Category Archives: HAG Favorites

Friday 5 posts, favorite things, and things that make me happy!

The Big Bean Mac

The Big Bean MacYes I did.

You know the one.

Special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun!

~ The Big Mac Jingle

Except I left off the “2- all beef patties!” I enjoy my “Big Mac” with a bean burger in the middle! Real cheddar cheese, real ingredients without a crap-ton of salt and fat!  But I swear to you, both beef and bean lovers will adore this sandwich! Dare I say, it tastes just like the real deal? I do! It does. It so freaking does! I missed you, Big Mac, and now I can eat you- but better yet, I can enjoy you!

Making this ahead, is so easy if you have some bean burgers on hand, as I seem to make them in huge quantity these days myself, this makes these burgers almost too easy to put together! I took special attention to try to make this the way I would if I had a diner, and was giving you my best sammie for lunch:

Start with the bun:

sesame seed bun

Start with a great sesame seed bun- they are right in the grocery store people! Why aren’t we buying these? They are delicious!

Toast it on both sides:


See how a little butter goes a long way- a toasted bun is so much better…

Spread that “special sauce.” Common! It is special- use it liberally!


The key ingredient~

Then add your burger…Bean burger, that is! With exactly 3, not two, dill pickles and your onions.

Burger and three pickles,and onions

Exactly 3 pickles, and minced onions- the onions, I think are the thing that make this taste super authentic!

Load up the iceburg shreds:

iceburg lettuce

I add a lot to feel healthy- teehee!

And marvel:


Wow. Look what you get to eat.

The Big Bean Mac

Yield: 5 burgers

The Big Bean Mac

This unbelievable re-creation and recipe redux of a very unhealthy burger, will send you to flavor-town! The Bean Mac is your new favorite lunch sandwich!


    Bean burgers
  • 1 15 oz. can black beans
  • 1/2 (or more) bread crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp. taco seasoning
  • 1 egg white
  • The Special Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp 2% greek plain yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp light mayo
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. dill pickle relish- sweet is too sweet
  • 1 tsp sriracha
  • 2 TBP French dressing
  • Pinch salt
  • Sandwich
  • Shredded iceberg lettuce
  • 5 Tbsp. minced onion
  • 15-20 sandwich sliced dill pickles
  • 5 slices cheese- I used thin cheddar slices- orange for authenticity!
  • 5 sesame seed buns


    To make the burgers
  1. Open and pour without draining your black beans into a large bowl. Add one egg white, 1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs, 1 Tbsp. taco seasoning. Blend with immersion blender or a potato masher. Add more breadcrumbs if needed, to get a consistency that will form a patty.
  2. Shape 5 patties. Cook on a grill or saute pan, over medium heat, until lightly browned on both sides.
  3. Place one slice of cheese on each patty. Cover until melted. Remove from the pan. Set aside.
  4. For the Sauce
  5. Measure and mix all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
  6. Assemble your sandwich.
  7. On the same pan that you made your burgers, heat a bit of butter, and grill the inside of your buns a bit, to get them toasty. Remove.
  8. Spread the special sauce on both insides of the bun.
  9. Place a bean patty on the bottom half.
  10. On the top half, add three pickles.
  11. Add 1 Tbsp. of minced onion.
  12. Top the burger with the shredded lettuce.
  13. Put the top on.
  14. Yes. You are done. Take it all in. You can now enjoy your Bean Mac.


If you want to make some of this recipe ahead, it is super easy. Make the burgers ahead and freeze them- you can skillet warm them or microwave in minutes. Make the sauce up to one day ahead - it actually improves as it sits for a bit. You can use any bean burger recipe- this is just my fastest!

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Some of you read my posts about sharing coffee, and what we’d chat about…well,

If we were having lunch, today, I would tell you that this is my new favorite sandwich. Hands down. My husband is equally obsessed, which can be a problem! But not too much so, as it is definitely a much improved version of the ugly fast food guy. I hope you try this, and love it as much as we do- lemme know if you do. Take a pic and tag!The-Big-Bean-Mac

Sharing, this week with: Full Plate Thursday, Foodie Friends Friday, Pin Junkie, Meatless Monday!

H.A.G.’s Best Stocking Stuffers for Little Kids

Here are some great smaller gifts that I think my kids and probably yours…would love this season. They are big enough to stuff the stocking, and small enough that they don’t always work as big-presents. I love these, and I will tell you why! I am providing buying options for your convenience, and some- not all- may be affiliate links, where I make a small percentage as commission. It does not affect your price at all. Let’s shop!

Best gifts for stockings stuffers for little kids

Hidden Pictures Discovery

I love these hidden pictures books, and also lots of activiites from this publisher. When I am making dinner, the kids will sit occupied for quite a while, competing to see who can find all the items on a page the fastest. We usually use up 2 pages per kid at a sitting, so I buy more than one of these with different themes. This “Around the World” theme is just one of many. It is great to keep the kids busy at restaurants too (wink, wink), so a great thing to stash in your purse! More of a present for mom, but fun anyway!

Uno Card Game

I love UNO, but inevitably, we lose cards. A once a year re-stock is always a great idea. I also like regular playing cards, or other small-boxed card games. When these are on sale I stock up- I use these all the time as add-ons for presents throughout the year. Small and fun. Perfect for a stocking.

ty® beanie boos™
Five Below

Boys or girls, like these little cute stuffed animals. You can find them almost anywhere, but the Five Below is great- because it’s $5 and below. If you you don’t have one nearby, you can go to Justice or Target or anywhere they sell Toys probably! The smaller the better for the stocking, so your choices are many!


Easy. These sink and fit right into the bottom of the toe, and they are heavy, so they make the stocking feel like a million bucks! Plus, we always need new playdoh, so this is a toy that we’ll use and need!

Kids Toothbrushes
Dollar Tree

I never buy toothbrushes anywhere else. Not only do they have the name brands, but of course, you can get these at the DollarTree for $1- whootwhoot! Love the Dollar Tree come stocking time! Tons of fun little add ons too: nail polish, gum packs, lifesavers, bath fizzes, chapsticks, socks, match box, and other little things that you can sneak in there.

We have always had a hard time with the Stockings part of Christmas, since they seem to get overlooked. Recently we changed our tradition to letting the kids open their stockings first. That way we can get coffee before any of the opening of presents starts! Details. How do you deal with stockings? Do you even have them? I would love to know! Share great ideas that have worked for you in the comments below! In the meantime, Happy Shopping!

I can’t wait to offer products like these that I know you will love! This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive compensation. It does not affect your price at all. For more information, see my full disclosure page.

H.A.G.’s Best Gifts for Boy OR Girl Tweens

Are you like me, and often stumped on what to get the age group that is too old for many toys, too young for all electronics and gift cards? It is really a tough age to buy for, and still keep the fun in the gift buying. Here are some ideas that I have for making choices that will thrill most kids aged 9-12.  Again, I am providing buying options for your convenience, and some- not all-  may be affiliate links, where I make a small percentage as commission. It does not affect your price at all. These options are for boys OR girls. You’re welcome!

Top picks for Gifts for Tweens: Boys or Girls

Rubics Website

This is such a fun game. The space in the middle is actually for a slide that shows what the cubes need to look like, and the two kids compete to see who can slide their cubes the fastest into the given pattern. It is addictive and fun for not just the tweens, but the parents too. A family-fun situation.

Polaroid ZIP Mobile Printer

Okay, so yes, this is technology. But it is creative too! What I like about it is that it comes in 4 different colors for boys or girls to like, and it is compatible with Android or iOS. Instant gratification is tween-speak for happiness. Polaroid, my friends, is instant. We like this idea!

Pro Art 18-Piece Sketch/Draw Pencil Set

I like that this quality set is more advanced than just the run-of-the-mill pencils. It has charcoals and different lead-weights. Pair this with an inexpensive drawing pad, and a book about drawing (faces, animals, whatever the favorite) and you have a really nice gift that kids won’t ask for, but they will enjoy.

Sleeping Bag

My kids have finally grown out of their Disney character sleeping bags, and are somewhat embarrased at recent sleepovers…It is time for an upgrade! Any quality sleeping bag would work, but the Coleman brand is known for camping, so I assume they will be good for a quality sleeping bag. These are on my list this year, so I can’t attest to the brand. either way, these are easy to find at Target, and come in a few appealing colors for girls or boys. Check!

Yvolution Y Fliker F5 Green –  Flow Series

Okay, so at $164, this is a big ticket item. But any kid over 9 years old will love this thing. Knowing that flat surfaces are nearby the child’s locale are probably ideal if you are gifting this. It seems harder to operate on sidewalks or up and down hills! Any gift that gets my kids outside is a good one. They have a lot of great toys already, but this one seems pretty fun for sharing with their siblings too, so that justifies the big purchase too.

Yogibo Beanbags
Yogibo Website

This is a store my kids love, so I might lean toward the herbal wraps for smaller gifts. If you are in the market for a bean-bag chair…Tweens would love it. What I love about this brand is that the covers are WASHABLE. The cheaper chairs are sewn in, so that you can never wash them. Tweens are stinky. Sorry. I just like the idea that I can clean these, and then they will last. These products have a big range of prices. They have nice herbal heat-wraps that are $20 and they also have furniture that is over $300. In-between, there are some nice body pillows, study pillows (as pictured is $89), and beanbags.  To me it is worth the cost.

So this is it- I have other go-to items like legos, crafts, sports apparel and books, that are no-fail items for my own kids. I also love games as gifts, since they suit a variety of ages and are fun on the day that they are opened. I would love to hear some more ideas, so please share in the comments- I would love to know what you are loving! For now, I hope I have you some new ideas~ Happy Shopping!

I can’t wait to offer products like these that I know you will love! This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive compensation. It does not affect your price at all. For more information, see my full disclosure page.