Food, Recipes

Make a bangin’ turkey burger!

Despite my previous prejudice, I have developed a slight – but very real – obsession with turkey burgers. Because I am such a huge fan of the fat-filled, authentic and beefy American cheeseburger, I didn’t think burgers had a place in my healthy lifestyle. But it turns out that as long as it’s properly seasoned, garnished with good cheese, and has a dense and grainy bun, turkey burgers can be just as satisfying!

Since ground turkey has significantly less natural zest than beef, it is pertinent that it be seasoned well. Use what you have on hand; somethin is better than nothin’! For instance, before I found my favorite recipe (listed below), I seasoned my frozen Jennie-O “All Natural” Turkey Burgers with Red Robin seasoning.

I would also like to emphasize how important cheese is. Cheese is important – on any burger. But especially turkey burgers need a little feta or Tillamook cheddar to complete the package. If you’re cooking frozen pre-portioned burgers, slap a slice of the cheese of your choosing on top of your cooked burger. Put a lid on it and wait for the magic to happen.

My next point is about finishing off the details. I know that a lot of people “don’t care” about these finishing touches, but I think it really makes a difference in the quality of your meal. For example, dress the insides of your bun with a teensy bit of margarine, and toast them on the bagel setting of your toaster. Take the time to add a thin coating of light mayonnaise to your bun (if you like it). Slice some veggies like onion, lettuce and avocado to garnish your burger-to-be.

If you go the extra mile to make your turkey burger a gourmet burger, it can make its beefy rival look like a lame alternative. Here’s my new favorite recipe:

Turkey and Feta Burgers

Adapted from Women’s Health: Six Bikini Friendly Burger Recipes “Turkey Gorgonzola Burgers”

The original recipe tells us how to make the burgers on a grill, but as many of you know, I don’t have a grill. So this version will tell how to cook burgers in the oven. When following this recipe, keep in mind that there is plenty of room for your own preferences. Depending on the day, you may want more or less garlic and sun-dried tomatoes. And depending on the size you want your burgers to be, this recipe could yield 4-6. I like quarter pound burgers, but you can also make 6 smaller sized burgers if you please. There’s also extra wiggle room for the brands you would like to use. I highly recommend using Dave’s Killer Blues Buns and Athenos Reduced Fat Feta Cheese, but suit yourself.

  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 3 oz. Reduced Fat Feta cheese, crumbled (Athenos)
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs cumin powder
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 4 100% whole grain buns (Dave’s Killer Blues Buns)
  • 6 Tbsp barbecue sauce
  • lettuce (optional)
  • onion (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F, with rack placed at center position. Lightly grease pan with oil.
  2. Combine first five ingredients and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl. Lightly mix together (I use my hands), and form into 4 patties. Brush them with olive oil.
  3. Cook burgers for 20-35 minutes, or until internal temp is 165°F.  Toast buns for 2 minutes. Serve burgers on buns; garnish with barbecue sauce, lettuce, and onion if desired.


Food, Weightloss

Goodbye Summer, Hello Life!

At the end of the third month of my plan to get bikini ready, I realized that I have actually missed bikini season altogether. As I was looking at the weather report for the last days of August on the Oregon Coast, I found that it was actually predicted to be rainy. Translation: I will not be able to enjoy even one day at a warm and sunny beach this summer because our hot summer days are done for. Consequently, I will not be engaging in your stereotypical summer activities which usually involve being half-naked in a body of water. Am I upset by this fact? I’m not entirely sure.

Mom on the grill for one of the last times this year.

My first emotional reaction to this fact is to be bummed that my efforts, specific to summer, have been pointless. Why make a plan to get skinny in the summer when I’m not even going to be squeezing myself into a bathing suit? But the other part of me is a little relieved. Shopping for swimwear is stressful and grueling to say the least. Trying on swim suits usually tears down my self esteem when my body isn’t quite where I’d like to be. And since the hot weather forces us to wear revealing tank tops and short shorts, I still had reason enough to slim down in the summer. And it’s not like I have to be in a bikini in order to enjoy results.

And beyond the demands of the summer season, I was ready to shed the 10 or more extra pounds that I have been carrying around since Christmas. Furthermore, this has been a lifestyle change that will help me to maintain the weight I’ve lost so far (I’m not entirely sure of the exact number of pounds).

While we’re on the topic of a lifestyle change, I would just like to add that I am aware that in my life I will make mistakes with my eating. I will have days that I do not work out, and my weight will most certainly fluctuate depending on the week. But life is about making mistakes and overcoming them.  I’m a bit nervous for what my next number will be, as I have been a bit lax on my eating lately. I don’t know if it’s because I feel  liberated by the spirit of summer, or if I just need to be reminded of why I don’t eat fast food, but I definitely have not been strict about my food rules. Obviously, I still make healthy choices and am not binge eating, but my diet hasn’t exactly been low-carb. Oh, and by the way, the other day I allowed myself…REAL LIVE ICE CREAM. And a week later, BURGERVILLE.

I’m not excusing my behavior, but my cheek and gums were sore from my dental appointment the other day (I had a filling replaced), so this was the justification I repeated to myself as I allowed Philip to treat me to Baskin Robbins. As for the Burgerville, I really have no excuse. I was desperate, weak, and completely out of line when I had the Seasoned Turkey Burger and a regular serving of french fries. I have taken the liberty of researching the nutritional content of my order, and I’m not happy with my findings: A grand total of 880 calories, 37g of fat, 1060g of sodium. Yuck.

It’s strange because I find that summer is a relatively easy time to go light on fatty foods and fill up on fruits and vegetables instead. All the best produce is in season: peaches, corn, blueberries, raspberries, summer squash, nectarines, lettuce, pineapple, rhubarb, and watermelon!

But sometimes shit happens.

I’ll reach my potential when I get there. I’m in no rush. Besides, my ultimate goal is to figure out how to get to a weight that I am happy with, that I can maintain in the long run, and to figure this out by the time I go to Maui in January.