My New Favorite Way To Eat Burgers

I realized I haven’t posted a recipe on here in oh….a very long time. Let’s not even look back and see just how long it was. STOP IT. Stop going back to the archives and looking. Let’s just live in the present.

So here’s the thing, I have this favorite way of eating burgers/chicken/sandwiches made at home that I’m not sure I’ve ever disclosed. Here’s my secret:

I absolutely love burgers wrapped in lettuce. No bun, just lettuce. It gives it a really nice crunch and isn’t as filling. This is great for people avoiding extra carbs too. I for one am not avoiding carbs because I absolutely love carbs, but I don’t totally love a meal of super heavy foods all put together, plus the lettuce wraps are just tasty in their own right.

“Well, Heather, what kind of lettuce?”

I’m glad you asked! The answer is simply any kind of lettuce I have on hand that has leaves big enough. Iceberg? Sure. Romaine? Why not. This isn’t much of a recipe, but I thought I would show you two of my favorite ways to eat burgers “protein style”.

text2998-6First, I mix my ground beef  with whatever spice is of my fancy that night. Lately it’s the Greek mix from Penzey’s. It’s no secret I love Penzey’s spices. They don’t know I exist in the blogging world, so I’m not paid to say any of this. I just highly recommend them.

Second, I add whatever toppings my heart fancies but my two favorites as of lately are most definitely a salsa burger, and a spinach and basil burger.  These are both so simple it’s mind boggling.

Spinach Burger

  • Place basil on the bottom, then cheese if you’re using it – or nutritional yeast if you’re not. We limit our dairy quite a bit, but besides that I LOVE nutritional yeast so I prefer it.
  • Put your burger on
  • Put some tomatoes on top of that
  • Put a handful of spinach on that
  • Put whatever sauce on top you like

DSC_3878-01 DSC_3881-01Salsa Burger

  • Place salsa on the bottom
  • Add nutritional yeast or shredded taco cheese. 99% of the time I always opt for the nutritional yeast. Weird fact, I don’t even really like regular cheese on tacos. I was raised using nutritional yeast so it just seems normal to me.
  • Add tomatoes
  • Add sauteed onions
  • Add your burger

DSC_3884-01So that’s it. Go get yourself some beef, turkey burger, a chicken breast, smoked tofu, whatever suits your fancy and wrap that delicious nugget of delight up in some lettuce. Here’s a hint, you can also make pretty much any burrito this way too and it truly is, in the words of James Lipton a la Saturday Night Live, scrumptrulescent.




Moo-ing Me

It’s pretty clear that I’m completely enamored with the small cattle farm up the street from us.  It doesn’t just woo me, it moo’s me. Horribly ridiculous bad jokes aside, I love that place. One of the hayfields is our backyard, and the cows are sweet and have wonderful personalities. You can literally walk up to most of them and never think twice if they are going to buck into you. Besides the pastures are absolutely stunning. So is a Maine summer sky. This photo sums up everything that is perfect about where I live.

When we moved in 4 years ago there were over 20 head. Long before that there were plenty more. Today, in August of 2011, there are exactly 10 cows left. This includes the three calves born in the spring. I don’t really have much more to say on it except that it’s kind of sad. It’s something I feel like is happening to a lot of small farms around the country, not just “ours” (it’s not ours, but it feels like a part of us). That’s probably why it feels a little defeating to me. To me, small farms are the heart of America. The hardworking men and women who bring food to our table are slowly losing their farms; they seem to be getting smaller and smaller. I understand logically both sides of it, but my heart will always side with the small farm where I know the cows by their markings and the farmer and his wife’s door is always open.

Mostly, I just love seeing the cows. Yes, I’ve eaten some of them before. I know, it seems weird – but it’s actually nice knowing how well they are treated and exactly where their food comes from. We help harvest it after all.

All I’m saying is that I hope the cows are still up at that farm when their grandchildren grown up, and when we potentially have kids of our own down the line. One of the most calming things to me in the world is sitting in the pasture and hanging out with the cattle. I hope future generations get to experience this too.

I’m pretty sure Mr. A and I would do anything we could to save that farm. The best part is there are a lot of other family members who would do the same. It’s a good feeling.

That farm is my dream living scenario. Cows, pear trees, apple trees, a big beautiful old farmhouse and even more massive barn filled with all sorts of good antique farm & farmhouse items. Here’s to embracing the cattle that are left, loving the sweet smell of the fall air rolling over the pasture and the feel of a cows tongue as it hits your hand while grabbing an apple.

Happy Small Farm Loving,

Flourless Beef Stroganoff

Our wedding is only a couple weeks away. There has been so much to get done I haven’t been in the kitchen as much. It amazes me, even with our simple backyard bash, how fast the tiny details add up into a lot of work. Last night, I spent hours gluing programs to popsicle sticks to make fan type programs. I will be posting a blog on those too – but first I need to regain the stamina to write about them. I have about 85 more to go. Wish me luck.

With everything going on for the wedding, and the weather feeling more like March than May, I decided we needed a comfort dinner. Specifically I was craving Beef Stroganoff. I decided to go with a recipe from Kansas City Steaks. I liked the simple ingredients, but I had a couple changes I made along the way. One of the biggest ones was I didn’t add the flour in. To be entirely honest, it was a mistake – but one that I ended up liking.

Beef Stroganoff, adapted from Kansas City Steaks

Serves Four

  • 1 lb. sirloin steak thinly sliced (your grocer can cut a steak for you at no extra cost)
  • 1/2 large onion thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot
  • 3 tbsp. butter, divided
  • 4 cups mushrooms, sliced  (I used a mix of baby bella and storebought wild mushroom mix)
  • 3/4 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • few pinches of salt to taste
  • one package egg noodles, cooked

Directions: Heat heavy skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 tbsp. butter and quickly saute the sirloin strips until well browned.

Remove meat and keep warm. Once rested, chop into bite sized pieces. Add remaining 2 tbsp. butter to skillet. Sauté onions until very tender, 6-7 minutes. (please ignore my very dirty stove – that is on the roster to be cleaned very soon!)

Add mushrooms and sauté 5 minutes. (Due to the quantity of mushrooms, I would likely saute these in a separate pan and drain off all but a tablespoon of the liquid next time and then add to the onion.)

Stir in beef broth, wine and seasonings. Heat to simmer. Stir in browned meat.

Reduce heat to low. Blend in sour cream. (In lieu of flour, cook your noodles until almost done but not quite, then add your noodles to the sauce and simmer on low. The starch in the noodles will help thicken everything up just enough to give the noodles flavor, and it will still taste delicious.) Stir until sauce is heated and smooth and the noodles are fully cooked.

This truly was one of the most delicious stroganoff’s I’ve ever taste. Even though flour is in the original recipe, I didn’t miss  it a bit. It wasn’t as thick but it was plenty tasty. We ate it down so fast that we didn’t notice the different! You will be sure to like this recipe, it’s nice and solid.  If you want it thicker, stir in a couple tablespoons of flour before adding any liquid. Yum yum yum. This will be on the menu again!

Happy Cooking,