Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Food & Wine

Although I am not Catholic and my Lutheran roots never encouraged me to subscribe in the Lentin food suggestions, I decided this year, now that I am married to a Hindu man, I should! I have challenged myself to abstain from meat on Fridays. So far so good. Last week my Friday went pretty well:

Breakfast - Mesa Sunrise cereal with berries, 1/4 grapefruit + half a banana and peanut butter

After swimming snack - Larabar + plain yogurt and kiwi

Lunch - I had a giant salad with a Sunshine Southwest patty (which uses sunflower seeds instead of soy as the protein source), peas, cottage cheese, beets, and a slice of Breads from Anna and almond butter for lunch

Snack - decaf latte from Starbucks & mini apple

Dinner - My famous char topped with mango salsa paired for dinner with lemony, garlic baked mini artichokes, black rice, sauteed kale and garbanzo beans.

For this week, I hope to use some recipes from this month's edition of Food & Wine Magazine. Maybe because it's National Nutrition Month? Although I doubt it, I was inspired by the quality and quantity of their articles. I especially enjoyed the humorous account of one food lover attempting to chew his food more thoroughly. His idea is backed by scientific research that thorough chewing 1) aids in digestion, making food more absorbable, 2) slows down the eating process allowing fullness cues to reach the brain, and 3) helps us enjoy our food more by tasting and sensing bits of it we might otherwise miss. I myself have even tried chewing my oatmeal, rice, beans, and cottage cheese more this week. To my surprise, I usually swallow before the food even hits my tongue!

Not usually known for their collection of healthy recipes, March F&W is packed with clean and even vegetarian options. For a relaxing, Lent-friendly Friday in the near future, I am especially excited for Spelt Foccacia with Kale, Squash and Pecorino. Spelt is a grain similar in taste to wheat but with a slightly higher protein content. Sophie Dahl, granddaughter of author Roald Dahl, shares recipes from her new boo. When a group of chefs were asked to lighten their meals, Quinoa Stuffed Squash came to be. I cannot say enough good things about the quick-cooking, essential amino acid touting, fluffy grain quinoa! Share your own vegetarian/Lent creations!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Turkey Time

I made a delicious, moist black bean turkey burger this evening. The black beans kept this super lean patty moist and flavorful, plus added fiber and stretched my food dollar. The recipe made enough for 2 dinners (1 burger for me, 2 for the husband!) and 2 lunches of leftovers (1 burger each). You can see that using ground turkey is worth its savings in fat and calories. Although we need unsaturated fat to help our brain develop, protect the heart, reduce inflammation, and keep us full and satisfied, saturated fat is not necessary, especially post-workout. Where protein and carbohydrates aid in recovery, a high fat meal will does nothing but replace protein and carb calories, thus slowing recovery. Adding nutrient dense black beans also packs the burger with complex carbohydrates. High in fiber, B vitamins (which aid in the conversion of carbohydrates into energy and the breakdown of protein), and magnesium (helping reduce muscle cramps), black beans also contain the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan is a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is a natural mood enhancer and stabilizer.

4 ounce serving


Fat (grams)

Ground Beef (80/20)



Lean Ground Beef (93/7)



Ground Turkey**



**Look for lean ground turkey. Not all ground turkey is created equally - just as ground beef comes in different fat content, so does ground turkey. Sometimes the entire turkey, dark meat and skin, can be mixed in, boosting saturated fat content.

  • Black Bean Turkey Burgers

  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 Tbls. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cloves roasted garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 -3/4 cup bread crumbs (I used 2-day old Whole Foods wheat-free rye)
  • 1/2 cup red onion
  • 2 ounces brie cheese (optional) **
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Coarsely chop the onion and add it to the food processor with the turkey, drained beans, seasoning, egg white, bread crumbs, and garlic.
  3. Blend until ingredients are evenly distributed.
  4. Divide turkey into 10 patties. Place the chunks of brie cheese on half the patties. Top one patty with the other, covering the cheese.
  5. Grill 5 minutes each side. Finish them off in the oven for 8 minutes or until cooked through.
  6. Enjoy with green beans and home-made potato salad. Consider using plain yogurt to substitute some of the mayo in your potato salad. I added a ton of dill, celery, peas, onion, mustard, hot sauce, and salt and pepper to mine.
**It is easier to find a part-skim feta or Swiss, which would also fit the flavor profile of this recipe. Can't find 2% or part-skim? Use less or omit the cheese, especially post-workout.