Roasted Red Peppers

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?

Back At It

Whew. I am SO glad that is over with! I have been putting off going back to weigh in at Weight Watchers because I knew I was up a few pounds and haven’t really been counting points in ages. But today, I sucked it up and went and I am so happy I did. I’m not thrilled with the weight itself, because I gained 3 pounds since the last time I was there, I’m just happy that I went and can start fresh. So, officially now, I have 9 pounds to lose to get to my goal weight, which is very do-able if I just make a few tweaks to my diet and keep up with exercising frequently.

The way that I generally do WW which has worked for me in the past, is I pick one “free” night where I don’t really count points, and then just assume I’ve used all of my weekly points. Then I try to stay at my daily target every other day or else use Activity Points that I’ve earned if I need extra points. My free night is actually going to be tonight since I have the happy hour, and that should give me plenty of time to make up for any set back I have tonight so that I have a good weigh in next Thursday.

So, here is my plan:

  1. Back to Weekly Meetings – Every Thursday at 12pm because it’s over lunch and works well with my schedule. There is a Wednesday 12pm meeting as well in case I have a conflict on Thursdays.
  2. Keep up with the Water – Though WW calls for 6 cups a day, my body is happier when I have 8+ cups a day. This was one of my June Goals which helped me get back into drinking a lot of water, so the plan is to just keep up with my water consumption.
  3. Exercise Consistently – My goal is to work out 4-5x a week, with 1-2 days of running, 1-2 days of Bikram, biking, and some strength training.
  4. Count WW Points – Another one of my June Goals which I have been relatively consistent about, but I plan to try to count as much as possible until I am at my goal weight. This will be a little bit of a challenge because when I first started WW and was good about counting points, I was eating a LOT of processed foods, which are easier to count points of because the nutritional info is right on the package. Now that I largely eat whole and unprocessed foods, it will be a bit more of a challenge to count points, but I will try my best and estimate when necessary.
  5. Keep a Mostly Whole Foods Diet – Going along with the last bullet, I don’t want to revert back to a lot of processed foods like I was eating when I first started WW, so I want to keep eating a lot of the same things, just a little less of it, and treats in moderation.

So that’s it! Seems very simple and straight forward, but as everyone who has ever struggled with their weight knows, its a lot easier to say than to do. Please stay tuned and check in with me and make sure I’m sticking with it so that I can get to my goal weight and look and feel my best for my best friend’s wedding!  On the bridesmaid dress note, I ordered a size 10 which is a bit too snug, and my friend Jess got a 12 which is a bit too big, so we’re actually going to do a test tomorrow and possibly switch dresses. While I still want to fit in the 10 by the wedding, I do not think I need the pressure of the dress possibly NOT fitting, so I’m hoping the switch works out.

Onwards!

Lunch today was a treat to myself for going back to WW. I went to the Juice Joint, my favorite quick spot for a healthy lunch in DC. I got a small side salad to go (no dressing)

Which had organic greens, tomatoes, carrots, and cucumbers (0 pts).

I also got my favorite sandwich from there, the Fresh Mozzarella & Roasted Veggie Sandwich. It has roasted zucchini, squash, red peppers, sprouts, tomato, basil, and fresh mozzarella on multigrain bread. It comes with balsamic vinaigrette dressing, too, but in an effort to be a little light, I asked for it without the dressing. Check out how packed with deliciousness this sandwich is!

And you know what? I didn’t even miss the balsamic! I probably will order this sandwich just like this going forward, even after I’m at goal. The veggies and cheese add so much flavor that you don’t even need it. I’m counting this sandwich as 7 points (just a guess), by breaking down the bread as 4 points and the mozz as 3. I’m guessing that’s a little high because there wasn’t much mozz and the bread was pretty thin, but the veggies may have been cooked in a little EVOO so 7 sounds safe. That means 11 total for today with breakfast, which is not bad at all.

Have you struggled with your weight before? What are the key changes you made to your diet/exercise routine that have helped you along the way? For me, drinking a lot of water, eating tons of fruits and veggies, and exercising at all (because I didn’t used to!) were the biggest changes that helped me to lose most of my weight.

It’s OK to Cheat (Sometimes)

Hey! Whew this day has flown by even though I got out of work early. I ended up making the 5:30pm Bikram class and it was amazing. I think after taking a few days/over a week off, my body craves it and I have such a good time. At first I thought my body would be angry for taking the time off/in shock from the heat, but as soon as I got in the room I was just happy. I found myself actually looking forward to some of the postures and surprised when the standing series was over. I go back and forth with that – sometimes I can’t believe it’s over, and sometimes I can’t believe it’s not time to lie down yet!

After Bikram, I headed to the grocery store for a much needed trip. I got a bunch of produce and some other random things so I can make it through the week making all my meals. I had gotten out of cooking for a bit leading up to my trip and I have been missing it! When I got home from the store, it was already after 8 and my boyfriend actually beat me home so we just decided to whip up something quick. I bought a pound of deveined shrimp, so we boiled them with some white wine, water, blackening seasoning and some bay leaves.

 Then I whipped up a salad with spinach, shredded carrots, roasted red peppers, and garlic sprouts.

And we pan fried some polenta with a little romano cheese for a starch with the meal.

This meal was delicious and SO easy. It’s OK to cheat sometimes… For one, we used bottled dressing (which we never do).

And the polenta was in a tube so we just had to cut it up and pan fry it. Plus, the shrimp were Easy Peel, so they were already deveined so all we had to do was cook them. We usually do most things from scratch but sometimes its nice to just have to take a few minutes to heat things up rather than take the time to do it all – – especially when you’re famished from Bikram!

I’m off to watch a little TV and get to bed early. Be back in the morning!

What’s your favorite cooking shortcut? I looooove canned beans and use them almost exclusively. It cuts hours of soaking and boiling the dried kind, even though I know those are better for me because they don’t add as much salt/preservatives.

So Far So Good

Thank you so much for all your encouragement and ideas from this morning’s post on my goals for the month of June! I think I will do a weekly check in rather than monthly so I keep closer track of how I’m doing with the goals, and so that I will be able to adjust them a bit if necessary. The first week may be a little tricky for me since I’m traveling, but I plan to go back to WW next week, still count points as much as possible, not drink too much (except water!) and try to get 2-3 workouts in while out of town. There is supposed to be a pretty nice gym in the hotel so I will try to go there as much as I can when my schedule permits (not likely on Saturday + Sunday since I will be working 12+ hour days and busy from early morning to late evening).

Lunch today was awesome, and very point-friendly! I’m trying to use up as much as I can of what’s in the house since I’ll be leaving tomorrow, plus eating as many fruits and veggies as I can to cleanse out my system and start the month off right.

Doesn’t that look so good and colorful!? Plus, the whole enormous salad had only 4 WW points.

Onto my plate went:

  • 2 cups baby spinach (0 pts)
  • microgreens (0 pts)
  • garlic sprouts (0 pts)
  • Corn (raw cut off the cob) (1 pt)
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas (1 pt)
  • 1 roasted pepper (0 pts)
  • 1 serving Doctor Kracker Hummus Maximum (2pts) broken up

Check out all those toppings!

They made the salad fun to eat and delicious since there was so much going on. I’d never broken up crackers on my salad before, though the idea doesn’t seem too revolutionary, but it made for a nice crunch on the salad! Plus the fresh corn added a little soft crunch and sweetness, and the garlic sprouts a spicy garlicky flavor. On the side I had some grapes (1 pt):

So a total of 5 points for a really delicious and colorful lunch. I’ve also already had my 8 cups of water today and plan to keep on drinking, so so far so good for the first day of the month!

Question: What is your favorite low-ish point/calorie lunch? I’ve mentioned this many times before, but I LOVE baked sweet potatoes (3 pts for a large one) with 1/2 cup black beans (1 pt) with a big salad on the side loaded with veggies (0) – total of 4. This lunch was pretty awesome, too, so comes in as a close second.

Raw Tempeh

Hiya! Just a quick lunch post so I can get back to work, but I tried raw tempeh for the first time today! I picked this kind up from Trader Joe’s:

This package has 2 servings, but I actually only had 1/2 a serving on my sandwich. There are 240 calories in a serving, 11grams of fat, 9 grams of dietary fiber, and 20g protein. So 1/2 a serving had 120 calories, 5.5g of fat, and 4.5g dietary fiber, and 10g of protein.

My Raw Tempeh Sandwich had:

  • 2 slices whole wheat bread, toasted
  • 1/2 serving of tempeh, sliced thin
  • bed of kale
  • roasted red peppers
  • red pepper coulis (spread on the bread)
  • red onions (microwaved for 1 minute to soften)

I had the sandwich with a side of baby carrots:

Plus some Pirate’s Booty which was sent to me as a sample.

And 3 mandarins for dessert:

Bigger lunch that usual today for me today but I’m seeing if I testing out to see if a bigger lunch will make me less snacky later in the day. The verdict on the raw tempeh sandwich – delicious! Honestly, I barely tasted the tempeh in there but it added a nice texture. I think using it on a sandwich when in a crunch is an awesome vegetarian option in place of lunch meat like I used to have. I was hesitant to eat it raw, but with all the veggies packed on there, I only really noticed the texture. This will definitely be a new lunch staple for me since its so easy and requires no cooking.

The Pirate’s Booty was not my favorite. I love most Pirate’s Booty, but the Sour Cream and Onion flavor just didn’t do it for me. It was kind of sweet, but in a weird way. I’ll just stick with regular or Veggie Booty going forward! The carrots and mandarins were great, though. Can’t go wrong with fresh produce!

I’m thinking about going to Bikram AGAIN tonight!! I realized I left my water bottle there last night, so I have to go back anyways to pick it up. It’s $15 for a drop in class, so I think I’m going to take the plunge and do it. I’ve been thinking about the postures all day and can’t wait until I can improve on them. I think I feel a new (expensive) addiction coming on.

Hope your Thursday is fabulous. Be back tonight!!

Massaged Kale Salad

Unfortunately breakfast didn’t hold me over for too long and my stomach started grumbling around 10:30am. 🙁 Though I really loved the way the granola tasted, I think I’m going to use it as a topping on my oats instead because it didn’t last long over yogurt. It gives a nice crunch but apparently doesn’t have much staying power. I held off for a little bit, but then had an orange around 11:30am, cut up in my new favorite style.

I swear cutting it up into 16 pieces instead of 8 makes the biggest difference… it feels like more and it takes me a lot longer to eat. This held me over until it was an appropriate time to dive into my lunch (after 12 or else I get too hungry by 5!)

The star today was a Massaged Kale Salad. I’ve seen this mentioned several places and never knew what it meant exactly, but its quite literal. You massage olive oil and salt into the kale with your hands, ideally for 2 minutes or so. The olive oil makes it more tender and the salt takes away the natural bitterness of the kale. Plus, it’s a perfect excuse to play with your food! I’ve been using baby kale so its naturally pretty tender, but if you use mature kale you want to just tear away the stems. Kale is such a nutritional powerhouse so I love to find new (to me) ways to use it.

On top of the massaged kale, I put a serving of cubed tofu, 1/2 a roasted red pepper chopped up, and 1 oz crumbled light feta (from Trader Joe’s). Kind of a random combination but it really worked! The kale got super tender and the salt really took away from the bitterness. This is definitely going to be my new go-to way to eat kale in salads. So good! With the salad, I had a toasted whole wheat Thomas Bagel Thin with a wedge of Laughing Cow Cheese.

And a sliced raw red bell pepper.

It was unplanned having peppers two ways in this lunch but it worked well! I love red bell peppers – they are so sweet and crunchy and I actually don’t even like to use dip or anything on them because I love the flavor so much.

Just a few more hours until 5pm and I’ve been thinking of a challenging workout to do for tonight and I think I’ve found one! I’ll be back later to tell you how it goes!