Here’s a Little Secret…

Right now, my apartment looks like this:

Apartment Apartment

Here’s a little secret: I don’t know how to pack. I’ve sort of just been throwing things in boxes and hoping for the best. We just picked up the moving truck about an hour ago, and we are leaving Albany tomorrow. I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t sad. Packing up my apartment has been a very emotional and overwhelming experience for me.

Instead of thinking about that, though, I want you to take a look at this:

Lavash Bread

That, my friends, is Lavash Bread from a Turkish restaurant I went to last night with Jeff, and our friends, Jess and Seth. 

Here’s another little secret: Jeff lived in Turkey for a few months when he was a teenager. His dad taught US History there as part of the Fulbright Scholar Program, and took Jeff and his brother along.

So it’s really no secret that Jeff loves Turkish food. It’s unfortunate, however, that we discovered Ali Baba, a Turkish restaurant in Troy, two days before we move away from the area. Jeff said that the meal he had there last night was the best he’s had in America. That’s saying a lot, considering he’s been to a number of Turkish restaurants in the US since he lived in Turkey.

Along with the bread, we had yogurt sauce and humus for dipping:

Humus

Yum! 

I took Jeff’s suggestion, and ordered the Veggie Iskender for my entree:

Veggie Iskender

Roasted mixed vegetables with tomatoes and yogurt sauce

Honestly, aside from the tomato and yogurt sauce, and a few mushrooms and peppers here and there, I have no idea what was in this, but it was so good!

If you live in the area, and are looking for a fun, out-of-the-box dining experience, I suggest checking this place out!

I want to rewind a little bit, and share Thursday’s dinner with you. About a month ago, I received a coupon from the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program to try out an Alexia All Natural product. Jeff and I just got around to choosing one this past week:

Onion rings

I LOVE onion rings, and these ones looked especially delicious. Alexia and Foodbuzz also sent me a fun kitchen apron, which is convenient since I make a huge mess of things whenever I cook. Actually, I make a huge mess of things whenever I do anything. I should probably just wear the apron all the time.

I asked Jeff to take a picture of me wearing the apron, and well, it took a couple tries:

Take One  Take Two Take Three

(Notice I’m wearing a banana republic sweater with pajama pants. I’m classy like that)

I finally decided that a glass of wine would help get a suitable picture out of me:

Me in Apron

That’s perfect, right? I should be an Alexia All Natural model.

ANYWAY, Jeff and I decided to have “burgers” with our onion rings:

Veggie Burgers

The onion rings were SO easy to make. All I had to do was bake them in the oven for about 15 minutes. I loved them because the ingredient list was short, and readable. Onions, beer, water, and wheat flour are the first four ingredients.

Burgers

The rings were crunchy, just the way they should be, and tasted like ones you’d get at a restaurant.

Veggie Burger

Jeff wants me to tell you that he approved of both the onions rings and the burgers. He doesn’t usually like veggie burgers, so that’s saying a lot. 🙂

We got two meals out of the box of onion rings. Thursday was actually the second time we had this dinner. We’ll definitely be buying Alexia products again.  In fact, we bought Alexia Garlic Bread on Monday for my birthday dinner. The garlic bread, like the onion rings, did not disappoint.

Thanks, Foodbuzz, for giving me the chance to try Alexia products!

I’m about to work out at my gym for the last time. I’ll write a post soon about how I plan to work out while I’m living at my parents’ house. I also promise to show you a picture of me sitting inside our HUGE moving truck tomorrow. If I don’t get to post before then, wish me luck!

How many places have you lived in your life? Do you like moving?

I’ve only lived two places: my parents’ house and this apartment, which is why I am such a baby about packing. 🙂

Have a great Saturday! <3

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Nature’s Pride: Black Bean & Barley Sliders

Black Bean Barley Sliders

Tonight was a night for cooking.

Outside, the rain was pouring, and the wind was blowing.

Inside, the blender swirled, the frying pan sizzled, and chopped carrots flew through the air.

I got to work minutes before the sun went down, and didn’t stop until I had the perfect dish.

Tonight was therapeutic.

Nature's Pride

As many of you know, the Second Annual Foodbuzz Blogger Festival is right around the corner. Like last year, Nature’s Pride is one of the festival sponsors.

Since I would absolutely LOVE to attend the festival, I’ve decided to enter my recipe for a chance to become a 2010 Nature’s Pride Bread Ambassador. If I am one of six chosen, Nature’s Pride will cover my accommodation and airfare costs to attend the festival in San Francisco in November! How amazing would that be!?

The inspiration for the recipe came from one of my favorite local restaurant’s, Brown’s Brewing Co. Their menu features a black bean and barley burger that I absolutely love, so I decided to try to imitate it.

In my version, I include roasted red and green peppers, a variety of spices, and whole wheat bread crumbs to hold it all together. I topped each slider with roasted garlic butter, fresh, local romaine, and sliced organic tomato. Not only did I use Nature’s Pride Whole Wheat bread in the black bean mixture, I also used their Stone Ground Honey Whole Wheat bread for the “buns.” To complete the meal, I made a roasted sweet potato and pear side dish.

Even if I don’t win, I’m so glad I took the time to make this recipe. It’s definitely a keeper, and I hope you LOVE it. (Note: most of the work in this recipe is PREP. Save time by doing everything ahead of time).

Nature's Pride

Ingredients

Black Bean & Barley Sliders

Makes approximately 15 burgers.

What You’ll Need:

  • ~2 cups cooked black beans (I used most of a 25oz. can)
  • 3/4 cup uncooked Pearl Barley
  • 4 slices Nature’s Pride 100% Whole Wheat Bread (with ends sliced off for bread crumbs)
  • 8 slices Nature’s Pride Stone Ground Whole Wheat and Honey Bread
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 bell peppers (I used one red and one green)
  • 2 Tbsp hot sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped (plus rest of garlic for roasting)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp dried basil
  • 1/2 Tsp cumin
  • Salt and Pepper to taste (I probably used 1/4 tsp of each)
  • Tomato Slices and Romaine Lettuce for toppings

Barley

Cooking the Barley: 

  1. Place barley plus 2 1/4 cups of water in a sauce pan. Add a sprinkle of salt
  2. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
  3. Reduce heat to low, cover, and let cook for 40 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed, and you can fluff the barley with a fork.
  4. Set aside.

Peppers

Roasting the Peppers and Garlic 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Spray baking sheet with nonstick spray, and place the peppers on sheet.
  3. Roast in oven for 30-35 minutes, turning occasionally until all sides have blackened.
  4. Place in bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 15 minutes to cool
  5. Peel off skin, pull out stem, and discard of seeds. Chop.
  6. Without peeling the garlic, break off two cloves, and set aside for the rest of the recipe.
  7. Cut off the top part of the garlic head to expose top of cloves.
  8. Wrap in foil and place in oven for 40 minutes.
  9. When done, garlic will be soft and spreadable.

Roasted Garlic

Nature's Pride Bread

Making Bread Crumbs is Simple 

Bread bread crumbs  Bread

Bread Crumbs

All Together Now:

  1. Place carrots, pepper, garlic, onion, and basil into food processor. Pulse. (I don’t have a food processor, so I used a blender- This would probably work better with a food processor, which is why I’m telling you to use one)
  2. Add beans, blend.
  3. Pour bean and veggie mixture into a bowl. Add barley, hot sauce, cumin, eggs, salt, and pepper, and mix.
  4. Add bread crumbs and mix some more…

Black Bean Mixture

Next, heat a 12 inch frying pan over medium heat, spray lightly with cooking spray.

Pan

Form the mixture into small patties, and heat for six minutes on each side. Don’t be impatient. If you flip too soon, your burgers will fall apart. They’ll still be delicious, but they’ll just be delicious mush instead of sliders.

MEANWHILE…

Roasted Sweet Potato and Pear Side Dish: 

DSCF4364

What You’ll Need

  1. 1 Pear
  2. 3 Mini Sweet Potatoes
  3. Cooking Spray
  4. Cinnamon
  5. Nutmeg
  6. Sea Salt

DSCF4319 

  1. Keep oven at 400 degrees
  2. Peel and chop potatoes, slice pear
  3. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray
  4. Place pear and potato on sheet
  5. Spray lightly with cooking spray, sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt
  6. Roast for 20 minutes

Sweet Potatoes and Pears

Finally, toast the Nature’s Pride Honey Wheat Bread. I used Jeff’s sandwich maker, which toasted the bread into cool triangles, but a regular toasted will do. (You can also use Nature’s Pride Rolls, which I couldn’t find in my grocery store)

Nature's Pride Bread

Chop your tomato, wash your lettuce,and get any other toppings ready (like roasted garlic).

THEN…

Slider Sliders

Enjoy!!

Note: This recipe is my official entry to become a Nature’s Pride Bread Ambassador at this year’s Foodbuzz Festival! I received a coupon for Nature’s Pride Bread via the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program.

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