Best Kid-friendly Lentil Burgers Ever

Ok.  I know I have been absent from the blog for awhile. I am working on a new blog layout, but for now, this will have to work!

For those of you who didn’t know, we gave up meat for Lent this year.  We are eating vegetarian Monday-Friday, and fish on the weekends.  It has been challenging, but at the same time, it has given us an opportunity to try some new recipes – like these Lentil Burgers!  This was definitely one of those recipes that I thought would be a total bust, but much to my surprise, these were a huge hit at our house!  This recipe makes enough for our family of 5, plus leftovers for lunches.  (My kids really liked taking these in their lunches.)  This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan if you use egg substitute.

  • 1.5C green or brown lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2t ground cumin
  • 2t mild curry powder
  • 2 eggs, beaten (or egg-substitute if you want vegan patties)
  • salt and pepper
  • cornmeal for dredging
  • vegetable oil for frying

1. Combine 4 C water with lentils, and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Cover and simmer until lentils are tender, 15-20 minutes.  Drain.

2. Mash lentils with potato masher or fork, OR go the easy route like me.  Place the lentils in a food processor and pulse several times until lentils are broken up and easier to shape into patties. (Not pureed, just mashed up a bit)

3. Put mashed lentils in a bowl, mix in garlic, cumin, curry powder.  Mix in beaten eggs (or egg substitute).

4. Shape patties and place on a plate or cookie sheet.  Chill in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to make them easier to fry.

5. Dredge them on both sides with cornmeal.  You could also use a mixture of cornmeal and flour.

6. In large frying pan, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Fry patties, turning once, until brown, about 3-4 minutes on each side.

Serve with pitas, hummous, and tzatziki.  We made some Greek-spiced potatoes and sauteed red peppers for a side. This meal will probably become a staple at our house!



Yesterday, I commented on Twitter as Brad and I were enjoying the last two scotcharoos of a batch I had made earlier in the day:

My twitter is connected to Facebook (because I am lazy), and I got several interesting comments, including one from my Irish friend, Jean:

Ate?? I assumed you were drinking scotch whiskey!!

I’m not sure what is worse:

A.) That people do not know what scotcharoos are, or
B.) My friends think I give pet names to my alcoholic beverages!

Scotcharoos are a peanut buttery rice krispie-type treat.  Admittedly, this recipe is hard to make here in Ireland because it is hard to find chocolate chips or butterscotch chips.  Sometimes, butterscotch chips are available at Fallon & Byrne, but I usually bring them over in my luggage.  The recipe is from Brad’s grandmother, Myrtle White, and has been a family favorite for years.  These have to be the tastiest, easiest homemade treat out there!

Recipe by Myrtle White

1 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup, or golden syrup
1 cup peanut butter
6 cups rice krispies cereal
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips/morsels

Cook sugar and corn syrup/golden syrup in saucepan until mixture boils.  Remove from heat.  Stir in peanut butter.  Stir in 6 cups rice krispies.  Press into greased 9×13 pan.

Melt chocolate chips and butterscotch chips. Spread over rice krispie mix, and chill.  Cut into bars when set.  That’s it!  The whole process takes about 15 minutes, 20 if you count 5 minutes of chilling in the refrigerator.

Pan of scotcharoos.  Someone took a really big slice!
Someone already took a chunk of the scotcharoos!

There ya go – I dare you not to eat the entire pan in one day!

First Day of School – Irish Style!

Last week, Isaac and Liesl each had their first day of school.  Liesl’s first day was Thursday.

Liesl's First Day of School
Liesl’s First Day of School

She is attending the same Montessori preschool that Isaac did.  We were so pleased with the experience, and it definitely helped Liesl’s transition because she was already familiar with the school.  The program is 9:30 – 12:30, and she will attend 3 days a week.  There are 10 children and 2 teachers, Mrs. Therese and Mrs. Tricia, in her class.  Liesl already knows several children in the class, including her friend Kelly.

Liesl and Kelly
Liesl and Kelly

Mrs. Therese says Liesl is very chatty and articulate, so I already see ‘talking’ citations in primary school in our future!   Liesl was so excited to finally go to school “like a big girl” and jumped in to everything straight away.

Very happy to be at ‘Big Girl’ school!

Isaac’s first day of Junior Infants was on Friday.  In Ireland, Kindergarten is split into two years, Junior Infants and Senior Infants.  Isaac attends the local National (public) primary school, St. Mochta’s.  We sit in the catchment area for 3 primary schools – 2 affiliated with the Catholic church, and one Community (non-affiliated) school.  We opted for a Catholic school because we had heard great things about the school, we are Catholic, and St. Mochta’s is on Brad’s route to work, making it easier for drop-off and pickup.

Big Day - First day of Junior Infants
Big Day – First day of Junior Infants
Isaac's First Day
Isaac’s First Day

Isaac is in Mrs. Schmidt’s class.  He doesn’t know anyone in his class yet, but his best friend, Seán,  is in another Junior Infant class at the school.  (Seán and Liesl’s friend, Kelly are siblings.  It is so great to have a family with kids the same ages as ours!  Seán and Kelly’s parents have been great helping us navigate the local school system.)

Isaac and Sean
Isaac and Sean in the schoolyard.
Getting lined up and ready to go
Getting lined up and ready to go.  The parents did not go inside for drop-off, but we did pick him up from the classroom afterwards.

The first day was a bit rocky because we just didn’t know what to expect.  Starting school is tough for both parents and kids, and it doesn’t get any easier in a foreign country.  Isaac was very nervous.  It didn’t help that we missed the “Junior Infant Days” in June because we were in the US.  Junior Infant Days are similar to “Meet the Teacher” nights in the US.  The kids come to school in the afternoon, do some activities with their future teachers, see the classrooms, etc.  The school doesn’t host Junior Infant Days in August because that is a month that is typically reserved for vacations.  Across Europe, many families are gone through the entire month, which makes it difficult to host a Meet the Teacher-type event.  No worries though, Isaac was all smiles when we picked him up!

Playing around after school
Playing around after school

There are private, or ‘fee-paying’ schools in Ireland, but none are particularly convenient to where we live or work.  We have decided to try the public system first, and if we need to make changes in the future, we can.  Isaac will wear a uniform every day.  For Junior and Senior Infants, it consists of navy blue sweatpants and sweatshirt with school crest, and a polo shirt for warmer days.  Some of the girls preferred to wear the pinafore dress with shirt, tights, and dress shoes (Sooo cute!) Although he can wear the full uniform, he is not required to wear the full formal uniform until First Class (1st grade).  The Irish definitely take their time getting kids adjusted to school.  Isaac went to school for just 2 hours on Friday, 10-12, and the typical school day is 9:00 – 1:30, MUCH shorter than the US school day!

Since we are completely inexperienced in the Irish school system, we’ll post more details in a few weeks, once we get into the routine a bit more.  There will be plenty more to share about school lunches, Irish language, books, etc.

Until then – Slán!