Monthly Archives: July 2013

vegan quinoa and black bean burgers

So it seems the trendy thing to do these days is become vegan. That’s not happening for me. Ever. However, I’m always up for a “food adventure,” so last night I made vegan black bean burgers and added quinoa for some healthy whole grain.

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ingredients: *makes about 8 thin burger patties

  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 large carrot (grated)
  • 1/2 bell pepper (diced)
  • 1/2 onion (diced)
  • balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • dash of salt and pepper

for the toppings (optional):

  • avocado slices
  • fresh cilantro
  • feta cheese
  • balsamic vinegar
  • your favorite kind of burger bun (I used whole-wheat sandwich thins)

directions:

  1. Grate the carrot and dice the onions and bell pepper. Mix together in a large bowl.
  2. Puree the black beans and 1 T balsamic vinegar in a food processor. (I used my brand new food processor we got from our wedding. Yipeeee, weddings are the best!)
  3. Add the bean puree, cooked quinoa, olive oil and spices into the bowl and mix very well.
  4. Form into patties and cook in a skillet until slightly brown on each side.
    *the patties are very delicate and will break apart easily, so be gentle with the patty flipping!
  5. Top with feta cheese, avocado, cilantro and sprinkle a generous amount of balsamic vinegar over the top.
  6. Put between a sandwich thin, burger bun, or eat over lettuce/spinach like a salad.

IMG_3822IMG_3827Just look at my adorable food processor, doing his job the best way he can…

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To complete the meal, I cooked some corn-on-the-cob and sliced some fresh fruit. Tonight, I enjoyed being vegan. (Well, besides the definitely-not-vegan feta cheese.) But who’s holding it against me anyway??? I guess I’m just not cut out to be vegan.

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peanut butter coconut granola

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This granola was created by none other than my baby sis…aka, Kagnis. Apparently she is quite the wizzz in the kitchen, because this granola completely blew me and my tastebuds away…

ingredients: 

  • 1 cup extra-crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 T honey
  • 4 T shredded coconut
  • 1 and a half cups of oats
  • 1 T flax seed
  • chocolate chips (optional)

directions: 

  1. Combine the peanut butter and honey in a large bowl, and melt in the microwave for 20-30 seconds.
  2. Stir in oats and flax seed.
  3. Allow to cool for a few minutes and then stir in the coconut.
  4. Once completely cool, add chocolate chips if desired.

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*You can store at room temperature once set up.

This glorious creation can be used on top of yogurt or ice cream, or just add milk for a cereal! Or if you’re like me, you’ll just eat the entire batch out of the bowl with your fingers…

I made a yogurt parfait this morning with the granola. I used Hermes Greek Gods honey yogurt and picked fresh blackberries from our garden. Oh my goodness it was a great morning…
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 Amsterdamming

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Amsterdam. The city of prostitutes, bikes, canals and marijuana.

What a great place.

We arrived in the city late Friday night and were greeted by pouring rain. Attempting to navigate the tram system was hard enough, then add the weight of our 50-pound luggage which we had to pull through muddy alleyways and cobblestone streets…finding our apartment was quite the journey. But, we finally found it—a little apartment along a canal owned by two very nice men—Marc and Won. They’ve done a great job decorating the place. There are Buddhist shrines all over and they burn incense in the bathroom. All in all, a great place to stay.

We woke up Saturday morning and moseyed our way to the central train station, taking in the city along the way. Everyone rides bikes everywhere. Canals cut through the cobblestone streets which all look identical, so it’s basically impossible to get anywhere without getting lost at least once.

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Highlights of our Amsterdam trip:

We rode bikes out to the countryside and found a cute lighthouse. The famous windmills were also adorable and definitely a highlight. It was nice to get out of the city crowds and explore the countryside.IMG_2540 IMG_2471

Marc and Won let Patrick borrow their bike…yes, that is a purple and pink saddle bag if you were wondering. However, my favorite part had to be either the rainbow-patterned seat cover or the Buddha stickers on the back wheel…it’s a toss up.DSCN3372

The red-light district was, well, WOW. Patrick and I spent a night wandering through the streets…it was fun and eye-opening to see what the night-life of Amsterdam is all about.

One day we took a walk through Vondel Park and laid down in some grass, on top of bird feathers and cigarette butts. Mmmm I love naps in the park.

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Shopping the flea markets and renting motor-scooters were both highlights, as well as seeing the typical tourist sights like the Anne Frank House.

Amsterdam waffles. Do I need to say more? Let’s just say that we ate these waffles everyday for five days straight. The inside is gooey and warm and the outside is crispily carmelized with melty ice cream oozing down into the rivets of the waffle. Can you tell I have an unhealthy obsession with these beautiful creatures? Cause I most definitely do.

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Maybe it’s a good thing we only spent a few days in Amsterdam or my hubby may have gotten jealous of my relationship with these waffles…nah just kidding, but really they are divine. 

We really enjoyed exploring Amsterdam. However by Tuesday, we were glad to get out of the city. It’s exhausting, crowded and dirty like any other city.IMG_2485

So, imagine the feeling we got when we arrived at the airport Tuesday night with all our luggage, waited in line to check in, handed over our passport, and the nice lady with the silky scarf tells us our flight is not until the next day at 9 PM….

After checking our hotel reservations we realized my dear hubby—bless his heart—booked all our flights a day later than the hotels. So…we had no place to stay that night in Amsterdam, the next in London, or the two nights we’d planned to stay in New York.

These are the times you really just have to laugh.