Sunday, May 18, 2014

Recipe - Black Bean-Quinoa Burgers

Black Bean-Quinoa Burgers

Black Bean-Quinoa Burgers
Note: not my photo (I wish) - stock photo from Vegetarian Times
Serves 8
I am always on the look out for yummy veggie burger recipes, especially now that grilling season is upon us!  Here's a delicious veggie burger you can whip up from scratch.  I did find that the mixture was a tad "wet" so I added Panko bread crumbs until the moisture was absorbed.  Also, to make the patties, I wet my hands with water prior to forming each patty to prevent the mixture from sticking to my hands.  This recipe is perfect to make a double batch ahead of time and store in the freezer for busy weeknight meals. For super-easy cookouts, bake the patties ahead, then reheat them on the grill. Serve with your favorite burger fixings.  Enjoy...
  • Ingredients:

  • ½ cup quinoa
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
  • 6 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped (¼ cup)
  • 1½ cups cooked black beans, or 1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
  • 2 tsp. dried steak seasoning (I used Montreal Steak Seasoning)
  • 8 whole-grain hamburger buns


1. Stir together quinoa and 1½ cups water in small saucepan, and season with salt, if desired. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 20 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. (You should have 1½ cups cooked quinoa.)
2. Meanwhile, place onion and sun-dried tomatoes in medium nonstick skillet, and cook over medium heat. (The oil left on the tomatoes should be enough to sauté the onion.) Cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until onion has softened. Stir in ¾ cup black beans, garlic, steak seasoning, and 1½ cups water. Simmer 9 to 11 minutes, or until most of liquid has evaporated.
3. Transfer bean-onion mixture to food processor, add ¾ cup cooked quinoa, and process until smooth. Transfer to bowl, and stir in remaining ¾ cup quinoa and remaining ¾ cup black beans. Season with salt and pepper, if desired, and cool.
4. Preheat oven to 350°F, and generously coat baking sheet with cooking spray. Shape bean mixture into 8 patties (½ cup each), and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes, or until patties are crisp on top. Flip patties with spatula, and bake 10 minutes more, or until both sides are crisp and brown. Serve on buns.
Recipe is courtesy of Vegetarian Times July/August 2011 p.60

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Recipe - Thai inspired salad

Of course with the New Year comes the same old resolution - to eat healthy.  While watching Food Network, I saw this interesting recipe and thought that I would give it a try.  And despite my utter dislike for cilantro (tastes like dish soap if you ask me) I decided to follow the recipe exactly and who'd of thunk that I would like this salad!!  This salad is delicious and refreshing and a treat for your senses, despite the heavily cilantro-based dressing.  Add some baked/grilled/rotisserie chicken breast or shrimp on top and you have yourself a healthy and filling main meal or serve it as a side dish.  Either way, you will enjoy this salad and not feel guilty devouring it.  Enjoy...

Thai Salad:
1 head Napa cabbage, shredded
1 head red cabbage, shredded
1 large cucumber, julienned
One 10-ounce bag shelled edamame, cooked
2 carrots, peeled and grated
2 green onions, finely sliced
Sweet Lime-Cilantro Dressing:
2 cups olive oil
1 1/2 cups finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 2 limes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 avocado, peeled and finely sliced

For the Thai salad: In a large serving bowl, toss the cabbages, cucumber, edamame, carrots and green onions.

For the sweet lime-cilantro dressing: Put the oil, cilantro, sugar, garlic, lime juice, salt and pepper in a large blender and blend until smooth.

Top each serving of salad with 2 tablespoons of the sweet lime-cilantro dressing and 2 slices of avocado for garnish.

You can also 2 add boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked, chilled and thinly sliced.

Read more at:

Monday, January 6, 2014

Recipe - Stuffed Poblano Peppers

While perusing the produce section at my local apple orchard, I saw some really good looking poblano peppers and although I had no idea what to make with it, I knew I had to take them home with me.  I did a recipe search on Poblano peppers and found a recipe that looked good enough to try.  Not to mention that the ingredients are all healthy with minimal added fat.  Try this one out during the holidays and let me know it turns out.  Enjoy...

Here's the finished product:

Vegetarian Stuffed Poblano Peppers

  • 1 can (28 oz) whole tomatoes in puree
  • 1 jalapeño chile (ribs and seeds removed, for less heat), minced
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic (2 whole, 1 minced)
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 can (19 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 4 large poblano chiles, halved lengthwise (stems left intact), ribs and seeds removed

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.  In a food processor, combine tomatoes in puree, jalapeño, half the onions, and 2 whole garlic cloves; puree.  Season with salt.  Pour sauce into a 9x13x2 baking dish; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine beans, cornmeal, 1/2 cup cheese, remaining onions, minced garlic, cumin, and 3/4 cup water; season with salt and pepper.
  3. Dividing evenly, stuff poblano halves with bean mixture; place on top of sauce in baking dish.  Sprinkle poblanos with remaining 1/2 cup cheese; cover baking dish tightly with aluminum foil.
  4. Bake until poblanos are tender, about 45 minutes.  Uncover, and continue to cook until sauce is thickened slightly and cheese is browned, 10 to 15 minutes more.  Let cool 10 minutes.

Monday, December 16, 2013

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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Beauty - Holiday Gift Guide

Okay I know that this post might be a little late for you gift buyers or this post is exactly what you have been waiting for since you find it difficult to buy something nice for your beauty loving friends. Now since I have not purchased a lot of makeup this year (I made a resolution to to use up what I have but did buy products that were limited edition or felt like they would be a good addition to my collection), I did find some products that I think every beauty loving gal would love to have.

The first item on my list was just released in stores this week (but online last week I think) so if this is something you want to get your hands on - do so quickly before it sells out.  It's the Urban Decay Naked 3 palette.  If you have the other 2 Naked palettes and don't think that you need another Naked palette, well this palette is quite different than the first 2.  The original Naked palette is described as "bronze-hued neutrals", the Naked 2 palette is described as "taupe and greige hued neutrals" and the Naked 3 palette is described as "rose-hued neutrals".  This palette contains 12 brand new shades to the Urban Decay line.  Which is a plus considering the first 2 palettes contain colors that are part of their permanent line and there is actually one duplicate between the first 2 palettes (quite annoying if you ask me).  I prefer the first Naked palette but I say that because I have been using that the longest but I tried out the Naked 3 palette and I like the look that I created.  The best thing that I love about these palettes is that you can create endless looks with them - both daytime and nighttime looks.  My everyday look usually consists of a light color on my brow bone, mid-tone on my lid and matte neutral shade in my crease.  Easy peasy and each of the 3 palettes have these types of colors/tones within them.  This palette also comes with a double-ended brush - one side for applying color and the other side to blend it out.  To be honest, I like these brushes to apply and blend out concealer, especially under the eye area.  A great multi-purpose brush!  Like the other 2 Naked palettes, there is a variety of mattes, shimmers, I love these palettes and every beauty addict should have at least one of these palettes in their collection.  These palettes retail for $52 and you can get them from Sephora, Ulta, and Urban
The outside box - Naked 3

Naked 3 - 12 brand new eyeshadows to the Urban Decay line

Naked 3 - Strange, Dust, Burnout, Limit, Buzz

Naked 3 - Buzz, Trick, Nooner, Liar, Factory, Mugshot

Naked 3 - Nooner, Liar, Factory, Mugshot, Darkside, Blackheart
Naked Palettes - each retail $52
Top: Naked - "bronze hued neutrals"
Middle: Naked 2 - "taupe and greige hued neutrals"
Bottom: Naked 3 - "rose hued neutrals"
The next item is a very luxurious and excellent brush from Marc Jacobs - The Face II.  This brush does not come cheap at $48 but it's worth every penny.  I've said this in the past, your makeup is only good as the tools that you use to apply them.  This is such a gorgeous and high quality brush.  This brush is densely packed, amazingly soft (like a baby's butt soft) and applies mineral, cream and liquid foundation like a dream.  It leaves a very airbrushed finish to your makeup.  The bristles are synthetic which means less product wastage and another plus - no worrying about picking shedding brush hairs off your face!  The handle is heavy and feels very luxe and high end.  This brush is amazing - almost makes me want to pick up some of the other brushes in his line.  I purchased this brush from Sephora.  What a great high end, luxurious gift to give that beauty addict in your life or a great treat for yourself!
Marc Jacobs - The Face II
MJ - The Face II: duo fiber, densely packed brush head

MJ-The Face II:  side profile
Comparison of Marc Jacobs The Face II brush and Sigma F82 Round Top Kabuki
Comparison of Marc Jacobs The Face II brush and Sigma F82 Round Top Kabuki

Comparison of Marc Jacobs The Face II brush and Sigma F82 Round Top Kabuki
I am a huge fan all all things Tarte.  I love their foundations, concealers, powder, lip glosses, eyeshadows, and my favorite - their blushes!  This year they have come out with the limited edition Tarte Off The Cuff Amazonian Clay 12-hour Blush Palette.  The packaging is so lush and gorgeous - sparkly gold rectangular compact.  This also came with a cute black leather-like material with a gold bow bracelet that I love to wear as a statement piece on my wrist.  Within the palette are 4 12-hour Amazonian Clay blushes in Crave, Dazzled, Darling, and Dollface, as well as their popular Park Avenue Princess Bronzer.  I love this palette - it's perfect to travel with or tuck into your purse to touch up during the day.  These blushes having amazing pigmentation and last 12 hours without fading.  This gift set retailed for $42 on  As of today, this set is sold out but may come back in stock soon.  Tarte also has other wonderful gift sets for the holidays - eyeliner sets, lip sets, lashes set, eyeshadow sets, eye and cheek palette....just to name a few.  You can also check out the site and see what other goodies they have their.  This is a great cosmetics line with great quality products for the beauty lover in your life.
Tarte Blushes - Crave, Dazzled, Darling, Dollface, Park Avenue Princess Bronzer
Tarte Blushes - Crave, Dazzled, Darling, Dollface, Park Avenue Princess Bronzer
The next gift set I love are the 24/7 glide-on eyeliners from Urban Decay.  They come in over 40 colors and are super pigmented, soft and buttery, and long-lasting.  I love these because I have super watery eyes and these liners stay longer than most other brands of liners on my inside water-line.  The set below is the limited edition Ocho Loco 2 set that I purchased from Sephora for $59.  This is a great deal considering 1 liner retails for $19.  I know you are probably thinking wow- some of these colors are so bright, that's not my thing!  Not a problem, you can always add a slight punch of color by lining your bottom lash line with the brighter colors and it seriously adds just a subtle hint of color as opposed to wearing it on your upper lash line.  I love doing this all of the time...I wear a neutral eye with a added pop of color on the bottom lash line or water line.  I added my favorite drugstore mascara at the moment - Loreal Voluminous Carbon Black. This mascara makes your lashes look so lush and full...almost like you are wearing a set of false lashes.
Loreal Voluminous Carbon Black mascara
Urban Decay Ocho Loco 2 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils
For lips - has the most perfect lipstick palettes for those lip-lovin' beauty addicts out there (available at Pro shops and online only).  There are 5 different sets - Editorial Reds, Preferred Pinks, Modern Browns, Editorial Oranges, and Select Plums.  They retail for $40 and contain 6 different shades of their popular and super pigmented lipsticks.  You can wear the shades alone or mix-and-match to create your own custom shades.  And these palettes are perfect for tossing in your purse and touching up on-the-go.  There is a color palette for every makeup lover out there.

Mac lipstick palette - Modern 
Hope you find this post helpful in finding the perfect treat the beauty addict in your life.  Have a wonderful holiday season.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

New Workout Routine - The 2012 Spartacus Workout

One of the most important things to have while working out to lose weight (or be healthy) is to have a workout buddy, someone who motivates you and pushes you when you feel like giving up.  For me, it's my husband.  A couple of years ago he committed himself to the P90X routines.  He did his workouts religiously (even while I was in the hospital after I had my 3rd child, he asked if he could leave my bedside to go to the gym and do his workout for the day - now thats commitment!).  So one day, my husband showed me a workout that his friend had sent him.  It was from the Jan/Feb 2012 Mens Health magazine called the 2012 Spartacus Workout (there is also a 2013 version which is different but not bad).  This workout is a HIIT type of workout - high intensity interval training.  Each exercise is performed for 40 seconds with 20 seconds rest.  You continue on to the next exercise until all 10 exercises are completed and then you rest for 2 minutes.  You perform each circuit for a total of 3 rounds.  And man are you gassed at the end....but how else can you burn up to 500 calories in about 35 minutes???  

No excuses with this one.  You say that don't have the time to workout - this one takes less than 40 minutes to do.  No gym membership or special equipment required either.  All you need is a mat, a set of dumbbells, water and some good workout music.  Hey, you are in charge of your health and no one else.  You have to make the time for YOU.   

You might have to modify a few exercises until you can build the strength to do the exercise as described but hey, we all need a goal to work towards right?  I'll be honest, after the first couple of times that I did this workout my legs and lower body were on fire.  It hurt to walk, sit, climb the stairs - they just hurt.  But you have to work through this pain and the more you do it, the easier it gets.  I have completed 6 weeks of this workout and I hope to continue on for 4 mores weeks.  I love this type of workout and you will see results with this one!  I have lost bodyfat and my legs look leaner and toned.  You've gotta give this workout a try and let me know what results you get.  

Do something good for yourself each and's a great place to start.

Do this workout 3 days a week. Perform the exercises—or "stations"—as a circuit, doing one movement after another. At each station, perform as many repetitions as you can in 40 seconds using perfect form. Rest for 20 seconds as you transition to the next exercise. After you've done all 10 exercises, catch your breath for 2 minutes. Then repeat the entire circuit two more times. If you find you can't keep working for the entire 40 seconds, use a lighter weight. If you feel as if you could keep going hard for an additional 15 seconds, progress to a heavier weight.
(Pictures & Directions courtesy of Mens Health)

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and hold a pair of dumbbells next to your shoulders, elbows bent, palms facing in [A]. Push your hips back and squat deeply [B]. Push back up, rotating your torso to the right and pivoting on your left foot as you press the dumbbell in your left hand above your shoulder [C]. Lower the weight and rotate back to center. Repeat, rotating to the left and pressing up the dumbbell in your right hand.


Assume a pushup position. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your ankles [A]. Without allowing your lower-back posture to change, lift your left foot off the floor and move your left knee toward your chest [B]. Return to the starting position, and repeat with your right leg. That's a mountain climber. Now do a pushup [C].


Hold a pair of dumbbells at arm's length at your sides [A]. Take a big step to your left and lower your body by pushing your hips back and bending your left knee. As you lower your body, bend forward at your hips and try to touch the dumbbells to the floor [B]. (Note: Go only as low as you can without rounding your lower back.) Then push yourself back to the starting position as quickly as you can. Perform arm curls [C]. Alternate back and forth, doing a lunge to your left and then a lunge to your right.


Start in a pushup position with a dumbbell on the floor next to your right hand. Lower your body into a plank so you're resting your weight on your forearms instead of your palms [A]. "Walk" back up to a pushup position [B]. Without leaving this position, grasp the dumbbell with your left hand [C] and drag it underneath your chest until it rests on your left side [D]. Repeat, this time dragging the weight with your right hand.


Stand holding dumbbells at your sides [A]. Step forward with your left foot and lower your body until your front knee is bent 90 degrees [B]. In one motion, push back up and take a long step back with your left foot into a reverse lunge [C]. Keep shifting between forward and backward lunges with the same leg for 20 seconds, and then repeat on the other side.


Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and a dumbbell between your feet on the floor. Push your hips back, squat, and grab the dumbbell with one hand [A]. Pull the dumbbell up and "catch" it at shoulder height as you rise to a standing position; keep your knees slightly bent [B]. Pause, lower the dumbbell to the floor, grab it with your other hand [C], and repeat on the other side [D].


Place a pair of dumbbells on the floor and assume a pushup position with your hands on the dumbbells [A]. Pull the right dumbbell up to the side of your chest [B]. Pause, and then lower the dumbbell; repeat the move with your left arm [C]. While holding the dumbbells, quickly bring your legs toward your torso [D], and then jump up [E]. Once you land, squat and kick your legs back into a pushup.


Hold a dumbbell vertically in front of your chest, cupping one end of the dumbbell with both hands [A]. Keep your elbows pointed toward the floor and perform a squat [B]. Then push back up to the starting position [C]. Now step back with one leg—into a reverse lunge—and lower your body until your front knee is bent 90 degrees [D]. Pause, and then push up quickly. Alternate your lunging leg with each rep.


Sit holding a dumbbell in front of your chest. Lean your torso back slightly and raise your feet off the floor [A]. Without moving your torso, rotate the weight to your left [B] and then to your right [C]. Move back and forth quickly.


Stand with your knees slightly bent and hold a pair of dumbbells at arm's length in front of your thighs [A]. Without rounding your lower back or changing the bend in your knees, bend at your hips and lower your torso until it's nearly parallel to the floor [B]. Without moving your torso, pull the dumbbells up to the sides of your chest [C]. Pause, and then lower the dumbbells. Raise your torso back to the starting position.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Recipe - Apple Crisp

I have to admit, even though we have 25+ pounds of apples from the orchard, I thought that we would have to bake some type of apple dessert every weekend but that hasn't been the case.  My kids and I have been loving the good ol' fashioned cut up apple with peanut butter as a snack every day.  But we did make a yummy dessert for a dinner party that we were having and OMG this was the best apple crisp that I've ever had!!  This was so good, especially with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  I used my trusty Food Network recipe collection and I found a Neely's Apple Crisp recipe that won my heart (and taste buds and tummy)!  This recipe was easy and made the house smell delish...the perfect scent for these cool fall days. I can't wait to make this again!

Apple Crisp

  • 5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, chopped small
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Topping:
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

-For the Filling:
Mix all the ingredients together. Place into 7 to 8-ounce ramekins or an 8x8 baking pan.

-For topping:
Mix the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in large bowl. Blend the butter into the mixture until it forms pea size lumps. Stir in pecans and sprinkle over filling.

Bake crisps for 35 to 40 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.  For best results, serve with vanilla ice cream.  Yummmm......Enjoy!