Monday, May 6, 2013

Balls to the wall

I'VE GOT A LOT TO DO THIS WEEK, just so you know.

It's funny; after a few weeks of too much free time, suddenly a busy agenda feels quite dramatic. Lot's to do this week! I keep telling myself. Better get that laundry put way, because there won't be time. Not this week!

And also: better get that blog post done. Truth is, I've been working on this blog post for days, but it's just not coming out. It's stuck inside me somewhere, sideways, scraping. But now with this VERY BUSY WEEK AHEAD OF ME, it's kind of now or never. Luckily, I'm a "does well under pressure" kind of girl. So here I am. Head down, charging forward.

Anyway, this VERY BUSY WEEK AHEAD OF ME, let me tell you, is the result of a crap ton going on at work all the sudden, and plans every night this week. I had hardly a thing going on in April, and now my "I Love Kittens" calendar is filling up with parties and dinners and babysitting commitments faster than I can scribble it all down. A forecast that includes 70 degree days, and people come right out of the woodwork.

And in addition to those commitments, I am also skidding into week 12 of an 18-week marathon training program, which means it's time to get serious about that, too. I'm getting ready for Grandma's Marathon on June 22, and I haven't quite wrapped my mind around it yet this year. I'm logging the miles and getting the long runs done (my longest run has been just over 15 miles so far). But I'm not excited about it yet. I'm not wanting to test my pace, or push myself harder or farther than the minimum suggested in my training program. I'm not thinking about it constantly, like I was this time last year, when The Marathon seemed to weigh on every decision, every meal, every social engagement that crossed my path that spring. This year, I'm still mostly dragging myself out there, still mostly drinking too much wine. I need to get my head in the game.

So this is the turning point, I've decided. Week 12 is it - time for me to commit. Now or never. All out, balls to the wall, I'm going to shatter my own personal record, let's really do this.

My diet is going to change a little, too. As my weekly mileage climbs to the high 30s and then stretches into the 40s, I need to take care of my body more than ever. My focus will be on protein to repair my muscles, good carbs to fuel my legs, and some healthy fats to nourish my whole self. Here we go. I'm looking forward to "redirecting" my cooking and eating habits a bit over the next few weeks as I start to look at food as fuel, in addition to looking at food as delicious and fun, as I usually do. It's kind of nice to have a sort of nutritional reset once and a while.

The first recipe on deck is for these Thai Spiced Turkey Burgers. I know, I know - turkey burgers. But hear me out on this one. This recipe transforms bland turkey burgers, something I would often consider "sacrificial diet food" - you know, the type of food you eat only because it's the healthy choice - into something special. It has you add a smattering of flavors to the ground turkey - including cinnamon, ginger and sesame oil. While the burgers are cooking, you do a quick pickle of some cucumber slices in rice wine with a splash of orange juice. And to top it all off, I've created my perfect sriracha mayo, which I plan to put on these burgers and everything else from here on out. The mayo isn't necessarily the healthiest condiment of all time, but hey, moderation, right?

I recommend serving these burgers with sweet potato fries, because those are perfect for the sriracha mayo, too. Go figure.


Thai-Spiced Turkey Burgers with Quick Pickled Cucumbers and Sriracha Mayo
Burger and cucumber recipes adapted from the Thai Pork Sliders recipe from The Chef's Collaborative Cookbook. Sriracha mayo recipe is all mine.

We've been making these pretty much every week since I found the recipe for Thai Pork Sliders on Katie at the Kitchen Door. For my take on these, I went with ground turkey instead of pork to make the burger a little leaner. I also simplified the pickled cucumber recipe to cut down on the ingredients I would need to buy.

1 lb ground turkey
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons soy sauce

Stir together all ingredients; set aside to let flavors meld while you prepare the cucumbers. When you are ready to cook, divide into four patties; cook as you normally would on a grill pan on your stove, or on your outdoor grill.

Quick Pickled Cucumbers:
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 large cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced

Whisk together the rice vinegar, honey and orange juice. Add the cucumber slices and stir to coat. Set aside to let the flavors meld while you finish preparing the burgers and mayo.

Sriracha Mayo (you may want to double this): 
1/4 cup mayo
1 tablespoon sriracha
1 teaspoon honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste

Whisk all ingredients together. Adjust seasoning and sriracha to your preference.


  1. I know this is an old post, but I just wanted to let you know that I make these turkey burgers at least once a month and everyone LOVES them. Thank you.

  2. Thanks so much for the comment, LaTiesha! A year later, these are still a favorite in our house, too!

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