Monday, May 19, 2014

Advocare Challenge Day 6 Update: Bun-less Salmon Burgers, Asparagus, and A Hot Mess in the Kitchen

Day 6... I really have nothing new to report.  I have ridiculous and obnoxious amounts energy for a Monday, I feel lighter, I didn't have to drink the Fiber Drink...all good things.

I enjoyed my last day of not having to chug sawdust.  Well, I guess there are only a few days left of the cleanse. Again...need to stop being a sissy.

Breakfast: Chocolate MRS on my way to work.  Is it weird that I was looking forward to having this all weekend? Yes?  No?  Ok then.

Mid-Morning Snack: Bananananananana

Lunch: Leftover roast chicken and veggies.

Afternoon Snack: An apple and some all natural peanut butter

Dinner: (Bun-less) Salmon Burgers (with quinoa) topped with avocado and Strawberry-Mango Salsa and asparagus with red peppers and onions.

Evening Snack: Does water count as a snack?

How I'm Feeling:  Got home from work still revved up with tons of energy.  Which is good because today also starts a Fit for Life challenge at work.  And since was actually pretty decent out, when I got home from work I decided to attempt another run/jog with Roux.

The thing about running with a dog or one that isn't used to running with a person is that she doesn't really know to keep pace.  Plus, Roux is still in training and we haven't quite let her out of heel yet.   So as I'm jogging, she's bumping into me, throwing her weight into my legs so I'm stumbling around looking like I may be having a seizure.  Or she's trying to bolt ahead, so then I'm playing "correct the dog" while huffing and puffing and looking like a total spaz. Awesome.

But other than that, nothing new to report.  I'll save you from going on and on about what I've written before and just move on to the main event.

So here it is... the recipe I was so geeked up about from yesterday: Salmon Bun-less Burgers with avocado and strawberry-mango salsa.  I also made grilled asparagus with a red pepper sauce to accompany the salmon.   And yes...there are recipes.

But first.... since my plate incorporated all of the recipes below, here's a shot of the final product.  Get your bibs's droolin' time.

Salmon Burgers (makes 5-6 burgers)
I'm going to admit it. I don't like salmon.  Salmon and tuna are probably the only two types of seafood I don't particularly care for.  Ok.  I also am not a big fan of oysters or clams, but that has to do with the texture.  But Salmon, it's the flavor.   But I figured, make it into burger form, combine it with some other deliciousness and then throw it on the grill, why not?

To top it off, the slices of avocado and the strawberry-mango salsa really bring it all together and brighten up the burger, turning something I wouldn't normally eat, into something I'm excited to have leftovers for.

So fun story time.  As I was blending/chopping up my salmon, my blender said "screw it" and the motor decided to burn up.  Oh well... plan B.  Mush all of the salmon burger mixture together with my hands and call it a day.

1 to 1 1/2 pounds wild salmon (try to avoid farm-raised if you can)
3-4 green onions, ends trimmed
1 handful of fresh cilantro
1-2 tsp. lemon or lime zest
1 tsp herbamare (or make your own using this recipe. I just left out the kelp)
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup, cooked quinoa

1. Using a food processor, chop up the green onions, cilantro, lemon zest, herbamare, and black pepper until finely minced.  If you're like me and you don't have a food processor (seriously - that and a dehydrator are the two things I don't have in my kitchen.  Ridiculousness), just finely mince your herbs and ingredients by hand and toss in a medium bowl, or try throwing it all in a blender.

2. Skin and de-bone your salmon.  A sharp filet knife will make your life so much easier here.  I also cut the salmon into  cubes since I was going to blend it all together in my blender (*cough*wishfulthinking*cough*)

3. Add the salmon and quinoa, and process again to the desired consistency (leave the salmon with a few "bigger" chunks).  Again, if you don't have a food processor, use the pulse option on a blender or chop your salmon by hand and then toss in a bowl with the other ingredients and quinoa. Or if your blender decides to be a dick and stop working mid-blend...just smush everything together with your hands.

4. Form the burgers into patties and place on a plate. Feel free to make your burgers ahead of time and let them rest, relax, and listen to smooth jazz in your fridge.  .

5. Heat a large skillet over medium/medium-high heat and spray with nonstick cooking spray or fire up your grill and grease thoroughly. Place your burgers on the skillet or on your grill, being sure not to overcrowd.  Depending on how hot your pan or your grill is, the burgers should take approximately 2-3 minutes per side to cook.  Make sure your pan/grill is hot and greased!  If not, your burgers may stick a little. (Whomp whomp whomp)

Strawberry Mango Salsa
Honestly, give me a spoon and I could just eat this all day.  If you're not doing the healthy eating thing, these would also be great on pie-dough cookies.  You know, when you make a pie and you have some scraps left over? Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and bake those bad boys off then top with this fruit-salsa (maybe leave off the jalapeno if you're doing this though). Yum!

3/4 c. strawberries, small dice
3/4 c. mango, small dice
1/4 c. red onion, finely chopped
3 T. cilantro, rough chopped
1 T. lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste (be careful!  You don't want to add too much salt here.
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and diced

1. Prepare yo ingredients!

2. Combine all of the ingredients and allow to sit in the refrigerator for a few hours, covered.

Asparagus with Red Peppers, Onions, and Whatever the Hell Else I can Throw in there Since My Blender Went to the Small Appliance Superstore in the Sky
For someone who went to culinary school, has worked in kitchens, and loves veggies, I sure am a picky bitch when it comes to what I eat.   I'm iffy when it comes to asparagus.  Unless I chop it up, blanch and blend it and then toss it in a seared scallop risotto, I get kinda weirded out by the green veg.   For me it comes off as being a little too woody or slimy.

And what was going to be grilled asparagus with a red pepper sauce turned into the following recipe when my blender decided to deep-6 itself.  Honestly, I can't be that upset when it has lasted 5 years and the blender biting the dust leaves me with one less dish to do.

Hey. I'm practical.

So what do you do when your kitchen appliances revolt and you've got a pan of sauteed peppers?  You improvise.  And sometimes (like this time) it turns out pretty good.

Ingredients (makes 4 servings)
1/2 pounds asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and rough chopped
1/2 yellow onion, large dice
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 T. olive oil
2 T. lime juice
1 1/2 T. basil (or if you're like me and your grocery store is mysteriously out of basil when you go to make this recipe, just use 1 T. of the dried)

1. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat and add chopped red bell peppers.  Cook and stir over until peppers are soft, about 10-15 minutes.  Remove red peppers from your pan and let cool slightly.

2. Add in diced yellow onions to the pan (don't add any more oil - this is more than enough) and allow to become soft.  Add the peppers back in and allow to warm together.

3. Blanch the asparagus, drain and add to the saute pan with the onions and peppers.
probably I should have gotten a picture of the asparagus in the pan..
4. Stir, allowing the flavors to incorporate.  Squeeze in lime juice and sprinkle basil.  Stir and allow to cook, 2 additional minutes.  Serve hot.

Seriously, sometimes when you have a clusterfuck in the kitchen, great things can come of it.  I don't usually care for salmon.  And I'm not the biggest fan of asparagus, but this meal worked for me.  I really liked it. Just goes to show you that a little experimentation never hurt anyone.

Even the kind in college.

Where you're just finding yourself.

Or.  Um.   I'm going to go now.

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