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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Happy Earth Day!

Hi y'all!

I just wanted to write a quick post in honor of Earth Day today. I'll have a recipe post up on Thursday, but what kind of earthling would I be if I didn't pay my respects to mama Earth on its very special day on my blog. But because I believe in celebrating our precious planet everyday, I found this website that lists 50 ways to help the planet and I wanted to share it with you all in case you need some ideas on how you can contribute to keeping mother Earth happy, vibrant and sustainable. Of course each individual cannot tackle everything, but merely taking a few items from the list that you know you can do and integrating them into your life will make a massive difference in creating a beautiful place for us all to thrive. It is our duty to take care of our home, the very place that allows us to carry out our desires, dreams, passions, and purpose. It can only give to us what we give to it.

Some of the ways I contribute are: I use energy-efficient lightbulbs, recycle, abstain from eating animals, wash my clothes in cold water and dry with low heat or air dry, use a glass water bottle instead of plastic, turn off water while brushing teeth (work in progress), fly with an e-ticket, use reusable bags for shopping, buy organic & local food/products, use eco-friendly home cleaning products, turn lights off and use 100% essential oil soy candles, and pay bills online. I pledge to make a conscious effort to make even more improvements.

One last thing - I recently launched a new Facebook page for my blog! Be sure to "like" it to receive updates & posts for all things healthy, cruelty-free & eco-friendly. ♡ (P.S. I posted a 20% off discount today for one of my favorite plant-based skincare/cosmetic companies!)

Your fellow earthling,
Claire

"On Earth Day, we celebrate all the gifts the world and nature make available to us. We recognize our complete dependence on its bounty. And we acknowledge the need for good stewardship to preserve its fruits for future generations." John Hoeven

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Black Bean & Quinoa Veggie Burgers (Vegan, Gluten-Free)



Hey y'all! I am back! Thank you thank you for your patience as I stepped away for awhile to deal with a family emergency. Fortunately, things are looking up for my loved one, and I am able to dedicate more time to my blog and to creating healthy vegan recipes for you guys. I know I was only away for a few weeks but I really missed connecting with you all every week. By the way, I will still be sending out my supercharged newsletter full of my best healthy living tips, exclusive recipes & more so be sure to sign up so you don't miss out. The form is on the righthand side of my blog. :-)

Throughout my time away, I kept up with my healthy plant-based meals everyday and physical activity, which honestly made all the difference while I often felt alone and scared. But I didn't let myself go. I took care of me while taking care of another, too. Crucial. Otherwise, I would've had nothing to give OR I would've been torn to shreds, drowning in stress, sadness and resentment after they were on their way to recovery. This way, I stayed afloat, and can now move forward with the confidence that I know how to give myself the TLC that I need in the darkest of times, keeping my mental, emotional and physical health intact. Sure, I wish I would've done more meditating, because that is always life-changing for me whenever I stick with it, but the spirituality aspect is something I am working on strengthening. It is a super important piece of "my life's pie." Another essential piece of that pie is having a support group and having fun! I made sure to get out with friends and other family members to give me an outlet, a happiness boost and to take my mind off of everything going on. Just curious, what do you do to take care of yourself everyday or more specifically, in difficult times?

Today's recipe is a super flavorful, delightful and nutritious veggie burger! I am really stoked to share it because I have been wanting to create a vegan burger recipe for awhile now because they are one of my favorite foods (not the processed Boca veggie burgers! Have y'all looked at that ingredient list? Stay away for the sake of your health!). I used to be a hamburger monster before first becoming a vegetarian last June. I couldn't resist a burger topped with bacon and cheese. It was my meal of choice when eating out. Well, now, I do resist it because my values have changed. Veggie burgers do not cause any being any suffering and that is far more important than the taste of any bacon cheeseburger (challenge: how many times can you use the word "any" in a sentence? Sheesh.) Plus, this veggie burger is so dynamite that you won't even miss the traditional hamburger. I wanted to get it just right. It is crispy on the outside, soft (not mushy) but slightly crunchy on the inside. The flax egg and oat flour keep it all together. I promise they won't fall apart.






































I have tried some pretty awful veggie burgers and a few delicious ones, too, so I took the things I disliked and liked and made my own creation with all of it in mind. I hope you enjoy them as much as my family does! They are pretty easy to put together, too. A little chopping and prep work never hurt anyone. I can assure you it's totally worth it, especially because there will be leftovers! :-D You could even double the recipe and freeze the patties for a quick meal on a weeknight when you're not in the mood to cook. Want to take them to the next level? Serve with my favorite sweet potato fries! If so, be ready to enter a state of food euphoria. Thank me later, no worries.


Top left: Mashed up black bean mixture. Bottom left: Burger patty mixture. Right: Flax egg mixture.

Black Bean & Quinoa Veggie Burgers
YIELD: 8 burgers

INGREDIENTS
1 (15 oz.) can black beans or 1 1/2 cups home-cooked black beans
• 3/4 cup cooked quinoa (see here for directions & tips to make the perfect batch of quinoa)
• 3/4 cup gluten-free oat flour or Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour
• 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
• 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
• 1/4 heaping cup cilantro, chopped
• 2 large garlic cloves, minced
• 1 flax egg (1 Tbs ground flaxseed mixed with 3 Tbs warm water)*See note below for further directions.
• 1 Tbs low-sodium gluten-free tamari
• 1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
• 1 1/2 tsp cumin
• 1 1/2 tsp oregano
• 3/4 tsp - 1 tsp fine sea salt

*Optional toppings: ketchup, mustard, romaine lettuce or spinach, red onion, avocado, vegan cheese, vegan mayo. Do it up!

DIRECTIONS *See pictures above that correlate with each step for more clarification.
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper.
2. First, make the flax egg by mixing the flaxseed and warm water in a bowl and let sit for 10 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the rest of the ingredients. 
3. Place the black beans in a large mixing bowl and mash them, leaving some beans intact for texture. Then, combine the rest of the ingredients in the same bowl, including the flax egg, and mix well. Adjust spices and sea salt to taste.
4. Wet your hands and form the mixture into tennis ball-sized balls. Then, press them down with your fingers to flatten them into burger patties.
5. Bake for 17 minutes then flip and bake for another 17 minutes, or until firm and golden brown.

NOTES
It is best to grind flaxseed yourself instead of buying it already ground up. In a pinch, it should be fine, but otherwise, use a coffee grinder to grind your own flaxseed. It's easy breezy.
The burgers will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. Otherwise, freeze them so they're ready to go when you need them on a night you're not up to playing chef.

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"The cure for anything is salt water. Sweat, tears or the sea." Isak Dinesin
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