Happy new year, friends!
I don’t know about you, but I am ready to say goodbye to 2017. It’s the first time in a long time (maybe ever?) that I have been actually happy to see a year come to an end. I always find the ending a bit depressing, usually because I think that time is going by way too fast. But! 2017 was a hard year. Or at least it felt like a hard year.
We spent most of 2017 wrapped up in the anxiety and sadness surrounding one of our dogs being diagnosed with cancer (we found out in February of last year). We ultimately lost sweet Louie at the end of the summer, and it was hard to bear, to say the least. His sickness and, ultimately, his death, put a damper on a lot of things that would have otherwise been wonderful (e.g., our first trip to Europe. I was consumed with worry the entire trip. He hadn’t been doing well right before we left, and I was petrified that he was going to die while we were out of the country).
Additionally, 2017 left me feeling sad and a bit hopeless about the current state of our country, our world. Not completely hopeless, though! Because that really isn’t an option, is it? These feelings will stay with me as we begin 2018, but I do have hope. And that is the most important thing.
2018 holds many things to look forward to. My youngest sister is getting married. I have tons of ideas and inspiration for this blog. I feel creatively juiced up at the moment. And most importantly, I look forward to all 2018 holds in store for Kieran. Watching him grow into a real, little person is the most amazing thing. And I can’t wait for more.
Another focus of mine in 2018? Self care. Ever since I had a baby, self care has become a priority like it never was before. I find that it allows me to reconnect to those blissful pre-child days (not that I’d trade the present for anything), to feel like I am still important and deserve that time. And as I continue to grapple with the guilt that surrounds making time for myself as a young mom, it does seem increasingly easy to take a step away and focus on me every now and then.
I also want to eat better and exercise more (cliche, much?), but not for vanity. For my health. For feeling GOOD. I want to drink less and laugh more. I want to start taking baths again. I want to treat myself to a massage every once in a while. And I definitely want to read more. That’s always on my list.
While I’m not a huge believer in resolutions, I do think that the start of a new year is an opportunity to start fresh. To “clean slate” our lives. It gives us a moment to pause and re-evaluate what’s really important. And for me, feeling healthy and happy is it. I want to live in the moment more, soaking up all the good that surrounds me.
So, let’s start things off on the right foot with today’s recipe. Skinny Greek Lamb Burgers.
Now, I must say, it irks me when recipes are labeled as “skinny.” But I couldn’t help myself with this one. Because these really are a healthy dream. Gluten free. Low carb. Protein packed. Veggie forward. And delicious.
This are a bun-less, mostly cheese-less burger I can actually get behind. That said, if you want to eat these with a bun and tons of feta smothered on top, this is the last place you’ll find judgement. You do you. This recipe is not intended to make anyone feel guilty about their food choices. Because that really is the saddest thing. Food is one of life’s greatest pleasures, people!
Rather, these burgers are a way to show you that eating a burger CAN actually be a healthy thing. These lamb burgers are full of all my favorite Greek flavors, like dill and mint and cucumber. They are cooked to juicy perfection and topped with more cucumber, thin slices of red onion, juicy slabs of tomato, and my ultimate condiment: creamy tzatziki. A light sprinkling of briny feta cheese is the cherry on top. The whole package is cutely wrapped up in a lettuce leaf, which adds the most refreshing crunch.
The only thing missing here are maybe some kalamata olives or a spritz of lemon juice, both of which you should feel free to add. But this version, as shared in the recipe below, is my perfect Greek burger. I wouldn’t change a thing.
Cheers to 2018. Let’s make it a great one, shall we?
¼ cup finely diced English cucumber
¼ cup finely diced onion
1 garlic clove, grated or pressed
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh mint
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh dill
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 lb ground lamb (or ground chicken)
Olive oil, for cooking the burgers
Iceberg or butter lettuce leaves, for wrapping
Tzatziki (store bought or homemade
Crumbled feta cheese
Sliced red onions
Additional fresh mint or dill
In a mixing bowl, combine the cucumber, onion, garlic, herbs, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Taste the mixture and adjust the seasonings, as needed (remember, you want this to taste a little saltier than you would normally prefer - the meat needs the extra seasoning).
Stir in the beaten egg and the ground lamb, being careful not to overwork the meat. Mix until all the ingredients are evenly combined.
Form the mixture into patties, aiming for 4-6.
Preheat a large skillet or (grill pan or grill!). Add a drizzle of oil to the skillet once it is hot and add the burger patties to the hot oil. Cook for 4-5 minutes per side.
Remove from the pan and allow to cool slightly before serving.
Place each burger on a large lettuce leaf and top with desired condiments. Gently wrap the lettuce around the burger and the fillings and serve!