Well Dined

21Aug/162

Vegetarian Beet Burgers

Well Dined | Vegetarian Beet Burgers

A month ago, Melissa (Smells Like Brownies) asked for my help coming up with toppings for these gorgeous beet, quinoa, and black bean burgers. How could I refuse?!  Before I tell you what we decided on, let me tell you about the burgers themselves.

Well Dined | Vegetarian Beet Burgers

The are firm, full of flavor, have great texture, and are a little bit smoky.  Everyone always says this, but they do taste very meaty.  I swear.

Well Dined | Vegetarian Beet Burgers

Veggie burgers rely on many ingredients to make a good product.  They can be notoriously mushy and fall apart.  This recipe seems to hit all the right notes to make a great burger.  Mushrooms, onions, and beets give moisture and flavor; quinoa gives texture; and black beans and ground nuts hold it all together.

27Aug/150

Doubletree Hotel Chocolate Chip Cookies

Well Dined | Doubletree Hotel Chocolate Chip Cookies

When I asked Melissa (Smells Like Brownies) to help me become a better baker, I specifically asked to do these cookies.  If you have ever stayed at a Doubletree Hotel, then you know the joy of being handed one of these giant cookies when you check in.  It's probably one of the most searched for cookie recipes, and it has some secret ingredients that I wouldn't have guessed.

Well Dined | Doubletree Hotel Chocolate Chip Cookies

So, let's get started!  The first step is to mix the dry ingredients, which include finely ground dry oats.  This is one of the secret ingredients that makes these cookies so good - it makes the texture so lovely.  There's also a bit of cinnamon in there, yum.

Next, cream butter with both granulated and brown sugar, vanilla, and the next secret ingredient - lemon juice.  I would never have guessed to use lemon juice in a chocolate chip cookie, but it keeps them tender.

Well Dined | Doubletree Hotel Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mix the dry into the wet, then stir in chocolate chips and toasted chopped walnuts.  The original recipe didn't call for toasting the walnuts, but I think it makes the texture nicer and brings out the nutty flavor.

21Apr/154

Lentil Salad with Walnuts and Herbs

Well Dined | Lentil Salad with Walnuts and Herbs

I have made this salad multiple times in the past two years, but never managed to photograph it or blog about it - until now!  Which is a shame, because it is so delicious and satisfying, and you could have been making it, too.  I'm so sorry!  But I'm sharing it with you now, and I hope that you know how serious I am about loving this salad, because I rarely ever make things more than once.  I even bought pomegranate molasses for my parents so that I could make this for them!

Special thanks to Melissa at Smells Like Brownies, for making it with me again two years after our first time making it together so that we could photograph it.

Well Dined | Lentil Salad with Walnuts and Herbs

First thing is first, you must cook some lentils! I use French lentils for pretty much everything because they retain their shape and texture.  Plus, they are a pretty green.

Well Dined | Lentil Salad with Walnuts and Herbs

Meanwhile - prep your other ingredients.  Chop your vegetables: onion, garlic, bell peppers.  I love how colorful the bell peppers are, and how pretty they make the salad.  So buy one of those 3 packs that has red, yellow, and orange.  It will make you so happy.  We also had a little bit of a green pepper left over, so we threw that in.

Also use this time to rehydrate some sun-dried tomatoes in boiling water.  The water will become infused with tomato flavor, and will later become part of the dressing - neat!  Not pictured - toast some walnuts.  It releases the oils and makes them so much more flavorful.

3Dec/130

Thanksgiving 2013

Well Dined | Thanksgiving

We alternate our Thanksgivings each year between our families in Texas and Oregon.  This year was an Oregon year!  (Read here for our last visit.)  My in-laws live in beautiful Bend, OR - which is such a nice town.  Check out the gorgeous mountain view from our hotel room!  We stay at the Oxford hotel when we visit, and I definitely recommend it.

Well Dined | FamilyWe hadn't seen most of the family in 2 years, and 3 years for sister Kailey!  So it was really nice to be all together again.

Well Dined | Thanksgiving

We had quite the spread, as usual.  We were so excited to see each other that we spent all of Wednesday talking and didn't get any prep work done!  So we didn't end up eating Thanksgiving dinner until actual dinner time, which was fine by us!

Well Dined | Thanksgiving

Here's Mom carving up that beautiful turkey!  They made sure to get one that was humanely raised.

Well Dined | Thanksgiving

I'd like to give a special shout-out to this gorgeous salad made by my Chef sister-in-law.  It was in keeping with her gluten- and dairy-free lifestyle and it was AWESOME.  It had two kinds of raw kale (massaged to remove bitterness), roasted beets, fennel, toasted walnuts, and pomegranate seeds.  I need to get the recipe from her for the yummy cashew dressing.

What was your favorite dish this year?  Leave a link or recipe in the comments!