Vegetable Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini

vegetable quinoa stuffed zucchini

With fall officially upon us, I’m beginning to crave comfort food more than ever. So on what I thought would be a cold rainy fall day, I spend the entire day cooking foods that bring comfort – pancakes for breakfast, thick velvety cauliflower leek soup for lunch and these beautiful vegetable quinoa stuffed zucchini for dinner. A change from the usual stuffed bell peppers (which I love!), these babies provide the comfort of a fall dish with the colours of summer. Perfect for those days warm fall days that have us still holding on to summer.

vegetable quinoa stuffed zucchini

These are amazing! Healthy, satisfying and easy to make, they can also be prepared a day in advance and popped in the oven when you are ready to eat. Plus the variations of vegetables you can use are endless (I’m typing this as I remember the eggplant sitting in my fridge). And for those who like it cheesy, add a little mozzarella and pop under the broiler for a few minutes to add a delicious golden layer to your dish. Serve with a salad or a light soup and there you have the perfect complete meal.

vegetable quinoa stuffed zucchini

vegetable quinoa stuffed zucchini

vegetable quinoa stuffed zucchini

vegetable quinoa stuffed zucchini

Vegetable Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini
Serves 6

2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 medium red pepper, finely diced
2 tomatoes, finely diced
6 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise
2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup baby spinach leaves, chopped
1/3 cup quinoa
4 large fresh basil leaves, torn
1 cup Parmesan, grated

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1. First, cook the quinoa according to package directions. Typically for 1/3 cup of quinoa, use 2/3 cup of water. Once cooked, fluff with a fork and set aside.

2. Heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. When the olive oil is shimmering, add the onions and red pepper. Sauté until the onions soften a bit, about 8 minutes.

3. In the meantime, cut the zucchini lengthwise and scoop the centre out. I found that the best tool for the job is a teaspoon. Keep the zucchini centres and chop them up.

4. Back to the onion/red pepper mixture, add the tomato, chopped zucchini, thyme and salt and pepper. Sauté for a few minutes. Add the spinach and combine until the spinach wilts. Remove pan from heat and add the quinoa, basil and Parmesan. Stir to combine.

5. Preheat oven to 375° and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (makes clean up so much easier). Arrange zucchini on the baking sheet and, using the same teaspoon, spoon the mixture evenly in each zucchini.

6. Cover the baking sheet with foil and pop in the oven for 30 minutes. When the 30 minutes are up, serve it up on a plate and dig in!

Bon appétit!

[All photos are my own and not to be used without permission]

Little Life Box

Little Life Box

When monthly box subscriptions first popped onto the scene, I was all over it. I loved the idea that each month I would receive a box filled with surprises. Since the beauty industry launched the service a few years ago, other industries eventually launched their own service. I researched many of them for work purposes, but also hoping to discover something new and fun. And then I found it, Little Life Box.

Little Life Box September

Little Life Box is one of those simple pleasures. A healthy treat that pops up monthly and let’s me discover new snacks and natural cosmetics. I chose the vegan box, but you can also order an original box or a vegetarian box. And the best part? They are a Canadian company.

The September box was delightful! So beautifully wrapped. Just take a look at the goodies that were in the September box.

Little Life Box September

Bana Krisp by Tutti Gourmet – A delicious fruit cracker that is gluten-, peanut-, soy-, corn-, dairy-, egg- and salt-free. The ingredients list is very simple and contains only bananas, organic coconut, organic sesame seeds, raspberry, orange and lemon rind. They are so delicious! I cracked the bag open to give it a taste and almost ate the entire bag.

Altura Pink Salt by GoGo Quinoa – A non-treated pink sea salt harvested at 3,000 metres above sea level in the heart of the Andes Mountains.

Earl grey Rose tea by Pretty Tea – The new tea shop on the block, I’ve heard so much about Pretty Tea. So I was super excited to try it. Just as the name implied, the tea itself is so pretty. Made with 94% green tea, the green leaves contrast against the pink rose buds and the rhubarb to create a perfectly pretty cup of tea.

Little Life Box September

HomeFree Mini Natural Vanilla Cookies – These cookies are so yummy, you would never think that they are gluten-free, nut-free and dairy-free. What’s great about this company is that they make their products with such high allergy safety standards that anyone with food allergies can enjoy them, worry free.

CocoBacon by Coconut Organics –  A vegan alternative to bacon, these treats are made from toasted coconut chips that are spiced to have the smoky, savoury flavour of bacon. It’s also the perfect addition to soups, salads, pizza, sauces or even dessert.

Crio Beans Chocolate-covered Cocoa Beans – Let’s be honest, I’m a supporter of anything covered in chocolate. These chocolate-covered cocoa beans are no exception. These cocoa beans are so delicious, with floral tones, including dominant green banana note, blueberry and jasmine. And they don’t have that bitter aftertaste. The information card that came with these treats mention that they can be ground and brewed in a French press like coffee. Hmmm, intriguing!

little Life Box September

Pure Shea Butter by Como’s Naturals – Shea butter is amazing for your skin. Rich in essential fatty acids and vitamin E, one might even call it a super food. I received two samples in this box, one scented with Lavender & Roman Chamomille and the other with Jasmine Lotus & Ylang Ylang. At first smell, the scent is a little strong for me. Hopefully when I try it the scent won’t linger all day.

Dry & Cracked Skin Balm by Earth’s Care – A balm that quickly soothes damaged skin and makes it visibly softer and smoother. Seems to be the perfect balm for dry, cracked skin on elbows, hands and feet (especially for the winter). The scent is light, but slightly mediciny.

Foaming Facial Cleanser by Refresh – Enriched with coconut oil, this foam naturally cleanses skin and removes impurities without dehydrating skin. Cucumber extract and cornflower water provides moisturizing, soothing and antioxidant protection. The formula is unscented, perfect for those with sensitive skin.

Unscented Cream Deoderant by Purely Great – This is by far the product that I’m most unsure about. A natural deodorant made with only 3 ingredients…. we’ll see.

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I’m loving the treats I received in this box and will most likely be ordering another box next month. Although I can’t say that I am very excited with the skin care products. They are strongly scented and I will most likely be giving them away. Regardless, I think that anyone who is health conscious would love to goodies included in this box.

Monthly subscriptions are available for $19.99 CAD a month and are available in 1, 3, 6 or 12- month subscriptions.

Interested in trying Little Life Box for yourself? Just click here to sign up and get started!

Open Shelving

When I moved in with my beau, I was excited to have a kitchen that was twice the size of my previous one. However the extra space came with one major challenge – zero cabinets. As someone who hates clutter (seriously, clutter = stress, am I right?), I had to figure out how to creatively display dishes, glasses and small kitchen appliances without it looking disorganized. I searched for inspiration in the best place I could think of (thank you Pinterest!), and it changed my outlook on the open-concept kitchen. Instead of seeing it as exposed disaster, I saw it as a way to make my kitchen look functional and curated. In fact, it turns out that organizing open shelving is truly an art in itself. Just take a look at the inspiration below. A simple colour palette, the use of repetition to create harmony and variations of height are all it take to make a space look effortlessly organized. Enjoy!

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[Photo inspiration via Pinterest]

Roasted Eggplant Dip

roasted eggplant dip

For as long as I can remember, I never liked eggplant. I had never tried it so there was never a real reason why. It just seemed like an intimidating vegetable. So sleek with its deep purple and smooth curves, I had no idea what to do with it. My how times have changed! Now I embrace the eggplant and try to find interesting ways to add it to whatever dish I’m creating.

This time around, it’s a delicious roasted eggplant dip. The aroma of eggplant roasting in the oven is so delightful and comforting (especially on the first cold and rainy day of the fall). The taste of roasted eggplant is even better. Combined with garlic, tahini, lemon juice, a hint of cumin and a kick of cayenne, it’s the perfect dip to have with a side of veggies or even as a spread to bring life to a sandwich.

roasted eggplant dip

roasted eggplant dip

roasted eggplant dip

roasted eggplant dip

Roasted Eggplant Dip
Makes 2 cups

2 medium eggplants
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 tsp sea salt
6 tbsp tahini
2 garlic cloves, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (more if you like things spicy)
1/4 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped and divided
Toasted sesame seed for garnish

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1. Using a fork, prick each eggplant a few times and place under the broiler and evenly char the skin. You can also roast these babies on the grill if you prefer. Once your eggplants are ready, remove from heat and let cool slightly.

2. Preheat the over to 375°. Brush 1 tablespoon of the olive oil on the inside of a baking sheet or glass roasting dish and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of sea salt. 

3. When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, cut the stems off and cut each eggplant lengthwise. Place in the baking dish cut side down and pop in the oven for 30-35 minutes. Let cool.

4. Scrape the flesh from the eggplants and transfer to a food processor. Add the tahini, garlic, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, cumin and 1 tablespoon of parsley, and give it a whirl until you reach the desired consistency (I like it to be a little chunky).

5. Scoop the mixture into a bowl and top with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of parsley and a pinch of sesame seeds. Serve with homemade grilled pita chips, crackers or celery and carrot sticks.

Bon appétit!

[All photos are my own and not to be used without permission]

 

Power Bright TRx by Dermalogica

Dermalogica Montreal Pure Bright TRx

Those of you who follow by blog know how important my skin care routine is to me. I strongly believe that anything you do to take care of your skin now will help prevent problems later on. So it goes without saying that when I received an invitation to the launch of the new Power Bright TRx range by Dermalogica, I was beyond excited. First, because I freakin’ LOVE Dermalogica products (and who doesn’t, they are amazing!) and second, because it finally gave me a reason to discover the very first Dermalogica store in Canada.

The event was wonderful! When I arrived, I was taken on a complete tour of the space. I discovered the Skin Bar where an expert analyzes your skin to give you a complete diagnosis and product recommendation. The space also includes a MicroZone where you can treat yourself to a quick 20-minute treatment, or a 45-minute Active Resurface and give your skin a complete rejuvenation.

For those of you who are new to Dermalogica, here’s what makes them so amazing. The brand was created by Jane Wurwand, a tenured, UK-trained skin therapist who realized that the American aesthetician industry focused too much on skin beauty. Recognizing the need to focus on skin health, she developed a line of skin care products that would do just that. Free of irritants and any ingredients that may cause breakouts, including lanolin, SD alcohol, mineral oil, artificial colours and fragrances, she (along with her team of skin therapists) set off to revolutionize the skin care world. And revolutionize they did!

Dermalogica PowerBright TR

Dermalogica PowerBright TR

The Power Bright TRx range is a complete system that includes silky-smooth, peptide-rich formulas that work around the clock to treat and prevent hyperpigmentation for bright, even skin tone. The kit ($55 CAD) includes the C-12 Pure Bright Serum, Pure Light SPF 50 and Pure Night.

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C-12 Pure Bright Serum

$120 CAD for 1.7 oz

Dermalogica PowerBright TR

Dermalogica PowerBright TR

C-12 Pure Bright Serum is a lightweight, highly active topical treatment that works to reduce hyperpigmentation, including brown spots, acne scars, discolouration and uneven skin tone. It’s formulated with rice peptides and algae to fight the formation of melatonin and control hyperpigmentation. The formula is indeed very light and absorbs quickly which makes it great for layering the Pure Light SPF50.

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Pure Light SPF50

$106 CAD for 1.7 oz

Dermalogica PowerBright TR

Dermalogica PowerBright TR

Pure Light SPF50 is an advanced broad-spectrum moisturizer. When using any dark spot treatment, I can’t stress enough the importance of using sun protection. Not only will it help you get the results you want even quicker, it will also prevent new spots from popping up. The formula is also fairly lightweight, perfect for daytime. The formula features Oleosome technology, which uses natural plant spheres filled with sunscreen to increase the SPF performance (pretty fancy stuff!). It also includes a powerful peptide that helps regulate melanin production, and a potent blend of red and brown algae to help balance uneven skin tone.

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Pure Night

$100 CAD for 1.7 oz

Dermalogica PowerBright TR

Dermalogica PowerBright TR

Pure Night is a rich, nourishing night treatment that restores skin’s luminosity and helps to maximize your overall results. Your skin is most active at night, working hard to regenerate itself and repair the damage done during the day. So it’s only natural that we should make the most of that time to benefit our skin. Formulated with an active blend of skin-brightening agents, it reduces the look of dark spots and uneven skin tone, transforming your sleep into a true thing of beauty.

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Redness Relief Primer SPF20

$62 CAD for 0.75 oz

Dermalogica PowerBright TR

Dermalogica PowerBright TR

Also new in the Dermalogica range is the Redness Relief Primer SPF20. Although I’ve never used a tinted primer before, I was pleasantly surprised by the results (it’s one of those I-didn’t-know-I-needed-it-until-I-used-it kinda things). Tinted with natural green botanical extract, the primer is light and transforms into a powdery finish as you apply. I don’t really have an issue with redness, but this really helped to eliminate any pink patches I had on my face and give my skin an overall even tone.  *Bonus: it also comes with a slider to help get the most product out of the tube. A very nice touch!

I simply adore Dermalogica products and recommend that everyone take the time to see a skin therapist and get their very own face mapping. Itdefinitely opened my eyes to my skin type and what my skin truly needs to be healthy (and beautiful!).

Dermalogical products are available online and authorized salons and spas.

[All photos are my own and not to be used without permission.]

The Fab Five

I’ve been inspired by other blogs to start a new series where I share with you some of my favourite links of the week. What better way to spread the blog love and discover new and interesting posts!

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Fab Five 1 Fab Five 2

1. Make the most of the end of summer with these 10 delicious recipes for grilling (designsponge.com)

2. A cute DIY Tic Tac bobby pin case like you’ve never seen before (lovelyindeed.com)

3. 10 things you can do every day to improve your life (time.com)

4. These gorgeous cast-iron bathtubs make me want to draw and bath and crawl in (honestlywtf.com)

5. The 5 ways to cheat on your diet effectively (harpersbazaar.com)

Vintage Milk Glass

I’ve always loved milk glass. So simple and chic, it has a way of adding a touch of glamour while still retaining that minimalism that I love in my space. The wonderful thing is that with a little time and patience, you can find amazing pieces on Etsy or eBay on the cheap, so starting a collection won’t require that you take a loan. Not convinced? Take a look at the inspiration below to discover that milk glass is more than just your grandmother’s sticky candy dish.

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[Photo inspiration via Pinterest]

 

The beauty of Korres

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So the other day I received a wonderful opportunity to try a selection of Korres products. I have used Korres in the past and already had a pretty positive opinion of the brand, but I was also really excited to discover other products from the collection.

Korres was created by George Korres who, after having developed a deep understanding of homeopathic remedies, created Korres Natural Products. His vision was to create safe, clinically effective and affordable natural skincare products.  When it comes to growing the ingredients, they cooperate with micro-farmers, agricultural unions and educational & social institutions to teach their partners organic farming and sustainable agricultural systems, help them throughout all stages of cultivation and harvesting in association with the Agricultural University of Athens, and support them financially through purchasing their produce to be used in their formulations. So it’s skin care that’s good for the skin and the community. The company is based in Athens, Greece, and distribute more than 400 certified organic products sold in more than 30 countries. 

For the purpose of this article, I was generously given the following products to review.

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Wild Rose Instant Brightening Eye Treatment
$38 CAD for 15 ml

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This creamy eye treatment instantly brightens the undereye area and help to diminish the look of fine lines and dark circles. The formula contains wild rose oil, which adds brightness and generally improves skin’s radiance with each and every use. It also contains yeast, ruscus and horse chestnut extracts which work to minimize those dark circles and fine lines. After only one use I noticed my eyes were brighter and dark circles did appear reduced. On a regular day, I did add concealer under my eyes, but on the weekend or on days when I like to wear minimal makeup and let my skin breathe, this eye treatment did the trick. Plus a little goes a long way. A tiny drop was enough to use under both eyes and the creamy consistency was very comfortable without being greasy. A beautiful addition to my skin acre routine.

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Pomegranate Mattifying Treatment
$38 CAD for 40 ml

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The Pomegranate Mattifying Treatment is a breathable, oil absorbing formula perfect for oily to combination skin type to minimize the look of pores and redness and give skin a smooth, matte finish throughout the day. The secret is in the pomegranate extract which is known to be a powerful antioxidant rich in vitamin A, C and E, tannins and polyphenols. These properties are what help to minimize the appearance of pores. Willow bark extract work to soothe and balance the skin, while rice starch, rice protein and rice bran oil absorb excess oil and keep your skin mattified all day. The formula is like a serum and glides on smoothly before applying your moisturizer. I used it in my T-zone where I get the most shine and I did notice a significant difference in the amount of shine I had during the afternoon. It also smells amazing! I adore the Pomegranate Deep Cleansing Scrub and this treatment has the same scent that I love. 

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Quercetin & Oak Antiageing & Antiwrinkle Eye Cream
$45 CAD for 15 ml

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Another under-eye moisturizer for all skin types, this creamy formula helps to minimize the appearance of darkness under the eyes and puffiness. It also helps to make the eye area look more youthful and firmer. The formula combines myrtle extract agentMinimizes the appearance of under-eye darkness and puffiness, while leaving the eye area looking younger, firmer and feeling more elastic, which is an anti-aging booster that helps to improve skin’s elasticity. Between both eye treatments, I preferred the Wild Rose Brightening Eye Treatment, only because I don’t really have fine lines to treat. But if you have little fine lines you want to nip in the bid, definitely give this formula a try.

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Yoghurt Body Butter
$29 CAD for 235 ml

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The Yoghurt Body Butter is amazing! The formula feels rich and luxurious (as you can see in the photo above). The formula is enriched with shea butter to deeply hydrate skin and leave it soft and smooth, and traditional Greek Yoghurt to nourish skin.The fig scent is a wonderful clean scent that’s not overpowering. Instead, it softly lingers all day. I actually caught myself taking a whiff of my arm at one point (embarrassing, I know). I’ve always had difficulty finding a moisturizer that could keep my skin hydrated all day and this does the trick. By far one of my favourite products by Korres. I can’t wait to try the other scents.

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Lip Butter in Jasmine
$12 CAD for 6 ml

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Another one of my favourite Korres products, the Lip Butter. It’s a rich buttery lip balm that melts on the lips and leaves them moisturized and soft. The formula contains with natural oils and extracts to soothe and condition lips. The lip butter gives lips a sheen with a hint of colour (available in 7 juicy shades). Pictured above is the Jasmine shade and it’s the perfect nude with a hint of pink. I adore this product for the way it makes my lips feel, the comfort that lasts longer than other lip treatments, and the perfect tone it gives my lips. 

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Fig Showergel
$19.50 CAD for 400 ml

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The Fig Showergel smells just as wonderful as the Body Butter.Although it claims to be moisturizing, my dry skin requires a little something more (like the Body Butter!). It lathers up very well and fills the shower with the sophisticated scent of freshly cut figs. A must try!

I was in love with Korres before and this just deepened my love for the brand even more. Not only are the products a pleasure to use, I also enjoy knowing that the company operates with genuine values to their community.

What have you tried from Korres? Let me know your recommendations below!

[All photos are my own and not to be used without permission]

Black & White

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Even though summer may be coming to an end, I’m soaking up all the sun and warmth that I can. I’m also trying to make the most of my closet and wear all my summer outfits before I have to pack them away. Our summers are so short  here that I feel that it’s hard to take full advantage of my warm weather wardrobe.

This past week was particularly sucky, so I took advantage of the sales to get my hands on the cutest romper from Club Monaco (and turn my frown upside down). So light and comfortable, it’s the perfect outfit to transition into fall. Just throw a white blazer over the shoulder and voilà!

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Romper: Club Monaco (on sale) | Shoes: Zara (old) | Bag: 3.1 Phillip Lim | Bracelets: Tiffany & Co. and Michael Kors | Necklace: Jennifer Zeuner | Sunnies: Ray-Ban

Beet and Walnut Sliders

Beet and walnut sliders

Beets are beautiful. Their vibrant pink and yellow hues are not only beautiful on your plate, they are also extremely rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It has also been known to play a role in reducing chronic inflammation, preventing certain types of cancer, detoxifying the body and improving mental health. Plus they are delicious!    

Beet and walnut sliders

The love I have for beets is quite special. I love the sweetness and I love bright pink colour. Usually when I think about making a dish with beets, I roast those suckers up and toss them in a green salad. But this time, I wanted to try something new, something different. And the results were amazing! Even my beau (who is not about the veggie burger) loved them. Hardy with a delicious crunch from the walnuts, topped with herbed cream cheese and peppery arugula. YUM!

Beet and walnut sliders

Beet and walnut sliders
Makes 8 sliders

1 cup, cooked whole-grain brown rice (I used basmati brown rice)
3/4 cup grated roasted beets (about 4 small)
1/2 cup panko
6 tbsp walnuts, toasted and chopped
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 tbsp shallots, chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 large egg
2 tbsp olive oil
Garlic and herb Boursin cheese, for topping
1 cup arugula, for topping
4 slices of Ezekiel bread

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1. Cut each piece of bread into rounds, brush with olive oil and arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer. Lightly toast under the broiler for about 2 minutes each side. Set aside to cool.

2. Reduce the oven temperature to 400° and place a baking sheet in the oven to warm.

3. In a large bowl, combine the rice, beets, panko, walnuts, parsley, shallots, sea salt and black pepper.

4. In a small bowl, combine the Dijon mustard and the egg. Mix well. Add the egg mixture to the rice mixture and blend well.

5. Spoon 1/3 cup of the rice mixture to form 8 small patties.

6. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once heated, add 1 tbsp of the olive oil to the pan and swirl pan to evenly coat. Add 4  patties to the pan and let sit untouched for about 2 minutes. Transfer patties to the warmed baking sheet, browned side up. Add the remaining tbsp of olive oil to the pan and brown the other 4 patties.

7. Place the baking sheet with the patties in the oven and bake for about 9-10 minutes.

8. Assemble these bad boys! Top one piece of bread with a patty, spread with Boursin cheese, add arugula and top with another piece of bread. Or, you can always serve the patties alone with a great salad for a delicious meal.

Bon appétit!

[All photos are my own and not to be used without permission]