Back

Heelllooo! 

We are BACK from our weekend in Wisconsin (aka #WisonsinWeekend Part 2).  This time, we had friends and family to share the time with, and it was the most wonderful getaway.

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I had plans to post and share a whole bunch late last week, but instead…well, I went out to dinner last Thursday night to celebrate.  What?  I’m sure you will ask!  Well, remember that BIG test that took over my life this past winter?  I passed it!  I was beyond thrilled to find out Thursday at lunch, and the BOY and I decided that a celebration was in order. 

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Friday, I made it through the work day and then my dad, the BOY and I drove up to Green Lake.  Everyone arrived around 10pm Friday night and bubbles were popped and discussions begun.  The rest of the weekend proceeded with the perfect mix of rest, laughter, real conversations, naps, water fun, and snacks.

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I had planned to bake a few things to take to the lake, like these peanut butter cookies, then my oven broke. I did blend up a double batch of my favorite travel treat…Cookie Dough Balls.

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Sunday, we got home late and Monday was one of those GO GO GO days.  I had a haircut, eye doctor appointment, wedding stuff, grocery shopping, and of course a trip to the gym to accomplish….you know that kind of day.  I did have time to stop for lunch at one of my favorite places…Mmm!

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The good news is that we did get our oven fixed that day, so baking will be BACK.  I do need to get BACK to reading blogs and catch up on what’s going on in your lives too!  And speaking of BACK…we got our engagement pics BACK this weekend!

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And I almost forgot to mention!  Kids yoga is BACK in action this Friday.  Woo Hoo!!!

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On a totally different note…remember back when I said I was in the city doing something secret?

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Well Alex and Brittany, from Dig Primal and Sparkle Kitchen respectively, invited me to speak on their Podcast.  I am big fans of their honesty and ideas and was thrilled to preach about discuss natural movement in babies and of course my kids yoga classes!  I haven’t listened to it yet, but had such a fun time meeting Alex and chatting about kids and nerdy stuff.  I hope you’ll take a listen and let me know what you think?!

 

What are you getting back to this week?

Surviving the Mondays (in a Polar Vortex)

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So one of the things that the BOY and I have been figuring out is adjusting to a new schedule.  We adapted when I started my new full time job in December, but then shortly after he began winter break.  Now, it’s a new semester with a new schedule and that changes meal planning.  Especially since the BOY had 2 night classes this semester, which means 2 nights that I am on my own.  The other thing going on this week is we are back in extreme temperatures with cancellations, cold cars, and frost bite warnings.  Even the BOY’s law school classes got canceled today and tomorrow.

 

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The good thing about today is that after a busy, rather sleepless but super duper fun, weekend, I had a quiet Monday.  I was so tired that my eyes were closed and I was passed out with Cooper on my face (no joke!) last night at 9pm.  I slept blissfully until after 8am this morning, at which time Cooper returned to pouncing on me.  The BOY got dressed and headed off to work. I made some breakfast and threw the first of 2 recipes into the crockpot, trying to avoid hitting a curious Cooper with my knife.

 

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This recipe for Sweet Potato and Lentil Curry is really easy and was in the crockpot before 9am.

 

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So I had some time to warm up before having to leave the house.  I had an 11am workout scheduled with my new trainer.  As I was getting out of the car, I realized that I totally forgot my shoes.  After 2 days of yoga, I didn’t even think about bringing along gym shoes.  My trainer is creative and it worked out just fine.  My arms were tired after this weekend and we worked my back hard.  I’m hoping for improved posture!

 

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I had to make a return at the mall, so I decided to try Protein Bar for lunch.  I’ve heard wonderful things about this place from everyone who gets to go there in the city.  I was excited that we finally got one in the suburbs and extremely impressed with my Spinach and Pesto Quinoa bowl for lunch!

 

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I braved the mall (filled with kids since there is no school today) to make my return and in the mean time picked up a few pieces of Gap Fit workout wear on sale (including running capris for only 15$).  When I got home my lentils were soft and fragrant.

 

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I made this for lunch for the week ahead, and it was a quick turn around as packaged away the lentils and threw tonight’s dinner into a cleaned crockpot.

 

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Meanwhile, Cooper kept himself busy and out of trouble (yea…right?!)

 

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Cooper and I then curled up for an hour and a half nap before having just enough time to get ready and head out the door for tonight’s tennis lesson.  It was hard to determine if it was still on, but I was excited to find out that we were.  I think I’ve learned a thing or 2 and am getting maybe a wee bit better…maybe!  Tonight was cold but fun and I learned how to serve, which is exciting!

 

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We came home and had dinner (recipe coming tomorrow) before relaxing back on the couch with some tea and a new TV show called Black Sails.  Has anyone seen it?  The BOY is off tomorrow and I am crossing my fingers once again that my car starts.  The brutal cold has already rolled in and we can hear the wind howling through the trees.  We have plenty of warm food for the week ahead…perfect to beat any case of the Mondays!

 

How do you survive Mondays?

 

Cooper’s Answer: With warm, cozy naps!

 

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Meal Plan 1/27/14

Sunday: Turkey Tacos

 

Monday: Crockpot Cashew Chicken

 

Tuesday: Burgers (premade from Mariano’s) with mushrooms and asparagus

 

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: TBD

 

Lunch: Slow Cooker Sweet Potato and Lentil Curry

 

 

 

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato and Lentil Curry

From Hello Little House

 

Ingredients

2 tbsp curry paste

2 cups low sodium chicken or veggie (to keep vegetarian) stock

1 tsp minced ginger

3/4 cup red lentils, rinsed

2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

1 onion, diced

salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions

Spray your crockpot with cookie spray.

Add in potatoes, onions, and lentils to crockpot.

Stir together stock, ginger, and curry paste until well combined.  Pour over sweet potato mixture and stir.

Set crockpot to high for 4-5 hours or low for 7-8 hours.

Muffin Monday: Banana and Blueberry

Shh!  Don’t tell the BOY that there is banana in these muffins!

 

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He has been eating the ‘blueberry muffins’ all weekend, telling me how good they are with NO IDEA that they are banana and blueberry muffins : )

 

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The motivation for these muffins came from some soft bananas and a huge container of fresh blueberries.

 

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I found the recipe on a blog while I was searching online and didn’t realize that they were vegan until I pulled them out of the oven.

 

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I was really just looking for a muffin recipe that didn’t use yogurt (because I don’t have any in the house), and the crumble topping was a huge selling point for me.

 

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You might have guessed that I didn’t mention that these were vegan to the BOY either…he he!

 

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Of course I took my first bite of the muffins warm because, really, who can resist?

 

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I know the hot temps outside aren’t going to encourage you to turn on your oven, but if you find yourself stuck inside in the air conditioning hiding from the heat, whip up a batch of these outstanding muffins!

 

 

Blueberry Banana Streusel Muffins

From Cake Dutchess

 

Ingredients

3/4 cup white sugar

1/2 cup canola oil

3 very ripe bananas, mashed well

2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup almond milk, mixed with 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup blueberries

 

for the topping:

3 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon margarine

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a muffin tin with non stick cooking spray, or lightly coat with margarine.

Sift together flour, baking soda, salt and spices.

In a separate bowl, stir together the oil and sugar. Add bananas, milk and vanilla. Gently fold in the blueberries

Add the wet ingredients to the dry. Mix well. Spoon batter into the muffin tin. For topping, in a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour and cinnamon; with your fingers, incorporate the margarine to the flour mixture until crumbly. Sprinkle topping over the muffins.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Serve warm.

Weekend Over

Our weekend (stay)cation is over and it was back to the real world, complete with laundry and car maintenance appointments.  But first, I got in one last weekend workout.  I was debating between the bike or a run this morning, and my 10 mile race only 5 days away convinced me that another run in my new shoes was the way to go.  I headed out in the heat for a 6 mile run.  The last two days left my legs exhausted, so my miles were slow averaging around 9 minutes.  I arrived back home and beelined straight to the coconut water.  I was happy with my shoes throughout and I’m figuring if they are ready for 6 miles, then why not give 10 a try on Saturday?!

 

Lunch was BBQ leftovers before the BOY and I drove out west to drop off his car for scheduled maintenance.  Nearby the car dealership is a small outlet mall with a GAP, Banana, Reebok, and Ann Taylor.  The BOY and I walked around discovering bright spring clothing.  I picked up a few $6 tops for work and an adorable black and white striped tank.  Our next step was Good Will and then Jiffy Lube for an oil change for my car.  After 5 hours out and about, I returned the BOY to the car dealership, swung by the grocery, and finally made my way back home exhausted.

 

The BOY made us another tasty dinner on the grill while I dove into laundry and a few other chores.  We have more than enough food for leftovers this week, but I have been wanting to make these Apple Streusel Egg Muffins for weeks!  Finally, I had an evening to do it, BUT after I started, I realized I only had 4 eggs left (the full recipe calls for 9).

 

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Go figure!  I proceeded on cutting the entire recipe in half.  Since I already started the apples, I pulled half out to save for another time.  Apples + Cinnamon = A Happy Combination!

 

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I stirred all of the ingredients together and baked them in muffin liners for 30 minutes.

 

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My house smelled like my favorite breakfast place that is known for their apple pancakes.

 

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My muffins turned out a little darker than expected, most likely because I added some extra cinnamon.

 

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It’s another busy week ahead, so my plan is to have these protein packed muffins for breakfast on the go throughout the week.

 

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The good news is that we had an awesome weekend.  The bad news…I didn’t get to my closet cleaned (and now I have more clothes!).  More good news…I love this breakfast!

 

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Ok friends…It’s back to the work week!

 

 

 

Apple Streusel Egg Muffins

From Fast Paleo.com

 

Ingredients

3 large apples, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces (approx. 2 cups)

3 Tbsp. warm water

2 tsp. cinnamon, divided

9 eggs

1 1/2 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted

3 Tbsp. coconut milk (or almond milk)

1 1/2 Tbsp. coconut flour (tough to find but I finally located it in the WF bulk bins)

1/4 tsp. baking soda

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F.
In a medium skillet, sauté the apples, water, and 1 1/2 teaspoon of the cinnamon until the apples are the consistency of chunky applesauce or apple pie filling (this took me ~30 minutes). Allow the mixture to cool before combining with the egg mixture.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, butter, coconut milk, coconut flour, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, baking soda, and salt until well combined. Add the cooled apples, reserving 1/4 cup for a garnish.
Spoon egg and apple mixture into parchment cup lined muffin tins—1/4 cup each. Gently spoon about one teaspoon of the remaining apple mixture onto the top of each muffin.
Bake for 40 minutes*.

 

*Note-my half batch was ready in 30 minutes and probably could have been taken out closer to 25 minutes.

All Done

The BOY and I are All Done with Passover!

As is his tradition, he had pizza for dinner.  I’d show you a picture but the entire pie was gone by the time I walked in the door after work.

I wanted something a little healthier and because it’s a week night…easy!

 

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I found this delicious looking recipe in Mama Pea’s cookbook for Thai Veggie Burgers.

 

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I prepped my ingredients in the food processor last night and then refrigerated them.  I have never tried this with veggie burgers before, but I figured it it worked, it would be a great way to make healthy weeknight meals.

 

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When I came home, I heated up a skillet and rolled out my burgers.

 

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I fried the burgers in cooking spray ~7 minutes each side until they were warm on the inside and crispy along the edges.

 

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The Thai flavor in these burgers is strong and the texture is spot-on.  I ate my burger plain with a side of green beans.  The premade burger mixture worked perfectly!  I will definitely do it again!

 

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For dessert, I whipped up a batch of Mama Pea’s brownies (that I found a few pages later).  The toughest part was making these yesterday and having to wait to eat them today.

 

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I was a little nervous because they are healthy and vegan (although I didn’t use vegan chocolate chips, so they are not fully vegan).

 

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I sprinkled the top with powdered sugar, and the BOY and I dug into them right after dinner.

 

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I was a little nervous that he would notice the texture difference in the brownies, but he grabbed them and ran.

 

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When I asked about the brownies, he answered with a nod, smile, and a mouth full of chocolate.  That’s usually a good sign : )  These brownies are rich and cake-like…you’ll never know that they are healthy (whole wheat flour) and vegan (minus the chocolate chips)!  I bet you have all the ingredients in your house right now, so go preheat your oven.

 

On the exercise front…

I got in my first double workout this morning.  I was at the track early for a 30 minute run before changing into my bathing suit for a 15 minute swim.  It was an awesome workout with some well-deserved hot tub time at the end.  I am super sore from ‘Barbara Lite’ yesterday, and I am hoping to get registered for my triathlon this week!

 

 

Here are the recipes for Thai Veggie Burgers and Double Chocolate/Single Chin Brownies from Peas and Thank You.

Enjoy!!!

Banana + Chocolate + Chia

Even though morning comes quickly, my days are full, work is busy, and my commute sucks, I try real hard to make time during the work week for things I enjoy.  This isn’t always easy and takes planning.  Sometimes it’s big things, like dinner with the girls and sometimes, it’s the little things like watching a TV show with the BOY.  Exercise is also a big priority!  Although recently I’ve only been getting in 4x week.  My Thursdays used to be an easy day to get in an AM workout, but since I made some schedule changes, this has become harder.  I was venting about this to some friends at work when one of them said that it’s tough but sometimes you just have to get up before 6am.

 

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What?  Yea Right!  Okay, actually she was right!  And when she mentioned Wednesday night that she would be hitting the indoor track EARLY on Thursday, I said I’d be there.  I began pulling out my workout clothes and packing my gym bag shortly after walking in the door.  And then moved on to the next day’s EATS.

 

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My recent favorite has been this Chia and Flax Breakfast Bowl.  It is seriously the best and leaves tons of room for creativity!  Megan made this amazing Chocolate Chia Protein Bowl, and I loved the idea of adding some chocolate, so I did!  I stirred in some cacao powder (who doesn’t love chocolate and banana?) Wednesday night and added a light sprinkle of granola Thursday morning before hitting the road.

 

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The track is near our office, so I snacked on a few bites of breakfast before my run, saving the rest for afterwards.  It was a gorgeous morning that would have been perfect for an outdoor winter run!  But I was happy to find my friend and motivator already running laps around the indoor track.

 

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We kept a nice pace and it was fun to have company for my early morning run!  It was exactly what my sore legs needed after Tuesday’s speed intervals.  I was only sad that we had to cut it short to get ready for work.  I would have much preferred an hour at Starbucks first!  But then again, who wouldn’t?!

 

 

Banana Chocolate Chia Breakfast Bowl with Flax

 

Ingredients

1 banana

1-2 tbsp flax

2 tbsp chia

2 tbsp cacao powder

1 tsp vanilla

Dash of cinnamon

1 cup almond milk

Toppings

 

Directions

Mash your banana well.  Stir in the flax, chia, cacao, vanilla, cinnamon, and milk until well combined.

Cover and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, top with berries, granola, nut butters, etc.

Breakfast Again?!

Are you tired of breakfast yet???  I hope not because it really is the most important meal of the day!

 

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I’ve been working on perfecting this muffin bake with Take One and Take Two documented previously.  There is nothing more fun than making and tasting all of these different breakfasts!

 

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Now, it’s time for Take Three, and I ran out of blueberries.

 

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Not to worry because strawberries make an equally enjoyable substitution!

 

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This time I used less flax and more oat bran which gave me a much cake-ier consistency, but still a warm gooey center.

 

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Of note…this breakfast is wonderfully robust and filling.  However, I’m not going to pretend like this is as sweet as a muffin.

 

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I can tell you that I don’t miss the sweetness at all!  Especially when topped with almond butter and a sprinkle of coconut.

 

 

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Another fantastic, healthy, and satisfying breakfast.  The perfect way to start a sunny winter Sunday!

 

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Don’t have time to bake your breakfast?  I just learned from FitCupcaker that you can make her recipe in the microwave!

 

 

A few of my other healthy breakfast faves…

Chia and Flax Breakfast Bowl

Pumpkin Banana Baked Oatmeal Bars

Breakfast Stirfry

Pumpkin Cream Pie Oatbran

Hot Banana Breakfast Quinoa

Cranberry Dough Boy Smoothie

 

 

 

Strawberry Muffins Bake

Adapted from Blueberry Muffin Bake

 

Ingredients

2 tbsp almond flour

2 tbsp ground flax

2 tbsp oat bran

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

pinch of salt

1/4 cup almond milk

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tbsp agave

Chopped and quartered strawberries

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Stir together flax seed, oat bran, almond flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add in almond milk, vanilla, and agave.

Fold in strawberries.

Bake for 22-24 minutes.

Let cool and then top with your favorite additions!

Blueberry Muffin Bake {Take Two}

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Happy EASY Saturday morning!

I’m sure I could replace the word easy with lazy but easy just sounds better : )  In all honesty, it’s a pretty lazy morning.  I didn’t sleep well this week, and was bummed to find myself awake before 8am this morning.  I wasn’t ready to actually start my day, so instead I moved downstairs to the couch where I had some DVRed TV to catch up on.

 

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I know that there will be many summer and fall Saturdays that I will be up at the crack of dawn marathon training where I will miss EASY mornings like this one.

 

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And by summer, I hope to have mastered the Blueberry Muffin Bake.  I made my first attempt earlier in the week and although this baked oatmeal was warm and filling, it wasn’t quite right.

 

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So I gave it another try this morning with a few changes.

 

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And boy did this one turn out better!

 

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The blueberries were warm and gooey and although the center wasn’t quite set (perhaps I need more flour and less flax for Take Three), this breakfast hit the spot!

 

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I covered the blueberry bake with tons of fresh berries.

 

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And this breakfast disappeared quickly!

 

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I hope you are having an EASY morning!

Looking for a reason to stay on your couch, go check out this hilarious video of ‘Mom Dancing’ posted on my friend Michelle’s blog!

 

What are your plans for the weekend?

 

 

 

Blueberry Flax Muffin Bake

Adapted from FitCupcaker and Running with Spoons

 

Ingredients

1/4 cup flax seed

2 tbsp almond flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

1/4 cup almond milk

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tbsp agave

1/2 cup fresh blueberries

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Stir together flax seed, almond flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add in almond milk, vanilla, and agave.

Fold in blueberries.

Bake for 22-24 minutes.

Let cool for for a few minutes.  Then cover with berries, nuts, coconut, and all of your other favorite toppings.

Enjoy warm!

Chia and Flax Breakfast Bowl

Thursday morning used to be an easy morning to get up and out the door for a run or a gym circuit before arriving at work.  Recently, my work schedule has changed and it is totally rocking my workout schedule, which I hate!

 

I knew I wouldn’t have a lot of time Thursday morning for a workout and didn’t want to waste time with transit.  As I was contemplating what to do (outside running was out with a windchill below zero), I remembered doing an awesome and quick home workout at the end of last year.  I looked it up the night before so when I woke up, I could get right to work, no time for excuses.  The workout was much harder than I remembered and by the 3rd round (7 reps each), I was sweaty and out of breath.  I wish I had my HRM because I was curious to see how fast my heart was beating.

 

After the workout, I concluded with a 2:00 minute plank before hopping in the shower and devouring my breakfast.  Best home workout EVER!  I’m still sore today!

 

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For breakfast this week, I have been living on this Chia Seed Breakfast Bowl.  I totally could have made the double batch because I ate it again this morning.  I changed up the recipe a bit and topped it with blueberries and almond butter.

 

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And let me tell you…

 

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This is one incredible tasting breakfast.  The best part is that after eating this at 7am, I was able to make it all the way to lunch at noon without a snack.  That never happens!

 

 

Has anyone tried the chia bowl?  What do you think?

What is your most filling breakfast?

 

 

Banana Chia Breakfast Bowl with Flax

Adapted from Oh She Glows!

 

Ingredients

1 banana

1-2 tbsp flax

2 tbsp chia

1 tsp vanilla

Dash of cinnamon

1/2-3/4 cup almond milk

Toppings

 

Directions

Mash your banana well.  Stir in the flax, chia, vanilla, cinnamon, and milk until well combined.

Cover and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, top with berries, granola, nut butters, etc.

Meatless Monday for All

Hooray for Meatless Monday!

Even more exciting…the BOY participated this week : )

 

Source

 

For dinner, I decided on Curried Veggie Burgers from Pinch of Yum.  And to my surprise, I got no protests from my roommate.  Although we both eat meat, I love exploring vegetarian recipes that focus on quality ingredients and fragrant spices.  I picked up all of my ingredients at the grocery store today.  I was impressed with all of the nutrient-packed ingredients in these burgers, and couldn’t wait to see how it all came together.

 

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My one hiccup came when I couldn’t find canned lentils at the grocery store.  Does anyone know where they are?  Instead, I boiled up a batch of my own lentils, which was a bit of a disaster.  I always use lentils in recipes, but have never made them plain.  What I got was a huge mushy mess.  I didn’t worry about that too much though because I knew they were heading into burgers.

 

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I was surprised to see cashews in these burgers and excited to toast them up, take a taste, and then create the paste.

 

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Also into the mix…chickpeas, onions, carrots, spices, and brown rice.  Somehow, I didn’t have any TJ’s brown rice in the freezer, but this mix made the perfect substitute.

 

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NOTE:  This is important!  If you have a smaller food processor (like mine which is 7 cups), you might want to cut this recipe in half!  I had to do 2 batches in my food processor which made it difficult to evenly mix the spices.

 

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Ok, so once you have your doughy mixture, there is a decision to make.  To bake or to fry? 

Since I had an abundance of burger mix, I knew that I could try both.  So I threw one batch of burgers in the oven and pan fried the rest.  In the end, I think I finished with, like 20 burgers.  The fried ones were warm and soft (I liked the olive oil coating).

 

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But the baked ones were toasted and crunchy.  Both tasted great, but I think next time I would add some extra curry powder!  BTW, Lindsay suggests baking then frying the burgers!

 

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The BOY made his burger into a wrap with a variety of toppings.

 

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We both had roasted broccoli on the side, and I spread a layer of hummus over my flavorful burger.

 

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I have plenty of leftovers, so it looks like I am all set for lunch this week.  Topped with hummus and avocado, I know this will make a filling midday meal!

Lindsay’s website has the full recipe and all of the tasty details, so definitely head her way before next Monday!

 

 

Did you go Meatless today?

What are your favorite meat free meals?  Links Welcome!

 

 

More Meatless Monday Ideas

Baked Barley Casserole with Mushrooms and Squash

Chickpea Tagine

Moroccan Couscous with Saffron

Spiced Quinoa Stuffed Squash

Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry

Vegetable Quinoa Burgers