[Meatless Monday] DYI veg burgers

It’s a weird day over here in the Bay Area! It was HOT this afternoon and then raining with thunder and lighting when I got home from work. It’s stormy and gloomy without the cold. All of my windows are open, along with the patio door. The smell of rain is filling my apartment (that, and the smell of a musky candle I have burning too). My lemon tree is happy for the drops of rain. It’s a cozy Monday afternoon. Perfect for experimenting in the kitchen!

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Mike and I avoid meat whenever we can. Veg burgers are on regular rotation over here and although there are some good brands out there (Dr. Praegar’s is my favorite!), I love making my own with only a few ingredients. This recipe was super easy with only 2 main ingredients and some spices and condiments. It can easily be a “kitchen sink” recipe by subbing out the Great Northern beans and rice for whatever you have on hand (quinoa and black beans would be great as well).

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Plus you make now and freeze them for later. I actually find that they heat up better this way because they are frozen into place before pan-frying.

If you’re doing this, I suggest doubling the batch to get the most of your time. ūüôā

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If freezing, use parchment paper in-between burgers to keep from sticking

 


DIY veg burgers with a grain and a bean

Prep time: ¬†25 minutes ‚Äď Cook time: 10 minutes ‚Äď Servings: 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup dry rice, cooked according to package
  • 1 can Great Northern Beans
  • 1 TBS Trader Joe’s Onion Salt
  • Hot sauce to taste
  • 1 egg

*you can sub the onion salt for other spices and the hot sauce for mustard or ketchup, etc.

Directions:

  • Mash rice, beans, egg, and spices together until gooey
  • Refrigerate for 20 minutes
  • Round into burgers
  • Freeze or pan fry until middle in warm (about 4 minutes each side on a slightly oiled pan)
  • Dress up and serve

 

[Meatless March] Week 2

My secret weapon to eating healthy and mostly at home during the week is meal planning! I literally take my grocery store receipt every week and write what we are having for dinner on the back of it every Sunday (saving paper!).

Although, typically I start the process before going shopping for the week by looking at what we already have (i.e. red lentils) to narrow down my options. This also helps ensure I’m not wasting food.

Meal planning is great because I don’t have to go rummaging¬†through my refrigerator and cabinets at the end of the workday, trying to figure out what we have to throw together. Which¬†would probably¬†result in frustration and a lot more eating out.

Already knowing what we are going to have for dinner also helps me eat a balanced diet. For example, if we’re having tacos for dinner, I’ll probably skip the burrito bar at work and stick with something like a salad.

Aside from taking inventory of what I already have to help me plan weeknight dinners, I also try to generally stick to the following guidelines:

  • I¬†typically start thinking about what grain or starch we are going to have each night (i.e.: brown rice, quinoa pasta, corn tortillas, or sourdough bread)
  • Next I figure out the vegetable – the standard lineup in our house is organic peas (my favorite!), ¬†green beans, broccoli, some kind of lettuce, and mushrooms (and occasionally peppers)
    • More often than not, I buy peas, green beans, and broccoli frozen because they last basically forever (even though we use them up pretty fast) and Trader Joe’s¬†has relatively cheap, organic offerings
  • Last I decide what protein and fat I’ll use – mostly this is some kind of bean or lentil with cheese or avocado
  • I’m big on variety so I rarely repeat the same meal – or kind of meal (i.e.: pasta with tomato sauce and mac n cheese) in a week*
  • I also find it helpful to account for flexibility in your plan – I usually leave Fridays as a “date night” or “order in” night but if last minute dinner plan come up during the week, I can change our “out” meal to that day; eating what we would have had that night on Friday instead
  • It’s also helpful to always have one go-to healthy meal ready to whip up quickly
    • For us, this is usually quinoa pasta with some veg + olive oil and garlic
    • I saw in the documentary series Cooked that Michael Pollan has canned salmon, frozen spinach, and whole wheat pasta on hand to make a quick, healthy meal if need be
    • Some other options could include pre-made and frozen quesadillas with hummus (makes for such a creamy, yummy¬†quesadilla!) and a can of pinto beans or even a simple veggie frozen pizza is a good option

This week our menu looks like this:

Monday: avocado toast with sliced tomato + a spinach and mushroom salad
Tuesday: potato tacos with guac and salsa verde + chopped tomatoes and pinto beans
Wednesday: mushroom ravioli with green beans
Thursday: veggie (onion, peas, peppers, and spinach) fried rice 
Friday: out or order in

Monday

  • We had some sliced sourdough in the freezer that I need to use
  • I bought avocado and was sure to incorporate¬†it in two dinners (Monday and Tuesday) so nothing was wasted¬†

Tuesday

  • I’m using the last of the tomato from Monday on our tacos

Wednesday

  • I’m actually going to dinner with a friend but we have both the mushroom ravioli (already made from TJs) and green beans frozen and ready for Mike to easily prepare¬†

Thursday

  • Veg fired rice is a regular contender in our house because you can use whatever veggies you have leftover or on hand, which makes for a great end of the week meal

Friday

  • Breakfast for dinner is always another great option for Fridays as it is quick, easy, and flexible¬†

Whats Up Moms recently made a video about meal planning¬†that is worth checking out for some more tips. ūüôā

*this is just my preference though! I’m sure repeat meals work great for other people, particularly families with busy mamas and dads.

Get-Better Broccoli Soup

I worked from home today because of a major toothache that caused a sore throat and ear pain. ¬†I usually eat breakfast and lunch at work so I really didn’t have much food in the house, especially because it is nearing the end of the week!

I honestly wasn’t feeling breakfast at all (so much pain!) and stuck to tea after tea all morning. Around noon I was starting to get hungry though. I had canned soup that I could have easily heated up but I’ve been reading about how bad BPA is for us, especially for¬†women and our fertility (call me crazy or paranoid¬†except not really because it’s fact) so I decided to get creative in the kitchen!

I whipped up¬†a broccoli soup that was so yummy, I’ll be making a bigger batch to freeze in the near future. I used ingredients I happened to have on hand and this recipe¬†as my muse.

The cumin and lime give this soup such a nice flavor with just the right amount of kick. Plus, all of the vitamins and antioxidants in the broccoli really did have me feeling better; not to mention the garlic, carrots, and nutrient power-house lentils that were also in there.

I now present you with my Get-Better Broccoli Soup (which is both vegan and gluten free #hey)

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The random ingredients I had to work with… (frozen homemade veggie broth FTW)
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Sauteed garlic and carrots
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Added lentils and veg broth
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Add cumin, lime juice, and frozen broccoli; boil, simmer, blend!

 

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Ta-da 

Get Better Broccoli Soup

Prep time: 10 minutes – Cook time: 20 minutes – Serves 4 *freezes well*

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic – chopped
  • 1¬†c carrot – chopped
  • 1/2 c red lentils
  • 4 c veg broth
  • 1¬†c broccoli
  • 1 Tbs cumin
  • 1 Tbs lime juice

Directions

  • Saut√© garlic until translucent
  • Add carrot and continue heating for ~1 minute
  • Add lentils, veg broth, and broccoli
  • Bring to a boil
  • Stir in cumin and lime juice
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes
  • Blend together (I used an immersion blender but a regular blender would work too)
  • Serve, sip, and get better!

 

A rocky start to my meatless March

It is March 2nd and my goal for being a public vegetarian has already been shattered. Why? Two words. Carnitas nachos.

Growing up and living in California, Mexican food has played a delicious and prevalent part in my diet. I am obsessed with all things beans, cheese and tortilla. Enchiladas, tacos, burritos, nachos, quesadillas. Give them all to me. Now!

To be clear, the meat in these dishes isn’t the main reason for my love affair with¬†Mexican food. I can happily get down with the vegetarian version of any and all Mexican dishes. You might be asking yourself why carnitas nachos already lead me to failure on my SECOND day of trying not to eat meat out… Well, you see, I can resist the meat but the nachos? the light and crunchy fried tortilla chips smothered with melted cheese and beans? the creamy avocado and flavorful pico de gallo sprinkled on top? I CAN’T SAY NO! With or without a side of animal on top.

So, today, when a friend/co-worker asked if I wanted the rest of her carnitas nachos (key word: NACHOS), I grabbed some of her napkins and didn’t breathe again until all of the ooey gooey goodness was gone. Granted, I probably only ate about 5 chips with meat on them, I still ate meat. I still fail.

Hopefully this is my only slip up for the month¬†week but we’ll see… Did I mention I’m going Nashville in 2 weeks? Is it possible to survive in the south without meat?

#VegOut

‚ô° Ashley

No More Sausage

It is Trader Joe's Chicken Sausagethe week before the start of my Veg Voyage (starting with public vegetarianism, remember?) and I have one package of Trader Joe’s sausages in the freez
er. This particular sausage isn’t worst on the market, by far. However, I’m not so sure about the quality of the chickens they used to make them and how they were treated (!!!!) so,¬†based on my last post, I won’t be buying them again.

Although I can probably find organic chicken sausages to make at home, I can’t help but wonder¬†about the social impact my new lifestyle will¬†have on my life outside of my house. For example, this past weekend I went to a wedding and¬†ate pork, bacon and steak. And no, I did not check to make sure they were grass fed or organic… I was just there, eating meat and drinking wine, dancing and having a good time.

In perpetration for March, I thought it would be helpful to breakdown the options offered and what I will still be able to eat once I give up meat in the public sector.

For appetizers, I sampled a mini¬†caprese salad on a toothpick (word to the wise, don’t plop the whole thing in your mouth at once… not cute.), seared tuna on crackers, a small potato pancake with a dollop of cream cheese and tiny pulled pork sliders.

Then dinner came which consisted of a nice green salad followed by filet, mashed potatoes and asparagus.

Dessert was made-to-order crepes with Nutella and whip cream.

After some (more) drinks and dancing, there were homemade (!) empanadas that I am assuming had meat, chips and guac.

So? say this wedding was next month. What would I have been able to eat? Being vegetarian the following items would be have still been okay to eat:

  • mini¬†caprese salad
  • small potato pancake with a dollop of cream cheese
  • green salad and whatever the veg option was (I believe it was pasta)
  • crepes with Nutella¬†and whip cream
  • chips and guac

Still plenty of delicious options that I think would/will be totally doable but we’ll see how March goes…

#VegOut

‚ô° Ashley