Tag Archives: diet

Veggie Burgers – From Scratch!

The host of our October 2011 (yes, the blog is in need of updating) was our youngest Veggie Dinner attendee, Makenna!

She is 16 years old and planned the menu and of course, we all assisted in the preparation. So, what was on the menu?

  • Baked sweet potato fries
  • Coleslaw
  • Salad
  • Black bean burgers
  • Dump cake
This is a great go-to menu for all of those transitioning from a meat-heavy diet because it takes something familiar and turns it into delicious veggie goodness!
  • 1 bag of mixed greens (no iceberg lettuce!)
  • 1 English cucumber
  • 1 purple onion (finely sliced)
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 2 roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamatta olives
Combine ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss. Serve with your favorite dressing.
  • 1/2 head of green cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 head of purple cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 2 large carrots, shredded
  • 3/4 cups veganaise (add more or less depending on how creamy you want your coleslaw)
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar (or to your taste)
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 tsp celery salt
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper
Combine ingredients in a large mixing bowl, mix until all veggies are coated.
Sweet Potato Fries
  • 3 large sweet potatoes, cut into large wedges
  • Coarse Salt
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • Ground Pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the sweet potato
wedges in a large mixing bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper until well coated. Place on a cooking sheet in the oven. Cook for ~30 minutes, or until done.
Veggie Burgers
This is the most labor-intensive part of the meal. You will want to cook your beans ahead of time, preferably in a crockpot overnight if you have one! Our veggie burger recipe came from the book Veggie Burgers Every Which Way. Our bean of choice was the ever so versatile black bean.
Black Beans
  • 1 bag black beans (rinse and sort)
  • 1 white onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • seasoning salt
  • cumin
  • cayenne pepper
  • salt
  • pepper
In a crockpot combine beans with twice as much water. Add seasonings, garlic, and onions. Stir and put crockpot on low for 8 hours (while you sleep!)
Veggie Burgers (we doubled this entire recipe since we were feeding 8)
  • 1 1/2 cup cooked beans
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 eggs, beaten (we used Ener-G egg replacer)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan (for vegan burgers, you can remove this)
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • A squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup toasted bread crumbs (more if needed)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped *
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped *
  • 1/2 purple onion, chopped *
  • 2 tsp olive oil *
*custom addition not in the recipe book
Combine olive oil, chopped peppers, and onion in a saucepan; saute on medium heat for ~5 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375. In a mixing bowl, mash the beans using a potato masher. Fold in the eggs, parsley, Parmesan, mustard, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Fold in the bread crumbs, adding more if the mixture becomes too loose. Add sauteed vegetables and stir. Let sit for ~5-10 minutes to allow the bread crumbs to absorb moisture.

Shape the mixture into patties. In an oven-safe skillet or nonstick pan, heat the oil over medium heat. When hot, add the patties to cook on each side until brown. Transfer to a cooking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, until the burgers are firm and cooked through. These can be frozen for later!
To top your veggie burgers, you can add your favorites. We added:
  • Sliced avocados
  • Tomato slices
  • Sliced kosher dill pickles
  • Spinach
  • Mustard
Combine your toppings with your veggie burger on a whole wheat bun.
We won’t tell you how to make dump cake, it’s not good for you 🙂 but no one says you can’t Google it! Until next time…happy eating!

Risotto and Grilled Veggies

Our host for the Veggie dinner in September was Jennifer, and she treated us to a delicious dinner! The main dish, risotto, is tricky to make, but when its made right it’s really yummy! 🙂 What you’ll need:

  • 1 bulb fennel
  • 1 onion
  • 1 1/2 cups risotto (arborio)
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 bunch parsley
You can use veggie broth or plain water, but veggie broth adds more flavor.

The important part about cooking risotto is the way you cook it. You place the risotto in the pan and pour the liquid over it until it’s just covered. As the water is absorbed into the risotto you continue to add liquid a little at a time until the risotto is fully cooked. Unlike rice, risotto can and should be stirred throughout the process.
For this recipe, cook the onions and fennel until softened but not browned. Then add the onions and the fennel to the pot with the risotto. Add the parsley, then cook the risotto. Once the risotto is cooked add the butter and the cheese. Serve with delicious grilled veggies!

The grilled veggies that our hostess served were:

  • Asparagus
  • Zucchini
Veggies should be seasoned with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Grill on low heat over an open fire and voila! Delicious grilled vegetables.

In addition to the grilled veggies, Jennifer served mozzarella skewers:
  • Roma tomatoes
  • Buffalo mozzarella
  • Basil

Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella drizzle with olive oil and toss in chopped basil. Spear the tomatoes and mozzarella on skewers, ready to serve!

Finally, any veggie dinner would not be complete without a dessert to top it all off, but so sorry, you can’t have the recipe…it’s a secret. Jennifer says any time you want this fantastic apple pie, she’ll be happy to make it for you! That’s it for the September veggie dinner (from 2011). Working through the backlog, so still to come: October, November AND December. Until then, as always: happy eating!!


Pesto Pasta (say that 3 times fast) and Grilled Portabellos

A day late, and a dollar short; more like a late blog but a tasty meal! In August we were treated to a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious vegetarian meal hosted by Chris and Jean. What was on the menu? Portabello mushroom filled with goat cheese or grilled spicy pepper cream cheese and topped with asparagus and balsamic reduction, bow tie pasta with pesto cream sauce, bruschetta and fresh fruit! This meal will take ~45 minutes to prepare, provided that you have helpers. Now that your mouth is watering, let’s get down to brass tacks and teach you how to make this delicious vegetable goodness.


  • 1-2 loves of French bread
  • 6 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1 jar of kalamata olives
  • I jar artichoke hearts
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Chop the tomatoes and in a large bowl combine with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper (to taste), toss. Slice the onions and saute in olive oil for ~5 minutes or until soft. Drain olives and artichoke hearts and put in separate bowls for consumption. Slice and toast the French bread loaves in the oven at ~400 degrees for 5 minutes (checking to ensure you do not over-toast). Place the desired amount of each topping on a slice of toast and enjoy!

Portabello Mushrooms & Asparagus

  • Whole portabello mushrooms (1-2 for each person you are planning to feed)
  • 1 bushel of asparagus (2-3 stalks will top each mushroom, plan accordingly)
  • 1 package of goat’s cheese
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • balsamic vinegar
  • garlic (as much or as little as you like — 3 cloves is good)

Create your sauce: combine salt, pepper, olive oil balsamic vinegar, and whatever spices you like (season to *your* taste). Place the mushrooms top down on a baking sheet and drizzle the sauce over each mushroom adding some minced garlic. Bake uncovered for ~15-20 minutes, then add goat cheese (or not) and allow to melt.

Steam the asparagus until it was just starting to get soft, then toss it in salt and pepper before finishing it up on the grill (or in the oven on a baking sheet for ~5 minutes if you have no grill) to get a nice crisp finish.

Pesto Pasta

  • Basil (we don’t know how much — we like a LOT)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Toasted pine nuts
  • Garlic (~3-4 cloves)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • Lemon (to taste)
  • Parmesan cheese (freshly grated, don’t cheat yourself with the canned stuff)
  • A bag of your favorite bow tie pasta (you thought we were fancy, you thought we would make it from scratch…but, no.)

Start with about 3 cloves of garlic, combined with the basil and the pine nuts and chop in a food processor, add oil until the pesto reaches your desired consistency. The consistency of the pesto will depend on what you’re going to use it for; more oil if it’s going on pasta, less if it’s for dipping or topping sandwiches. Add salt, red pepper flakes, and lemon to taste (put a little in, blend and see if you like it, then keep adding). We usually end up adding a couple more cloves of garlic but that’s because we like garlic a LOT. We also use really coarse salt, it helps with the texture/flavor. If you don’t have a salt grinder you can use kosher.

Boil your pasta rinse with cool water and drain. Combine the pesto and pasta in a large pot and stir until the pesto is distributed evenly. Top with grated Parmesan.

Choose your favorite summer fruit for dessert (suggestions: sliced mango, watermelon, berries, pineapple, or whatever tickles your fancy), slice, and serve!

Healthy eating does not have to be boring, or tasteless! Get out there and experiment, your taste buds (and your belly) will thank you! Our September veggie dinner was hosted by Jennifer and mmmm it was really good. I’m sure I won’t post that blog for another month, but, that gives you time to perfect this recipe, happy eating!

it’s been too long

since last i wrote a post. i try not to do this too often, but i am about to discriminate. if you are sensitive about weight, DO NOT READ THIS POST. i am about to go on a rant.

for some reason while cruising youtube last night, i came accross a video of american idol jordin sparks being heavily criticized about her weight on fox news by meme roth. in keeping with that theme, this morning on npr, i heard a story about retailers attempting to capitalize on the rapidly growing market for the obese dollar. 2/3 of the american adult population is considered to be clinically over weight…

now i don’t think that meme roth was reasonable in attacking jordin (i think she’s adorable and well within the confines of manageble weight), however, i am a strong advocate for healthy lifestyle choices and accountability. i do not like obesity. i do not mean pleasantly plump, i am talking “big medicine” heavy. the morbidly obese, excessively overweight, requiring 2 seats on a plane and a walker to get out of bed in the morning. this is an epedimic.

what i want to know is: at what point does a person wake up 400 pounds overweight? that doesn’t just creep up on you overnight. it takes years. the site livingXL.com caters to those with weight problems so severe that they need special aids, such as the $80 toe nail clippers that extend so you don’t have to , $300 heavy duty 500 lb capacity scale, and the list goes on.

i am not saying that overwieght people do not deserve to have a market that caters to them, but when i am eating healthy, working out, and paying ridiculous health insurance premiums for other people’s bad habits, i have a right to say “put down that burger and take a walk around the block!” sadly by that time, they might need a crane to get up. yes i sound like an insensitive ass, and i will admit that this is one area where i have very little sympathy. i hate that we coddle people so much in this country. china just executed their ex-food and drug safety chief for taking bribes in exchange for approving unsafe medicine, how’s that for accountability?? and no, i don’t want to live in china, but we can’t even send a liar to jail (well, aside from lil kim).

when will we stop blaming everyone else for our shortcomings and start owing our mistakes…and their consequences. there is no fat pill that will zap 300 pounds, gastric bypass is not a cure for bad eating habits, and liposuction will not prevent your fat thighs from getting fat again. lord help me if see another promise to lose 30 lbs in 30 days, did it take you 30 days to put it on? in the words of the great Al Bundy “It’s not the dress that makes you look fat, it’s the FAT that makes you look fat!” so maybe mo’nique was right, maybe skinny b*tches are evil, but being overweight is just not healthy, no matter how happy you are with being big and beautiful.