Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Mushroom Veggie Burger Recipe

Mushroom and eggplant burger on a whole wheat bun with garden fresh spinach, tomato and refrigerator pickles

I love a good veggie burger and enjoy giving new recipes a try.  The recipe in this video was the inspiration for a burger that has become my current favorite.  During the summer months, I even substituted eggplant for some of the mushrooms when the garden offered up an over-abundance.  (The mushroom/and eggplant version is pictured here.)

Here is my take on the original recipe:

Mushroom Veggie Burgers

(makes 6-8)

1 pound mushrooms (white button or portobellos)
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/2 bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup black olives, finely chopped
2 tablespoons Braggs amino acids or soy sauce
2 tablespoons barbeque sauce 
1 cup cooked brown rice
2 teaspoons garlic powder or 3-4 cloves garlic pressed or finely minced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper  (optional)
2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 to 1 cup rolled oats, oat flour or bread crumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil for cooking burgers

1.  Process the mushrooms in a food processor until mushy.
2.  Cook over medium heat in a skillet, stirring often until most of the water is cooked out.  Put in a large bowl.
3.  Using the same skillet, stir fry the onions and peppers until wilted.  Add to the bowl with the mushrooms.
4.  Add garlic, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, cumin, Braggs, barbeque sauce, olives and brown rice and 1/2 cup of the oats or breadcrumbs to the bowl.  

5.  Mix well.  
6.  If the mixture seems too moist, add more oats or breadcrumbs until the mixture holds together.
7. Shape into 6-8 burgers.  
8.  In a skillet heated over medium heat with olive oil, cook until browned on both sides, turning only once to keep from breaking apart
8.  Serve on buns with your favorite burger toppings.  

Thanks for reading!

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like:
Eggplant veggie burgers
Whole wheat sandwich rolls

Sunday, December 13, 2015

December Garden Update

Giant bowl of mixed greens:  rainbow chard, spinach, arugula and kale

At this time of year I'd normally be snuggled up in front of a cracking fire to write this post. However, this year, we've got the windows open and the warm weather feels more like late September than December.  Whether it's because of global warming, El Niño or just a normal shift in weather patterns, we are enjoying harvests far longer than usual.  Amazingly, the last of the summer peppers were just picked in mid-December!  The hoop frame tunnels only have a layer of light garden fabric over them instead of the usual layer of fabric topped by heavy plastic that is usually need to protect the fall and winter garden from cold weather.  Here are a few photos of the late fall garden as we head into winter.  

A view inside the fabric covered tunnel where collards, Swiss chard, beets, carrots, onion seedlings grow during the cool weather months

A sea of arugula

Tender spinach

Swiss chard

The last harvest of this summer peppers

Thank you for reading!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Highlights from this summer's garden

Most of the summer garden is gone as the days have grown shorter and the temperatures cooler.  Although the garden got off to a slow start because of a cool spring, production picked up and we were not disappointed with the variety in our harvests.  Here are some of my favorite garden photos from this year.

Sunflowers were abundant in the garden this year, and beautiful from both the front and back view.

Colorful lima beans

A day's harvest #1

A day's harvest #2

A day's harvest #3

A day's harvest #4

A day's harvest #5

Soy beans

Zinnia glamour shot

I hope you enjoyed the photos as much as I enjoyed taking them.  

Thanks for reading!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Discovering aquafaba - Vegan Lemon Pound Cake

Pound cake is a favorite dessert from my childhood, and every family seems to have a prized recipe.  My Aunt Carolyn makes one of the best as does my friend Lisa.  Now, how to make this delicious treat vegan friendly...

I was inspired by Popsugar's recipe for a vegan version of Starbuck's lemon pound cake and research into aquafaba (canned chickpea water) as an egg substitute.  Vegan baking can have mixed results as the chemistry isn't always quite right when you substitute for an ingredient like eggs, let alone all the dairy products in a recipe.  The finished recipe can sometimes be quite dense and sometimes more soggy than the original version; usually still edible, but not always as satisfying as imagined. That being said, I've had mostly good success with my vegan baking adventures because I do so much research to learn from others' mistakes beforehand.  I am happy that the aquafaba worked well and that I again have a great pound cake recipe for special occasions.

Vegan Lemon Pound Cake

makes 12 slices

Lemon cake:
1 1/2 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk
2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
2/3 cup almond meal (ground raw almonds)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup oil (coconut, olive, canola)
2/3 cup aquafaba (water drained from canned chickpeas)
Juice from half a small lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
grated lemon rind from half a small lemon
2 teaspoons almond extract

Lemon Icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
Juice from half a small lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
grated lemon rind from half a small lemon
1 -3 teaspoons non-dairy milk

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. 
  2. Lightly oil or spray a large loaf pan.
  3. In the medium bowl add the milk, aquafaba, vinegar, oil, lemon juice, and vanilla extract, grated lemon rind and mix well.
  4. Make a well in your dry ingredients, pour in the wet and stir until just combined and fairly smooth. 
  5. Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan, and bake for 45-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  6. Let sit for about 10 minutes before removing from the pan to cool thoroughly on a wire rack.
  7. Whisk together the powdered sugar, lemon juice and rinding for the icing and drizzle in just enough milk until you have a smooth icing that is not too thin.  
  8. Drizzle icing on top of the completely cool cake.

I'll definitely be ready with this cake next spring when the strawberries are ripe in the garden to make a strawberry shortcake.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Resource Library - when creativity needs inspiration

Some of my tools for creativity:  books, magazines, videos and art supplies

I'm always looking for a good book or website to get my creative spark ignited and get the next project going.  Every room of our house seems to be filled with books of one kind or another, tablets with access to ebook selections, blogs and podcasts and the Internet have all become our endless library that is open 24 hours a day.  My favorites are still books from second hand book shops, thrift stores, online used book sellers and The Book Thing in Baltimore, MD.  These provide me with frugal ways to keep my collection refreshed as well as an outlet to give retired selections a new home.  There are so many options that I sometimes have a hard time narrowing down my choices so I have time to actually to read them all or create the projects they inspire, but I enjoy taking in as much as I can.

I wanted to share some of my favorites with you so I created a resource library page on the Resourceful Cookie website.  You'll find my favorites cookbooks, gardening references, books on art techniques and inspiration of all kinds.  I'll keep updatng it as I find new resources, so check back from time to time.

If you have favorite books, movies or websites please share in the comments below.  I'm always looking for something new to explore and share with others.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Adventures in creativity: mixed media collage

My workspace during class time at the Smithsonian

This year has turned into one with a variety of unexpected creative adventures.  I have been exploring collage and mixed media art in more depth.  I am working on an online course, “30 Days of Collage” by Stephanie Levy. The course is filled with guest artist interviews and exercises to explore new techniques.  Luckily, it is a self-paced course as it is looking like my 30 days is turning into what might be 300 days.  The course officially ended in May, but I’m only about halfway through the material, fitting it in as I can.  I really enjoy carving out whatever time I can to immerse myself completely making a mess while thoroughly enjoying the process.

Here are a few samples of my completed assignments:

Pieces completed as exercises in the 30 Days of Collage course

I had been enjoying my online class so much, I started looking for a classroom experience.  I found the 6-week "Collage and Mixed Media" class taught by Marcie Wolf-Hubbard offered at The Smithsonian Associates.  I had no idea that the Smithsonian had so many classes from cooking to art to science.  It’s very inspiring  to enter the museum education center deep under the museum buildings and peek into the open doorways to see everyone working at easels and tables concentrating on learning their craft.  My class is made up of about a dozen students from novice to professional studio artists. It is so exciting to watch our different interpretations and applications of the lessons we learn.  So far, I only have a few projects completed with lots of others in various stages of completion as I'm finding this more an exercises in learning technique than making completed pieces.  Here is a sampling from my class work:

Smithsonian mixed media class work

And finally, my 2015 mixed media sketchbook from The Sketchbook Project that will reside in the Brooklyn Art Library has been digitized and can be viewed here.  The sketchbook is currently on a mobile national tour and will be back in Brooklyn, NY in the fall.  If you ever end up in New York City, you can take a subway ride over to Brooklyn and check out the sketchbooks in person.  In the meantime, you can see them all online.  

2015 Sketchbook cover

I have always had a passion for creating things by hand, and I’m really been enjoying this journey into mixed media.  I can’t wait to see where it leads.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Mid-summer garden tour

Raspberries, blackberries, string beans, potatoes, garlic scapes

Why is it that the day that I have time to do some much needed work in the garden, it is supposed to be the hottest day of the summer so far?  So I was outside at 7am trying to get done before the sun could do me in, but there was no escaping the oppressive humidity.

This year’s garden seems to be taking its sweet time to produce.  We had a late warm up for spring other than a brief abnormally summer-like hot couple of weeks early on and the heat now returning full blast.  We’ve had more rain than ever, recording the wettest June in the DC area in recorded history.  To further confound garden success, there has been a noticeable decline in the bee population and the flowers just don’t seem to be getting pollinated.  The foliage is beautifully lush from the rains, but fruit production so far has been lighter than in the past years.  This just makes me more aware how difficult it would be if we needed to produce enough food to be self sufficient.  

Views of some of the raised garden beds: 1 - eggplant, soybeans; 2 - tomatoes; 3 - squash, popcorn

The season still has plenty of time to unfold through July, August and into September.  I’m holding out hope that harvests will be more abundant in the coming months. In the meantime, I spent time getting the last spent plants from spring cleaned out and then planting for late summer and fall harvests.  Out with the straggly overwintered and spring plantings of peas, kale, collards, cilantro and lettuces that had bolted.  In went seeds for carrots, onions, a second crop of soybeans and lettuces that don’t mind a little heat.   

I hope you enjoy these few highlights from the garden this year:

Fruit and vegetable harvests

Eggplant, cucumber, patty pan squash, garlic scapes, basil, pineapple mint tarragon, garlic, green, purple and wax string beans

Eggplant, tomatoes, heirloom squash, green and purple string beans, Asian long and Asian broad beans







Thanks for reading!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Kitchen adventures: Vegan parmesan sprinkles

Vegan parmesan sprinkles on popcorn

I'm always looking for creative ways to pack more nutrition into any recipe but still have it taste great.  I'm always grating veggies into my recipes to replace some of the fat; like finely shredded zucchini or carrots into muffins, pancakes and waffles.  I also add a handful or two of spinach or kale to any smoothie without it changing the flavor but providing a vitamin and fiber boost.

Another thing I like to add to boost nutrition is spirulina.  It has been around in health food stores for quite a while, but is becoming more widely known as "superfoods" are gaining popularity.  It is a blue-green algae that is packed with nutrients.  Below is an infographic explaining the benefits of spirulina, and you can also learn more here.

Add some to your favorite homemade salad dressing or smoothie like in this smoothie bowl.

This bowl contains a spinach, raspberry, frozen banana and coconut water smoothie enriched with spirulina that is topped with granola, coconut, raspberries and drizzled with fig syrup.  Fantastic for breakfast or a snack.

Here's another tasty way to give spirulina a try as pictured at the top of the post:

Vegan parmesan sprinkles

makes approximately 1/3 cup

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons ground hemp seeds
1 teaspoon spirulina powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (optional)

Put all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.
To serve, sprinkle over pasta, popcorn, soup or salad.
Store in a covered container in the refrigerator.

I hope you give it a try.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Kitchen adventures: easy breakfast bowls

Freshly picked strawberries and greens become a breakfast smoothie bowl

Breakfast doesn't have to be complicated or time consuming to put together.  Using what you have on hand can make a hearty healthy breakfast in no time.  I love mixing lots of different textures in my bowl for a satisfying start to the day.

Here are two different bowls of goodness that don't really need a recipe and can be put together quickly with ingredients you have on hand:

Smoothie bowl

A favorite is a smoothie bowl like the one pictured above.  The base is a thick fruit and vegetable smoothie (whatever is your favorite blend)..  This one the smoothie is made from greens, strawberries, protein powder, almond milk, frozen bananas and maca powder. The toppings are fresh strawberries, chia seeds, homemade granola, cocao nibs, hemp seeds and a drizzle of agave nectar.

Hearty oatmeal

A more traditional breakfast is oatmeal.  This one is dressed up with some of my favorite toppings.

Oatmeal bowl

  • oatmeal (either cooked oats or raw soaked in almond or other milk overnight)
  • top with your favorite fruits, nuts, seeds, sweetener and milk

The bowl pictured above is oatmeal cooked with cinnamon, flax seeds and vanilla extract.  The toppings are blueberries, pecans, chia seeds, unsweetened coconut and a drizzle of maple syrup

Here are a couple of other quick breakfasts from previous posts:

Green Smoothie
Overnight oat and chia seed pudding
Sweet potato mousse

Having a good breakfast doesn't have to take too much time to put together to keep you fueled to tackle your morning.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Spring garden update

Swiss chard

After a late start, spring is finally underway.  The seedlings have been planted in the outdoor beds with just a tray of cabbage seedlings left to grow for another week or so before they are moved outside.  Here are a few photos of how things are shaping up so far.

Rhubarb, blackberries, strawberries

Kale, butter lettuce, Asian stir fry mesclun 

Peas, squash and cucumbers, garlic, green beans and tomatoes

I'm looking forward to sharing the garden with you as it continues to grow.

Thanks for reading!


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Potato vegetable fritters

Potato vegetable fritters

Spring gardening season is in full swing.  After a full day at the day job and trying to squeeze in some gardening before dark, dinner prep time gets squeezed.  Not wanting to fall back on takeout or prepared foods, we have been eating simple, but very tasty meals.  We adapted this original recipe for zucchini potato fritters to what we had on hand and increased the recipe to nearly triple so they could be our entree with a salad and to have leftovers for lunch the next day.  These little fritters were quick to prepare and tasty so will surely make repeat appearances on our menu.

Potato vegetable fritters

makes approximately 15
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.  
  • Roll about ⅓ cup of the mixture into a ball and then flatten to make a small patty.
  • If you have time, allow the patties to rest in the refrigerator to firm up for about an hour or freezer for 20-30 minutes.  (We didn’t have time and our potatoes were room temperature, so we cooked them right away, but if you are using freshly cooked hot potatoes, some cooling will be necessary to prevent the fritter from falling apart.)  
  • Heat a skillet on medium-high heat and coat the bottom with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil.  
  • Cook the patties without crowding until golden brown on each side.
  • Drain on a paper towel and serve with your favorite sauce like ketchup, bbq, marinara or sweet and sour,

3 medium sized potatoes, cooked and grated or roughly mashed (removing the peel is optional)
2-3 zucchini or yellow squash, grated
2 carrots, grated
½ onion, chopped or grated
1-2 cloves, garlic, minced or grated
½ cup peas (frozen or fresh)
½-¾ cup whole wheat flour (more or less depending on the moisture in the vegetables)
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp dried thyme, ground sage, ground rosemary or your favorite herbs (optional)
sea salt and pepper to taste
oil for cooking (we used olive oil)

( I used a food processor fitted with a small shred disk to grate the cooked potatoes squash, carrots, onion and garlic , one after another into the food processor bowl.)

Put the grated vegetables into a large mixing bowl.  
Add in the peas, ½ cup flour, baking powder, herbs and mix well.  
Add more flour if needed to make a very stiff batter (if it is too soft, these will fall apart when cooking).  

These are also a great leftover grab and go snack right out of the refrigerator.

I hope you are inspired to still make simple homemade food even when time is short.  Your health and your tastebuds will benefit.

Thanks for reading!

Salad greens picked fresh from the spring garden

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Winter garden uncovered and spring prep

Repaired raised beds with a new irrigation system for the backyard garden

The winter garden that was started in the fall of 2014 and was snug under covered tunnels during a cold winter has shed its cover of garden fabric and plastic leaving the bare hoops visible.  Covered tunnels are a great way to get a jump on spring growing season.  The crops above survived the winter cold and many are ready for harvest already in April while others will continue to mature in the coming weeks and be ready for harvest soon.  There is nothing so satisfying as having a small crop of fresh produce to pick so early in the season.  Pictured are:
  • carrots
  • Swiss chard
  • kale
  • collard greens
  • onions
  • leeks
  • salad greens
  • arugula
  • cilantro
  • garlic
Rainbow chard grown over the winter

As you can see from the new wood,we've made some repairs to our 5 year old raised beds in the back yard about 2 weeks ago.  The past weekend, we spent a few hours installing an irrigation system to help save time watering, and I pulled countless weeds that had sprung up over the last months.  I'm getting a late start this year, but the cold weather lingered longer than anticipated and travel kept me from getting seeds started indoors.  However, things are will be in full swing soon.  The table, heat mats and seed starting mix are at the ready and 3 cubic yards of compost has been delivered to replenish the garden beds.  I expect we will soon have summer crops well on their way in a few weeks.

If you are planting a garden this year, I'd love to hear what you are planting this year in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Collard greens harvested for dinner