Recipes

Mini Mexican Casseroles

Boy do I have an awesome recipe to share with you guys today! But first, two things:

  1. I lost 1.4 at weigh in this week, putting me at 166.4 (!). That means I’m only 6.4 pounds from my goal weight and have lost 15.2 pounds since recommitting in December!!!!!
  2. I recently realized that today is my two year anniversary with Weight Watchers! I joined March 3, 2009 and my life has changed so dramatically over these past two years – I couldn’t be happier.

And now, onto the important stuff. A new recipe.

Corn tortillas are a staple in my kitchen. I ALWAYS have them on hand because they are super versatile, so cheap (just 79 cents at Whole Foods for organic ones!), delicious, and very points+ friendly (1 pt+ a piece). When I saw a corn tortilla casserole on Caitlin’s blog, I knew I had to have it. She got the idea from Tina, and the idea has been circulating around the blog world ever since.

You all know by now that it’s nearly impossible for me to follow recipes, but I wanted to use the basic premise. It’s basically like a Mexican lasagna, with tortillas in place of noodles, and the best part is this dish is super easy, economical, and absolutely incredible. I had been dreaming up what exactly I would put in my version of the dish, and last night was finally the night. It did NOT disappoint.

Mini Mexican Casseroles

Entire recipe is 2 servings, 7 pts+ per serving. Printable version here.

Here’s what you need for success:

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  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels (or fresh)
  • 1 cup black beans (you can use canned, I used these)
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 4 corn tortillas, quartered
  • 1/2 cup light shredded mozzarella

First, preheat your oven to 400º.

Next, heat up the canola oil in a pan over medium heat. Once that is hot, add in the bell pepper.

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Let the bell pepper cook for 3-4 minutes until it’s starting to get soft, and then add in the corn and mushrooms.

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Sautee for another 3-4 minutes until everything is cooked and heated through, and then add in the black beans.

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Since the beans are already cooked, you just want to get everything hot and then your filling is complete.

Next up is the fun part – assembling the casseroles. I have this set of pyrex glassware and I always use the 2 cup casserole dishes to make mini casseroles – one for dinner, and one for lunch the next day. I highly recommend them because you can cook in them and they come with lids so they’re perfect for storage too. If you don’t have individual casserole dishes, you can use a larger casserole dish and divide it up how you want, but getting to eat the entire casserole gets me going so I prefer these. 🙂

Start by splitting about half of the filling mixture between the two casseroles.

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Next add in 1/4 cup salsa to each dish and top with 4 pieces of the tortilla each (one tortilla in each dish).

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Now divide the rest of the filling, the rest of the tortillas, and the rest of the salsa evenly between the dishes.

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Finally, top each with half of the cheese.

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Check out all those layers!

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Put it on your preheated oven for 20 minutes, then turn up the heat to 450 and let cook for 5-10 minutes more until the cheese is browned and bubbly. Garnish with scallions if you like.

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I ate it with a serving of chips and extra salsa on the side for 10 pts+ total.

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Heavenly! It was seriously SO good. The corn tortillas soak up the salsa and take on this incredible texture. The casserole was a pretty large serving too, and it was really filling and hearty. I also loved how much flavor the salsa gave to the whole dish. Notice there was no salt, pepper, or any spices, but it was bursting with flavor. I will absolutely be making this again, and I suggest you do the same!

What’s your favorite kind of casserole? Feel free to share links in the comments section!

Mind Games and a No Bake Cookie Recipe

Hi guys! I hope you guys are enjoying your weekend so far. I know I am. Smile

Yesterday, I had a 7 mile run on my schedule that I wanted to get out of the way first thing (aka 10am). I fueled up with a banana topped with 1 tbsp reduced fat peanut butter (2 pts+) before heading out.

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I was actually pretty excited for yesterday’s run because its been too long since I’ve run outside in the cold weather and I really enjoyed it the last time I did. I got all geared up, headed outside, and started zoning out to my music. As soon as I got to the start of the Mount Vernon Trail where I was planning on running, I saw this:

mount vernon trail

Yeah, no thank you. I am clumsy enough on my own without the assistance of ice, so I immediately turned around and headed back to my apartment for the treadmill to pound out the 7 miles.

Mentally, it was rough. The treadmills only go up to 60 minutes, so I had to break it into two cycles since it takes me 70 minutes to run 7 miles. To keep myself entertained, I kept changing my mind about when I would stop the first cycle and start the second one. Originally I was going to pound out 2 miles and reset it for 50 minutes to finish the last 5, but by tricking myself I somehow ended up waiting until the 57.5 minute mark (5.75 miles) to start the second cycle, and then I only I had to run 1.25 miles on the second one. I understand that this makes me sound totally crazy, but somehow that made the run feel more tolerable and go by relatively fast. When it was over and my clothes were so wet it looked like I jumped in a pool, I stretched for more than 10 minutes – a new record.

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I’ve never seen 1000+ calories on here before! An exciting moment.

I wanted something to refuel with a good amount of protein, and then I remembered these cookies I came up with the other day that are super simple, quick and delicious. I tweeted about them and was asked for the recipe. Ask and I shall deliver. Smile

No Bake Mini Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies (4 pts+ for entire recipe)

I’ve seen several recipes for no bake cookies before using just a few ingredients, and I’ve been wanting to experiment with using peanut flour for things other than just oatmeal or on toast, so I realized this could be the perfect solution for a cookie that would deliver on both taste and on the nutrition front. These cookies are also great because the whole recipe makes 4 small cookies, and you can easily half it to make just 2 little cookies, or multiply it to make a larger batch. I personally don’t do that well having a whole batch of cookies in my house, so for me the small yield is perfect.

Ingredients:

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  • 2 tbsp peanut flour (15 grams)
  • 2 tbsp rolled oats
  • 2 tsp mini chocolate chips
  • 1 packet truvia
  • dash salt
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp water

To start, combine the peanut flour, salt, and water, and mix it until it forms a peanut butter paste.

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To that same bowl, add the rest of the ingredients (oats, truvia, chocolate chips)

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Mix everything together to form your dough.

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Form into 4 evenly sized dough balls, and place them on a piece of wax paper.

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For a size reference, here’s my beautifully manicured hand holding one.

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Now, place them in the freezer for at least 10 minutes and they are ready!

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That’s it! These babies have 4 pts+ for the whole recipe, so 1 pt+ per cookie if you make them this size. Because of the peanut flour, they have a good amount of protein (8 grams in all 4) so they are actually quite filling as well as totally delicious. You could also use regular PB instead of the peanut flour, but that would affect the points+ value, and you could also try mixing in different things (shredded coconut, raisins, nuts, etc) to change it up a bit.

Do you play mind games with yourself on gym equipment to make it go by faster? Also, what’s your favorite kind of cookie? I love white chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies plus peanut butter kisses, both pretty equally. mmmm.

Homemade Caramelized Red Onion Mini Calzones

Hiya! I have a really awesome recipe to share with you today – mini calzones! I looooove calzones, but they are usually quite heavy and so loaded with fat and calories that  I shy away from them. Making them at home is the perfect solution because you can stuff them with whatever you want, control the amount of cheese and dough, and make them however small or large you want to, and they are still totally delicious and take just an hour from start to finish.

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I made the dough for these from scratch, but you could easily use store bought whole wheat pizza dough. Keep in mind that would change the PointsPlus values (and cut down the prep time drastically!). As they are now, these are just 7 pts+ each and so totally worth it. Feel free to experiment with different veggies, chicken and/or whatever else you can dream up to stuff these with, and let me know how they turn out!

Also – I’ve decided to start making my recipes printable (thank you Kara!). It’s going to take me a while to convert all my recipes so bear with me, but so far I did the Quinoa Burgers, and these Caramelized Red Onion Mini Calzones and will continue to add new recipes to there, and old ones as I find the time. I hope that makes it easier for you if you’re trying any of the recipes you find here!

So here were go…

Homemade Caramelized Red Onion Mini Calzones

Serves 4. 7 Pts+ each. Printable recipe here.

Ingredients for Crust:

  • 1 tbsp active dry-yeast
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt

Ingredients for Filling:

  • 1 cup part-skim mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 small red onion, chopped (or 1/2 large)

To start, combine the first four ingredients – yeast, sugar, warm water, and olive oil – and stir them up. The water should be lukewarm – not hot, just nice and warm. Let it sit until the mixture starts bubbling – about 5-10 minutes. Here is everything combined:

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And here’s what it will look like after the yeast is activated:

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It almost looks creamy, but those are all just tiny little bubbles on top. If yeast scares you – don’t let it. I still have a mini panic attack every time I use it, but just let it do its thing and it’ll work. I promise.

While the yeast is activating, add your dry ingredients to a large bowl – whole wheat flour, white flour, and salt.

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Whisk them together, and then pour in the wet mixture once the yeast is activated.

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Stir to combine until dough forms.

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Now he comes the physical labor portion of the program – dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface (ie your kitchen countertop) and knead for 10 minutes.

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Look at the clock to be sure. I kept thinking 10 minutes had passed every 30 seconds or so because this is hard work!

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While you are kneading the dough, add more all purpose flour as needed. I had to sprinkle an additional 1-2 tablespoons into the dough, but you may not need any. The general rule of thumb here is to add a little bit of flour if it’s a little sticking to your hands.

Once those 10 minutes are up, you’ll have a nice little smooth ball of dough.

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Place it in a bowl.

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Cover it with a wet towel (or paper towel) and leave it at room temp for about 10 minutes to rise, while you prep the filling.

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Here’s where you start if you’re using store-bought dough (no shame in it!).

Take 1 small chopped red onion (or 1/2 large) and cook it in a pan with nonstick spray until the onion gets soft and caramelized – about 5 minutes.

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Remove from heat and let it sit for a few minutes to cool down.

Meanwhile, add your shredded mozzarella, ricotta, and garlic power to a bowl, and then the onions once they’ve cooled a bit.

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Stir to combine, and your filling is complete. Easy peasy.

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Now, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Your dough should have risen by now, and will look larger in the bowl and be a little puffy to the touch.

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Divide it into 4 equal pieces, and then roll them out into circles with a rolling pin on the same counter you kneaded the dough on.

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Clearly, they do not have to be perfectly round.

Now comes the fun part – assembling the calzones. Add 1/4 of the filling to the middle of each of the circles of dough.

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Dip your finger in water and wet half of the perimeter around the calzone, and then pull the dry side down over the filling. The sides probably won’t line up perfectly – don’t worry.

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Using your fingers, pinch together the edges of the dough to form a seal – similar to how you would with a pie crust. (You can also use a fork for this but it’s more fun with your hands).

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Keep going all the way around the outside…

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Until its fully sealed.

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They will look pretty rustic – but that’s encouraged. Repeat for all four calzones.

Your oven should be preheated by now, and if you are using a pizza stone make sure you leave it in the oven while it preheats, and then use a little cornmeal on the surface to keep them from sticking.

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If you’re using a baking sheet, grease it with spray or oil and a little corn meal. Now transfer the assembled calzone onto your baking vehicle of choice.

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Put them in the oven for ~15 minutes, until the tops are browned, and then take them out.

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Now comes the really challenging part – don’t touch for 10 minutes. Rough, I know.

Once 10 minutes have passed and they have cooled, they are ready to be devoured.

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I served mine with some marinara sauce for dipping.

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And could.not.wait. to cut it open and see the cheese ooze out.

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SO good. Seriously.

At this point, you can let them cool and freeze them if you want to save some for a rainy day. I froze half of mine and had one for dinner last night and one for lunch today, both with a salad on the side. While these are definitely a bit more labor intensive than my normal recipes, it only took 1 hour from start to finish and was actually quite fun – besides the kneading part. That was actually kind of hard, and I may have even broken a slight sweat. But, it was worth it for these babies.

I cannot wait for lunch.

What is your favorite calzone stuffing/pizza topping combination if you could pick anything? I loooooove fried eggplant on pizza, and really love calzones with just mozzarella, riccotta, and roasted garlic.

Incredible Lentil Loaf Recipe

Boy do I have an awesome recipe to share with you today! On New Year’s Day, I saw the Ultimate Vegan Lentil Walnut Loaf on Angela’s blog, and I was totally intrigued. I had to have it. I did a little google search for “Lentil Loaf” and looked at a ton of different recipes before coming up with my own version, which is not vegan and doesn’t have walnuts, but is amazingly moist and delicious. Lentils are a great starting point if you’re trying to make a vegetarian dish to win over a meat lover in your life, because they are so satisfying and delicious, and really do a good job imparting that heartiness into traditionally meat based dishes, like my spiced lentil mushroom tacos and now this incredible lentil loaf. It’s also extremely Weight Watchers friendly, which is always a great thing. This has a few more steps than my usual recipes, but I promise you it’s all worth it. The printable recipe is here.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • 1/2 cup brown rice (or 1 cup cooked)
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 2 slices bread (I used Ezekial 4:9 Sprouted Sesame)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dried sage (or thyme)
  • black pepper

To start, boil 2 cups of water and add in your rinsed lentils. Bring it back to a boil, then down to a simmer and let it cook for about 30 minutes. (If all the water goes away add a little more – I had to add about 1/3 of a cup extra) Also cook your rice if you’re not using already prepped brown rice. The instant rice I used cooks in 5 minutes – perfect.

While your lentils and rice are cooking, prep your veggies.

Chop the onion and garlic, and peel and grate your carrot.

Also, toast the bread and then pulse it in your processor to make breadcrumbs.

You can also use already prepped breadcrumbs – about a cup.

Now preheat your oven to 350º.

Next up – cooking the veggies. Heat up a pan with some nonstick spray, and then add in the chopped onion.

Once that gets soft (about 2 minutes), add in the garlic and let it go for another minute. Then add in the carrot and let it go another minute or two until all the veggies are soft/heated through.

Last, add in the raisins and cook for one more minute.

By now, your lentils should be cooked and all the liquid absorbed. Taste one to make sure they are tender, then transfer them to a large bowl.

You want to mash up at least half of the lentils, and a stick blender works perfectly for this. If you don’t have a stick blender, you can use a potato masher, a ricer, or a food processor. Or a fork. But that will take a long time.

Now you are ready to combine everything and then bake the loaf! Add into the bowl the veggie mixture, the bread crumbs, the beaten egg, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, the dried sage, and black pepper.

Mix to combine until its a uniform consistency.

Now spray your loaf pan.

Then press the mixture down into the pan with your hands so it is packed in there.

Make sure it’s really packed down, and admire your hard work til this point. 🙂

Pop it in the oven for 35 minutes, and when it comes out, the top will be a bit crispy.

If you don’t have a loaf pan, you can make this in any baking dish really, but just keep in mind that the baking time will vary based on the loaf’s thickness.

Finished!

The entire loaf has 28 points+, so if you divide it into 8 servings, it’s 4 pts a piece. If you’re like me and like to eat a lot, you can divide it into 4 large hunks that are 7 pts+ a pop.

This is AWESOME. It is really moist and flavorful, and the raisins in there add a subtle and very welcome sweetness in each bite.

I served my hunk with some leftover roasted sweet potatoes and carrots from last night.

10 pts+ for the whole plate. And, it was seriously delicious. The texture on it is perfect, and the flavors from all of the ingredients work so well together that you will gobble down every last bite. If you’re trying to convert a carnivore to enjoying a delicious vegetarian meal – this is it. Or, if you’re normally a meat eater and would like to explore some healthy veggie options – try it! Make it with some mashed potatoes and gravy if you like and it’ll be a healthified and delicious version of a traditional plate of meatloaf. Or, if you’re just hungry and like to eat – do it! 🙂 I seriously cannot WAIT for leftovers for lunch!

Enjoy!

PS – I lost .8 at weigh in last night, making my total 8 pounds down in 3 weeks! Woohoo!

Are you a vegetarian, carnivore, or something in between? How often do you eat meat? I’ve been going back and forth about whether I want to stay vegetarian or introduce some lean meat back into my life. I don’t really have a good reason for having gone vegetarian in the first place, but now that it’s been almost a year, I’m just rethinking whether I want to stick with it or have a little meat every once in a while.

Easy Crockpot Vegetarian Chili

In honor of my new Crockpot, I threw together a recipe for vegetarian chili that is so hearty and satisfying that you won’t miss the meat at all.  The great thing about chili is you can completely adopt it to the ingredients you have on hand. I used canned beans in this recipe, but you can use dried if you have them – just soak them beforehand. I also used an onion and a pepper, but you can use other veggies, leave out the corn, add in extra spices, etc. etc.

Here’s (almost all of) what you need:

Chili Ingredients

  • 2 cans beans (I used dark red kidney, but any kind will do!)
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (I used garlic and onion)
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp chili powder (more or less to taste)
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 poblano pepper (or other chili pepper)

To start, chop up the onion, bell pepper, and two cloves of garlic:

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Heat up the olive oil in a pan over medium heat, add the chopped veggies, and heat until soft, about 3-4 minutes.

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Once those are done, add everything to the crockpot except the corn, plus one can of water – (beans, veggies, tomatoes, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, and water).

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Turn on low and heat for 6-8 hours until its to your desired consistency. About an hour before you’re ready to eat, add in the corn.

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And that is IT!

Wil made us some vegan corn muffins to go with the chili, which had corn meal, white flour, apple cider vinegar, a flax egg (!), soy milk, and a touch of maple syrup.

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I ate 2 with my chili.

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Plus added some light sour cream and reduced fat cheddar for garnish.

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This was AWESOME. Even Wil, who is a self proclaimed carnivore, loved this chili. It is so thick and hearty, and requires such little work. The entire prep time took about 15 minutes between chopping and sauteeing the veggies and then dumping everything into the slow cooker. I set it up in the morning yesterday before church, and by the time we got home our entire apartment was fragrant.

It’s a good thing I have leftovers for lunch today (with two extra corn muffins!) because the heater is broken in our office and it is FREEZING.

Are you a fan of chili? What’s your favorite type of chili? Feel free to leave links to your recipe on your blog if you have one! I’m always looking for new ideas.

I loooove regular chili, but also love black bean or black bean sweet potato chili! yum!

Heat n Eat Steel Cut Oats

Last night I went swimming for the first time since March (thank you blog!). There is a pool in DC that is free for residents ($4 for Virginia Lovers like me) that is amazing. It’s right off the Tenleytown metro and it’s an Olympic sized pool with about 10 lanes designated slow, medium or fast. I met my friend Amber and we picked a Medium speed lane and were the only ones in it for the first few minutes. But then, one by one people started joining our lane and before I knew it we were up to 7 people all in a row, so I switched lanes. I ended up doing 1 mile in 45 minutes, and it was HARD. That is 16.5 laps (33 lengths) and for the first few laps I didn’t think there was any way I’d finish. But, once I got up around lap 9/10, the end was in sight and I was able to power through.

After the pool, we hit up the Whole Foods right at the metro for some grub!

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I did a base of spinach and kale, with a bunch of random things on top including a corn and edamame salad, smokey pasta mozzarella salad, ravioli, roasted corn, seitan, and curry tempeh. I’m sure there were a few other things hiding but I was SO hungry by that point that I gobbled the whole thing down in no time. Yum.

So I have to give my sister Heather credit for this because she’s the one who told me (THANK YOU HEATHER!), but I just discovered the BEST way to make steel cut oats so you can just heat them in the morning and they are ready.

For two servings: (Printable recipe here)

  • The night before, add 1/2 cup steel cut oats to 2 cups water

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  • Bring to a boil over medium heat, and let boil for 2 minute.
  • Remove from the heat, cover the pot, and let sit out on the stove overnight.

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  • In the morning, the oats will have soaked up all the water and are ready!!

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  • This is the point where you can stir in pumpkin or add anything else you want to the mix.
  • Put them back on the stove and heat them through, and enjoy!

I went with Almond Joy Oats, topping them with sliced almonds, coconut flakes, and dark chocolate.

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How I missed steel cut oats!! They have such a nutty and slightly chewy texture that you just can’t get from other types of oats. They have slightly more fiber than rolled oats so they are a little more filling in my opinion, and I just love them. I’m so glad I figured this out because I have a whole container of them in my pantry and seemingly never enough time to make them in the morning – not anymore!

Have you ever tried steel cut oats? Do you like the texture?

Roasted Red Pepper and Chickpea Burgers

Oh man do I have a good recipe to share! My salad from yesterday’s lunch was so tasty, so I wanted to make something to go along with those ingredients. I got to thinking and realized I hadn’t made veggie burgers in ages, so I decided to whip some up and these turned out incredible. You can see my recipes for Easy Homemade Veggie Burgers and Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers, but these may be the best ones yet.

Ingredients (for 2 burgers – 2 WW Points each)

  • 1/2 cup canned chickpeas, drained and dried off (1 pt)
  • 1 roasted red pepper, pressed in a paper towel or cheesecloth to remove moisture
  • Handful of spinach
  • 4 basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (2 pts)
  • 1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese (1 pt)

Directions:

1.) Combine chickpeas, roasted red pepper, spinach, and basil in a food processor:

2.) Pulse until well mixed and tranfer to a bowl.

3.) Add oats and parmesan to the bowl and combine all ingredients by hand

4.) Form into patties

5.) Cook as desired. If I was home I would have cooked them in a pan to get the outside crispy, but since I’m at my office I baked them in the toasted until heated through and they were awesome! You could also microwave them or bake them but pan searing is probably the best.

I ate both of the burgers for lunch (4 pts) open faced on a toasted light english muffin (1 pt). I also had cucumber on the side (0 pts) but it was on its way out and parts of it were soft. ick!

This is a recipe I will definitely be making again, and you can totally switch up the ingredients based on what you have. I was thinking about mixing feta into the burgers too which could be awesome… play with the recipe and let me know what you come up with!

Today was also CSA day. I went before work to pick it up and here’s the loot:

In today’s box:

  • 5 peaches
  • 6 donut peaches (!!!)
  • apricots
  • 2 zucchini
  • 3 yellow squash
  • 5 ears of corn
  • Lemon Basil plant

I was so excited to see donut peaches in the box this week! Remember when I went to the Asian mart two weeks ago and took a picture of these because I’d never seen them before? Well now I have some to try! So excited.

That’s the donut peach on the left and a regular peach on the right. The donut peach is basically a smushed regular peach but I’m not sure if they taste any different or are any different texturally than regular peaches.. I will let you know!

Have you tried any new-to-you produce recently?

Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers

Lunch today was a new creation that you must try. 3 ingredients total – so simple, healthy, and delicious.

What you need (for one serving):

  • 1/2 cooked sweet potato (1.5 pts)
  • 1/4 cup black beans (.5 pts)
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs (1 pt)

Directions:

1.) Wash and poke holes in a sweet potato and microwave it for 5 minutes. OR use 1/2 leftover baked potato

2.) Put 1/4 cup canned beans and the sweet potato in a food processor and pulse until combined

3.) Put mixture into a bowl and add the panko crumbs.

4.) Mix until combined and form into patties.

If I was eating at home, I would have cooked them in a pan, but since I brought them with me to work, I microwaved them for 45 seconds and then threw them into the toaster. I served them open faced on a toasted arnold thin

And then added a spoonful of salsa onto each patty.

I served these with a side salad of romaine and radicchio with chopped garlic sprouts

And then leftover broccoli from the chinese restaurant

Oh my gosh, these burgers are amazing. And they take no time to prepare, especially if you have leftover sweet potato to throw in there. You probably know by now that sweet potato and black beans is one of my all time favorite combos, and I’ve just started making my own veggie burgers, so I thought why not a black bean sweet potato burger? I’m so happy I thought of this and tried it!

Total points for lunch today was 3 (burgers) + 1 (arnold thin) + 0 (salad) + 1 (broccoli – just a guess bc of the sauce which I mostly washed off) = 5

So much food for the points. You’ll definitely be seeing these burgers again, if not in your own kitchen, on here!

Happy Wednesday!

Easy Homemade Veggie Burgers

Unfortunately I don’t think I fully kicked off the sickness that was threatening last week – I’ve been feeling kind of under the weather all day. It’s nothing major, it’s just a cough and some congestion in my chest, but I picked up some meds and am going to take it easy so that hopefully this doesn’t turn into a full blown anything. Argh.

Also unfortunate, my lunch did not hold me over at all. My stomach was grumbling about an hour later – not sure why because it was a lot of food, but I was able to hold off until 3:30 or so to eat again. My afternoon snack was awesome and different than usual for me.

A flatout wrap with almond butter and a sliced apple. I rolled it up and this was so good and filling. Winning combo in my book.

I was originally planning on doing something low key like walking or elliptical tonight after work, but I was starting to feel a little worse, so decided to just relax and watch TV instead. I did come up with an awesome recipe for homemade veggie burgers on a whim that turned out awesome and helped me feel a bit better. 🙂

Ingredients (for 2 burgers – 1 point each):

  • 1/2 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 carrot
  • ~1 cup kale
  • 5-6 basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp rolled oats
  • salt and pepper to taste

I put the carrot, kale, and basil into a food processor and pulsed it a little first, and then added the chickpeas, parmesan, and oats to the mix.

I pulsed that all together for 30 seconds until the consistency was uniform and it looked like this:

I shaped the mixture into two patties:

I cooked one on a pan over low heat for 2 minutes on each side and that was it! These burgers are awesome, and I honestly cannot believe I waited so long to make my own veggie burgers. The fresh basil and parmesan cheese each added such delicious flavor to the mix and the texture was just incredible. I looooove these and am so excited that they are so easy to whip up. It literally took 10 minutes from start to finish for these burgers.

You might be shocked to hear that I topped my burger with cheese… 🙂

Romano cheese to be exact. I served it on a toasted arnold thin with a few basil leaves. I also had some McCain’s Sweet Potato Fries on the side (frozen and cooked according to package directions) and a little reduced-sugar ketchip.

Note: I’m not normally that stingy with ketchup, it was just the end of the bottle.

This was such a simple and awesome dinner, and completely customizable based on what ingredients you have to work with. You could easily sub in a different kind of beans or other veggies, but I think the addition of a fresh herb and the parmesan really make the burger. The texture of these is SO good, I honestly can’t wait to have the other one that’s in my fridge!

I’m going to take it easy, watch TV, drink tea, and scare this sickness away. Let’s hope. 🙂

Healthy Eggplant Parm

So today was a SNACK FREE DAY! I honestly don’t think that’s ever happened before. I was definitely getting super hungry around lunch time, but then it was 5pm before I knew it and I hadn’t had an afternoon snack. I got home to do some prep for dinner, and then went out for a run before realizing I hadn’t had anything since lunch time. It certainly won’t be a new habit because I love to snack so much, but it was a first!

I had an awesome run today, too. I think taking 2 days off was what my body needed, and I was super speedy on today’s run! I set out to do 5 miles, and the first mile was 8:46. I honestly think that’s the fastest I’ve ever run a mile! I normally end up around 9:40-9:45 pace, but today’s pace was 9:14! Not sure what was going on there, but I felt really good the whole time. Today’s Stats:

Distance: 5.00 miles

Duration: 46:09 minutes

Avg Pace: 9:14 min/mile

Avg Speed: 6.5mph

Calories Burned: 577

During the last mile or so, my stomach definitely started to grumble a bit, and thinking about what I could have when I got home got me through… a chocolate cherry bomb (WITH all the ingredients this time!)

This smoothie had:

  • 1 cup light soy milk
  • 12 frozen cherries
  • 1 semi-frozen banana
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 2 cups spinach

Sooooo good. It hit the spot and carried me through showering and making dinner without eating my arm.

I looooove eggplant parmigiana. It’s one of my favorite dishes at any Italian restaurant, and was long before I gave up meat. The problem is, most places you get it, the eggplant is deep fried and its doused in so much cheese and probably has butter and oil everywhere. I made some tonight that was just as good as restaurant style, but a million times healthier!

I had a japanese eggplant, which is a longer, thinner eggplant than your standard, but very similar otherwise.

I sliced it up into evenly thick pieces, and then covered a plate with salt. Salt is the trick here, because it pulls the moisture out of the eggplant. Cover the tops of the eggplant with salt too, way more than you’d normally use.

I did this before my run, and when I came back the plate was covered in water. Check it out:

After the eggplant sat in the salt for about an hour, I quickly rinsed off the salt and then patted it dry with paper towels. Then I got two bowls ready, one with egg and one with panko crumbs. It’s important to season the panko crumbs pretty heavily since that’s where most of your flavor is coming from. I just used salt and pepper, and here was everything ready to go:

I put the eggplant slices first in the egg wash, and then in the breadcrumbs. It’s good to keep one hand “wet” and one hand “dry” if you can, so I used my left hand to pick up the eggplant, put it in the egg, flip it over, and then drop it in the breadcrumbs. I then used my right hand to flip over the eggplant and toss it around in the crumbs, and then put it on the baking sheet. I did this for all of the slices of eggplant and it keeps it less messy if you have your designated wet/dry hands.

I baked these at 375 for 10 minutes, and then flipped them over and baked them for another 10. Then I put some sauce on a plate, placed some eggplant slices, and then topped it with shredded mozz. I threw it in the broiler for another 3 minutes and the cheese got all melty and crispy.

How good does that look!? It was incredible. And, with Weight Watchers, its only 4 points for half the eggplant with the sauce and cheese! You could bulk this dish up with some pasta, but it stood alone quite well. Yum.

Also, in other exciting news, I just got my ticket to the 2010 Healthy Living Summit!! So excited! Is anyone else is going?! Be back tomorrow!!

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