Weekend in Photos

Happy Monday from cloudy, humid, hot Sacramento?

It’s overcast and 80 degrees outside already, with a high of 103 on the horizon. What the what?! I was going to go for a jog this morning since it would be too hot to go at lunch, but it was just too muggy. It’s never a good sign when the A/C wakes up at the same time you do!

Anyway, I had an excellent weekend doing a whole lot of nothing. After a couple of fun weekends and a whole week of vacation, I seriously just wanted to veg out all weekend, and that’s more or less what I did!

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Since I had kickball on Wednesday and stayed out late on Thursday (dodgeball) I decided to stay in on Friday. I started off the weekend with a post-work workout, and a decision to finally unpack from New York. Little did I know that my roomie had similar plans to clean up around the apartment, so most of Friday evening was spent cleaning! Haha. Add in my ideal Friday night dinner of cheese, crackers, fruit & wine, and I was in heaven!

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Another reason I decided to call it an early night was because I was going on a run with my friend Nicki in the morning (we ran a 5K together earlier this year!). I never run with a buddy, but I think I might have to start.. we went slow and steady, chatting and gabbing the whole way, and before I knew it we had run 4.1 miles! What?!

As per my usual Saturday routine, the morning jog was followed by a trip to the Farmers Market. This week, I went with corn, cherry tomatoes, local cage-free eggs, squash, mushrooms, and some cute little Indian eggplants!

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Another benefit of having a relaxing weekend was that I got to eat some good, clean, homemade food for the first time in a while. Including: badly cracked egg + eggplant + goat cheese in a tortilla, southwestern salad with turkey-quinoa meatballs, Moscow Mules (haha okay not clean, but the ginger beer was housemade at the bar!), and a protein packed black bean-quinoa-egg-sriracha bowl.

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I did some serious damage at the Macy’s Sunday sale yesterday and was worried my bag wouldn’t fit in my bike basket. Crisis averted! I finally succumbed and signed up for a Macy’s credit card…I’m in for it, you guys.

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The perfectly relaxing weekend finished up with a super tense viewing of Breaking Bad at Sam & David’s place. Sam cooked up some amazing quesadillas and guac as we chewed off our nails and stress-sweated through the episode (ok, maybe that was just me…) that had an epic cliffhanger. SO GOOD!

Hope you all had a good weekend as well! I’m going to try to get back to my more frequent posting schedule, but to be honest that might not happen until after my cast comes off…Typing and using a computer mouse with a cast on your thumb/forearm is not the business. 9 more days!

Do you run with friends?

What did you think of Breaking Bad?

What I Ate Wednesday

Though I have been blogging for well over a year now, there’s one typical “healthy living blogger” blog post I’ve never done…until today!

What I Ate Wednesday.

I try to avoid posting pictures of every.single.thing I eat, unless what I’m eating is particularly good looking, great tasting, or if it’s a meal I’m really proud of making. Well, none of the things in this post are good looking or mind blowing recipes.. but I generally don’t eat anything that isn’t delicious 🙂 Thankfully, even if I don’t share it on the blog, I have friends who don’t mind me snapping pix of everything I eat to them on Snapchat (Hi Linda Li!)

I’ve also been known to post what I can actually eat/make with a cast, and this time around is no exception! Actually, I’ve found that eating might be even harder with this broken thumb than it was with my broken hand. Though I eat with my left hand, I require my right thumb to chop veggies and hold a spatula. Also, washing dishes is interesting:

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(wearing a rubber glove, Grocery Outlet bag, and a plastic produce bag)

Without further ado, here’s what I ate yesterday.

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My standard breakfast for, like, the last month is 2 slices of Alvarado Street Bakery sprouted toast + Laughing Cow Smooth Sensations cream cheese spread. I won 5 wheels of the stuff in a Twitter contest back when I was at Blend, and I am still working through them! Pictured is cinnamon (left, SO yummy) and strawberry.

I am also really loving Alvarado St. bread at the moment. You can find it at Trader Joe’s (I got their Essential Flax bread there), but my trusted Grocery Outlet discount store recently started stocking it for way cheap! I usually get the California-style complete protein bread, or sprouted whole wheat. They’re the perfect size, pack some protein, and are only 80-90 calories a slice!

And since we’re on the subject of breakfast…

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I was so stoked to be able to make my overnight oats in almost-empty nut butter jars TWICE in the past couple of weeks! Although that also means I’m out of peanut butter and almond butter 😦

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This morning, I had an epically fruity yogurt bowl. Banana cream pie yogurt, fresh pineapple, blueberries, and a dollop of my grandma’s apricot jam. The apricot jam and banana yogurt were actually a really yummy combo!

Since Friday, I have also been having either a calcium pill or multivitamin with breakfast 🙂

Snacks during the workday for the last 2 weeks have not changed:

SO ADDICTIVE!

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I only grab 3-4 at a time, but I always end up eating 2 servings (20 pretzels) worth in a day, haha. I have stopped trying to fight it, but I at least limit myself to one serving before lunch and one after 😛

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As is somewhat normal for me, I did a short workout at lunch. I lifted one small (5 lb) weight and, after realizing it was kind of painful, decided I probably shouldn’t risk injury. So, I’ve relegated myself to the sorority girl workout: elliptical and abs! I’ve made it my goal to have a 6 pack by the time my cast comes off in 4 weeks, haha. Yesterday, I did 20 mins on the elliptical, followed by a 1 min plank, 30 sec side planks, 2 sets of V-ups and Stability Ball sit-ups, and a little bit of work on my obliques.

Also, related note: be glad you’re not friends with me on Snapchat 😛

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Lunch was part 2 of the summer stew I prepped on Sunday: onion, garlic, zucchini, fire roasted tomatoes, corn, lentils, and bell peppers. Aaand a La Tortilla Factory 100-calorie tortilla. LOVE those. 100 calories, 8g of fiber, and they’re huge! I was kind of ravenous after my workout, so I also found an Oats n Honey granola bar to tide me over till dinner.

Last night was laundry night so I was at my parents’ house for dinner:

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BLT’s are probably my family’s most common summer meal, since my dad grows so many tomatoes! Mine was 2 slices of 12-grain bread, 3-4 slices of juicy garden tomatoes, 3 slices of bacon (the real kind, not turkey…my brother’s request) and lots of arugula. On the side was honey dijon Kettle chips, pineapple, and a Lagunitas IPA! Seriously, perfect summer meal.

After dinner, I folded laundry and watched Breaking Bad (I’ve been catching up for almost a year, and am finally on season 4!)

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…while snacking on peanuts and tasting some sangria my mom bought. Yum!

Do you take pictures of everything you eat?

What’s your go-to breakfast?

Any ab/core workouts to recommend?

Weekend in Photos

So this weekend turned out to be a pretty long one, folks… Whether that’s a good or bad thing, I’ll let you decide…

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I ended up taking more or less of a half day on Friday. I went in to Kaiser in the morning and learned that my dodgeball injury had resulted in a “small crack” in my thumb. Womp womp. They sent me on my way with an itty bitty finger brace and I thought I had made out pretty well…until I got a call from the NP an hour later saying that she had an actual radiologist look at the X-ray and it was worse than they thought. I headed over to another Kaiser and left 2 hours later with this monstrosity of a splint. Sad face.

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I had already planned on attending a Young Dems BBQ/pool party, but ended up focusing more on the BBQ and less on the pool. After we left the party, we headed over to the guys’ house to play drinking games with some really bad champagne.  Felt like I was in college again!

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Despite the massive splint, I went along my normal Saturday morning routine – starting with a nice run. This was my first run in 2 weeks, and my fastest 5K since my race back in March!

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I missed the Farmer’s Market last week since I was in SF with the girls, and I couldn’t believe 1) how many tomatoes there were and 2) how beautiful all the colors were! I also picked up some zinnias, which finally looked pretty and healthy enough to treat myself to 🙂

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Despite not having one of my thumbs, I made lots of stuff with my produce this weekend! A summer veggie lentil stew to bring for lunch today + tomorrow and an epic herb & veggie omelet.

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Sunday concluded with 2 trips to the mall: first to buy shoes for my cousin’s wedding (I went with the slingback peep toes on the left to pair with my yellow dress!) and later, to see an 11pm showing of The Conjuring. We had a shot of Fireball before to calm our nerves 😉 I thought the movie actually wasn’t too scary…I got way more freaked out at Paranormal Activity 1 and 2!

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I spent a loooong lunch hour today (3 hours, to be exact) following up at Kaiser. Essentially, there is a small crack in my thumb, and though nothing is out of place and by all means it should be an easy thing to heal…The crack goes all the way through to the joint and affects the cartilage. So I have to wear a cast – AGAIN. Hopefully for only 4 weeks this time. Here’s hoping all the precautions I’ve been taking since my last broken bone will make this recovery much speedier than the last! At least I got a color that will match my shoes at my cousin’s wedding! 😉

Have you ever broken a bone?

What is your favorite produce and/or flowers to spot at your Farmer’s Market?

Women & Bone Health: Why I Take Calcium

Last summer, this happened:

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I broke my left 4th metacarpal playing this “children’s” sport:

For those of you who weren’t loyal blog readers yet this time last year, a ball came hurtling towards my face from point blank range during a fateful dodgeball match…I threw up my hands to protect da moneymaker, and the ball shattered my left hand. I instantly knew something was wrong, it wasn’t so much painful as much as it was…discomforting. Something definitely felt out of place. And I was right!

In February (about 4-5 months after getting my cast off), I made my triumphant return to dodgeball.

Though a lot of people thought I was crazy (Hi Mom), dodgeball played a key part in making my post-college life bearable. When I started playing dodgeball, I had few friends left here at home, was living at my parents house, and working an unpaid internship 16 hours a week…that was all I had going for me. Dodgeball gave me a social life, new friends, my first serious relationship, and best of all…I’m pretty good at it! 🙂

So back I went, and back I’ve stayed. However, there was a lot of risk involved in returning to this sport that had screwed me so badly just months before.

Because my hand took 10 weeks to heal instead of the normal 6-8 (and honestly, I saw my last xray– it wasn’t even completely healed when I got the OK to get my cast off), my doctor ordered a bone density test and it was determined that I have clinically low bone density, a condition that is referred to as osteopenia. I was on the very cusp of what is considered “osteopenic”, so I wasn’t prescribed any routine medication other than a daily calcium regimen.

The way a bone density test works is a machine measures the density of your hip and spine, then compares it to that of a “young, healthy adult”. This test is obviously normally ordered for women of menopause age or older…The technician at my test was shocked to see a 23 year old getting her bone density checked. The test results in a T-score…if your T-score is between -1 and -2.5 standard deviation below the norm, you have osteopenia. Any lower than 2.5 and you have osteoporosis. I was at exactly -1.1. So basically, when compared to other healthy adults of my same age, my bones are weaker.

When I discovered this, I wrote a blog post about what I thought was the culprit and some ways I planned to keep my bones healthy. My “diagnosis” was kind of a wake up call for me to forget about achieving or maintaining a “goal weight” and start thinking about getting the right nutrients. I also noted that I needed to do more weight-bearing exercise and obviously start taking calcium pills.

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I only know that I have low bone density because I got a bad injury. But with more than half of Americans ages 65 and up meeting the clinical definition of having osteoporosis, it’s better to be safe than sorry when you’re in your 20’s and 30’s and your body is developing (not in the pre-pubescent way…but you know what I mean).

Check out these tips for keeping healthy bones from the US Office of Women’s Health:

1) Get enough calcium each day

The OWH recommends 1,000mg per day. My doctor (and the bone density test technician) said any calcium pill that has both calcium and vitamin D is A-OK. One of my big fat calcium pills is about 60% of my daily recommended intake. I have actually switched to a multivitamin that has 500mg, but it has all the iron and other vitamins I need as well.

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Incorporating calcium into my diet has also been key in maintaining my bone health. I switched to yogurt for breakfast and started buying almond milk (which often has more calcium than dairy milk!). The last few weeks, my breakfasts have consisted of 2 slices of toast, each with a wedge of Laughing Cow cream cheese and sometimes with a dollop of grandma’s apricot jam. (Each wedge of Laughing Cow has 10% of your daily calcium!)

2) Get enough Vitamin D each day
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ahh! the pale! it burns =P

Vitamin D is my favorite. This is because the best source of Vitamin D (outside of actual Vitamin D pills) is sunshine! Just 10-15 minutes in the sun can give you what you need. OWH recommends 600mg per day. I may be pale, but give me some SPF 70 and I cherish my time in the sun! I am a sun baby for sure.

3) Eat a healthy diet

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Kale, black beans, and chicken = recipe for healthy bones?

Protein, vitamins K and C, and several other nutrients are also key in bone health. Leafy greens actually have some calcium, and the WOH suggests lean proteins like poultry and fish.

4) Get moving
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Check out those baby muscles!

Weight-bearing activity (anything where your body works against gravity) is best for keeping healthy bones. Walking, running, and lifting weights (a new-ish practice for me – see above) are all activities I do several times per week to keep me strong.

5) Don’t smoke

Never have, never will!

6) Drink alcohol moderately

Well…depends on your definition of “moderate”. I do have more than one drink (usually no more than 3-4) a couple times per week. This is definitely an area that can be improved upon 🙂

7) Make your home safe

WOH recommends things like bath mats and less clutter to avoid falling in your home… The main thing I really have to worry about is flying objects:

This may seem like a random topic for a post, but I had a scary encounter last night at dodgeball that has me pretty nervous:

I jammed my thumb pretty badly 😦 It’s currently swollen to about 1.5 times its normal size, is hard as a rock, and is lookin’ all kinds of blue and purple. Heading to the doc in about an hour to get it checked out… lots of happy thoughts please!

When all is said and done, I’m hoping all the precautions I’ve been taking for the past year that I’ve outlined here have served me well and that it’s just a really bad sprain.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Have you ever broken a bone or had a bad sports injury?

Does osteoporosis run in your family? Start taking calcium!!

Girls Weekend in Photos

Sorry for the silence, dear readers! I had a productive week at work last week and apparently blogging took the back burner. I’ve got a lot of fun stuff to share this week though!

As anyone who follows me on FB, Twitter or Instagram knows, I was in the Bay Area this weekend. Becky flew in from Minneapolis on Wednesday and stayed with Carly in nearby Davis. They headed to Napa the next day…I had work and was a captain in a super serious (ha) playground-style dodgeball draft on Thursday night, so on Friday morning I woke up bright and early and took the train to Fairfield, where Carly picked me up and our weekend began!

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It was a leisurely 40 minute ride, and gave me plenty of time to enjoy some tea and do some reading (I’m currently reading The Paris Wife).

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Our day consisted of a wine tour hosted by Platypus Tours. We visited 4 wineries in the Napa Valley, ranging from St. Helena back through Rutherford and we ended in Yountville.

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It was an amazing day! More details on this to come later. Shockingly, the favorite wine of the day for this red wine lover was actually a white- a Sauvignon Blanc from the very first winery we visited. In fact, it was the first taste we tried! And of course I decided not to buy it because I thought “I’ll find something else I like more”… Womp womp.

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We were in pretty good shape after the tasting (the tour included snacks, lots of water, and lunch!) so we decided to check out downtown Napa after a quick rest. I am somewhat familiar with Napa, being that my ex boyfriend grew up there. But all the places we went this weekend were new-to-me! We had some amazing pasta at Ristorante Allegria (with more wine for Becky and I…oops) and beautiful cocktails at Fagiani’s.

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After a painful car ride (Becky and I were not at our best after splitting that bottle of wine at dinner 😉 ), we arrived in San Francisco. The lovely Sarah met up with us and we walked through Downtown SF to the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market to check out the, uh, classy artisan offerings. We also had brunch (at like 2pm) at The Plant Cafe Organic – it was amazing!

Unfortunately the fun ended there for Becky and I, and we went back to the hotel to veg out. We ended up ordering pizza and having a relaxing night in so we would be fully recovered for a Sunday full of sight seeing!

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And recovered we were! We took a nice long walk to North Beach and had brunch at a dive bar (The Boardroom) that ended up having some AMAZING food – including bacon wrapped tater tots. I had a yummy BLT and we all marveled at Carly’s graham cracker French toast with Biscoff spread – OMG. Speaking of Biscoff, apparently you can buy 3.5 lb tubs of it at a shop in Pier 39. Proof: see above!

Before leaving, we had to make sure that Becky saw the Golden Gate Bridge. We went to a lookout near Crissy Field and had a photo op while freezing our butts off. Then it was sadly time to say goodbye!

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And to offset all that girl time, I went bowling with the guys when I got home! I was horrified to see that my friends are actually all totally serious bowlers (some with their own balls and everything!) because I am definitely a bumper girl 😉 I embarrassingly scored an average of 60 points in my first 2 games before pulling off a 126 in our last game! So proud.

That’s it for my long weekend. One last thing –

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Happy birthday to my brother Andrew! He turns 23 today, and I am insanely jealous that it appears he will be sharing a birthday with the Royal Baby! Just push the kid out before 4pm PST, Kate!! As I already said on Facebook… He may be 10 inches taller than me, but I will always be 22 months older. Have a great day!

Gorgonzola Turkey Burgers

So it’s gotten to that point in the year when I buy 75% of my groceries at the Farmer’s Market.

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Basically, I’m eating a ton of veggies.

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This is what most of my weekday meals look like. And literally every ingredient besides the beans and tortilla were purchased at the Farmer’s Market! I could buy tortillas at the farmer’s market too, I know they have a tortilla stand at the Thursday market by my office 😉 Though I’m not sure I’d wanna pass up the almost-expired $1.99 tortillas from Grocery Outlet!

The problem with my tendency to eat plant-based meals like the ones you see above is that they don’t pack enough protein for the days when I’m working out. Since it’s been so hot lately, I have shifted my exercise focus from running outside (otherwise I’d die of heat stroke) and I’m doing more indoor strength training workouts. I subscribed to the Women’s Health iPad app a few months ago and really enjoy it, especially the animated workout demonstrations:

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You can scroll through and actually see how the exercises are properly done! Sometimes they have actual women (and not creepy cartoon women) demonstrating the workouts as well.

I did this 15 minute upper & lower body workout on Monday and my arms are still sore today!

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Those of you who also attended Blend Retreat are familiar with GPP Fitness, since they hosted both boot camps at the retreat. Every day, they post the gym’s workout of the day on their website and invite everyone to try them out and comment with their times/reps/etc. I wanted to do an ab workout yesterday and boy oh boy did I get an ab workout. I’ve never done Tabata* before, and it was pretty intense! There’s nothing like an automated timer to keep you from slacking.

Today is one of those days where I’m realizing how much I use my abs doing regular day-to-day activities (biking, laughing, sneezing, etc) because I am HURTING every time it happens!

{*Each rep of a Tabata workout consists of 20 seconds work and 10 seconds rest and is repeated 8 times for a total of 4 minutes per exercise}

So what I’m getting at here…is that I need some protein to rebuild my muscles after these workouts, and a serving of beans (<10g protein) isn’t gonna cut it!

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Enter: turkey burger.

At 21g of protein per serving and 8g of fat, lean ground turkey is probably one of the healthiest sources of (animal) protein you can get. If you’re really concerned about the fat content, you can get Extra Lean turkey, but that’s when it starts getting dry and not very tasty! To both healthify and jazz these guys up a bit, I spiked them with shredded zucchini and gorgonzola cheese. Because if you add zucchini, it cancels out the cheese, right?

I am all about sneaking shredded zucchini into pretty much everything during the summer months…for the health benefits, for added moisture, and, well, mostly because my dad usually ends up with 3 dozen in his garden and can’t get rid of them fast enough.

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Confession: I didn’t actually eat these on a bed of lettuce…it’s all a sham!

I love carbs too much to enjoy a burger without a bun. Or in this case, 2 small pieces of bread 😛

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I had the first two within a day of making this batch, and froze the remaining 3. On Monday after aforementioned workout, I grilled up a semi-defrosted burger along with a TON of veggies. Farmer’s market goodness + barbecued meat…Who says you can’t have it all?  (sidenote: I’m sorry to all my friends that have to see all my food-related snapchats! :-P)

Gorgonzola Turkey Burgers
makes 5 burgers

1- 20 oz package lean ground turkey
1/2 small red onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 zucchini, shredded (should be about 1 cup shredded)
1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese, about 1.5 oz
~5 basil leaves, thinly sliced

Combine all ingredients in a bowl with clean hands until just mixed. Don’t overwork the meat. Separate mixture into 5 equal sized portions and then carefully mold the burgers. To avoid the burgers being fat in the middle, use your thumb to make a small divot in the middle of the burger like THIS. Prepare saute pan or grill, or wrap burgers in saran wrap and foil to be frozen, if desired.

If preparing immediately, heat up grill or saute pan over medium high heat. Add burger and cook on each side until done, 7-9 minutes per side. If freezing the burgers, you will ideally defrost them a little bit, but regardless will need to cook them much longer.

It’s important to cook turkey all the way through to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F – if you have a meat thermometer, use it!

Eat over a bed of lettuce, or like a normal person: between two buns!

Notes: feel free to sub Blue cheese for the Gorgonzola, or your favorite fresh herb of choice for basil. If you must use extra lean ground turkey, I would recommend adding an egg to the mix to make things a little more moist.

Meatless Monday: Lemon-Basil Breakfast Hash

Told you guys I had a Meatless Monday post waiting for ya!

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And it involves mini peppers and mini potatoes…because mini is always cuter, right?

Despite the fact that I just called this dish cute, it’s actually a pretty hearty meal. Potatoes are pretty filling, but since they’re so starchy and carby, they’re not the kind of filling that will sustain you for many hours. That’s where the other components come in to save the day!

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I got really into beets this spring since my dad was growing them and they always looked so pretty at the Farmer’s Market. They stain everything, but I love their earthy taste and they are so pretty! Sweet mini bell peppers and onions add crunch, and pinto beans give this hash some bulk.

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Finish it all off with some fresh basil and a squeeze of lemon and you have yourself a perfectly light and refreshing, yet filling, summer breakfast! Or if you’re like me, you don’t really wake up until 10 or 11 on the weekend and there becomes a thin line between breakfast and lunch 🙂

I am proud to report that the basil plant I bought at the grocery store about a month ago is still alive and kickin’! However, we are currently on Day 3 of an 8 day streak of triple digit heat. 104, 107, and 106 degrees on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday…and it’s only getting hotter. So who knows if the plant will last much longer.

This quick 1-skillet dish would be great for a hot day like today (108 degrees!), but I’ve chosen instead to do the 3 Day Peel’d Juice Cleanse. I learned about it from my friend Sarah who did their traditional 5-day cleanse last month (Hi Sarah!). Consuming only juice for 3 days isn’t exactly my cup o’ tea…However, in addition to the allotted 2 juices and 1 smoothie per day, Peel’d allows you to eat as many fruits and veggies as you want: “This process isn’t about depriving yourself, but feeding yourself large amounts of foods that will nourish, support and heal you.” Olives, avocados, and nuts are also listed as ideal “snacks”…win!

I will definitely be writing a recap later in the week, but until then, I’ll just leave this here…and dream about potatoes:

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Lemon-Basil Breakfast Hash
serves 1

2 mini potatoes
1/2 small onion (about 1/2 cup)
2 mini red or orange bell peppers
1/2 medium-sized beet, cooked (I roast mine in a foil packet in the oven at 400F for about 45 minutes)
1/4-1/2 cup pinto beans, drained and rinsed
3-4 fresh basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons
juice of one lemon
salt & pepper
oil, as needed for cooking

Cut everything into similarly-sized pieces. Heat your choice of oil over medium heat in a saute pan. Add onions, stirring to coat. Let them sweat for about a minute before adding the potatoes. Again, stir to coat. Season with salt and pepper, and let cook for about 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Mix in bell peppers and beets and cook for another 5 minutes. Add desired amount of pinto beans and lemon juice, and cook until heated through. Remove from heat, mix in basil leaves, garnish with lemon wedge (add more lemon if you’d like) and enjoy!