Wednesday, October 29, 2014

quinoa chickpea burgers with pickled veggies and sriracha mayo

Do you like weird food as much as I do? If so this may be the recipe for you. Ever since trying a Bahn Mi (Vietnamese sandwich) at a little shop in Philly, I can't stop thinking about pickled vegetables and spicy flavors with bread. So I gave these burgers a shot and they were even approved by my husband which is big. Nay, HUGE. I also think they're pretty forgiving so if you don't have the exact ingredient the recipe calls for, substitute it for something close. I'm sure another type of bean (black beans maybe?) would be lovely, or Crystal hot sauce instead of sriracha. Whoa, even barbecue sauce would be a good substitute! You can find the recipe after the pictures, below.

 the sriracha mayo
 burgers, before being cooked.
 the star of the show!
 or are these the star? this is what the pickled veggies look like when they're ready.

ingredients for five burgers:

one can of chickpeas
1/2 cup quinoa, cooked
1/4 cup of sriracha sauce
one egg
1/2 cup of rolled oats
1/4 cup wheat germ or bread crumbs
1/2 tsp of salt
dash of pepper

1. Using a food processor, chop the chickpeas until they are pretty well minced, then place them in a large bowl.
2. Next grind the oats in the food processor until they become a fine powder, then place them in the bowl with the chickpeas.
3. Add remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix everything well.
4. Form the mixture into five burger shaped patties.
5. Heat oil (I used olive oil) over medium heat on the stove top, and cook burgers for 4 minutes per side or until crispy and golden.

then for those of you who like toppings...

for the pickled veggies:
If you want to get all crazy, you can make pickled veggies to put on top of your burger. All I do to make anything 'pickled' is to chop up whatever I want to use until it is in fine strips. Sometimes I use a potato peeler to get the strips extra thin and long. Then I heat about 1 cup of vinegar, 1 cup of water, and a teaspoon of salt on high heat until it boils. I put the chopped vegetables into a mason jar, making sure to fill the jar to the top. Then just pour the boiling mixture over the veggies, cover with the lid to the jar, and let it sit until you notice them turn a sort of yellowed color. (If you sue cabbage, it will turn a little purply too, but that's from the dye in the cabbage) This takes about an hour for the hot vinegar to really cook your vegetables. You can refrigerate what you don't use and keep it for quite a while! The vinegar is good to keep food preserved when refrigerated.

for the sriracha mayo:
In a bowl, mix equal parts sour cream and mayo. Then- to taste- add salt, pepper, sriracha sauce and lime juice.

Monday, October 27, 2014

five of my favorite festive family things to do in the fall

Was that enough alliteration for you? ... because that's all I've got. 
Here's my list! Maybe it will inspire you to make one or two happen for your family this year. 
Nothing tricky, just good/simple/cheap fun you can have without leaving the house. 

1. Rake the Leaves
The kids accomplished three wonderful things here- helped get our yard cleaned up, used teamwork, and burned up some energy. All good stuff.

2. Drink hot apple cider and snack on cookies.
We love Moods because it's the best, but your apple cider preferences are your business. No judgement.

3. Hang wax-paper leaf garland
I saw these on Pinterest (do you follow me on Pinterest yet?) and gave them a shot at our preschool co-op one week. They were so much easier than I thought! Seriously, it took like ten minutes. Just fold a nice long sheet of wax paper in half and lay leaves on one side of the fold. Close up the paper where it was folded and run a very hot iron over it very quickly. This will seal the paper together. I cut the wax paper after it was finished to give it more of a banner look.

4. Make Crayon Leaf "Drawings"
The kids loved that this project was one they could do all by themselves. Because that's what toddlers really want, right? Place a leaf under a sheet of paper and rub a crayon over top.

5. Bake Pumpkin Pie Granola
This makes your house smell the best ever. It's my regular crunchy granola recipe (here) but instead of cinnamon substitute 2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice and pumpkin seeds. So good with yogurt for breakfast, or by itself.

Friday, October 24, 2014

how to cope when you realize your kids aren't technically perfect

I don't know what I was thinking when I was pregnant with our first child. Maybe my prenatal vitamins were spiked or something. I pictured Isaiah to be a little mini Andrew/Jessica hybrid running around doing good deeds, being good at sports, smiling for pictures, being generally well-liked by all and having none of the negative qualities that my husband or I possess. As it turns out, reality happened. As it turns out, he wasn't an angel that dropped right from the heavens. As it turns out, the last four years have been really hard.

Now hear me out when I say this because it sounds terrible. And once someone heard me say it and almost fell out of a chair and told the world how shocked/appalled/disgusted they were and, well, I have to assume their children actually did fall from heaven. BUT, I don't enjoy being around my kids all of the time. Sometimes, MOMMY NEEDS A BREAK. Honestly, it's hard for me to be around these toddlers who don't listen, bite one another, ignore most requests despite our most valiant parental efforts, and generally don't respond to traditional discipline methods. At the risk of making the ugly sound cute, it's not. It's grueling work. When you have a personality designed to enact a detailed plan and take every precaution to make sure your plan falls into place, it's hard to be told "No" after you ask someone (nicely) to put on their shoes three ten times.

I'm rooting for my kids. I'm in their corner, and I love them even when they don't listen to me. Their perceived weaknesses (too loud, too aggressive, too ____) probably have a whole lot to do with what they'll succeed at in life. Too loud may become the 'life of the party.' Too aggressive may become a CEO or an all-star athlete. I think these kids are hilarious and amusing much of the time. Mostly, I like them even when they aren't technically perfect and I want to help them become these amazing people who go on to do amazing things and bear my amazing (but undoubtedly imperfect) grandchildren. But Moms, I will say this for all of us and even for those who can't admit it- the day to day is hard and I don't like being told the dinner I took an hour to make is 'gross.' Once I realized that my kids are not cherubs with wings and were not ever going to be, it helped me to love them better. It helped me to realize I have limits and I need space and its OKAY to not want to be around your kids one thousand hours a day. Like I said, Mommy needs a break. So we Moms and Dads plan times in our days to escape. Maybe you go to work, maybe you take a shower alone with a candle and go in your bedroom and shut the door to blow dry your hair without a child clinging to one leg and the other burning their finger by touching the hair straightener. Maybe it's going to Starbucks and working on that novel you've been wanting to start writing.

But the guilt? It needs to go. I can't make these little ones do anything and when I came to the conclusion that my part is: being consistent, being available, and being an example- then I was able to loosen my grip a bit. You give birth to these kids and you do your best to give them everything they will need to bloom, and then you let go. I can't bloom for them. I trust God to take the -surprise!- imperfect sacrifice I've laid at the altar of every day and make it into something beautiful, even when I yell too much. A story with a happy ending.

It's gonna be worth it. Bloom, my babies!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Quick Lunch Idea: Hummus and Veggie Spring Rolls

Looking for a quick lunch idea, high in protein for extra toddler-chasing energy? Look no further! These Spring Rolls are simple to make and the only ingredient you might not have on hand is the rice paper, but that's easy to pick up next time you're in the grocery store. PLUS these are low carb, gluten free, vegan (if you don't use the cheese) and overall delicious and my go-to lunch.

You'll need:
Rice Paper
Shredded Sharp Cheese (optional)

1. Soak your rice paper for about 30 seconds until it is able to be stretched a bit in your hands.
2. Lay it out flat on your plate, and spread some hummus on the rice paper.
3. Fill with desired amount of salad and sprinkle on some nuts.
4. Fold together like a burrito, and serve immediately or chill if you want to eat it later!

Usually two of these makes a nice lunch, maybe with some fruit on the side. Fruit or Oreo's. Either way.

Showing my husband how its done. (This is how it's done.) 
Also that plant on the windowsill is long dead. I am a house-plant killer.

Garlic Hummus, but you can use regular old boring hummus if you're so inclined.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Sparkly Fall Leaves

I'm LOVING the colors this fall! The trees have been so beautiful. 
Inspired by the changing season, we made these cardboard cut-out leaves.

1. Cut various leaf shapes out of cardboard.
2. Tear up construction paper. As an activity for toddlers, you might want to have them sort the pieces of shredded paper into piles organized by color. 
3. Cover one side of the card board with glue, and stick the paper on.
4. We love glitter but hate the mess, so glitter pens were a great investment! What a lifesaver. Just squeeze some out and spread with a paint brush.
5. I taped string to the back of each leaf and hung them in the windows. They dried in under an hour.

Happy Fall!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Colorful Spin Art Greeting Cards- In the Salad Spinner!

We've reached the age where birthday parties are piling up. In the next few weeks we have three to go to. What better card than one you make yourself? This is one of my favorite projects we've done- and really easy, inspired by this post. We spent a lot of time on it because it's so much fun but it could be done in five minutes or less. 

1. Fold a card in half, and then in half again. 
2. Place it inside of a salad spinner, dripping some paint of desired colors on the page. 
3. Give the salad spinner a few spins and remove your artwork! 
Make sure you give it at least a few hours to dry. 

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