Monday, January 30, 2012

Perfect veggie burgers

This recipe is from the Oh She Glows blog site. I've made a few homemade veggie burgers but this one really is pretty perfect. It also isn't too wheaty tasting and it has a nice balance of beans, veggies, seeds, nuts and grains. I got 9 burgers out of the recipe and froze most of them to have later for lunches. I baked them in the afternoon and then re-heated them by pan-frying before dinner tonight. I made homemade whole wheat burger buns to go along with- so worth it, trust me. You know exactly what ingredients are in the bread and no ingredients you can't pronounce. Here is a link to the original recipe. We also served ours with some kale chips. Angela's picture was too inspiring and I had to have that for dinner tonight! We did and will enjoy some leftovers for lunch tomorrow:)


1/2 cup onion, diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
flax eggs, 2 1/2 Tbs ground flax + 1/2 cup warm water, mixed in bowl
1 cup oats, processed into flour
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs (I used the ends of leftover bread, stuck in the toaster)
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup cooked black beans, rinsed and roughly pureed or mashed
heaping 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley (or fresh herb of choice)
1/3 cup almonds, chopped (toasted if preferred)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds (toasted if preferred)
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs Tamari (soy sauce- we used Bragg's liquid amines)
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
kosher salt and pepper, to taste (I used about 1/2 tsp salt)

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF (if baking). In a large skillet, sauté onions and garlic in 1/2 Tbs oil. Mix your flax egg together in a small bowl and set aside for at least 10 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

2. Place all ingredients (except spices and salt) into a large mixing bowl and stir very well. Now, add seasonings and salt to taste.

Toasting the bread to then process into breadcrumbs.
Processing the almonds a bit to chop them up.
Processing the oats into oat flour. Definitely worth purchasing a mini food processor!
Mashing the black beans!
Grating the carrots!
The dough before mixing all the ingredients together.
The dough mixed together, with the spices on top, before mixing these into it.
3. With slightly wet hands, shape dough into patties. Pack dough tightly, as this will help it stick together. I ended up with 9 patties but the original recipe said it made 8- I could have made mine bigger.

4. Cooking methods: You can fry the burgers in a bit of oil on a skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes on each side. If baking in the oven, bake for 25-40 minutes (15-17 minutes on each side) at 350ºF, until golden and crisp. For the grill, pre-bake the burgers for about 15 minutes in oven before placing on a pre-heated grill until golden and crisp on each side.

For toppings we used BBQ sauce, mustard, sliced avocados, sliced tomatoes and red leaf lettuce. They were absolutely delicious and a perfect Monday night dinner.


Holy! whole wheat burger buns

These are "holy!" because I got the recipe from "Holy Cow!" a vegan blog full of recipes, many with an Indian influence. These were very easy to make and were soft and delicious with the homemade veggie burgers I also made today. I bet they'd be great toasted with some nut butter and jam for breakfast. I stuck a few leftovers in the freezer to use later for lunches. Here is a link to the original recipe.


1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbs vital wheat gluten flour (optional- use it if you can because it gives the bread a great texture and a better rise)
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups warm water, divided
2 tsp sugar
3 Tbs vegetable oil (I used olive!)

1. Mix the sugar, 1/2 cup warm water and the yeast in a mixing bowl and set aside for about 10 minutes until the mixture starts to froth, indicating the yeast is alive and well. Be careful that your water is not too hot- use the "wrist" test- it should be wrist temperature. If you have freezing cold hands like I do, be careful with how you test the water.

2. Sift all the flours and baking soda into the bowl (I skipped the sifting). Knead on low speed in a stand mixer or by hand for about 3 minutes, trickling in 1 cup of water until you have a dough that's smooth but slightly sticky. If you are leaving out the gluten, knead at least 2 more minutes.

3. Add the oil and continue to knead until the oil has been absorbed by the dough, about 1 more minute.

4. Now place in an oiled bowl, turning over once to coat all over with oil, cover with a clean kitchen towel and set aside for 2 hours until the dough has risen (1 hour in a warm oven).

5. Punch down the dough and divide into 6 balls. I found it actually made 9- make them however big your veggie burgers are.

6. Shape them into smooth balls. Place the buns on a lightly greased and floured baking sheet (or a silpat!!), at least a couple of inches apart. Flatten the tops slightly with your fingers, and let the buns rise for an hour.

7. Preheat the oven to 370ºF. Place the buns in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes.

8. Brush the tops with a little oil for a pretty, glossy look. Sprinkle some sesame seeds or poppy seeds on the top, if desired.

9. Remove to a rack and allow the buns to cool before breaking them off.

Here is one of the burger buns with our delicious, homemade veggie burgers and toppings!

Amazing whole wheat blueberry breakfast muffins

I love the blog site Oh She Glows. Angela Liddon is truly inspiring. This blog really is what my blog would be in a perfect world. Check it out- she has some fantastic recipes and other resources (and beautiful pictures).

Here is a link to Angela's recipe. Go make these muffins! They are so amazing and really healthy, minus the little sprinkling of cinnamon streusel on top- but definitely add that.


1 cup non-dairy milk
1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup *extra virgin olive oil (or vegetable)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp pure almond extract
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries (frozen blueberries seem to make the muffins too moist)
I added some slivered almonds

Cinnamon streusel topping

2 Tbs + 2 tsp turbinado sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp Earth Balance
2 tsp flour
pinch salt

1. Preheat oven to 375ºF and line a muffin tin with liners. In a small bowl, mix together the non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar and set aside. Add the ground flax seeds and set aside.

2. In a medium size bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt). In a small bowl, mix together the wet ingredients (oil, syrup, extracts) and add the wet to the dry and stir until just combined.

3. Stir in the fresh blueberries and almonds until just combined. Spoon into paper liners. I filled the liners to the top in my muffin tins and there was still a bit leftover.

4. Make cinnamon streusel topping and sprinkle over top of batter.

5. Bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, until golden and the top of the muffin slowly springs back when pressed. Cool for at least 15 minutes before serving as the blueberries will be super hot!

We ate these for breakfast this morning and they were fantastic!!! They are healthy muffins that taste pretty amazing. They taste like muffins you would get at a cool cafe.

*Try these with the olive oil even if you're a bit hesitant! It adds a really interesting and delicious depth to the flavor of the muffins.

Amy's roasted vegetable pizza

You know that whole "Sh** _____ say" youtube thing? I'm sick of it too, BUT there are some funny ones about vegans that are... kind of true. If you watch "More Sh** Vegans Say" the very last part, at minute 0:59 was ME at the grocery store this week buying Amy's pizzas. They were on sale for $5.99!! So I stocked up:)

These are delicious. Usually we make our own pizzas, but for a convenient dinner and when they're on sale, it's totally worth it to pick up an Amy's pizza. You do not miss the cheese on this pizza, trust me!

Liz's dressing and Liz's salad

Because my mom is awesome, I grew up eating salad every night with dinner. Really, every night. Now that I'm on my own we don't do this but we do try to have a few different green veggies with every dinner. It's not salad because for awhile I was just so bored with salads. I never liked dressing. In fact, I used to just eat mine plain when I was growing up- like a rabbit. A healthy choice but so boring! I know salads are good for me but I didn't LOVE salad.

Until I met my friend Liz.

She makes this AMAZING salad with a fabulous homemade vinaigrette. This is what was missing from my salads!!! Go make it tonight for dinner. You probably have everything on hand already for the dressing.

"Liz's Dressing"


olive oil
fig balsamic vinegar (this is what we used but I've had it with many different kinds of vinegar- feel free to experiment! It's also pretty yummy with apple cider vinegar.)
a few garlic cloves, minced (use a garlic press!)
mustard (good mustard is best- not yellow mustard)

For one medium-sized bunch of lettuce we use a few Tbs of olive oil, about the same amount of vinegar, 3 medium cloves of garlic, a few dashes of salt and pepper and about a teaspoon of mustard. I never measure it out- I always eyeball it so this is not necessarily exact. Feel free to play with the quantities to your taste! This balsamic would be fantastic on a pizza or on a marinated portobello mushroom or even over pasta and veggies. I haven't tried any of these but this dressing always inspires me to want to try it on other things.

1. Mix everything together with a fork or a tiny whisk. Set aside until ready to use.

2. Mix again, to make sure it's all still together and pour over your salad.

"Liz's Salad"


1 bunch red leaf lettuce (We couldn't find it at the store this week! Such a pain! It really is best with red leaf, trust me.)
1 tomato, cut into whatever sized pieces you'd like (we used 2 small tomatoes)
1 avocado, cut into chunks
whatever else you'd like to add. Liz likes to add black beans- a great addition! Michael likes to add black olives, which are also pretty good.

We made this last night with black olives and green leaf lettuce. Serve with Liz's dressing. This salad is a hit with company and is a good salad to have with different types of meals. We had it last night with an Amy's roasted vegetable pizza and it was a delicious and easy dinner.

My favorite part of this salad (other than the dressing) is the avocados. Well, probably the avocados with the dressing is what I love. Oh man. I want some right now and It's definitely still only breakfast-time. Good thing we have some leftovers for lunch!

Thrift store finds!

FYI- this post is not about food! I'm as shocked as you are.

After our trip to IKEA I was really in the mood to do more decorating in our house. We moved here a few months ago and are still getting things decorated to our liking. It's a slow and expensive process. I was just telling Michael the other day how I should shop more at thrift stores. There are so many treasures to find! When I moved to Oregon from the east coast a few years ago I bought all my furniture and kitchen stuff at thrift stores and it was so much fun! I sold a few of the big pieces and donated all my kitchen stuff to friends or back to the thrift store. Shopping at thrift stores is such a good way to support the green movement- there are no new products being produced for your consumption! Just another person's trash which can possibly be your treasure.

I bought this plate for only $7!
Look how beautiful it is on our new IKEA table!

I also bought this for $2.50 and it in our guest room. So unique!

If you're looking for unique decorations for your living space, or even for a neat gift to give somebody, go check out your local thrift stores. You will find some great deals and maybe even some treasures!

Also- if you have the shopping bug like I do and can't afford to buy things at normal stores, try looking through clothes at thrift stores. You will get that bug out of your system and you're looking at clothes that you can probably afford to purchase. My friend Jessica was visiting me when I was in NY and we went thrifting with my friend Elisha and it was a really neat thing to do! I found an Ann Taylor blazer in perfect condition for only $2.50! Jess was just telling me how she was thinking about going thrifting on Saturday and this is what inspired me to want to go clothes shopping. Another great way to support the green movement, find something really unique and save lots of money!


Photo courtesy of this site.
Michael and I were out and about this weekend and we were visiting my cousins down in Denver. We all decided to go to the fairly newly opened IKEA in Centennial. I love IKEA. I especially like their food market- it is a great place to get some healthy (or not so healthy) food while you're out and about with your family. They really cater to many different diets and they are very kid-friendly. The vegan options were not so prevalent BUT you can get creative. I ordered the organic penne pasta with marinara sauce (no cheese)- and a side of steamed veggies. I just mixed the veggies in with the pasta and had a good meal! I'm pretty sure they used olive oil on the pasta and not butter but I didn't ask. Sometimes you just have to go with it. They also had a veggie wrap and dairy-free tomato soup as an option.

After some poking around the internet about IKEA food I found this blog site with a link about vegan caviar at IKEA. Neat! I don't like caviar but if I were to have a fancy party I might pick one of these up- not like it would break the bank :p

We ended up having a very productive trip to IKEA. We found out that we can fit big furniture in Michael's not-so-big car. We bought a giant mirror (finally we have a full-length mirror in our house) and we also bought a sofa table for our living room. Fun putting together of furniture ensued.

Mountain Sun Pub and Brewery

Photo courtesy of Mountain Sun website.

We met some friends at the Mountain Sun on Saturday down in Boulder. It's a local restaurant/brewery and they've been talking it up for awhile so we decided to give it a try. We had such a positive experience! There was a long wait when we got there and they were handing out samples of beer (cool!) and then they came around with mini cupcakes!! The wait went by really quickly and we were soon seated and ready to order some drinks. Michael and I weren't sure what to order and just as our friends were giving us suggestions our really friendly and cool hippie waiter swooped in and said he'd bring us some samples. He brought us 6! So basically we already had one pint before we even ordered a drink. Michael ordered their Annapurna Amber and I got the Illusion Dweller IPA. I also liked the FYIPA which stands for the F*** Yeah IPA.

This is definitely a restaurant that caters to all kinds of diets- even if their menu is at-first-glance not quite vegan friendly. They are great about subbing things out and one of our friends even said he's subbed tempeh for some of the other sandwiches. They do have a tempeh reuben (which I almost ordered) with vegan 1000 island dressing. I ended up ordering the "Boom Boom Sandwich" which is a portobello mushroom sandwich with roasted red peppers, basil and mesclun greens and I ordered it without the cheese and the mayonnaise and got some avocado on it instead. So delicious. I also subbed the chips for fries. Such an excellent choice!

Our friendly waiter brought us some "friendly" hot sauce to have with our meal and I have now found my new favorite hot sauce! Good luck finding it, unless you live in CT. You can order it online and I will probably do this soon. It's called Amigo the Friendly Hot Sauce and it's made with carrots, mangoes habanero peppers, garlic and olive oil. Sooo fantastic. One of the waitresses stopped by and asked who brought us the hot sauce- she used to use it at a pizza restaurant where she worked in CT and ordered a case to have at the Mountain Sun. This was one of those unique, chance food encounters.

Anyways. Go check out the Mountain Sun!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Banana bread

Michael has the habit of buying already-too-ripe-bananas at the store. Don't get me wrong, I'm really thankful he goes to the store, but sometimes I want bananas for a few days from now. I know why he does it. It means I'll make them into banana bread. So it's been awhile since I've made it and when he came back from the store yesterday I got the hint.

This is an adaptation of the banana bread recipe from Post Punk Kitchen.


1/2 cup brown sugar (I used about 1/4 c agave and a dollop of molasses)
1/2 cups white sugar (I did 1/3 c- you can't tell the difference)
1/2 cup margarine, at room temp (I used EarthBalance)
3 very ripe bananas, mashed well (We only had 2)
2 cups flour (I used 1 1/3 all-purpose white, 2/3 whole wheat pastry)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup vanilla soy milk, mixed with 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 8×4 bread pan with non stick cooking spray, or lightly coat with margarine.
2. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt and spices.

3. Cream together the margarine and sugars. Add bananas, soy milk and vanilla.

4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry. Mix well. Pour batter into pan. Bake for an hour to an hour 10 minutes.

I ate 2 slices of this for lunch. It was that kind of day.

My greenmonster smoothie

Liz posted a link about these smoothies today and we had a nice Skype date that included a discussion on smoothies. Liz is inspiring me to try green smoothies! I recently discovered the "Oh She Glows" blog, the same woman who does the greemonster movement, I don't know why it took me this long to find this. Actually, Emily is the one who told me about Oh She Glows. I don't know where I'd be in the cooking or eating world without my friends.

This was a picture after I took out the big
handful- can you believe it was only 99 cents!?
I was meant to make this smoothie today. First Liz's post and then I read an article about kale and how important it is to eat a lot of green, leafy veggies- vegan or non-vegan. Duh. I know this I just have trouble getting kale into my system! I love kale. It's so good for you and it's really inexpensive- I got a gigantic bunch today for only 99 cents. You really can't go wrong with it. I think most people don't know how to cook it or get tired of the ways they know how to cook it (like me). When my mom was pregnant with me she said she craved steamed kale with garlic in broth and whole wheat toast. (Way to go, mom!) Why don't I make it like this? I don't know. I need to dedicate more time to kale. It really is great for me. I will resolve to include more of it in my diet. Maybe a bunch a week. That's not too much to ask- especially in SMOOTHIE FORM!

"My beloved green monster and me"


1 big handful of kale, steamed and run under cold water
1/2 avocado
2 dates, pitted
3/4 c almond milk (or more, taste- this comes out pretty thick)
4 ice cubes
1/2 tsp chia seeds
1/2 tsp flax seeds
1/2 tsp almond meal
1 Tbs maple syrup

1. Blend everything really well. My blender did a great job- there are only a few little green flecks of kale left.

2. Enjoy for breakfast or as a light dinner!

This smoothie isn't super-sweet but you can make it sweeter by... adding more sweetener:) Feel free to improvise on this. A ripe banana would be a yummy substitute for the avocado- we just used our ripe bananas for banana bread this morning so that wasn't an option.

Greenmonster and Prickly Pete!

By the way, if you google image: "Bright green smoothies" you will see the true color of my smoothie- I really need to use a better camera.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Avocado milkshakes

Or "Why I should always listen to my friend Emily when it comes to food"

My good friend Emily, also a foodie friend, has been trying to get me to try this recipe for over a year. She had her first avocado milkshake at a Vietnamese restaurant in New York and she has been hooked ever since. Every time I tell her I picked up some avocados at the store she sends me this recipe and tells me to make it. I don't know why I've been so stubborn- maybe because usually avocados picked up at the store are destined for specific recipes that are not milkshakes. I should have listened to her sooner. Go buy an avocado and make its destiny this milkshake recipe. It's great as a snack, meal or dessert. Just go make it.


1 avocado (young, fairly firm, with no brown spots in the flesh)
1 cup nondairy milk (unsweetened almond is an excellent choice)
3 Tbs cane sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
6 ice cubes
additional milk as needed

1. Put all non-avocado ingredients in the blender. Cut avocado and spoon the flesh into the blender.

2. Blend until smooth. Add milk and blend again if it's too thick for your taste.

3. Drink. This is very filling- definitely a meal if you do the whole avocado, but if you share it with a friend it's a good snack! Michael and I split one to drink with a light dinner tonight and it was so good.

Listen to my friend Emily!!! Go make this!!!

Ginger scallion sauce with lo mein

Michael helped me make this last night and he's been wonderful since I got hurt. We were supposed to go down to Denver to see some friends, grab dinner and go to a concert, but after I hurt my knee we had to cancel:( I've been craving this recipe for a few weeks- I made it with my friend Liz last summer and couldn't remember how to make it! She was kind enough to send me the recipe and since I was feeling down after my injury I decided to cheer myself up with this delicious meal. Liz got the recipe from one of her friends who got it from David Chang's Momofuku cookbook. I love how recipes get passed along! Btw Liz is visiting me in March- expect a plethora of blog posts from this visit!!

This was delicious over lo mein but it would have been even better over udon noodles. Our local store didn't have any so we had them with lo mein. We also added pan-fried tofu to the recipe for some protein. I had to google how to pan-fry tofu because I've been having some tofu problems. Needless to say, it's really easy: press the moisture out of the tofu, cut in cubes, add a little oil to a pan over medium-high heat and don't flip until they're browned on one side. You might need to add a little more of the liquids in the recipe to make up for the tofu.


2 1/2 cups thinly sliced scallions
1/2 cup finely minced, peeled fresh ginger
1/4 cup grapeseed oil (or other neutral oil)
1 1/2 tsp Usukuchi (light soy sauce)
3/4 tsp sherry vinegar (I used rice vinegar)
3/4 tsp kosher salt, to taste (I omitted this)

noodles (lo mein, udon, rice)
pan-fried tofu

1. Slice the scallions and mince the fresh ginger. Mix together with the oil, soy sauce, vinegar and salt. Let sit for about 15 to 20 minutes.

2. Pan-fry the tofu and cook the noodles. Add the sauce to the tofu just before it's done, to heat through.

3. Serve over the noodles. You might need to add a little more soy sauce at the end.

Photo courtesy of Michael:)

Wild blueberry pancakes

It's a lazy Sunday morning and I'm on the couch watching *Mariska's birthday SVU marathon because I hurt my knee on our run yesterday and can't really get up and do anything. I had to go to urgent care and now I'm wearing a leg immobilizer. I should just name this blog "How Leah gets hurt". We decided to stay in and have a big breakfast at home instead of going out, as previously planned. I've been wanting pancakes for awhile so I finally tried this recipe from the Post Punk Kitchen. It's a great website and all the recipes I've tried have turned out great. Isa Chandra Moskowitz never steers me wrong. We had our pancakes with the smoky maple sausages from the same site. I made a mistake with the pancakes and read teaspoons of baking powder as tablespoons and let's just say these did not taste as good as they looked- my mistake. I used to have pizza problems and now I have pancake problems. I just need to pay more attention while I'm cooking. I'm sure yours will be perfect!

"Puffy Pillow Pancakes"

I'm not going to post the recipe here because all we did to make it blueberry is add wild blueberries on top while they were cooking.

*Song by our friend, Preston Hull- check out his CD "Man Up"!

Tacos with refried beans, peach salsa and avocado

 After our guacamole on Friday we were still craving Mexican food. We went out for some Saturday errands and stopped at our local grocery store on the way home and got the ingredients for these tacos. We were so excited to find lots of delicious, local salsas to choose from at our little store. I love peach salsa so we went with that for our tacos. I'm a big fan of savory and sweet but not everyone is, so go with whatever kind of salsa you like. These would also be good with some cashew sour cream dolloped on top. We made these after our Saturday run (more on that later) and they were so wonderful!


soft taco shells
vegetarian refried beans
salsa (we used peach salsa)
sliced avocado
toppings of your choice, we used:
fresh cilantro, chopped
tomatoes, diced
onions, diced
fresh lime juice
hot sauce

1. Heat the refried beans if they're from a can.

2. Chop all the toppings and get them ready to go.

3. Heat the taco shells in the microwave. Our friend Kristi showed us how to do this- put the shells you can eat on a plate covered by a damp paper towel and heat for 20 seconds.

4. Assemble and enjoy! They are really fresh and will remind you of a warm summer evening. In fact, they would be perfect to eat outside on a warm summer evening!