Burger recipes to get you stoked for your Labor Day cookout

Vegan Black Bean Burgers Vegan black bean burgers. Want the recipe? Click here

It’s Labor Day weekend y’all! A day we (in the States, anyway) kick back, relax and honor the American labor movement with parades and backyard cookouts.

How about taking your burger game up a notch with one of these gourmet burgers?

No matter how–or where–you spend it, have a wonderful weekend! How do you plan to spend it?

I’ve got my head in the (citrus) clouds again…

Citrus Clouds

This soap makes me imagine what it’s like to be a famous celebrity living on my fabulous ranch in southern California.

I’m between movies having a lazy day. I decide to take a walk in my personal citrus grove; the one that is tended to by someone on my payroll. I decide to spread my ethically sourced bamboo and cashmere blanket on the ground and take in the scenery. The scent is intoxicating. I look up and see a sunny sky with perfect, fluffy clouds straight from central casting. My hunky boyfriend brings me my macrobiotic lunch and proceeds to rub my feet. It’s so good to be me…

Our Citrus Clouds soap may not bring you a perfect celebrity lifestyle, but it certainly is a favorite on Emmet Street. Whether you have to be on the set or in a cubicle at 8 a.m., this soap packs a wake-you-up-in-the-morning wallop with its orange and lemon verbena fragrance.

A Monday meditation on… ‘Maters!

Heirloom Tomato Collage

Ah, August. Not only is it the time of year those of us in the northern hemisphere experience the dog days of summer, it’s the celebrated time when we get to enjoy tomatoes that were homegrown in the dirt–the way nature intended!

Being a hobbyist gardener allows for a summer-long meditation practice.

First, you contemplate the seeds you’re going to start and gather the proper materials to give the seeds a good start in life. You spend time checking your little seedlings to make sure they have all they need to grow into strong, healthy plants. You take your seedlings for walks, so they can get used to being in the great outdoors (this process is called hardening off, but that sounds so… hard).

When the seedlings are ready to move, you prepare their home mindfully and create the ideal soil conditions for them to dip their rooty little toes into. You take more walks around the tomato housing complex, checking their growth and contemplating their needs: Are they getting enough food and water? Are they sick? Do they need a little support? As you tend to these needs, you focus only on the task at hand and free yourself from the endless to-do lists in your mind.

And then August arrives and get your first ripe tomato!

Since you’ve attained some enlightenment, you complete a calm ritual of slicing the tomato, artfully arranging it on a plate and gently sprinkling salt over the tomato slices. You gently cut a piece of tomato, place it on your fork and bring it to your mouth. You relish every bit of salty, citrusy, tomatoy flavor in that first bite. Every memory that winter exists is purged from your brain.

Then the bite is over. You’re still blissed out, but now you’re ravenous to get every bite of that summery goodness down your gullet as quickly as possible and all your good meditative work is undone.

I guess that’s why it is said there are many paths to enlightenment.

How about you? Are tomatoes your favorite summer treat? How to you like to eat yours? I’d love to hear all about your summer food passions, please share with us in the comments. 

Quench your thirst with water infused with cucumber, lime and mint! Easy infused water DIY

A few weeks ago I told you about a luscious cucumber, avocado and wheatgrass soap that I made with the juice of cucumbers I picked in my garden. An inevitable byproduct of juicing is vegetable pulp. I don’t know about you, but I can’t see wasting perfectly good vegetables just because they are smashed beyond recognition. I usually give the pulp to the McWormerson’s to compost, but this time around I decided to try something different.

I love cucumber-infused water in the summer but just slicing up a cucumber doesn’t flavor the water as strongly as I would like. So I decided to use the cucumber pulp to make a super-infused water. My juicer, and I’m assuming most juicers out there, comes with a handy cup that catches the pulp. The cup has a strainer at the bottom that allows excess juice to run out into a larger cup.

I left the pulp in the cup and poured filtered water over it, allowing the water to drip into a pot.

Making cucumber water

After a few minutes, I was left with delicious, light green cucumbery water. Next, I added slices of lime and a few sprigs of mint and allowed the water to chill for several hours. The result was a light and refreshing beverage to sip while hanging out in my yard.

cucumber lime and mint infused water

Coming up in the next few weeks, I’ll tell you about the soothing cucumber and yogurt face mask I made with the rest of the pulp. It’s an easy way to pamper yourself!

Have you used the pulp from your juicer to make something delicious or useful? Tell us all about it in the comments!

The loofah soap experiment: Update #3

For most of the summer, I’ve been convinced that my loofah plant would never bear fruit. It has been an unusually cool summer and loofah plants need heat. The vines are huge and getting bigger very day. Neighbors, don’t let your cats out. Loofah hungry!

Loofah plant

The plant has been blooming for the last month, but no loofah.

Loofah flower

Then, we had rain and several sunny days in a row and suddenly, loofah!

Loofah

At last count, I have five little loofah growing and dozens of flower buds. If the weather would just warm up, I think I might get at least one loofah that is large enough to dry and work with before the snow starts to fly. I might even get brave and pick a few small ones to eat.

Did you miss the first few installments of the loofah saga? Catch up with them here and here.

Happy Birthday Julia Child!

Julia Child_Mastering the Art of French Cooking

Julia Child was born on this day in 1912. Thank you, Julia, for reminding the “servantless American cook” that cooking can be easy and pleasurable and rescuing them from mid-century gastronomic inventions like the TV dinner. (Though, I’m sorry, I just can’t get on board with aspics.)

Without you, we would not have the numerous food television options we have today. When you started work on The French Chef in 1963, did you imagine eventually there would be entire networks devoted to food and cooking?

To celebrate Julia’s birthday, why not whip up the first recipe she made from Mastering the Art of French Cooking on The French Chef, Boeuf Bourguignon and invite a few friends over? Sure it’s a painstaking process, but you’ve got the whole weekend to get “one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man” right. What else to you have to do? Bon appetit!

Have you made boeuf bourguignon? Is it worth the effort?