Mediterranean Quinoa Burgers

I like to eat meat, red meat to be specific. So every time I heard about someone taking on a vegetarian lifestyle, I think with everything within me… How are they possibly living without meat?

At times, I feel a tiny bit guilty about my meat consumption. The reason for this guilt is not because I feel bad for animals, but because I know the reality of the meat production standards in this country, the constant manufacturing of meat isn’t the best for the environment. And I’m also a big believer that the quality of said meat is more or less garbage and quite frankly it isn’t a good financial decision for many families.

I am a fan of endeavors such as “Meatless Monday” and going a bit “greener” with my meat consumption. I also have a good friend who is a vegetarian and I realized that I just don’t know that much about cooking to meet this lifestyles expectations which I should be aware of considering my profession!

All of this **feeling** and *thinking** lead to a very fun Wednesday afternoon in which my friend and I got creative in her kitchen! We came up with these bad boys and my goodness are they delicious.

 

Mediterranean Quinoa Burgers

We actually have 2 other versions of these but I wanted to get them out to all of you guys one at a time.

So here are the reasons I am so terribly in love with these burgers.

  1. They taste amazing!
  2. They cost next to nothing.
  3. They macro-nutrient stats on these are perfect for filling you up in a good way.
  4. These make for an excellent pre or post-workout meal.
  5. They definitely are good to the environment but still pack in your nutrient needs.

So let’s get down to business because I’m sure you are drooling a bit over that picture!

Mediterranean Quinoa Burgers

Makes 6 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 Can (15 oz.) of White Beans
  • 1 Cup of Cooked Quinoa
  • 1/4 Cup of Bread Crumbs – substitute according to your needs (GF)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 Cup of Chopped Green Olives
  • 2 tbsp of Freshly Chopped Garlic
  • 1 tbsp of Minced Onion
  • 1/2 Cup of Chopped Banana Pepper Rings
  • 1 tbsp of Lime Juice
  • 1 tbsp Olive or Coconut Oil
  • Dash of Salt and Pepper

Directions:

  1. After your quinoa has been cooked and rinsed, mash well into the white beans.
  2. Add your egg into the mixture and combine well.
  3. Cover your bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour
  4. Add your breadcrumbs to the mixture as well as all other ingredients.
  5. Form mixture into balls and then flatten to patties.
  6. Cook in a pan on medium-high for about 5 minutes on each side*.
  7. Enjoy burger on or off a bun!

Serving Size : 1 Patty

Calories: 149     Carbohydrates: 28     Fiber: 5    Protein: 8     Fat: 1

That is it my friends! These burgers are out of this world and definitely leave you feeling satisfied and somewhat accomplished if you are looking to taste a bit of the vegetarian world.

I hope you enjoy them and I hope you have a great start to this new week.

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Are you a vegetarian? If so what is your favorite vegetarian recipe?

If you aren’t a vegetarian would you ever consider becoming one, why or why not?

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*Cooking time may very depending on your pan, I was using a cast iron pan.

 

 

 

The Perfect Snack

If you are anything like me, you would rather graze all day then eat actual meals.

With much effort, I have gotten to the point in which I eat only 1 snack a day and 3 actual meals. This has taken time and I’ve learned a few tricks along the way. One of my favorite ways to trick myself into only eating 1 snack a day is to make sure my snack hits all my taste buds… yes, I’m talking about eating a snack that is sweet, salty, spicy and a bit sour all at once.

I know this sounds disgusting but there is definitely a reason for the madness. I personally feel like when I allow myself to taste everything, I feel more satisfied. Since our taste buds are broken up into categories including sweet, salty, spice and sour, the following recipe does my waist line and my mouth a whole lot of good!

Spice Chickpeas and Pistachios

Spicy C&P

Ingredients:

  • 1 Large can of Chickpeas (32 oz.)
  • 1 Large bag of Pistachios (16 oz.)
  • 3 tsp. of smoked paprika
  • 3 tsp. of red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp of parsley flakes
  • 6 tsp. of garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. of salt
  • 3 tsp. of black pepper
  • 6 tbsp. of olive or coconut oil
  • 2 tsp. of lime or lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Rinse and dry off your chickpeas.
  2. Combine all spices with olive oil and set into a medium bowl.
  3. Take off any loose skin from the chickpeas.
  4. Place chickpeas in medium bowl with spices and toss well.
  5. Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  6. Pre-heat to 350*.
  7. Place chickpeas as well as any marinade into a large baking dish and bake for 40 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes.
  8. After 40 minutes, remove from the oven and adjust temperature to 450*.
  9. Add Pistachios into the chickpeas and toss thoroughly to make sure the pistachios are well covered in all spices and oils.
  10. Baked for 15 minutes, stirring every 5.
  11. Remove from the over and let cool.
  12. Once cooled, enjoy!

Besides this snack tasting amazing, I love that as I go along, I have to take the pistachios out of their shell. This slows down my snacking a bit which helps me stay conscious of how much I am eating.

I eat only 1/4 Cup of this at a time because it is high in calories… very good and nutrient dense calories, but calories non the less. Be aware of this if you are attempting to lose or keep weight off.

What is your favorite snack to reach for during the day to really satisfy cravings?

Do you find yourself to be more of a “meal eater”, or a “snacker”?

 

The New Food Labels

Do you look at food labels when deciding what to eat?

Research says that those who look at food labels are more likely to get and keep unwanted weight off. The reason for this is because people who read food labels tend to become more aware about nutrition and this leads to healthy decisions.

Recently, the F.D.A. approved a proposal to change up the food labeling system that we as Americans currently use. Here is a sneak peak a what is to come compared to what we are used to.

The New Food Labels

I personally think that this move is a good one for one main reason. I see this change as a sign that we are being heard. By we, I mean those who are asking for more honesty from the food industry so that we can make better decisions concerning our eating habits and our health. And for this, I am thankful!

With saying that, I see 2 star improvements to this new labeling system and 1 “issue” with it. So, let’s talk about them…

The Star Improvements:

  1. Servings per container in bold – I like this change because it shows people that what they are eating is probably incorrect. I know of many people who are often shocked at the serving size, and these people often wear glasses. By bolding this information, those who are attempting to read this information will be able to find it better and this will also hopefully catch the attention of some who just simply didn’t know.
  2. Removal of Calories from Fat – There has always been such a war between “low-fat dieters” and “low-carb dieters”. By removing the calories from fat, hopefully people who were to anti-fat will look at foods from a more balanced perspective with this information gone.

The Issue:

  1. Added Sugar Information – Not to sound like a hypocrite considering the second star improvement I mentioned, however I don’t like how this added sugar information makes sugar sound like an O.K. thing to be consuming. You don’ have to look hard on this blog to find out that I’m not crazy about us consuming sugar (The Sugar Series). So naturally, I don’t like people acting as though sugar, if it isn’t added, is ok. I feel like this change is only going to make the topic of sugar a little bit more confusing for the “average joe”.

What is your perspective on the new food labels? Do you agree or disagree with my opinions? How often do you look at food labels and what information do you generally look for on the label?

 

Peanut Butter-Jelly Time

  • Growing up, and I mean as a teenager, my dad would wake my sister and I up by singing (it wasn’t really singing) this song to us ever now and again. I HATED it! As in loathed more than anything else my parents bothered me with. In fact, I am going to actually suggest that I was slightly scarred for life with this song and I will now blame it for my difficulty waking up in the morning to this day! I can do that right? Probably not!

    Although I hate to this day that song, I don’t hate, and never never plan to… peanut butter. I love peanut butter. It is delicious and creamy and sweet without being the kind of sweet that hurts my stomach… it’s wonderful! I also love almond butter, cashew butter, and the oh so wonderful nutella. If you guys haven’t noticed yet… there isn’t much I don’t like in the kitchen!

    Lately however, these spreads seem to be a bit controversial! You know, only in America can we take nutritious foods and make them out to be bad guys of some sort!

    Anyways, nut butters are controversial and specifically, a specific kind is getting some heat lately.

    It’s called PB2 and it is a powder which you can add milk or water too, to create a peanut butter that has 90% less fat but all the flavor. The magic that is PB2 happens by dehydrating peanuts and then grinding up what is left (the fat is gone) and then re-constituting it so that you can use it.

    I {kind of} recently got an email from my bff Jessie asking about it, and this is how things went down.

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    Jessie:
    What do you think about this?? I’m so confused on what is healthy and safe anymore! Grrrrrr lol

    Leah:
    hey girl, sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you… I flew in from Nashville on Tuesday and my dad has been in the hospital since. It’s been quite the week… anyways, hmmmm what do I think?

    I think this lady needs to get off of her soap box. I think that our society calls people fat, then tells them to go get healthy, then when they are getting healthy, they tell them that they are doing it wrong. I’m so sick of it! If you (anyone) needs to use PB2 or low fat ice cream or any other “fad” or “diet” food for the TIME BEING to help you get healthy, well… do it! You are getting healthy, not poisoning yourself. Is PB2 the best thing for you to eat? No, but we don’t live in a perfect world so use it… it isn’t going to kill you and quite frankly I’m sure food babe’s intentions are good but she seems to get’s off on “sticking it” to the food industry. I’m not suggesting that our food industry is God, but there has got to be some give and take other wise we are just going to have more social groups/classes over food which is a serious joke!

    Use the PB2, use the low-fat milk (que the diary haters), use Ezekiel bread (now the paleo people will protest)… just use these items with lots of whole, real, living foods. If your weight is where you want it to be and your are ready to switch to an all natural cashew or almond butter, then do that. See, what food babe doesn’t understand is that PB2 is cheaper than all natural, organic cashew butter and you get to eat more of PB2 than you would get to eat of the other. Both of those things are legitimate and good arguments in my opinion… so eat the PB2, just realize that eventually it is in your best interest to switch to something a little more whole. Eventually!

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    Now, please understand that food babe’s arguments (that this isn’t a whole food, has added sugar to it and may have chemicals in it) are valid. However, what food babe and a whole lot of food activists often forget is that the food industry and nutrition is based on people. People who struggle to keep a balance in their life. Despite the thought that fighting for a cause will help people, sometimes, it confuses and frustrates people and then instead of trying to make good changes in their life, they just sit back and eat another bag of chips.

    As a nutritionist, I have to remind myself that my “audience” is everyone from a 50 year old man who despite have gastric bypass surgery, he can’t keep the weight off, or how about the 17 year old girl who is trying to lose weight for her prom. There are moms who are attempting to lose weight that they gained during their 2nd or 3rd pregnancy and people who have the long term goal of getting off all of their medication.

    Nutrition, diet, exercise and food isn’t a “black and white” subject. I would love it to be, oh how I would love it to be… but it isn’t! We don’t live in a perfect world, we never will, so let’s stop pretending we do and that we are all perfect.

    Eat the delicious peanut butter friends!

    If you currently use a tool or resource, whether food or something like a pedometer, to stay on tract in your healthy lifestyle attempts, share in the comments what it is below and how you use it! Maybe your comment can encourage someone else to start being a bit more resourceful about their health journey.

     

Back to the Basics

I have a question for you today… how do you balance it all?

“it all”, for some of you is work, school and friends… for others, it is children, marriage and church life, and for others it’s health, family and finances. No matter what it may be, how do you balance it all?

The reason I ask this question is because, well honestly, I’ve been having a terribly hard time balancing it all. I would love to suggest at this point that my failed balancing act is because I have too much on my plate. Except that there are many, many people out there (probably you) who have more on their plate, and you either crash daily or you figure out how to balance on some days and then not balance quite as well on others.

This question has lead me to a bit of  researching, list making and more questioning.

The other night, I was talking to my fiance and he said to me “Leah, stop thinking and go to bed. And if you can’t sleep, decompress”. I replied with “Honey, if I wanted to decompress, I would first need to google How to Decompress“. I know, I know… it doesn’t need to be this hard. My parents have told me my entire life that I over think things. Except that I positive that others feel the same way I do. I think that as a whole, the American population is over stressed and sleep deprived. So today, I am suggesting that we all go back to the basics a bit and, well… decompress a bit!

BackToTheBasics

 

Close to Blank

Hi friends… I am writing to you, from my bed, via my phone. Since getting back into town very early yesterday morning, I am emotionally and mentally exhausted. I don’t know what has come over me, but I need a few days off.

I have to work today, and all I keep thinking is “How am I going to get through this day”. The amazing thing is that my day today isn’t really anything over the top. But for some reason, I’m just spent!

I hope you are having a wonderful day and I hope to be chatting with you all in a few days.