Friday, January 18, 2013

Spicy Vegan Black Bean Burgers

So, my partner and I love those darn Morning Star Spicy Black Bean Burgers.. The only issue is that they are completely packed with processed garbage, GMOs, preservatives, and other things I can't even say better yet spell!

So, what is a girl to do? I mean I already have forced my loving partner into eating kale, arugula, chia seeds, quinoa, and a host of other things he'd never even heard of. By the way, It should be said that when we first got together I used to make him these incredible, authentic, amazing Mexican dishes. Of course, they were all laden in grease and other not so good for you things. He still to this day remains steadfast that that's how I roped him in. Ladies, you get it! The fastest way to a man's heart is through his stomach.. Well, I got to his heart and realized on top of loving him to pieces that I want him to live a long time, and personally, I didn't want to weigh 700lbs by the time we celebrated our silver anniversary. Okay, yeah maybe I tricked him, but he totally loves all the amazing healthy food I make! (Well .. almost all... Shh!)

Awhile back a friend of his introduced him to those aforementioned bean burgers, and we've been buying them ever sense.. (against my better judgement, but hey.. I pick my battles.)
So, yesterday when we were at the grocery store he mentioned that he wanted to get a box of those burgers, I informed him that I bet I could make them for less money and without all the other garbage in them! Well, he accepted my challenge, and I found myself trying to figure out how to make this happen.  So, I scanned through the scientific text (known as the ingredients label) picked out the identifiable ingredients and set about making these things happen! This recipe yields 12 patties. Feel free to modify as you like! I decided to do mine vegan, but I'll list other vegetarian substitutes as well!

Spicy Vegan Black Bean Burgers:


1 (16oz) can of black beans
1 cup of cooked rice, quinoa, or a combo of both --I used a wild rice and quinoa blend
1 large carrot cut into one inch chunks
.5 red bell pepper cut into chunks
3 tablespoons raw hulled sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast - this is replacing cheese, you could use .5 cup of shredded cheese
1 tablespoon of chia mixed with 3 tablespoons of water -this is replacing an egg (you could use an egg)
.5 teaspoon salt or 1 teaspoon aminos/tamari/soy
1 tablespoon taco seasoning mix
.5 tablespoon red chili flakes

Reserve half a cup of the rice and 1 tablespoon of sunflower seeds -set aside

Process first 5 ingredients in a food processor until well mixed and carrots are broken down.

(If you don't have a food processor then finely chop veggies and mash beans and continue recipe below, it will be more of a hearty burger, which isn't a bad thing! You probably will not need the extra rice or sunflower seeds.)

In a large bowl combine mixture from the food processor and the half cup of rice, sunflower seeds, chia seed mixture, and seasonings mix to incorporate. --adding these in here will bulk up your burgers

Now you have your basic base, you'll be forming patties, (think golf ball size amounts for each patty,) from this mixture, so you have some options.

You can either bake these, fry these, or both. You'll have about 12 patties, so you will be freezing the left overs unless you just eat them all (more power to you! hah!)

I chose the both option and browned them in a skillet with coconut oil and then placed them on a large baking sheet in an oven set at 350° for half an hour. I let them cool and then put them in an airtight container and stuck them in the freezer!

I'm pretty sure that these are way cheaper, taste better, and have totally identifiable ingredients!
I made the whole batch in a little over an hour (that is making all 12 patties processed, browned, and baked. Mister man LOVED them and started eating them like cookies right off the baking sheet as they cooled.. Ahemm, rude! Just kidding, I'm thrilled he loved them!

Enjoy! Let me know how they turn out!

Loving you!

Laura Helms

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Hey, You! Yeah, you! Lets catch up! *2011-present*

So, lets play catch up. If you're new to my blog you might be a little confused about the timeline. The previous posts, ala before Monday, on my blog were from 2011, and then ***timewarp* it is 2013. Yes, that is quite a bit of time. If you're friends with me on Facebook than you've been up to speed with the general story of the past few years.

On Christmas day I posted a photo (shown above) to Facebook of a me in the new Women's Health Big Book of Yoga, written by Kathryn Budig. (Thanks, mama, for this radical gift! Even though the book has been out since October, this was the first time I saw it in the flesh.. err.. cellulose? oh whatever.)

I highly recommend this book for anyone with an interest in starting a yoga practice, furthering their understanding of the benefits and uses of yoga, and incorporating light humor and renewal into your current practice. Seriously, this book is put together phenomenally!

...BUT.. lets back up, about a year-ish into my yoga practice I started doing Kathryn Budig's classes on (another wonderful yoga resource, $18/month unlimited online yoga classes from the crem de la crem of yoga teachers). I was inspired by Kathryn's wit, humor, and her ability to make me believe "the impossible"to be totally do-able! So, I began following her on Facebook. In Late October of 2011,  she had posted to her facebook that she was looking for stories of weight loss and yoga for her new book. "Hey!" I thought, I might have something to say on this.

It will come as no surprise to many, but I am a die-hard yogi (..yogini.. whatever..), originally I started this blog as an inspirational blog to get people on to their mats, or at least considering it, and a way to track my progress of losing the baby weight. Well, it was a journey that took a lot of dedication, and most of that dedication was spent on real-life and not so much blogging or updating. To date, I have lost all the baby weight and more. So, here is the story that appeared in The Big Book of Yoga.

Continued Below..

Copied from Women's Health Big Book of Yoga by Kathryn Budig (GO BUY IT NOW!)
 -- More info on Kathryn Budig

Yay! So, I actually wrote this in 2011, so, yeah want more of an update? I continue to LOVE my yoga practice, and all the weird benefits that manifest as a result. "Such as?" you might ask. Well, yoga has changed my outlook on life, love, fitness, and eating. It is really difficult to explain how a simple "exercise" can do all that, I know.. just trust me.. It is weird.. and it happens. Not trying to get too hippie-doo-da-day, but I'm thinking it has something to do with the whole mind-body-spirit connection that happens in yoga. However, you might not get this till you get "it", so I'll spare you the rest of my praise of the GRAND POOBAH-YOGA. Just trust me, okay? Hit your mat!

Another really amazing thing that happened last Summer, I actually got to practice with my yogini-heroine, Kathryn Budig, at Yoga Pearl for her Flight of the Yogi workshop. So much fun! I totally recommend looking into practicing with this amazingly inspiring woman. She leads workshops and retreats all over the world, so for real, check her out!!

Me, Kathryn, and my totally hot amazon mama

Right now, I'm focusing on honoring a place of balance in my life, and continuing to really focus on things that are implemented as a lifestyle and not so much as a means to an end. In other words, while P90X might rip my body to hot shreds of sexiness, the chances of me being about to keep up with that program long term are likely to none. I understand now that by doing things that are easy to incorporate into my everyday life that I set more reasonable goals and in turn I am more likely to stick with these things. This doesn't mean that I don't seek the moon and stars, it just means that I enjoy the top of the trees on my way up. Get it? no? ..never mind.

So there. Are you caught up? Anything else that you would like to know? Any ideas on where you might want to see this blog go? I have some great ideas on recipes to share and totally do-able wellness. I'm not rolling in the bucks by any means, so you can totally expect all my ideas, recipes, and suggestions to be easily implemented into a super tight budget (believe me, I totally get it. I will refrain from suggesting weird cleanses or detoxes that have you buying $30 supplements! Ugh! am I right?!)

I have been doing a lot of experimenting with raw and vegan recipes (p.s. I won't claim to be either of these things.. we're still working on do-able, remember?). Recently, began a love affair with my new CuisineArt (another radical gift from my amazeballs mama!) This year I also hope to really work hard and continue working really hard on some other life goals that I have in mind. I also expect some big changes from the mundane out of work college graduate life ..(please, universe, please, please! ..Yoga teacher training? totally awesome raw treats hustler? Secretly-a-total-mess life coach? hysterically stressed grad student? )

I don't know yet, I'm totally still figuring it out! ...but I'm cool, life is totally blessed! ...TOTALLY!

Loving You,

Laura C. Helms

Monday, January 14, 2013

Healthy Parents means Healthy Kids... NOT!!

My little picky one.

Before I had my own kid I always looked down on parents who fed their children happy meals, pizza, macaroni and cheese, and other fried or processed foods. Well, let the judge be judged because even now as I type this, eating my beautiful organic vegetable soup loaded with vitamins, minerals, and plant based protein, my daughter is eating one of the few things that she'll tolerate ..a cheese sandwich. 

I know, judge away, tell me all about how your child (or future child) would NEVER even know what that looked like better yet have it as a diet staple. Well, friends ...or former friends sometimes life isn't that easy. I was blessed with an extremely picky child. I breastfed till she was 15 months, her first foods were avocados, bananas, and mangos. However, when she hit her toddler years I discovered that my little mini-me began refusing to eat the lovely things I worked so hard to raise her with. 

I'm sure it is my fault, introducing bad foods once in awhile, and blah blah, but .....I'm DONE! I'm over the judgement. So, you can just stop snarking at me.. heh okay, maybe you aren't snarking, maybe I'm the only one judging myself so harshly. Never the less, being a uber-healthy mama to my little junkster hasn't been easy. Luckily she still loves fruits, carrots, and hard-boiled eggs, but other foods that I once would have looked down my big ol snarky nose at have found their way into our home. 

So, maybe you have a picky eater, or maybe you are a picky eater  ....who tortured your mother ... guilt, guilt, guilt.. okay just kidding, it's cool.. we are who we are. Part of being "who we are" is working around people's quirks. 

So, back to the little one. Her absolute favorite is ... mac-and-cheese, so how do we ramp up the healthy meter on this otherwise dull and nutrition-less food? Well, here are some secrets I've added to my arsenal against the picky one. 

Ways to "fix" your Mac-and-Cheese:
Buy only organic or at least all natural - this step will save you from a lot of the GMO (genetically modified organisms), harmful additives, preservatives, and other ick that our barely regulated food industry allows into your processed foods.

When you are making the little cheese packet you can add some pureed (peeled) zucchini or carrots which should blend into the lovely neon orange of the cheese packet.

Add in some nutritional yeast -- 

Don't be scared!
Nutritional Yeast - Find it in Bulk or Bragg's in the Natural Foods Section

"what the heck is this?!" you may ask! 

Well, let me tell you this awesome nutty-cheesy flavored yeast is quite a super hero in my world. Just ONE tablespoon will supply you with 100% your daily B-12! Two tablespoons will serve up 9 grams of protein, it is high in fiber, and gluten free! Not to mention it tastes great on popcorn, mac-and-cheese, and any other pasta, soup, nachos, or pizza. So do not be afraid to try a little of this wonder yeast!

Ways to "fix" your typical cheese sandwich:
I actually ate a lot of just plain old mayonnaise and cheese sandwiches while growing up. ....Okay, so maybe I wasn't the most healthy eating kid either.. see it is all my fault! 

..okay.. never mind.. guilt slip up.. moving on. 

Cheese sandwich whether cold or grilled can be made to be a little healthier! 

Number one, is to always buy bread that has some "car-parts"(as my dad used to call it) in it. Bread that has nuts and seeds will fill your kids up faster than other stuff that has been bleached, refined, and stripped out of most wheat or white bread. I love Dave's Killer Bread! P.S. don't trust the "whole grain" label, my philosophy is if I can't see it, it isn't worth buying. 

Number two, I usually with take and mix up a little over a tablespoon of avocado with a little mayo. This gives my little one some nice healthy fats, omegas, and some protein. Since she won't eat it I hide it!! Using the less green part of the avocado and the mayo and she'll never know that there is some good stuff in there. 

Other ways I sneak healthy stuff into my little one's diet is through smoothies and fresh juices!
I'm lucky enough to have a nice juicer, and my little one will drink whatever comes out that spout, which means she will drink kale, spinach, carrots, and whatever else will fit down that spout, just add an apple or an orange and watch it go! 

However, one of my most prideful ways to get her to eat SUPER healthy is through the magic of a smoothie!!

Here is a recipe that my little one sings for and even helps me make!

Helper girl doesn't even know!!

I love that I can cram tons of vitamins, omegas-3s, protein, probiotics, calcium, and iron into one awesome super low sugar smoothie! Feel free to adjust till you find what you and the kiddos will like!

2 tablespoons of Flax Seed 
4 nice big sections of kale separated from stems
1.5 cups of plain yogurt (we love Nancy's in this house!)
5-6 frozen strawberries
1 cup of frozen raspberries
1 frozen (or fresh) banana
a "squirt" of raw agave nectar, honey, or sweetener of choice

Grind Flax seed in the blender till well pulverized 
Add kale and blend until well chopped and mixed with the flax
Add yogurt and blend to create your super power smoothie base
Add in your frozen fruits and blend until mixed together.
(I make sure that it is red, because green tends to send my little one into a tailspin)
I would eat it just like this (a little sour), but Luna is really picky so that extra squirt of
agave seems to do the trick for her! 

This girl will drink the whole blender if I let her. The main trick is to make sure that your kale and flax are well blended before adding the other ingredients! 

So, I hope this helps you help your picky little ones eat better, or at least helps you to stop judging yourself or others. There are lots of healthy alternatives to some crappy stuff out there. Just watch the sodium and preservatives. 

Sneaking in veggies is great, but only if the kid will actually touch it, so go easy, go slow.. The more you push, the more they push back, but that doesn't mean we give up. Make the food fun by spending a few minutes arranging it into a face, or make your own Bistro Box like at Starbucks. Be creative with what they will eat. 

My own Protein Bistro Box makes eating fun!

I might not have been the most health conscious child but my mother was always very into healthy food. I grew up watching her eat healthy, and even though it took awhile by the time I was in my early twenties I was a pretty health conscious individual. So, the best way to get your kids to eat healthier is to just remain a steadfast example and role model. ....and pray it is just a phase!! 

Cheers to guilt-free proactive parenting. .....and STOP JUDGING!! ..(yeah, totally talking to myself there!)

Loving you!