Recipe: Food Network Magazine’s Moroccan Burger Salad: Modified and Made for One

I love cookbooks, cooking magazines, cooking shows and I have a sad obsession with Pinterest. Last week when I was in the grocery store I found the latest copy of Food Network Magazine. It’s called The All-American Issue so naturally it is loaded with recipes for the summer, BBQs and the beloved burger. There are so many spins on BBQ in this issue I don’t know how I didn’t eat the pages.


Some nights when I don’t have a lot to do, I will pick a new recipe and have date night with myself. Tonight’s date night included a new burger recipe and American Sniper. I modified the recipe to fit one person, I also adjusted for what I could find in my grocery store such as chile paste – I couldn’t find it anywhere, but I had read online that I could use sriracha powder as an alternative.



Before you start, preheat your oven to 350.

What you’ll need for your salad

  • 1 pita
  • 1 heirloom tomato
  • half a cucumber
  • quarter of a red onion
  • romaine lettuce
  • lemon juice
  • olive oil
  • garlic sriracha powder
  1. Take a pita, I used Joseph’s flax and oat pitas and cut it into triangles. I used a pizza cutter so that I could have pieces that were even.
  2. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake until crispy.

While you wait for the pita to bake you can assemble your salad.

Building your salad

  1. Cut red onion half. Put half away and then cut the other half in half. I cut the onion so that I could still have rings, but you can cut it whatever way is easier for you. A quarter of the onion is going to minced or grated, this will be added for your burger. The other quarter will be used in the salad portion of the meal and will be pulled into rings. Add rings into a large mixing bowl
  2. Cut the cucumber into slices about a centimeter thick. Add to onion in large mixing bowl.
  3. Cut tomato into bite size pieces and add to the other veggies.
  4. In a small bowl add 3 or 4 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. You might need more or less. I kept adding until I thought the ratio was good for my taste.
  5. Add garlic sriracha powder to oil/lemon juice mix and stir well. Pour over veggies, toss and set aside.
  6.  Cut up romaine lettuce and add to mixing bowl with veggies. Toss and place on a plate.

What you need to make your burger

  • 1/4 pound ground beef, I used 93/7 lean to fat ratio
  • 1/4 of a red onion
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • garlic sriracha powder

I use a food scale so I can track my macros, which made it easy to measure out 1/4 pound of beef.

  1. Heat a flying with a little cooking spray on the stove top. Out of 6, I set my dial to 5.
  2. In a bowl add meat and garlic sriracha powder, mix well.
  3. Add minced red onion and 1 teaspoon of olive oil, mix well and shape into a patty.
  4. Place patty in pan and cook on each side for about 3-4 minutes. I have an electric range and can cook things slower.

Finishing salad assembly

  1. Add pita chips to salad plate.
  2. Add patty to salad.
  3. Top with feta. I used reduced-fat feta because there’s still a lot of protein in it, but I can save a few fat grams.

 

The macros for my salad were 28f | 17c | 37p. The macros will change based on the brands you use, but on average these were a pretty solid way to round out my day.

I love this edition of the Food Network Magazine and I can’t wait to try out other recipes in it!

I hope everyone else had a great Sunday!

❤️ Cristina

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There are insecurities and shaming at every size

The other day I posted on my Facebook page a link to a story about girls who were trying to wrap their arms around their backsides and touch their bellybuttons, it’s called the Bellybutton Challenge. They were believing that this determined they were healthy because it meant they were thin. Well, girls- in reality you’re just flexible, not necessarily healthy. While I have been on a weightloss journey and my goal was to be thinner than my starting point of a size 24, I believe that you can be healthy at a number of sizes. Health is different for everyone.

Moving on…

I was sitting in my car on the drive home yesterday afternoon and I heard an ad on the radio for cools sculpting. It’s a procedure to help with fat reduction, less invasive than lipsuction. To kick off the ad, the radio DeeJay that is a spokesperson for the facility that conducts the procedures, talked about how these girls trying to touch their bellybuttons in China. Well that’s strange, why would that matter to her or this facility. I actually couldn’t tell if this was an ad or just a topic on the radio show. Yeah, nope it was an ad.

She continued to say that you could also touch your bellybutton is you had this procedure… Fantastic, we’re taking the insecurities of teenage girls and putting them in the faces adult women which they then usually adopt as their own insecurities and are led to believe that they aren’t healthy, they aren’t thin enough or beautiful enough without some kind of procedure, whether it’s as invasive as plastic surgery or minimally invasive like this cools sculpting procedure for fat reduction.

I have worked through and continue to work through a rough relationship with food. I have had binging issues for as long as I can remember. I’ve been able to identify trigger foods and remove them. I have also identified scenarios that will trigger me as well. I have found a workout routine that works for me and more importantly I have learned that being healthy isn’t a quick fix. It’s more than physical, it’s mental too.

I was really disappointed that a large Boston radio station allowed their DeeJay so be the voice of this specific ad because it does take the insecurities of young girls and emphasizes that you every right to feel inadequate. Well, no, you shouldn’t feel bad about your body. You shouldn’t try to be something you’re not.

In retaliation of this “challenge” many women and teens are taking pictures of themselves flipping the camera the bird while reaching around their backs. There also the #BoobsOverBellyButtons.These challenges aren’t things that should be making headlines, but there are causing a little bit of a stir. Even I felt inclined to throw my two cents in because I hate seeing the pressure put on young girls today. I feel the pressure too, I’m sure many women feel it. That’s why it’s important to talk about health and educate the new generation about food, exercise, overall health, etc. I hope that it doesn’t get worse.

What crazy challenges have you seen online? What are your thoughts about fat-shaming and skinny-shaming campaigns?

❤ Cristina

We just started this week and it already feels so long

The beginning of the week started rough. I mean, I know it’s only Tuesday, but Sunday night was a disaster. I have a few things on plate that are stressing me out. There by the normal stressors so I’m having difficulty handling them. I’m also having a hard time letting things that I can’t control go. These two go hand-in-hand. Sunday nights stressors led to a huge binging session with a 10″ cheese and extra pineapple pizza and my best friend Jess eating it with me. 

She arrived just as the delivery man was and she looked at me and goes well I’m hungry too. She figured I needed to get it out of my system because even if I hated myself the next morning, it’s something I needed to do. I needed to eat those slices and cry and complain. So we did that. I had 5 slices and she had 3. I cried and she listened. 

I woke up on Monday still full from the night before and decided a cup of coffee was really all I needed to get me through the morning. I felt bloated and angry, mostly at myself for not having more control over the urge, but also because I couldn’t figure out how to get the stress out in another way. I keep a protein bar in my bag, but I didn’t eat it until 2 pm. I was bloated and still full. I thought there was potential I could explode if I ate something. I drank a ton of water and that helped a lot. 

Today was a much can better day. I lowered my carbs a little bit since I’m still a bloated, but I hit my fat and protein goals spot on. My water is on track to meet my goal of 140 ounces. I’m less angry at myself and now I can move on from it. I’m planning my meals for the rest of the work week and I feel confident that there won’t be issues. I’ll figure out the weekend as we get closer. 

Even though Sunday was bad, looking back at where I’ve come, I’ve had worse days. I still have made so much progress. There’s a lot to be proud of regardless of slip ups because we all make them. 

Today I posted my transformation Tueaday photo comparing me at 26 to me at 18. I’m one size smaller now and 23 pounds heavier.  


I am still proud of who I have become even when I lose my way. 

I hope everyone else is having a good week so far!

❤️ Cristina 

Saturday adventures

 As week 10 of BBG comes to a close, I have a few things to celebrate!

 1. The thinning of my mid section! 
2. My journey’s progress is steady and I’m feeling really good about the recent changes.  
3. These baby biceps are going to start growing in a few weeks.  

4. I’m finding inspiration all around me, even in little things.


5. I’ve been giving myself time to explore the city around me.    
6. I’ve given myself some wiggle room for tasty local eats, but today I only got coffe 🙂    
7. But Infound some locally made cheese spread to bring home.  

8. I wandered around the farmers market and bought a croissant, which I have big plans for breakfast in the morning.  

9. I noticed my neighbor has the best flowers today.  

10. Date night with myself involved many carbs including a turkey burger and Halo Top ice cream for dessert.  

 

It’s almost sad that this week is over, but I’m excited to start a new one.

❤️ Cristina 

Recently added must try’s

Every now and then I find some pretty tasty treats that I feel like I need to share with the world. The treats that I buy aren’t necessary minimally process foods, sometimes they’re protein bars, something their teas. Today is a variety of items that I’ve come across in the past few weeks.

1. Luna Bars: Chocolate Cupcake and S’Mores

I love Luna Bars, mostly because of the variety of flavors offered, but also because they satisfy my sweet tooth without having a ridiculous amount of sugar. They say they’re for women, but I give them to my boyfriend to eat. There’s truly nothing in them specific for women, but if you know anything about the fitness industry – marketing is very funny for women’s products compared to men. There’s something off-putting about protein or muscles, and to get many to consume or even glance at products they use dessert flavors or buzz words. I love cupcakes so I’m sold, but I also have 5 containers of whey protein in my pantry… Oops.

 

2. The Complete Cookie: Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter Cookies

You have to remember, it’s not like a “normal” cookie, but keeping that in mind these were pretty amazing. My only problem is that half of one is a serving, you definitely need to a et aside some carbs. The taste is on point and they’re soft too, which was a surprise for a packaged cookie.

3. The Peanut Principle: I want S’mores

I know I don’t need to explain my obsession with nut butter, but I found this gem at a Vegan Food Festival in New England. True to the name this has vegan marshmallow fluff, graham cracker and cocoa layered in the jar. I’ve had this on my pancakes, but it’s great with pretzels for a sweet and salty treat. I will say it was a little sweeter than I had expected, so the 2 tablespoon serving is really all you need.

 

4. Sweet Spreads Coconutter: Dark Chocolate Mint

I love coconut and I had never had coconut butter before I tried Sweet Spreads. I won’t lie it’s something I saw on Instagram and thought, well it couldn’t hurt to try it down for pancakes it’s a great way to hit my fat macros. I’ve actually heard that coconut butter is great in coffee, it might be something I need to try soon!

 

5. GFB: Coconut Cashew Crunch

I tried this on the car when I was running errands and it totally held me over until I got my next full meal. If you like cashews you’re going to love this. The flavor is awesome and so many cashew chunks. It’s not sticky either like some bars are. I know Kind bars can be rather sticky, but this one was a no mess, no fuss bar.

Ok so they took Girl Dcout cookie flavors and combined it with a Crunch bar. Needless to say I’m glad these are individually wrapped in the bag. Two bars are a serving, but they’re sweet enough that you only need one. It’s a fun afternoon treat in between meals or combined with another snack.

Sometimes I like my coffee black and sometimes I don’t. This lets me have my cream and not feel guilty about it. Most creamers by Coffee Mate have 1.5f | 5c | 0p anyway, but this has 1f and 1c. Sugar really does take over creamer’s carbs and having 2 tablespoons of this in my coffee is just enough to be satisfied when I want my cup of Joe to be a little more than that.

What finds have you come across that you want to share? Anything I should try?

❤️ Cristina

3 weeks left 

There are so many parts to this journey. In the beginning you’re making the decision to change. You’re figuring out what foods work for you and what you should eliminate. You decide how you want to workout and how often. You’re constantly evaluating as you lose weight to prevent a plateau. Sometimes you do plateau and you get frustrated, you figure out what to change next and then you do it.

I am so glad that I decided to try the bikini body guide, but I’m going to be honest. I can’t wait until I’m done with the workouts. I miss heavy deadlifts. I miss heavy squats. I do love the circuit style workouts, but after a Kayla leg day, you can’t add in extra leg workouts. 

I’m starting Week 10 this week after re-doing Week 9… Long story short, I wasn’t happy with how my first go at Week 9 was. This past week was much stronger and I feel like I was much more on track. I’m excited for Week 10, but I will be jumping for joy in the 3 weeks when I can set new goals for heavier weight and refocus my health. 

To start this week off right, I’ve prepped the essentials: turkey burgers, chicken breasts, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, rice and sweet potatoes. I’ve also written out my meals for tomorrow through Wednesday. I’m still in cutting macros, but I’m working my way up to maintaining macros. This means I get to consume more carbs, but it also means that I need to slowly introduce them so that my body doesn’t get completely shocked. 

This part of the journey is just as nerve racking as the beginning, but I love goal setting and seeking to achieve something better. I’m still learning about myself and what I’m capable of, but I’ve learned that I can do so much more than I previously thought. 

Cheers to a new week and to surprising ourselves.

❤️ Cristina 

Recipe: Bruschetta Flatbread

I love Italian food and more importantly when I go out to an Italian restaurant I love getting bruschetta. I also love getting calamari, but that’s a different story for another post.

For date night, I wanted to make something special, but I also know how I get when a loaf of fresh bread is near me so I needed an alternative. Introducing the bruschetta flatbread. The tastiness of bruschetta while being low carb to fit my macros and help bring in some fiber.
What You’ll Need

  • Joseph’s oat and flax pitas, you could use any pita, but these are a low carb, high fiber pita that I always keep in the house
  • Bel Gioioso Fresh Mozzarella snacking cheese
  • Bruschetta topping, any brand will work just fine 
  • Pizza cutter

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Using a pizza cutter, take one pita and cut it into triangles. Place triangles on an ungreased baking pan.
  3. Open a package of mozzarella. Each package has 3 mozzarella balls. Cut each one into 3 pieces. You can cut them smaller if you want to distribute the cheese more.
  4. A serving of Bruschetta topping is 2 tablespoons. I used 2 servings – 4 tablespoons – for this recipe. Scooping 1 tablespoon at a time spread over pita triangles.
  5. Add cheese pieces.
  6. Bake for about 5-8 minutes. My oven runs hot so I kept them in for about 6 minutes.
  7. Serve!

The macros for this specific recipe are:

  • 190 calories
  • 13g of fat
  • 10g of carbs (4g of fiber)
  • 13g of protein

This was a really good alternative for Italian date night. It’s boyfriend approved and it allowed for room for other carbs in the meal. I had made stuffed peppers with brown rice so I definitely needed the room!

What other bread alternatives have you all tried? Comment below!

❤️ Cristina

Recipe: Flourless Greek Yogurt Banana Oat Muffins

I can’t tell you the last time I baked. I mean truly stalked Pinterest or cracked open my cook books for a baked good. Well, I had three ripe bananas sitting on my kitchen table, and what else do you do when you have ripe bananas? Make banana bread! However, I don’t keep butter in the house and there are some high fat recipes that I know I would want to stay away from. So to Pinterest I went and I found a recipe that used oat flour and Greek yogurt as main ingredients. While I didn’t have oat flour on hand I had a ton of rolled oats and a food processor – so I figured I could give this recipe a shot.

The original recipe is from Chelsea’s Messy Apron. I changed it up to fit what I had in my kitchen as well as to make it more macro friendly.

What I used:

  • 1 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
  • 249g of banana
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons erythritol
  • 1 and 1/2 cups blended oats
  • 2/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • dash of salt

The instructions I followed:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Blended oats in a food processor until fine, set aside for later use
  3. In a large bowl mash bananas, once mashed mix bananas with Greek yogurt
  4. Add eggs, vanilla and brown sugar
  5. With a hand mixer add in rolled oats, oat flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt
  6. Spray muffin pan
  7. Divide into pan using a 1/4 measuring cup, this made 13 muffins
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes

Macros and nutritional information:

  • Calories: 83
  • Fat: 1g
  • Carbs: 16.3g
  • Fiber: 1.8g
  • Sugar: 4.6g
  • Protein: 3.6g

I LOVED this recipe and it was the perfect way to use up my bananas. It is a dense muffin, but so tasty. They were sweet, but not overly sweet. The original recipe called for vanilla Greek yogurt, but I don’t buy that because of the added sugar. I figured if I needed to I could always add a little more cinnamon or vanilla extract. I tasted the batter as I went and decided I didn’t need to add anything to off set the plain yogurt.

I also decided to not add chocolate chips, mostly because I forgot., but I also believe that peanut butter might have a better relationship with these in the morning for breakfast :]

Here are some pictures from my baking adventure this morning.

 

❤ Cristina