Fig & Feta Portobello Mushroom Burgers

Consumed Burger

Summer may be coming to an end, but don’t put up your grill just yet…. This burger is sure to be a crowd pleaser!!

FIG & FETA PORTOBELLO MUSHROOM BURGERS (recipe adapted from Half Baked Harvest)


  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons tamari sauce (gluten free soy sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup olive or avocado oil
  • crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 portobella mushroom caps, stems removed
  • 4oz sheep feta cheese
  • 4 brioche burger buns, toasted (use gluten free if needed)
  • 4 tablespoons fig preserves
  • 8 slices uncured cooked bacon (omit if vegeterain/vegan)
  • 4 fried eggs
  • arugula

Smoky Ketchup

  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 of your favorite BBQ sauce
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika


In a gallon size Ziploc bag, combine the balsamic vinegar, tamari, mustard, olive oil, crushed red pepper flakes and black pepper. Add the mushroom caps and toss to coat. Let the mushrooms marinate 30 minutes to 1 hour.


Preheat an outside grill or grill pan to medium high. Place the mushrooms on the grill/grill pan and cook for 3-5 minutes on each side or until lightly charred.  During the last minute add the feta cheese.

Spread each toasted bottom bun with fig preserves. If you are not using a bun, spread fig preserves over feta cheese.   Top your mushroom burger with 1 slice cooked bacon, 1 fried egg and handful of fresh arugula.  If using a bun, spread each top bun with smoky ketchup!! Serve with roasted sweet potato fries or asparagus!!

Plated Burger



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Dark Chocolate & Walnut Fudge

A fun and tasty way to incorporate beets into your diet is here!!! Beets are no longer just for salad….. and it makes for a great table conversation when your loved ones are eating their fudge! This “fudge” has more a texture of a flourless torte and serves well with coconut whipped cream and fresh raspberries!



  • 16oz medjool dates, pitted
  • 3 Organic Cooked Beets (I recommend Love Beets or Trader Joe’s Organic Beets)
  • 1 Tbsp pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/3 cup cacao powder (or unsweetened cocoa powder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 6-9 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup raw walnuts, chopped


  1. Allow dates to soak in warm water for 10 minutes to soften. While the dates are soaking, place the chopped chocolate and coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl. Melt chocolate and oil slowly in microwave (stirring every 30 seconds).  Once melted, set aside.
  2. Drain the dates and place them in a food processor, along with the chopped beets, vanilla extract, cacao powder, cinnamon, and salt. Process until thick and smooth — you may need to stop the processor, scrape the sides with a rubber spatula, and start again several times.
  3. Leaving the food processor on, pour the melted chocolate/oil through the top and allow the mixture to process until smooth.
  4. Fold the chopped walnut into the fudge mixture with a rubber spatula.
  5. Transfer the fudge mixture to a parchment-lined 8″ by 8″ square baking pan and spread evenly. Place another piece of parchment paper on top of the fudge and gently press down in order to create an even, packed layer.
  6. Refrigerate at least two hours or place in freezer to harden. Turn the block of fudge out onto a cutting board and slice into 16 square with s sharp knife.



Recipe Adapted From: Love Beets

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Sky Castle Gastro Lounge Review

Looking for a casual restaurant, with an upbeat vibe, and upscale, but affordable food?

Look no further than Lakeview’s newest Foodie Haven… Sky Castle Gastro Lounge!  Chef Haller Magee has upgraded Lakeview’s culinary offerings in an innovative way that is guaranteed to be a neighborhood favorite!

gastro 3

What Did I Sample?

For Snacks our table devoured the Roasted Cauliflower and Radish Toast!  Both are highly recommended!  The snacks added enough flavor to wet my appetite while leaving room for my entrée!


As for main dishes, it was all about the red meat!  The Sky Castle Burger could be up for awards in the near future!  And that’s saying a lot since Birmingham is home to some pretty fine burgers!  The homemade bread and butter pickles paired nicely with the tomato jam, caramelized onions, and smoked cheddar cheese! It’s a triple threat guaranteed to give you flavor explosion!

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I can also personally vouch for the Red Wine Braised Short Ribs that were served with a butternut squash puree and charred brussels sprouts! The short ribs were packed with flavor and seasoned with perfection! Well done Sky Castle!!!

What a great environment to watch your favorite sports team, catch up with good friends, and celebrate good food!  Great memories will be had at Sky Castle Gastro Lounge! This establishment adds new personality to the Birmingham food scene!

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Chickpea Bolognese

Ok, so this may not be a typical meal that you would create on a weeknight…


It is quick, filling, tasty, high fiber, rich in vegetables, EASY, and affordable!

This is a fun twist on an Italian classic that is normally high in cholesterol and saturated fat!!! This will have your entire family reconsidering a MEATLESS MONDAY!!!!

food processor

Cashews, Garlic Powder, and Nutritional Yeast in Food Processer!  Vegan Parmesan in the Making!!




Chickpea Bolognese


  • 2 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed, drained, and dried
  • 1-2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Dried Oregano
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 3 Tbsp Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp Vegan Parmesan Cheese (pulse ¾ cup raw cashews + 1 Tbsp Garlic Powder + 3 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast)


  • 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup Carrots, diced
  • 1 28-ounce can Tomato Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Dried Oregano
  • 3 Tbsp Vegan Parmesan Cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Add rinsed, dried chickpeas to a mixing bowl and toss with olive oil, oregano, salt, garlic powder, panko bread crumbs, & vegan parmesan cheese.
  3. Place chickpeas on a baking sheet and arrange in a single layer. Bake for 25 minutes or until crispy and light golden brown. Set aside to cool slightly!
  4. While chickpeas are baking, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add olive oil, garlic and carrots. Sauté for 3-5 minutes.
  5. Remove skillet from heat and add tomato sauce, oregano, and vegan parmesan cheese, and stir. Place back over heat and bring to a low simmer over medium-low heat. Once simmering, reduce heat to low and stir on occasion until desired consistency exist.
  6. Add 3/4 of the baked chickpeas to the sauce and stir.
  7. To serve, top baked sweet potatoes, cooked whole wheat noodles, or sautéed zucchini noodles with sauce and remaining chickpeas. Garnish with vegan parmesan cheese.

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Coconut Cream Porridge

Want a tasty alternative to overnight oats?

Today I’m sharing an easy porridge recipe that involves NO COOKING!!! Enjoy!


Coconut Cream Chia Porridge

Serves 4-5 — Recipe Inspired By Half Baked Harvest


  • 1 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • ½ can Coconut Milk
  • 2 Tbsp Local Honey
  • 1/3 cup Chia Seeds
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • Dash of Sea Salt


  • Sliced Banana
  • Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
  • Hemp Seeds
  • Pistachios
  • Almond Butter
  • Cherries
  • Cocoa Nibs (optional)


In a bowl, stir together almond milk, coconut milk. Honey, chia seeds, vanilla extract, and sea salt. Cover and place in fridge overnight. Scoop porridge mixture into bowl and top with toppings of choice! Toppings shown in picture is sliced bananas, hemp seeds, cherries, almond butter drizzle and coconut flakes! Enjoy!

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Maple & Bourbon Sweet Potato Soup

Thanksgiving is only 11-days away and I’m busting at the seams with joy and excitement! I absolutely LOVE this time of year! I love the anticipation of what each day holds. Yesterday, as I walked with my husband (Mike), I spent the majority of the time rambling about the different possibilities for Thanksgiving and how special this day was going to be. Almost as if I was willing it to be!  Of course I had to confirm that watching the Macy’s Day Parade and reading the Black Friday ads were first on the agenda!

I love an excuse to make a fuse, to throw a party, to gather with family and friends, the justification to showering others with gifts and the wonderful joy in the air of closing out another year with the hope and expectations of dreams to come in the looming year ahead! Its AMAZING!!!! It feels… HOPEFUL because I find I am more reflective this time of year than any other which allows me the chance to acknowledge the purposeful gifts and mighty ways God has shown up and showed off in my life!

Ok…. so I will stop digressing and get back to my point in writing this post…. THIS SOUP. AHHHHMAZING!  (and full of amazing nutrients as well!) If you really want to get creative this Thanksgiving and take the pressure off of providing a labor intensive meal… join me in my Laid-Back GREATFUL Holiday Extravaganza movement!!! I’m going rogue this year and getting away from traditional, and embracing more free time to enjoy the loved ones in my life!!!

I’ll be serving up this amazing Maple & Bourbon Sweet Potato Soup alongside a fresh Cranberry & Spinach Salad with Turkey & Brie Crostini. Nutritious. Delicious. And Easy!!!

Soup 2

Maple & Bourbon Sweet Potato Soup served with Venison Tamales


Maple & Bourbon Sweet Potato Soup                                                         (Recipe Inspired by Half Baked Harvest)


  • 4 medium Sweet Potatoes
  • 1/2 cup Pure Maple Syrup
  • 2 Cinnamon Sticks
  • 2 1/2 cups Low-Sodium Vegetable Broth
  • 1 cup Apple Cider
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh Thyme, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • Pinch of cayenne (to your taste)
  • Salt + Pepper, to your taste
  • 2 Tablespoons Bourbon (optional)
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk (I recommend Trader Joe’s Coconut Cream)
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil


Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Wrap sweet potatoes in foil and bake for 1 hour or until soft and tender. When the sweet potatoes are cooked, slice them in half and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, add the maple syrup and cinnamon sticks to a large soup pot, bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer and allow to cook for 10-15 minutes. You want the maple syrup to thicken and reduce to a syrup like the consistency of honey.

Once the sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel away the skins and add the orange flesh to the bowl of a food processor or high powered blender. Add 1 cup of broth and puree until smooth. Slowly stir the sweet potato mixture into the thickened maple syrup. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups broth, the apple cider, thyme, nutmeg, cayenne and a pinch of salt + pepper. Cook over medium heat until warmed through, about 10 minutes. Stir in the bourbon (if using) and cream. Continue to cook another 5 minutes and then add the cheese + butter, cook until the cheese is melted and the soup is silky smooth. If the soup seems too thick, add more broth to thin. Keep over low heat until ready to serve.

Whether you are planning a traditional menu or creating new menu, I would love to hear what you are planning on having for Thanksgiving! Regardless of your main entrée, make sure you serve it up with plenty of gratitude for the beautiful life that you lead!!!!

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Pumpkin Pie Pancakes 


* 1 can Pumpkin Purée

* 2 Tbsp Cinnamon

* 1/2 Tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice

* 1 tsp Baking powder

* 3 Eggs + 4 Egg Whites

* 1 cup Oats

* 1 cup Water


Put all of the ingredients in a bowl and blend well!

Meanwhile, heat a nonstick griddle (or large nonstick skillet) coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Spoon about 1/4 cup of batter per pancake onto griddle. Serve warm with dollop of Greek Yogurt, a drizzle of Orange Blossom honey and sprinkled with Two Seed Gingerbread granola or granola of choice.

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