Starbucks Record & Illegal Birthday Eats

Nothing says ‘I love you’ like free.


Or cold, hard cash.  Either way.

By now we are all aware of the free Starbucks drink on your birthday.  Even though I didn’t get an offer this year – wtf?!  People like to make a game of how much they can get – whether its a birthday freebie or just to pay too much for already over-priced coffee.  The previous record for ONE drink was $54.74.  Child’s play!

starbucks epic order

A Florida woman managed to order a $60.58 Frappuccino.  According to Consumerist, the drink consisted of 60 shots of espresso, matcha powder (gotta stay healthy!), and caramel, white mocha, and hazelnut syrups. She even brought along a jug for the barista so it would all fit!  I’m assuming she didn’t drink it all… I didn’t see any follow up reports about her having a caffeine-induced heart attack.

Yet another way to order obnoxiously at Starbucks.  You’re welcome.


This WIAW is a birth-day east celebration!  Actually, it was pretty mundane until dinner… I was busy at work and I knew what was coming to me for dinner!


Read on for my eats, and then check out Jenn’s blog for everyone else’s delicious creations!… 

Read More »

StrangeBut Good: Curry Sweet Potato Burger

Sometimes you just need a good burger.


I’m not one to deny myself.

The craving has hit me hard toward the end of this prep.  The beef is easy – most grocers sell some form of “super lean” grass-fed ground beef (my veggie friends could use a bean burger or tempeh here).

curry sweet potato burger


The bun is a bit harder to replicate… until I remembered my eggplant chips!  They are delicious alone, but they also make for a perfect burger vehicle.

For my eggplant bun I cut the slices a bit thicker so that they were hearty enough to stand up to a festive fall spread.  Festive in color… perhaps a little nontraditional flavor-wise.  Some might call it strange, but I call it good.

Curry Sweet Potato Burger bite

During my meal prep each week, I bake a few sweet potatoes.  I mashed up part of one with nutritional yeast, curry powder, and smoked paprika to make a pleasantly sweet, Indian-spiced cheesy spread.

Craving = satisfied.


Curry Sweet Potato Burger

Curry Sweet Potato Burger

  • Burger patty (or protein of your choosing)
  • Eggplant chips
  • 1/4 C sweet potato, mashed
  • 2 T nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • Juice of 1/4 lime
  • Smoked paprika, to taste


Prepare burger and chips.

Meanwhile, prepare your sweet potato spread by mixing sweet potato, nutritional yeast, spices, and lime in a small bowl.  You may need to add water depending on the moisture content of your sweet potato.

Construct your burger and enjoy!


How have you enjoyed making co-workers, friends, or family stare with strange but good creations this week? The link up rules can be found here or by clicking on “Strange But Good” in the menu bar above. In short, I want to see what concoctions have earned you weird looks from co-workers, family and friends! Post your Strange But Good creations, grab the logo below for your blog, and link up here.

Sprint 2 the Table

Remember to use #strangebutgood in any Tweets and Instagrams of your creations. :)


I eat a TON of orange food.  How my palms are glowing in the dark yet it beyond me!

What was the best costume you saw this Halloween? 

Are you a curry fan?  Have you ever used it with sweet potato?


Marvelous Memorable Meals in Napa

Food is a significant part of any trip for me.


Sometimes it’s the whole reason for the trip…

This past week’s trip to California was no exception.  There was plenty of wine in wine-country, but the food was equally important.

After a looooong day of travel, all Lisa and I could think of when we hit the valley was wine food.  We’d already scoped out our dinner destination: Farmstead.  Farmstead is a farm (named Long Meadow Ranch) and a restaurant.  They have their own vineyards, gardens, and chicken.  Quite literally, it is a farm-to-table restaurant.

Our sights were set on a runny farm-fresh egg atop a steak tartar with capers, cornichons, tabasco, and toast.  It was fantastic.  The meat was also directly from the farm – the freshness of it made all the difference in the world.  It’s amazing neither of us licked the plate.

Farmstead steak tartare


We split a couple of other dishes as well.

The first was a grilled peach salad with speck (a cured meat similar to prosciutto), arugula, and house made ricotta.  It was good… but the peach to salty stuff was a bit off (the peaches were in too big of pieces).  That purple basil made the dish.  Wil be remebering that in the future!

Farmstead grilled peaches


The second was a grilled artichoke with gribiche (like an aioli) and lemon.  Simple and yet so good.  This preparation always makes me wish I had a grill!

Grilled artichokes
As fabulous as all of that was, the crowning jewel was dessert.  My first birthday cake of the trip was a Scharffenberger chocolate cream pie with graham cracker crust.  It was so fantastically fresh and delicious!

The crust actually tasted like it may have had some coconut, but we were assured it was just a good, old-fashioned homemade graham crust.  We talked about it lovingly for the rest of the trip.

Farmstead birthday


The other food we went on a mission for was a burger from Goose & Gander.  From the moment we walked in I knew we couldn’t have made a better choice.  The outdoor seating area alone was worth the trip.  There were lights strung across the courtyard, quaint iron tables, and tall fence “walls” covered with vines and gorgeous colorful flowers.

First thing’s first though.  A craft cocktail.  Apparently the mixologist is something of a cocktail rockstar, so we were excited to try some creative concoctions.  I went with the “Scarlet Gander.”   It was Hanger One Buddha’s Hand Citron Vodka, ginger, shiso, galangal, lemon, and rhubarb.  Not like anything  I would typically order, but the flavors were so unique I couldn’t pass it up.  It did not disappoint – these flavors were strange but good. 😉

Scarlet Gander


We begin the meal with a salad.  Our waiter recommended we try the watermelon and Rock Shrimp salad.  The melons they used were the traditional pink AND a yellow melon.  It made for a gorgeous plating!

It was served roasted peanuts and a Thai chili dressing that he swore would be a 9 on the heat scale.  It wasn’t even close to a 9, but the salad was still delicious.

Goose & Gander melon and shrimp salad


Now for the reason we came: the burger.  Multiple people told us that the burger here was the best burger around, and that it shouldn’t be missed.  It isn’t the #1 burger I’ve ever eaten, but it’s certainly top 3.  I was really glad we decided to split it… it was massive and that much indulgence would be a stomach ache waiting to happen.

The bun (from Model Bakery) was perfection  It kind of looks soggy in the pic, but it really wasn’t.  It held up to the fantastically juicy grass-fed beef burger, which was topped with bone marrow (meat butter), Gruyere cheese, house smoked bacon, and pickles.  Served with a side of duck fat fries (duck fat = crispier fries).

Goose and Gander burger


Between the craft cocktails, “famous” burger, and duck fat fries, Goose & Gander reminded me a lot of Atlanta’s Holeman & Finch (highly recommended if you are ever here).

We ate a lot more than this, but memories of these meals in particular (and the amazing company) are making my Monday Marvelous.

Marvelous Monday


Moral of the story: always ask the locals what they eat.  You’ll find the coolest places and the must-try dishes.

Have you ever been to the Napa area?  

Are you adamant about researching the must-try restaurants when you travel?


Strange But Good: Indian Spiced Bison Burgers

My sister is vacationing in India.


She won’t let any of us forget it.  I’m not jealous.  I don’t need a vaca…

I would say I made the burgers I’m sharing today in her honor… but really I was inspired after seeing Madelyn’s recipe.  Before I start, a note: I realize this is a meat-centric post and many of you don’t eat meat… these flavors/ideas would also work well with tempeh, lentils, beans, or soy meat crumbles.

The burgers themselves aren’t so strange (other than the fact that I’m confident there are no bison in India), but I think what I did with them might qualify.  I wanted pizza.  Bison is sort of like sausage.  Bison for breakfast… why not?  Sometimes I feel like this in the morning:



He doesn’t look so nice, but I wanted a hit of sweetness (read: fruit) with this creation.  I decided mango was a perfectly acceptable topping.  It works really well with Indian spices and provided a little cooling effect against all the extra red pepper flakes I added.

A corn tortilla made for a delicious, crispy crust.  And it’s fast – there is no way I’m making dough before noon!


Mango Bison Pizza

Mango Bison Breakfast Pizza

  • 1 corn tortilla
  • Tomato sauce*
  • Bison burger
  • Spinach, steamed
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Mango
  • Basil


Spread the sauce across your tortilla and add toppings.  Place under broil for 5-7 mins, watching closely.

Remove and enjoy!


*The sauce might be the strangest part to some of you.  I mixed fire-roasted tomatoes with nutritional yeast, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, and cinnamon.  Yes cinnamon.  It’s awesome with tomatoes.


Or how about crumbling a perfectly good, already cooked bison burger and using it to stuff a kabocha squash?  With coconut milk.  And curry leaves.

Curry leaves do not taste like curry powder.  They are actually a little bitter and have a hint of lime to them.  More on that when I post the curry recipe I promised on Instagram Tuesday. 😉

Indian bison stuffed squash


I roasted half a kabocha while I prepped my green stuffings.  This was an important distraction step for me because I am normally way to impatient to wait for a squash to roast.

I had to add the coconut and some Indian spices to go with the burger.  So glad I did because this won the prize for meal of the week!


indian bison stuffed squash

Indian Bison Stuffed Squash

  • 1/2 kabocha squash
  • 1/4 in pieces fresh ginger, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 C broccolini
  • 3 Brussels sprouts
  • 1/2 carrot
  • 8 curry leaves (optional)
  • 1 T coconut milk
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • Red pepper flakes and pepper, to taste
  • 1 bison burger (recipe below)


Place the kabocha in the oven to roast at 400 degrees for about 20 mins, or until tender.

Meanwhile, saute the veggies, adding the coconut milk, ACV, and spices at the end to preserve the moisture.

Crumble the burger and toss with the veggies.  Remove squash from over and stuff with your mixture.

Place the stuffed squash back in the over to bake for 10 mins.



At the end of the day… I wonder to myself why I make burgers if I’m just going to crumble them.  It is a little strange.  Then I remember and important lesson: don’t question a good thing.



Indian Spiced Bison Burgers

Indian Spiced Bison Burgers

  • 1/2 lb ground bison (or sub in your protein of choice)
  • 2 T cilantro, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard


Mix everything together and divide into patties.

Cook in a pan over medium heat for 3-4 mins on each side, or until desired temperature is reached.

Allow to cool slightly so the juices soak in before you dig in.


Who else has enjoyed making co-workers, friend, or family stare with strange but good creations this week?

The link up rules can be found here or by clicking on “Strange But Good” in the menu bar above.

In short, I want to see what concoctions have earned you weird looks from co-workers, family and friends!  Post your Strange But Good creations, grab the logo below for your blog, and link up here.


Sprint 2 the Table

Remember to use #strangebutgood in any Tweets and Instagrams of your creations. :)


I got lazy this week and took all my pics with my iPhone. #sorryimnotsorry

Have you ever eaten bison?  Do you like it or ground beef better?

Do you prefer using a smart phone or a "real" camera?


Cramming 101: Endurance Training and Recovery

Endurance isn’t for the weak.


It also probably should not be prepared for in a cram session.

This Saturday I’m doing an adventure/orienteering race that my cousin talked me in to.  8 hours in the woods with a GPS.  They give you the start, the finish, and a couple of mandatory check points along the way.  It will be running, hiking, mountain biking, and canoeing.  I hope I live.


Keep going


Some of you may not know it, but before I got into lifting seriously, I was a runner.  I was a decently fast 5K’er, loved adventure races (hellllloooo Tough Mudder) and ran a few Halfs.  I wanted to run a full but one day my knee said no.  If I ever want to run distances again I need to have surgery.  That won’t be happening.


All of this to say, I haven’t been running in 8 months!  Saturday that changed.  My cousin recommended I get 6 hours of continuous exercise/training in before the race.  Cramming.

Kat agreed to keep me company for half of that by taking me on one of her trail run/hikes.

Kat and Me


13 STEEP miles in 3 hours.  We hiked up steep incline filled with wet leaves, leapt over creeks, and ran power lines.  It was the perfect day for it – record high 75 degree temps and partly cloudy.

I was sore half way through.  


Nutrition is something I struggle with.  I have a hard time eating or drinking during a run – it makes me slosh and cramp.  In our 3 hour run, I just ate a mini über Lara Bar (the one with the nuts) and sipped some water.  Will have to be sure to take in more fuel while biking and canoeing this weekend.

We finished (thank you, Kat, for being patient with me) and did a little yoga to loosen up.  I chugged water.

Post-Run Yoga #FitFluential


Kat dropped me at my place where I ran up to pee, change shoes, and eat.  In that order.

I broke out an old favorite for fuel:

Sweet Potato “Cereal”

  • 1/2 sweet potato, bakes and cubed
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Unsweetened almond milk


Place sweet potato in a cereal bowl.  Mix together remaining ingredients in a separate bowl, adding milk until the mixture thins to a milk consistency.

Pour protein milk over the ‘taters and inhale.


Then I grabbed my bike, water bottle, and a GU and took off.  (Note: Espresso GU is tasty!)

Gingerly set out may be a better way to describe it.  I was tired.  What I considered to be “flat” ground before seems quite hilly.  I rode about 15 miles (had to stop for air in my tires and forgot to re-start my RunKeeper app).  After I loosened up a bit, it turned into a fun ride.  I followed Atlanta’s new Beltline Path and got to see the city in a whole new way.  I even took a tour to ride the Krog Street Tunnel (infamous for its graffiti):

Krog Street Tunnel

Krog Street Tunnel


I decided to get back on the path and head back when I rode past a woman on her porch yelling at her neighbor, “Don’t mess with me or I will HURT your dog!”  Scary lady.

Honestly, after I got back within a mile of my place I’d convinced myself to call it quits at 5 hours.  I was tired, sore, bored, and hungry.  Then I ran into Carol and her sweet puppy Bailey!  She was walking home from an afternoon at the dog park, so I joined her to catch up.  30 mins walking there, then another 30 back to my house = 6 hours DONE.


When I got home I was famished.  I would have eaten my right hand (I’m left-handed).  Instead, I stood in the door of my fridge and ate half a rotisserie chicken with my bare hands.  After washing my hands, of course.

Then I cleaned my sticky self:


And finally it was dinner time.  Burger topped with avocado, black bean dip, jalapeno, and pico de gallo, with a side of house-made crinkly-crispy sweet potato fries dipped in sriracha and mustard.  Then… there may have been an (unpictured) apple pie milkshake.  I’ve been boycotting the burger trend (I HATE Yeah! Burger), but Grindhouse Killer Burgers changed my mind.

Grindhouse Killer Burgers - Gringo


Yes, it’s Junk-Free January.  I needed calories… and it was junk-free-ish.  The meat for the burger is freshly ground by a small North Carolina producer and delivered every day, and the bun is a soft potato roll made by a Pennsylvania Dutch bakery.  The sauces are homemade.  The shakes are homemade.  I have no regrets.

Then I crashed.  And got hungry again.  Banana.  Cottage Cheese.  Protein powder.  Cinnamon.  Face plant in bed.

Then, in the wee hours of Monday morning, I got the stomach flu.  I think I would have gotten sick despite the cram session… but it probably didn’t help.  In the future, I’ll plan better.  Thank you all SO much for the well-wishes!

2 days ’til race day!!! I’m eating my carbs and doing to light workouts to prepare.


I was nominated for something I’m really excited about: Top Health and Fitness Blog of 2013.  I’d be honored to have your vote!  It’s really easy – no registration required.  Click here to Vote.

Leap Fitness Top 100


How do you fuel before/during/after races?

What is the toughest race/physical activity you’ve ever done?


Mediterranean Salmon Burger

Holidays in my family aren’t always traditional.


My family isn’t exactly normal…

We don’t have a set “meal” every year.  Each of us enjoys food and trying new things, so we take the opportunity to get creative in the kitchen while we’re all in one place.


Last year we had a Taiwanese dinner.  I made this Sweet Potato and Toasted Marshmallow Cake and Hot Buttered Rum.


The year before we had spaghetti and meatballs.

I also made this Gingerbread Martini:


This year… I have no idea what we’re doing.  All I know is that I’m infusing bourbon with cranberries and cinnamon for a funky take on a Manhattan.

My point?  I don’t have one other than to justify the fact that less than a week until Christmas and I’m about to share a recipe for Salmon Burgers.  Not a traditional holiday food… but I decorated them in holiday colors!


When I made these Lemon-Thyme Zucchini Salmon Cakes, I discovered that it’s hard (impossible?) to find canned salmon that is de-boned AND has no salt added.  I made a mental note to attempt making salmon patties with fresh salmon.  I promptly lost that mental note. 

Months later, I finally remembered to try it out.



Lemon, rosemary, and dill were made for each other.  Particularly when paired with seafood.  We all know how well citrus and salmon compliment each other, but that extra herb-y punch takes this from hot bar to restaurant-worthy.

Not that there’s anything wrong with the hot bar – I adore it – but you know what I mean.

These were the perfect thing to thrown together and have for lunch during the week.  If you prep your food at the beginning to the week, you already have cooked salmon and can whip this up in no-time mid-week.  If not, add 10 mins to the cook time so you can broil the salmon first.

To make it festive, top them with pomegranate arils and edamame tossed in a quick nooch sauce (nutritional yeast mixed with vinegar and/or water).  This may sound like a strange topping… but it was good!!!

Speaking of Strange But Good… Don’t forget to link up tomorrow!  It’s the second week of the new link up here.  thanks to everyone who participated last week!  I’m continually inspired by you all!!!

Click here for the details, and grab the graphic below to share in your Strange But Good post tomorrow.

Sprint 2 the Table


Remember to use #strangebutgood in any Tweets and Instragrams of your creations. :)



Mediterranean Salmon Burgers

Mediterranean Salmon Burger

  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 pound fresh salmon filet, cooked
  • 2 T chopped dill
  • 2 T chopped rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp paprika


Heat the olive oil in a small pan and sauté shallots until soft.  Add garlic and continue cooking until fragrant.

Add salmon to a blender and blend until smooth.

Stir in dill, rosemary, lemon juice, pepper, paprika, garlic, and shallots.

Shape into 4 patties.

Place on a medium hot pan and cook until outside are browned (~3 mins each side).

Makes 4 burgers.


I spent all last night baking… one item in particular I can’t WAIT to share for #strangebutgood tomorrow!

Does your family cook together for the holidays?

Do you like to do a traditional Christmas dinner and/or brunch?  What do you have?


More Strange, Still Good

It’s a theme in my life.


Except in the dating scene.  Strange = bad.

Two Fridays ago I wrote a post of some of my favorite Strange But Good concoctions… and 2 weeks later I of course have more to share!


Before we dive into the realm of odd: there is an Atlanta blogger potluck meet up this weekend.  If you want to come and haven’t received an email, send me a note and I’ll forward the invite to you!  The more the merrier. :)


Ok.  Back to the strange fun stuff:

1. Salmon + Blackberry Salad

You guys may have seen this on WIAW


I mixed 4oz salmon, 2 T fat-free ricotta, a little cinnamon, a little unsweetened almond milk, and blackberries.  It was strange but oh-so-good.



2. Mexican Hot Chocolate Protein Ice Cream

Hot ice cream?  Why yes… there is cayenne in it!  this sweet-heat treat was a fantastic midnight snack.  The green tint comes from spinach… but that’s standard, not strange.


Mexican Hot Chocolate Ice Cream

  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (or 2 sticks)
  • 1/2 in piece ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne (can adjust to taste)
  • 1/4 C unsweetened chocolate almond milk
  • 2 C spinach
  • 5-6 drops liquid stevia
  • 1/8 tsp guar gum (optional)
  • Ice, to taste


It’s topped with Walden Farm’s Sugar-Free Caramel… but honestly… that’s more strange than good.



3. Bacon-Ricotta Stuffed Sweet Potato

After news of the impending bacon shortage… I was craving bacon.  I stuffed a locally-grown pre-cooked sweet potato with with ricotta and then crumbled a small piece of pre-cooked bacon on top.  Then I placed it int he oven under broil while I made a quick vegan tempeh stir-fry.


Vegan + Bacon = Tasty Dinner.



4. Zucchini Bread Protein Batter

This is Strange But Good PROOF!  Debbie @ Accidentally Delish gave it a try for WIAW:


From Debbie: “You don’t even taste the zucchini. I promise.”

Click here for the full recipe.



5. Lightlife Portobello Burger with Sweet Potato-Chipotle Spread

This was strange but good on 2 counts.  First, this Lightlife Portobello Mushroom Burger tasted downright meaty.  I was shocked – I even went back to check the ingredient list.  All vegetarian!

The best part?  It has a full 20g of protein. :)



Second, the sweet potato as a condiment.  It’s addicting… I’ve topped my salmon tortilla pizzas with it too.  I love sweet with a little heat (as if you couldn’t tell from the Mexican ice cream), and that was perfectly balance here with the sweet potato and chipotle.  Cumin added a warm, earthy flavor that was especially good with the meaty ‘shroom burger.

My dinner guests and I enjoyed the burgers in a very green way – on a field of spinach, cucumber, cabbage, broccoli, cilantro, and a few cannellini beans.



***Disclaimer: As a part of the DailyBuzz Food Tastemaker program, Lightlife provided me with a stipend and product for sampling.  All opinions are MINE. :) ***

This series is brought to you in partnership with Lightlife, Live long. Travel light. To learn more, click here



Sweet Potato-Chipotle Spread

  • 1/4 C pre-cooked sweet potato, mashed
  • 1 tsp chipotle in adobo
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin (or curry powder – both are good here)
  • 1 T unsweetened almond milk


Place all ingredients in a small bowl and mash to combine.

Use as a condiment on burgers, pizzas, sandwiches… or a dip for your favorite veggie sticks or chips!


I just realized how much sweet potato I’ve been eating.  These local ‘taters are just so tasty!

Do you have a favorite veggie burger?

What is your #strangebutgood this week?


Planning to Eat Healthy + WIAW

Eating healthy on the go takes planning.

I’m sure this isn’t news to any of you.  It’s become particularly evident to make lately as I’ve changed my habits to incorporate more protein and begun eating 7 small meals a day.  Serious training goals take serious planning.

For starters, I keep track of my meals in a spreadsheet.  This way I’m never stuck searching for ideas and/or desperate and hangry for food.  By keeping it on Google Docs, I can easily edit and make additions as I get ideas throughout the day.

It also makes for easy grocery shopping – I can make my list in record time now!  (P.S. check out yesterday’s post for a chart to navigate grocery store.) 

Last week I mentioned that I was struggling to find a wider variety of vegetarian protein sources.  The resulting increase in dairy resulted in my skin is breaking out.  Since then I’ve reduced my dairy to 1-2 servings a day, and my skin has magically cleared up!

One way I’ve kept up my protein intake without the dairy is to incorporate fish into my diet.  If you’ve been reading for a bit, you know that I’ve dabbled with being vegetarian and even vegan.  For me, it was about how much better I felt without meat in my diet.

Mom and I learned together how to bake fish in parchment last Friday evening!

While I do intend to keep my diet as plant-based as possible, I am enjoying experimenting with seafood (something I only started to like a few months ago), and haven’t noticed it dragging me down like I did with meats.

July is becoming my favorite months for a few reasons:

  1. It’s my birthday month  (4 more days!)
  2. The fruits and veggies we’ve been getting at local markets have been particularly delicious
  3. Jenn’s What I Ate Wednesday theme for July is of “Food, Fun, and Fitness.”  You guys know that’s perfect for me these days!

Check out my latest adventures in protein-loading below; then click here to the WIAW round-up on Jenn Peas and Crayons to see everyone else’s fitness foods!



I woke up early, but my weights workout isn’t until late tonight since I have a date with my trainer.  I’ve grown accustomed to  moving in the morning, so I decided to jump on the treadmill for a power walk while watching a little GMA.  Not wanting breakfast yet, but needing energy I drank down a glass of my Fitmixer Aminos. mixed with ~2T of apple cider vinegar (great way to start the day for energy and errr… digestion…).

Meal 1:

Anytime I have an appointment with my trainer, I try to eat a little heartier throughout the day.  Not stuffing myself, but I want to be sure I have adequate energy because he pushes me to the limit and then some.

I don’t repeat many meals, but last week’s Blueberry Protein Tart was so delicious that I couldn’t wait to eat it again.

Same tart base and peanut butter icing, but I this time used peaches rather than blueberries and sprinkled the top with ground flax and cinnamon.

Meal 2:

Did you know eggs can be cooked in the microwave?  It sounded weird to me at first, but it worked out perfectly.

I microwaved 3/4 C egg whites mixed with black pepper and ~1T water (to make them fluffier) for 2 mins.  Then I stirred it up with some tomato and basil before popping it back in for 15 secs.


Topped with pumpkin seeds and red pepper flakes.  I’m positive the work microwaves have never been used for such a creation. :)

Meal 3:

Lunch was last night’s leftovers.  Here’s where the fish comes in.  I baked a halibut in parchment with rainbow chard, shiitake mushrooms, Chinese 5-Spice, and a little coconut oil.  It was pretty tasty.  Even though my boss said it smelled… that is a problem with seafood.

Enjoyed with some sesame Wasa crackers. 

Meal 4:

Here’s my serving of dairy – a mixture of no salt added cottage cheese, peanut flour (a.k.a.: my crack), and a bit of liquid Stevia.  Side of cucumber sticks.  This is literally the tastiest cucumber I’ve ever had.  Unbelievable amount of flavor. 

Meal 5:

Remember yesterday’s vegan Protein-Packed Ancho Bean Burgers?  I took one to work for dinner!  Yup – I ate dinner at work.  My trainer appointment was at 9p and I had a Genius Bar appointment at 7p… no point in going home.

All wrapped up in a giant piece of chard with artichoke spread and radishes.

Meal 6:

This was a post-workout shake to cure my leg shakes.

I received a couple of protein powder samples from JBT Labs.  This was a chocolate flavor.  My first reaction was that it was ok… I decided to add chocolate extract to the mix, as well as some Stevia.  There was also 1/2 a zucchini, spinach, and ice in the mix.

At first I was worried because the blender made it frothy. Some people like that… I prefer creamy.

I stored it in the freezer most of the day, but it thawed a good bit between my errand and the workout.  Lo and behold, after it had sat all day the mix and de-frothed and was DELICIOUS.  It seems obvious now, but when faced with frothier powders I will let the mixture have time to rest and settle post-blend.

Meal 7:

Last meal = dessert.  I almost didn’t eat this one because I was so tired from the gym.  But… I knew my muscles would thank me.  Especially when I have an early morning workout planned.

Mashed up strawberries, vanilla protein powder, cinnamon, and almond milk.  Let chill in fridge for 30 mins or so.  Devour.  Go to bed.


This day of eats contained 6 different protein sources, and I managed 157g of protein.

Do you bring seafood for lunch?  How do you deal with the fishy smell?

How do you keep track of your weekly meals?

Vegan Protein-Packed Ancho Bean Burgers

Sad, but true:



We are so lucky to have the knowledge we do about clean eating.  I am continually surprised by how many people legitimately have no clue how to make good food choices.  Not to mention those who just don’t care.

Remember then craziness most of us ate growing up?  Ding Dongs, Pop-Tarts, orange soda… I wouldn’t even think to buy those things now!  (Note: there is a restaurant in Atlanta that makes homemade Ding Dongs… those, I would buy. :) ).


In my adult life, I shop the perimeters of the grocery store.  When I do buy packaged food, I read labels to ensure the ingredient list is recognizable.




No one is perfect.  I’d be lying if I told you there weren’t a couple of questionable items in my freezer.  The point is to eat as clean as you can most of the time.

One of the items I’ve become more aware of are frozen veggie burgers.  I try not to eat many processed foods, but in my constant quest for protein I picked up a box of the burgers for a quick fix.  Then I realized I could quite easily make my own and keep them in the freezer for those times of need.



Beans are one of the top sources of vegan protein; however, I cannot eat enough beans to get my 25g required per meal.  I CAN mix them with other protein sources to amp it up though!

Note: I am not vegan, but I am striving to continue to eat as plant-based as possible while I train for a figure competition.



These ancho chile burgers combine beans, textured vegetable protein (TVP), and vital wheat gluten to deliver a homemade, protein-rich vegan burger.  The chili power and ancho chili pepper in chipotle give it a nice heat (if you’re sensitive to heat simply leave out the ancho chili).

I served one for dinner with sautéed shiitake mushrooms, onions, garlic, and spinach.  The remaining patties were wrapped up for later meals.



Between the liquid smoke and the grill marks (thanks to Mr. George Foreman and his grill), these bean burgers have turned my cubicle into a lunchtime picnic.  Ok, I exaggerate… but they are tasty! 



Ancho Bean Burgers

Inspired by JL’s Chickpea TVP Burgers.

  • 1/2 C fava beans, cooked
  • 1/2 C cannellini beans, cooked
  • 1/4 cup TVP
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 C Vital Wheat Gluten
  • 1/2 C fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 C onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ancho chili pepper in chipotle, diced
  • 1/4 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1/2 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • S+P,  to taste


In a food processor, pulse the cooked beans (leave some larger pieces).

Combine the TVP and vegetable broth and let stand for 10 mins.  Stir in the Vital Wheat Gluten.

Add the TVP and all remaining ingredients and pulse until well combined.

Refrigerate 1 hour (or overnight).  Form the patties, making them fairly thin so the middle get “cooked” on the grill. Return to the refrigerator for 2-3 hours or over night.  At this point you may place in the freezer for future use.

Set out at room temperate about 30 minutes before grilling.  Cook on a grill pan (or grill if you have one) for ~6-7 mins on each side, or place in George Foreman grill for 6 mins.

Makes 5 4-oz burgers.

Approximate Nutritionals: 116 calories, 0.5g fat, 144mg sodium, 13.6g carbohydrates, 3.8g fiber, 1.7g sugar, 14.3g protein


In 5 days I will be 29 years old.  The last year of my 20s.  How did this happen?!

Is there anything shameful in your freezer or pantry? Make me feel better… lol!

Have you become more health conscious in your “old age,” or did you grow up eating clean?


Rockstar Riff On Spaghetti + WIAW

My sister is a rockstar.


Which is the goose and which is the fox?


Alli played a local venue on Monday night with her boyfriend, Noah.  It was an open mic contest (well-known for launching John Mayer’s career).  They didn’t win but I think they were one of the best.  There is just SO much talent in Atlanta.

Alli and Noah’s band is called Goose & Fox.  Check them out on YouTube!  Shameless plug of one of my favorite songs:



Given that we have a huge food-focused holiday one day away, it seems funny to be posting a tame WIAWbut at least it involves balls!

Check out Peas and Crayons to see how everyone else pre-gamed Thanksgiving on Jenn’s What I Ate Wednesday.



I made a late-night post-concert trip to Kroger for melting chocolate so I could coat more Red Wine Cake Balls!  They looked so pretty and smelled so good… they were calling my name!  So I may have pre-gamed breakfast with balls…


Don't judge me.


The winner so far has been these Red Wine Balls, but the Sparkling have received a ton of votes.  It comes down to preference.  Do you prefer your… desserts… sweet and white or dark and rich?

Pass the dark and rich over here.



In preparation for the Thanksgiving Half, I’m loading up the carbs and protein.  This morning’s oatmeal with egg whites hit the spot.


Check out that nut butter good-ness!

In my Oats:

  • 1/2 C oatmeal
  • 1/2 C unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 C water
  • Shake of salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 C blueberries
  • Scoop of Cinnamon Cacao Nut Butter

Prepare oatmeal according to package instructions.  When almost done, quickly whip in the egg white.  Add blueberries.  Transfer to bowl and top with nut butter – I used Cinnamon Cacao Nut Butter I made yesterday.


Delicious and super filling thanks to the protein and “good” fat.




Just before lunch I jogged to the Thanksgiving Half Expo to get my number.  Only 1 more day – eek!  I signed up with the 1:45 pace team.  In hindsight, that may be a little ambitious.  Guess I’ll find out tomorrow.



On the way back I passed Evos, a small chain that claims to make a healthier burger.



Their fries are airbaked, burgers are made with naturally raised beef, milkshakes use organic milk and sugar – they even offer fruit shakes!



I settled on a Veggie Garden Burger.  The vegetarian patty was pretty good (they also offer a vegan variety) – plenty of veggie and bean chunks in it (a must IMHO). I really enjoyed the avocado spread, but the BEST part was the ketchup.  They make their own flavors – Original, Cayenne,  Mesquite, and Garlic.  The garlic was pretty fantastic. :)



The problem was the bun – it was one of those sticky, chewy grocery store buns with the sesame seeds on top.  Change the bun and I’ll come back, Evos.

The lady at the counter was really patient nice and let me sample an airbaked french fry.  I didn’t order my own, but they were pretty good!  They tasted a lot like McDonalds (which I haven’t had in years… but they remain my favorite)  but only have 170 calories and 5g of fat.  No, it’s not a health food but it is a healthier option when you want to indulge.




One of the most creative bloggers I know, Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen, created this vegan, “adult” version of Spaghetti-O’s.  Sarah is also the queen of repurposing items to create the coolest dishes (airplane bottle of V8 –> tomato-vegetable soup?!).

Eying the last of a carton of Trader Joe’s Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup, I channelled my inner Smart Kitchen and went to work.



See my bastardized modified version at the end of this post.



Lucky (pre-race moment of brilliance?) me scheduled a late-afternoon massage!  It was one of the best I’ve had in a loooong time.

I made a quick pre-massage protein shake to tide me over until dinner.  It was my basic: spinach, protein powder, almond milk, almond extract, and banana (trying to get the potassium in).

This is all that was left when I remembered to take a pic.




A massive Asian Pear and pomegranate made up a great “dessert.”  I cut the pear into bite-sized pieces and sprinkled it with fresh pomegranate seeds, freshly ground cinnamon, and a teensy bit of paprika.

Normally I scoff at the idea of fruit for dessert, but this was shockingly satisfying.




Saucy Soup & Spaghetti

  • 1.5 C TJ’s Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Soup
  • 2 T nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 servings pasta (I used a veggie-laced fettuccine)


Prepare pasta according to package.

Meanwhile, combine first 6 ingredients in small pot and warm over med-high heat.

When pasta is cooked, drain and pour into 2 bowls.  Top with soup-sauce, garnish to taste with red pepper flakes and fresh black pepper.

Makes 2 servings.


Things will probably be slow going in the blog world over the next few days.  I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday filled family, food, and fun.  Safe travels and successful turkey runs!

What are your holiday plans?  Travel?  Races?

What dish are you most excited about tomorrow?