Happy 4th of July my friends!
July has always been my favorite month. I was reminiscing about this to my hubby as we were driving through some back roads near our home town a couple of days ago.
For one, I absolutely LOVE summer. Sunshine, waves crashing, sand beneath my feet, a cool breeze blowing through my hair…it all rejuvenates my soul.
It is the season for picnics, the char of grill flames, bonfires and fireworks. Utter delight.
And it also helps that my birthday is July 6th. 🙂
Every single year growing up my parents had a HUGE 4th of July party that doubled as a birthday party for my twin, Erica, & me. I am pretty sure that every human being that my parents ever had contact with came to this shin dig. Even family from out of state – Long Island, Staten Island, California, etc – would come. It was so exciting to see everyone, and it became such a highlight of the summer.
As you can imagine, Erica and I were in our glory. We had a massive in-ground pool and decent sized back yard, and we would run around and play with our friends and cousins like party animals. There was always a clown, or some form of entertainment, that undoubtedly picked us out of the crowd to be an assistant, or make us a balloon animal because we were the birthday girls. It may not seem that thrilling now, but back then it was a kid’s dream!
As the sun went down my daddy prepared an awesome fireworks show. One year he destroyed the grass in our front yard with “The Waterfall”. I just remember a long wire being tied from one tree to another one across the yard, and a colorful blast of glittery sparks cascading down to the ground for what seemed like FOREVER. It was a hit with everyone, except for maybe my mommy when she saw the big patch of dirt that was left where lush green grass once grew. Worth it.
These are such fond memories. Looking back now I understand why a love for summer, and this month especially, is engrained into my being! I look forward to making special memories like these with my husband and the children we will have.
Today, we are going to be celebrating this day at a picnic with some dear friends from our church community, City Church. The hosts, Joe & Nancy, dominate on the grill. They make a mean burger & grilled pizza! They were also kind enough to provide veggie burgers…yay!
As a vegan, especially just starting out, it can be intimidating to go out to typical functions that are meant to be enjoyed with loved ones. Maybe vegetarian or vegan options are not always provided, which leaves you worrying about what you can or can’t eat. Or, you end up eating something you really don’t want to, then potentially start feeling guilty about it. Who needs a damper like that getting in the way of fun and making fond memories?!
I have learned to not set myself up for failure and stay prepared. It may seem simple, but you’d be surprised!
Amongst all of my other loves is my love for home made veggie burgers. There are a couple veggie burger recipes that I adore, one of which I am sharing with you today. When ever I make them I wrap 2 individually in plastic wrap and throw them in the freezer so they will be ready to take with me when needed. This has been a life saver multiple times already this summer!
Now, this recipe is super simple & super easy – whether you’ve been in a hospital for 7 hours and need a quick dinner, or want a tasty veggie burger to take to take to a picnic, it’s a winner.
Puttanesca Inspired Veggie Burgers
(recipe adapted from Isa Chandra’s Quinoa Puttanesca)
Makes 6 Burgers
1 c cooked quinoa
2 cups oat flour (old fashioned oats + food processor = oat flour.)
1 15 oz can of cannellini beans, pureed in food processor (chick peas work fine too.)
1 flax egg (1 Tbsp flax meal + 3 Tbsp water, whisked together)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c kalamata olives, sliced
1/4 c capers
1 c crushed tomatoes (+ some for topping, optional)
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (use 1/2 tsp if you don’t so much care for spice)
2 tsp fennel seeds
Add all ingredients – except the crushed tomatoes – into a large mixing bowl and use hands to combine until incorporated.
Once incorporated add 1/2 c of crushed tomatoes and combine with hands. You want it to be kind of like the consistency of chop meat, so slowly add as much of the remaining crushed tomato as necessary to get a mixture that is moist, but slightly sticky & able to hold the shape of a burger.
Heat a cast iron skillet to medium-high heat, drizzle with olive oil and mold 6 patties while the pan heats up.
Cook the patties for about 6 minutes or so on each side, or until they have a nice brown.
Serve on a delicious bun of your choice & enjoy!
For toppings I enjoy warm crushed tomato sauce, roasted red pepper, fresh basil leaves, lettuce & a pickle on the side!
Great news – they taste even better on the grill – so get out there and fire it up! 😉
What fun traditions do you & your family have? Do you have any tricks or tips that help you stay prepared for picnics and BBQs?
Have fun at all your holiday festivities!!