Summer of the Burger | Week 3

This week, I am featuring another stuffed burger for SOB Week 3. (In hindsight, I see that acronym isn’t going to work. Vanilla Bean is a family-friendly blog, after all.) This burger is so easy, as long as you are a fan of cheesecake and salsa (not together…that would be gross), you probably have the filling -- cream cheese and jalapeno peppers --  in your fridge.

Mix together a half block of softened cream cheese and a diced jalapeno pepper. Like last week’s burger, make two thin patties, place a spoonful of the mixture on one patty, and place a second patty on top. Press the edges together to seal the filling in and flip it on the grill!

At this point, you might be saying to yourself, “Cheater! This week’s SOB is just like the last SOB. What gives, VB?” Well, to make up for these feelings of anger and resentment, I am posting a super easy and super tasty sparkling sangria recipe on the Vanilla Bean Facebook page. Like it and you’ll get more little nuggets like these all summer long!


My Playground Garden

To the untrained eye, this looks like your typical playground. There's a doggie swing. A teeter-totter. A sandbox. Some weird hangy-punching-thing (yes, that is the technical name). But, look closer...do you see all of those pots, lined up like little soldiers?

That's right...it's our garden!

Jeff and I had big plans to start a garden this year. We decided that outside the fence, in the backyard, would be a prime spot. We mapped out how big it would be. Made sure the area would get enough sunlight. We even argued about what to plant. Then, we got too busy lazy. So, to make ourselves feel less guilty about sitting around and doing nothing, we agreed that a container garden would be a great way for us to ease into the joys of gardening. 2011 will be our year. I can feel it.

What are we growing in our little playground garden, you ask? We have rosemary...

We are growing approximately 100 jalapeno peppers for salsa and jalapeno poppers.

I have basil coming out of my ears. Which is awesome because a) I look fabulous in green and b) I love making Chicken Pesto Pizza.

These roma tomatoes (and the basil) will be awesome in some homemade pasta sauce. I love to make a huge batch and freeze it in individual servings.

Jeff hates onions, but I can get him to eat shallots. It makes a great addition to champagne risotto.

And, to spice things up a bit, we have some chili peppers. You can't tell by the size of him now, but this guy is going to be lethal.

How does your garden grow?


I'm Featured on Tip Junkie!

I'm happy to announce that my pillow-making obsession has earned me a spot on Laurie's Tip Junkie today! Yippee! This is just the nod I needed to get Mr. VB to lift the ban on fabric shopping. It's going to be a busy weekend ;-)

In addition to the pillows featured on Tip Junkie today, don't miss my original no-sew pillow tutorial.


Or my recent Starfish pillow.



Summer of the Burger | Week 2

The way things have been looking lately, I will have to change the name of my blog to Vanilla Beef. Thanks to some recent yard sale finds, however, I am hoping to have some new DIY projects up soon. Hold tight!

In the meantime, let me introduce you to Juicy Lucy. She is a tasty little burger I found in my Food Network magazine. Instead of putting the cheese on top of the burger, you put it on the inside. Kinda like a present. But without the, "Is this going to fit me" feeling.

Spice up your burger however you want and follow the photo tutorial below:





*Editor's Note*Between steps 2 & 3, put your Lucy on the grill. It won't look like the burger in step 3 if you forget this important detail! Also, to avoid raw meat, like in the photo is step 4, make sure you cook your Lucy long enough!