Woo-Hoo Wednesday! (What I'm Learning Through My Marathon Training)

It's been a while since we've woohoo'd! together on a Wednesday.  Let's change that today!

Shiz is getting pretty intense in my marathon training.  I'm running five days a week, logging over 20 miles per week.  I've been injured, had more than one post run bloody sock, questioned many times why in the name of the Highest Good am I doing this?   Oh yeah.  This is why

So I keep running.  And running.  And running.  On good runs, I pray and practice gratitude and breathe.  On bad days I obsessively look at my watch or allow bad mind to take over or skip runs all together.  

For the bad and the good, here are just a few (life) lessons I've picked up along my runs (and stretches):

1. You will get hurt.   

Loved ones will hurt you, strangers will hurt you, your hamstrings and knees will hurt your, too. Grieve the hurt.  Rest during the hurt.  Give yourself some space to heal.  Make a plan to do better next time. 

2.  Do something when you can do it, not later.

I'm a morning person.  An obnoxiously chipper morning person.  Sometimes, I annoy myself.  Daily, I annoy my husband.  So it is.  I often get whiny and convince myself that it's to foggy or to cold  or to something.  I'll run later.  After work.  Yeah.  That's what I'll do.  

BUT that's usually not what I do.  Because I am the laziest sack of bones when I get home from work.  I want to get cozy in my biscuit at like 630 pm.  That, my friends, is hard to do when you have to run.  

This also, of course, can be applied to general life.  And paperwork.  And the dishwasher.  And putting the sheets on the bed. 

3.  Getting angry at your body doesn't change it but accepting it might.

This one came to me not whilst running but after coming embarrassingly close to tears in a yoga class last night.  We were in the middle of some intense one leg stuff and it was just not working for me.  I cursed my shaking and throbbing leg...why am I not strong enough?  Why is this not working?  What is wrong with me?

Well obviously that didn't work.  Because it never works.

What might have worked was for me to respect my big, pretty legs and honor them for not only carrying me around all day but also for running six miles that morning.  Acceptance lessens suffering.  Quit yer meanness.  

4.  Enjoy where you are while you're there.

I am a gal that run/walks. It used to make me feel like less than but I'm over that now, it's my thing.  I find comfort in knowing that every 13 minutes, I'll have 1 minute to breathe and collect myself. Often times, though, I spend that one minute fretting over the fact that said one minute will soon be over.  That's a big, ole waste of a walking minute. I should do that less.  Be present more.  Breathe.  It's all about that breath, really.    
Guys....keep your head up, keep your heart strong!  Do your thing, learn your lessons!


Pizza Margherita

Remember that pizza sauce that we made yesterday?  Let's use that shiz.  

So that Runner's World I told you about had all of these majestic and complicated pizza recipes with tapanades and pork and leeks...things that were just a bridge to far for a lazy Saturday.  I settled on a pizza margherita which while may be the most difficult pizza to spell, it's the easiest to make.   

So the only thing that I would change about this was the crust.  The article that inspired all of this jazz suggested that one make their own crust.  Their recipe called for wheat germ which, again, just seemed like a bridge to far.  Instead, I used a box of jiffy pizza crust.  

It didn't really work.  

I could probably blame it on the fact that the spot that i had the dough resting in wasn't warm enough. But really, it's wonkiness can probably only be blamed on the fact that it was, in fact, a box of jiffy  pizza crust.  

Next time.  I'll do something different. 
Changing gears, this is the Big Browne Hound trying to act like he wasn't pouting about not getting any pizza but being unable to contain his huffs.  This is why we sometimes call him a Huffington Bear.  Sometimes I also call my sister a Huffington Bear but I'm not really sure why that happens.

Sally forth. 
Pizza Margherita
from Runners World

1 pizza crust (points here are calculated by Jiffy pizza crust)
1 cup of pizza sauce 
4 oz fresh mozzarella cheese
6 basil leaves, torn
1 tbl olive oil
1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp fresh cracked pepper

Do whatever you need to do to get your pizza crust ready.  

Top the crust with the pizza sauce.  Tear the monzzarella cheese into small pieces and place evenly on the pizza.  Bake for 10-12 minutes at 450 until the crust is done and the cheese is just starting to brown.

Top with the basil, oil, parmesan cheese and cracked pepper.  Cut into 4 equal sections. 

Serving size 1/4 of pizza
Points plus 9  

Tob with 


Homemade Pizza Sauce

I bought a Runner's World a few weeks ago, not because they had some insightful information to share about running but because they had a five page spread on pizza. 
Not only did they share pictures that looked so good it wasn't even right, they said that pizza is (get this) healthy and a great food for runners.  Well hell yes!  I'm in! 
The article went on about sauces and toppings and homemade crust.  I figured that best to not get to wild and go for the crust from the box + make your own sauce combo.  Interesting how the make your own sauce part worked beautifully and the crust from the box part was a semi disaster.  But more on that later.  

But today we will focus on the sauce.  This was easy and quick and cheap.  It also stores well in a mason jar which automatically ups its cute factor.  

Because cute factor with pizza sauce is what's important.  
Homemade Pizza Sauce
from Runner's World

28 oz crushed tomatoe
3 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced
2 tbl olive oil
2 tbl olive oil
2 tbl tomato paste
2 tbl red wine vinegar
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Combine all ingredients into a medium sauce pan.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce to simmer and let it simmer for about 20 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Cool and store in the fridge. 

Serving size 1 cup (makes 3)
Points plus 4 


A Few on Friday

1.  I could always go this route to keep myself from getting bored during the MS River Marathon. 

2.  Speaking of that marathon.  Haven't donated to the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance? No worries, friend!  You can donate here.  

3.  Tell it, Ann Lamott.  Squint.  It's worth it. 

4. How cool is this website?  People being proud of the fact that they are in therapy.  Love it.

5.  At what point can I turn the heat on? 

6.  I just started a 15 day trial of YogaGlo.  They had me at the multiple classes that they offer for cross training and running.  And cycling.  But I'm not a cyclist.  Ask Brandon about that time I attempted to throw my bike in the Yazoo River, vomited, then got a flat tire across town from my house.  In that order.  On July 4.  At noon.  Sorry for being awesomely athletic.  

Happy weekend, dear friends!  Make it a good one!  Be present!  Enjoy yourself!    


Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo

My favorite baby sister, Chickey, picked up this lovely cookbook for me at a sounded-like-a-blast event in Greenville.  Donald Link was in my fair hometown, celebrating the hot tamale and (I guess) pushing cookbooks.  The book is called Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking From Donald Link's Louisiana and it's filled with stuff that made me drool and think that I could actually shell oysters.  But not really.   
BUT.  One day....one day I shall conquer his fried chicken and sausage gumbo.  I've got the fancy pan and one whole cooked chicken under my belt.  I can do this...right?  Just need an afternoon and moral support.  And some cold beers.  Abita.  It will have to be Abita.

But not today.  Or not Sunday, rather.  Last Sunday was not the day to conquer such an intimidating dish.  That was the the day to google a gumbo recipe that didn't demand I make my own stock.  The recipe that I found merely suggested that I make my own stock.  I guess that's the difference between food network recipes and Donald Link cookbooks.  In Donald Link's world, homemade stock is not a suggestion but a demand.  There's no short cutting it.  

But I digress. At least I made this here roux.  Pretty proud of that!  Almost burned it....but I didn't.  Heck yes.  Small victories!       
Small victories. Big taste. 

Whisk away, people.  
Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo
adapted from Food Network

1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 large onions, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup flour
2 bay leaves
1 tbl kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground thyme
1/2 tsp dried oregano
6 clove of garlic, chopped
5 1/2 cups seafood stock
1 lb andouille sausage (I couldn't find andouille so I just used smoked sausage)
1 pound of sausage, peeled and deviened  
cooked white rice

Combine peppers, onions and celery in a bowl and have them ready to go.  Combine the salt, dry seasonings and garlic and have it ready to go as well.  

In a large, heavy skillet heat the oil until it just begins to smoke.  Gradually add the flour, whisking constantly.  Continue whisking constantly and and continue to cook over medium to medium high heat until roux is dark brown and very fragrant.  Add the vegetable mixture and stir with a wooden spoon, continuing to cook for 2 minutes.  Add salt, dry seasonings and garlic and stir to combine, cooking for another minute.  

Place seafood stock into a large pot and bring to a gentle boil. Gradually add roux mixture to boiling stock, whisking constantly until its completely incorporated and dissolved.  Return to a boil and add the sausage then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.  Add the shrimp and turn off the heat.  Let it sit for about five minutes to cook the shrimp.  It cooks, I promise.  

Serve over cooked rice.         


Peanut Butter Pumpkin Stars (these are for the hounds)

What do you do when the number one (golden) doodle in your life has a birthday?  You make him peanut butter pumpkin stars.  Obviously.  
Daniel (really his name is Dan) and his brother Phinn celebrated their first birthday together at the Delta Brewing Beer Garden.  The weather was perfect and there were only a few disagreements between the doodle brothers.  

((Side bar:  best part of the afternoon was when a random guy in the corner of the beer garden said poodle fight!!)) 

These treats are easy and crispy and hounds just love them.  My Big Browne Hound has been snacking on the leftovers, loving life and being pumped that only 4 PB Pumpkin Stars would fit in a zip lock bag.  

Fix these for the sweet hound in your life! 
Peanut Butter Pumpkin Stars
adapted from Use Real Butter

2 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
2 eggs
2/3 cup of pumpkin 
3 tbl peanut butter
1/8 tsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350.  Combine the flour, eggs, pumpkin, peanut butter, cinnamon.  Mix well, add a little water if need be to make it more workable.  Roll the dough out on a floured surface, making it around 1/4 an inch thick.  Use cookie cutters and cut into whatever shape you like!  Bake for 30 minutes.    


A Few on Friday

1. Are you familiar with Refinery 29?  I don't really know what it is other than a constant source of distraction on my facebook feed.  But I have learned the following from it this week:  Wes Anderson has a new movie coming out, I might be able to start getting away with not washing my face anymore and there's a woman out there who is documenting the men that harass her on the streets in a photography project

2.  Go watch this.  It's amazing and adorable and everything you need for a Friday morning.
3.  I think I'm about to start using Pond's Cold Cream.
4.  I work in geri-psych.  This makes me spend a lot of time thinking about what kind of older person I'd like to turn into.  I think I've decided that I would like to be the kind of old person that enters a room by doing a high kick.  
5.  How awesome is this weather.  Reason number 952 why October is so amazing.  This is also another reason why October is so amazing:
Happy Octo-bear.  BAM!
Happy Friday, friends!  Be present and enjoy yourself!

And don't forget!  Donate to the OCNA today if you haven't already!  Click here!


Cookies and Cream Puppy Chow

Camping essentials always include flashlights, baby wipes, a tent and some sort of ridiculously amazing snack.  It can't be good for you or in any way life sustaining.  The general rule, for me at least, is that if you trapped in the woods with only this snack you would be screwed.  The more ridiculous the better, I say, and if it's chex mix based then that is even more awesome.

I'm not sure why this is my rule.  I'm also not sure if it can be considered a "rule" if it was started just this year. 

If we were playing realzies, we'd (or I'd.  This is really an "I" thing) fess up and say that this was merely my excuse to try puppy chow.  Cookies and cream puppy chow to be exact. 

No.  Not the dog food.  Silly.  I'm talking that snack that you always start hearing about come holiday time. The one that's got the chex mix and the chocolate and the powdered sugar.  Google it.  There's tons of insane versions out there. 

As a recent puppy chow convert I'm going to suggest that you go ahead and put it on the books to make for one of the 25+ holiday parties that you be getting involved with soon.  I'm not going to suggest, however, that you make this for yourself.  Why?  Because you'll try to eat the whole thing and then you'll get a tummy ache. 

Don't ask me how I know these things.   
Cookies and Cream Puppy Chow
10 cups of rice chex, divided
1 cup of white chocolate chips
1 cup of milk chocolate chips
16 oreos, crushed and divided
1 cup of powdered sugar, divided
extra oreos, broken up
Melt the white chocolate (Read the package directions!  This was tricky for me!).  In a big ziplock bag, combine 5 cups of the chex, 1/2 of the powdered sugar, 1/2 of the oreos and the white chocolate.  Shake it all around until it's good and combined.  Set aside to cool.
Melt the milk chocolate.  In another ziplock back, combine the rest of the chex, the powdered sugar, the other half of the oreos and the milk chocolate.  Shake it all around.  Set aside to cool.
Combine the white chocolate and the milk chocolate mixtures.  Toss in the remaining broken up oreos. 
I, for obvious reasons, did not figure out the points on this dear dish.   'Tis best to just not think about it on recipes like this one.   


Dark Chocolate Almond Milk (it's kind of like starbucks)

Hey hi there!  Happy vegan Tuesday! 

Just stopping into to share with you this little treat:
Silk dark chocolate almond milk.  BAM.

A friend of mine recommended this to go in coffee or to have as a sweet treat.  When you put it in your coffee, it almost kind of tastes like a fancy coffee drink of sorts.  When you just drink it straight it, it kind of tastes like amazingness.  And an almond.  And kind of a soy bean.  I should stop now....

Any who!  Pick yourself up some almond milk and have a rocking vegan Tuesday....  


Easy Lo Mien

NOODLE BOWL! Up in your face. 
Oh how I love thee, noodle bowl.  So easy.  So tasty.  Pretty healthy to boot.  And vegan!  At least this one was. 

This one was quick, I was able to have it cooked up and on the table in around 20 minutes, which is good because I had a starving husband that was draped across a slip covered couch.  This one might not satisfy the meat eaters in your life but you could add some shrimp and it would absolutely still be delicious.  Brandon ate his bowl right up and then fixed himself a few ham/swiss/siracha roll ups.  PTL for deli meat.  

Let's check it out one more time.....
This one is, for sure, a keeper.  It tasted just like the lo mien from my favorite Chinese place in Greenwood but I would imagine with way fewer fat and calories.  I used quinoa noodles (a blend of quinoa and corn) but regular noodles would be fine, just fine. 

Get your noodle bowl on!!

Easy Lo Mien

2 cloves of garlic, pressed
2 green onions, chopped
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 tsp sesame oil   
crushed red pepper flakes (to taste)
4 oz quinoa pasta, uncooked
2 tbl sesame seeds
1/4 cup soy sauce
cooked broccoli

Cook the noodles according to the package directions.  Drain and set aside.  Heat the vegetable oil and the sesame oil in a large pan.  Add the garlic and the green onion, cook until it starts smelling all awesome.  add the red pepper flakes, the cooked pasta, the sesame seeds, soy sauce and broccoli.  Toss it all together. 

Serving size 1/2 of recipe
Points plus 8


A Few on Friday

1.  Here is some life advice from a tree:

2.  Have you donated to the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance?  If so...thank you to the moon!!  We are at 40% of the goal and I am beyond grateful for those who not only have donated but for those who have shared and posted and tweeted.  If not and you'd like to....click here

3.  So The Pixies are playing at the Ryman on February 2 which is the day after my best friend is getting married in Nashville.  No brainer!

4.  So this guy wrote a book that I'm reading called Running with the Mind of Meditation and it's pretty darn cool.  This video is pretty darn cool as well.  I like the part where he says something about society being better kind of depends on, at its basic level, the interactions between two people.  I mean, that's way paraphrased as I am by no means, oh what's the word, eloquent? Check it out.   

5. If you told me that I had to either cut off my pinkie or watch American Horror Story....I'd  cut off my pinkie.  End of story.  

Happy weekend, dear friends!  Be present and enjoy yourself!  


Dark Chocolate + Peanut Butter aka a kind hug for your sweet tooth

I have a sweet tooth.  

But you know that.  You know that like you know that I can't spell and that I love Akitas.

But this sweet tooth.  It's big.  It's got a mind of its own sometimes.  It doesn't play around.  It will be satisfied.  

These are all reasons that it's a near disaster for a gal like me to purchase a bag of individually wrapped dark chocolates.  But I did it all in the name of science, really.  To test a theory that was shared with me at a workshop some time back in which the presenter discussed the benefits of mindful eating in getting the most out of your food.  He gave the example of dark chocolate and how if one eats a piece of it sloooooly, miiiiiindfully, enjoying not just the taste but the whole experience it's more satisfying and the person would feel less of an urge to eat more.   

Ok, therapy expert dude.  I'll try that.  And no i swear I'm not just using this as an excuse to purchase chocolate for personal consumption.  
Party people!  It worked!

This 1 piece of dark chocolate + 1 teaspoon of natural peanut butter gave my sweet tooth a hug good enough and kind enough so that the sweet tooth didn't feel the need to be all center stage and pushy.  At just 2 points plus it's basically a dream boat in the palm of your hand.

I can't even talk about how much I adore the peanut butter + chocolate combo.

Carry on with your Thursday, friends.       



Crock Pot Tortellini Soup (it's a little sleazy and a lot of amazing)

Well, guys, I don't know what to say other than it's Pinterest week over here at the Elevator.  Pinterest and begging for money week.  That's what it's come too.  
Raise your hand if you're mad.  

Mine's not up.

Well it is up but that's only because it's raising the roof to how kick ass this soup is.  Yeah.  I went there.  I said the a-word.

I can't say for sure but I think my mom has made this 886 times so far this year and it's not even soup season yet.  But she probably didn't get it from Pinterest.  She probably got it when someone posted it on the face book.  Oh, Pegs. 

She says :  I mean I usually don't even pay attention to this stuff but this one just caught my eye.  So i tried it! 

I can see why.  It's easy, it's cheesy, it's not a stretch to call it sleazy.  It's basically a perfect fall crock pot meal.  This version is vegetarian but you can easily satisfy the carnivores in your life by adding a festive sausage or even some hamburger meat.    

Crock Pot Tortellini Soup

20 oz frozen tortellini (I couldn't find frozen.  I just got the kind you find in the refrigerator section and I stuck it in the freezer. Genius!)
2 cans of Italian style diced tomatoes, drained
4 cups of vegetable broth
1 block of cream cheese, cubed
10 oz of fresh spinach

Place the tortellini, the tomatoes, the broth, the cream cheese in a crock pot.  Cook it on low for 4-6 hours.  About 30 minutes before you eat, stir in the spinach and make sure the cream cheese is melted. 

Serving size 1 cup (makes about 8 servings)
Points plus 8


Why Am I Raising Money for Ovarian Cancer? Great Question! Read On...

Hello.  Hi there!  Just me, asking you for money. 

Soo.  I'm running in the MS River Marathon in February, four months from today to be exact.  This was a big decision for me, one of those decisions in which as soon as I hit "confirm" on the registration  I loudly exclaimed to no one in particular s*%t. To know me is to know that I'd rather sit and stare at the wall and eat jalapeno poppers that run and eat vegan.  I'm a girl that has minimal self control, ergo I run and eat vegan so that I can stare at the wall and eat jalapeno poppers.  All or nothing.  What's more all or nothing that a marathon?  Few things.  

I decided that since I'll probably only do this once and I'll probably limp away with a life long injury and an aversion to running...I should make it count.  The fundraiser for the marathon is for Teach for America.  They raised a lot of money last year and I feel like it's a great cause.  But it's not my cause.  

I spent some time tossing around different causes to run for and kept coming back to Ovarian cancer.  My mind kept going to the dear friends that have lost their loved ones and to the ones who are standing with their loved ones as they fight this...all beautiful women in the prime of their lives.  It was with them on my heart that I decided to raise money for the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance.  It was with insanity on the brain that I decided to set the goal at $2,620....100$ for each mile.

I believe in community.  I believe in coming together.  I believe in measuring yourself.  I believe in the power of hope.  I believe in rooting for the underdog.  I believe I can fly. I believe in you.  I believe in myself. I believe in raising barns.  I believe that together, we can further this fight so that women can be diagnosed sooner, live longer, beat the odds.    

I also believe I would look pretty good in this teal running shirtKidding.  But not really.   

Here's the site where you can donate.  Let's do this!

Here are some facts from the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance.  Some smart folks did some big studies and here's what they found:

If you like to read....

"According to the data, the mortality rates for ovarian cancer have not improved in forty years since the “War on Cancer” was declared. However, other cancers have shown a marked reduction in mortality, due to the availability of early detection tests and improved treatments. Unfortunately, this is not the case with ovarian cancer, which is still the deadliest of all gynecologic cancers."

"Ovarian cancer accounts for approximately three percent of cancers in women. While the 10th most common cancer among women, ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related death among women, and is the deadliest of gynecologic cancers. Mortality rates are slightly higher for Caucasian women than for African-American women."

If you like to look:
 Survival rate and diagnosis for varied stages between 2002 and 2008.

2013 statistics about ovarian cancer
So why the Ovarian Cancer National Association?  Well for one thing, they advocate.  And I lurve that shiz.  Here's what the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance is up to:

Since 1997, when the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance was founded, death rates from ovarian cancer have not significantly changed. However, the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance has worked to increase funding for ovarian cancer research, with the goal that this funding will support breakthroughs to help detect ovarian cancer early, treat it more thoroughly, and allow women with ovarian cancer to survive, and thrive.

We have worked to ensure that necessary treatments are covered by Medicare, that drugs and tests on the market are safe and effective, and that federal policy makers are aware of the importance of the ovarian cancer community.

Please visit the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance website for more information....all statistical information in this post was copied and pasted from there.    

Thanks for your support! 


BBQ Chicken Pizza

How in the world did we know what to cook before Pinterest?  I'm not sure.  What I am sure of, though, is that my life would be real empty if not for the 8,000 noodle bowls that I've pinned.  

One day.  One day I'll make those noodle bowls.  And those Butterfinger brownies.  And that sushi.  And that maxi dress.

But let's not focus on tomorrow, friends.  No, no.  Let's focus on today.  Or two Thursdays ago, even, when I made this delicious BBQ Chicken "pizza." If not for my friend Swayze, I'd never have known the joy of this simple and tasty meal.  I'd pinned it, sure, but hadn't yet ventured to try it. 

What would you like to try today?  Maybe it's a new recipe.  Maybe it's tai chi.  Maybe it's red lipstick (eek!).  Whatever it is...rock it and do it with gusto!    
BBQ Chicken Pizza
adapted from Skinny Mom
1 flour tortilla
1/2 cup of cooked, chopped chicken
3 tbl BBQ sauce 
3 tbl corn / black bean salsa (wait for it)
1/8 cup of shredded cheddar cheese

Heat your oven to 350.  Stick the tortilla in there and let it start to brown.  Remove it and layer as follows:  the chicken, the salsa, the BBQ sauce, the cheese.  Stick it back in the oven until everything is heated up.  

Serving size 1 pizza
Points plus 9 

For the black bean salsa, combine 1 can of corn (drained), 1 can of black beans (drained and rinsed), 1 red onion (chopped).


A Few on Friday

1.  Yogascapes.  Heard of it?  When I grow up, I want to take this yogascape to Italy. But maybe in 2014, I'll take this yogascape to Nicaragua. Maybe after I finish raising money for the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance I'll start a little fund for yogascapes.  Jokes

2.  Speaking of raising money for the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance.....heck yeah!  This venture is off to a bangin' start and I can't believe how generous you have been so far.  Haven't donated yet and want to?  Here you go...click here!

3.  I'm in a book club!  Woo!  Our first book is called The Tilted World.  Pumped to read it.  And discuss it.  Unfortunately, reading comprehension has never been my strong suit....I might just stare blankly a lot.  Takes me a while to get things sometimes.   

4.  King Biscuit is nearly upon us!!

5.  Anyone else?
glad im not the only one 
6.  I rediscovered my love for Miranda Lambert on the way to work this morning.  Number 742 why Spotify rocks my socks off.  

Happy weekend, friends!  Keep it real, do things that you love.  Bless you real good.   


Black Bean Burgers

Before I share with you some bad-a black bean burgers, let's talk first about my mission to raise 2,620.00 for the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance.  Today is October 1.  These means that we've (see how I've included you in this awesome mission?) got 4 solid months and then some change to get this done.  According to my calculations, 25 people could donate 25$ each for four months in order to make that happen.  Obviously, the same 25 people don't have to donate for four straight months but you know what I mean.  I mean you can, I'm not going to tell you what to do.  You can also give 5$.  Or 10$.  Or you could send up a quick prayer and some good energy for the bodies and minds of the awesome women that are fighting ovarian cancer and for the family members and loved ones of those no longer with us.  Let's do this!    

The Brandon aka my herz-band recently told me that he would be completely fine if we ate less animal products on Parsons Ave.  It was after one of those particularly disturbing conversations about meat, we were both a little nauseous over it and probably would have agreed to anything at the time.

Little did he know how seriously I took this as I furiously began researching and pinning hearty vegetarian/vegan meals.  Because they have to be hearty.  Or else I put on my give up pants and eat cheeseburgers inappropriately. 

Much good has come from this, including not limited to black bean burgers that have been eaten as burgers as well as quesadillas. 

Mind blowing stuff happening at the elevator here, guys.

Whip these burgers up!  Then crumble them up and put them in a quesadilla...... 
Black Bean Burgers

2 16 oz cans of low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 tbl cilantro
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 large eggs
1 tsp onion powder
1 tbl cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 cup of quick oats.

Preheat the oven to 375.

Remove 1/4 of the black beans and mash what's left.  Put those whole black beans back with the mashed ones.  Set them aside.  

In a food processor, finely chop the bell pepper, the cilantro and garlic.  Add in the oats, eggs, cumin, onion powder and chili powder.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pulse until everything is combined. Add to the black bean mixture. 

Place all of this jazz in the fridge, let it chill for 30 minutes.  

Once it's chilled, remove from the fridge and form the mixture into 8 burgers.  Bake for around 20 minutes or until the burgers are cooking through.

Serving size 1 burger (makes 8)
Points plus 4