a combination of a few things, but mostly, I’ll admit, its just me acting crazy. This morning, the toilet overflowed. Logical reaction? Call the landlord and/or plumber… Nope. This girl cries, called the boyfriend (resisted all urges to call my poor dad in tears), and then I made soup. Soup! Why? I’m still not sure. Plus side, it cooked by the time I decided I was mature enough to mop up the bathroom floor.

DoughPicStitchPrevious to the bathroom fiasco, this week had been a bit on the tough side. Sometimes when that happens I find that I need to slow things down and just bake a little. I knew I was overwhelmed in the sweets department still so something salty sounded perfect. These wheat crackers were just what I needed. I changed up the recipe a tad by adding some garlic and rosemary. With some cheese and pickles (I eat pickles on the side with just about everything) these are a perfect snack and  turned out to be a soothing hour during a rather hectic week.

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Ingredients

1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus extra for topping
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, roughly chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup water
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Line two baking sheets with silpats or parchment paper.

Add flour, sugar, salt, garlic, and rosemary to a wide bowl and whisk to combine.  Cube the butter into small chunks. Using a pastry blender (Or whatever method you prefer), cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it is in small pieces and crumbly.  In a small cup, combine the water and vanilla.  Add it to the flour/butter mixture and using a rubber spatula, mix until a smooth dough forms.  If your dough is too sticky, add a bit more flour.

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Divide the dough into smaller workable pieces (I divided it into thirds).  Roll the dough out on a lightly floured work surface.  I found that keeping both extra whole wheat flour and a bit of water next to my surface was helpful so I could adjust as needed.  Roll the dough as thinly as possible, 1/16th-inch thick at most. Cut with a knife or pizza cutter into 1-1 ½ inch squares. Transfer crackers to baking sheets. Poke each one with the tines of a fork so they don’t puff up during baking.

Bake one sheet at a time, until crisp and browned, mine took about 9 minutes. Check the crackers at 5 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through. If some begin to brown before others, remove and continue baking the rest. Keep a close eye as the crackers can burn quickly. Once brown and crisp, transfer to a plate to cool. Store crackers in an airtight container.

Source: Adapted from The Baker Chick, Via Tracy’s Culinary Adventures

G-Ma’s Salsa

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I’ve been lucky enough to come from a family of wonderful cooks.  I remember the days when extended family would descend on one of the grandmother’s or great aunt’s homes, grab a utensil or a pan, contributing what they could to the meal. Everyone would file through, filling their plates with meats, sauces, heirloom casseroles, fresh salads, and of course, delicious desserts.

Growing up, my Dad’s mom lived in the house below ours. (It’s a super-rad duplex by the beach!) I loved having my Grandma so close and I consider myself lucky to have learned many things from her, including a few tips from her authentic style of Mexican cooking. On the occasional Sunday, she makes a big breakfast for anyone who can stop by. It always includes Menudo, (which I know I never gave a fair shot, but come on) chorizo, eggs,
sometimes carne con chile, and always a fresh batch of her classic salsa.

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This salsa is kind of a big deal. My best friend Amy has parents who grow their own chilies and make a fresh batch every day, but this is still her favorite salsa.  My friend Bob is equally in love with it and his wife also comes from a family of amazing cooks. When my G-Ma knows that they are coming, she’ll make an extra batch.  And we always eat it.

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Ingredients

1 14 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
2 pickled jalapenos (I use the Embasa brand)
2 teaspoons jalapeno pickling juice (that comes with the jalapenos)
¼ of a white onion, chopped
1 teaspoon coarse salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
Juice of a lemon
Handful of cilantro, chopped

Instructions

Cut the jalapenos into large chunks, discarding the stems. Toss them into a blender. Add the tomato juice, jalapeno juice, half of the lemon juice, and only one of the peeled tomatoes into the blender. Blend until the jalapeno is finely chopped. Add the rest of the tomatoes. Pulse the blender for just a second or two. You want the tomatoes chopped, but still chunky. Pour tomato mixture into a bowl. Add remaining lemon juice, salt, garlic, onion, and cilantro. Give it a good stir and enjoy.

Note: If you prefer more spice, simply add more jalapenos. I prefer mine on the mild side, so I find that two is the perfect amount for me.

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Source: Taught to me by my Grandma Esther, additionally, learning by watching my Mom make her salsa the same way for most of my life.

Quinoa Cakes on Greens

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I must have cursed myself. I boasted about what a great start the year was off to far too soon. I should have known better. Thirteen is a temperamental number… I must proceed with caution. It’s been almost a year, (that can’t be true?!) since I’ve been sick. So this now unfamiliar pain in my throat is throwing me off. Is it the normal January cold? The awful flu I’ve so artfully avoided? It can’t possibly be strep again, that won my tonsils in the war of ’08… Allergies? I’ll go with that until further notice.

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After getting a call from my boss telling me to take Tuesday off I wasn’t sure what to do with my sudden abundance of time. So, naturally, I made a mess in the kitchen. After ruining half a batch of cupcakes, I scored with these. Major win. I had made these before, but never with all the additional veggies. On a whim I added the lime juice and cilantro. In my opinion, that was the best part.

This is a pretty customizable recipe. I think that as long as you have the binder (breadcrumbs and eggs/other vegan substitution) it would stand up to substitutions. You’ll just have to try and let me know.

IngredientsIMG_3631

2 cups quinoa, cooked and cooled
2 green onions, finely chopped
1/2 a yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup white cheddar cheese, grated
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 eggs, beaten
Olive oil for the pan

Instructions

In a medium bowl, combine everything except the bread crumbs and the eggs. Sprinkle over the breadcrumbs and make sure all ingredients are all mixed together well.  Add the eggs and give the mixture one final mix-up until the eggs are incorporated. Form the mixture into evenly shaped patties, about 4 inches in diameter.

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Heat some olive oil in large pan set over medium heat. Add the patties to the pan, giving enough space between each one. Cook each patty until lightly browned, about 4-5 minutes, depending on your heat. Using a spatula, carefully flip the patty over and cook the other side until it is the same golden brown. Repeat with remaining patties. You may need to add more olive oil to the pan between batches.

Note: I prefer mine served warm on top of greens and hardboiled eggs with a lemon vinaigrette. 


Source: Adapted from Annie’s Eats, via Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson via The Curvy Carrot