Hummus & Gym Membership

For some reason, I was craving hummus a few days ago. I’m not a fan of store bought hummus so I decided to make my own for the first time. I used this recipe from Inspired Taste, went off to the store and gathered the ingredients but discovered that a 16 ounce jar of Tahini was 9-effing-dollars at Hannaford. No thank you. I googled a substitute and found that peanut butter would work, which was perfect because I always have a jar of natural no sugar added peanut butter on hand. I followed their recipe to a T, except I replaced the 1/4 cup of Tahini for 2-3 tablespoons of that wonderful natural no sugar added peanut butter, and I didn’t add more olive oil for serving. Ugh, the hummus was so good and so easy. Better than any store bought hummus. TRY IT. I also made Quinoa Stuffed Peppers the same day, but I’ll post that recipe tomorrow.

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Now for random thoughts: I’m debating on a gym membership. I’ve never wanted a gym membership because they’re costly and I’ve never had the extra money for one, and I’ve always preferred exercising at home. I’m three weeks into my new full-time job, and I’m struggling to keep up with my exercise regimen. I tried getting up earlier to exercise but I hated it, and I wasn’t giving it 100% because I was so sluggish. I’m doing my best to exercise a lot on my days off and do less on my work days, but all I’ve been doing on my work days is 15-20 minutes of Yoga or Pilates. Yes, it’s at least something, but to me it is definitely not enough. My plan is to get a membership at HealthLinks, and while it’s expensive, I think it would be worth the money. I would go after work on my way home. I need to do more strength training, and the 10-pound dumbbells aren’t cutting it anymore. I don’t want to keep buying a new, heavier set every month. So, I think a gym membership will be worth it. Also, I heard great things about The New Rules of Lifting for Women. I bought the book the other day on amazon.com, and I’ll follow that program.

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And now, since it’s my day off, I better get my ass moving. Today’s workout: Jillian Michaels’ “Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism” followed by strength training and body weight exercises. Maybe Pilates a little later if I’m feeling up to it.

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Black Bean Veggie Burgers

For years, I ate Morningstar Farms Veggie Burgers almost every day. And then I discovered a recipe for Black Bean Veggie Burgers, and I haven’t looked back. Frozen veggie burgers are ridiculously expensive ($5 for 4 burgers? No thanks.) Plus, I’m making a conscious effort to not eat any convenience food. I’m not sure where I found the original recipe, but I’ve tweaked it to my own taste, and I love it.

What you need:
1/2 medium sized onion, cut into wedges
1/2 green bell pepper, cut into wedges
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 egg
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
Salt and pepper to taste

Pulse onion, pepper and garlic in a food processor a few times. Add oats and set aside. (Don’t pulse – let the oats soak up the juices from the vegetables. You could transfer the veggies into another bowl and add the oats, but I don’t like doing extra dishes.) Place beans in a medium bowl. Mash with a fork or potato masher until it’s somewhat pasty. Add veggie/oat mix, egg, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper to beans. Stir well to combine. Shape into 6 patties. Either wrap each individual patty in plastic wrap and freeze or to cook, heat 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil in a frying pan on low. Cook burger on each side for 5-7 minutes. Avoid flipping more than once – burgers can fall apart pretty easily. Check to make sure the edges are brown before flipping!

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Perfect consistency of the mashed beans

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Big, goopy mess before it turns into beautiful burgers.

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This is how I freeze them – they don’t get stuck together, and they don’t take up a lot of room.

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Even Baby wants my veggie burger.