Cooking with Love

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In the end it’s worth it!

I just spent 2.5 hours in my kitchen experimenting on creating veggie burgers and trying to create a grilled corn salad with feta cheese, and had a blast! (Yes, both turned out yummy and amazing)  I know, I know, some of you who know me are thunder struck at this, as you know my unwillingness to venture in the kitchen, let alone try to cook in the past. Since I was little my mother, brother and oldest sister were phenomenal cooks, and every time my mom tried to get me to stick around in the kitchen and learn a how to, or tips & tricks, I ran away, very far away. (Said siblings were and are amazing cooks, and I’m grateful for the lessons I had the fun, and the honor of learning)

At that time though, cooking just wasn’t something that interested me. Since starting my journey back to health and with school this year, I’ve discovered that I just might have inherited that “cooking gene” after all. Never in a million years would I have guessed that I’d enjoy myself (as much as I did today) so much playing with food and working towards making something healthier for myself and family.  There’s something meditative about getting your senses immersed in the touch, smell and feeling of creating something healthy. From the aroma of fresh cut herbs of, mint, cilantro, parsley and basil to the fun of grilling ears of corn outside, my afternoon was filled with love, fun and great memories.

I used to purchase veggie burgers, as I felt it was a fast, healthy, and an easy solution to burgers, and, yes, at times it does has its place. Thinking of creating or making my own was beyond my skill set. (So I thought) After today, NOPE. Yes, it’s a little time consuming, however, my health and the health and well-being of my family is paramount to me, thus today I played in my kitchen. (I have a client, who with her help, I’d have been more efficient at creating this particular recipe)

To be honest, in the end it’s really not that hard, just a tad time consuming. However, my health and that of my family are worth it. The next time you feel like something isn’t worth your time, do a “check in” and reevaluate what’s really going through your head. I’m learning to walk on the wild side when it comes to cooking, and see where it leads me. I know everyone’s time is precious and limited, I encourage all of you to set a few hours aside when preparing meals for your family. For me, today, it was perfect as my afternoon was open. Take time and experiment, play, it’s sooooo worth it.

I got caught up in my kitchen today and had a ball. I know my mother is smiling from ear to ear, saying, “I told you so”. Thank you Madeline Hill for always trying to get me to play in your kitchen, I guess some of what you wanted me to learn really did sink in. At least the curiosity did.

Below you’ll find a copy of what I accomplished today, and yes I am defiantly going to write a cook book to go along with my Keeping It Real, A Journey of Change book.

That’s the next project for next year. Stay tuned…

The formula for your very own burger:
The Best Veggie Burger = Standard Ingredients + 2 Cups Chopped Veggies + 1 Cup Cooked Grains + 1 and 1/2 Cups Cooked Legumes + 1/2 Cup Flavor-Texture Booster + 3 Tsp. Spices + 1/2 Cup Dry Base

Choose your ingredients from the lists below based on what you have and then follow the instructions to build your best veggie burger.

STANDARD INGREDIENTS
1 medium onion, diced
1-2 garlic cloves
½ teaspoon salt
oil for cooking (e.g. olive oil, coconut oil, peanut oil)

2 CUPS VEGETABLES, FINELY DICED OR CHOPPED (PICK 1-3)
sweet potatoes
beets (golden or red)
carrots
mushrooms
spinach
kale
corn
squash
broccoli
cauliflower
artichokes
zucchini
bell peppers

1 CUP COOKED GRAINS (PICK 1)
millet
quinoa
bulgur
rice
buckwheat1

½ CUPS COOKED LEGUMES, LIQUID RESERVED (PICK 1-2)
canned beans (e.g. black, pinto, cannellini, kidney)
lentils (red or green)
chickpeas
soybeans
mung beans
adzuki beans
black eyed peas

½ CUP FLAVOR/TEXTURE BUILDERS (PICK 2)
fresh herbs, finely chopped (e.g. cilantro, basil, dill, parsley, thyme, sage, chives)
scallions, thinly sliced
chopped nuts (e.g. walnuts, almonds, pecans, cashews)
chopped sundried tomatoes
chopped olives
flax seeds
chia seeds
sesame seeds
mashed avocado
unsweetened nut butter (e.g. peanut, almond, cashew)
tahini

3 TEASPOONS SPICES (PICK 2-4)
cumin
chili powder
smoked paprika
cayenne powder
Italian seasoning
black pepper
fennel
oregano
curry powder
coriander
cinnamon
turmeric
citrus zest

½ CUP DRY BASE (PICK 1)
ground oats
cornmeal
bread crumbs
panko
almond meal

Directions:
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and salt and cook until the onion is translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add vegetables and cook until soft, 5-10 minutes.

Transfer the cooked vegetables to a food processor*. Add all remaining ingredients except the reserved bean liquid and frying oil. Pulse 5-10 times to combine. Don’t overdo it; you don’t want a paste!

Press the mixture between your fingers. If you can form a patty with it, you’re good to go. If it’s too crumbly, add the reserved bean liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it sticks together. If the mixture is too wet, add more of the dry base ingredient, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you reach the right consistency. Taste the mixture and add salt to your taste.

Form the mixture into 8 patties (about ⅓ cup of the mixture each) and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate the patties uncovered for 30 minutes. (Don’t skip this step! Resting will help the patties stay together.)

When ready to cook, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Cook 3-4 patties at a time until brown on one side, then flip and brown the other side. It should take about 3-4 minutes per side. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in the pan before cooking each batch of burgers.

Serve immediately or cool and then wrap each burger in foil, place them in a freezer bag, and freeze for later. Reheat in a dry pan on the stove, in the oven or in the microwave.

Enjoy,

In Health & Peace,

Kris

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