Monday, March 12, 2012

Sweet Potato Burgers -- Thank you Pinterest!

OMG.  That's all I have to say about tonight's dinner.  This is seriously one of the best meals I've made in a long time and I have Pinterest to thank for it.  THANK YOU PINTEREST!!  I've talked about before but in case you missed it, you need to go check it out.

Like now!  On second thought, not yet, finish reading first..then go go go!

This is the kind of food I crave and can't get enough of.  Whole, fresh ingredients,  all natural, home made, satisfying, delicious and not to mention good for you!

Don't take my word for it...go get in your kitchen and try this!!  Even if you're unsure about the it!!!

I would try to describe it to you but it wouldn't do any justice.

You can find the original genius of a recipe here.

Sweet Potato Burgers

1 Large Sweet Potato
2 cans of white beans
2 Tablespoon tahini
1 teaspoon maple or agave syrup
1 teaspoon of cajun seasoning
1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
Few dashes of cayenne
Pepper to taste
1/4 cup of flour
Breadcrumbs to coat the burger

Burger toppings *
Whole wheat bun
Your favorite mustard
Sliced onion
Finely chopped hot pepper
Spritz of olive oil (I use my handy misto)
Lettuce of choice


1.  Bake then peel sweet potato, add to large bowl. *
2.  Add 2 cans of drained white beans to bowl with the sweet potato and mash together.  *
4.  Add in all remaining ingredients until mixed together well.  The mixture will be extremely moist.  You can add more flour or add breadcrumbs or dried rice but I just worked with it.  Although it was very sticky I was still able to make a patty.
5.  Heat oil of choice in pan while you start to form your patties
6.  Get a shallow bowl or plate and layer with breadcrumbs
7.  Form patty and generously coat with breadcrumbs on each side, then drop in the oil.  Cook on both sides until well done.
8.  Assemble burger and devour!!!

- For baking sweet potato spritz with olive oil misto and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes until soft.
- I found it easiest to "peel" the potato by cutting in half and scooping out the flesh.  It pulls away from the                  skin easily while hot.
- I again found it easiest to use a fork to mash together the white beans and sweet potato.  This might sound funny but I started with an outer ring and smashed the mixture up against the side of the bowl.  I used my right hand to smash while I twirled the bowl around with my left.  I kept going until that "ring" was all smashed, then I would bring in more beans from the mixture until everything was mashed while I continued to twirl around the bowl.
- These toppings are just what the original called for.  There are so many other variations so feel free to experiment and use what you have.  The original also called for avocado which I would have used if the one I bought from the store wasn't rotten on the inside.  It was still great without it though!  A nice sliced tomato would have been great on this too but I didn't have any.
-  I also made a "dip" or condiment to go with the burger of ketchup and sriracha.  Heavenly!
- My stove top is tiny along with my cookware.  So I had to cook one burger at a time.  If you find yourself in the same predicament I turned the oven off after baking the sweet potato but it was still warm so I stuck the cooked burgers in the oven to keep warm while the others cooked.

I'm also really excited about this recipe because it's SOO adaptable.  I already have a million other ideas I want to try with this recipe:

--- Making smaller bite size to make them like "nuggets".  Great kiddie food!!
--- BBQ them on the grill with sweet BBQ sauce and grilled corn
--- Use these for my all time fav burger toppings, grilled pineapple, jalapeƱos, red onions and teriyaki sauce
--- The list goes on....

The recipe made about 7-8 patties.  Since it's just me and my husband I didn't need that many.  I cooked about 3 and am freezing the rest.  Hopefully they keep well!  This is an easy recipe to follow and even easier to use after frozen for a quick meal on the run.

I know I'm sure you're all happy to see me on two days in a row!!  I have to admit life has been slowly settling down.  I still have a lot on my plate but I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I can feel I'm going to make it through which has been amazing for my stress level, and by the looks of it, my blog!

Plus my problems don't compare to so many out there suffering.  If you ever want to watch a great inspirational video to put life into perspective watch this video made by Artists for Haiti, "We are the World".

So stay tuned, I hope to come back with more yummy recipes!

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunomono Salad & Trader Joe's Gyoza

When I was a younger I was a very typical child.  I disliked all vegetables.  When I say all I mean ALL. 

A lot has changed since then.  Who would have figured I would end up being vegan and have a diet full of vegetables.

Cucumbers was one of those vegetables that I despised and I've only recently come to love.  With that love came Sunomono salad.  If you're going to eat cucumbers this is the way to do it!  It's so simple and easy.  It's a japanese salad made of thinly sliced cucumbers and a vinegar dressing. 

If you've ever had Sunomono salad at Mikuni's this recipe tastes JUST like it!  I found the original here

Sunomono Salad

1 Large cucumber
1 Teaspoon of salt
2 Tablespoons of Rice Vinegar
1 Tablespoon of sugar
1 drop of soy sauce


1.  Thinly slice the cucumber
2.  Sprinkle the slices with salt and let sit for a few minutes
3.  Mix the vinegar, sugar and soy sauce and mix well
4.  Add the dressing on top of the cucumbers and serve!

It goes without saying I love my mom!  She isn't vegan like myself but is always looking for recipes/products that i can eat.  Her most recent find was a great one.  Trader Joe's Thai vegetable Gyoza.  They come in the frozen section.  Serve with sweet chili sauce.  I love Trader Joe's.  They always have great products.  Why I don't shop there more often is beyond me. 

These were the perfect addition to my Sunomono Salad and fried rice.  'Till next time. 

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Potatoes and Black Bean Taco with SWISS CHARD PESTO

The Swiss Chard pesto is in CAPS because's amazing!  Forgot my leftovers at my parents and debating to take the hour trip to go get them amazing! 

I don't recall how I happened upon this recipe but I sure am glad I did.  I've been saving it for a day when I would have the time to cook a meal at my parents.  My dad is growing swiss chard in his garden this year and I needed an excuse to use it.  Seriously I can't say it enough, it's really good!  The taste is unexpected, refreshing, with a hint of spice.  What else can I say to make you run out and make this? 

I made a few adjustments to the original with what I had on hand.  See below my adapted version.  I'm sure the original is just as amazing if not better. 

Swiss Chard Pesto:

1 Bnnch of swiss chard washed/cut into chunks
1 handful of chopped frozen pasilla chili (I normally go for a spicier pepper like the recipe calls for but I didn't have any on hand)
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 Tbs. Tapatio Hot Sauce
1/4 cup walnuts
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Tacos:

1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 (to 2 depending on the size) regular potato, cut into a medium dice
1 (14.5 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tsp cumin, divided
2 tsp chili powder, divided
1/2 tsp garlic salt
Tortillas of choice (I used the kind you have to cook on the stove)
lime and cilantro for garnish
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
*Optional: Diced avocado.  I would have used if I had one


1.  Preheat the oven to 400*
2.  On a baking sheet mix the potatoes, olive oil, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp chili powder, and salt/pepper.  Bake for 30 minutes.
3.  Meanwhile make your pesto.  Throw all of the ingredients into a food processor, minus the olive oil.  Get the motor running (tell me you just sang that in your know you can't resist!) and add the olive oil in a steady stream until a pesto is made.  I have a small food processor so I had to do mine in steps.  I didn't add all of the ingredients right away.  I mixed a little, mixed it around with my spoon so everything was at the bottom again, then added to it. 
4.  Heat your black beans, remaining cumin and chili powder along with garlic salt.  Heat until cooked through (about 5 minutes). 
5.  Cook/heat your tortillas
6.  Assemble:  Start with a tortilla, spread with beans, potatoes, pesto, chopped cilantro and fresh squeezed lime to taste.  I used at least 2 Tablespoons of pesto per tortilla.  The more the better. 

Y'all be coming back to thank me for sharing this awesome recipe with you later...I guarantee it!

I know I don't need a disclaimer (but God knows I'm full of them these days) but please forgive me if I'm sparse in my posts.  Without going into details I have a ton of stuff going on in my life right now that has my body and brain exhausted at the end of the day.  I'm sure I'll be back to normal soon so bare with me!  I do promise not to keep any awesome recipes from you (like this one). 

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!

Friday, January 20, 2012

White Bean Galore

When I made the gumbo last week I was originally going to add white beans.  I started cooking a bag of dried white beans and by the time I realized the gumbo didn't need beans they were already half way through cooking.  After that I knew what I would be eating for awhile. 

There is a restaraunt by me that sells white bean and artichoke bean dip with olive tapenade.  Its super yummy!  I knew one day when I had an abundance of white beans that this is exactly what I was going to do with them.  I found plenty of recipes online for artichoke white bean dip.  Some call for cheese, which is easily left out.  I found this recipe from the Sprout and Pea blog.  I made a few adjustments to it based on what I had.  Kalamata olives are my favorite so I went with a kalamata olive tapenade to top it off.  I found this recipe from My Life as a Mrs. Blog.  Both came out great.   

The spread is good on top of crackers or toasty bread.  I even came up with a yummy sandwich.  I spread vegan butter on two slices of bread.  Heat a panini press, George Foreman Grill, or pan on the stove top.  Put butter side down on the grill.  Spread the one slice of the bread with the white bean/artichoke dip, top with the kalamata olive tapenade.  Add a slice of vegan cheese and spinach.  Top with the second piece of bread.  And Grill.  Delicioius!  Those lovely onion rings next to the sammy came from a recipe I found on pinterest.  They were super easy to make.   My only advice is when you dip the onion rings in the batter lightly shake the rings to get excess batter off.  Then when you dip in the bread crumbs lightly dip once on each side.  This will help keep the bread crumbs from getting clumpy. 

I still had a ton of white beans left and I found yet another recipe on Pinterest.  I left out the cheese of course.  It was good but needed a lot of seasoning.  I even took a tablespoon or so of the olive tapenade and mixed it in with the soup and it was surprisingly delicious.  It was a good hot soup for a cold winters day.    

I didn't take any pictures but I also made a white bean chili.  Here is the link for the recipe.  It was a quick and easy chili when you need something in a rush.  Thought I'd share for those who need aquick chili recipe. 

That is all for now.  Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Vegetarian Okra Gumbo

Hello Blog world!!  So much has happened in the last few months I don't even know where to start.  My last post in November before Thanksgiving was like the calm before the storm.  My life has been some what of a whirl wind these past few months and life is finally settling down.  Some good and some bad whirl wind. 

I'll try to catch everyone up on the goingson in my life without boring you with too many details. My husband, parents and Bella took a road trip for Thanksgiving up to Utah to visit my Uncle, Aunt and Cousin.  It was a great trip.  In the scheme of things they are the closest relatives by far and we don't see them often enough.  After that we can home for just a few short weeks and the incomprehensible happened, my grandmother passed away.  She was an AMAZING woman who has created such a legacy.  She's one of those people that I naively thought would be here forever.  Her passing was hard on all of us, but we all gathered back home in New Orleans to celebrate her life and enjoy the memories she left behind.  I'm so grateful I was able to go home.  Staying at her house was like a blanket.  It was comfortable and warm with not only her memories but the family that gathered there. 

After returning home we had just a week before Christmas.  My head was still spinning with everything that had just happened, but I was able to gather my bearings and get ready for Christmas.  Baking cookies for work, white elephant gift exchange party, finishing last minute christmas gift purchases, while still working full time.  In the meantime my sister from Austin flew in and stayed for two weeks.  It was (like always) so nice to have her around.  Meg if you're reading COME HOME!!  :)  Christmas and New Years came and went full of family time, taking trips, cooking, watching movies, the works!  Needless to say it was quite a crazy end of the year and start to 2012.  We've already attended one birthday party (for my awesome sister in law I may add!) and one to go.  I have a feeling this year is going to fly by.  My resolution to hold onto every day.  Enjoy the hear and now without wishing for time to speed up. 

I know I know...I've written a novel already and I haven't even gotten to the recipe!  So my mom found me some delicous fresh okra at the farmers market.  I never find okra in the super market or even at farmers market for that reason so I was very excited to have some fresh!!  I HAD to make a gumbo.  There really wasn't a choice.  To save on time my parents use a Richard's Cajun Roux that comes from a jar.  A side cajun lesson.  Richard in Richard's Cajun Roux is pronounced REE-SHAUD.  Roux is the base of the gumbo.  We typically make it by hand but it was already getting late so I went the lazy route.  Roux can take hours to make.  You have to cook oil and flour over the stove and constantly stir until it gets really dark.  If you stop stirring it will burn.  It's not very difficult, just a time consuming process.  So if you are like me and looking for a short cut this is the way to go.  Only problem is not all of you will be able to buy it in the store.  We typically pick ours up when we're back in New Orleans.  You may be able to find it in some specialties stores like World Market or the speciaility aisle of your grocer.  If you can't buy it in the store you can always make it by hand.  Enlist a friend to help stir.  The outcome will be WELL worth it.  If you've never eaten gumbo you haven't lived yet.  :) 

Another tip about the roux.  The oil settles at the top.  The easiest way is to dump everything into a bowl and stir until you get a uniform consistency like above.  You won't use the whole jar for one batch (unless you're feeding an army) so just spoon it back in the left overs.  Below is the recipe I came up with based on our families tradition, my past attempts and many online recipes that I made into my own.  Feel free to search out there for other variations.  There are plenty out there, but this is my favorite. 

1-1 1/2 Tablespoons of olive oil
1 Medium Onion chopped
3-4 Stalks of Celery chopped
1-2 Green or Red Bell Peppers (or a mixture of both)
3-4 Cloves of garlic minced
Approximately 14-15 fresh okra pods (I used about half of what is shown above)
1 can of diced tomatoes with the juice (I used a onion/garlic mix, but you can use regular, with green chili's, whatever you have on hand)
1 teaspoon of cajun seasoning.  Start here and add more if desired, I usually add a little more
A few dashs of Louisiana hot sauce.  Crystal is my favorite. 
Salt/Pepper to taste
A few dashes of cayenne pepper
6 Tablespoons of pre-made roux
*or heat 3 T of Oil and 3 T of Flour over medium heat to make a roux.  Constantly stir until it is a dark brown in color.  Be careful not to burn it! 
4 Cups of water
White or Brown rice

1.  Start cooking rice depending on how many people you are feeding.
2.  If using a pre-made roux start here, if making from scratch start making the roux now in a separate pot (directions above).  Heat olive oil in a large pot, add onion, celery, bell peppers, and garlic.  Saute until the veggies are soft and onions translucent. 
3.  Slice okra, discard stem and end.  Add to pot with the other veggies along with the can of tomatoes (with juice), and spices.  Saute until the okra is soft, not mushy just soft. 
4.  Add roux and water to the pot.  Stir everything together until the roux is completely dissolved in the water.  Continue to cook for about 20 minutes or so on simmer.  Your rice should be done by now. 
5.  In each individual bowl put a little bit of rice a lot of gumbo, top with salt if needed, a few dashes of hot sauce and file (e with an accent, pronounced FEE-LAY). 

TIP:  The roux tasted a little burnt when I first made it. If you add a little water and make sure it's well seasoned with salt and cajun seasoning it should remidy that.  I think the batch of roux I got was a little darker than normal.

Sorry for the long post.  My life is hopefully settling down and maybe I'll get a chance to come back to regular blogging. 

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!