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Italian Feta Black Bean Burgers

Black Bean Feta Burgers

I could not be more excited about this 70ish spring weather! My scarf and hat needed a break (and likely a trip to the laundromat as well). I’m also enjoying the motivation to get my booty outside and running.

I’m training for my first 10-miler. I’ve been a runner since high school, but for some reason, the thought of 10-miles still makes me weary. I know my legs can make it, but my mind’s an entity of its own. It’s made my training process a little slow-growing…

City running generally gets boring to me after mile three. Not enough trees or obstacles. I’ll push myself two more miles, but much more after that and my mind starts going crazy. I start yelling inside my head at all the oblivious dog-walkers on the street and then fight with myself about how those are not so nice or productive thoughts. I love dogs, but seriously, your pooches needn’t take up the whole path. City sidewalks aren’t royal runways for your dog. But what’s the use of letting those things get to me, right? If I have to slow down to dodge a person simply enjoying the weather, so what.

Gah…the conversations I have with myself while trying to keep my feet running and my mind distracted. If only Philly had more running trails. Luckily, I’m sure the race will provide plenty of people watching to keep me entertained for at least a few miles. People watching is a personal favorite spring and summer activity of mine.

Another favorite warm weather pursuit? Making burgers. Burgers just breathe springtime to me, even when they’re not made on the grill. I mixed things up with this one by adding feta, and then using whole chickpeas for a textural experience. I really liked the crunch from the chickpeas. Just don’t go overboard when adding them in, or they’ll dominate in flavor. As I’ve suggested below (though not pictured), consider sautéing the onions before topping off your burger. The sweetness with the feta is totally worth the extra step.

Black Bean Feta Burgers

Click here for recipe…

Red Curry Coconut Braised Collards

Red Curry Coconut Braised Collards
Eating a whole bag of potato chips in one sitting = not good. Eating a whole bunch of collards for dinner = I’ll take it.
What started out as an intention for an improvisational side, turned into a dinner full of greens. This saucy bowl of collards was that good.

Now I’m not saying that this was necessarily a balanced meal. But cut me a break. It was no drive-thru bowl of junk food. I’ve been getting into coconut milk lately, which while, yes, is best in moderation, can really enhance a dish with a natural creamy sweetness. A little can go a long way, so if planning to actually serve this as a side, consider freezing the remainder of your milk for another time. I had about a half a can left, which led me to discover that coconut milk freezes quite well. Although, you may consider doubling the recipe instead.

The slightly sweet and spicy sauce that engulfs these greens would undoubtedly lend itself to other vegetables as well. However, packed with vitamins A, C, K and folate, along with a dairy-free dose of calcium, too, I might suggest going with collard greens for at least the first test drive.

Roasted Red Onion and Brussel Sprouts

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Onions

Easter in my family’s house is rarely traditional. Deviled eggs will always be on the table, but that’s about the only consistency we’ve got going. Lucky for me, I like variation, and I like deviled eggs too.

At the peak freak-out-about-life age of 22, the biggest surprise every year is whether there will be an Easter basket waiting in my old room. When there is, I still freak out in joy. Even at 32, 42, 52 years of age, I’m doubtful that being surprised with chocolate will ever get old. At least I hope not. That’s a youthful consistency I hope to keep forever. (Although, I did request for a basket of contact solution this year, too.)

Anyway, so every year I’m faced with a dilemma of what to bring for Easter. As a cook, of course I want to whip something up, but guessing on the year’s menu is never easy. It’s never like “Grace, you make the green beans. Your sister’s making the mac & cheese. And I’m making the ham.” Likely, none of those classic items will show up on the table (though, my sister does make some killer mac & cheese). It’s usually more of a situation of me pondering over what I should pair with the obscure soup my mom’s making or the Indian feast she’s whipping up, etc. etc.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Onions

This year she mentioned salmon, so I’m thinking of whipping out this recipe. It’s super simple and quickly pulls together. Plus, its colors shine of spring. Red onions have really been winning me over lately.

Feel free to add some shaved Parmesan on top if you feel like jazzing these up once out of the oven.

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Banana Chocolate Chip Nut Muffins

Although it doesn’t quite feel like spring yet here in Philly, I’m kicking off the season with a fresh start – starting now. I’ve got some pretty exciting things coming up (hello trip to France!). And also some rather crazy changes happening as we move into one of my all-time favorite seasons. I’ll fill you in on posts to come. For now, let’s talk about one of the latest transformations to happen, aka, the bright new feel of this site!

Sorry that it has been down the past few days, but Food-Fitness-FreshAir is back, and, in case you haven’t noticed, with a spankin’ new design. I’m happy to say both my blog and I are kicking off the season feeling fresh. We’ll be celebrating the early spring cleaning with the recipe below. It in itself makes me want to grab my party hat.

Hands down, these are the best muffins I’ve had in a long time. And all of their star ingredients make them a healthy choice, too.

The chocolate-infused recipe is 100% whole wheat, but stays incredibly moist from the bananas, yogurt and tahini. Yes, tahini. This is the secret ingredient that adds an interesting depth of flavor to these muffins. Though it’s likely you’d only be able to pinpoint it if told it was in there. Even more importantly, the tahini keeps these muffins butter-free, relying on the naturally heart-healthy fats of sesame seeds instead. Combined with the omegas from the walnuts, this is one stellar choice when you need an on-the-go snack. After the first bite, you’ll want to celebrate too.

Click here for recipe…

Baked Salmon with Creamy Dijon Dill Sauce

Salmon with Creamy Dijon Dill Sauce

Another salmon recipe coming your way. This one’s surely graced the blog before, but seeing as though it’s a definite go-to of mine, I felt it worthy of a second post.

There’s something about yogurt (esp. Greek) that turns recipes into effortless creations. Overnight oats, stuffed baked potatoes, and this “cream sauce”, formed from a handful of ingredients stirred together in a bowl, are all great examples. Here, yogurt makes a surprisingly smooth, rich-feeling sauce without any heavy cream or butter needed. Another reason why the ingredient shines in my kitchen – it’s a trickster in all the right ways.

When it comes to the kitchen, there are definitely good occasions to be tricked and bad ones. Finding an empty pizza box put back in the fridge – killer. Discovering your cupcake is stuffed with peanut butter mousse – win. I’d say turning low-fat yogurt into a successful, creamy sauce undoubtedly goes on the plus side. You tell me your thoughts after giving this one a try.

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