Monday, April 29, 2013

Black bean burger for Meatless Monday – Kid tested, mother approved!

It is meatless Monday again!  Tonight was tough.  I have some leftover chicken in the fridge and it would have been so much easier to do something quick with that since I had to pick both boys up on my way home from work and I had a committee meeting at 6:30 at my son’s school for the agricultural program we are developing.  But I am committed to having meatless Mondays and making some new and interesting meals so despite getting home at 5:30, I was going to cook dinner and not just reheat. 

Ok, so this one isn’t new for me but it is very good.  I’ve adapted this recipe from the Liana Krissoff’s recipe in Whole Grains for a New Generation.  The recipe as written in the book is excellent but I didn’t have any bulgur so I substituted millet.  I have a lot of millet since that is one of the grains I was able to eat on the Beachbody Ultimate Reset.  On a side note, I still haven’t finished my write up on the third week of the reset and I promise to do that soon.  I also did something different with the breadcrumbs, which I will explain later.


1 can (or 1.5 cups) black beans
1 carrot grated
¼ C chopped cilantro
Juice of ½ lime
4 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt
¼  tsp cayenne
½ tsp smoked paprika
1.5 C cooked bulgar (or brown rice, millet, etc)
2/3 C fresh whole wheat bread crumbs

I had planned on making the black bean burgers for dinner tonight so I made some millet yesterday so I’d have some already cooked and cooled when I got home from work.  While the boys had a snack and then chased each other around the house, I grated the carrot in the food processor, changed the blade, threw the black beans in, added the spices, oil, lime and breadcrumbs and mixed until thoroughly combined.  This was quick and easy! 

I made some other modifications to the recipe besides substituting the millet.  I did not have fresh cilantro but I did have some that I had dried from my garden.  I cut the amount down to about 1 Tbs of dried cilantro.  I also used smoky seasoned salt that I get from Penzeys and used regular paprika.  My cayenne was getting really old and didn’t have much flavor anymore so I had tossed it.  I used a little of Penzey’s Arizona dreaming instead – this is a mix of ancho chili pepper, black pepper, onion, garlic, paprika, spices, cumin, citric acid, Mexican oregano, cilantro, lemon peel, chipotle pepper, red pepper, jalapeño, cocoa, natural smoke flavoring.

I mentioned this before, but it is worth talking about again.  I make my own breadcrumbs.  They are healthier, taste so much better and cheaper!  As you know by now, I have 2 young boys and most of the time I have to cut the crust off their bread.  So I simply cut the crusts off before making the sandwich and put them in a freezer bag and toss them in the freezer. I don’t really care for the ends of a loaf of bread so I tend to throw them in the bag too. When I have enough I toast them in the over with some Italian seasoning and just a bit of olive oil. Then I grind them in a food processor.  There you have it --super simple breadcrumbs.
The original recipe calls for shaping the mixture into 6 patties and dusting the patties with the breadcrumb mixture.  I didn’t find this added anything to the recipe so I just mixed the breadcrumbs into the burger.  I thought this worked fine and it wasn’t dry. 
I cooked the burgers on a griddle (I don’t have a sauté pan large enough for 6 patties) for about 2 minutes on each side.  You want them brown and form a little crust on each side.  The burgers remain a little soft so they don’t have the same texture as a frozen veggie burger.  But you can add whatever fixins you like and that can help add some crunch. 
Today, I served the boy’s burgers on whole wheat English Muffins with some heirloom lettuce and smashed avocado.  Tomatoes and or red onion slices would have been really nice but I didn’t have any.  I actually opted to have my burger on a bed of lettuce and skipped the bread.  We had some broccoli and strawberries on the side and it was a tasty and satisfying meal! 
My youngest son, although at first said he would not eat it, ended up eating half of his burger and off course finished all of his broccoli and strawberries.  My oldest had 2 burgers and he even asked for avocado for the second burger.
I am enjoying this adventure in healthy eating.  I hope you give Meatless Mondays a try.  If you have any questions about what to try, let me know.  I can come up with suggestions or you can opt for one of the selections I’ve made for my family.



Thursday, April 25, 2013

31 Day Bikini Bbotcamp starts May 1st

Join me and a group of other Beachbody coaches for Bikini Bootcamp! It includes:

• 30 days of meals plans
• 30 days of workouts
• Daily motivation
• Personal one on one help
• Private support group online

• Commit to using Shakeology for 30 days
• Commit to following the clean eating guide
• Commit to the workouts and/or your program of choice

• Dates May 1-31
• Order your Shakeology at
Be sure to save yourself $10.00 by getting FREE shipping simply by selecting auto shipment. You may delay shipment or cancel it at any time!

• Order soon so you get your Shakeology in time!
email me at if you have questions. Let's get ready for summer!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Meatless Monday: Garlicky butternut squash with kale over brown rice and tofu

I was a vegetarian for about 16 years.  When I started a family I found it was easier to start eating meat again rather than cooking multiple meals.  As a family we don't eat a lot of meat.  It is not uncommon for me to take one chicken breast, dice it up, cook it up with some garlic, onions and broccoli and toss with some penne then add a salad and we have dinner for four people!  We only eat grass fed and finished beef, and pastured pork and lamb that we get directly from the farm which runs our CSA - Community Sponsored Agriculture program.  It is much more expensive than meat you buy in the supermarket so we eat much less of it.  We eat it less often and in smaller amounts.  The rest of our plates are filled with veggies and whole grains as much as possible.  Some days we eat meatless meals.  Since having kids, my ideas for meatless meals are pasta with marinara, pizza, veggie burgers, mac and cheese.  I was stuck in a rut. 

Earlier this month I started the Beachbody Ultimate Reset.  Beachbody's Ultimate Reset is a three phased program designed to detoxify and restore your body. The Reset takes a total of 21 days. By week two, all the meals are vegan.  I will admit, some are a little boring, but some are quite good and even kid friendly.  Well, at least for my kids.  My boys, to different degrees, are foodies. 

Here is a meal I made based on a dinner found in the Beachbody Ultimate Reset and a recipe I love from Jeanne Lemlin’s Vegetarian Classics.


Garlicky butternut squash over brown rice and tofu

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
Small bunch of kale, (stem discared) chopped into small pieces
¼ cup water
1/8 tsp nutmeg
3 sage leaves, minced (or more to taste)
2Tbs minced parsley
½ tsp salt
Ground pepper to taste
1 package of extra firm tofu, drained and diced
2 cups cooked brown rice

Heat some olive oil in the largest skillet you have over medium-high heat.  Sauté the kale and one clove of garlic until the kale wilts.  Remove the kale from pan and set aside in a large bowl.

Add a little more olive oil and sauté the squash for about 5 minutes adding a little of the salt to the squash.  When the squash starts to get a little golden, add the garlic.  After about 2 minutes when you start to smell the garlic, pour in the water and cover.  Let the squash get tender but keep an eye on it since it can get mushy quickly.  It may take about 5 minutes for the squash to cook.  At this point add the rest of the salt, nutmeg, sage and parsley and mix well. 

Once again, add a little olive oil to the pan and cook the tofu until it is heated through and golden.  I usually don’t add more garlic since the tofu will pick up the garlic flavor from the pan.   When the tofu is done, stir in with the squash kale mixture and add a little ground pepper.

Serve the squash mixture over ½ cup of brown rice.   I have been using short grain brown rice.  This stuff is wonderful.  It has a chewier texture and is way more satisfying to eat than regular brown rice.  This meal is quite yummy. It has your veggies and a fair amount of protein from the tofu and the brown rice.  You can change it up a bit and add a different veggie rather than kale. The original squash  recipe from Vegetarian Classics serves the squash over penne pasta, which is very tasty.   I’ve also made this using a garlic Tahini sauce instead of just garlic.  It adds a nice nutty flavor to it. 

So try something different for meatless Monday!  What is your favorite meatless Monday recipe? 


Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Ultimate Reset - Week 2

My second week

Overall I'd say my second week was not as easy as the first week but it was still ok.  As the days went by, I started to think about food that I can't have on the Reset.  On Saturday morning I made my boys breakfast.  They were really hungry and wanted pancakes, eggs and sausage.  I always make a big batch of pancakes (made with half whole wheat and flax seed) and freeze them so that was easy to pull out.  I also had some chicken sausage left over from the day before when I made them breakfast for dinner.  Scrambled eggs are simple.  But while making all of this food, I really started to crave carbs.  Fluffy buttermilk pancakes -- and I make really good pancakes by the way.  But no, I cannot have them.  Instead, I drank my Tropical Strawberry Shakeology.  It is a good thing I love this shake.  I love Shakeology because it really does help with my cravings throughout the day.  I managed to stop thinking about pancakes...but ugh, it is now back in head so maybe I will soon make a cup of blueberry tea. 

So what is new in week two?

There was a new supplement in week 2.  In addition to Alkalinize, Mineralize, Optimize and Soothe there was Detox.  What's in Detox, you ask?  Detox is made of chia seed, milk thistle, tumeric, garlic, aloe vera, ginger, flax, peppermint, slippery elm bark powder, and camu-camu and a few other things.  It is flavored with lemon and reminded me of Lemon Zinger tea.  The taste was fine but no matter how hard I tried, it wouldn't desolve in the 12 ounces of water I added it to and it was rather gritty.  But I drank it in a few gulps.  I thought it was better than Alkalinize which, by the way, I still hold my nose while chugging even though I am used to it by now.  One of the other Ultimate Reset participants did not like Detox at all and when she took her last one she sent me a happy message on Facebook!

So, what did I eat?

Week 2 starts a totally vegan diet. Breakfast is either 3 cups of fruit or vegan shakeology.  I opted for the Tropical Strawberry shake and some blueberries and strawberries.  I will be honest, I needed something a little more filling than just fruit.  Both of the other participants drank Shakeology as well.  Last Saturday, however, one participant really needed to have the shake for lunch since she had appointments all morning and would be on the go.  I suggested she cut up her fruit and eat it from a bowl rather than a plate or munching on a whole apple and it would feel more substaintial and satisfying.  I was right and this did the trick for her and got her through the morning.
Lunches consisted of things like salads, pinto beans and rice, quinoa-lentil pilaf, sweet potato and roasted red pepper bisque.  Dinners included meals like edamame and roasted corn succotash, acorn squash with millet and garlic tahini sauce and kale, roasted root veggies, and salads.  Everything I ate this week was delicious.  Did I say before that I am a good cook?  Well, my kids say that at least!  I wish the meals were a little more filling.  Some were and some weren't as much.  A few times I needed a snack and needed to eat an extra apple some veggie sticks.  There are snack idea included in the guide book but snacks are meant to eat prior to dinner.  I needed these after dinner since I was feeling a little weak and knew I wouldn't make it until mornging.  I made good choices considering I could have opted for chocolate!

I am still amazed that I and not crazy without coffee. I miss it because I miss the taste but I know I don't need the caffeine.  Maybe I can convince my husband to do half decaf (he'll never agree to all decaf).   A Friday night without a glass of wine is a little strange for me but I managed just fine! 

There are many lessons that I am learning in this experience, not just about food but about myself.  At the end of week 3 I will share these lessons.  I am almost half way through week 3 by now and I will admit, I am looking forward to day 21!



Thursday, April 11, 2013

Week 1 on Beachbody Ultimate Reset

The Ultimate Reset - Week 1

Beachbody's Ultimate Reset is a three phased program designed to detoxify and restore your body.  The Reset takes a total of 21 days.  In the first phase, which is 7 days, you "reclaim" your body while you slowly phase out foods like red meat and dairy.  This is my review of my first 7 days.

I wanted to do the Ulimate Reset for a few reasons:

·         First, at the time I purchased it, I still had about 6-7 pounds to lose.  This isn't just about losing weight though but most people do lose some weight.

·         Second, I haven't been sleeping well.  This isn't related to having 2 young children and having interrupted sleep.  I mean when I am sleeping, it is not soundly.  This probably has to do with the coffee I drink in the morning, the tea I drink when I get to work and the coffee that I drink in the afternoon.  Even though I don't drink it after 3pm, I think it is negatively impacting my sleep.
·         Third, I'd like to rid myself of the dependancy on that afternoon cup of coffee.  I don't want to give up my morning cup but I'd like to have enough energy throughout the day so I don't need to reach for my Starbucks VIA.

The Program

In addition to phasing out red meat and dairy, there is no drinking coffee or alcohol while on the reset.  Wine and coffee are two of my favorite things to drink.  But it is only 21 days, right?  Although I know I will drink coffee and wine again after the Reset, I won't drink as much coffee and I don't drink too much wine anyway (is there such a thing?  lol).

The Reset provides you with a meal plan for each day or options to pick from.  One of the goals of the Reset is to eat real, whole foods.  Too often people eat processed foods while rushing around everywhere.  People are using short cuts rather than cooking from scratch.  The Reset teaches you how you should really be eating.

In addition to the specific foods you will be taking supplements - Alkalinize, Mineralize, Optimize and Soothe.  Alkalinize helps you maintain alkalinity and is made up of greens like organic alfalfa grass and organic wheatgrass.  Mineralize adds natural minerals needed by the body.  Optimize promotes healthy metabilism and body functions.  It includes different enzymes and had camu-camu and Vitamin C.  Soothe helps enhance digestive health and includes aloe vera and curcumin (extract of tumeric).

My first week

Overall I'd say my first week was easy.  Really, it wasn't much different from the way I eat generally.  I love cooking from scratch, I love cooking with whole grains, and I eat fruits and vegetables. 

There were some things that I found challenging.  On the Reset you must drink distilled water with mineralize.  Distilled water is yuck.  It has no flavor.  The Mineralize has Himalayan salt so it tasted salty at first.  I am now used to it.  The timing of taking the supplements was a little challenging since you have to take the supplements 30 minutes before you eat and then you have to wait 2 hours to take the Alkalinize.  My schedule at work is a little crazy so it was hard to time this correctly but I think I have it down now.  Ok, the third challenge is the Alkalinize.  It doesn't taste good.  I gagged the first time I drank it but I think it was more mental. It tastes like a cross between grass and spinach.  It no longer bothers me but I still hold my nose while I drink and then I take a swig of water after to make sure it is washed down!

At first, the portion size of the meals was a little challenging but I decided that I had to follow the recommended portion for men.  I am very active and I also don't need to lose weight.  By the end of week 1 I was no longer HUNGRY like I was the first day or so. 

 So, what did I eat?

Some of the breakfasts included scrambled eggs with whole wheat toast and spinach; oatmeal with blueberries and some yogurt.  Lunches included Greek salad with chicken; quinoa salad; and quinoa-lentil pilaf.  Dinners were meals like salmon with red skinned potatoes and asparagus; veggie nori rolls with miso soup and cucumber salad; Zuchini-Cashew Soup and a salad.  These were all very good.  I am not really a fan of seaweed but I actually like the nori rolls.

At the end of week 1 I lost 1 pound.  I am already sleeping more soundly and surprisingly I am doing ok without coffee.  The first day or two was a little foggy but I had started to wean myself off during the weekend prior to starting.

I should mention that I have 2 others doing the Reset with me.  My husband is one of them.  This does make meals easier.  I do have to cook separately for my kids but some of the meals they ate the same thing as us, like the salmon.  My oldest son even took some of my veggie nori rolls and both boys loved the Zucchini-Cashew Soup.

So at the time I am writing this I am already 2 days into week 2 and it is still going good.  I'll post about week 2 next Thursday or Friday.


Click for more informaton on the Ultimate Reset


Monday, April 8, 2013

Success: 90 days of P90X!

I did it!  I completed 90 days of P90X!  I've started P90X several times in the past year or two but so many things stopped me.  It seemed like either someone in my family was sick (read: sleep depreviaton) or I was sick or my youngest son was waking up at 4:45am!  This year however, I got serious.

I have always been active.  I would go running during the week and go to the YMCA with my family on Saturday mornings to lift weights or swim.  The problem was that I wasn't seeing any improvements.  I needed to mix up my workout routine.  That is when I decided I had to give P90X another try.

In January (NOT January 1st), I started P90X once again.  This time I was prepared -- I bought my youngest son a wake up time/sleep time clock -- yellow for wake up time and blue for sleep time and it works!  He sleeps in later so mommy can work out!  I had the occasional set back such as a few sick days but I didn't let one or two missed days stop me.  I just moved on and made up the day if I could later in the week.  This kept me motivated and rather than disappointed. 

P90X is an "Extreme Home Fitness" program designed by Tony Horton and Beachbody.  If you are serious about getting in shape, this is a great tool.  There are a few "programs" to choose from -- Classic, Doubles and Lean.  I opted for the Lean program because I wanted a workout that developed strength and muscle but also included a few more cardio workouts.  Don't get me wrong, the Lean program doesn't mean easy.  It is geared more toward getting lean rather than building big muscles. 

What I really like about P90X is that there are different workouts each day.   It mixes it up so it’s not the same thing over and over again.  Tony Horton calls this concept “muscle confusion" but I call it “boredom prevention!”  There are 12 DVDs in the P90X program, each with a different workout.  Most are between 50-60 minutes long except YogaX, which is 90 minutes and Ab Ripper, which is 15 minutes.   There are DVDs that focus on strength training; targeting parts of the body on different days, e.g., chest and back; shoulders and arms; legs and back; chest, shoulders and triceps; and back and biceps.  Then there are the cardio DVDs, e.g., KenpoX (kickboxing), CardioX, and Plyometrics (jumping).  In addition, there is YogaX, Ab Ripper, Core Synergistics and Stretching.  Not all of these were used in the Lean program, e.g., Plyo is not used (but I must say it is a great work out).

I also like that P90X is broken into 3 phases, each 4 weeks.  The 3 phases are:

Phase 1 - The Adaptive Phase.  This is where you learn the moves.
Phase 2 - The Mastery Phase - This is where you work on perfecting your form.
Phase 3 - The Recovery Phase - This is where you really "Bring It!"

Each phase also has three weeks "on" and 1 week of "recovery" but that doesn't mean rest.  The first three weeks are the mixture of core, strength training, yoga and cardio.  The recovery week is basically cardio, yoga, core and stretching.  This routine is good for your body and it is good for your mind since, once again, it mixes things up.

Do you need special equipment to do P90X?  You either need some dumbbells or a set of resistance bands.  If you plan to do pull ups the P90X chin-up bar is also useful.  I also found that it was good to have some cushioning on the floor -- we have a foam mat under the rug in the basement where I work out.

P90X is a great program and I highly recommend it. However, it might not be for everyone.  It is not for true beginners and it is not for anyone not willing to put in the time and effort.  The workouts are 6 days a week with the option of a 50+ minute stretch routine on the 7th day (I mostly opted for a rest day rather than doing the stretch DVD).  I should also say that it is not just for athletes either.  If you can't do all of the exercises, do what you can.  For example, I can't do pull-ups so I don't do them but I do the alternate move (pull downs) instead.  Tony offers alternate moves for people who need modifications.  I have to admit, the Dreya-roll is a move I just can't seem to get so I skip it most of the time.  I am not advising you to skip all the moves you hate but if you can't do it, don't get hung up on it...move on.  I will also admit I didn't do the ab workout as often as I should have and because of that I don't have 6 pack abs, as my 7 year old son likes to point out.  However, I did take a few inches off my waist!

I think one of the reasons I saw good results is that I used the nutritional guide.  I will be honest.  I didn't following it perfectly.  I did indulge in some wine and a few sweets or snacks, after all, I was doing this program on my birthday, my husband’s birthday and my youngest son’s 3rd birthday – I ate birthday cake.  I'm sure if I didn't indulge as much my results would have been great!

Here are some things you should know.  The P90X nutrition program has three phases.  The first is the Fat Shredder, which is high protein, low carb.  I stayed in this phase for the phase one of the work out.  You have to listen to your body. Some need to stay in it longer and some need to move on earlier.  The second phase is called 'Energy Booster' phase this is still higher protein but it introduces more carbs and it is a good balance, I think, for this workout.  Phase 3 is the Endurance Maximizer.  I did not go to phase 3.  I think it is better suited for athletes.

No matter what, you’ll be eating a lot of protein.  In fact, I had some form of protein (veggie protein is acceptable) with almost every meal.   Lean protein helps you stay in fat-burning mode longer, is needed by your body when you do strenuous weight training and help you curb hunger.   Phase 1 was hard because it limited carbs to 1 serving.  Phase 2 allowed 2 carbs.   I love carbs but I was actually ok with the 2 servings since, as an example, 1 cup of brown rice was a serving.  I'd sometimes split my carb serving by having a smaller bowl of oatmeal in the morning (if it wasn't a Shakeology day) so that I could have some carbs at lunch and at dinner. 

I should point out that the P90X nutrition program requires you to eliminate all types of white bread, regular pasta, white rice, etc.  Instead, replace them with whole grains such as brown rice, whole wheat bread, and whole wheat pasta.  For the most part I did this since I almost always cook with whole grains.

During the past 90 days, I was never really hungry.  My food gave me enough fuel to effectively work out.  I had delicious meals (hey, I’m a good cook) and I was able to eat healthy snacks.  What more could you ask for??

Ok, so this is what you were waiting for...THE RESULTS!

Weight: lost 12 pounds
Waist: lost 2.5 inches
Hips: lost 4.5 inches (yippee!)
Chest: lost 2 inches
Arms: no change, but I have more definition
Legs: lost 1.5 inches (each leg)
I regret not buying a body fat caliper.  I would have loved to see that change!

Next steps
My next challenge is the Ultimate Reset, which I actually already started.  I will write about my experiences soon.  After that – INSANITY!  As for P90X, I can tell you that it will probably be my winter work outs from now on.


If you are interested in P90X, let me know.  It was a great program if you stick with it.  I’m here to help you stick with it and achieve your fitness goals.