It's starting to thaw out here in Michigan and I think it is for good this time. Springtime is just around the corner and we have an unofficial 'official' day to say that it starts next week, the 21st. I am very ready for spring this year...being cooped up inside with an infant has given me a little cabin fever syndrome. I am very ready to get out and start walking and planting seeds. Plus watching everything come alive again brings so much excitement and hope for the coming year. It is like the world is starting to wake up again and the smells and sounds are glorious. And then there is the allergies...but that is another story :)
Spring time is a great time to consider a cleanse from eating too much meat or non-fresh foods from over the winter months. Our bodies are naturally asking for fresher options that can help cleanse and ready the body for summer. This is the time of year when eating fresh greens that start to grow first or to start drinking tea from dandelion root. Interestingly enough, God has provided the exact foods and plants we need to start growing to help us eat what our bodies need. You may not be able to have a spinach salad just yet from your own garden, but you can start preparing your body by eating more greens that are store bought. Like making a green smoothie with kale and parsley, or drinking some dandelion tea with local honey... or making a veggie burger and topping it with lots of greens and herbs.
Here is a simple and nutrient packed meal idea to spring you into more freshness this March...
not to mention, budget friendly as well.
Red Lentil Veggie Burger Recipe3 cups of cooked red lentil mix (cooking directions below with 1 1/2 cup of dried lentils)
2 cups of pre-cooked brown rice
1/2 cup of finely diced bell or red pepper
1/2 cup of finely diced celery
1/2 cup of finely diced red onion
1/2 cup of finely diced carrot
2 cloves of garlic minced or diced
2 ts. of ground cumin
2 ts. of paprika
1 ts. of curry powder
1/2 ts. of turmeric powder
1 TB of either dried or fresh chopped cilantro
1 TB of either dried or fresh chopped oregano
1 TB of olive oil
1/4-1/2 cup of millet or corn flour
First, cook 1 1/2 cup of dried red lentils. Here is the steps I take to make the red lentils so they are easiest to digest...1.) I soak the 1 1/2 cup of dried lentils in 3-4 cups of pure water. I set them soak for 3-4 hours and then rinse and rinse again until the water surround them is clear. You will notice that the lentils have soaked up quite a bit of the water and you have about 3 cups of lentils now. 2.) Then add the soaked lentils with 3 cups of water to a small pot and cook for 15-20 minutes until all of the water is soaked up and the lentil have broken down into a mush. You can season with a little sea salt and pepper as well. 3.) After cooking the lentils, they will have to cool before using in the burgers, so put them in the fridge or freezer and cool until they are much more solid and cold. Then when they are a solid mush mass, they are ready for using. Those are the 3 steps I take to cook the lentil mixture to make these burgers.
Then in a large mixing bowl, mix together 3 cups of the cooked lentil mixture with 2 cups of cooked brown rice. I always have cooked rice or quinoa in my fridge for using for leftover meals and so I just used 2 cups of the brown rice I had on hand... this will add more time to making these if you have to cook some rice. But since you have to take the time to cook the lentils, cook some brown rice at the same time. Just cook the rice how you normally.... 1 cup of rice to 2 cups of water, and season with broth or sea salt.
Mix together the lentils, rice, spices, oil and then the veggies. Chop the onion, peppers, carrots and celery into very small pieces so that they are almost the same size of rice pieces and them mix all together into the mixture. Lastly add the little bit of millet or corn flour to bind everything together. Start with 1/4 cup of flour and then add another 1/4 cup of flour if your mix it still a bit watery or mushy. The mix will be mushy anyways, but you don't want it soupy. That is why the flour helps things stick together better. The picture above is of the burger mixture before you make into patties.
Then, you roll in your hands each pattie about 1/2 cup worth of mix into the burger. This recipe will make about 10-12 burgers depending on how large or small you want them. Place them on a parchment papered baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes until they are golden brown and look a bit more crispier. They will still be very soft. You will have to let them cool for at least 30 minutes before they are ready for moving. This will help them "harden" up so that you can eat them more easily. So basically you are cooling them down to be warmed up later for a burger, or you can serve cool in a wrap with greens and other veggies.
I personally think the best way to sere these is either in a GF wrap or on a GF bun or slice of bread. Add some ketchup, mustard, or other sauce and then make sure you add freshness to it with greens, cucumbers, and herbs. This is a wonderful meal of comfort and freshness. You gotta love how lentils are so versatile as well. I am sure you could sub the red lentils for another lentil and it would be fine. I love red lentils, so they were my first choice in making these burgers.
Well, that is the meal. I hope you try this one out and see what you think. It is one of the creations I tried in my pursuit for healthy budget friendly dinners. And, I think this one is a success. Sometimes it's just nice to use the same good old ingredients like brown rice and lentils in a new way. Makes you feel like you are being really adventurous in the kitchen, when really you are just mushing together some ingredients to be great.
Another little tidbit I thought I would mention to my readers...
I have just been informed that the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (the nutrition school I went to) is offering a special to those who enroll to the school by March 25th. They are giving out the NEW iPad2 to those who enroll in the next 2 weeks, (or you can choose to have a $500 dollar scholarship instead of the iPad). Last month they were offering a $1,000 dollar scholarship, and I mentioned that I had 2 of those scholarships to give away. Two lovely readers took advantage of those scholarships! How exciting! I thought I would mention this month's promotion because I had such a great response from you all about the scholarship last month. I think IIN is a great school, and it has changed me and given me my voice when it comes to health and nutrition. Therefore, I want to share that experience with you if you are interested...
To receive the promo gift you must give your admission counselor MY NAME, Stephanie Laidlaw, as your referral contact so that they know you heard about the promo from me. PLEASE email me or contact me if you are interested in the school and want to talk more logistics or details, and perhaps the iPad2 might just persuade you to make that choice sooner than later...I am not super tech savvy, but those iPad2's are pretty awesome :) Just saying :)
Cheers to spring and may love fill your heart today!