Spicy Black Bean Cakes with Spinach, Red Onions & Tomatoes


I have been wanting to make these for a VERY long time. One of my favorite restaurants back home in the Charleston area, Vickery’s, has these on their menu. They are my go-to. So so soooo good!!!! The combination of spice and the sweetness of the balsamic vinegar are just divine.

You Will Need:

For the cakes…

  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) no salt added black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp finely minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 cayenne pepper (or more if you like…MONICA!)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1-2 tsp blackened seasoning
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 4 teaspoons coconut oil, divided

For the garnish…

  • 12 oz uncooked spinach
  • 1 can petite diced PLAIN no salt added tomatoes , drained
  • 1 large red onion, cut into rings about .5 inch thick
  • 1-2 cups Balsamic vinegar (I never measure vinegar so this is an estimate)
  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil

To cook:

  1. Head olive oil in deep pan over medium heat. Add onions and about 1/4 or 1/2 cup of the vinegar- making sure all of the onions are well coated. Let them sauté until soft – cover the pan and turn the heat to medium low after about 5 minutes. At this point, I put my tomatoes in a bowl and let them soak in some balsamic vinegar for probably 15-20 minutes. Optional.
  2. Turn oven to 200 degrees F (this is so you can keep finished cakes warm) While onions are cooking- prepare the bean cakes. In a large bowl, mash beans with a potato masher. Stir in the egg white, onions, and spices. Shape into eight 2-1/2-in. patties
  3. Heat 2 tsp of coconut oil and add first four cakes. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side or until they are brown on top. If you don’t cook them long enough they WILL fall apart!
  4. While cakes are cooking, check your onions. If they are soft, wilt in spinach with another 1/4 to 1/2 cup of vinegar. Use tongs to make sure leaves are evenly coated. Cover and let wilting finish.
  5. When first batch of the cakes have finishes, transfer them to a foil lined cookie sheet and put them in the oven. Heat remaining coconut oil and cook last 4 cakes.
  6. Add tomatoes to the spinach & onions with any remaining vinegar (or from the bowl if you soaked them). Turn heat to low and cover, letting the veggies finish sautéing together.
  7. Serve 2 black bean cakes on top of a heaping 1/2 cup of veggies. Garnish with fat free (or full fat if you’re so inclined) sour cream and a sprinkle or two of cayenne.
  8. I served these with Sweet & Spicy cucumbers: http://ourbestbites.com/2010/08/sweet-and-spicy-cucumber-slices/



What Moves Me

  • Periodically, one of my favorite things  to do is look at the US and UK Top 40, look up the new UltraDance or what-have-you cds on iTunes or go through fitness playlists on Spotify & Google. I absolutely 100% cannot work out without a constant beat if I am walking or jogging. I need to feel that beat when my feet make contact with the floor. I’m just weird like that. And if I’m lifting or doing core & legs, I need empowering music that makes me feel like a sexy badass! Why not, right? So, I wanted to share some of my favorite workout songs….this is mainly for my gals Laura, Brittany, and Amanda who I know are trying to be active! Love you ladies. Here goes….

PS- You can thank my days as a total “Fag hag” at Club Pantheon for so many of these! And the fact that my brother is a total techno geek…

Workout Cardio:

  • Walking In Memphis (Master Blaster Club Mix) Master Blaster
  • Call On Me (Eric Prydz ) from Ultra Workout 01
  • Alone – Kim Sozzi
  • Pound The Alarm (UK Radio Edit) Nicki Minaj
  • Restlessness (Radio Edit) Bastien Laval f. Layla
  • Till The World Ends- Britney Spears
  • Good Vibrations – Marky Mark & The Funky Bunch
  • Party Rock Anthem – LMFAO
  • Fire Burning – Sean Kingston
  • Where Them Girls At – David Guetta f. Flo Rida & Nicki Minaj
  • Something Kinda Ooh – Girls Aloud
  • The Show – Girls Aloud
  • Satellites- September (Dancing DJs Remix)
  • Telephone – Lady Gaga f. Beyoncé
  • Run The World (Girls) – Beyoncé
  • Love Sensation (2006 Hi Track Remix) – Loleatta Holloway
  • Super Bass – Nicki Minaj
  • Sofi Needs A Ladder – Deadmau5
  • Bouncing Off The Ceiling – A*Teens
  • They Live! (Rogerseventytwo Remix) – Evil Nine
  • One More Time – Daft Punk
  • Star To Fall- Cabin Crew (Club Mix) from Ultra Workout 01
  • Sexy Bitch – David Guetta f. Akon
  • Dynamite – Taio Cruz (Remix) The Workout Mix 2011
  • Ghosts n Stuff – Deadmau5 f. Rob Swire
  • Get Outta My Way – Kylie Minogue
  • All At Once- The Fray
  • Floorfiller – A*Teens
  • Titanium -David Guetta f. Sia
  • S&M – Rihanna
  • Because The Night – Cascada
  • Hot N Cold – My Fitness Music, Current Top 40, 2009
  • Don’t Trust Me – 3Oh!3
  • Tik Tok – Ke$ha (if you don’t have Ke$ha on your playlist…wtf)
  • Morning After Dark – Timbaland f. SoShy & Nelly Furtado
  • If You Could Read My Mind – Stars on 54
  • I Touch Myself- Jan Wayne (Handz Up Club Mix) haha yeah I know.
  • Boom Boom Boom Boom – Vengaboys
  • We R Who We R – Ke$ha
  • Give Me Everything – Pitbull f. NeYo & Naya
  • Out Of Touch – Uniting Nations
  • Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites – Skrillex (Also great for strength)
  • Come And Get Your Love – Real McCoy
  • Turn Me On – David Guetta f. Nicki Minaj
  • Bad Boy – Cascada
  • Davali – Steve Angello
  • Born This Way – Lady GaGa
  • Red Alert – Basement Jaxx
  • You’re Fee (To Do What You Want To Do) – Yomanda
  • Ooh Ahh, Just A Little Bit – Gina G
  • Everytime We Touch – Cascada
  • Total Eclipse Of The Heart – Nikki French
  • Be My Lover -La Bouche
  • Automatic – Elize
  • Applause – Lady GaGa
  • On The Floor – Jennifer Lopez f. Pitbull
  • Bad Romance (Remix) – Skrillex
  • Good Time – Owl City f. Carly Rae Jepsen
  • We Didn’t Start The Fire – My Fitness Music
  • Robot Rock – Daft Punk
  • Break Your Heart – Taio Cruz f. Ludacris
  • Ayo Technology (Remix) – Skyla
  • Trippin On You – Cahill
  • Big Girl Now – NKOTB f. Lady GaGa
  • Break A Sweat – Becky G (this is the best ever)
  • Take It Off – Ke$ha
  • Sugar – Maroon 5
  • Crash & Burn – Thomas Rhett
  • Cool For The Summer- Demi Lovato
  • Say You’re Just a Friend – Austin Mahone f. Flo Rida
  • Zombie (Ray Knox Hands Up Techno Remix) -Andrew Spencer and the Vamprocks

Ok and now for….

Workout Strength:

  • Heartless – Kanye West (I hate him but he’s got some good music)
  • Live Your Life- T.I. f. Rihanna
  • Love Lockdown – Kayne West
  • Elevator – Flo Rida f. Timbaland
  • Remember The Name – Fort Minor (this is like…the ultimate song)
  • More Human Than Human (Covenant Remix) – White Zombie
  • Paper Planes – M.I.A.
  • Pour Some Sugar On Me- Def Leppard
  • Take Me Out – Franz Ferdinand
  • Disturbia – The Cab (Punk Goes Pop 2)
  • Down- Breathe Carolina (Punk Goes Pop 3)
  • Free Fallin – The Almost (Punk Goes Classic Rock)
  • Independent Woman Part 1 – Destiny’s Child
  • Satisfaction – Britney Spears
  • Ring The Alarm- Beyoncé
  • Feel Good Inc – Gorillaz
  • Obsessed – Mariah Carey
  • Rockstar 101 – Rihanna
  • Punkbitch- 3Oh!3
  • Carry Out – Justin Timberlake f. Timbaland
  • Startrukk- 3OH!3 f. Katy Perry
  • Touch The Sky – Kayne West f. Lupe Fiasco
  • Break The Ice (Remix) -Britney Spears f. Fabolous
  • Lose Yourself – Eminem
  • Can’t Hold Us Down – Christina Aguilera f. Lil Kim
  • Feedback (Remix) – Janet Jackson f. Ciara (OMG THE BEST)
  • The Next Episode – Dr. Dre f. Snoop Dogg
  • Push It To The Limit – Corbin Bleu
  • Paradise – Coldplay
  • Break A Sweat – Becky G (told you I loved this song…)
  • Promiscuous Girl – Nelly Furtado f. Timbaland
  • The Tide Is High – Atomic Kitten
  • Bo$$ – Fifth Harmony
  • Worth It- Fifth Harmony
  • Focus On Me- Ariana Grande
  • Back In Black – AC/DC
  • Bang Bang – Ariana Grande, Jesse J & Nicki Minaj
  • Come With Me Now – KONGOS
  • Fancy – Iggy Azalea f. Charli XCX
  • Radioactive – Imagine Dragons
  • Problem- Ariana Grande f. Iggy Azalea
  • Talk Dirty – Jason Derulo f. 2 Chainz


There ya have it. Get sweatin!

Healthy Meals & Exercise Week 2

20160109_072413First, a glamour shot of my look for the opening of  the Mead Room at  the Carlsbad Art Museum. (Roderick F Mead was my boss, Elaine’s (at Candlewood) father. Apparently,  He was part of the  avant-garde movement in Spain and France in the 30s and studied under Picasso. I learned so much about him. What a life she and her family have lead!



Week One was a success! I lost 3 pounds from holiday weight so that is very encouraging. I had a few slip ups here and there…and had to learn how to control my hunger again. As always, my wonderful husband was my cheerleader. He really is my everything!

I joined Daily Burn and use it on my Xbox (and once on my Samsung Note 3). I’m really loving it. My favorite trainer is Keaira LeShae – she does Cardio Sculpt kick boxing and the MOVE! series which features different types of dancing. It’s INTENSE! I do miss running on the treadmill though so I may do that today just to spice it up a little. Also, they have a calorie burn listed on the end of each DB workout but I don’t know if I should be counting that so I always lowball myself. I really just need to get a FitBit that tracks a heart rate.

Looking for new recipes, I stumbled across an article I’d saved on Facebook from Cooking Light. All of the recipes are 300 calories or less. I’m really trying hard to shift the bulk of my calorie intake to the beginning and middle of the day. I’ll also do my best to post the links for recipes this time!

Mon, Jan 11th:

***Notes – I used to be very fruit oriented in the morning, but I learned something important from a friend who had gestational diabetes. Your body will metabolize fruit better in the afternoon.

Tues, Jan 12th:

Wed, Jan 13th:

  • Breakfast:  Eggs with Pinto Beans, Cheese and Salsa
  • Lunch: Leftovers
  • Dinner: Pork Chops stuffed with Spinach & Feta with Mashed Cauliflower & Roasted Green Beans ( http://www.myrecipes.com/m/recipe/pork-chops-stuffed-with-feta-spinach

Thursday, Jan 14th:

***Also, for roasted asparagus – I always use a little olive oil, lemon juice and fresh minced garlic. Roast at 400 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes depending on how thick the stalks are!

Friday, Jan 15th:

  • Breakfast: 2 slices Turkey Bacon and Scrambled Egg
  • Lunch: Leftovers
  • Dinner: Eat out, leftovers or chef’s choice

Saturday, Jan 16th:

***The salad is really easy. I just toss everything in lime juice, garlic, a little olive oil, chili powder and salt. It really depends on what you like! Use grape tomatoes for a better flavor.

Sunday, Jan 17th:

Well, there it is. We did well this week, but skipped Friday because of an event that came up. So, we have extra tuna steaks for another night. Also, this is NOT all that I eat. I snack…because I would starve to death if I didn’t. Some of my favorites are bell peppers & celery because they satisfy you without adding to your calorie count. Also, baby carrots, apples, pink grapefruit and the occasional Greek yogurt. I will also be making a fruit salad this week for Chris & I. The main thing with fruit (and even some veggies) is to remember that it’s not a freebie. Fruit has sugar and you CAN have too much. And, at night, Chris has Little Pops from See’s Candies. They are Butterscotch, Café Latte, Vanilla and Chocolate flavored. 4 pieces are 60 calories and they really take the edge off. The flavor is divine. (http://www.sees.com/lollipops/little-pops/)

Have a lovely & healthy week everyone! It’s time for me to clean and get on the that treadmill!


Turkey Sausage Skillet with Apples, Onions & Sweet Potatoes

I LOVE the combination of apples, onions, and sausage. It is heavenly. This recipe originally started with turkey sausage, zucchini and summer squash. My husband couldn’t find summer squash at the store since it’s not really the season for it and we live in the middle of nowhere. So, I had zucchini….and I had some left over chunks of sweet potatoes from a week ago when I made mashed potatoes. Zucchini and sweet potato together just didn’t sound right to me but I figured I’d wing it. Then, I looked at the yellow onion in my veggie bowl and thought that would be yummy browned up with the sausage. Well, now the zucchini was really outnumbered. Last minute, I reached up into my fruit bowl and pulled out a pink lady and a gala apple (that desperately needed to be eaten) and my decision was made. I have made a pork chop recipe with apples and onions before (not low cal – boo!) and it’s just so good when it cooks all together. And so a new recipe was born. Ahhhhh…..

(Sorry, no pictures….I always remember to take a picture after I’ve started chowing down).

You Will Need:

  • 1 Oscar Meyer Selects 14oz uncured turkey sausage, sliced then quartered to make bite size pieces
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled, spiral sliced
  • 2 medium apples, peeled and cubed (about 1 inch sized) (Pink ladies and honeycrisps have the best flavor!)
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed (about 1 inch sized)
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, minced, divided (Or more…cause garlic is the best)
  • 1 T + 1/2 T olive oil
  • 1 T butter (you can omit this if you’d like but it really helps brown everything)
  • 2 tsp sage, divided
  • 2 tsp cinnamon, divided
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Throw sweet potatoes into boiling water for about 6-10 minutes, depending on how firm you’d like them. (I did it for 10min and they were pretty soft. This made for a little mashing in the skillet which tasted fine) Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat 1 T oil on medium high heat (about 5 oclock on the dial) in a 12 inch or larger skillet. Toss in garlic and let it get brown but not burnt.
  3. Once garlic is browned, add sausage. Let it brown.
  4. Add 1 tsp sage, 1 tsp cinnamon, and salt & pepper. Let sausage cook until edges are somewhat crispy. Set sausage aside.
  5. Add butter, 1/2 T, of oil into the pan. Let garlic brown as before.
  6. Add sweet potatoes, onions and apples. Let them brown for about 5 minutes, occasionally stirring for even cooking.
  7. Add remaining spices and stir. Cover. Cook for another 5-10 minutes or until onions are soft, keeping in mind that it’s high heat and not sauté.

My husband LOVED it…just complained that I didn’t use enough garlic. We are garlic fiends! In hindsight, I didn’t divide between meat and produce so it got unevenly distributed.  We had this meal with a spinach and arugula salad with balsamic dressing (our main salad).

The best part? A 1.5 cup serving is only 302 calories according to MyFitnessPal! You can either do 4 1.5 cup serving or 6 1 cup servings. Enjoy!


No Excuses!

Happy New Year, people. So, I’ve come pretty far in my weight loss journey. But, like many, I fell off the wagon HARD during Christmas. Partly from being busy, partly from having a routine change and partly because there were treats everywhere. Whatever. I screwed up but now I am ready to go full force. I have made a low-carb meal plan for week one and a workout routine. I am REALLY excited about joining Daily Burn. It’s free for 30 days and then just $12.95 per month after. (This is what comes from binging on America’s Next Top Model on Hulu for dayyysss). I am going to use it through my Xbox but you can use it on ANY device. It’s 24/7 access to thousands of different types of workouts. New ones post every days at 9am. In addition, I have constructed some strength workouts to do each day as well from some challenge on Pinterest.

Without further ado….here is my meal plan. If you want the recipes, let me know.

Sunday Breakfast: Crustless Quiche with Tomato, green chiles, red onions, green onions and Cheese

Sunday Lunch: Green salad

Sunday Dinner: Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Bacon, Spinach & Goat Cheese with a Side of Broccoli


Monday Breakfast: Quiche leftover

Mon Lunch: Speg squash leftover

Mon Dinner: Sloppy Joe Stuffed Peppers with  a side of Black Beans


Tuesday Breakfast: leftover quiche

Tues Lunch: Sloppy Joe leftovers

Tues Dinner: One Pan Balsamic Chicken & Veggies


Wednesday Breakfast: Eggs and turkey sausage with salsa

Wed Lunch: Leftovers

Wed Dinner: Buffalo Shrimp Lettuce Wraps


Thursday Breakfast: Black beans, eggs, and salsa

Thu Lunch: Tuna packet with salad

Thu Dinner: Turkey sausage, sweet potato, yellow squash and zucchini skillet with  a side salad


Friday Breakfast: Turkey Bacon and scrambled eggs

Fri Lunch: Leftovers

Fri Dinner: Blackened pork chops, asparagus and pinto beans


Saturday Breakfast: Quiche with bacon, feta and spinach

Sat Lunch: Leftovers

Sat Dinner: Turkey Taco Casserole


Sunday Breakfast: Leftover quiche

Sun Lunch: Leftovers or salad

Sun Dinner: Apple & Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash with a side Salad

Ok. So that’s the food plan. Now for the workouts!!! If there is a term you don’t understand please google image it. That’s what I had to do — haha!


  • Daily Burn Cardio
  • Arm Challenge – Each exercise is 8 reps with a 5lb weight


  • Upright Row
  • Overhead Shoulder Press
  • Lateral Raises
  • Bent Over Reverse Fly
  • Overhead Triceps Press
  • Bicep Curls


  • Core Challenge-  Each exercise is 8 reps
  • 6 crunches
  • 6 leg raises
  • 10 second plank



  • Daily Burn Cardio
  • Leg Challenge



  • Backwards Leg Lift
  1. Each leg, 8 reps, 1x
  • Side Leg Lift


  1. Each leg, 8 reps, 1x
  • Standing Hip Adduction


  1. Each leg, 8 reps, 1x


I will rotate that plan out and increase reps after two times. For example:  Sunday (8) Tues (8) Thu (10) and Sat (10) will be Cardio, Core and Arms. Mon (8), Wed(8), Fri (10) and Sun (10) will be Cardio & Legs. One of those days will be a cardio rest day but that will depend on a variety of factors. Feel free to start with higher reps or weights if you’d like. Here we go, y’all. Here is to a HAPPY & HEALTHY New Year!

Goodbye 2015 & New Mexico

Well, well, well….here we are on the last day of the year. Today is a day where people generally make a bunch of resolutions that they don’t intend on keeping. (Read: “New year, new me, bull”). None of that here of course because I plan on being pretty much the same as I was in 2015 except that I will be in a new state with new opportunities. Yes, we are quite blessed in that we are moving to Biloxi, MS in a few weeks for Chris to take a ranger job at Gulf Islands National Seashore. We are ecstatic! The whole thing happened really fast (usually, being the government, the process takes FOR-EV-ER). Chris’ EOD (entry on duty) is February 7th and we are hoping they’ll authorize our move for January 22nd so that we will have a few weeks to acclimate.

Looking back on this past year is just insanity. I’ve held three different jobs, made new friends, lost old ones, gained weight, lost weight, seen the births of multiple friends new babies and even learned how to change my first diaper (I’m a freaking pro now – by the way). Becoming a nanny has taught me SO much, honestly. I am definitely glad that God’s plan was for Chris and I to wait to become parents. I experienced so much hurt at first wondering why I wasn’t conceiving right away but now I completely understand. I want to be able to have a healthy pregnancy and lots of energy as new mom; and I’ll only be able to do that if I continue my weight loss journey. I’ve fallen off the wagon the past few weeks with the holidays but Chris and I have gotten back into our healthy dinner routine so that is step one. One of the stipulations of moving to Biloxi is that no matter where we settle there will be a gym membership! (This will not be an issue because Biloxi is a normal city). I am fully capable of this commitment and I am so excited to see where it leads me.

Living in Carlsbad with basically no family or close friends(save my cousin who herself is a new wife), Chris and I really had to learn to be dependent on one another at first. I no longer had my dad 10 minutes away. My mother in law wasn’t an hour up highway 17 anymore. Cortney, Molly, Beth, Amanda…my entire support group was now two days drive from me. It was quite a shock. Chris and I’s marriage was tested. Boy, was it ever. It was stretched, poked, pulled, and even a little bit torn. I was probably tested in every way possible this year and I didn’t pass every time. However, with a new city comes a new beginning and we will be on the beach for our 2nd anniversary. Biloxi won’t solve all of our problems but I would rather cry on the beach than in the desert!

There ARE things I will miss about our time in New Mexico:

  • Green chile everything. It’s crack.
  • My friends that I’ve made (The Doyles, Sarah, my Candlewood ladies, and our friends at CAVE)
  • Hiking in Ruidoso, Cloudcroft and the Guads.
  • No traffic
  • wine country
  • being a nanny to my sweet Doyle babies
  • snow — not ice.

Things I am MAJORLY looking forward to in Mississippi:

  • BSF class
  • seafood, Cajun food & soul food
  • bike riding
  • Target, Francescas, Versona, and BELK!
  • I will have places to wear Lilly and not look like a weirdo
  • Southern hospitality
  • Being 10 hours from Mt. P
  • Being 8 hours from Mom and Kylie
  • Being super close to New Orleans
  • Going to Mardi Gras
  • experiencing a new part of the country

So, here’s to you, 2015….you kind of sucked, but you have come to an end and dammit; I am still standing.


Healthy Eating: Week Two

I am only going to blog about them as I make them so I may just wait until Sunday from now on (since I often alter recipes).


  • Nothing special….we went to Mike and Monica’s for a football game and I made Chicken Kabobs with various peppers, yellow&red grape tomatoes and yellow onion. I used the PPBlackened Seasoning on the chicken. (I’m obsessed). I also made my Cucumber, Tomato and Onion salad to go with. I’ll post that at a later date when I have better measurements

Tuesday: Maple & Cider Vinegar Salmon with Sauteed Spinach and Asparagus

(Note: The only down side to this recipe is the amount of sugar in the syrup. If you plan accordingly then it shouldn’t be an issue aka with My Fitness Pal I have a certain sugar allotment I try to stay under)

Wednesday: Honey Lime Shrimp Tacos with Pinto Beans

  • http://www.tartineandapronstrings.com/2013/07/05/honey-lime-tequila-shrimp-tacos-with-avocado-purple-slaw-and-chipotle-crema/
  • Notes:
  • I used 0% Chobani Greek Yogurt in place of Sour Cream – much less fat and way more protein!
  • I did not use tequila. I did once before use a half cup of Corona beer. It was tasty…but in the interest of calories, I did not this time. I didn’t make much difference.
  •  I used Olive Oil but I am not opposed to grapeseed. I just haven’t tried it.
  • We used corn tortillas – warmed – no oil
  •  I sauteed my shrimp with a trace amount of olive oil in a skillet. We don’t have a big enough grill.
  • I also used cilantro as a garnish because it’s the best thing ever.
  • I used low sodium canned pinto beans. I mixed in lime juice, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin and some of the Adobo sauce and chilis left over from the can. I like spicy food!

So tonight’s was a little more calorie heavy than my previous ones but it’s delicious. You can really make it your own and cut calories wherever you want. However, as far as tacos go it’s really not too bad. Hope y’all enjoy. I’ll post the rest of the week on Sunday.