FROM OUR KITCHEN TABLE

Mini recipe for the perfect eggplant side dish, how to make quick pickled onions and a burger date with friends

Happy Monday everyone! This week was filled with delicious goodies and a little "spring cleaning" at our house. Yes, we always do our spring cleaning in January to start the year off clutter free. I'm always amazed as to how much of a difference putting things in order makes in my cooking and eating habits. We actually gave our kitchen a total makeover and built a sort of open pantry where all our staples are visible and organized. I can't tell you what a difference this made! I promise I'll have pics for you soon (as well as a little surprise for your kitchen!). Ok, so on to the highlights of what we ate this week in the hopes that it inspires you to create some plant-based dishes of your own! I'm including the steps to make two of my favorite little additions to our meals this week.

Our favorite breakfasts

This was a delicious breakfast and a snack this week, whole wheat toast with homemade almond butter, banana, sunflower seeds and a drizzle of agave. So delicious! If you're a member at Brownble we'll be teaching you how to make all your favorite nut butters at home really soon! It's the biggest money saver ever, and they're completely natural and made without added oils or preservatives.

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You know me and overnight oats! These had banana, strawberries, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. Did you know pumpkin seeds are amazing for healthy hair? I love their crunch, and they're choc-full of health benefits.

Our favorite lunches

This week it was all about black beans. Here I used them to top a very simple green salad with cherry tomatoes and avocado. Beans are such amazing sources of fiber and protein, and they're the perfect addition to salads since they hold their shape really well. 

I think this was Carlos's favorite side dish this week. I made it for a contrasting texture to the beet risotto you see at the top of the post, and when we had leftovers yesterday, Carlos complained that I didn't make extra eggplant slabsTo make them, simply slice an eggplant into thin slices with the skins on and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil generously, and sprinkle sea salt, oregano and pepper, and rub everything in with your fingers. Roast the slices in the oven at 350ºF until golden without turning them (with the oven rack a bit higher up than the middle). The edges get crispy and the center gets buttery. It's heaven! They were the perfect side to the beet and buckwheat risotto, which is one of the amazing recipes in Deliciously Ella by Ella Woodward. A must read!

Our favorite dinners

I know this dish looks quite simple (and the late night iPhone photo I took didn't do it justice), but this has to be one of my favorite meals. I have a variation of this bowl practically every single day. This one was Mexican inspired so it had quinoa, black beans, fresh tomato salsa, avocado and the best topping ever, quick pickled red onion.

For the quick pickled red onion, all you have to do is thinly slice a red onion and place the strips in a bowl adding half and half water and vinegar until they are covered, plus a big pinch of salt. Leave them in there until they are soft and have this bright pink color. It makes for the best burger or taco topping ever!

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We went on a little dinner date with friends this week to our new favorite vegan burger joint in Madrid, Viva Burger. I love their burgers because they're piled sky high with the most delicious toppings and the patty and bread are also divine! The patty is made out of whole grains, peanuts and apple, and I ordered their famous "Chingona" which has avocado and pico de gallo, with an extra slice of vegan Swiss cheese. I know right?! 

This is my dear friend Any who you've seen before around here. The boys were on the other side of the table about to dig into their vegan blue cheese and mushroom burgers. Such a fun night! Then again it always is with these two!

This week's "oh so sweet" treat

You probably know by now that although I have the biggest sweet tooth, I limit my real, sugary desserts to only once a week, so after our burgers we were digging into vegan carrot cake and a giant chocolate chip cookie. Does this mean I never have a sweet treat during the week? Heavens no! My healthy sweet go tos are dates (on their own or stuffed with almond or cashew butter!), banana slices with a little nut butter, a warm cup of coffee with agave or cinnamon or some herbal tea, or a simple little piece of dark chocolate. Sometimes all we need is a little sweet bite after a meal, and the simplest fruit will do the trick. I love strawberries, mango and melon or pineapple. Then I get to splurge on my real dessert and I can really enjoy it.

These were our favorites from this past week, but this one is going to be really interesting since Carlos's birthday is on Thursday and we're having a little party filled with Brownble recipes from our membership program. You'll of course get all the pics as always! Have a great week everyone! I'll be back tomorrow with some delicious videos and recipes so stay tuned.