Feb 25, 2013

Quinoa Black Bean Burgers! Monday Meraki no. 7 (#MM)

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Hi darlins'! It's great to see ya here!

Over the weekend, I didn't get much done in terms of exercising because I was really bogged down with studying and a cold. Although, I did try my first-ever HIIT running workout on Friday afternoon, and it felt  awesome. Once I get a couple more HIIT workouts in I'll let you know how I like 'em :)

Truth be told, I was in need of some serious comfort food on Saturday. Inspired by one of my favorite restaurants in Nashville, Burger Up, I tried my hand at making their delicious Marathon burger. These burgers are seriously my favorite thing on their menu, and luckily they turned out so well! I'm so proud of my creative cooking, I just have to share the recipe for today's Meraki! Next time, I'm definitely making sweet potato fries as a side...

Quinoa Black Bean Burgers
  • 2 cups of cooked Quinoa
  • Vegetable Stock
  • Onions/Garlic/Leek (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp. Paprika
  • 1 Tbsp. Cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. Coriander
  • *just a dash* cinnamon (secret ingredient)
  • Sea Salt and Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 cup organic ketchup (Burger Up uses their delicious homemade version)
  • 1 can black beans (rinsed)
  • 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs

First, cook your quinoa according to the package directions (but cook in vegetable stock instead of water).

Next, saute half of an onion, a couple cloves of garlic or leeks in extra virgin olive oil.  This step is 100% optional, but since I love those flavors, I went for it! Just use what you have on hand.

When the quinoa is done cooking, add to your food processor, along with your spices.Then add your ketchup and pulse. Meanwhile, rinse those black beans, then add 1/2 of 'em to the mixture and pulse again a few times.

Add your breadcrumbs to the mix, let it rest for 5 minutes, and then stir in (with a wooden spoon) the rest of the black beans.

At this point, check the consistency and taste!  Adjust spices as you deem necessary :)

When you have it tasting how you want, form into baseball-sized balls and flatten into patties. Admittedly, my patties ended up being way too big! I'll have to watch that next time.

This is important -- Grease your pan well!  They have no fat so they will stick! Preheat oven to 400 F and cook for 12 minutes.  Flip carefully at around 6-8 minutes...

and Voila!  A Marathon burger! I unfortunately forgot garlic when I made mine, but it still tasted pretty darn close to the real deal! I froze the two leftover patties in an airtight bag, the next day it was just as delicious :)

I hope y'all enjoyed the recipe! Have a great Monday evening and a fabulous start to your week!

Feb 20, 2013

Mmmmm... Water?

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Hi darlins'! It's great to see ya here!

How 'bout them Indiana Hoosiers? The euphoria from the stellar IU basketball win last night carried my great mood all the way through my quick & early workout and my usual bright-and-early jaunt off to work :)

Morning Core Work:
2:00 Plank
50 Crunches
20 Leg Lifts
0:30 Wall Sit

I had the intention of waking up at 4:30 a.m. today to get in a more complete workout, but sleep just won out that battle. I absolutely admire those who pony up for early morning workouts, my body gives me a strong veto for any wake-up time earlier than 5 a.m, this lady is definitely an afternoon/evening oriented fitness junkie!
my breakfast: ham & red bell pepper egg white scramble!
Today, I'm gonna remind myself to drink drink drink that water, and do as much walking around work as possible! Speaking of H2O consumption, the other day Matt told me about a 30-day challenge where the only beverage you drink is water -- how hard would that be?! I mean, I don't know the specifics or anything, but if that even excluded all teas I don't know how I could pull it off (I could see myself giving up coffee). My mental cogs are turning... we'll see... that's one challenge that requires a lot of will power!

this would be so hard to give up....
On the topic of challenges, since I've knocked the #100byVday challenge off of my goal 'To Do' list, here are my updated Goals of the Moment!

1. Complete at least 3 High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts per week for the next six weeks.

2. Maintain & Improve Daily Fitness Habits (e.g., morning/evening ab workouts, daily planking, "bathroom" exercise habits)

3. Drink more water!

That's all I have for right now, have a great day y'all, and get those goals!

Question of the day: If you've ever tried HIIT, do you have a preferred method? I'm attracted to the Tabata method because I know that it would be a huge time-saver!

Feb 14, 2013

Drum Roll Please...

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Hi darlins'! It's great to see ya here! Happy Valentines Day :)

So...... goal achieved! Tuesday evening, after a long bike ride, I successfully conquered the #100byVday challenge that started for me on January 3rd (see previous post: New Year, New Goals!).

Overall,  I ran 91.3 miles (avg. pace of 9:26) and biked 9.5 miles (avg. pace of 3:22). That's 100.8 miles in 40 days, Happy Valentine's Day indeed! To top off my elation from finishing the 100 miles and an epic Hoosier win against Nebraska, last night I came home to a package from the lovely ladies at Fit Approach -- pink shoelaces on pink shoelaces oh my! It came with a really sweet handwritten welcome note from Jamie & Alyse that made me smile so hard. Such nice ladies!

In celebration of a job well done and today's romantic holiday I'm going to be jamming out to some of my favorite love songs, and I invite you to do the same. Here's my playlist, enjoy!

Matt and I are celebrating V-day by going to a Preds NHL game tonight (whisper scream!), it's my first time going to a hockey game and it's even more exciting because the tickets were free!

Share the love and have a wonderful day!

Feb 11, 2013

Getaways, PRs and Monday Meraki (#MM) no. 6

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Hi darlins'! It's great to see ya here!

Traveling up to Indiana this weekend was an absolute blast, I enjoyed some much-needed girl time with a couple of the most wonderful ladies I know! We ran the gambit of working out, indulging in vino & cookies, smashing 5K PRs, shopping, cooking, soaking up some serious television, naps and witnessing another stellar Indiana University basketball victory!

Friday evening was a combination of a satisfying throwback-roomie workout and sweet, sweet cookie indulgences :) We got in some cardio and ab work, then proceeded to call it an early night. We had to be up early for our 5K on Saturday morning!

While it was a little chilly (in the 30s), the weather was pretty perfect for our race. I ended up finishing with my fastest time yet (those speed runs have been paying off!), at 24:30 (~7:54 pace). Overall, I was the 35th female to finish, and I placed 3rd in my age group! Hooray for PRs!! A little food, shopping and R&R was in order after our great finishes. We stopped at Finish Line and I finally picked up a better-fitting pair of Brooks. I stuck with the same bright coral pair that I purchased over Christmas... I'm obsessed. Saturday night was another wonderfully restful girls-night-in... complete with homemade cocktails :)

Aren't they pretty??

Sunday we were able to sleep in, and in the morning I enjoyed another speedy run and planking in my friend's gorgeous gym. Boy, do I wish I had access to this type of facility just steps from my apartment!

To wrap up an already amazing weekend, my team went on to trounce Ohio State on Sunday afternoon! Let's just say it made for a very cheerful 4.5 hour drive home to the most incredible city on the planet :)

That's about it for my weekend's highlights, now let's Meraki!

Since I've been putting a lot of time & energy into my goal of running 100 miles by Valentines day, I thought it would be a good idea to share a trick I use when my only (tolerable) option for cold-weather distance running is a treadmill.

Meraki Running Tip: 

When I have a somewhat-lengthy distance goal on the treadmill, I start by programming the treadmill with a goal time slightly higher than what I know it will take to finish my planned mileage. I begin the run at a comfortable pace (for me, ~6 mph), then for every 0.1 miles I run, I tick up the speed 0.1 mph. I do this until I get to a speed where I'm pushing myself pretty hard (~7.5 mph) and then I start to decrease my speed 0.1 mph for every 0.1 miles I run. I find that this trick keeps me pushing myself by giving me an imaginary "hill" to climb and also makes me feel better when I can finish with time left on the workout clock to cool down. Nashville is remarkably hilly, so I've learned to embrace this type of imagery in my indoor workouts.

Today's Question: I rewarded my 5K PR with a few new pieces of choice running apparel. What are you favorite ways to reward yourself for goals achieved and workouts well done?

Feb 7, 2013

Trying New Things (#TNT): Crock-Pot Edition - Bean & Vegetable Burritos

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Hi darlins'! It's great to see ya here!

I finally broke out one of my favorite Christmas presents from my darling parents recently, my Crock-Pot and it's accompanying Comfort Food Diet Cookbook. Of course, the very first recipe I tried was so delicious that I just had to share. Enjoy!

Bean and Vegetable Burritos

2 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced (Alternatively, I substituted a russet potato)
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
4 cloves garlic, minced (I used 4 tsp. of pre-minced garlic)
1 medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced (I substituted a white onion)
1 jalapeno pepper (I didn't have any so I left out)
1 green bell pepper, chopped (Also didn't have any so this got left out too)
1 cup from corn, thawed and drained
3 Tbsp. lime juice
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 cup (3 oz) shredded Monterey Jack cheese (I substituted Colby Jack)
6 (10-inch) flour tortillas (I substituted 5 Light Original Flat Out wraps)

1. Combine chili powder, oregano and cumin in small bowl. Set aside.

2. Layer ingredients in Crock-Pot in following order: potato, beans, half of chili powder mixture, garlic, onion, jalapeno pepper, bell pepper, remaining half of chili powder mixture and corn. Cover; cook on LOW 5 hours or until potato is tender. Stir in lime juice and cilantro.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spoon 2 Tsbp. cheese into center of each tortilla. Top with 1 cup filling. Fold wraps and place burritos, seam side down, on baking sheet. Cover with foil and bake 20 to 30 minutes or until heated through.

All-in-all, this recipe was a definite success for my first go with this cookbook. I can't wait to try another dish soon!

That's it for today, I'll be heading to the gym later to get in some more miles for #100byVday in preparation of a weekend of traveling to visit friends in Indiana. I'm so excited for the trip!!

Good luck with your fitness and wellness today and I'll see you soon!

Today's Question: I have memories of some pretty amazing Crock-Pot experiences from my childhood. Our mom used to treat us with a dessert called "Triple Chocolate Mess" that took 8-11 hrs to cook and was out of this world! What's the most delicious-est thing you've ever eaten that was made in a slow cooker?