High Protein Red Bean and Garlic Veggie Burger- With Spinach and Hemp!

I’ve been light on food shopping over the holidays, so I literally have nothing in the house to make for lunches and dinner. I’ve been scraping boxes of pasta together and making some cream sauces out of cashews to try and come up with inventive dinners that don’t totally bore my hubby.  I’ve got to get back on track with food shopping- but for now, my laziness led to a new veggie burger recipe out of desperation to feed him!

These red bean and garlic burgers have a really nice mild taste.  To boost their nutrient content I added organic baby spinach as well as the world’s healthiest seed…hemp seeds!  I love adding hemp to burgers, salads, oatmeal…basically anything I can.  Hemp seeds are very soft and easy on the digestive system.  They are LOADED with healthy, plant derived protein, about 3 grams of protein per tablespoon.  More importantly than the protein though, are the Essential Fatty Acids they contain (EFAs).   EFAs are, as their name implies, essential to our health.  Our bodies need them to maintain health but we don’t make them on our own. That means we MUST get them from our diet.  Hemp seeds are an excellent source of EFAs. I add 1 tablespoon to my oats every morning as well as 1 tablespoon to my Sunwarrior Protein Shake every day.

So these burgers are gluten free and protein packed.  There is about 8 grams of protein per burger patty- if you use a 1/2 cup measuring cup to make your patties.  I topped mine with a little Daiya Vegan Mozzarella shreds and some Earth Balance mayo.

Recipe: Vegan and Gluten Free Red Bean and Garlic Veggie Burgers

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Red Bean and Garlic Veggie Burger with Spinach and Hemp

High protein red bean burgers with spinach and hemp seeds.  Lots of nutrients, essential fatty acids and anti-oxidants packed into these burgers along with fiber and protein. 

Course dinner, lunch
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 5 people

Ingredients

  • 1 14 oz can Red kidney beans
  • 1/2 onion chopped (I like vidalia)
  • 1/2 cup Rolled Oats (plus 2 tablespoons) Quick cook is fine, gluten free if necessary
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 3 tablespoons hemp seeds
  • 1.5 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (omit for high blood pressure individuals)

Instructions

  1. Add onion and garlic to food processor. Pulse about 10-15 times.  Add remaining ingredients to food processor and pulse until mixture is smooth.  You don't want to completely puree the mixture, but you don't want it lumpy either. 

Transfer mixture to a bowl. Heat a pan and spray with non-stick spray. While your pan is heating, use a 1/2 cup measuring cup to form patties.

Cook burger patties for about 2-3 minutes per side, until a slight golden brown forms.

Topping suggestions: Earth balance mayo, Daiya mozzarella shreds, avocado, roasted red peppers.

Cross Training Boot Camp Can Help You Be A Better Athlete

Being strong but slow in sports is not ideal.  Top athletes, whether it be running, playing football, baseball, basketball, cycling, etc,  all have one thing in common: they are strong and they can move quickly.  Being strong but slow in most sports isn’t ideal. Being able to produce force rapidly is part of what creates a top athlete.

A cross training boot camp like the one offered at Ultimate Fit Zone in Monmouth County, combines traditional strength training exercises with athletic performance exercises to create a diverse, multi-dimensional training program that can help athletes excel to the top.

A comparison of a strict strength building exercise with a strength and force building exercise is the strict overhead press and the push press.  The strict overhead press is what many body builders and strength trainers are accustomed to.  It involves isolating the shoulder muscles to push weight over the head.  It is great for building muscle and strength.

The push press is used in CrossFit and cross training programs to help build strength, force and speed.  The push press contrasts the strict press in that it calls on a larger variety of muscles (add in the lower body) to drive, push and stabilize the bar overhead.  This helps build power, speed and stability- things all athletes can benefit from.

Developing this explosive power and speed helps athletes run faster, cycle harder, be more nimble on the field, duck and dodge tackles, exert more force and be more agile.

Many of the cross training exercises in our Monmouth County boot camp gym are based on these principals.  We use a combination of these exercises plus traditional strength movements as well as cardio and body weight bearing movements to thoroughly work and train the muscles in the body not just for strength, but for speed and athleticism.  This program can benefit anyone looking to be more fit overall, even non-athletes.

About Eddie Albert, NJ Personal Trainer

Eddie is the owner of Ultimate Fit Zone and a personal trainer in Monmouth County.  He has a body building background with a mix of CrossFit and personal training.  He designs workouts for individuals of all ages and fitness levels and is the director of training for the boot camp gym and his 24 hour gym, Ultimate Fitness.  Both gyms are in Ocean Twp (Monmouth County).

Flourless Vegan Fudgy Brownies

These brownies are very chocolatey and fudgy- everything you would want in an ooey, gooey brownie…and don’t tell the kids but there are veggies in these brownies! I promise no one will ever know that there is a full cup of grated zucchini in there!  The only ‘con’ to these brownies is that they don’t fluff up much while baking.  They stay pretty thin but the flavor more than makes up for it.

We had ours warm with a little Ben & Jerry’s non-dairy ice cream on top. AHHHHHHmazing!

This recipe has been modified from its original version on RunningWithSpoons.com

flourless-vegan-brownie
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Flourless Vegan Fudgy Brownies

These brownies are delicious and fudgy.  They don't bake up like thick brownies so double the recipe if you want them to be larger.  Mine were thin and gooey and we liked them 🙂

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 6 people

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Peanut Butter (or any nut butter of choice)
  • 1 ripe medium banana
  • 1 Flax egg (1 tbs ground flax mixed with 3 tbs water-mix and let sit for 2 minutes)
  • 1/4 cup Maple syrup (or agave)
  • 1/4 cup Cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup Shredded zucchini (this is about 1 medium zucchini. Squeeze some of the excess water out after shredding)
  • 1/4 cup vegan chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray an 8x8 baking pan with non stick spray or line with parchment paper. 

  2. Add all of the above ingredients (except for the zucchini and chocolate chips) to your food processor. Process until a smooth brownie batter is created.  Stir in the shredded zucchini and chocolate chips.

  3. Pour batter into your 8x8 baking pan.  Bake for 30 minutes, until a toothpick or knife comes out of the center clean.  Let cool and enjoy.  You can store these in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in an air tight tupperware. 

 

Vegan Mexican Casserole Recipe

vegan-mexican-casserole-recipeThis is the easiest Mexican casserole and what I love about it is that it can be used as a main entree or as a dip for chips and veggies at a gathering.  I chose organic ingredients for this meal.  In many cases, organic canned beans are just about $.20 more than regular canned beans.  For corn, organic non-GMO is always a must. Even choosing organic, this was a very cheap dish to make.  Enjoy! We enjoyed ours with Sea Salt & Lime Tortilla chips and guacamole.

This will make about 6 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 x 15 oz can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 x 15 oz can black beans, rinsed well and drained
  • 1 cup salsa of choice ( I used milld)
  • 2 cups of Daiya vegan shreds + another 8 oz for topping (I used a combination of Cheddar, Pepperjack and Mozzarella)
  • 1 x 10 oz can of Rotel tomatoes with chiles (I like the cilantro/lime variety. If you like SPICY – the fire roasted variety will add a good kick)
  • 2 cups cooked rice (Wegman’s sells frozen organic rice that is already cooked. I didn’t even have to defrost it–just added it right to the bowl of ingredients)
  • Optional- 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika (I happen to love smoked paprika so I add it to many Mexican dishes.  It tastes amazing but is not necessary)
  • Optional- sliced olives as a toping for the casserole

Directions: Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9 x 11 baking dish with Olive oil baking spray. Combine first 7 ingredients in a large mixing bowl (except the 8 oz of cheese for topping). Transfer to baking dish.  Sprinkle the 8 oz of cheese on top and sliced olives if you are using.  Bake for about 50 minutes.  Let cool a little before you slice it. It will be ‘gooey’ so you may need to use a spatula along with a large knife for serving if you want to try to keep the ‘square’ shape. Otherwise, spoon it onto plates.  Serve with tortilla chips, avocado or guacamole.

Enjoy 🙂

 

 

Recipe: Polenta with Spanish Rice and Beans



spanish-polenta-recipe-1I found this recipe in The China Study Cookbook and thought it looked so tempting! I was right!  It’s amazing and my husband loved it too. I made a few changes from the original recipe.  Mainly just doubled the amount of polenta because I wanted a thick layer underneath the beans and rice and I love smokey flavors so I added in diced smoked tofu (organic, non GMO variety).  Also, I used organic frozen brown rice (it’s already cooked) instead of regular brown rice because that cut the cooking time down by 45 minutes. What you see below is my slightly revised recipe from the original.

Polenta with Spanish Rice and Beans

Ingredients:

For the Polenta:

  • 4 cups waterspanish-polenta-recipe-2spanish-polenta-recipe-3
  • 1.5 cups polenta corn grits
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

For the spanish rice and beans:

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic (or use 1.5 teaspoons mince garlic or 1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 x 14.5 ounce can diced tomato ( I always try to get a brand that says ‘BPA Free’ on the label
  • Some vegetable broth (just for sautéing so the onions and rice don’t stick to the pan)
  • 1 tablespoon (or less) chili powder
  • 1 cup frozen, organic brown rice
  • 1 x 15.5 ounce can black beans, rinse well!!
  • 1 cup salsa
  • Guacamole (to add when serving)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit

To cook the polenta, bring the water, polenta and salt to a boil. Lower, stir often for a few minutes. It will thicken quickly. Transfer the polenta to a baking dish (I used a square dish about 13×13 or so…) and spread it evenly into the dish. (Spray baking dish with non fat cooking spray. I use olive oil spray). Leave that there and go work on the rice and beans.

Sautee your onion, garlic, and chili powder for about 3 minutes to soften onions.  Use your vegetable broth to prevent sticking. Then add in the frozen brown rice.  If anything is sticking, add another splash of broth.  Sauté another 2 minutes to mix all flavors together.  Stir in the tomatoes, then the black beans. Mix all together.

Pour the rice and bean mixture on top of the polenta mixture and smooth out with a large spoon.  Spread salsa on top of the mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.  remove from oven.  When serving, add a dollop of guacamole on top.   I served mine with marinated kale greens.

 

 

Barbell Babes at Ultimate Fit Zone

The women impressed again at last week’s double AMRAP session with a deadlift/box jump AMRAP and a row/dumbbell snatch AMRAP that followed.

Looking good ladies!

Deadlift, box jump. Snatch, row. Two different AMRAPs going on together. #crosstraining #fitfam #ironwomen #barbellbabe #deadlift #boxjump #snatch #monmouthcounty #fittest

Ultimate Fit Zone is a Cross Training Boot Camp in Monmouth County.

Yoga For Beginners

yogaComplimentary Yoga for Beginners – Pre Registration Required

Taught By Alexandra Jacob

This is a Five Week Karma Yoga class beginning Sunday February 15th 8-9 am at Ultimate Fit Zone in Ocean Township.    Each class will be an hour long.  Karma yoga is of no charge to you.  It is completely complimentary.  A course for the yoga beginner, including all the inside information you need to feel comfortable when you are starting a yoga practice. Find out how to pick a yoga style, observe proper yoga etiquette, and avoid injury. Each week you will also get the answer to a frequently asked question (FAQ). At the end of this five-week course, you will understand the principles and origins of yoga, and know how to practice beginning-level poses.

This class is great if you have never taken a yoga class or if you are looking for a better insight within yourself.

Alex is studying to become a certified yoga instructor by Yoga Alliance. This is a part of her clinical study, in which she will ask you to complete a form about how the class benefited you. Supplies needed:  Just you, a towel (large), men’s tie (for strap work) and a water bottle. 

REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED

To register, please visit https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/classic/home?studioid=129958

If you are not a current Ultimate Fit Zone client, please create an account and book yourself in for any Yoga sessions you may be attending.  If you are unable to attend please make sure you remove yourself from the class you are booked in for.

Ultimate Fit Zone is located in Middlebrook Plaza at the corner of Deal Road and Highway 35 South in Ocean Township.

1466 Highway 35 South – 732-428-2111 – www.UltimateFItZone.com

Meatless Monday Meal Plan 10-20-2015

We’re thrilled that so many of you have taken an interest in Meatless Monday.  this is a worldwide cause to become healthier individuals, protect our planet and protect animals.  Yes, not eating meat for just ONE day can do all of that!!!  Our goal is to spread awareness of the cause throughout Monmouth County and get more businesses, schools and organization supporting the cause!

Some of you asked what types of meals to prepare, so we created a sample Meatless Monday meal plan for you.  We will publish more each Monday.

Meatless Monday Meal Plan

Breakfast: Sunwarrior Protein shake blended with ½ frozen banana, 1 tbspn natural peanut butter, 8-10 ounce mix of unsweetened almond milk and water

Snack: 1 slice Ezekiel toast (get this in Wegmans in the frozen aisle across from the almond milk) with hummus

Lunch: Giant mixed green salad ( I get the organic Spring mix in Wegmans) tossed with ¼ c chick peas, roasted red peppers, cucumbers, olives.  Topped with light Balsamic Vinagrette dressing.  Side: ¼ cup cashews (or walnuts or almonds)

Dinner:  Sautee: ½ eggplant (peeled and cubed), 1 cup broccoli, 1 cup mushrooms sliced.  I like to season mine with some cumin, curry powder, garlic, pepper and a light mix of marinara sauce thinned down with some water.

On the side: Cauliflower rice:

Recipe:

This will make the whole head of cauliflower, chop ingredients in half if you don’t want to make it all. But I would make it and keep the rest in the fridge so you have it for the week)

  • 1 medium head (about 24 oz) cauliflower, rinsed
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • pinch of salt
  • spray
  • 1/2 small onion, diced fine
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • optional- add about 1 cup sliced mushrooms if you like shrooms ☺

3 tbsp Braggs Liquid Amminos, or more to taste (Tamari for Gluten Free)

Chop head of cauliflower into smaller florets, place florets in food processor and pulse until it is about size of brown rice (careful not to over process) – set aside

In large sautee pan, add 1 tbpn coconut oil, garlic and ½ small onion. Sautee about 5 mins until onion is soft (also add mushroom if you are using)

Add cauliflower ‘rice’ to pan along with the Bragg’s amminos and sautee about 2 mins on high heat.  Then lower heat and cover and cook approximately 5 to 6 more minutes, stirring frequently, until the cauliflower is slightly crispy on the outside but tender on the inside.

 

Do You Need More Salt In Your Diet?

9 out of 10 of us probably get too much salt in our diets.  Many of the foods we eat today are LOADED with salt, especially packaged and canned food.  But for some of us, the health benefits of moderate salt are missing from our diets.  I also want to be clear that when I talk about salt, I am NOT referring to table salt.  I am referring to natural sea salt or iodized salt.

health-benefits-iodized-saltWe never hear about the health benefits of salt because so many of us are eating too much of it which is having negative consequences on our health.  However, in moderation, natural salt in your diet is good for you.

I never realized this until recently.  I have never used salt in my diet at all and I rarely eat anything canned or processed. For the most part, I eat whole, natural foods.  I have always had very low blood pressure, naturally.  In 2012 when I started Cross Training, my blood pressure became even lower. I specifically remember going to the doctor one time for a check up. They took my blood pressure and then looked at me with a strange face.  He said to me, ‘Do you feel ok?’ and I said, ‘Yes, I feel great, why??’ It turns out my blood pressure was pretty low. Something like 108 over 60.

For the most part, even with very low blood pressure, I felt great.  One thing that did happen to me quite often, though, was that I would get very quick flashes of dizzy spells.  They would come and go very quickly.  I never thought too much about it. But then, another uncomfortable symptom appeared and that was an irregular heart beat.  Every now and then it would feel like my heart was skipping a beat. I went to the cardiologist, wore a heart monitor and was diagnosed with Premature Ventricular Contractions.  Nothing dangerous. They weren’t concerned about it at all. They just told me to avoid caffeine and alcohol as they are stimulants.

Time went on and the irregular heart beat got a little better as I was off caffeine. But the dizzy spells remained. I decided to investigate further.  Went back to my primary care doctor and told her about the dizzy spells and continuing episodes of irregular heart beats.  After an echogram turned up normal, she suggested that I add a little bit of natural salt to my diet to bring my blood pressure up a little bit.

Why Salt Is Important In Our Diets

Sunwarrior Liquid Light replaces electrolytes in the body

Sunwarrior Liquid Light replaces electrolytes in the body

Salt is made up of sodium and chloride.  Sodium is an extremely important electrolyte that is necessary in our body.  When the amount of electrolytes in your body is too high or too low, you can develop dizziness, cramps, and problems with an irregular heart beat (heart rhythm) and more.  For me, my salt intake was so low combined with the fact that I lose electrolytes from sweating so much during my rigorous cross training workouts. I believe my electrolytes were imbalanced which was causing my  irregular heart beat and also my dizziness.

I never knew that not eating salt/sodium could affect my health negatively.  I have learned how important it is to regularly replace fluids if you sweat or are physically active.  For me, I also needed to replenish my electrolytes.

What I did was I added iodized salt to my diet (read more about the health benefits of iodized salt) and I started taking a supplement that would add natural minerals and electrolytes back into my diet.  Using healthy salt and taking the Sunwarrior Liquid Light minerals, my symptoms are virtually GONE. I can’t tell you the last time I had a dizzy spell— MAYBE once in a blue moon where I used to have them every day, a few times a day.  My heartbeat has also been very regular.  I rarely notice any sort of disturbance at all.

******If you have symptoms that you may suspect are from an electrolyte imbalance or lack of salt- first talk to your doctor.  Never diagnose yourself based on someone else’s experience or what you read on the web. I saw my primary care doctor and a cardiologist first.   The Sunwarrior Liquid Light is available at Ultimate Fit Zone.  This is a great product for ALL of us who participate in UFZ training to take.

My Best ‘Worst’ Workout

I had my best ‘worst’ workout tonight.  And even as I type this- I’m completely exhausted.  I felt pretty good all day.  A few sore spots on my body from the last few workouts that I’ve done but nothing that really stuck out to me.  I went to do the 5:30 boot camp and felt ready to tackle the challenge.   It was a high rep workout so I didn’t go too heavy- but still took decent sized weights that I knew (or at least thought) I could manage based on previous workouts.

I made it past the push-ups without problem but as soon as I got to the thrusters that’s when it all fell apart.  All of a sudden I felt soreness in many parts of my body that didn’t feel sore to me that day.  My shoulders were killing me, quads here and even hamstrings were tight.  I also just felt tired. It was hard for me to get the weight up and I wasn’t even squatting to parallel- not typical for me.

boot-camp-fitness-njRight away I knew I was going to have a real hard time. I pretty much felt exhausted.  As I continued to struggled through my reps I contemplated quitting or dropping to lighter weights. It was a 25 minute AMRAP and I knew I would not get many rounds at all with the pace I was going.  I was pretty disappointed.  I decided to stick with my current weights and just slow my pace up. I was going to take it real slow, nice and easy, throughout the 25 minutes.  I didn’t even mark my rounds on my dry erase board, I knew I wouldn’t get many at all.  I set myself a goal to at least get 3 rounds in, which was manageable. Others were doing 5 or 6 rounds.

Even though I had made up my mind about how to handle the AMRAP- I wasn’t sure how I felt about it.  Did I feel like I quit or gave up?  Or did I feel as though I was making the right decision for my body.  There are always times when we feel a little tired and feel like giving up.  And pushing through is what makes us stronger.  But there are also times when our body is legitimately tired and needs to rest.  Becoming a stronger, faster and better athlete means understanding the difference between needing to push harder and needing to rest.

Rest is an integral part of our developments as Cross Training athletes.  Without rest, muscles can not repair themselves to function at their optimum capability.  They (and you) need rest and recovery time. Resting allows your body to repair damaged tissue and replenish energy.  And there is also something to be said about the metal aspect of resting. It feels good mentally to know I am allowing my body to recover from the stress of training I put it through.

So today I waived the white flag and surrendered to my body.  Even though it was one of my worst workouts as far as performance goes- it was the best thing I could have done for my body.

–Stacey


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Boot Camp Monmouth County | Circuit and Interval Cross Training NJ
Cross Training Boot Camp Monmouth County