Sunday, April 14, 2013

Black Bean & Brown Rice Veggie Burgers Recipe

I first tried this recipe out about a year ago, and wasn't expecting it to be all that great -- to be honest, I was just looking for a cheap, healthy alternative to burgers. Much to my surprise, these proved to be not only cheap and healthy, but delicious! Since then, I've made these more times than I can count -- even crumbling up the leftovers, reheating adding taco seasoning, and using in place of ground beef for "veggie tacos".

Black Bean & Brown Rice Veggie Burgers

1 can of drained black beans (or 1.5 cups of black beans, if you prefer to soak/cook dried black beans yourself, as I do)
1 cup of cooked brown rice (Alton Brown's recipe for baked brown rice is super-easy, and has never failed me)
3 cloves of crushed garlic
1 diced onion
1/4 cup of chopped, fresh cilantro
2 egg whites
1 tsp Chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Use a fork to mash half of the beans, leaving the other half unmashed. Stir in all remaining ingredients.
[Come to think of it -- I've even pureed ALL the ingredients together in a food processor, til smooth -- they lose the "burger-like" texture, but stay together much better during cooking/flipping.  Whichever way you prefer -- this is a relatively foolproof recipe.]

Form into four patties. Either bake them in the oven at 375 ° F for 25 minutes or place in a pan lightly coated with olive oil. Be careful when you are turning them, because vegetarian burgers do have a tendency to fall apart easily. Cook on each side 4-5 minutes on medium heat.

Confession: I would have posted a photo, but the last time I made these, I had already started snacking on them by the time I got my camera ready, so the only photo I have is one with  patties with the edges picked off.  Whoops.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Solid Lotion Bar Recipe

When I first started making my own bath/body/skincare items, solid lotion bars (a.k.a. massage bars, belly bars, etc.) were one of the first things I started making. I ended up loving them SO much that (after tweaking a few recipes) I started selling them on my etsy site. I use them daily -- they keep my skin moisturized much longer than standard lotions, are super-convenient, and easy to apply.

The following is a recipe for a simple, unscented solid lotion bar -- nothing particularly fancy (I can't give away ALL my secrets), but you can adjust it to suit your preference (lighter/heavier oils, additional butters, etc).

If you don't want to make your own, mine can be found here.

Basic Solid Lotion Bars

Recipe makes approximately three 3-oz. lotion bars
  • 6 Tbsp. beeswax (if you can get them, beeswax pellets/pastilles make measuring SO much easier, and melting SO much faster)
  • 3Tbsp cocoa butter
  • 3 Tbsp shea butter
  • 6 Tbsp coconut oil
In a double boiler (I use a Pyrex measuring cup in a pan of water), add beeswax, cocoa butter, and coconut oil, and stir until beeswax and cocoa butter are fully melted. Add shea butter, and stir over low-medium heat until completely melted (I add the shea butter after the beeswax and cocoa butter have melted, because if you heat shea butter for too long, it has a tendency to become grainy/mealy. No bueno.)
Remove from heat.

If you want to scent your lotion bars with fragrance oil or essential oil, let mixture cool for a few minutes (but before it starts to set), add FO/EO, and mix well.

Pour into molds -- anything you want, really: a butter dish, an empty yogurt container, soap molds, heck, even ice cube trays or candy molds work for smaller-sized "mini-bars".

Pop lotion bars out of their mold once fully cooled -- if you're as impatient as I am, you can hasten the process by popping the filled containers into your refrigerator/freezer for 15 minutes.

If you have a cute container to store yours in, great -- but to be honest, I just keep mine in a resealable plastic baggie, and apply post-shower, to towel-dried skin. Easy peasy.