Jalapeño Black Bean Burgers

I think I just made the best thing I've ever made.  I know I say a lot of things are delicious, but this was phenomenal.  I got this recipe from Eat, Live, Run and wow, this is going in my permanent recipe book… for life.

They were so hearty, garlic-y and had a great kick with the jalapeño .  These black bean burgers are extremely healthy and vegetarian friendly.  The recipe calls for all natural ingredients and I only slightly panfried the patties.  I am not a vegetarian and I promise, even non-vegs will love this!   

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Crockpot Veggie Chili

I finally got a crockpot!!!!!!  I have read so much about the magical wonders of crockpots but I have never owned one until now.  AND  I got a fantastic deal.  My goodness, I love Black Friday.  My mom and I went to Kohl's and look how much we saved!!  One of my greatest secret pleasures is looking at the receipt and seeing how much money you saved.  Actually, it's not even secret.  Most people know I'm a sucker for a good deal.  Groupon, Living Social, Yipit, Woot and all coupon apps (yes I have a few) are made for crazy people like me.  Oh, and can't forget happy hours… of course.

Who wouldn't love saving $472???

Anyways, I lugged all my new items and this sucker from California to Austin (I found out later TSA inspected my bag, haha).  I knew the first thing I wanted to make was veggie chili.  From the days back in my sorority, Armando would cook this turkey chili along with this amazing veggie chili.  Then I got hooked on the Vegetarian Chili at Trader Joe's, which I always kept stocked in my pantry.  Since Austin doesn't have a Trader Joe's (although one is coming soon!!!!!), I have been sad and veggie chili-less.

I chose a pretty standard and simple recipe.  It turned out pretty good for my first chili, but I think for the next one, I'm going to alter the recipe and add a few more things to it.

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Delicious Dinner Party

Before I left Los Angeles, I had a great dinner party with just the best company.  Between the delicious, (and sneakily potent) sangria, the appetizers and main courses, the cherries and banana boats,  we were very full and very happy.  Oh, we had a blast.

Matt and I cooking away!

For this post, I’ll share the starting appetizer recipe from Matt.   He taught me how to make his Bruschetta (with an Italian flag twist), and it was fantastic.

Italian style Bruschetta

  • 1 loaf French baguette
  • Olive Oil
  • Avocado
  • Tomatoes
  • Mozzarella balls
  • Balsamic Vinegar
sliced tomatoes and avocado awaiting
1.  Slice up french bread and place on a roasting pan
2.  Brush with olive oil
3.  Place in the oven at 375 degrees for about 3-4 minutes, until golden brown
4.  Place sliced tomatoes on top of each bread piece, lightly salt and pepper
5.  Place mozzarella balls on each piece
Matt hard at work
6. Put the bruschetta back in the oven briefly, until the cheese is melted
7. Place a slice of avocado on each
7. Drizzle with balsamic and olive oil
Doesn’t that look delicious?!  Here is a preview of our entire feast.  Keep posted for the portobello mushroom recipe!

Sunday Night Dinner Menu

– Italian-style Bruschetta
– Roasted Eggplant and Asparagus

– Grilled Chicken and Peppers
– Black Bean and Corn Quinoa
– Spinach and Salmon Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Marinated with peanut sauce and grilled
Black Bean and Corn Tri-Color Quinoa
Stuffed Portobellos

– Banana boats

– Sangria made by Jordan and Kelsey (which actually made for an appetizer, dinner drink, and dessert!)  This might be the best sangria I’ve had, topping the ones I had in Spain.  Very well done guys!

and delicious!

Superfood Spotlight: Beans and Lentils

Beans and Lentils, which are in the legume family, are powerful superfoods which should be incorporated into your diet.  They are low in fat and sodium yet high in fiber and protein. Also…

  • They have a low glycemic index, meaning that your blood sugar will not rapidly rise when you eat them.  When you eat foods with a high glycemic index (sweets and baked goods), your blood sugar rises rapidly, and your body releases insulin at a faster rate, which contributes to fat storage.  By eating foods with a low glycemic index, your blood sugar rises at a slower rate and insulin is released at a steadier pace which your body can monitor better.
  • They are healthy for your skin!  These legumes are anti-inflammatories, due to the their glycemic index, which helps the prevention of dry, saggy and dull skin.  You can help your skin look younger and less wrinkly by eating them.
  • Fiber!!!  Of course, I have to highlight this benefit.  One cup of cooked beans can have a whopping 12-14g of fiber.  Most people do not get enough fiber (adult males should get 35g/day and females 25/day), and beans are an easy way to get to these daily amounts.  Read more about fiber at one of my earlier posts… All About Fiber
  • They are also a great source of protein with 15g in one cup of cooked beans.  To determine how much protein you should be receiving, take 1/3 of your weight to get a decent estimate. (ex: 150 lb person, should get around 50g a day)

I don’t mind eating beans play but I love to incorporate beans in my soups, salsas, eggs, and salads.  I am new to lentils, but I have recently made a few lentil soups and also added them to my quinoa.  They are very easy to make for a quick meal after work!

Quinoa with beans
Rice and Beans… my college staple!
Lentil based soup

    My First Superfood Spotlight

             I originally started this blog as a health blog, and my goal was to post healthy information along with healthy recipes.  When I realized how long some posts can take, I started getting lazy and my blog has evolved into a recipe book for me.  I know blogs tend to evolve, but I really want to veer back to the core of my passion, health and nutrition.  I still want to continue cooking and talking about food, but I hope to add more nutritional value to my posts.
    ‘Superfoods’ has become a common term in the health realm.  In my attempt to redirect towards nutrition and healthy eating, my goal is to start a weekly Superfood Spotlight.  I will delve into a superfood, it’s benefits, and a possibly a good recipe to try.  There, I said it.  It is written down for everyone to read.  And I’m hoping it will keep me accountable!
    What are Superfoods?
    These foods are rated by nutritionists as the most powerful foods.  They are foods full of nutrients and vitamins that benefit our bodies in multiple ways.  By eating these foods, you will receive more nutrition with a smaller amount of food. 
    By incorporating these foods into your diet, you will receive many more nutrients, vitamins and minerals to make your body healthier.  Once adapting to a healthier diet, you can really tell the difference.  Once I started eating more natural foods and a well-balanced diet, my skin was clearer, my nails were sturdier, and I had much, much more energy.  

    Some superfoods are salmon, walnuts, blueberries, spinach, quinoa, beans, and the list continues to grow.  The first superfood I am diving into is… YOGURT!
    Lowfat and nonfat Greek and regular yogurts contain 20% or more of your daily calcium needs. The mineral slows production of cortisol, a hormone that contributes to belly fat.  Additionally, yogurt is a probiotic which is essentially healthy bacteria that helps with your digestive system.  It can help yourimmune system, prevent bloating and constipation, and even decrease yeast infections.
    Beware of some yogurts.  Some contain up to 35g of sugar!!!  To give you an idea, one regular sized Snicker’s bar has 30g of sugar, and a 12oz Coke has 39g.  As many people think of yogurt has a healthy snack, if you pick the wrong kind, it can be pretty unhealthy. Also, watch out for the fruit-on-the-bottom yogurts, those pack a lot of sugar.
    Almost every day, I eat plain Fage 0% Greek yogurt and add a little bit of jelly.  There are a whopping 18g of protein in one serving.  That is more protein than some protein bars even contain!  Plus, with yogurt, you are foregoing all the hydrogenated oil and high amounts of sugar in the bars.  Fage yogurt has ZERO grams of added sugar, and the 7grams of sugar that it contains, is natural lactose sugar.
    Yogurt is great as breakfast, a snack, a post-work out snack, and in cooking, as it can replace sour cream/creams.  Fage can be a little thick for first time greek yogurt-ers, but some of my other favorites are Chobani and Oikos!

    Quinoa Citrus Salad

    In addition to the Enchiladas that I brought to the Cinco de Mayo parties, I also made a quinoa salad, inspired by one of my favorite blogs, Eat, Live, Run‘s Black Bean, Quinoa, Citrus salad.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get to add grapefruit, which would have been delicious, but the lime juice made up for the citrus portion.  I added basil to the recipe because I am never able to avoid adding basil when I have it in my fridge!

    Quinoa Citrus Salad
    1 cup quinoa
    2 cups water (or chicken or vegetable broth)
    1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
    1 cup corn
    1/2 small onion
    1 red pepper
    1 bunch basil, minced
    1 bunch cilantro, minced
    3 tablespoons lime juice
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    2 tsp. cumin
    1/4 tsp. salt


    1. Bring quinoa and water to a boil.  Cover and let simmer for 15 minutes, or until fluffy.  Set aside to cool once cooked
    2. Place black beans, corn, onion, pepper, basil and cilantro in a bowl.  Toss until well combined.
    3. Add lime juice, cumin, olive oil and salt.  Mix well with quinoa.
    4. Chill in fridge (I like it cold, but you can eat it warm if you want!)
    This turned out as a delicious appetizer that you could dip with veggies, chips, or eat plain.  It made enough for me to bring to two Cinco de Mayo parties, and also a little tupperware amount for me at home!  I just love all the colors and textures that the salad has.

    toss it all

    add lime juice, cumin, olive oil and salt

    so pretty and delicious!

    My roommate was quite domestic that day, I am so proud of her! 🙂  She made a delicious taco dip and  also made her first attempt at sangria and in my opinion, was quite successful.  She used Stella Rosa, a bottle of Cabernet, strawberries, oranges and basil…  Take a look!


    Tri-Color Quinoa: Cajun-style

    Last night, I cooked another quinoa dish, but this time, I used the Organic Tri-Color Quinoa, from Trader Joe’s. With the blend of colors, it turned out to be one of the prettiest dishes! 🙂
    As you may have seen, the native Peruvian quinoa plant bears seeds on top that range in a variety of colors—from white, orange, red, purple, to black.  What’s the difference? 

    Organic Tri-Color Quinoa, Trader Joe’s, $4.99
    The colors depend on the variety of the plant, but there is no nutritional difference.  They are all rich in protein, high in fiber and a good source of vitamins.  The most common colors are white, red and black.
    • White quinoa, sometimes a pale yellow color, resembles white rice when cooked because of the fluffiness.   It is the most common and has the mildest flavor of all varieties.
    • Red quinoa, varying from dark red to orange, turns a brownish color when cooked.  It resembles brown rice in color and also in its earthy, nutty flavor.  The red type is a slight bit chewier and crunchier. 
    • Black quinoa is a hybrid that was first grown in the Colorado Rockies.  It is the darkest, crunchiest, and nuttiest in flavor than the other varieties.
    I love cooking with quinoa because the mild flavor absorbs a range of ingredients, including most herbs, broths, sauces and vegetables.  A completely different meal can be cooked, just by changing the spices and additions!  Here is the one I made…
    Quinoa: Cajun-style
    1 cup quinoa
    2 cup water
    1 1/4 tsp cumin
    1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
    1/4 tsp basil
    1/2 c. green onion
    1/2 c. celery
    1 can beans
    1 c. frozen corn
    1 T olive oil
    Salt and pepper to taste
    Lime juice to taste

    1. Mix quinoa into the saucepan and cover with water; cook according to directions. 
    2. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, and basil.  
    3. Stir frozen corn into the saucepan, and continue to simmer about 5 minutes until heated through. Mix in the black beans, green onion, celery.
    4. Add olive oil, salt, pepper and lime juice to taste
    adding green onions and celery to the mix

    the final product!
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