Friday, October 31, 2014

the best veggie burger...

This is a nutrition-packed veggie burger that even omnivores love! As someone who doesn't like the flavor or texture of vegan "meats," I was constantly on the lookout for the perfect vegan burger, one that we could eat and enjoy together. I found various sweet potato and black bean burger recipes and decided to invent my own version based on our favored ingredients. This past week, I introduced them at the dining hall where I work as a chef, and I think they may be a new favorite!

Black Bean-Sweet Potato-Quinoa Burgers serves 8-10

1 small organic sweet potato
½ cup fairly-traded quinoa
1 (15 ounce) can or 1 lb of cooked organic black beans, drained
1 cup organic old fashioned oats
2 teaspoons cumin powder
1 ½ teaspoons mild chili powder
½ teaspoon of The Spice Hunter's Mexican Seasoning
dash of cinnamon
Juice of ½ lemon
1 ½ teaspoons Real Salt
2 organic green onions
½ cup organic cilantro leaves
1 clove garlic
1 Tablespoon grape seed oil


1. Rinse and cut the sweet potato into three or four round pieces. Boil in a medium saucepan for 10 minutes, until soft. Rinse with cold water, drain, and then slice into small pieces. An inch by an inch is a good size, but if precision isn't your specialty, then just mashing them also works well!
2. Rinse quinoa in a fine sieve with cold water. Combine with 1 cup of filtered water and ½ teaspoon of Real Salt and boil on medium heat until tender and the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Stir constantly to avoid a charred flavor!
3. Grind the oats in a blender or food processor until fine. Combine in a bowl with seasonings and mix until well combined. 
4. Finely chop peeled garlic, green onion, and cilantro. Add to oat and spice mixture. Mix in mashed sweet potatoes and quinoa and then add black beans. Stir well.

5. Refrigerate until ready to use. Shape mixture into 4” patties, about ½ cup each, and fry in a cast iron skillet or frying pan with grape seed oil for 3-4 minutes on each side. Enjoy! J 

Special note for gluten-free friends: these burgers are gluten-free! The only thing to check are the oats--if you or a loved one have a serious intolerance, check to make sure they haven't been processed in the same facility as wheat. The burger pictured here is topped with a special sauce (Vegenaise, Red Hot, and smoked paprika), parsley, and shredded carrot-daikon salad. Yum! 

Friday, October 10, 2014

carrot, ginger & fennel soup

Hello friends,

It's been awhile since I (Beth) have blogged... summer happened and already it is mid-October! 'Tis the season of root veggies... yum! Now that it is truly fall here in Ohio and the leaves are displaying lovely shades of reds, oranges, yellows, and browns, homemade soup has become one of my favorite meals. A bowlful of flavorful, filling soup can be the perfect thing on a chilly, windy day!

We bought some organic fennel, baby ginger root, scallions, and carrots at the Worthington Farmer's Market last Saturday, and today I turned them into a yummy soup!

This gluten-free, vegan soup in particular packs in a nutritional punch with potassium and Vitamin C-filled fennel, Vitamin A and beta-carotene packed carrot, and anti-inflammatory ginger! The coconut oil used to create the base also provides a variety of benefits, including boosting your immunity and strengthening your heart.

*always buy local and organic if you can!

3-4 carrots
1 fennel
1 small bunch of scallions or green onions
1 inch x 1 inch piece of ginger, minced
1/3 cup of coconut oil
2-4 cups of filtered water
sea salt and garlic powder, to taste


1. Wash scallions and then slice thinly. Heat up coconut oil in a medium saucepan on medium heat, adding scallions and salt to taste. Stir constantly until they are tender and not crunchy.

2. Wash carrots and fennel, and then slice carrots into small round coins. Dice fennel.

3. After scallions are tender, add filtered water, carrots, fennel, ginger, garlic powder, and sea salt to taste (as a general guide, I use 1 tsp sea salt per quart of veggies or water).

4. Bring to a boil, and then cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until carrots are tender.

5. You may add Earth Balance for a buttery flavor... but coconut oil is great and healthier!

6. ¡Buen provecho! :) I think it would go well with sourdough bread, a salad, quinoa, or as a main dish!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

apple pie chips!

As a student, summer brings a refreshing dose of free time. Each summer I seem to find a different way to fill that free time, but so far this summer, I've been cooking. I ran across a recipe for apple pie chips here, and they looked so delicious that I had to try them for myself.

See what I mean?

Speaking of free time, you'll need some to make these guys. They are easy to make with the right tools and a little patience, but you'll want to save them for a time that you don't mind staying close to the kitchen for a couple hours. You won't regret the effort though-- they are a perfect snack for anyone who loves the sweet tanginess and crispy chewiness of dried fruit! And, of course, they are perfect for anyone who loves apple pie...which is to say, they are perfect for everyone.

3 apples (I used Granny Smith, but any apples will do!)
2-3 tbsp. coconut sugar (any sugar will do)
2-3 tbsp. cinnamon
Juice of 1 lemon
Sprinkle sea salt
Maple syrup or honey to drizzle
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Slice apples into 1/8" chips with a mandolin or knife.
  3. Coat apple chips in lemon juice to preserve freshness.
  4. Spread apple chips in a single layer on parchment covered cookie sheets.
  5. Combine sugar and cinnamon, and coat apple slices evenly with the mixture.
  6. Lightly sprinkle sea salt over the apple chips, if desired.
  7. Lightly drizzle slices with honey or maple syrup.
  8. Bake apple chips at 200 degrees for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, flipping chips every 30 minutes.
  9. Apple chips are done when they are dried, curled on the edges, but still slightly chewy.
  10. Let cool and enjoy!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

vegan spicy crispy chicken sandwich

Katie was preparing for her night class when I asked what sounded good for supper tonight. "Something other than carbs!" was her emphatic reply. Since we celebrated today's sunshine by buying patio furniture at Meijer, (and: protein!) I instantly thought "burgers!"  We just had my favorite sweet potato-black bean-quinoa burgers last week, so I decided to try something new and surprise her! I used this recipe as my base, with a few changes. I was a bit skeptical since chickpeas aren't favorites around here. However, the result, according to Katie, tastes just like a "spicy fast food chicken sandwich!" Not quite what I imagine as I savor each bite, but it works for her, and we can enjoy them together! ;) 

2 medium sweet potatoes
1 cup chickpeas
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup oats, ground into flour with a blender or food processor 
1/3 cup cornmeal or Panko
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 and 1/2 teaspoons paprika
dash of chili powder (to taste)
dash of sea salt (to taste)
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1-2 Tablespoons grape seed oil 

1. Peel and slice sweet potatoes in small round slices. Place in a saucepan, cover with water, and boil for 10 minutes or until potatoes are soft to fork. 
2. Drain chickpeas and puree in food processor or mash with fork. Mix in ground oats, cornmeal/Panko, and spices. 
3. Run cold water over sweet potatoes then drain carefully. Then mash in a medium bowl.
4. Combine oil and dry chickpea mixture with sweet potatoes and mix thoroughly. (Add cornmeal or Panko as needed to reach desired consistency.)
5. Form small patties with spoon. 
6. Heat grape seed oil in skillet on medium-high heat. Drop patties into oiled skillet and fry for 6-8 minutes, flipping carefully after 3-4 minutes. 
7. Serve atop organic greens or bun of choice, and enjoy!!

Notes: for our second patties, we dipped them in Panko before frying, and the results were quite a similar texture to a fried chicken nugget! All the deliciousness with none of the bad stuff or birds dying!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

the art of granola

I am getting a bit of a reputation: I am the girl who makes granola. I LOVE making it, so naturally when it is done, I post a picture on facebook. And then all my friends want the recipe. And that’s exciting and all, but the problem is…I don’t really have a recipe. I have a recipe for dark chocolate sea salt granola, but these days I just throw oats in a bowl with whatever else we have on hand and hope for the best. Last week, we had cinnamon walnut granola. This week was chocolate chip pecan! The possibilities are endless. I told my friends, who were begging for the recipe for chocolate chip pecan granola, that granola making is more art than science for me. So I suppose, then, that it is my job to teach you all the art and inspire you to create your own amazing varieties of granola! It really is simple and fun!

Here is the basic mixture for any granola recipe I make. Just five ingredients!

Basic Granola Mixture:
4 cups oats
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/3 cup honey
salt to taste
cinnamon to taste

Combine all of these ingredients in a bowl. YOU CANNOT MESS THIS UP! You can melt the coconut oil if you want, but I refuse, because that would be more work, and the little chunks of coconut oil create wonderful little granola clusters! Feel free to add more honey, less honey, more salt, less salt, lots of cinnamon, no cinnamon…this is your granola and, I repeat, you cannot mess it up! Be sure to taste it along the way as you make adjustments, too. That is half the fun!

Beyond this basic mixture, the possibilities are ENDLESS! Fruit? Nuts? Chocolate? Vanilla or other extracts? Experiment with what you have! I must say, the pecan chocolate chip is my favorite so far. It is simply the above granola base, some cocoa powder (2-3 tablespoons), some chocolate chips (1/4-1/2 cup, to taste), and chopped pecans (about 1/2 cup). I love some chocolate in my granola, but it can’t be too rich to eat with yogurt or fruit! So this little bit of chocolate, along with the pecans that roast perfectly as the granola bakes, is ideal for me. If you’re going for super simple, just add lots of cinnamon (to taste, of course!) to the basic granola mixture above and throw in some nuts of your choice, and you have a wonderful cinnamon honey nut granola that tastes like a warm oatmeal cookie!


  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Combine ingredients in a bowl. Stir them. Be creative. Taste them. Do not fear.
  3. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Pour granola masterpiece onto parchment paper and spread evenly.
  5. Bake for 60 minutes at 250 degrees, stirring every 15 minutes. If desired, drizzle additional honey or melting ingredients (such as chocolate chips!) on top of the granola before returning it to the oven—this helps create additional yummy clusters!
  6. Let cool.
  7. Enjoy!

Be brave. Be creative. And let me know what delicious combinations you discover!

Monday, January 13, 2014

twice baked sweet potato skins

A few weeks ago, I ran across a recipe for twice baked sweet potato skins. Since Beth LOVES eating the skins when we have baked potatoes, I figured she was also a fan of twice baked potatoes and loaded potato skins. Needless to say, I was shocked to find out that she had never had them before! With this recipe, we changed that. Better late than never.

These guys are easily adaptable for vegan and gluten-free diets, so you can enjoy them by yourself or with any and ALL of your friends! The recipe is super flexible and more of a general guide, so make however many you’d like with whichever toppings you prefer. We made two varieties, one sweet and one savory. The sky is the limit, though, and we would love to hear about other toppings you try!




Small sweet potatoes (1-2 per person; choose wisely since you’ll be eating the skin)
Coconut oil or butter

Sweet Topping Suggestions:
Brown Sugar
Chopped walnuts
Salt, if desired (we LOVED ours with some salt!)

Savory Topping Suggestions:
Shredded cheddar cheese or your choice of vegan cheddar “cheese”
Steamed broccoli florets
Salt and pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Wash and dry sweet potatoes. If desired, coat the potato skin in oil and salt. Place on baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes.
  2. Remove from oven, cool until they are cool to the touch, then cut in half. Scoop out the flesh of the sweet potatoes and place in a mixing bowl, leaving a thin layer of sweet potato still in the skin.
  3. Oil the sweet potato skin “boat” with either coconut oil or butter (I prefer coconut oil to butter in the sweet version, even though I am not vegan myself!) and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  4. While the skins are baking, combine the sweet potato flesh with your desired toppings.
  5. Divide mixture equally and place in sweet potato “boats,” adding additional toppings if desired.
  6. Bake skins for an additional five minutes to warm (and melt cheese, if necessary) before serving. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

carrot cake cupcakes!

Happy 2014! May your year be full of much joy and love! 
While enjoying our extended stay at my wonderful in-laws' in Ohio on this lovely snowy day, I decided to whip something up with the Tofutti's "Better Than Cream Cheese" and Earth Balance I picked up during a recent Kroger grocery trip. It seems that these extra, splurge vegan products cost way more in Chicago, so I was excited to make something special with them when I found them for reasonable prices in Ohio! I found a fabulous carrot cupcake recipe here and modified slightly. The cupcakes turned out delightful, and the icing makes a very yummy vegan cream cheese icing. Enjoy these tasty treats especially with the happy thought that no animals were harmed in their making!

Cupcake ingredients: 
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of sea salt
½ cup packed organic, fair-trade brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup grated organic carrot
¼ cup unrefined coconut oil
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
¾ cup almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ tablespoon lemon juice

Icing ingredients:
1/2 of 8 oz container non-hydrogenated Tofutti Cream Cheese 
1/8 cup non-hydrogenated Earth Balance vegan spread
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Vanilla to taste

1. Mix and stir dry ingredients together. 
2. Melt coconut oil, and then mix all ingredients together well. 
3. Spoon batter evenly (about ¾ cup) into lined or oiled muffin pans. 
4. Bake at 365 F for 20 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack until completely cooled. 
5. Mix Tofutti cream cheese and Earth Balance together with an electric mixer or whisk. 
6. Gently fold in vanilla and powdered sugar in ½ cup increments until desired taste and consistency. 7. Spread or pipe on icing.
8. Eat immediately or refrigerate. Enjoy!