Tag Archives: Healthy snack

Quinoa and Black Bean Veggie Burgers

11 Feb
Black bean and quinoa patty with avocado and cilantro.

Black bean and quinoa patty with avocado and cilantro.

I recently stabbed myself in the hand. Like, a good one. Needed a few stitches and an update on a few vaccinations. My left pinky still does not open all the way.

I won’t get into the story, just know that every day that I do not set myself on fire or slice off a finger is a good day in the kitchen for me. Why am I even telling you about this then? Because I had to delay my Bikram yoga practice. I wasn’t going to take an open wound into a room full of other peoples sweat (read: germ) particles floating thru the almost non-existent air. And no, I did not stab myself in the hand to get out of Bikram yoga (or did I)?

So I went after my run miles with gusto, because I don’t need hands for that.  I’m back to starving all of the time. How does one person cook all day and not find time to sit down for a meal? I am quit the specimen.

The view during my runs. No problem.

The view during my runs. No problem.

These here veggie burgers/patties are so stinking good. I think I ate an entire batch in less than 24 hours. The pain in my arm from all the shots makes the timeline fuzzy…

Anyhow, they are savory and delicious. They are incredible with a big dollop of guacamole, or a few slices of avocado and tomato. You can eat them on top of a salad, sandwiched between a bun like a burger, maybe wrapped in a leaf of romaine: protein style. Even straight out of the pan and over the sink. Did that. One handed.

They also happen to be highly portable. These patties make a great snack or lunch or dinner. You can make a big batch and freeze them, so that you have something  healthy in times of need. I’m totally going to toot my own horn here and say that these are better than any frozen veggie burger I have ever tried. I’ve tried a few.

Why you should eat this? 

Quinoa: learn it, love it. A seed that cooks like a grain, Quinoa is a true superfood (and I hate that term). Quinoa is highly regarded for its protein content, which is about 14% by weight. It is a complete protein making it ideal for those who eat a vegetable based diet (or people who should eat more Quinoa). Its full of fiber, high in magnesium, potassium, and calcium.  For Pete’s sake: whole South American civilizations subsisted off of Quinoa as their main source of nutrition for centuries!

Quinoa cooks at the same 1:2 ratio as rice, but this bionic seed cooks faster. That alone should get you to swap out your brown rice habit for a quinoa one.

Quinoa and Black Bean Veggie Burgers (Servings: 8-10 patties)

  • 1 ½ cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 6 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
  • 1 ½ cups cooked black beans, or 1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F

Diced onion and sun-dried tomato.

Diced onion and sun-dried tomato.

Saute onions and sun-dried tomatoes. (The oil from the tomatoes should be enough to saute the onion.) Cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until onion has softened. Stir in ¾ of the black beans, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper. Simmer for a few minutes. Make sure that the onions get a little brown on them. You want that depth of flavor. Believe it.


Transfer bean-onion mixture to food processor, add ¾ cup cooked quinoa, and process until smooth.


Transfer to bowl, and stir in remaining ¾ cup quinoa and remaining black beans. If the mix is dry, add a little water. If it is too watery add more Quinoa. The consistency should ‘hold up’ in the shape of a burger.

Season with salt and pepper, if needed and cool.

Beauties ready to go.

Beauties ready to go.

Shape bean mixture into 8-10 patties, depending on how big or small you’d like them. In order for there to be consistency you can use either a 1/4 or 1/2 cup dry measure to scoop the mix out of the bowl. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment.

Bake 20 minutes, or until patties are crisp on top. Flip patties, and bake 10 minutes more, or until both sides are nice and brown.

Serve how you’d like and enjoy!

I will get back to Bikram once my hand heals. I will finish out the package that I bought and get back to you guys about it. Promise.

Trust me. So good,



Cashew Cream and Fresh Fruit

24 Mar

This is a treat. A creamy, sweet, decadent, protein rich, and delicious TREAT. The beauty here is that it is so easy. So incredibly versatile. SO stinking good, you will be blown away by how good this is AND its healthy? Getoutoftown!!  Caution if you share: people will ALWAYS ask you to make it. Which brings me to why I am sharing this with you. I make this pretty often for my clients, by request. I feel like it needs to be put out in the universe to work its magic. I’m setting it free!!

I first had this tasty treat in culinary school, I think that one of our instructors made it as a snack for us students. I’m not sure that I ever saw a physical recipe.

I’m pretty sure the instructor explained it to me like I now find myself doing so often “its SO easy, just soaked cashews, maple syrup, pinch of salt, and vanilla extract”. Luckily for me, culinary school totally worked! I understand ratios well enough that I can throw this together sans recipe. HOWEVER, I realize that my few readers (Shout out, heeeyy!!!) will not be able to put this together with such a vague description.

So here it is.

My favorite way to eat this is to use apple slices as the vessel by which to stuff it in my face. Tart apples, like a Pink Lady, Granny Smith, or Honeycrisp. You can eat it as I have it pictured above with some fresh fruit. This way you can take it in a small container and snack on the go. It is AMAZING as a whipped cream substitute for pies (pumpkin pie, for sure), tarts, or even cupcakes. Not a whole cake though, might be too dense for that. In fact the texture of this lends itself to a small dollop on a cake or pie, its not so stand up as a nut butter and its not quit as airy as a whipped cream. You can add a sprinkle of cinnamon if you want, cocoa powder, or nutmeg.  Honestly, you can also just eat it with a spoon as if its pudding… I may or may not be known to do this.

Why you should eat this? 

Cashews: Not only do cashews have a lower fat content than most other nuts, approximately 75% of their fat is unsaturated fatty acids, plus about 75% of this unsaturated fatty acid content is oleic acid, the same heart-healthy monounsaturated fat found in olive oil. Studies show that oleic acid promotes good cardiovascular health, even in individuals with diabetes. Studies of diabetic patients show that monounsaturated fat, when added to a low-fat diet, can help to reduce high triglyceride levels. Some people may avoid nuts because of their fat content, but recent studies actually prove that consuming healthy fats from good sources like nuts, in fact can be beneficial in keeping weight off.


Cashew Cream and Fresh Fruit

(Servings: Never enough )

  • 1 c. Raw Cashews, soaked over night
  • 1 tbsp. Maple Syrup
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Soak cashews in a covered bowl over night in the refrigerator. If you don’t plan well enough (what’s the problem??) you can get by with soaking them for at least 8 hours.

**Cashews need to be raw, which you can buy in the bulk section at a health food store. I’m not sure that this recipe will work as well if the nuts have been roasted and salted.

The cashews will have absorbed a good deal of the water, you want that. Magic stuff.

With a slotted spoon, add the cashews to a food processor or blender.

Save the reaming cashew water, you will need it to thin out the cashew cream.

Add the maple syrup, vanilla extract, and salt.

Add the water, one tablespoon at a time, and blend until the consistency is that of a thick whipped cream.

Taste and adjust the flavors if necessary. If you want it to be more sweet, maybe a little more maple syrup?

Serve with fresh sliced apples or any way discussed above.

Store in air tight container in the fridge.

Trust me, so good.



Mostly Muesli

7 Mar

Last year when I was eating my way though Italy,  there were times when I became desperate for something that resembled fiber. In a country full of pasta, rich meats, pasta, overly braised greens, pasta, and bread…. there it was, my morning solace: muesli. I loved to say that breakfast in Europe is mostly muesli (tongue twister).

Don’t call it granola.

Europeans will not know what you are talking about and then you will really have NO fiber. You’ll have to go chew on a cardboard box, believe me, I considered it. Fast forward to now and I rarely say granola anymore, it makes me sound worldly and well traveled. Honestly there is not a big difference in the two. I find that store bought granola tends to be more crunchy than store bought muesli. Muesli as an American adaption is more of a cereal and granola a more snack-on-the-go or yogurt topping.

This recipe really allows for all of those purposes. I make a big batch and keep it stored in an air tight container. I eat it with fresh fruit and almond milk like cereal. I also have it over yogurt, and keep it in a baggie for on-the-go-snacking. Its a really versatile recipe. This version is an ode to my Hawaiian roots. Lots of honey toasted coconut and dried pineapple. I sometimes go with raisins and cinnamon. Maybe even cranberries and yogurt (or white chocolate) chips. Let your imagination run wild, when you find a variation that you love, you may never buy boxed cereal or granola again.

Why you should eat this? 

Whole oats are an excellent source of  thiamine, iron, and fiber. Fiber is helpful in reducing cholesterol levels in the bloodstream. Oat products in general also contain beta-glucan, which may help people with Type 2 diabetes control their blood glucose level, and might also help stimulate the immune system to fight off bacterial infections. ** If you have diabetes, for this recipe, you might want to forgo the dried fruit. Dried fruit tends to be high in sugar content.

Hawaiian Muesli   (8 servings)

  • 6 c. of Rolled Oats
  • 1 c. raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 c. slivered almonds
  • 1 c. unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 tbsp. raw sesame seeds
  • 3/4 c. honey
  • 4 tbsp. vegetable oil (or coconut oil, my fave)
  • 1/4 c. dried pineapple, diced
  • 1/4 c. dried turkish apricots
  • 1/4c. unsweetened dried cranberries

*** If you do not normally shop in the bulk section at health food stores, this is a good recipe to start with! Bring your list and get to exploring the bins. It is easy and you will save a lot of money by shopping for just the amount that you need.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees

Put rolled oats into a large bowl. Add sunflower seeds, slivered almonds, shredded coconut and sesame seeds. Stir to combine. Set aside.

Heat honey and oil in a saucepan over low heat.

Pour the warm honey mixture over the dry ingredients and stir until they are well coated.

Spread the mixture on across two baking sheets and bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The mix should get a nice color brown, like a tan.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

You don’t get to rest during this time. MEANWHILE, dice up your dried fruit. Like this.

And like this.

When the oat mixture is cool, add your dried fruit.

Give a big stir and voila! You will love it.

Share the health and enjoy!