Garden Lentil Burgers

Who needs meat when the lentil burgers taste this good?!

I’m sitting out of the GNOWFGLINS e-course this week, as they’re covering chicken and I’m now 3 weeks into eating vegetarian, but I still did some cooking in the traditional vein. I made a recipe from the GNOWFGLINS web site – garden lentil patties – which I made into garden lentil burgers! They turned out incredibly flavorful and filling. This recipe is definitely a keeper!

First, I soaked dried lentils overnight with some raw apple cider vinegar. (This helps to neutralize the phytic acid in them and improves the absorption of the lentils’ nutrients). I’m new to lentils – to my knowledge, I’ve never had them before, so I had no idea what to expect.

lentils soakingThen I drained and rinsed the lentils and put them on the stove with some fresh water to simmer. While they simmered, I prepped the veggies: carrots, celery, red pepper, and… dang it, I forgot the onion. Oh well. It made for a very colorful bowl of yum, though!

prepped veggiesOnce the lentils were done, I added the rest of the ingredients – some oats, some Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, tomato paste, extra virgin olive oil – and mixed it all up. My hands were way too messy to get any pictures!

I tried my best to mash the mix into patties, but I wasn’t having very good luck. Most of my patties fell apart on the baking sheet. I guess I’m not a very strong patty-maker. Maybe a little more oats would have helped hold them together? I’m not sure. Here’s what they looked like after their first half of time in the oven:

Lentil burgers cookingI then flipped them over, and only a few survived the flip. I had mostly lentil crumbles instead of lentil patties! A couple did stick together pretty well. Not sure what my magic trick was on those ones!

The recipe made 13 patties – I probably should have cut it in half, since I’m only feeding moi. I put one of the better-looking patties on an organic whole wheat bun (Rudi’s ftw!) and added a little veganaise and onion seasoning on top (since I forgot the onions). Served it with some organic spring greens with a little organic caesar dressing, and voila: dinner!

lentil burgersThey may not look pretty, but this burger was delicious! It will definitely make it into regular rotation in my kitchen.

Each patty has about 200 calories (assuming you get 13 out of your recipe, like I did), 6g fat, 29g carbs (8g fiber), 9g protein, and a boatload of vitamins – 45% of your daily Vitamin A, 32% Vitamin C, and 15% of your Iron, amongst others. Yum!

Sugar & Spice Muffins

I’ve discovered the most perfect muffins ever, thanks to GNOWFGLINS! I mentioned last night that I was soaking some whole wheat flour in preparation of baking these bad boys. This morning, while munching on the first half of breakfast (a bowl of Ezekiel raisin cereal), I baked up these muffins. I could not wait until they cooled – they smelled so good!

Sugar and Spice Soaked MuffinsThey tasted as good as they smelled! (You can see one muffin missing in the photo above…. it’s in my tummy!) The perfect muffin. Whole wheat goodness, soaked for optimal mineral and nutrient absorption, and ridiculously tasty – the perfect combination of sugar and spice (and everything nice).

You can find the recipe here: GNOWFGLINS Basic Soaked Muffins

I used the spices suggested by Wardeh in the recipe (cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg) and added raisins. I soaked whole wheat flour with organic raw apple cider vinegar overnight (about 12 hours). The only modification I made to the recipe was to use half of the recommended amount of coconut oil (as I’m watching my calories!). I think next time I will cut back a little on the sugar – these muffins are definitely sweet! Still, I’m going to call these the perfect muffins, because my goodness, they’re good!

I’ll be freezing half of the batch in ziplock bags, as it’ll take me a while to get through 12 muffins.

With the oil reduced to half, here’s the approximate nutrition info (per muffin):

182 calories, 6g fat (1g saturated), 26g carbs (3g fiber, 10g sugars), 5g protein, 3% Vitamin A, 9% Calcium, 6% Iron.

Getting Ready for Muffin Goodness

We’re in Lesson 3 of the GNOWFGLINS e-course on preparing healthy, traditional foods. I got home from class a little early tonight, and decided to soak some whole wheat flour in preparation of making muffins tomorrow. w00t!

The recipe in Lesson 3 makes a dozen basic muffins, to which I plan to add raisins. I haven’t had muffins in quite a while. It’ll be nice to have a healthy option (though a dozen will last me an eternity! I’ll have to freeze some). I’m also a fan of meals I can eat on the road.

Can’t wait!!

Gnowfglins: Soaking Grains

I’m wrapping up Lesson 2 in the GNOWFGLINS e-course on healthy and traditional cooking, and tonight’s dinner featured a technique I learned this week: soaking grains. Well, I actually learned this last month in the Nourished Kitchen Real Food Challenge, but for that challenge, I soaked flour for baking. Today, I soaked rice and made it from scratch.

I’ve never made “real” rice before; all of my rice experience is of the boil-in-bag, instant variety. This was the other extreme!

It’s important to soak grains to prepare their nutrition to be fully utilized by the body. Whole grains contain enzyme inhibitors and other natural substances that can actually interfere with digestion and block absorption of minerals and vitamins. Soaking the grains in an acidic solution neutralizes these substances to make the grains’ nutrients more available in digestion.

I started with a cup of dry brown basmati rice. I soaked the rice in 2 cups of filtered water with 2 tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar. (Lemon juice or other acidic liquids could also be used). I let my rice soak for 9 hours, though overnight is even better. One benefit (besides the nutritional benefits) – this process cuts down the actual cooking time of the rice.

When my rice was ready to go, I drained the soaking liquid and replaced it with filtered water (though you could cook the rice in the soaking liquid – I wasn’t sure if I’d like the tang of the vinegar in my rice, so I played it safe).

Then, I cooked the rice and turned it into Nutty Carrot Rice!

To go with my rice, I made an Italian breaded chicken breast. I actually get 2 meals out of 1 chicken breast, so I made 2, which should feed me well next week.

Add some baby spinach with vinaigrette on the side, and you’ve got… dinner!

Chicken and riceThe rice was very good – a nice departure from plain ol’ boring rice. It had a bit of a kick to it – I guessed at the cayenne pepper and used 1/4 teaspoon, and I think I probably should have cut back to 1/8th. (I like spicy food, but “spicy” to me is “mild” to the rest of the world). It complemented the chicken very well, and had a nice, nutty flavor. Nutty rice with a kick! Mozzarella cheese would have been good on the chicken, too. I didn’t have any!

The rice recipe makes 6-8 servings (I ended up with 7), so I’ll be eating rice for a while….

Try it out! This was an easy combo, and the whole meal clocked in around a half hour prep, a half hour cook time, and around 375 calories (assuming you eat the entire chicken breast). Lots of vitamin A, too.

[recipe-show recipe=nutty-carrot-rice]

[recipe-show recipe=italian-breaded-chicken]

Real Food Challenge, Week 3

Yes, I’m behind on my Real Food Challenge! The New Mexico trip has me behind on a lot of things 🙂 Here’s to catching up!

Week 3 started out with a discussion of SCOBYs – Symbiotic Colonies of Bacteria and Yeasts. I’m working on getting together the materials required to try and make some water kefir. Since I gave up drinking diet sodas, this sounds like a good replacement!

Next up: homemade yogurt. This is actually something I’ve done many times in the past, with great results. I love homemade yogurt! I make mesophilic yogurt (room temperature). I’m happy to report that my yogurt tasted even better now that I use organic milk and starter. As I shared last week, I have yet to find a good source of raw or vat-pasteurized milk, so that part of the equation will have to come at a later date.

Then came the part I’ve been waiting for: homemade cheese! I’ve been wanting to try this ever since I finished reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life (P.S.) by Barbara Kingsolver and family. The labneh recipe on Nourished Kitchen looks doable, and I will be buying the required items this week to try it out myself.

The article on beans really interests me, because I’ve never actually prepared beans aside from using a can opener on the top! A bean recipe is in my future, with properly soaked beans.

Finally, I made some homemade salad dressing to use up the last of the garlic I had in the house before my trip. This is something I plan to do more of, because I haven’t been able to find pre-made organic dressings that I like. The recipe for Day 21 of the Real Food Challenge was easy and tasty! 3/4 cup EVOO, 1/4 cup raw cider vinegar, 2 cloves minced garlic, and minced fresh herbs (though I had to use dried herbs, as I had nothing fresh on hand).

I also learned last week that I won a contest! I was so excited when Jenny from Nourished Kitchen emailed me, because just the day before I’d been looking at this e-course wishing I had the money to take it… but with my trip only days away, I was tapped out. I’m now participating in the GNOWFGLINS e-course on preparing healthy, traditional foods, thanks to Nourished Kitchen!

So, that was my Week #3! I’ll be catching up on Week 4 this weekend and next week!