Beans & Greens Mushroom Burger

I spend most Sundays in the kitchen. I prep food for the week, plan meals, create recipes, and clean out the fridge. The last part is usually what yields the most interesting creations!

Last week, during my clean-out-the-fridge sweep, I found some mushrooms that didn’t get turned into soup and a half bag of kale pieces that didn’t join their other half in kale chip heaven.  I tossed around the idea of adding the kale to my traditional mushroom soup, but I wasn’t sure how that would turn out, so I came up with something else. Having recently run out of 4 Ingredient Bean Burgers, I decided to turn my fridge finds into burgers for the week. After rummaging through the pantry and the vegetable draw, this is what I came up with.

Beans & Greens Mushroom Burger

Beans & Greens Mushroom Burger

14 oz mushroom caps, diced (about 2 cups)

1 med onion, diced (about 1 cup)

3-4 clove garlic, minced (about 2 TBSP, heaping)

2-3 c chopped kale

2 cans beans, rinsed (about 3 cups)

1/2 c nutritional yeast

Seasonings: salt, pepper, garlic powder, etc.

Saute onions and garlic in a splash of water or veggie broth until begin to soften (about 5 minutes). Add mushroom pieces. Continue to saute until mushrooms have cooked down and become soft. Add kale pieces and cover pan to steam/wilt greens. After greens are sufficiently wilted, remove mixture from pan. Set aside. Note: You may have to use a strainer because the veggies tend to give off quite a bit of water.

In a large bowl, add rinsed and drained beans. Puree with a stick blender (or in a food processor or high-powered blender) until mostly smooth. (I like to leave a few pieces for texture and presentation.) Alternately, you can hand mash the beans the with a potato masher. Once beans are mashed, add nutritional yeast, seasonings and cooked veggie mixture. Stir to combine. (If mix is too wet, add additional nutritional yeast or a binder such as quinoa flakes or oats.)

Form 6 large balls from mixture and place on foil or parchment paper lined baking sheet. (Spray foil with cooking spray.) Slightly flatten each ball to desired patty thickness. Bake burgers at 375F for about 45 minutes, or until hold shape when moved and are no longer wet or gooey in the middle.

I used one can each red and white kidney beans.

I used one can each red and white kidney beans.

Mashed beans. Pretty pink!

Mushrooms, Onions, and Garlic in Pan

The mushrooms may seem like a lot before they cook down, but don’t worry; in a few minutes, they’ll shrink to half (or less!) their size.

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosted Blondies

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosted Blondies

Do I really even need to write anything to go with this recipe? The pictures kind of speak for themselves 😉

Waiting for a Bite

(Almost Raw) Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosted Blondies


3/4 c walnuts

1/4 c almonds

1 c raisins

1 tsp vanilla

Processes nuts, raisins and vanilla until mixture forms a large, sticky ball. Press blondie mix into a small, rectangular dish (or a mini-muffin tin or mini-silicone molds – or go all out and make full-sized brownies or cupcakes).

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting

1/4 c peanut butter

1/4 c vanilla soy creamer (or vanilla almond milk)

2 TBSP maple syrup

3-4 TBSP water (depending upon desired consistency of frosting)

2-4 TBSP chocolate chips/chunks

Optional: Additional sweetener (blondies are sweet enough for me), 2 TBSP Cashews – either blended into the frosting for extra richness, chopped and mixed into frosting, or crushed and sprinkled on top

Place all ingredients except chips and nuts (if using) in blender/food processor and blend until creamy. Add water until desired consistency is reached. Stir in chocolate chips/chunks and/or nuts. Spread frosting evenly on top of blondies and sprinkle with crushed nuts (if using). Cover with plastic wrap and freeze to set frosting.

Cut into 16 small pieces and store in freezer or refrigerator.

The peanut butter flavor in the frosting is very subtle. If you’re looking for a more peanutty flavor, add additional peanut butter, but you’ll also have to add additional liquid. Also, the frosting is bitter-sweet, especially if you use home-made chocolate chips (equal parts cocoa powder, melted coconut oil, and liquid sweetener – or 10+ drops of liquid stevia). I find the sweetness of the blondies carries over nicely, so if the frosting was any sweeter, the whole thing would be too much for me. But feel free to sweeten it up!

I’m submitting this to Wellness Weekends and the Valentine’s Day Bake Off. Check out Ricki and Cara’s sites if you haven’t already; they’re both awesome!

Oven Baked Onion Rings

I’ve been in love with oven baked onion rings since the first time I made OMG Onion Rings from Appetite for Reduction. I’ve made them quite a few times, tweaking the recipe a little bit each time, until I finally came up with something I feel comfortable calling my own.

Baked Onion Rings

Baked Onion Rings (Gluten-Free, Oil Free)

1 giant onion, thick sliced, rings separated

1/4 c gluten-free flour (I like garbanzo-fava bean mix)

1 TBSP corn or potato starch (or arrowroot powder)

1/2 c vegetable broth

2 tsp apple cider vinegar (don’t leave this out – it gives the batter a nice tang)

1c (or more) crushed gluten-free cereal – corn flakes work great!

Preheat oven to 425F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix flour, corn starch, vegetable broth, and ACV in a wide-mouth bowl. Pour a small amount of cereal on a salad plate.

Set up a coating station with liquid mixture next to the plate of cereal next to the baking sheet. Dip onion rings in liquid mixture. Transfer coated onion ring to plate (using a fork) and coat with crunchy cereal. Move coated onion to baking sheet. Repeat until all rings are coated and on baking sheet. Spray rings with cooking spray. Bake 8-10 minutes until cereal starts to brown. Remove from oven and flip rings. Spray with cooking spray. Return to oven and bake an additional 6-8 minutes or until that side begins to brown.

These are sooo good.  I can easily eat an entire onion’s worth of rings, but I don’t recommend that 😉 Try these with my 4 Ingredient Bean Burgers.

4 Ingredient Bean Burgers

I don’t know who said it, but it’s true: necessity is the mother of invention. Or, in my case, hunger was the mother of invention!

I had two days last week of absolute hunger. I have no idea why, but I just couldn’t get enough to eat. I’d eat, be full, then an hour or so later, starving again. True, physiological hunger. Not psychological hunger. So weird! The only think I can come up with is my new weight training work out. I’ve read in numerous places that lifting heavier weights makes people hungry. But, it usually happens on the days they lift. My hungry apparently comes on the days I don’t lift. Go figure.

Regardless of the reason, this is what I came up with for dinner….

4 Ingredient Bean Burgers

1 can beans (about 1.5 c)

1/4 c thick liquid (I used salsa, but ketchup would work, tomato sauce, etc)

1/4 c nutritional yeast

1/2 c quinoa flakes or rolled oats

Optional: fresh herbs and/or seasonings

Rinse beans if using canned. Mash beans with a fork or potato masher. (Or, if you’re lazy like me, use a mini-chopper or a Magic Bullet to do the hard work.) Add liquid, nutritional yeast, and quinoa or oats. This is also the time to add chopped, fresh herbs and/or seasonings if you’re using any. Mix everything and form into 4 even balls. Place on a foil lined pan sprayed with cooking spray. Slightly flatten balls into patties and bake at 375F for about 20 minutes (or until firm to the touch). Cool on pan for an additional 5 minutes or so.

Enjoy your 4 Ingredient Bean Burgers with a heaping side of gluten-free Baked Onion Rings. (Check tomorrow’s post for the recipe!)

4 Ingredient Black Bean Burger

I made my bean burgers with black beans, salsa, and quinoa flakes. I also threw in some chopped cilantro because I had some hanging out in the fridge that needed used pronto. I didn’t use any additional seasonings because my salsa was spicy enough. (I am in love with TJ’s Roasted Garlic Salsa!) But, I think these would be great with kidney beans and ketchup or tomato sauce, or garbanzo beans and hummus, or white beans and a ketchup/mustard mix. The combos are endless – and so easy!

Almost Raw Black & Tan Cupcakes

Sorry. These are alcohol free. Guinness isn’t vegan anyway 😉

In an attempt to make more gluten-free desserts, I’ve making more raw treats. Well, almost raw. I’m allergic to agave, so my liquid sweetener of choice is maple syrup. (I just bought two pints at Sam’s yesterday.) And, I don’t have any raw cocoa powder for my chocolate treats, so that’s not raw either. See…almost raw desserts!

This is what I came up with last weekend.

Black & Tan Cupcake

I thought I was going to make a blondie inspired by Amber’s 5 Minute, Single-Serve Raw Vegan Blondie. But after I made it, I wanted chocolate. So much for the blondie. Chocolate sprinkles didn’t quite work (they wouldn’t stick), so I opted for chocolate frosting. I’m so glad I opted for chocolate frosting.

Almost Raw Black & Tan Cupcakes


1/2 c raw pecans

1/4 c raw almonds

1/2 c dates

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp (or less) salt

Blend ingredients in a food processor or blender. (You may need to blend nuts and dates separately.) Mixture will be course but should stay together when pressed. Press mixture into 4 regular cupcake molds (or 8 small molds or 2 large molds).

Chocolate Frosting

1/4 c cashews

1/4 c non-dairy milk

1/4 c cocoa powder

2 TBSP maple syrup

dash salt

Combine everything in a food processor or blender until smooth. Spread evenly over cupcakes. Sprinkle with crushed chocolate pieces. (I finely chopped a couple of pieces of Endangered Spieces chocolate bar in my Magic Bullet.)

Remove cupcakes from metal mold or leave cupcakes in silicone molds and place  in a covered container and refrigerate or freeze until firm. Store in freezer for firmest texture. (Cupcakes thaw in a few minutes.)

Good Enough to Eat!

The next time I make these, I’ll make them in mini molds. Half of a regular sized cupcake was plenty, and a whole one almost gave me the sugar shakes, but mmm mmm mmm…worth every bite!

I’m submitting this recipe to Cara’s Valentine’s Day Bake Off at Fork and Beans, Ricki’s Wellness Weekends at Diet, Dessert and Dogs, Amy’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at SSGF, and Cybele’s Allergy Friendly Fridays at Alergen-Free Cuisine.

My First Spring Rolls

I’ve had a lot of firsts lately: my first kale salad; my first raw cupcakes (recipe coming very soon!); and my first spring rolls.

I picked up some rice papers during a recent trip to Whole Foods (it’s an event since the nearest one is about an hour and a half away in either direction), but I hadn’t had a chance to use any of them yet. Until tonight.

School started again, so I’ve been swamped with work and pressed for time.  (Sorry for the lack of posts the last couple of days.) In preparation for my lack of cooking time, I picked up some broccoli slaw last weekend in hopes of making spring rolls. And I’m so glad I did! Combined with some avocado I needed to use up, my first time rolling was deliciously simple.

Spring Rolls

4 spring roll wrappers

1/2 c broccoli slaw mix

1 small/medium avocado, sliced thinly

Sprinkle of salt, chili pepper, and granulated garlic

Bring spring rolls to life by soaking in warm water for a few seconds. (Follow package directions.) Lay pliable wrapper on a wet towel and blot excess moisture. Lay two slices of avocado end-to-end in the middle of the wrapper. Top with 1/8th of the broccoli slaw mixture and sprinkle with seasonings. Fold one side of the spring roll wrapper over the veggies and pull back towards them, forming a tight roll. Fold ends over and roll the spring roll towards the open flap. Place on plate seam side down. Slice in two on the bias. Serve with your favorite sauce. (I like a tiny bit of soy sauce.)

The rice papers are surprisingly high in calories. Adding avocado to them increases the fat and calories, so this seemingly light meal is actually pretty heavy. That’s the ONLY thing I don’t like about these. Otherwise, they’re delicious! And I love being able to make them at home so the rice papers are fresh and soft and chewy instead of tough and gummy.

Avocado Spring Rolls

The Perfect Veggie Soup

I have the secret to a perfect vegetable soup – every time.

The secret is in the broth. (You thought I was going to sauce, didn’t you? Well, if you’re in your mid 30s or older you probably did. Ha!)

I use an entire bottle of vegetable juice as my broth base in my vegetable soup – V8 style. If you like it spicy, use the spicy version. If you want low sodium, they have that too. If you love to juice – make your own. Regardless of your veggie juice delivery method, you may need to add some water or veggie broth to the juice. When I made soup tonight, I didn’t have room to add water because of all of the vegetables, but the veggies I used were watery enough that I didn’t need to add any.

When it comes to adding veggies, use whatever you have. That’s usually why I made vegetable soup – because I have veggies that need to be used (and I don’t feel like roasting). Tonight’s soup consisted of an onion, about a tablespoon of minced garlic, a diced green pepper, four small, diced summer squash/zucchini, two carrots, a few stalks of celery hearts and two bags of frozen veggies – stir fry style and Asian style. Lots of veggies like I said. Lots and lots of veggies. I didn’t even have room for the broccoli and greens I wanted to add! (But I have a plan to use them tomorrow.)

I have another secret ingredient, but if I tell you, it won’t be a secret anymore! (Hint: It’s A1 Sauce!)

Recipe Review: Gingerbread Biscotti

I finally found some gingerbread I like! Woohoo!

I found this recipe from Fat Free Vegan a few weeks ago, and it’s been on my must make list since. Honestly, I’ve never tried anything of Susan’s that I haven’t loved (she and I must have a very similar pallet), so I was pretty sure her combo of gingerbread spices would work for me. And they did!

I somehow picked up on the idea that biscotti was hard to make. It’s not. It’s very simple. The only difficult part, if you call pulling a pan from an oven and then replacing it to said over difficult, was baking the cookies three times (even though biscotti literally means twice cooked/baked).

Biscotti and Tea

While I loved the flavor of this biscotti, I did have trouble with the dough being too dry. I don’t know if the liquid is missing from the ingredient’s list, or if it just needed more liquid because I used whole wheat flour, but I ended up adding about 1/4 c of coconut nog (I’m sure any non-dairy milk or non-dairy coffee creamer would work just fine, but I need to use my coconut nog before it expires.) to get the flour to incorporate. Then, after I thrice baked the cookies, I couldn’t figure out how to keep them crunchy! I’ve read numerous times to keep cookies crunchy, store them in a glass container, but I don’t have a glass container big enough for biscotti planks, so I wrapped mine with foil, but they got soft. The next day they were even softer – after having been transferred to a loosely covered plastic container. If anyone knows how to keep biscotti crunchy, please let me know! (It was crunchy before I wrapped it up for the night; I was so disappointed the next more.)

Overall, another successful recipe from FFV!

Red Lentils, Roasted Butternut Squash & Spinach

I love red lentils. They were the first lentil I cooked with when I went to a wholey plant-based diet. And although this was out of necessity (I just had to replicate my favorite lemony lentil soup from a local Lebanese restaurant), I haven’t lost my fondness for the red lentil.

I’ve seen numerous recipes over the last few months for dahl (or dhal, dal, or daal), which apparently is the Indian use of red lentils. I’m very lax on my Indian cuisine. The only Indian food I’ve  had  is food that was cooked by one of the many Indian students I’ve had the pleasure of working with over the years. And from what I remember, my experiences were limited to some kind of fermented milk dough thing (I was an ovo-lacto vegetarian at the time) and a yogurt type drink. (There were also random dishes with chicken bones, but I got a pass on those.) Oh ya, I’m not a big fan of curry – at least not the two flavors I’ve tried. So…my interest in making a vegan dahl isn’t really there. What did excite me, though, was a red lentil, roasted butternut squash and spinach skillet dish I made the other night. Sounds like dahl, hu? Ha ha ha! The irony of my dish is not lost on me 😉

Red Lentils, Roasted Butternut Squash  & Spinach

1 med onion, diced

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

2 med carrots, thinly sliced

1/2 c red lentils (rinsed, if necessary)

1.5 c veggie broth

1 med diced roasted butternut squash (about 2 cups)*

1 lg bag fresh spinach (about 4 cups)

Juice of 1 lemon (2-3 TBSP)

Seasoning to taste (I used salt, pepper, coriander, paprika, and a tiny bit of garam marsala, which I won’t use again (because the cinnamon didn’t do it for me))

Sautee onions, garlic, and carrot in a tablespoon or so of veggie broth or water until tender (about 10 minutes). Add red lentils, veggie broth and seasonings. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook until lentils are tender – about 15 minutes. Check often to make sure there is enough liquid. Once lentils are tender/creamy, stir in roasted butternut squash cubes* and spinach by the handful, wilting each batch before adding more. Serve when squash and spinach are heated through.

*To Roast Squash: Place whole butternut squash in microwave and cook for 5-6 minutes (depending upon size of squash). Remove with a towel and peel outside of squash. Cut now softened squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. (Apparently you can soak the seeds and goo, which will sink to the bottom, then roast the seeds like pumpkin seeds. I haven’t tried this.) Slice halves in half than in half again and cut strips into about the same sized cube pieces. Place cubes on a cookie sheet lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray. Roast squash at 425F for about 45 minutes or until fork tender.

Most of the recipes I’ve seen for this type of dish contain white or sweet potato, but as much as I love both, my weight doesn’t, so for a much better calorie deal (with about the same amount of nutrition), butternut squash is a great substitute.

I only got two servings out of all that food, but I didn’t eat it with anything else. I suppose a better idea would be to pair it with a nice, big, green salad. Maybe next time!

An Almost Raw Dessert

To go with my raw kale salad, I also made an almost raw dessert. It was only almost raw because I don’t have any raw cocoa powder (yet!).

The original recipe for the Chocolate Cashew Tarts only made two tarts, but I thought that might be a little bit much for me (in calories and richness), so I made mine in mini muffin tins. I had to make a double batch of the chocolate cream (and there was  a little left, which I was ecstatic to eat directly from my finger the blender cup.

The flavor of these tarts is amazing. I can’t believe how decadent they are. Even with a pretty significant amount of maple syrup (I can’t use agave, so again, not raw with the maple syrup), the sweetness of this dessert doesn’t make me crave more sugar. I’ve been noticing lately (thank you, holiday baking season!) that processed sugar REALLY makes me crave more sugar. (That and processed, white flour.)

I didn’t run the numbers on these little babies, but I’m sure they don’t come at calorie bargain. They are really, really rich, though, so you definitely don’t need more than one!

The one thing I will do differently when I make these again (yes, I will be making these again!) is to use more raisins (or dates or prunes) in the “crust.” Mine was too crumbly and not nearly sticky enough. It barely stayed together on most of the tarts. I’m guessing the original recipe assumes you’ll eat the tarts with a fork, but I prefer my fingers 😉