Alright, so recently I jumped on the “Meatless Mondays” bandwagon. It is something that I do sparingly (mostly because my mom likes meat so much and she is usually off on Mondays which means she is the one cooking. And if she is cooking, there is a very likely chance that there is meat). But sometimes, I do get my way. This past Monday was one of those times. It started with a trip to Trader Joe’s. One of the best things about Trader Joe’s (or TJ’s for those of us that are fortunate enough to have one close by that we can frequent) is that you can always (in my experience) count on them to be serving samples of something to eat and something to drink. The day that I went to Trader Joe’s, they served samples of Quinoa Cowboy Veggie Burgers topped with Corn and Chile tomato-less salsa.

I took one bite and I immediately grabbed both the burger package and the jar of salsa and threw them into my shopping cart. I mentally began planning a wonderfully meatless meal. This burger with the topping, along with salad and guacamole. It would be the perfect “Meatless Monday” meal. It would be healthy and more importantly, filling. A filling meal is very important. I like feeling satiated when I am finished eating dinner so that I don’t feel compelled to pick up a late-night snack.
The first thing that I did was put two burgers (one for me and one for my unsuspecting mother) in the oven. The burgers take about 15 minutes in total to be ready, but that plenty of time to get the rest of the meal going.

First the salad:
One of my favorite foods to mix into salad is bulgur wheat. It is quick and easy to make and it is very healthy. I cook it every few days.

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I tasted this once when my mom made it as a replacement for rice and now I use it all the time. Goodbye rice and hello bulgur wheat. Just one of the few changes that I have been doing to become healthier. And this bag goes a long way (which is important for someone on a budget).

Step 1: Pour some olive oil into a medium saucepan and put on medium high. Let it heat up for about 20 seconds and add some chopped garlic and onions.
Step 2: Let the garlic and onions caramelize a bit and add some beans. Doesn’t really matter what kind. I just use whatever Goya beans I find in my cupboard.
Step 3: Add some spice. Could be a Knorr packet or a chicken bouillon cube. I usually put one cube for 1.75 cups of bulgur wheat (I like making extra so that I don’t have to cook it every time I eat a salad). Mix it all up and some water. For 1.75 cups of wheat, I put 2 cups of water. If I am feeling fancy, I sprinkle some Herbes de Provence in the water.
Step 4: When the water boils, put in the bulgur wheat. Mix it around for a bit using a spoon, then put the heat on low, and cover the saucepan ¾ of the way. It needs to cook but the water also needs to evaporate. This should take about five minutes.
Step 5: When the water is non-existent (do not let it burn of course and check to make sure that it is cooked. It should have a sort of chewy but grainy texture), cover it completely and remove from the stove. You now need it to cool down.

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I think that this is considered 3/4 closed.

Now onto the rest of the salad:
You can omit or add something as you see fit, but these are the ingredients that make this salad addictive for me and those I make it for: sliced cabbage (red or green or BOTH!), Herb Blend Salad from Earthbound Farm (a basic Spring Mix that includes parsley, dill and cilantro), chopped carrots, and corn (I buy it frozen from Trader Joe’s and I cook it myself). I never forget the bulgur wheat. You can add as much as you want. I am usually satisfied with four to five tablespoons. I don’t do salad dressing (those Hidden Valley commercials always make me cringe) but I love olive oil (especially if it’s Greek) and sea salt. I also recently discovered how much I liked flaxseed oil on a salad. I discovered this by mistake. I had just finished the olive oil and needed a little more. I thought the flaxseed oil was olive oil and I didn’t realize my mistake until I had already used it. Turns out that it was one of the rare occasions when a mistake worked in my favor. Now I can’t make a salad without it.
When you have added all of your salad ingredients to the bowl, close it and shake. The salad needs to be well mixed. You want the oils and the salt to touch everything.
The salad is now done. After you check on the burger, it is time for the guacamole:
When I am craving guacamole (which is often), I either do it right, or not at all. And unlike what people might think, I do not need chips to eat guacamole; just a fork.  Technically the most important ingredient is avocado, but for me, they are all important. The ingredients are:
2 Avocados
½ lime,
3-4 garlic cloves (crushed using a mortar and pestle)
1/4 Vidalia onion chopped into small pieces
Jalapeno pepper (how much you chop up and add depends on how spicy you want it)
A couple dashes of sea salt
1 tomato (I usually use plum tomatoes.  They are easier for me to chop up into small pieces)
A dash of black pepper
A small handful of cilantro (chopped up)
A dollop of Greek yogurt.
Mix it all up with a fork until it is the consistency that you need it to be and that’s it: You have your guacamole.
Now you have all of your parts and by now your burger should be ready. Now place everything on your plate and enjoy!

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The complete meal on a plate. Just looking at this picture makes me remember how delicious it was. I need to make another run to Trader Joe’s.
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