Friday, January 28, 2011

Chipotle Black Bean Burgers

Protein - the big debate when it comes to eating less meat, right?  Although I've done the research and know that I get plenty of high-quality protein from an "Almost Vegan" diet, I still hear the 'voice of dinners past' in my head asking if I'll be ok.  To compensate, I'm pretty careful to include good protein in all of my meals.  This was one of the first vegetarian meals we started eating.  It was just a tweak on a classic that we loved.  Rice and beans make a complete protein along with some added fiber and nutrients!  The latest research shows that you don't have to eat 'complete proteins' together - our bodies are smart enough to put them together even if eaten during different meals...but it's just nice to know they're all there!

These burgers are unique and tasty (...and husband-approved)!  I've heard them called 'delicious Mexican food on a bun.'  The Chipotle Chili Powder is a spice I found at the grocery store - feel free to add more if you like an extra kick!  If you have regular chili powder instead, I'm sure that would work.  We serve these with Alexia Sweet Potato Fries and a green salad...and eat it at least once a week!  Rather than comparing it to your Banzai Burger, consider it a new, refreshing dinner idea...I think you'll be pleasantly surprised!

**The patties freeze perfectly with a little wax paper between them, so make a big batch and pull them out for an easy weeknight dinner!

1/2 cup cooked short grain brown rice
**to make your rice stickier, add more water once it's done and cook again!
1 can organic black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup diced, sauteed onions plus olive oil for the pan
1 flax egg (1 tbsp. flax seed meal mixed with 2 tbsp. water, let sit for 10min to set-up)
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. chipotle chili powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs (use rolled oats if you're eating gluten-free)
**optional, but yummy: 2 tbsp chopped cilantro or green onions

Orowheat Sandwich Thins or your favorite whole wheat bun
Avocado (smashed up and generously spread onto your bun)
Ketchup, Mustard, BBQ sauce, salsa?
Romaine Lettuce

1. Cook your brown rice
2. Dice onions and cook them in a pan until they're nice and soft
3. Mix up the flax egg and let it sit (this really helps hold your burger together, so don't leave it out!  I would also advise against using an egg, as I'm not sure it would get fully cooked)
4. Drain black beans in a colander and rinse.  Allow a few minutes for them to dry out - too much moisture could cause the burgers to fall apart (which would be so sad!)
5. Mix the remaining ingredients together in a bowl
6. Add the rice, beans, flax egg and onions
7. Smoosh everything together with your hands.  This really is the best way to do it!  Smash it all together until it is really well mixed.
8. Make patties.  This recipe makes 4 patties.  I usually divide it up, roll each patty into a ball and then smash it on a plate or flat surface.  It might stick, so be careful when picking it up.
9. Heat around 3 tbsp of oil in a pan on medium, then add your patties.  Flip once they are golden brown on one side.  Add more oil if you think you need it!
10. Slide your burger onto your bun and dig in!

Today's Ingredients:
Lundberg's Organic Short-Grain Brown Rice - Costco
Alexia Sweet Potato Fries - Costco
Organic Canned Black Beans - Fred Meyer
Golden Flax seed Meal - Fred Meyer
Orowheat Sandwich Thins - Fred Meyer
Organic Romaine Leaves - Fred Meyer or Trader Joe's
Organic Ketchup - Trader Joe's
Whole Wheat Breadcrumbs - PCC, Whole Foods, or make them yourself!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Today's Lunch: Surprisingly Delicious Collard Greens with a Mochi Waffle

Up until two weeks ago, I had no idea what collard greens were.  I imagined them to be just another bunch of greens that I had passed by hundreds of times at the store.  In fact, I was sure they didn't even carry them at normal stores when I went looking, but I had a recipe from my new obsession book and was determined to try it out!  Even the produce guy couldn't find them and didn't look too sure of himself, but he told me Rainbow Chard was basically the same thing.  Skeptically, I bought the gigantic, rainbow-colored leaves, wondering if I had ever eaten a leaf this big.  I took them home and made sure to cook something delicous for the fam, just in case my new greens were a flop.  That's kind of our deal around here - if I'm going to experiment with new, green veggies every night, then there needs to be something reliably yummy to accompany them.  Amazingly, they were a hit!  I have been buying these beautiful, gigantic leaves (that often don't even fit in the produce bags) and cooking them at least three nights a week ever since!

Today, I decided to make these delicious greens for lunch, along with what I call a 'Mochi Waffle Sandwich.'  Mochi is basically a block of sweet brown rice that has been pressed tightly together.  When baked, it puffs up and is sweet and gooey.  In the past, I have always baked it in the oven and added a little Earth Balance, but thanks to my new favorite book (The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone), I learned a new approach.  Topped with a little almond butter and honey, this sweet, gooey waffle is delicous and satisfying!

Collard Greens with Pecans and Raisins

1 bunch collard greens or rainbow chard
3 Tbsp chopped pecans
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp organic raisins
1 Tbsp Shoyu (basically, soy sauce)

1. Cut or tear the central rib from each collard leaf and compost or throw away.  Cut or tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces and rinse in a bowl of cool water.

2. Optional: Toast the pecans over medium heat in a dry skillet for around 5min.  I never do this because I find it pretty much tastes the same...but up to you!

3. Put garlic and oil in a large skillet and saute over medium heat for around 1min or until the galic becomes fragrant.

4. Add the damp leaves and mix well.  Cover the pan and cook for 2min.

5. Add raisins and pecans.  Mix well and cover for 2min.

6. Add Shoyu (or balsamic, if preferred).  Mix well and cover for 1-2 more minutes.

7. Enjoy!!

Mochi Waffle Sandwich

1/4 package Mochi
Some Almond Butter or Peanut Butter
1 Tbsp honey


1. Cut two strips of mochi about 1/4in. wide.

2. Place on a heated, ungreased waffle iron and close the lid

3. Mochi is done when it is puffed and slightly crispy, but not too hard.

4. Spread some almond butter on top and drizzle with honey - yum!

I know these recipes might sound slightly complicated at first, but once you've made them, it's pretty quick and easy to do again!  The greens are great with any meal (...even breakfast, if you dare).  As an added bonus, these recipes are gluten-free too!  I hope you have a chance to try them out!

Today's Ingredients:
Organic Collard Greens or Rainbow Chard - Fred Meyer
Garlic - anywhere, but I like the peeled garlic from Trader Joe's
Raw Chopped Pecans - Trader Joe's
Extra Virgin Olive Oil - Costco
Organic Sunmaid Raisins - Costco
Organic Nama Shoyu - Marlene's, but another soy sauce would work
Grainaissance Mochi (plain flavor, but I LOVE the cinnamon raisin too!) - Marlene's, Whole Foods, or PCC
Almond Butter with Roasted Flaxseeds - Trader Joe's
Honey - anywhere, but I prefer Trader Joe's brand on this one too!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Black Bean Party Dip

Happy New Year!  I hope you had an amazing Christmas with family, friends and lots of great food.  For the record, I did NOT eat vegan over the holidays.  I enjoyed it all (in moderation, of course), and came out the other end ready to kick off a healthy new year.  Sometimes it takes a little indulgence to remind me why I care.  Healthy food makes me feel bright, happy and energetic and it has definitely taken a couple weeks to get that feeling back.  So here I am: bright, energetic and pumped up to discover new ways to make healthy food delicious!

Since I planned to blog away during the whole Christmas season (and didn't...), I have lots of fun recipes ready to post.  This one is a staple in our family.  My sister-in-law invented it around a year ago and it has been at almost every event I can think of since!  Not only is it delicious, it is packed with protein and fiber (and probably tons of other good nutrients that we aren't even aware of).  This reliable dip ensures that you will have something healthy to munch on and share.  To top it all off, it's insanely easy to make!

1 cup organic short-grain brown rice
1 can/2 cups organic black beans, drained
1 avocado
1-2 cups Pico de Gallo
Multigrain or Organic Corn Chips

1. Cook the rice according to the package directions.  To make the rice extra sticky, I cook it in my rice cooker.  When it says it's done, I add another cup of water and cook it again.

**If you don't have enough time to cook the rice, a brown rice bowl cooked in the microwave will work perfectly!  I only use the microwave when absolutely neccesary though as studies have shown microwaved foods to be less beneficial than their cooked counterparts.

2. Cut the avocado into small chunks.

3. Mix rice, drained black beans and avocado in a bowl.

4. Add strained Pico de Gallo a half-cup at a time until the dip is the consistency and taste that you want it to be.

5. Taste the dip...a few times, just to be sure it's ready.

I love this dip with multigrain chips, but most people seem to prefer corn tortilla chips.  Either option is gluten-free and delicious!  Enjoy!

Today's Ingredients:
Lundberg Organic Short-Grain Brown Rice - Costco
Organic Brown Rice Bowl - Trader Joe's
Avocado - anywhere, but I prefer buying them at Costco
Organic Canned Black Beans - Fred Meyer
"Food Should Taste Good" Multigrain Chips (gluten-free too!) - Costco
Rojo's Pico de Gallo - Costco
**some of the ingredients in this Pico de Gallo aren't that great, so I am currently looking for a better brand