Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Turkey Burgers By Accident

Do you ever cook something and accidentally leave out an ingredient, or add the wrong ingredient because you weren’t paying attention?  This happens to me ALL THE TIME, and thus, is why I prefer cooking to baking.  With cooking, I can sometimes remedy the mistake, or play around if I realize what I’ve done.  Baking, well, let’s just say I have thrown out a lot of muffins, cookies, and banana breads. 

Last week, while preparing some turkey burgers I accidentally made a substitution I hadn’t planned.  I usually add a couple of tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt to the turkey mixture.  I did it once a while back, and it seemed to yield moister burgers, so I’ve kept up the practice.  My other secret ingredient is a couple of tablespoons of red wine.  I noticed that also really helped the flavor and the moistness.  (Or is it that it was a good excuse to open a bottle and after having a glass or three, I didn’t notice the dry, bland burgers?) 

As I was mixing in the ingredients, salt, pepper, dill, garlic powder, etc. I was also keeping an eye on Ava and talking on the phone.  Yes, I thrive on multi-tasking!  So, I grabbed the yogurt, spooned some in and then looked down and noticed that I grabbed the cherry yogurt.  Ooops!  Oh well, I decided instead of trying to scoop it out, I’d roll with it.  I didn’t think it would make much difference anyway. 

Well it did…

It was fantastic!  I tasted a tiny piece of a patty after they came off the grill and it was the best tasting turkey burger I’ve ever had.  It was nicely moist, and there was just a faint hint of sweetness.  Since the turkey burgers were being paired with homemade cranberry sauce and some whole grain dijon mustard, this was perfect.

Whole grain mustard goodness spread on Flat Out. 

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Cranberry and turkey burger patty added…

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Altogether with some arugula as well.  Filling and satisfying dinner!

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I had planned on swimming laps this afternoon, but I’m not feeling it.  I did not sleep well last night, and sometimes you just have to listen to your body.   In the past if I’ve pushed myself to many days in a row, I’ve ended up injured.  I know I feel 100% fully energized for tomorrow’s boot camp class!

Do you listen to your body and take rest days from working out?  Do you plan them or listen to your body? 

Coming up- my home exercise equipment or “home gym” so to speak.  A few of my favorites as well as a review.  I was recently contacted by a representative from CSN Stores promotional team and they asked me to do a product review.  After browsing their site, I found out that they carry tons of products on their over 200 sites.  They have everything from kids furniture to exercise equipment and kitchen accessories.   I chose  a new piece of fitness gear to help my home strength workouts.  Stay tuned to see what it is, and what my favorite home “moves” are. 

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Vegan ‘Shrooms and Falling Asleep at the Bottle

 

Although I am now a stay at home mom, I still get Sunday night blues dreading  thinking about Monday.  Maybe it’s years of the rat race full time employment, maybe it’s the fun weekends we have as a family, but whatever it is, I usually am not happy about facing another Monday. 

All that said, after the great Monday I had yesterday, I may change my tune.  No, nothing spectacular happened, it was just a great day.  It started with wonderful weather.  I mean, the kind where you want to have it to stay just like this year round.  Ava and I walked to the library for the baby story time.  She laughed the whole time.  (For those of you that don’t have children, I think hearing them giggle is the sweetest sound in the world.)  Then, after Ava took a good 2 hour nap, we met some friends for a late afternoon hike.   With Ava in the Baby Bjorn, we hiked up and down one of the mountain preserves for a good hour and a half.   My good friend Renee, aka “pregnant chick”, and another friend that had an 8 week old baby girl.  We were quite the clan of mommas.  It was so nice to get out, in the beautiful weather and enjoy some “girl talk” while getting some exercise. 

Follow a good workout with a good dinner, and it was the perfect evening.  For “meatless Monday” we had vegan stuffed portabello mushrooms. 

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After cleaning out the mushroom, I chopped a little of the “insides” with diced onion and chopped rainbow chard from my garden.  I sauteed the onion and chard  in a little butter and white wine and finished it with a tablespoon or so of capers and salt and pepper.  After putting that mixture in the ‘shrooms, I made a tofu cheese with mashed firm tofu, 3 Tbsp. nutritional yeast, a couple squirts of fresh lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt and cayenne pepper.  A simple garnish of roasted tomatoes was all this needed.  I put the mushrooms under the broiler for approx. 10 minutes.  So easy, and super tasty. 

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Nom, nom, nom.

This little peanut was pooped after the hike.  While I cooked, I plopped her in the high chair to drink her bottle.  She couldn’t even hold her bottle and found a way to have it rest on her high chair tray. 

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About 10 minutes later I noticed she was holding the bottle, but wasn’t really drinking it.  In fact, there was a slight snore coming from her direction.  Guess she had a great Monday as well.

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Do you dread Mondays?  What is your favorite day of the week?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Date Night!

Hello there!  Did everyone have a spectacular weekend?  Has spring sprung where you live?

I had a magnificent weekend full of fun activities and social gatherings.  The highlight  was kicking off the weekend with  a real “date night” on Friday.  We had tickets to the ballet, and neighbors that offered to babysit.  Woohoo, it doesn’t get any better than that!

To celebrate our night out together we started at District American Kitchen and Wine Bar.  I love trying new places and this one did not disappoint.  Live music and cool atmosphere that was right up my alley.   We made it in time for the last half an hour of Happy Hour, so we took advantage of that.  

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A yummy chardonnay for me, and a big bold cab for Scott. 

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A view of the bar.  (We sat in the lounge so we could hear/watch the live music.)

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One of the appetizers we got was buffalo sloppy jo sliders.  Fun huh?  Look how cute they are!

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Then we had to hightail it over to the theater.  While I would have happily walked the 5 blocks from the restaurant, when Scott saw this bicycle taxi, he thought it would be fun to try.  Our “driver” was funny, and helped point out some of the neat buildings in downtown Phoenix.   It was such a beautiful night and fun little cruise. 

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Look how beautiful the Orpheum Theater is…

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Our awesome seats…

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The show was outstanding and made me remember some of my old dance days.   After the show was over, we thought about going for a cocktail, but we were both to exhausted.  We made it home to our sleeping baby, and not 5 minutes later I was in a deep slumber.  I guess I’m getting old!

What is your favorite thing to do on “date night?”

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wrapping and Rolling

Good morning lovelies!   How goes it? 

I’m excited it’s Thursday and this week has flown by.  This morning I went on a great hike.   Pushing the jog stroller and going straight up is definitely a good workout.  My legs feel like jello right now.  I think I will be spending some quality time with my foam roller later today.   I love the way rolling on it feels like a deep tissue massage. 

Speaking of rolling, I’ve been on a roll with making different “wraps/rolls” lately.  I’ve professed my undying love of spring rolls in the past.  I can even make some pretty decent homemade ones like these

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and these:

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The rice paper is the hardest part, but once you get a system going, it gets easier. 

Lately, I haven’t had the luxury of having enough time to make them in a big batch, so I’ve turned to using greens as my “wraps.”  This way I can enjoy one or two made fresh every day as a little pre-dinner appetizer.

Collard Greens:

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Last week when cabbage was on sale for dirt cheap, I bought it not really having a plan.  Well, low and behold, the big cabbage leaves make a good wrap as well.  I steamed them for about 45 seconds in the microwave to make them easier to bend/roll. 

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And last, but certainly not the last time I will make these again, the chard leaf wrap.   The chard in my garden is finally large enough to use the leaves as wraps.  As with the collard greens, you will want to cut a little of the thick stem off. 

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Now, for the filling – that is usually something different every time.  My favorite is traditional spring roll filling like rice noodles, lettuce, carrots, and mint or cilantro.   But, really let your imagination go wild.  I use leftover grilled veggies and goat cheese, or hummus and apple, etc.  when I’m just wanting a quick appetizer to hold me over until dinner is ready.  The key is to have a good “dip.”   A good peanut sauce, Averie’s Vegan Tahini Dressing, bar-b-que sauce, what ever floats your boat, you know.

What are your favorite type of “wrap” fillings and do you roll? 

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mailbox Fun

I never win anything.  In fact, my husband jokes that I  have “Irish luck.”  I come back with the old saying that if I didn’t have bad luck, I wouldn’t have any luck at all.  lol    Well, imagine my surprise when I found out that I had won 2 bloggy give-aways in the last couple of weeks! 

First off, from Paige at Running Around Normal, I won the Thrive Fitness book by Brendan Brazier.  She also threw in some fun extras like the Vega Sport samples and some Glee gum and organic lolly pops.  I can’t wait to start reading the book. 

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On the same trip to the mailbox I received a second package.  This was from Heather at Simple Daisy.  I couldn’t wait to tear this open, as I knew it contained

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these beautiful earings.  Heather made these – can you believe it?  I can’t wait to wear them with an aqua colored sundress that I have.   Check out the her other goodies on her website www.simpledaisy.etsy.com.   Thank you so much! 

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On to the FOOD!

Eats were fairly simple over the weekend and nothing to out of the ordinary.  I did make this  tasty beet and arugula salad as a side dish on Sunday evening.  I forgot how much I love roasted beets with arugula and goat cheese.   A little sliced red onion, and some balsamic reduction for a hint of sweetness were the only other things needed.  Perfect! 

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I also pan-fried some tilapia with cornmeal, salt and pepper in a little butter.  Mmm…it smelled amazing.

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Sprinkled with parmesan and served over sauteed Swiss chard.  I was amazed at the flavor the fish had with this simple preparation.  I’m usually one to go all out on making a marinade, or a reduction, salsa, etc. to put on tilapia.  It’s good to occasionally take a step back and remember simple ingredients (aka less is more) can really let the flavor of the dish come through.  Not to mention that it is “Quick and Easy.”  

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Well, I’m off to get my strength on with a little upper body weights. 

What was the best thing you ate or drank this weekend? 

Friday, March 19, 2010

Another “Leftover” Bowl Meal

Happy Friday!  We are looking forward to a great weekend with more great weather the next couple days.

Due to another late afternoon/evening swim last night, we kept dinner super simple.

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We’ve been loving those one bowl meals, especially utilizing leftovers

I’m calling this one a Mediterranean Bowl.

I combined some of the leftover grilled veggies from the night before, with some leftover whole wheat penne.  For the sauce I came up with a “mix” of my leftover homemade hummus with a little more lemon juice and olive oil to make it a little thinner.  After mixing it all together, I topped the bowl with some feta and mint. 

Fabulous! 

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Enjoyed with a glass of an Italian white blend.  Dry, crisp and so refreshing it was a mix of 82% Trebbiano and 18% Pinot Grigio. 

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A perfect way to ease into the weekend. 

Stay tuned on Monday for my very 1st Give Away!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Friday Eve

Hey Blogland, it’s Friday Eve. I’ve always been one to start celebrating the weekend on Thursdays.  LOL  Did everyone survive St. Patrick’s Day?  Tell me about what you did to celebrate.  Drink green beer or eat corned beef and cabbage?  Let me know. 

As for me, I had a playgroup at my house in the morning.  I made some Trader Joe’s brownies (box mix) and Irished them up with some green frosting.  Just a cup of powdered sugar and a few drops of almond milk, and green food coloring.   DSC02009 DSC02010 - Copy

These were super moist, and for the non bakers like myself, as easy as 1-2-3. 

Other than playgroup, we didn’t do any St Patty’s Day partying.  The weather is finally gorgy outside and we took advantage of it with a little hike and a swim.  ‘Twas glorious with a capital G!!

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So, by the time all that madness was over we went with a simple grilled dinner that was not at all Irish, but was 100% veggie and shrimp-alicious! 

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No dinner is complete without the obligatory glass of vino. 

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Do you get excited for the weekend on Thursdays?   Do you like having plans for the weekend, or prefer no plans and just rollin’ with whatever happens?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Review and updating an old favorite.

Last week I received some samples from the nice folks at Jay Robb.  They are most known for protein powders, both vegetarian and vegan varieties, and more recently their protein bars.    Look at this great package of goodies they sent me.  I love the shaker bottles and was in need of a new one.  Too bad the tank top is an extra large, I think it’s kind of cute. 

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I tried this bar right away because I was intrigued by the flavor. 

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I’m not sure I loved the texture, but the flavor was good.  The texture reminded me of a cross between a Power Bar and a Lara Bar.  So not bad, I just would have preferred some nut pieces or signs of what the flavors were.

I also tried the chocolate whey protein powder yesterday morning.  I forgot to photograph it, but it was delicious!  I love that it was pleasantly sweet (from stevia) but not sickenly so.   I caught a quick picture of the strawberry flavor that I made Scott yesterday afternoon. 

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Yes, my lighting is a little off, but there really was almost no color.  The only coloring agent was natural beet powder, and even that didn’t leave a fake pink color.  Love that! 

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I’m looking forward to trying more of these for post workout snacks. 

On to dinner.  For Meatless Monday, I prepared our favorite tofu dish last night, but spruced it up a little with a twist on the toppings.  My original recipe is here.  I switched it up by topping the tofu with goat cheese, marinated artichoke hearts, and crushed pecans.  It was everything I wanted and then some. DSC01984

Along side, we had a sweet potato and …more greens!  What can I say, I have a garden full of fresh arugula.  I threw some stuff in with the arugula and topped with my lemon poppyseed dressing.  Do yourself a favor and make this combination right now!   It is now my favorite salad.

Arugula, fennel (thinly sliced,) sugar snap peas (diced,) goat cheese, Granny Smith apple (thinly sliced) and lemon dressing. 

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Mo’s Lemon Poppyseed dressing:

Juice of 1 large lemon

1/3 cup sugar, stevia, splenda, or whatever sweetner you choose

1 Tbsp. EVOO

2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar

1 tsp poppyseeds

*I left out the poppy seeds because I ran out – still just as tasty.

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Finally, on to dessert.  I thought I would show you the “His and Her’s.” 

His:  a white chocolate macadamia nut cookie from Paradise Bakery

Hers:  a Luna bar in white chocolate macadamia nut.  (They are actually really good!)

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We only had one of the Paradise cookies left, and I thought Scott deserved it since he fed, bathed and read to Ava tonight while I was getting a glorious 60 minute deep tissue massage

What is your favorite brand and flavor of protein bars or drinks?