Jan 31, 2012

Black Bean Burgers with Spicy Corn Salsa & Avocado Crema

After reading Food Matters by Mark Bittman, I decided to make much more of a conscious effort to eat as clean as possible. Everyone’s idea of “clean eating” varies, but to me it is eating little to no processed foods. Of course it would be difficult to eat clean 100% of the time, and honestly, I’d be absolutely miserable without my Chick-fil-A and candy. With that said, my goals are to eat:

  • 4-5 servings of vegetables per day
  • 1-2 servings of fruit per day
  • less meat/poultry than I typically do
  • more fish
  • more whole grains
  • less sugar

This is pretty much the way I eat now, aside from the random candy at work, Chick-fil-A, and frickles.

Early last week, I read about a perfect recipe on my sweet friend Mary’s blog. I tweaked it a bit according to my food preferences and it was absolutely delicious. image

Black Bean Burgers with Spicy Corn Salsa & Avocado Crema

Makes 6-8 servings

Black Bean Burgers

  • 2 (14.5 oz.) cans black beans, drained and rinsed,
  • 2 roasted red peppers from a jar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 (4 oz.) can of green chiles 
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs 
  • Olive oil

Avocado Crema

  • 1 avocado, pitted and cubed
  • 1 (6 oz.) container of plain, fat free Greek yogurt 
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Spicy Corn Salsa

  • 1 (15.5 oz.) can of sweet corn, drained
  • 1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 (4 oz.) can of green chiles
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade, process 1 can black beans, roasted red peppers, eggs, garlic, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper until smooth. Add the additional can of beans and the green chiles, then pulse a few more times until combined, but not completely smooth.

In a large bowl, combine black bean mixture with bread crumbs. Add more bread crumbs if needed, forming a firm mixture that is the consistency of ground meat. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. 

To make the avocado crema, mash the avocado until smooth. Add Greek yogurt, lime juice. Mix with a fork until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. 

To make the corn salsa, mix the corn, tomato, green chiles, jalapeno, garlic, and lime juice in a medium-sized bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Remove the black bean mixture from the refrigerator and shape into 8 patties. Heat olive oil in a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Cook the patties for 5-7 minutes, flipping once.  

To serve, top the cooked patties with the spicy corn salsa and avocado crema. Serve immediately. IMAG1668

I insist you make this! The avocado crema is absolutely delicious on the mildly spicy burger and the corn salsa gives a good texture to the overall dish. The meal is low fat and full of fiber and protein. Thank you, Mary, for the awesome idea!

Jan 30, 2012

Why Do Weekends End?

I just want one more day.

This past weekend was pretty tame and I enjoyed every minute of it. I’m starting to prefer nights in. What has become of me? I’m 27 1/2 acting like I’m 54. I say that today, and watch, next weekend I’ll be all over the place again.

Despite my “AARP status”, as my friend Justin called it when I strayed away from the bar scene on Saturday, I had plenty of fun. I read three books, spent time in the sunshine, worked out both days, and ate good food.

READ. I went to the library and did the same thing I always do. I pile as many books in my left arm as I possibly can, browse all the aisles until I’ve had a mini bicep workout, and then decide to check out before my arm falls off. This visit I came home with:

Hmmm. I like food, grammar, and things that are awesome. Shocking. I tore through The Book of Awesome first, then Food Matters (read this!), and then perused the Greek cookbook.

SHOP. A visit to Ann Taylor left me with two purchases:image

That picture doesn’t show it all, so here’s a pic I sent for a friend’s approval:IMAG1659

and this:image

Whoa, mama.

WORK OUT: I revisited this workout.

I completed it 3x as is, then 1x doubling the reps. Doubling the reps makes it so much better of a workout.  I love knowing that I did 100 pushups. My fave.

One of the trainers gave me this bracelet. Hideous colors, but I like representing. :)IMAG1641

EAT: On Sunday, I ate at The Macintosh for the first time. I’ve been there plenty of times for drinks, but never to eat. I have read many excellent reviews, so I suggested to my friend Logan that we go for brunch. For the first time ever, I had rabbit. Yep, you read that right. Little Peter Cottontail was in my gratin dish.

Sweet Potato & Rabbit Hash, Arugula, Poached Eggs 12IMAG1649

I loved every bite and was thankful for the aforementioned pushups.

I also scored a little plate of their homemade pickles from one of the bartenders.IMAG1652

Have I ever mentioned how great their bar staff is? They are wonderful! They’re friendly, creative, and always seem to know a good drink for you. Go see them!

The Macintosh  479 King St.  on Urbanspoon

See you tomorrow with a delicious and super clean recipe!

Jan 27, 2012

The Friday Five

1. What I’m Reading: image

You think I’m joking but I’m not.

2. What I’m Listening to: Thanks to Carly, I can’t get enough of this song. I used to be irked by Jason Mraz, but his newer music is, simply put, good. As much as I like this song, it does make me want to eat prozac for dinner.


3. What I’m Watching: Oh, I gave up on t.v. again. I’m too busy.

4. What I’m Eating: Chicken & vegetables stir-fried in this:image

I love you Trader Joe’s.

5. What I’m Bookmarking: Vietnamese Shrimp & Quinoa Salad.


What are YOU reading, listening to, watching, eating, or bookmarking? GO!

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Labels: books, magazines, music, recipe, recipes, video, videos, yoga, youtube

Jan 26, 2012

7 Little Thoughts

1. It makes me chuckle that so many of you sent me Joy the Baker’s recipe for Chocolate Beet Cake. At least one person sent the link to my email, facebook page, or twitter. I’m glad you guys think of me when you see beets…I think. Either way, I feel the love.

2. February cannot get here fast enough. The first weekend I’m going to see Aziz Ansari at Theatre 99! Soooo excited. I might propose to him from the audience.

3. Two weeks after that, I’m taking a cooking class at Bacco! GOCharlestonDeals had an awesome deal for a 2-hour pasta making class. Have you signed up to receive their daily deals? You should!

4. The chalkboard wine glasses you have seen in previous posts can be purchased at Pier 1. They are only 3 dollars. That’s a steal for being able to drink out of personalized, stemless glasses. They’re great for the creative and the clumsy.

5. I think this is a perfectly acceptable flavor combination. And no, there is no child growing inside of me.

6.Apparently I am one letter away from being a Special Agent. SO CLOSE.IMAG1606

7. Enjoy another video of Boding’s and my superior Xbox dancing skills. Get ready, this one is so much worse. Yet more entertaining…

Jan 25, 2012

goPerformance Workout at ESAC

My gym recently converted the Kids Play Zone into a new fitness room. Move over kiddos, ESAC has added goPerformance to its Johnnie Dodds and Park West locations. Much like Crossfit, goPerformance entails “performance style training, with the ability to scale to all fitness levels, in order to sculpt lean, athletic bodies in the most time efficient manner.”

This week was open for free trial sessions with Todd Fox, an awesome personal trainer. I signed up for a class on both Monday and Wednesday knowing that I’d have a blast.

There are two types of classes: conditioning and private personal training. The conditioning classes are for 6-15 participants and last for 30 minutes. In Monday & Wednesday’s class, we completed 8 different activities for 45 seconds with a 15 second break before switching to the next. After each of the 3 circuits, there was a 2-minute break.DSC00152

1. Step Ups– These can be done with weights/kettle bells or without.

2. Row Machine – I love this thing. It’s like rowing a boat. At the gym. Out of water. Nice analogy…work with me…image

3. Ring Push Ups – This was my favorite part. Your friend Christina loooooooves push-ups. Seriously. Love. The rings make them harder and you work your core as well.

4. Ropes – See those ropes down there. We had to swing them up and down like a snake. This is way tougher than it looks. DSC00150

5. Wall Balls – In the same picture above, we took the medicine balls and threw them up at the “go” sign. We squatted, jumped, and threw the ball so it would bounce back at us. Ouchy. 

6.  Pull-Ups – This little one can only do assisted pull-ups using the giant rubber band. I LOVE doing them. But I think I love bouncing in the rubber band more.DSC00151

7. Mountain Climbers – Instead of your typical mountain climbers, we used these little pads on the floor that helped us sweep our feet back and forth. No, this doesn’t make it easier. It makes it harder. It was like dancing in push-up position.


8. Kettle Bell Squats – OUCH MY BEHIND. That’s pretty much what I said (in my head) during this part.DSC00154

In Wednesday’s class, we had a couple people who had already been on  Monday. To make our workout harder, Todd had us run on the track outside instead of taking 2 minute breaks. Because I can’t run right now, I stayed inside and did cartwheels and flips on the rings. Smile

After 30 minutes, we were all pretty tired. It’s a great workout because your heart right stays up and you’re using a ton of strength and moving in ways you don’t typically in the regular gym. If you’re an ESAC member, CHECK THIS OUT! Both days I left with a huge smile on my face because I had so much fun.

Jan 22, 2012

Happy Chinese New Year! 新年快乐

Look at those fancy symbols, you guys! That’s Chinese for Happy New Year. This is the year of the Dragon, so you Dragon babies should have a lucky 2012. Want to know  your Chinese zodiac sign? Take a gander at this chart.

My zodiac animal is the Rat. Lovely.

To celebrate, I hung out with my one and only Chinese friend, Boding. When I told him that I thought I might have another Chinese friend he told me, “Well go ahead and just unfriend them because I’m the only one that matters.” Boom.

Before our celebration, we started off Sunday with a matinee showing of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. When I first saw the preview a couple months ago, I cried, replayed it, and cried again. Wait, what? I cry like twice a year and a movie trailer was making me produce tears? No way. Needless to say, I was dying to see it.

I assumed that I’d become dehydrated from crying so much, but in reality, it wasn’t even that sad. Or that good. It wasn’t a bad film, but I think I set my expectations too high. I didn’t regret spending $7.50 to sit on my behind for 2 hours and 9 minutes though. Especially because I was quite comfortable wearing my snuggie in the theater. Boding was impressed with my “lack of dignity” as I walked back to the car like this. IMG_20120122_154216

For dinner we made, oh, you guessed it, Chinese food.

NY strip + bok choy + snow peas + red peppers + water chestnuts + carrots + onions stir-fried in a sesame ginger marinade. IMAG1598

That is one happy Chinese man.100_0492

Before cooking, we stopped at a nearby Chinese restaurant to purchase two fortune cookies. I always hope that cracking open my cookie will reveal one of my life’s burning questions, but it never happens. This fortune is 100% inaccurate.IMAG1601

I am an impatient mess. That didn’t stop me from eating the cookie though. It was one of those orange flavored fortune cookies. Have you ever had one of those? They actually don’t taste like crap like the regular ones.

For those of you who have been slacking on your New Year’s resolutions, you can just say you’ve been waiting for the Chinese New Year and start NOW! Winking smile

Jan 21, 2012


It’s Saturday survey time thanks to Laura & Laura

Current book:
Um. I’m still on Chapter 3 of The Hunger Games. I have to read it by Tuesday for our Book Club meeting. They are going to kill me if I don’t finish…

Current playlist:
Ellie Goulding’s newest album

And Selena Gomez’s. DO NOT MAKE FUN OF ME.

Current food:

I haven’t found this new PopChips flavor yet, but I NEED TO NOW.

Green. Always.

Current favorite show(s):

I started watching Parks & Recreation again. I want to marry Aziz Ansari. He’s from SC!

Current needs:
I need my knee pain to go away. I need to foam roll.

Current triumphs:
I made it through my second Barre class at Pure Barre. I really love this studio and the type of workout. My butt, excuse me, “seat” loves it too.

Current #1 blessing:
Everything around me is a blessing! 

Current outfit:

  • Green & blue yoga tank
  • Black cropped yoga pants (I wear these very single day after work/at the gym.)
  • Grey Victoria’s Secret sparkly hoodie
  • Polka dots socks

imageCan I get any more comfortable right now?

Current excitement:
I’m excited about meeting friends at Bin 152 wine bar and then possibly dancing/breaking an ankle.

Current favorite quote or verse:

Current favorite app:
First and foremost, Twitter. Duh. But for a new app, I like Wine Free. I use it to keep track of wines that I try.

Current favorite product: