Living a balanced life with lots of creative food, exercise and exploration!

Quick Three Bean Chili, Bulgar Salad, and Muffin Fail

The first week of the new year has gone well! After a few days of the vegan diet, I already felt an increase in energy (despite not sleeping terribly well!) I did Zumba Thursday night, ran 3 miles at a steady pace on Friday, and 4 miles at an interval pace on Saturday.

I have a couple recipes for you guys. I’m trying to put more of a precedence on cooking in the hopes of eating out less which will mean eating healthier and cheaper!

First up, a quick, Crock Pot Chili. I read somewhere that black eyed peas are gonna be all the rage in 2014…For good reason, apparently they are “meant to bring good luck and prosperity in the new year.”  The good luck vibes go back pretty far, as the Jewish tradition of eating black-eyed peas at Rosh Hashanah dates back to the Talmud!  Perhaps the good luck can be attributed to their fabulous nutritious attributes.  They are low in calories (only 70 cal per serving), with 3 grams of protein.  So, while they have a slightly lower protein content than other beans, they are still a great source of soluble fiber.  It doesn’t stop there though, they also have a ton of potassium, zinc, and iron.  Yuuuummy.

So, I picked up some black eyed peas, red kidney beans, sweet corn and stewed tomatoes.  I had to go into work on Sunday, so I threw it all in the crock pot and let ‘er rip!  The fiance doled us both out healthy servings, having the table set when I came home 🙂 #totalwin


  • 1 can each: Black eyed peas, Dark Kidney Beans, Light Kidney Beans
  • 1 small can sweet corn (no sauce or syrup)
  • 1 can fire roasted stewed tomatoes
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes
  • 1/2 tbs each of: chili powder, cumin, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tbs each of: smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder
  • 1/2 bag of chopped baby carrots, raw

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I put it on high for 4 hours, and everything melded together beautifully.  Conor said it was one of my best chili’s 🙂

For lunches for the week, I went to my go to lunch salad recipe.  Here’s the thing, even as a vegetarian, I’m not a salad fan.  Bringing a plain lettuce salad to work for lunch is about the surest way to guarantee I’ll go out.  Maybe I just haven’t found a dressing I like.  Alas, I like these grain-based ones much better!

Basic Grain and Greens Recipe

  • Dark leafy Greens

(I prefer kale, often I lightly steam it, or spinach)

  • Grains

(I used bulgar wheat this round, but I’ve also used quinoa, amaranth, barley, freekah, and other grains!  They’re fun to play around with, you can find a good variety at Whole Foods or Trader Joes)

  • Veggies

mix your colors and cooking methods! (I like to always have an orange and green, this time I used steamed sweet potato and green beans, but you can use carrots, peppers, broccoli etc)

I also threw in some roasted beets for texture.  Just buy the canned sliced beats, drain them with a paper towel, and roast at 400 for 20 min on one side, 10-12 on the other.  Sprinkle with seasoned salt.

I season each element as I cook it.  My go to’s are garlic powder and seasoned salt.  If it’s a little dry, I add soy sauce.  I don’t have a sodium issue, and actually have really low blood pressure so sodium isn’t an issue for me (thankfully!).  For a little kick, I love me some Sriracha.  YUM.

So, I like messing with this recipe.  No matter what, you get a filling and fulfilling, protein, fiber, vitamin packed lunch that I can actually look forward to.

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The rest of my Sunday morning was spent making vegan blueberry muffins.  Now, I won’t post the recipe, they were a total fail.  They were heavy, flavorless and dry.  Boo.  I got the recipe from Forks over Knives which I totally love.  I’ll tweak it, probably mix in some regular flour or pastry flour with the whole wheat flour, add some apple sauce for moisture perhaps.  But hey, ya win some you lose some 😉

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Side note-I don’t normally use so many canned goods.  My other alternative to the chili was going to be a tofu stir fry, with plain tofu and fresh veggies.  I just didn’t have the time for the chopping/prepping amidst the trial prep, so I went with the easier option!

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Super Easy 5-ingredient Chili Recipe

On these cold holiday season days, sometimes all you want is something nice and warm in your belly to warm you from the inside out.  Last week I whipped up this super easy chili.  I don’t have a crock pot, but I would recommend one for this project if you have one!

Anyhoo, Here are the ingredients:

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  • 3/4 cup dried lentils
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can light kidney beans
  • 1 can dark kidney beans
  • 1 can tomatoes
  • Optional: Chili seasoning packet (This is the “Super Easy” part!)

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  • Simmer the lentils in 1 1/2 cup water and 1/3 seasoning packet until they go from bright orange to a light orangey-yellow and fluff up

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  • Add another cup of water, and bean assortment

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  • Add as much more of the packet as you like (I added a little over a 1/3 more)
  • Bring to a boil, then simmer on low until it reaches the consistency you like
  • Enjoy 😉

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Carmelized Tofu

Due to a routine doctor visit, I let myself take a full afternoon off.  And it was lovely!  Time to leisurely go to the grocery store, pick out good ingredients for dinner, marinate and cook tofu, read for pleasure….man was it nice!  Plus, I got to feel slightly scandalous that I wasn’t at work :0

Anyhoo, so what did I cook?  A really fun Carmelized Tofu recipe.  The Boy really likes all things sweet, and has been known to add cinnamon to tofu, so I thought I’d try this one out.  I made substitutions based on what was on hand, but the basic recipe and method was great.  The tofu wound up being super delicious and a totally different spin.

*excuse the cell phone pictures!


  • 1/4 c rice wine or dry sherry – I used apple cider
  • 2 ts rice vinegar – I used regular vinegar
  • 1/4 c soy sauce
  • 1 t toasted sesame oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 t minced fresh ginger

  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 lb extra-firm tofu, patted thoroughly dry and cut into 2 x 2x 1/3-inch pieces
  • 2 Tbs vegetable oil
  • 1/2 c thinly sliced white onion
  • 4 or more dried small red chilies (optional) – I used a chopped cerrano pepper
  • 5 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced – regular onion


  • Marinate and dry tofu (I always use my go to rub for tofu, adds a good base flavor – garlic powder, onion powder, and pepper; I usually don’t use salt because it just absorbs it, and I’ll usually add soy sauce or salt later); I let it sit for about a half hour before starting to cook.
  • Whisk the first 5 ingredients with sugar until sugar dissolves

  • Heat oil over high heat. Lay the tofu squares in the skillet in a single layer
  • Fry until golden brown on one side, about 4 minutes
  • Flip the tofu and immediately pour in the sauce; add the onions and pepper. The sauce will sputter and begin to caramelize.
  • Keep a close eye on it, and move the tofu around a little bit to let the sauce get under it. Continue cooking until the sauce has thickened and become a fairly thick glaze coating the tofu, about 4 minutes more

Yum!  I was really intrigued by how the soy sauce (super thin) thickened when added to the heat and other ingredients.

On the side I just roasted some veggies that were on sale – asparagus and carrot.

Aren’t they lovely?

I chopped the veggies into similar sized chunks, then tossed them lightly with olive oil and Italian seasonings.  Bake at 400 for about 15 minutes and they get all roasty toasty delicious!

Final Product:

Note on ingredient substitutions – Google is a beautiful thing.  Don’t have rice wine or sherry?  Google substitutions.  Google tells me that the point of the rice wine is to add some acid to the mix with some sweetness, and that apple juice can work as a substitute.  I had apple cider on hand and it worked fabulously 🙂

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Moroccan Butternut Squash Tagine

Well Hello There! I’ve missed you all!  I’m so sorry I’ve been terribly derelict in my blogging duties.  With work and the holidays, I just haven’t found the time.  But, I’ve still been cooking!  I’ll be sharing my most recent recipes with you all in the next few days 🙂

First up:  Moroccan Tagine. 

What on earth is that you may ask?  While I feel cool saying it, truth is I didn’t actually know what it was until I first found one of these recipes a few years ago.  And it was DELICIOUS.  The general definition is a North African stew consisting of spices and veggies.  The name comes from what it is supposed to be cooked in (a tagine) buuuut, a deep soup pot worked just fine.

But, problem is, I lost that recipe in one of my million moves.  #fail.  Anyhoo, I scoured the internet in search of recipes, and thought this one would be a good jump start.  Here are the ingredients recommended and what I used, and I left off what I didn’t want to add.

Stars of the show:


  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 small onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper my new smoked paprika!
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste pumpkin puree
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 sweet potato, cut into chunks Didn’t have any, so I just used extra squash
  • 2 carrots, cut into chunks
  • Added: 3-4 cups chopped kale
  • 2.5 cups vegetable stock or broth, divided
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 20-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Instructions:  Really easy.

  1. Heat the oil and cook onions until soft
  2. Add spices and pumpkin puree, cook until fragrant
  3. Add veggies and toss to coat, then add in the broth and lemon juice.  Bring to simmer.
  4. Cook partially covered over low heat for 25 minutes until everything is tender, then add chickpeas and simmer another 5-10 min.  Add Kale in just a few minutes before finished.  Don’t overcook your veggies (like I did) – remember you’ll be reheating this so cook them until just barely tender.

Yum!  Such a warm, fall stew that makes your belly feel full and happy 🙂

Notes:  Why pumpkin puree?  Because I didn’t have tomato paste and I figured they have similar consistencies, plus, why buy a thing of tomato paste for 1 tbs, knowing you won’t use the rest!  I had pumpkin puree leftover so I just popped that in.

Also, *someone* (me, cough cough) forgot to get chickpeas and carrots…so I cooked them separately and added them in.  I definitely think the recipe needs them to add more flavors and textures.  Adding them later worked just fine, I boiled each separately and spiced with a similar blend as the tagine, and plopped them in.  They soaked in and melded quite well.

Smoked Paprika?  Usually $6-10.  Trader Joes? $1.50.  Boom.  Bought it without thinking twice!  So excited.  it’s smoky and warm but still has good spice.

It was good…but not quite as good as last time.  I’ll keep working on it because it’s such a great fall/winter lunch.

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Pumpkin Pie Pop Tarts!

I’ve been eyeing this recipe for a long time, but never have time to sit down and make a legit pastry!  Well, thank you Hurricane…before the power threatens to go out, I decided to get down to business.

Note:  I intended to do actual business…even going into work to get stuff to do on my couch.  Guesses on how that turned out?

You can find the recipe here.  It’s on a blog called “Healthy, Happy Life,” on the  Truth be told, it seems like every time I click on a vegan delight on, it’s a link to this blog!  Seriously, go check it out, everything looks so yummy 🙂


For starters, just combine the dry ingredients for the dough with the butters.

Then, slowly add cold water.  I added about 3 tbs.gently mix together until it forms a ball, and cool in freezer.  I also added about 1/8 cup sugar to the pastry dough, and in retrospect wish I would have added a little vanilla to sweeten it up, maybe 1/2 ts.

While the dough was chilling, I made the pumpkin butter…which was yummy.  I added 1/8 cup sugar, 3/4 ts of vanilla and 1/4ts of almond to the pumpkin butter.  What can I say, I like me some sweetness!

Pre melting:

Post melting:

Mmmm.  Only problem:  Recipe called for pumpkin pie spice.  I’ve never bought or had a premade pumpkin pie spice, maybe because I always had my mom who adds her very own, very delicious, spices to pumpkin pie. Betty Crocker to the rescue again!  She has an emergency substitution section, and pumpkin pie spice is one of them.

Blog, once again, won’t let me turn the picture!

Roll out dough.  Don’t overmix…I’m telling this to myself mostly, because I did :/  I decided, after cutting out the pastries, that it was too thick.  I then balled the dough up again, and rolled it out.  At this point, the dough got pretty rubbery…and not “light” like it’s supposed to be.  Silly Ashley.  Ugh.  Anyway, I always LOVE using my rolling pin.  Something about it just makes me feel happy 🙂

What’s that I used for my pastry cutter?  The top to Hershey’s cocoa powder!  I don’t have a broad array of cutters…or really any for that matter…and looking around the kitchen for something to cut with, it seemed like the perfect size 🙂

I decided to make mini-pastries, mainly so there would be more of them to take to work 😉

I added a healthy tablespoon of pumpkin butter on each piece, and closed them up.  Next up, crimping the sides and pressing together with a fork.  This makes them look all cute and professional.  Oh, and keeps the gooey stuff inside!

Pre bake:

Finished Product:

Inside look…ooh yummy pumpkin butter and glaze!

I was right about the dough, it wasn’t as light and flaky as I imagine it was meant to be…totally my fault for over mixing/rolling.  Otherwise, I would like to figure out how to put more pumpkin butter in (which was delightful) without the whole thing busting.

All in all, fabulous way to spend a rainy day and unexpected day off work 🙂

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Lunch Recipe: Roasted Caulifower, Chickpea and Kale Salad

Inspired by recipes I’ve been seeing for Roasted cauliflower soups and sides, I decided to pick some up and try it out.  Upon arriving at Wegmans, I was greeted with a special treat, Orange cauliflower!  I’ve seen purple before on TV, but never in person.  I scooped some up, excited to see if this variety had more flavor than its paler cousin.

Flavor isn’t the only thing the brightly colored vegetable offers:  It also has 25 TIMES the Vitamin A than white cauliflower, which adds to the super fibrous and Vitamin C packed food.


  • Half of a large head of Orange Cauliflower
  • steamed kale (leftovers!)
  • 1 can chick peas
  • 1 package of cherry tomatoes
  • Mixture of Pumpkin seeds and tamari pumpkin seeds (yum!)

I kept it pretty simple, and since I had already steamed a bunch of kale last week, I only had to throw the Cauliflower in the oven and saute the chick peas.


  • Cut/break apart the cauliflower into bite size pieces and arrange on Cooking sprayed cookie sheet

  • Drizzle with Olive Oil, then Season with salt, pepper, garlic, cumin, and oregano – as liberally as you’d like – then toss with your hands to coat
  • Bake at 400 degrees for about 25-30 minutes, until the pieces start to brown

Who knew orange cauliflower turns BRIGHT yellow when cooked!

For the chick peas, I just heated some cooking spray in a pan, and threw in some drained/rinsed chick peas.  I seasoned them with the same spices as above, plus some chili powder for a little spice.  I cook them for a few minutes, until they absorb the seasonings and get a little crust, then I cover the pan with foil to let them steam a bit, so they’re not so hard on the inside.

Once everything cooled, I just tossed it all together with some cherry tomatoes, tamari pumpkin seeds, and Thai ginger dressing.

This salad is pretty nutrient dense:

  • Kale offers anti-inflammatory effects, in addition to tons of iron, vitamins K, A, and C.  Plus Calcium, in a form that is more easily absorbed by your body than animal-based sources.
  • The Cauliflower, as I said above, is a great source of fiber, and vitamins C and A
  • Chickpeas boast lots of both soluble and insoluble fiber, which is great for digestion, and protein, with about 8g of protein to 2g fat per 1/2 cup, plus some added iron
  • Tomatoes offer lycopene and vitamins A and C
  • The pumpkin seeds offer some protein, but mainly just some super salty crunchy goodness, without processed croutons or anything else

All in all, not too shabby!  Also, I’ve been noticing I’ve been bruising more frequently, so I’m trying to up the iron intake and see if that helps 🙂


Quick Lunch Recipe: Tofu, Kale and Avocado wrap

Hey there!  And we’re back with another lunch recipe 🙂  I try every week to set up my lunches for the week so that they’re quickly grabable and easily accessible, thus *theoretically* setting me up for a healthy and inexpensive week.

I’ve had some Trader Joe’s baked Tofu in the freezer for a while (see brand below), as well as some leftover kale, so I decided to use those as a base.  Instead of mayonnaise for moisture, I mashed up some avocado.  Then I added some lettuce and tomato for crunch and flavor, and that’s it!

I started by steaming the kale.  I pretty much can’t eat completely raw kale…it’s just too tough and hard to chew, plus not the awesomest flavor.  So I usually just steam it up pretty quickly, just enough to soften it up and brighten the color.


  1. Trim Kale of stems and cut into 1-2 inch chunks
  2. Put about 1tbs water in a large saute pan
  3. Toss Kale in water, and steam for about 5-10 minutes, until all the leaves turn bright green – see how bright below!
  4. Remove from heat and season (I used garlic salt and seasoned salt)

While that’s cooking, I sliced to tofu in thin strips, and cooked them in another frying pan coated with cooking spray until lightly golden on each side.

While both of those were cooling, I sliced up half an avocado, placed the chunks in a bowl, and mashed.  I then added a healthy skirt of lime juice and a sprinkle of garlic.

Sorry the pic is sideways, currently fighting with wordpress….

To assemble:

Spread 1 tbs of avocado on bottom, add a layer of kale, then tomato, then kale again (which prevents the tomato from making the wrap all soggy!), then tofu.  Wala!

I used Trader Joe’s Low Carb Wheat Tortillas.  Their nutrition facts are pretty awesome: 45 calories, 2g fat, 7g fiber and 4 g protein!  Many tortillas I looked at were around twice the calories and fat, without the fiber and protein.  I’m not sure how so much nutrition is packed into these little things, but I’ll take it.  One Tortilla is pretty small, so most people would probably want 2, but they’re so light, you don’t have to feel bad about it!  They taste pretty good, albeit a little chewy, but they totally work for this type of recipe.

My only problem with the baked tofu is that while it’s super easy and already flavored, it can be pretty dry.  In this recipe, the tomato and avocado mask that, but just be warned 🙂

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Vegan-ized Betty Crocker Banana Bread

Well hello there all!  So a week out from my half marathon and finally recovered (for the most part!).  The most lingering issue has been a gnarly blister on my toe which caused me to limp alllll week.  Pretty embarrassing, but I did wind up being able to brag that I did a half marathon when people asked me what happened 😉

Anyhoo, when we got home from the beach, my entire apartment smelled like rather ripe bananas.  Which, as any fan of quick breads knows, means it’s time for banana bread!  Ever since I can remember, my mom and I have been making Banana bread (or zucchini or carrot bread) from Betty Crocker.  There’s something so nostalgic and comforting about the smell of fresh baked banana bread coming out of the oven, it reminds me of home and makes my heart happy.  I haven’t made the recipe in a while and decided it was time to veganize it!

I’ll show you Betty’s version, crossed out with my ingredients.  Not terribly much to change since the main ingredients are bananas, sugar, and flour.


  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter Earth Balance Buttery Spread (softened)
  • large eggs flax eggs (6 tbs of hot water, 2 tbs of flax, and about 1/2 ts of psyllium husk, stirred and soaked for a few minutes until reaching the texture of scrambled eggs)
  • 1 1/2 cup mashed very ripe bananas (3 medium)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk Light Soy milk
  • 1 ts vanilla (I use about 3/4 ts vanilla and 1/2 ts almond – because that’s what my mommy taught me!)
  • 1 ts baking soda
  • 1 ts salt


  • Heat oven to 350*
  • Grease bottoms of two 8×4 inch loaf pans
  • Mash bananas

  • Stir sugar and butter until well mixed, then add in eggs
  • Stir in bananas, milk and vanilla
  • Beat entire mixture until smooth, but don’t over mix
  • Then add dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, and salt) until just moistened

  • Divide batter evenly and bake for about 1 hour

According to Betty, each slice (not sure what that means, but I’m guessing maybe 3/4 inch) has the following nutrition facts:  70 calories, 2g fat, 0g fiber, 1g protein


In my humble opinion, my vegan banana bread was every bit as delicious as what I remember from cooking with my mom.  Granted, one loaf wasn’t entirely vegan because I had a request to add milk chocolate chips, and I haven’t found any vegan ones!  Anyone else??  But, I brought the plain one into work, and it seemed fairly well received 🙂

Also, I added the psyllium husk to my flax egg to make it more viscous.  I’ve added it to other things just to add the digestive health element and it always makes things (other than smoothies) gummy…in a not good way.  But, for a flax egg…perfect time to add it!  Worked out rather well.


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Vegan Chocolate Peanutbutter Cupcakes

Chocolate.  And Peanut butter.  Could there be a better combination?  I know, peanut butter and jelly, but really, chocolate has to win.  Mmmm.

So, when I saw a recipe for vegan. chocolate. peanut butter. cupcakes. on, I HAD to try it.  I follow the blog pretty regularly (Check out their website to the right 🙂 ), and am often enticed by their recipes.  Unfortunately, I let the recipe sit on my desk for over a month, having no reason or time to bake such a lovely thing.  Then, someone needed baked goods for a Potluck!  Bingo.  Someone else buys the ingredients, I get to have fun and bake and decorate and eat…but not be stuck with over 3 dozen cupcakes to eat myself.  Perfect.  Off we go!

Note: vegan-ized the recipe from Smitten Kitchen’s Chocolate peanut butter cake, and they did a fabulous job!  I didn’t really modify the recipe, figured I’d stick to it since it was my first attempt 🙂



  • 6 tablespoons applesauce
  • 2-1/4 cups soy milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1-1/2 cups wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups unbleached cane sugar (I used Sugar in the Raw)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda


  • 10 8 ounces Tofutti vegan cream cheese, at room temperature (one container)
  • 4 ounces Earth Balance (or other butter substitute), at room temperature
  • 5 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 2/3 cup smooth peanut butter (I used Skippy Natural)

Instructions: (abbreviated)

  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Insert cupcake liners into a medium cupcake pan.
  • Whisk together all wet ingredients and dry ingredients in separate bowls, then combine

  • Bake for approximately 20 minutes
  • Cool and then frost

For the Frosting:

  • Beat the cream cheese and Earth Balance until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar — 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl often. (Doing it 1 cup at a time is VERY important.)  **I missed this detail, and had to shovel out the extra sugar before mixing…oopsie!
  • Continue to beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Add the peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended.

My super awesome frosting tool, tried out for the first time!  And also kinda looks like a mideaval torture device…

The whole crew.

Close Up:


I would only say that I wound up with too much frosting (probably because the original recipe called for a layered cake), and this isn’t exactly a dietetic dessert.  Mainly the caloric culprit is the frosting, which was of course the most delicious part.  But when you have a recipe with cream cheese, butter, and sugar…it’s not gonna be healthy, vegan or no!  Then again, frosting isn’t really that bad of a thing to have left over for other treats…

Also, I didn’t add the topping, I didn’t think they needed it!

Mine Yielded 1 dozen regular cupcakes, 2 dozen mini cupcakes, and about 8 more in a separate, I get to keep these, batch.  So the recipe does yield alot.  I’d guess 28-32 regular sized, so at least 2.5 dozen.  Or about a bazillion mini’s 🙂

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Recipe: Tempeh Burgers with Corn and Kale Chips

The return of the recipe!  With the spirit of summer, I wanted to create a new veggie burger.  I had tried making a black bean one before…and it was an overall fail.  Super sticky and hard to make patties, and really dry once cooked.  I looked around the internet and borrowed some techniques and advice from various places.

I modified the technique found here.  So, if you think of tempeh and go, ew, its all grainy and weird, then read this post.  This part summarizes exactly how I feel about tempeh!  Thanks so much, Debbie!  And great blog 🙂

“Ah, tempeh. Tempeh is a fermented soy product that has a chewy texture and somewhat nutty flavor. I have a love/hate relationship with tempeh. I love it when I have a Scorpion Burger at Native Foods. I hate it when I try to make my own version. And I couldn’t figure out why. Until now. I read a lot of vegan cooking blogs, and unfortunately, I can’t remember where I got this tip in order to give credit where it is due. It is so simple that it may be universally known and I was the only one who was out of the loop. The key to tasty tempeh? As simple as steam. I now steam my tempeh for about 15-20 minutes before preparing it. Steaming removes some of the bitter taste and allows the tempeh to soak up any marinade or sauce that is used in its preparation.”

Aha!  Steam!  Perhaps this was the secret!  So, I set about employing this new revelation, along with a recipe I found at Veg News, right here.  This recipe seemed to have a good list of spices, so I used it as a starting point.  Plus, the recipe also incorporated the steaming technique I found above.

Let us begin 🙂


  • 1 8 ounce package of tempeh (side note – super cheap at Trader Joe’s!)
  • 1/4 ts of basil, cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 ts oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, and cumin
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tbs ketchup
  • 1/8 cup italian bread crumbs (I ran out of flour)
  • 1 flax egg (1tbs ground flax mixed with 3 tbs of warm water)

Note:  I know it seems like a lot of ingredients, but I basically just threw in all the spices my mom and I used to use when we made burgers.  We like them flavorful!  with the exception of the cayenne, I think she’d approve 🙂  She also always added ketchup (for moisture maybe?) and an egg to hold it all together, so I followed that mold.


  • Cut the tempeh into thirds and place in a steamer.  Steam for 15-20 minutes
  • Meanwhile, mix together all the ingredients except the bread crumbs and the egg
  • Remove the tempeh from the steamer, and carefully cut into small pieces
  • Toss in the marinade and mix thoroughly using either an air tight container or a zip lock to ensure even coating
  • Let the tempeh sit in the marinade for at least a half hour, or until you’re ready to cook
  • Pour the tempeh into a food processor, and add the flour and flax egg and whiz until you get the proper consistency  (I used my mini blender because I don’t have a food processor, worked fine, but I had to do half batches!)
  • Pour the tempeh mixture out and form into 4 patties
  • To cook:  Cook over medium heat in a well cooking sprayed pan for about 6-7 minutes per side (or until a crust forms)
  • Enjoy!

I served the burgers with corn I boiled for about 3-4 minutes and then topped with Earth Balance and Garlic salt, and some Kale chips.  I’ve been making Kale chips for a while now, and LOVE them.  All you do is chop up some kale (which takes forever, you can also buy it pre-chopped), toss in a light drizzling of olive oil, and bake on 375 for about 12-15 minutes, tossing every 5 minutes or so to make sure it cooks evenly. 

When it comes out, I just sprinkle with some seasoned salt and I have a crispy, healthy delicious side dish 🙂


Finished Dish all together, lovely summer feast!

Tips for next time:  Definitely screwed up the cooking process.  I had them cooking on low, got impatient, and cranked it up to high.  This resulted in the outside getting a nice crust, but the inside didn’t really come together properly!  Anyhoo, I’ll leave you with the close up shot 🙂

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