Meatless Monday: Soy-WHATNOW?

We’re all lucky that my keyboard allows my wrists to rest on it because, after today’s workout, my arms weren’t feeling up to much action.  In fact, I think my brain was also a little wonky post-workout… Hence my ridiculous tweet upon my return to the house.

I promise, that made sense in my head. Translation: Sore arms are about to become jelly. Then, I’ll just have to be a jellyfish.

Right?

I don’t know.

The point is, it was a SOLID day at the gym!  I was having major workout ADD, and couldn’t decide what I wanted to do.  Solution? DO IT ALL!

A Hodge Podge of working it!

I hit up the group fitness room at the gym for a 5pm CX Worx class. CX Worx is a “revolutionary core workout” by Les Mills that is choreographed to some cool jams and lasts about 25-30 minutes.  I’ll do a more serious post about this one day, but, to sum it up, it tears your core a new one.

At 5:30, the always-crowded Body Combat class was scheduled.  I fended off the dozens of newcomers in the room to secure myself a spot and, as always, after only a few minutes, I was drenched in sweat. It’s such a killer cardio workout but, I’ll be honest, sometimes I get a little bored just punching and kicking for a full hour.  Time to switch it up!

CIRCUIT TRAINING! The last 30 minutes of my 1.5 hour workout were spent with a new trainer, Jessica, doing circuit training with medicine balls, steps, mats, and ViPR tubes!

ViPR Tubes, racks on racks! (click image for source)

These hollow tubes of various weights and sizes do some SERIOUS damages on your shoulders as you’re flinging them around, lifting them, throwing them, rolling them, or jumping around them. Though I’ve only just tried ViPR training for the first time, I know that this is definitely a hardcore workout and, if there are any other free classes offering them (they’re normally $15 a session), I’ll definitely sign up.

With all the punching, planking, ViPR-ing, and pushups, my body was furious with me.  I decided to suck up to it with a special meatless treat.

Taco Pizza with Soy Chorizo!

(Hilarious bonus: Russ realized that the name of the product, Soy Chorizo, translates to “I am sausage.” His response?

No, you’re beans, not delectably ground up little piggies.

Bahaha.)

All the good stuff

With a base of (what else?) Trader Joe’s whole wheat pizza crust, I layered on lots of salsa as the “sauce” and decided it was time to try this Soy-rizo out.  After reading the directions (which explicitly state to REMOVE the casing before cooking it) I removed the heck out of that casing.  The faux-meat bits crumbled out of the plastic(?) casing and into my frying pan. It smelled so good as it was cooking and I knew I was in for a treat (despite my initial fears that soy-whatever would be lame and nasty).

I also fried up some red onion, sauteed some spinach, and added some avocado bits (which should be a topping on anything/everything) and a lowfat mexican cheese blend.  Pre-heated?

Don't worry cheese, I'll melt you soon.

And then, about 14-18 minutes later (I just kept checking for a golden, crisp crust), I pulled out a molten pie of cheese and fake meat.

You're so money, and you don't even know it.

This “meat” MADE the pizza! It had a great amount of spice, the texture wasn’t off-putting at all, and while I didn’t bite into it and think MEAT I did bite into it and think “Man, I wanna take another bite.”

Soy chorizo, I wanna put you inside of all my dishes. Salad, maybe an omelet, enchiladas? Why not? And, for $1.99 a tube, that’s a bargain if I’ve ever seen one (and I have. They’re all I seek out.)

Have you ever tried a vegetarian/vegan replacement for something and found yourself pleasantly surprised?

I love this and I’m a huge fan of the Morningstar Hot & Spicy breakfast “sausage”. Mmm.

Halloween Recipe and a Flavor Blasted Burger

It’s November, already, but it feels like January. I’m freezing cold every morning (primarily because I’m a cheapskate who hates turning on the heat when I have a Slanket as an option) and I wasn’t expecting these types of temperatures for at least another month.

Oh, weather, you tempestuous mistress.

As I mentioned yesterday, I celebrated my Halloweekend at UNC on Friday and Saturday.  But yesterday, I had some treats of my own in store.  We had a Paranormal Potluck at my office and it featured such tasty treats as: Heart-attack-a-roni, True Blood Salsa, Sleepy Hollow Haystacks, Pumpkin Cupcakes, Jack-o-Lantern Jambon Sammies, and my own addition.

Sorting Hat Pizza Puffs!

Voila!

I adapted this recipe from an old book of Halloween treats my beau’s step-mother offered up, so unfortunately, I don’t have it to give credit where credit’s due.  Mine didn’t have the crescents on top, and I made vegetarian and meat-eater versions so I went with pepperoni slices instead of salami sticks.  Either way, they were tasty niblets, along with an easy parmesan pizza dipping sauce (take parmesan cheese + pizza sauce + microwave!! )

I know this is hardly a real “recipe” but I figured I’d share the picture so that someone can benefit from it all!!

Here’s my finished product:

Fun for the Whole Funky Bunch!

Weird Cat proffers up the goods!

After work, I decided to burn off the calories I consumed off with a killer cardio session at BodyCombat.  I also managed to blast the heck out of my shoulders with all those jabs and hooks, so I decided to keep the blast party going with a truly flavor blasted burger.

Takes a lot of punches to get these bad boys!

Since Laura’s Foodie Pen Pal package to me contained awesome ingredients meant to jam as much flavor into my food as possible, I decided to combine a few and see how it turned out.

Habanero Ketchup + Pumpkin Beer added to the mix!

I took about 1/3 lb of 93% lean beef and formed a patty.  On this patty, I added only two seasonings: wood smoked salt and pepper (wish I had fresh to grind, but oh well.)

While cooking it in a cast iron skillet, flipping it rather often, I toasted a bun with some cheddar and caramelized some red onion, and topped it all off with some avocado.  On the side, Habanero Ketchup for dipping (I prefer to dip my burgers/hot dogs, not cover it in ketchup, keeps things less soggy.)

This was, without question, the best burger I’ve ever made myself.  Ever. That’s 24 years on this earth (though I probably haven’t been making burgers all 24) and this one just blows the rest out of the water.

I savored every bite knowing, with total certainty, that I’d be repeating the burger base tonight.  We’ll see if I decide to get more creative with the toppings….  Then again, it’s hard to improve on perfection.

What would your dream burger (or turkey burger or veggie burger) be topped with?

What’s your favorite seasoning or sauce to spice up your foods?

Feeling like a Superhero!!

Good evening friends and neighbors!! It’s likely too late for most of you, other than the owls like myself (though let’s face it, despite my best wishes, I’m more of an early bird anyway).  For the few of you that are up, though, you’re probably doing something cool like I am.  Translation: streaming netflix and scanning the internet for stuff.

This evening, perhaps spawned by my after-work group fitness class, I was inspired when I came upon this classic gem:

Remember this fantastic Saturday morning cartoon?

My brothers and I used to watch this growing up and, like all good things do, it finally ended up on Netflix.  I’ll be honest, though, as I’m watching it, I can’t help but think that there were a few “X-Men” (and women) who really weren’t anything to write home about….

Nerdy and Hairy

Poor Beast aka Hank McCoy…  He’s just a big blue furball looking for some sort of acceptance.

I think Ocean City does this every year for Independence Day, just saying.

And Jubilee…. well, here’s the thing, I love fireworks just as much as the next girl.  But if that was my “superpower”, I think I’d just stick to New Years Eve shows.  Luckily, there are characters like Storm and Jean Grey to keep things interesting.

Badass Ladies repping it hard.

Anyway, tonight’s workout left me feeling kind of like a superhero myself!!

BodyCombat’s new release came out this past weekend at my gym, and it ROCKED!!

823 calories, one hour, heck yes!

The new release was AWESOME, and the track list was also top notch.

1a: In My Head (Kris McTwain Remix Edit) – Henry Blank
1b: Airplanes (Kris McTwain Remix Edit) – Groove Chasers
2: Smooth Criminal – Badlands Inc
3: We Dance On – Subz Project
4: Come In Hard (Don’t Like Rock ‘N’ Roll) – Hardknox
5: If I Were You – Breeze & Ritmen
6: Drummer Boy (MoDrums Remix) – Alesha Dixon
7: The Last Fight – Bullet For My Valentine
8: Everywhere (Breeze & UFO Remix) – Master Blaster
9: The Time (Dirty Bit) – Red Beans & Rice
10: The Silence (New Single Mix) – Alexandra Burke

My very favorite was probably the Drummer Boy remix, KILLER on the legs, lots of eskivas and lunges, but an awesome beat that kept me going.

I enjoyed it more than I do most BodyCombat classes, especially after the last time that I took it and twisted my ankle. But I took care to stay solid on my feet, and felt great throughout it.

After such a great workout, I was excited for a delicious meal with the beau and his father and step mother.

We went to Carolina Ale House and, despite the inconsistent service (she was incredibly attentive with drinks, much less so with food and the check), I enjoyed every bite!

Pickle chips for the table!

Blackened Mahi Mahi, my favorite way to eat fish!

I avoided the rice side, and paired the meal with a DELICIOUS couple of beers.  Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale (a beer I’d only seen before at festivals!) and the New Belgium Ranger IPA (one of my favorites from the Tour de Fat!) Good to the last drop, and paired so nicely with the fish!

Hop-TASTIC!

And now, after watching my Monday night cartoon fix…. it’s off to bed!

Do you ever wish you had superpowers? If so, what?! Did I ask this before?

No big, always a favorite question of mine.

I do, all the time.  I think I’d LOVE to be a shapeshifter, or have Storm’s ability to control the weather… If only.

Bull City Burger and A Beer Blunder

Good evening ladies and gentlemen, and a happy end of Monday to all!!  I must admit, today was certainly not the best day I’ve had in a while.  An early morning meeting, a dash of stress when it came to work -related stuff, a rogue pebble chipped my car window, and my fitness class of choice was (groannnnnnnnnnnn) BodyCombat. You may be asking yourself, “If you hate the class so much, why do you do it?”  Well, I do it for this.

Sweaty Betty

I rocked out 777 calories during the workout, which is actually not as high as I was expecting but, at the end of the day, the class kept me sweating, and left me panting in only the sexiest possible way.

You know…. like an overheated puppy.

Speaking of sweating, I always find myself sweating in the weirdest possible ways at the gym.  Here was the real winner tonight:

Shin sweat... nectar of the gods.

Super cute.  However, I did get to kick it in my new Under Armour goodies I picked up at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, so I was a happy camper combater.

Afterwards, I figured it was as good a time as any to use my TryItLocal Voucher (it’s sort of like a new version of Groupon… or LivingSocial or ANYTHING like that.)  It was for Bull City Burger, and I figured I’d take the beau out for some  BEEF!

This quality Durham restaurant and brewery, brewing their own beers and focusing on a “farm-to-fork” process, working with North Carolina farm raised beef, hormone and antibiotic free. They also have all-beef hotdogs, and they work with local farmers for their produce such as tomatoes, cukes (for pickling!), and lettuce.  BCB makes their own condiments as well, though I didn’t try any (alas… next time.)

After putting in our order, I grabbed a soda, while Ryan waited for his Roger Lager (made by BCB!!).  I normally wouldn’t get soda out, but this was a special occasion… they had Boylan Soda… not in bottles… IN A FOUNTAIN!!  For $1.75, you get unlimited refills in a beautiful mason jar.  I went for the Black Cherry, and was NOT disappointed.

Black Cherry Cola, more delicious nectar of the gods.

Seriously, this started the meal off on the absolute right note.  Boylan bottled sodas normally go for something like $3 a bottle when my brother would get their birch beer, so I felt like I was committing highway robbery: soda style.

Shortly after our order, our meals came over to the table.

Burger Bliss

Since my burger over Independence Day weekend was a little burnt, I was elated to try a perfectly cooked patty.

Ryan ordered a Chili burger with cheddar cheese, and I ordered the Green Monster: A burger topped with Gruyere, raw onion, and roasted poblano peppers.  We also split an order of Dirty Fries: Russet potatoes, skin on, fried in peanut oil.  The fries were SPOT ON!  Very crispy, well salted, paired nicely with the ketchup (Heinz Simply Ketchup, gotta love it).  The bun was fantastic, crisp outside, soft and delicious inside.  Ry was initially worried about how small the patty was, but after realizing that the Chili packed a punch, he realized that it was definitely enough meal.  My burger was delightful. My only complaint was that the roasted poblano peppers were not warm, something that I expected.  They were still tasty, but I think they would’ve been more enjoyable with a little temperature increase.  They were probably roasted and cut, then just kept in a little container waiting for unsuspecting girls like myself to order them… HOODWINKERY!

Clearly, it didn't bother me too much. This was about 5 minutes into eating....

As always, I punched my Clean Plates Club card, and headed back over to the fountain.  I had to try a few more sips.

Boylan Paradise!

The birch beer was not my favorite, but the cream soda… oh heavenly angels!!  It was so creamy, and so so very great.

While the burger prices were fairly steep ($6 plain, up to $10 specialty, or more if you add your own toppings), the soda and fries were definitely at the right price point, and everything was made locally and made well.  A great date night spot…

We had pipe dreams of heading to Fullsteam for a little dessert (namely, their Cherry Imperial Stout commissioned by Northwest Cherries).  Alas, our late arrival resulted in the bitter disappointment of learning the keg had been KICKED (not tapped, like I originally said… that was at 4 pm).   DEPRESSION FACE!

Ry saw the sadness in my eyes, and brought me somewhere to cheer me up: Total Wine.

Foothills Hoppyum.... served in a Foothills glass!

Foothills Hoppyum, a hop-head’s dream come true, served in the brewery glass courtesy of another awesome evening at Rockfish…  I guess I’ll just have to head there tomorrow before dinner.

I’d say darn…. if I was even the least bit disappointed!

Time for another glass before bed, and another episode of 24… we’re addicted to all the Jack Bauer drama we can get!!

What would be your perfect burger?  And what would be on top of it?