Gluten-Free, Vegan Burger Recipe

Looking for a cheap, easy, freezer-friendly plant-based meal? Hoping to satisfy herbivore and omnivore palates, alike? Hunting for a guilt-free entree a teen could easily thaw and heat solo? Need a make-ahead family meal idea that is free from the top 8 allergens? I’ve got you!

LENTIL-BEAN BURGER 

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Lentil-Bean Burger

Ingredients:

1c lentils
1 can kidney beans
3 flax eggs (3 Tbl flaxmeal stirred together with 6 Tbl water)
2 Tbl yellow mustard
2 Tbl garlic powder
2 Tbl cumin
1 Tbl onion powder
1 Tbl basil
1/2 Tbl smoked paprika
1/2 Tbl Tbl chili powder
1 bell pepper  (chopped)
1/2 vidalia onion  (chopped)
1 pkg rolled oatmeal
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Stir together the flax meal and water to prepare your flax eggs, and let set while you chop your vegetables.

Once the flax mixture is a sticky, viscous goo, mix all of the remaining ingredients in a large bowl.

Mash the mixture with a handheld potato masher until the texture is sticky enough to form patties.

Form the mixture into patties (it should make 10 standard size burger patties.)

Preheat your oven to 375°F.

While the oven heats, cook the patties in an oiled pan over medium-high heat until golden.

Carefully flip each patty and cook until both sides are golden.

Transfer the patties to a silcome lined aluminum baking sheet and bake for 45 min, or until sufficiently cohesive in texture (baking time may vary with dark or nonstick pans.)

Remove and freeze, refrigerate, or serve.

To reheat, defrost in the microwave then cook in oiled pan over medium heat.

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#RareDiseaseDay

I cannot tell you how many children and adults I know who live their lives with a rare disease diagnosis. It is as if people with these unusual maladies are cosmically drawn into my life and I into theirs. Despite how their medical challenges have contorted their lives and their loved ones’ existences, they power on… because there is no other choice.

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For the Rare Disease warriors — both directly afflicted and indirectly affected by relation — this day we honor you. Your strong days embolden us. Your weak days humble us. Your determination inspires us. But, mostly, we’re just grateful to have you in our lives, strengths, flaws, and all.

6 Tips for Transitioning to Stay-at-Home Motherhood

Congratulations! You’re becoming a stay-at-home parent. Whether the transition is one rooted in choice, sheer necessity, or is simply due to life circumstances, welcome to the club! Beyond the obvious need to switch from dry-clean-only to washable attire, here are six of my personal tips for those entering upon the task of stay-at-home parenting.

My littlest and me

My littlest and me

1) Identify. Find out whether your kid(s) and you do best when at home or when out and about. Figure out the right ratio for your brood: home in the morning then out in the afternoon, out all day until dinnertime, out then in for naps then back out until dinner prep, or out just one or two days each week. Like adults, some kids are homebodies whereas others flourish when out of the house. Similarly, some parents do better out of the house rather than in. It takes some trial and error to determine the appropriate balance, but it’s there. Once you’ve found it, set your plans and schedule accordingly.

2) Prepare. Being prepared is key to the stay-at-home parent’s survival. Set out clothes at least the night before, set out coats and shoes the night before, pack lunches and snacks the day before, prepare breakfast for quick serving the night before. If “hell hour” is real and daily, aim for dinners you can prep earlier in the day so that you’re not trying to cook and comfort at the same time. Meal plan (not only does this save money and impromptu grocery trips, but it makes evenings easier), schedule activities at a minimum one day ahead, consider yourself an administrative assistant… with a warlord of a boss. The better you plan, the smoother things will go.

3) Relax. Just because you don’t get paid doesn’t mean you don’t work, and it certainly doesn’t mean you don’t need a break. Whether it’s an exercise class, coffee with a friend, a regular mind-clearing walk, a valued hobby, drinks with friends, or quiet alone time, make sure you replenish yourself. Being a stay-at-home parent is demanding and can easily lead to burnout. We cannot pour from an empty cup, so stay vigilant. Stay full.

4) Regiment. Most kids thrive on a routine. I have yet to encounter a routine-utilizing parent who finds the practice unfruitful. However, I know many routine-avoiding parents who often say they wish they had one. Find what works for you and stick to it. If naptime or quiet time is crucial (for your offspring or you), keep it sacred. If late morning starts are golden, don’t leave the house until close to lunchtime. If meltdowns are inevitable come 3:00, plan to be at home base no later than 2:59. Know your pitfalls as well as your needs and navigate accordingly.

5) Network Talk to local stay-at-home parents. Hit up story times, chat up fellow school parents, get to know neighbors, let fellow stay-at-home parents know you’re looking to expand your circle. Stay-at-home moms, in particular, more often than not love to help. From pediatricians to playdates, babysitters to preschools, swim lessons to date night spots, your network will prove invaluable. Want to know what heavy-hitter viruses are going around? Ask your network. Potty-training conundrum or seemingly unsurvivable kid phase? Hit up your network. Need a handyman or a new gynecologist? Call up your network. A network is a necessity.

6) Research  Google, fellow moms, local parenting bloggers, local activity listing sites, your county’s library webpage, your local mall and indoor playgrounds, nearby museums, community centers and nature centers… check them out for outing ideas. Hunt for free or cheap options. Do watch coupon sites as fine print and usage limitations can get tricky. Get out there and you’ll likely find your community has a slew of hidden gems.

Stay-at-home parenting is hard, under-appreciated, and unfunded. It’s 24/7. It’s unyielding. It’s gross and heavy and taxing. It’s the most rewarding, love-filled, unregrettable endeavor you can undertake. Your children have but one childhood, being there to experience it is priceless. Welcome!

Because Toddlers are Jerks

When you are the parent of a young child, you quickly learn that all paper page children’s books should come with at least one roll of invisible tape. All pop-up books should come with a bottle of wine and a roll of clear packing tape. All board books should come with the note: “Good source of fiber.”

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Happy taping!

Finding Mom Friends

Today I went to toddler story time at the local library.  I entered the familar space, falling quickly into the 5-years-long routine. My toddler and I sat where we usually sit. We smiled at familiar faces, clapped along to songs I could sing in my sleep, and chatted with a handful of friends. As I left, I remembered that things were not always so familiar… so comfortable.

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I remembered back to when I was a first-time-mom with a fussy baby who awoke every 45 minutes to nurse. I remembered I was working part-time with a long commute and felt like I was hopelessly failing, straddling two worlds of motherhood: stay-at-home and working. But what I remembered most of all was the loneliness.

I remembered story time days being marked on my calendar. I remembered carefully choosing my outfit and my daughter’s. I remembered telling myself that this would be the day I’d actually be brave and reach out to one of the fellow moms. I remembered hoping to find a connection. To befriend someone who shared my journey.

I remembered so often 10 minutes before we were supposed to leave, my baby would want to take an unexpected nap. I remembered feeling that sinking disappointment as my first-time-mom self watched the time tick by as I nursed my little one to sleep, imagining what I was missing. I remembered changing from jeans into well-worn yoga pants with tears in my eyes, thinking I’d never find mom friends.

I remembered, on days when the stars alligned, I attended story times. I’d see fellow moms, thinking perhaps one would be a possible friend. I remembered seeing twosomes and threesomes of moms chatting; I longed for that bond. I remembered being too shy to start a conversation, too self-conscious to bridge the gap. I remembered walking away wishing I had. If only I could be different… more outgoing, more confident.

I remembered joining mom groups to meet friends. I remembered the awkward feeling of not quite belonging. I remembered when I met one sweet friend at a group gathering and feeling light and happy in our chatter. I remembered our little ones playing happily side-by-side as new toddlers do. I remembered the sadness I felt when she moved away.

I remembered making my first story time friend. Her growing brood was just 6 months ahead of my own duo. Our herds grew up together, story time being our shared stomping ground (literally and figuratively) as our children increased in both years and numbers. I remembered that friend sharing her maternal wisdom. I remembered growing more confident in my mothering abilities and, consequently, in myself.

I remembered the old feelings of loneliness back when all I wanted was a solid night’s sleep and a mom friend. I wanted to hug my former self. I wanted to reassure that harried, anxious, self-flagellating first-time-mom me that things would get easier. That I’d not only find my way but myself… and a beautiful collection of dear friends who shared in my journey.

Now I have a cluster of treasured mom friends, all who bring their unique joys, insights, guidance, and influences to my life. Now — as a mom of a kindergartener, preschooler, and a toddler — I am confident. I am outgoing. I am unapologetically me. I am happy. It just took time, patience, a little self-confidence, and some good friends.

If you’re like the old me, know you’ll get there too. You’re not alone. Be braver than me… bridge that gap. Say, “hi”, smile, be you. Soon you’ll find your path, yourself, and your tribe.

Wracked with Mom Guilt

The house is quiet. I desperately want to be asleep. Instead… mom guilt.

I yelled too much. I didn’t cuddle enough. They’re growing too fast. I should be more Pintrest-y. I don’t give this child enough one-on-one time. I should do more cool things with the other child. Am I teaching the youngest enough? I should make a sensory box. I should savor bedtime instead of surviving it. Should I let my littlest move forward with ridiculously early potty-training even though I really don’t want to do it right now? I’m letting the memories all slip by. I need to exercise more. Why can I not remember when my middle son first stood on his own? I feel like I failed today.

So much guilt. SO much!

So much pointless self-flagellation. If I’m going to berate myself and sacrifice much-needed sleep to do so, I might as well make it worthwhile. But how?

Tomorrow! Tomorrow is a fresh start. A new day. An opportunity to yell less, hug more, be more present and patient, be more creative and encouraging. I will do better tomorrow. At least I’ll try.

I won’t be perfect. I will slip up. I will do my best.

And that’s all we can do. We must accept our faults, learn from our mistakes, actively do better, and forgive ourselves. For what is the point of suffering guilt if not to move ourselves in a positive, remedying direction?

We are human. We are flawed. We are parents. We have tomorrow.

Dill Garbanzo Salad

Looking for a potluck dish that’s free from the top 8 allergens? On the search for a versatile vegan picnic dish that can go from side salad to sandwich stuffer? Meal prepping for the week and need a healthy, cheap menu item that can transition from packed lunch to snack to dinner? Hunting for a no-cook fiber-rich, protein-filled dish? Dill Garbanzo Salad!

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Canned garbanzo beans, celery, vidalia onion, soy-free veganaisse, lemon juice, dill, salt, and pepper are all you need to make this dish. Simply grab a big bowl and add in 2 cans of drained and rinsed garbanzo beans, 2 handfuls of cleaned and chopped fresh dill, 3 stalks of cleaned and chopped celery, 1 chopped small vidalia onion, 3/4 cup of Soy-free Veganaisse, the juice of 1 lemon, and salt and pepper to taste. Use a potato masher to combine the ingredients. Smash until roughly 2/3 of the garbanzo beans are crushed and the remaining beans are whole. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight.

After refrigerating, stir and taste to check seasoning before serving. Add more salt and pepper if needed, or sprinkle in some garlic powder if desired. If you want to add some extra zing, stir in a bit of juice from a jar of pickles and a couple of diced pickles immediately before serving.

DILL GARBANZO SALAD 

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Ingredients:

2 cans garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed)

3 stalks celery  (cleaned and chopped)

1 small vidalia onion  (chopped)

2 handfuls fresh dill (cleaned and chopped)

3/4 cup Soy-Free Veganaisse

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

* Optional: garlic powder to taste, dill pickle juice, and 2 diced pickles

Instructions:

Add all of the ingredients, minus the optional items, into a large bowl.

Using potato masher, crush the ingredients to combine until roughly 2/3 of the beans are smashed and the remaining beans are whole.

Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight.

Before serving, stir and taste, seasoning with additional salt and pepper and/or garlic powder if desired.

For an extra flavor punch, stir in a bit of pickle juice from a jar of dill pickles and a couple of diced dill pickles.

Stuff it into a pita pocket, pile it into a sandwich, smear it on toast, roll it into a wrap, spoon it as a side dish, serve it on top of fresh greens, or scoop it into a Buddha bowl. However you use it, enjoy it!