Thursday, May 21, 2015

Butternut Squash Black Bean Veggie Burgers

Last night I had a really great dinner at Crosby's Kitchen.  The food was delicious and it is a really cute place.  I went with my buddy, Katie.  She is leaving for a 10 day trip to Israel! I am quite jealous of this.  It was so nice to enjoy a nice meal together before she leaves.  We both ended up ordering the Wrightwood Salad which has their famous cornbread croutons in it!  Cornbread croutons!!!  It was pretty darn delicious and it made me want to figure out a way to make this incredible salad at home.  I'll see what I can do and get back to you guys.  

I also picked up their homemade veggie burger to bring back for Bri.  He is such a veggie burger fanatic and when I saw that they made a homemade one, I figured he would want to give it a try.  The reviews are in and he said it was a really great veggie burger!  I figure that in the spirit of this awesome meal, I would share one of my own veggie burger creations.  I love how you can basically throw a bunch of your favorite flavors/health ingredients into a food processor and make a really yummy burger.  We make a bunch and freeze them for easy weeknight meals.  I love how easy this makes dinner and the recipe I have today was incredibly yummy.  

Butternut Squash Black Bean Veggie Burgers

Butternut Squash Black Bean Veggie Burger

Ingredients:
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 shallot, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 pinch nutmeg
1 pinch cinnamon
1 14.5 oz can low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
Toppings:
slices of cheese (I used pepperjack)
sliced tomatoes
ketchup or mustard (Bri is a ketchup fan, and I love spicy dijon mustard)

Directions:1. Heat olive oil and butter in a pan over medium heat.  Add in the squash, shallot, garlic, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, nutmeg, and cinnamon.  Let cook, stirring occasionally, until squash can be pierced with a fork.  This took about 10 minutes.
2.  Place the squash mixture in your food processor and pulse until it becomes smooth.  Add in the black beans and pulse a few times to combine.
3. Place mixture in a bowl and stir in the beaten egg and the bread crumbs.  Place mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.  At this point, you can form your patties and freeze them for later use.  Otherwise, see number 4.
4. Once chilled, heat a skillet over medium and spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Form burgers using your hands.  This mixture should make 6-8 burgers.  Place each burger on the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes or until burger starts to brown.  Flip the burger and repeat with the other side.  At this point, place cheese on top so that it melts.  Serve burgers with buns or bun-less and add whatever toppings you would like!

Enjoy :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wedding Planning Wednesday Part 4

My students are taking the PARCC test right now and I have a ton of time on my hands.  We are down to the last 7 days of teaching and I already have everything planned out, my copies are made, my finals are finished, and I am totally ready for summer.  With summer right around the corner, I am also ready to hard-core start wedding planning.  Here is my imminent to-do list:

1. Ask Bridesmaids/Maid of Honor to be in the wedding
2. Find a DJ
3. Work with venue to plan tastings with possible caterers
4. Schedule a few wedding dress shopping extravaganzas

Numbers 1 and 4 really go hand-in-hand because I want my girls to be there with me for advice and also so that we can find a bridesmaids dress as well! I have been researching like crazy and I wanted to ask: Does anyone have suggestions for bridal dress shopping venues?  I am on a budget so I can't go too crazy, but I also want to find the perfect dress.  I tried on a few styles at a David's Bridal out in Arizona and I have a good sense of what I want.  I would love an a-line gown with a Sweetheart neckline.  Like this one:
Wedding Dress

I have heard of Fifi's, Jasmine, 826, and a few others, but I need to narrow down the list.  I want something in/near Chicago.  Help!

I also have big plans for popping the "Will you be my bridesmaid/maid of honor?" question.  However, I am still working on that and I don't want to ruin the surprise!  I can't wait to show you what I've been doing, but we will have to wait for a future episode of Wedding Planning Wednesday!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Quinoa Salad with Corn, Tomatoes and Red Pepper

Let the countdown begin! There are only 9 more days of teaching and 3 days of finals until the end of the school year! I can't believe I am at the end of year 2!  I have gained so much confidence and experience in these past two years and I can't wait to embark on year 3. But first, summer!

This is a great, light summer recipe.  Quinoa recipes are awesome becasue you know they are a little healthier and gluten-free!  I have quite a few friends who can't have gluten and so this is the perfect recipe for a picnic or BBQ with them!  I was inspired by a recipe from Fitness Magazine.  This site comes up with great ideas for lighter recipes and with summer right around the corner I know these kinds of recipes are on my mind.  I am eating healthier because I am going to start wedding dress shopping soon! 

Quinoa Salad with Corn, Tomatoes, and Red Pepper

Quinoa Salad
Ingredients:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp dijion mustard
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 shallot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup quinoa
1 red pepper, chopped
2 cups corn kernels
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

Directions:
1. In a small bowl, whisk olive oil, dijion mustard, and vinegar.  Whisk in the salt, pepper, chopped shallot, and minced garlic.
2. Place quinoa and 3 cups water in a medium pot.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium and cover.  Let simmer for 20 minutes and then use a fork to fluff the quinoa.  Place cooked qunioa in a large bowl.
3.  Add the pepper, corn, and grape tomatoes to the quinoa and toss to combine.  Pour in about half of the dressing and toss.  Add more dressing as needed.  Let the mixture chill in the fridge.

Enjoy :)

Monday, May 18, 2015

Chicago Marathon 2015

I'm in!  I decided to run the chicago marathon and support this fantastic organization, Have Dreams.  Running for Team Have Dreams means that I will be helping support students with Autism all over the Chicago-land Area.  I am very excited about running my second marathon and I think that this organization is truly wonderful.  If you would like to learn more about Team Have Dreams or if you could help me achieve my goal, I would truly appreciate that!  Check out more at my site: Team Have Dreams - JodieB.

Marathon training is a little ridiculous.  I was looking over the training schedule from last year and I guess I sorta forgot hot intense it gets and how quickly that happens.  Training kick-off is June 13th and I will be training with CARA (Chicago Area Runners Association) again.  My buddy, Jana, who ran the last race with me, is also running again.  Plus, my friends Lauren, Ashley, and Hannah, are also all signed up to run their first marathon!  I am so proud of them for signing up and I am so excited for our shared experiences through these next 4-5 crazy months!

With training right around the corner, I'm looking into buying 2 new pairs of shoes.  Two pairs is the way to go because you burn through the first pair before you get to race day, but you want to break in the second pair before actually running the real thing.  I wear my first pair until peak week (where you run the 20 miler), and then I switch to my second pair for the final three weeks before the race.  Training also means I am re-stocking my running gels, tank-tops, and pants.

Running marathons takes a lot, but it helps me focus on a goal and it is something that for some crazy reason I love.  I am super pumped to see how this one goes and hopefully I even set a new PR! So, get ready for some new Marathon Monday posts about my running experiences!