Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Veggie Burgers

I have been thinking for awhile that I would like to make a homemade veggie burger, but really haven't had the time to go searching for a good recipe. I was thrilled to come across this one on my friend Lauren's blog, they looked so good! We really enjoyed these burgers, they were perfect! I served them on sandwich thins from Trader Joes with a little "Seriously Sharp" cheddar cheese. Lauren put hers in the panini press to melt the cheese and it looked too good no to do the same. Yum!

I had the night off from teaching, making it the perfect opportunity to try a new recipe, but these would be great for our typical hectic weeknights since they can be made ahead of time. I love having a new quick dinner to add into my rotation! As it is, I have 4 extra burgers in the freezer!

Summer Cookout Veggie Burgers
Adapted slightly from
Leslie Sarna by way of Lauren's Kitchen

1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup rolled oats (non-instant Oatmeal)
3/4 cup bread crumbs

1 tsp. (or more) chili powder
1 tsp. paprika
salt and pepper to taste
about 3 tbsp. chopped chives
1 egg
olive oil
1 small red bell pepper, finely diced*
1/2 onion, finely diced
4 oz. mushrooms, finely diced
6 sun dried tomatoes, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 large zucchini, grated
1 large handful of baby spinach

In a medium frying pan, heat some olive oil. Add the chopped onion, garlic, bell peppers and a pinch of Salt. Grate in the zucchini. Let cook 2 minutes on a lower heat. Add mushrooms, spinach and sun dried tomatoes; let cook another couple minutes. Let cool when cooked. While the veggies are cooling, in a large bowl combine the Beans, Oats, Bread Crumbs and all the spices and chives. Toss a little and add the egg. Using your hands to mix the mixture until it's slightly sticky and about 3/4 of the beans are smashed. Add in the veggies. Continue to work with your hands.

If the mix feels a little dry, add water by the teaspoon until right. If it's too wet, add bread crumbs : )

Form 8 burger patties. Refrigerate for about an hour. (you can also place these pouches in a Ziploc bag and freeze for up to a couple of weeks) To cook, unwrap the burgers from the plastic and cook in a heated skillet with cooking spray or olive oil in the bottom. Cook about 3-4 minutes on each side

PS these should always be cooked on a skillet or frying pan. Unfortunately, they can fall apart if cooked on the bbq.

*I used my food processor to chop all the veggies really small. Cut down on chopping time :)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Summer Veggie Quinoa Salad

This has been my go-to lunch lately and I've been meaning to blog about it for a few weeks! Simple and good, I make a big batch and then eat it all week. Its good hot as a side dish for dinner as well.

Summer Veggie Quinoa Salad


2 cups quinoa
1 large summer squash
1 large zucchini
1/2 cup fresh mozzarella
parsley, chopped
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste


Rinse quinoa and prepare according to directions. Cool. In the meantime, dice the squash and zucchini and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven on 450 for 15 minutes. Cool. Toss together quinoa, veggies, fresh mozz and parsley. Drizzle with olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Born to Tri Sprint Triathlon

Running Mama swims and bikes too!! This morning I competed in the Born to Tri sprint distance triathlon in Asbury Park, NJ. What an awesome experience! I am so glad that I decided to go out of my comfort zone for this race because I had a great time. It was challenging (the swim!) but I finished and I finished strong.

We left the house at 4am this morning to head down the shore for the race. I picked up my packet and headed to the transition area to set up my gear. The logistics of a triathlon was just one aspect that I was anxious about, since I have never seen how it is done.

Getting ready!

My biggest area of concern was, of course, the ocean swim. It was a 1/3 of a mile swim with an "in ocean" start, meaning we had to tread water for about 5 minutes before the gun went off. I did a lot of training in the pool for the swim, but open water is such a different ball game. Fortunately I attended a swim clinic a month ago in the ocean so I would know what to expect. That clinic was one of the most humbling experiences of my life. I panicked at one point and needed help back to shore!

I gave myself a million pep talks leading up to today on not panicking in the water. My strategy was to slow down my stroke and take it nice and easy. I kept repeating to myself "slow is smooth, smooth is fast," which kept me focused. It seemed like it took forever to get to the first buey, but after that I got into a good rhythm. Before I knew it I was going around the last buey and heading towards the shore. I was so relieved when my feet finally hit the sand!

Getting into the ocean for the swim start

Waiting for the gun


Running towards the transition area!

Once I was on dry land, I felt great! Transition 1 went smoothly. I was told that packing my stuff in a bucket to use as a seat would be helpful, and it really was! I was happy to be able to sit and put my socks and shoes on. Then I hopped on my bike and started on the 12 mile bike route. It was a double loop and I felt good the whole time. I even passed a few bikers :)

Biking strong

Getting ready for the run at transition 2

After hopping off my bike and replacing my helmet with my hat, I started off on the run. This was the portion of the race that I was most comfortable with, but the beginning was challenging. My legs were definitely wobbly and my calves were cramping up a bit. I decided to slow down my pace to almost a shuffle, so that I didn't have to start walking but I wasn't pushing myself too hard. Slowly but surely my pace picked up and I felt good.

The run was beautiful. It started off through a few nice neighborhoods and finished on the boardwalk. We even ran through the old casino building and convention hall before heading back down the boards to the finish.

Heading to the finish!

I did it!!

Overall I was thrilled with the race, I do not think it could have gone any better for my first one. My final time was 1:40:15. Here are all my times:

Swim - 15:19

Bike - 46:48

Run- 34:24

This will not be my last triathlon. I am looking forward to improving my skills and getting back out there again soon! I will definitely do this race again next year, it was really fun, very "Jersey" which I love, and extremely well organized.

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