It's one of those ugly dreary days where motivating myself to work out succkksssss. No excuses here though- I have a race coming up and I WILL beat my time from the Rock and Roll half last March! I did Blogilates' That Power POP HIIT 3 followed by a 20 minute interval run (doing what she instructs on the eliptical but running)

Wednesday Workout {Blogilates HIIT}

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Ooey Gooey Caprese Stuffed Turkey Burgers
Caprese (cuh-pray-say)- just the name is straight up bougie. Fancy foods gone cheap and clean is about my favorite thing right now. This recipe was a HUGE hit with both of us, like I would probably eat this 5 nights/week if I could. Especially because they are SO EASY TO MAKE and REAL INEXPENSIVE. I mean let's be real I'd pay $14 for one of these in a restaurant. And do you see how much the ingredients cost?? $3.00 for one burger.

I knew this week was going to be nutso so I prepped these Sunday night and we ate them Tuesday. BF made plantain chips for a side...we're still working on perfecting that recipe as these chips were "Cajun Style" i.e. burned.

Servings: 2 big stuffed burgers
Cook Time: 25 mins
Prep Time: 10 mins

  • 1 lb lean ground turkey, thawed ($3.99)
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped into big pieces ($1.00)
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese {or 4 slices fresh mozzarella, obvi I go for the cheapest option} ($1.50)
  • 2 Tablespoons dried basil leaves {or fresh basil leaves, it's just cheaper to keep the dried basil on hand} ($.30)
  • 2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
Season the ground turkey with the garlic powder, Italian seasoning and onion powder. Separate the turkey into 4 equal portions. Roll them into balls and flatten them out. Now push kind of a dent in the middle of the patties so they form a small "bowl" like shape.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the mozzarella into one of the "turkey bowls". Put the tomatoes and basil on top. Top with another 1/4 cup of mozzarella.

Now set an empty "turkey bowl" on top of the pile of tomatoes/mozzarella/basil (TMB). Spread the "bowl" over the filling and pinch the edges of the bottom and top bowl together until they are sealed around the TMB. Full disclousure: I made this on a Sunday so I was obviously drinking wine so these were obviously not perfectly pinched together, but they tasted delicious. So no matter how much of a slob kabob you are in the kitchen, these work out. I kind liked them better BECAUSE of how oozy and sloppy they looked- like nasty bar food (which I secretly miss on the reg). So hey, you win some you lose some.

You can throw these on the grill to cook, or if you're lucky like us and live in an apartment complex that regulates "grilling season" and restricts any grilling (as well as restricting the pool, the picnic tables, loud music and happiness) after Labor Day, cook in a frying pan over medium heat covered. Cook on each side for about 15 minutes. We added 5 minutes on each side to make sure the turkey was cooked all the way through.

Once they are cooked, drizzle with Balsamic Vinegar. Omzzzellliciousssnesss.

Mozzarella, tomatoes, basil...
And more mozzarella!

Caprese Stuffed Turkey Burgers

Welp I'm finally joining the choir of white girls that sings pumpkin's praises from the mountaintops from September to November. Somehow in these 20-some years I have just never gotten into the whole "all pumpkin everything start pinning recipes in July!!!" thing- until now. Until now, when I was experimenting with Italian-y clean stuffed ravioli, ran out of ingredients, so reached for the can of pumpkin (honestly it's probably been in the pantry for a few years..) and thought hmm let's try something.

I love love love the pumpkin raviolis (perhaps because they were so so easy to make?), the BF hated them but loved the Italian-y raviolis, which I hated. Aren't we just a match made in heaven huh?

Servings: 6 raviolis
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins

  • 2 medium sized zucchinis, sliced REAL thin- I use this NoPro Slicer from Amazon for $15  ($2.00)
  • 1 cup of pumpkin (I used canned pumpkin- $1.50 for the can)
  • 1/2 cup Feta Cheese ($2.50)
  • 1-2 teaspoons Parsley- fresh or dry 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together the pumpkin, feta, parsley and cumin. Take 2 slices of zucchini and place one on top of the other in a cross shape (see the pix at the bottom) on a baking sheet. If they seem too stiff to fold, throw them in the microwave for about 45 seconds and they'll be nice and pliable.

Scoop a spoonful of pumpkin mix onto the  center of the cross (where the 2 slices intersect- see pix below). Fold the zucchini up so all the ends overlap in the middle and flip over (so they don't come unfolded in the oven). Repeat for the others.

Throw your raviolis into the oven for 20 minutes. Top with a little tomato sauce and ENJOY!

Italian Stuffed Raviolis (I didn't love them as much so they don't get caps lock title SORRY):
Servings: 6 raviolis
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins

  • 2 medium sized zucchinis, sliced REAL thin- I use this NoPro Slicer from Amazon for $15  ($2.00)
  • 3 pieces of clean eating chicken sausage ($3.50)- when you're shopping for these check the natural foods aisle of the grocery store and remember the golden rule: No more than 3 ingredients
  • 1 cup butternut squash, cubed ($3.00- I bought mine pre-cubed) 
  • 2 cups spinach ($1.50)
  • 1/2 medium white onion, diced ($.50)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
Put the onion and garlic in a medium frying pan and heat over medium until the onion is translucent. Now add the sausage and butternut squash and cook about 10 minutes. Add the spinach and mix everything together (still over medium heat) until the spinach is wilted (like 2 minutes, spinach is like me- fades fast).

Throw all this into a food processor or blender (This Osterizer 10 speed has lasted me a solid 2 years) and pulse until it your mixture is pureed. This got a little difficult with the blender, but it worked out.

Follow the same directions above to assemble and cook the raviolis!

Having a party? I suggest serving them with toothpicks (below) with tomato sauce on the side for dipping. My friends who tried these raviolis thought I must have worked so hard to make these (LOL!) so I imagine they'd be a party hit.

Party fooood!

The pumpkin concoction. Looks funky, tastes amazing
And how pretty is the Italian stuffing cooking?
I doubled up because my zuc slices were so thin. Worked either way.

Spoon the stuffing onto the intersection. And stop judging my raggedy baking sheet

I've never been good with origami. If I can do it, you can do it.

Flipped and ready!

Goin in!

Topped with some sugar free tomato sauce. Mmmm mmmm.

Clean Eating Pumpkin Ravioli AND Italian Ravioli!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Is this hot oatmeal weather or what? This is our breakfast for the week and it's delicious/easy- cut out a square, throw in the microwave for 30 seconds and voila- hot oatmeal bake! Like an unsweetened oatmeal cookie with fruit. The house smells amazing while this bakes in the oven so enjoy.

Oh and sidenote: At first I was embarrassed to post pictures because I was all like but I don't even own a mixing bowl and I make huge messes and then I was like You know what? This just goes to show that you don't have to have anything fancy to cook clean. We literally don't even own mixing bowls, I mix everything in giant tupperware (woo DC kitchens with no storage space!) and I don't own anything like a whisk or a food processor (hence the reason things get a little messy). Someday when I win the lottery or change professions I'll invest in cute Pottery Barn matching mixing bowl sets, top of the line food processors, and a kitchen the size of a 2-bedroom condo with counterspace the size of a DC backyard, but for now it's working! So, cough cough, no excuses!

Servings: breakfast for the week for 2
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Prep Time: 15 minutes

  • 2 cups Old Fashioned Oats (or Steel Cut) ($.50)
  • 3/4 Cup Natural Maple Syrup ($.50)
  • 1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 Cup Raspberries ($4.00)
  • 1 Cup walnuts, chopped (huge bags for $4.99 at Giant- these are freezable)
  • 2 Cups unsweetened Almond Milk or Coconut Milk ($.75)
  • 1 large egg ($.25)
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Bannana, peeled and sliced($.10)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl (or large tupperware), combine the oats, syrup, cinnamon, baking powder, half of the raspberries and walnuts. Mix well.

In a separate bowl (or tupperware) combine the milk, egg and vanilla. Stir until the egg and vanilla are totally beaten in.

Spray a brownie pan with cooking spray or olive oil or coconut oil, anything to keep this concoction from sticking to the pan for life. Spread the oatmeal mixture out evenly in the pan. I know it seems super thin, but I promise it turns out fine! Now dump the milky-eggy-vanillay mixture evenly on top. Shake the pan a little if you need to get that milk to settle in.

Top it with the remaining raspberries and banana slices and throw it in the oven for 35-40 minutes and enjoy the amazing smell. Let it cool awhile before you eat it.
Yep. Tupperware as mixing bowls.

The milky eggy messy concoction

Look I have terrible hand-eye coordination so when I'm doing two things at once, the pix are gonna be REAL ugly

This is where I was like, um this just looks like oatmeal. I have a bad feeling

Breakfast for the Week: Clean Eating Berry Banana Oatmeal Bake

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Look I hate to brag but since power shopping isn't a nationally recognized competition yet, I have to give myself my own kudos in this area. Can we just talk about how I have managed to never pay more than $20 (except on shoes- hey, YOLO) on anything I wear? Also I follow a lot of those blogs that are just people showing what they wear to work every day and am almost always like OH I HAVE ALL THOSE PIECES! So a little broke and bougie inspiration for the week:


Wednesday (it was a desk day)

  • Shoes: $25 at DSW (7 years ago)
  • Pants: $19.99 Julie Straight Leg at Loft (I'm on their e-mail list and got an alert that these pants were 50% off the sale price and knew I had to track some down in my size)
  • Blouse: $17.50 at Forever 21 (2 years ago, see similar ones here)
  • Watch: $20 at Hallmark. Yep, Hallmark. Sidenote on Hallmark: they have a lot of random cool stuff. My mom did a part time gig there and I discovered that besides extremely over-priced cards, they also have reasonably priced chatchkis (see- unbreakable wine glasses, wine glass tumblers with LIDS, the list goes on).
Charming Charlie has been imperative in my need to accessorize like a Real Housewife of Atlanta while being completely broke, but the struggle of getting to Alexandria or National Harbor (yeah, no) only allows me to make bi-annual trips to the wondrous world of $10 or less jewelry.

So yesterday I received an e-mail that. changed. everything. YEAH YALL CHARMING CHARLIE IS ONLINE! Finally! Check it out here!!! These are the few things that I bought today with zero stress of driving to Alexandria (who are these people living here?) or taking a minute from whatever concert or party I've trekked to freaking National Harbor for.

First of all though, look at this glorious option. We really don't see this in online stores anymore:
Yep. A $0-$10 option that actually has things to choose from.

 Good Sport Watch $20

Amelie Printed Scarf $15


Friday, October 25, 2013

Yeah yall. My friend told me about this spiked cider/vodka cider mix/use of caramel vodka the other night and at first I was like "ew--but I'm intrigued" and rushed to the liquor store, and here I am on my 3rd one of the evening and I'm like "yes--everyone should know about this". Let me list the things I love about it: so fall, it's like a childhood sweet all grown up (see also: jello shots, shark bites, etc), and it is also pretty much mandatory for fall so I don't feel bad drinking it alone. #notsorry #thanksfall. So here it is, are you ready for this? It's much easier than making actual candy apples...

Servings: 1
Prep Time: approximately 5 seconds

  • 1.5 ounces of caramel vodka (1 ounce = 1 shot. This is among the important things I learned in college)
  • 1/2 Cup Apple Cider
  • {optional} splash of apple pucker (my friend uses this, I don't. Which way is better?!)
  • Ice
Fill your cup up with ice. Pour in the vodka, pour in the cider, stir, drink. If you don't like the sweetness replace the vodka with whiskey. Tastes best with a pumpkin candle burning and chili cooking in the crockpot.

Sidenote: how cute and proper are my little rocks glasses? Got 4 for $5 at Target. 

So once upon a time I worked in a school with a large Dominican population where we ate plantains on everything- even on sandwiches ("Miss you never had a plantano pork sandwich??"- as if this is so wild that I had never thought of it). We also put hot sauce on everything including pizza which I have taken with me for life. And that's the story of how I fell in love with plantains and hot sauce (I'm sorry the kids would kill me- plantanos).

Anyway, plantains are the best because they taste good with so many things and you can use ripe plantains for some recipes and unripe for others. This week Giant had 5 plantains for $2 so needless to say we are eating plantains everyday. Taking the idea of a plantano-pork sandwich, I came up with this incredibly delicious meal that, even though the bf complained watching it ("this is going to be gross! smashed bananas? ew sick it looks like you're making mashed potatoes with coconut milk! why do they even call this milk? meat and bananas? I mean I'll try it but"), he LOVED it and ate it for 2 meals the next day.

Also this recipe takes about 5% effort. So easy. 

Servings: 5
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 6 hours (crockpot style)

  • 1 lb pork loin ($5.00)
  • 1 14 oz can natural reduced sodium beef broth ($1.50)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced ($1.00)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp onion salt
  • 4 ripe (aka brown) plantains (Giant had 5 plantains for $2!!)
  • 1 cup coconut milk ($1.00)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 avocado, sliced ($1.00)
Put pork loin, beef broth, onion, garlic, garlic salt and onion salt in a crockpot on low for 6-8 hours. Once you are done cooking it, use two forks to shred the meat (this should be super easy as the meat will be super tender). Let it sit in the crockpot (crockpot turned off) for about an hour to cool and absorb the juices.

To open your plantains: Cut off both ends (the stem-like stuff), then slice down the middle and remove the peel from the middle out.

Slice your plantains into 1-inch-thick slices. Use about a teaspoon of olive oil or cocounut oil to lube a frying pan and cook the plantain slices for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until browned.

Combine the cooked plantain slices, coconut milk and cinnamon in a mixing bowl and smash together with a big-ish spoon until you get a mashed potato like consistency. Add more milk as needed to ease the smashing.

Scoop out a heaping spoonful of mashed plantains, top with the pork, and garnish with avocado. And of course, add hot sauce freely.

How freaking easy was that?
Pork loin might look like this in the store
or it might look like this

Mashed Plantains with Pulled Pork - Sweet and Salty DELICIOUSNESS

Thursday, October 24, 2013

We're more than halfway through the 30 day challenge!! Some days I feel amazing, but yesterday my body was just so tired- perhaps because I took a cheat day and ate drunken noodles, cake, and lots of other sugary foods I haven't had in quite awhile. Crazy how the body adapts.

Anyway here's Mr. Shut Up and Train's Day 17's Challenge- The Beach Body Workout (you know, for all the beaches we'll be hitting in the next month..). I tried doing two sets of each exercise for 60 seconds with 30 seconds active rest in between each (aka jumping jacks- by the end my jumping jacks looked more like 4 weak tree branches flailing around in a tornado).

Sidenote- can we just talk about blue shirt man doing lateral jump burpees? What in the... how does his body..? He's just so bouncy? Is that what we call it? Anyway I can't wait until the day lateral jump burpees are such a walk in the park that I look bouncy doing them.

Wednesday Workout: Mr. Shut Up and Train {Day 17}

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Really what is better in the fall then curling up with a good FREE e-book under a pile of blankets (while hungover from college football maybe..) as chili cooks in the crockpot? Yeah, not a whole lot. The books below are amazing. Just read them. And then talk to me about them because I loved these books and everyone is tired of hearing me talk about the characters like they're my friends.

  1. The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis: This. Is. Everything. I heard her on the Kojo Show (I know, nerd alert) talking about the million times this book got rejected by publishers and now she's been selected by Oprah Book Club. Doesn't that in itself make you want to read it?? Anyway, the New York Times likens her writing a mix of Toni Morrison and Louise Erdrich so, duh, must read. My co-riders on the S4 think I'm crazy because they saw me miss my stop and cry twice reading this one. You journey with Hattie and her family starting in the 1920's with her migration to the north, and see the world through all twelve (YES TWELVE) of her children's eyes. I don't know how else to say this, but this is such an important book.
  2. The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel: This reads like a grandma retelling a story about the good ole days. It's based on articles and journals from the wives of the first astronauts who were actually the original mainstream celebrities stalked by paparazzi. Fun facts: one of the wives built their house with no windows on the front so paparazzi couldn't CLIMB THROUGH HER WINDOWS, Jackie O was a size 10 (how did I not know that?)
  3. The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf: I read this in one sitting. It follows a family the day their daughter goes missing. Drama, suspense, romance, justice...what else could you ask for?
  4. Love Does by Bob Goff: All my friends were reading this and like "you have to read this!" and now I read it and I'm like "you have to read this!" to everyone else. Bob Goff, the founder of Restore International (a nonprofit human rights organization operating in Uganda and India), lives the most "whimsy", free life ever. This is his hilarious, insightful and heartwarming story. After reading it you're going to want to go do something crazy and "whimsy" (his word throughout the book) like save the world. I highlighted about 80% of this book, meaning it is REAL good. Sidenote: he talked at my church and he is absolutely as nutty sounding as he is in the book. I just want to be him.  
  5. Devil in the White City by Erik Larson: Sooo this is actually a American history lesson that includes the story of a serial killer, so you can't stop reading AND learn a little too. Sidenote- I didn't know the World's Fair was actually a thing? And it inspired Disney World! 
  6. Midwives by Chris Bohjalian: Take a little trip to "The Kingdom" of Vermont, because this writing makes you feel like you're there. This chronicles the daughter of a modern-day midwife as her mom stands trial for the death of a mother in her care. I read it in about two sittings, and I'm ready to read anything this guy pumps out.

Fall Must-Reads

I'm a creature of habit and routines meaning my morning routine is planned down to the minute (if I wake up at 6:17 and drink the coffee by 6:28..) and I really don't have time built in to make breakfast. Enter: Freezable Breakfast Burritos! Made a batch Sunday, wrapped them in foil and threw them in the freezer. Every morning I get up and microwave them for 2 minutes and enjoy  (or when I was late yesterday I threw a frozen one in my bag and heated it up at work and it was fine!).  You can put anything you want in these puppies, I used the usual suspects: beans, spinach, eggs, turkey.

Servings: 7
Cook Time: 10 mins
Prep Time: 10 mins

  • 7 eggs ($1.25)
  • 1/2 lb lean ground turkey ($2.50)
  • 3 handfuls of baby spinach, shredded ($1.00)
  • 3/4 cup salsa ($1.00)
  • 1 cup black beans ($.88)
    7 Ezekiel Tortillas (the website has a store locator, I found mine in the freezer section at Whole Foods) $($3.00)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
In one frying pan, scramble the eggs while you cook the turkey (with salt and pepper) until brown in the other pan. I only season my turkey with salt and pepper because my taste buds are not ready for much pizzaz in the early mornings, but if your's are season away.

Mix together the scrambled eggs, cooked turkey, and black beans. Scoop onto tortillas. Top the mixture with salsa and spinach. Fold the burritos Chipotle-style (tuck in the ends, fold the sides) and wrap in aluminum foil and throw them in the freezer! I like putting a scoop of Greek Yogurt on mine in the morning too. Adds a nice texture.

Don't forget to label them if you share with someone who doesn't like salsa...

Freezable Breakfast Burritos for the Week

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

 This ditty deserves a capslock title. Chocolate. Peanut butter. Shake. Completely clean, dairy free, OMGGGG!!!! 

  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder (I order mine from Amazon)
  • 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 4 ice cubes
Throw it all together in the blender, blend it up, enjoy. This. Is. Amazing. 

Sidenote: this is the blender I got from Amazon two years ago and it's still truckin. Highly recommend:


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Really who doesn't love fall? Since college football appears to be drunk this season I've been relying on [clearance] retail therapy. Look at these great bargains:
Boots: Jesse Boot from JustFab $39.95
Jeans: Elle Slim Straight Leg Jeans from Kohls $23.95
Shirt: Stripe Blouse from H&M $11.99
Purse: Private Charter from JustFab $19.99
Bracelet: H&M $6.00
Scarf: Orange Infinty Knit Scarf from Zulily $12.00

Fall YALL!

just look at that. Perfectly poached.
"Poached Eggs" just sounds straight up bougie. Needless to say, this is my favorite way to cook eggs. After experimenting (and failing) with poaching methods I found the perfect poached egg. This is a quick and easy go-to breakfast. I like mine on top of Ezekiel bread and sliced tomatoes, and top it with sea salt and hot sauce. And I prefer to couple it with (bottomless) mimosas of course.

Step 1: Fill a sauce pan with 3-4 cups of water. Add a capful of distilled white vinegar (this keeps the egg from falling apart in the water) 

Step 2: Heat the water and vinegar on high until it gets to that point right before it boils, where the bubbles are coming up the sides like this:

 Step 4: Crack an egg (or 2 or 3) and put it right into the water. Reduce the heat to medium. It's going to look like a mess- don't panic! Do you hear me? Step away from the stove! It will be fine!
See it looks fine at first...

Don't panic at this point! It's fine!
Step 5: Let it set in the water over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes. Using a slotted spatula, pull the egg from the water and let it drain a little.
do a little dance, let it drain, jiggle it around
 Step 6: Enjoy your clean, bougie breakfast any way you like. May I suggest with peach champagne and OJ?

The Perfect Poached Eggs

Saturday, October 19, 2013