Sunday, December 7, 2014

Black Bean Burgers and Sweet Potato "Fries"

You know what really makes my day? When we finish dinner and the (former picky eater) husband proclaims, "Well,  THAT meal is a keeper!"

Yep, that makes me feel pretty awesome. That was the case with last night's meal - Black Bean Burgers and Sweet Potato "fries."

Seriously - this was the black bean "quarter pounder"
The burger recipe was really basic, as I have never made them before and I was a little bit nervous about the consistency. Next time I make them, I will definitely be spicing them up and adding in some extra veggies.

1 can black beans
1 egg
Chopped yellow onion (next time, I will be sauteeing these prior to cooking)
Bread crumbs OR oats
1tsp garlic powder
1tsp onion powder

1. Mash black beans by hand (I highly recommend using the Pampered Chef nylon masher - love this thing!). Mix in egg, bread crumb/oats, onions, garlic powder, and onion powder until super thick.
2. Make into patties.
3. Put onto parchment paper.
4. Cook at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, flipping 1/2 way through.

Nate even liked the Sweet Potato fries (he claims he doesn't like sweet potatoes, but this is now the second dinner I've made with them that get his stamp of approval).

1 sweet potato sliced (next time I'm using two - I wanted more of these!)
2tsp olive oil
1 garlic clove cut into small pieces
Cumin to taste
Salt to taste

1. Slice the potato and put in a ziplock bag.
2. Add all the ingredients to the ziplock bag and mix em up!
3. Put fries on a pan spayed with cooking spray.
4. Cook at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes - the longer, the crispier!


After cooking. Yum Yum Yum! SO making more "fries" next time!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sweet Potato, Kale and Lentil Soup (POWERHOUSE MEAL!!)

For those of you who have followed this mission to learn to cook and eat clean from the beginning, you know that I was, and sometimes still am, a DISASTER in the kitchen. So before we get onto this recipe, I have a confession to make. This was only the 3rd time, in my life, making soup from scratch. BUT, this was SO good (and husband approved) that I am ditching the Campbell's forever! Buh bye!

Sweet Potato, Kale and Lentil Soup

(as always, I apologize for the incomplete quantities on the ingredients list. I still like to pretend I am like my little old Sicilian grandmother who could just throw Lord knows what in pot and make a five course meal out of it).

2 carrots diced
2 stalks of celery diced
1 sweet potato
1/2 bunch of kale
1 cup lentils
1/2 onion diced
Vegetable broth + water
Salt and pepper to taste
Cumin to taste (you better believe I used a ton)
Garlic powder to taste (next time, I'm just using garlic)
Olive Oil or whatever oil you prefer to use!

1. Saute carrots, celery, onion and kale. Add in diced sweet potato for just a few minutes at the end.
2. Boil vegetable broth and extra water. Add in cumin, salt and pepper, and garlic powder. When boiling, add in lentils until cooked.
3. Add in sauteed mix for the last 3-5 minutes.
4. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese (my vice, yes please!).

Monday, November 3, 2014

Cheesy Vegetable Quinoa Bake

This recipe was a HUGE win! With just one bite, Nate the Great declared this one his new favorite (he didn't even mind that there was broccoli in it - just for the record...he now eat broccoli, spinach, artichokes and onions...he wouldn't even touch those a year ago!) Oh, and for any new readers out there, Nate is not my child..he is my husband...and yes, he is just that picky! ;-)

This is the only picture I got...because this meal went REALLY fast!

So the best part about this recipe, is that you can put whatever veggies you want in it. The original recipe said it was a "mac and cheese" type recipe, but I didn't put enough cheese in it to make it such. I am trying, key word, trying, to use slightly less cheese in my meals. Now might be a good time to mention that although I used less cheese in this one, it still contains a ton of dairy - a cup and milk and two eggs! If you make this one and modify it to be a bit healthier in terms of the dairy, I would love to hear back from you so I can give it a try!

Cheesy Vegetable Quinoa Bake

1 cup quinoa cooked
1 cup chedder cheese
1 cup skim milk
2 eggs
broccoli chopped
spinach chopped
red onions chopped
salt to taste
red pepper flakes to taste
panko as a topping (optional, of course)

As always with my recipes, easiest directions ever. Cook quinoa. When it is done mix up all the rest of the ingredients and put in a casserole dish. Sprinkle with panko, if desired. Cook for 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees. ENJOY!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Artichoke, Spinach and Quinoa Wonderpot!

Today marks ONE week into my build strength and muscle mission! So far, I am LOVING it. I am still running 5 times a week, and cross training once a week (swim or elliptical). I am taking a temporary break from the Quick Strength for Runners program I have been repeating since May to consistently devote myself to PiYo and 21 Day Fix and drinking shakeology everyday. I'm loving the new workouts and am already seeing a difference. Drinking shakeology was further out of my comfort zone - I've never been a big smoothie or shake person (as I've always said, I prefer to eat my food) but Nate convinced me to give it a try (mostly because he wanted to try it I think). And it is seriously good! It's my new quick and easy breakfast and it is like having a milkshake for breakfast. I game to start my day with dessert any day!

One of my "whys" - Boston Marathon 2015 (and yes, my DVD player is broken to I'm 21 Day fixing on my laptop!)
To celebrate being one week in, I made one of our favorite new recipes I discovered this summer. The WONDERPOT (original recipe here!). The original recipe called for pasta, but I used quinoa instead. I also simplified a bit (no surprise there, but really this is SO easy you don't need to) and cut out a few ingredients. And OF COURSE I added garlic...pshh..who leaves out the garlic! My favorite part about this meal is that it only uses ONE pot. I'm all about less dishes in the sink!

1 box Frozen spinach (thaw before adding to pot)
1 can artichokes
1 cup quinoa
2 garlic cloves
Chicken or vegetable broth
Oregano or spice of choice

1. Cook quinoa in broth.
2. When quinoa has almost cooked, add in everything else. I don't drain the artichokes and use the liquid to finish cooking the quinoa.
3. Serve with grated cheese (this is a huge vice in our goes on everything).
4. Enjoy and clean only ONE pot afterwards!

Only one pot to clean!

So good even dog wanted some. Too bad Nate wouldn't share!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Taco Spaghetti Squash

Ok, so if you are like me you LOVE casserole dinners, but hate how unhealthy they are. C'mon, butter, heavy thank you! So I am constantly finding casserole recipes and revamping them. Well..there's that and also the fact that no matter how hard I try to keep my grocery list up to date I always manage to forget something on my list and don't realize it until I'm halfway through prepping the meal! (Honestly, I don't even have children yet...I can only imagine where my brain will be when I do - props to all your awesome mommy's out there).

So tonight's recipe is brought to you by my forgetful grocery shopping brain and an attempt to clean up an unhealthy casserole dish! This one was definitely a keeper (although Nate the Great claims it would be even better with taco mix - one of the items I forgot). And another side note - I did choose to add a little crunch to the top of it. I had meant to get Rice Thins at the store (also forget) and sent Nate to get some on his way home from work. He returned with Wheat Thins, which we don't typically eat (very processed!)...but for tonight, it worked.

Taco Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash
Salt and Pepper to taste
Cumin and Chili Powder (I used these instead of taco mix, but taco mix works too)
1 cup salsa
Green Pepper
1 can of corn
1 can of black beans
Something that goes crunch on the top
1 cup chedder cheese (I may have cleaned up my diet, but I will not give up my cheese!)

1. Cut and clean out the spaghetti squash. I salt and pepper mine to taste before putting it in the oven at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.
2. When spaghetti squash is done, rake out the spaghetti and put in a casserole dish. Add black beans, salsa, green peppers, corn, and taco mix (or just cumin and chili powder) and mix. Top off with your choice of crunch and of course chedder cheese.
3. Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes.

Nom nom nom very yummy!

I should add that the original recipe called for ground turkey, browned. Nate and I still are on a very limited meat kick, so we choose to forgo the meat, but it is certainly another option to modify this dish.

I need to learn how to take better food pictures, but trust me, this one was delicious!

On another food related note...tonight I made my first shakeology recipe! I have just been mixing with milk and ice in the blender, but tonight, I gave this a go.

1 scoop shakeology, ice, 1/2 banana, milk and a spoonful of peanut butter! Holy YUM this was good! This will be my go-to breakfast for the next few days until I decide to give another recipe a try. I am totally loving how this stuff 1) tastes 2) keeps me full 3) makes my tummy feel (I am very prone to bloating and general stomach ickiness and I swear this stuff has made a HUGE difference in that regard) 4) supports my workouts! I am a believer!

Saturday, October 25, 2014


Maybe it was turning 30 last month. Maybe it was my amazing experience running the Chicago Marathon, getting a new personal record and having my strongest marathon yet. Maybe I'm just bored (probably, I have the attention span of a gnat). Maybe it was my experiences going to physical therapy and all the subsequent reading I did on strength training for runners. Maybe it was the fact that my last marathon cycle consisted of more strength work that I've ever done before. Most likely, it was a mix of all of these things, but finally...finally, it happened. That kick in the booty I've needed. Similar to that kick in the booty I had 26 months ago that first led my on this journey to clean up my junk food diet. My next step.

I am blessed to have amazing accountability with running. I have a great network of running peeps, races always on the horizon to keep me moving forward, awesome running clubs like Crow Athletics (CAW) and Maine Track Club, and some absolutely amazing roads to run in Maine! Running has become habit.

2015 Boston Marathon Acceptance - MAJOR accountability!

Strength training - not so much. No accountability. No one to strength train "with," no one to keep me going. No one to teach me tips and tricks like I've had with marathoning. Much like when I started my eat clean mission, I've been on a information journey since attending PT in May. I've pinned a gazillion strength training routines and moves (to the point where I entered a "do nothing" phase because I was so overwhelmed), I've asked people what they do for strength training, I've people watched like crazy at the gym (I swear, I'm not a creep, I'm just trying to figure stuff out!) and I've watched Nate the Great do Insanity, P90X3 and T25.

I've consistently done my PT work since May and in late July, when my moves started to not be so challenging anymore, Nate recommended that I try his DVD's. But I was a little bit intimidated, so he suggested I get PiYo. And I fell in LOVE. It was SO runner friendly, SO easy to do with marathon training. It was my jump start. A

nd then Chicago happened. I was convinced I was going to run a 3:45 - 3:50 marathon based on my running. Convinced! I had missed a long run, took 9 consecutive days off due to plantar's fasciitis, and was unable to to speed or tempo work for nearly 6 weeks due to it.

Legit, not believing what I'm seeing - is this thing broken today?
And then I managed a COMFORTABLE, key work, COMFORTABLE 3:32. In true geek Jamie fashion, I spent the next week pouring over my training logs trying to figure out how it happened. Strength was the difference. Consistent strength. It had to be!

So, now, I am on a mission. I have accountability for running, but now, I also have accountability for strength work! To keep accountable I have signed on as a Beachbody coach and will be running my first CHALLENGE group in a week! I have chosen 21 Day Fix as my program, but will be doing lots of PiYo as well! The best part, Nate is in on it too! We are shakeology-ing it up each morning (did I really just make that a verb?) and working it out in the afternoon (he is sticking with P90X3 for now). And we want YOU to join us! Come be a part of this challenge group and we will keep each other accountable and motivated! Contact me for more info!

It in For the Long Run TOGETHER!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Recipe #12 (yikes, I'm behind!): Squash Chips!

Despite my lack of posting, I HAVE been busy cooking and trying new recipes this summer! A new challenge this summer was to cook from our garden. (Huge thank you to my amazing summer who spent about two weeks in the blistering June-July sun redo-ing the dilapidated fence!).


Our garden provided us with fresh tomatoes, peppers, kale, cucumbers and yellow squash all summer. (My pumpkins and cauliflower were duds due to some rookie mistakes, but next year, it's on!).

Nom, nom, nom.    

I had never really eaten yellow squash before, so I pulled out a few recipes, but in the end, ended up just throwing them in a frying pan with a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, and covered them in breadcrumbs. I cooked them up for about 10 minutes until they were crispy and VOILA! A REALLY good side dish, or after dinner snack! And yes, this one even got the stamp of approval from Nate the picky eater. 

I have used this recipe with zuchinni before, but I definitely preferred using the yellow squash - it was a bit sweeter and they crisp up a bit more.

Ok, so this was kind of a cheat recipe for my New Year's Resolution - it was super quick and easy and not necessarily a meal. SO, be on the lookout for another newbie early next week - THE WONDERPOT!