Don’t worry, I wasn’t offended. I actually asked for this incredibly generous and practical present.
I know a gym membership may seem like a crazy request considering my distaste for sweating in public, but as many of you know, I was feeling a little panicked about turning 27. Just to recap, the days leading up to my birthday were scary ones, during which I convinced myself that my neck was wrinkling, my teeth were about to fall out, and my muscles were surely on the verge of atrophy. Cue panic attacks.
So, when my dad emailed asking if there was anything special that I wanted for my birthday, my immediate response was a gym membership, a masseuse, and a lifetime of oxygen facials. Needless to say, neither a masseuse nor facialist arrived at my door on March 22, but I did receive an email welcoming me to my local gym. Small victories.
After reading the very personal email from the gym’s general manager saying how he very much looked forward to helping me reach my fitness goals, I was pumped. I’ve always admired people who work out on the reg, and now I was going to be one of them! I happily envisioned myself getting up early and putting on adorable gym ensembles, gently perspiring in various exercise classes, and then walking home to enjoy a tropical green smoothie. I couldn’t wait to start sleeping better at night, develop a perfectly toned line down the middle of my stomach, and feel like a million bucks in a thong bikini. Thanks, Dad!
Looking back, I probably should have ridden that temporary motivational high straight to the gym, as it’s been almost 3 weeks since my birthday, and I’ve yet to commence my exercise regimen. Blergh.
To be fair, I couldn’t start working out on my actual birthday weekend (I was obviously extremely busy with birthday princess activities), and by Monday, both reality and anxiety had already set in. First of all, I need lots of beauty sleep, and getting up at the crack of dawn seemed irresponsible and mildly crazy. Second, I don’t actually own any cute workout clothes, and both pairs of my leggings have a sizeable hole in the crotch. Last but not least, we all know there’s not a chance in hell I would do anything less than turn beet red, drip sweat, and potentially cry/throw up in an exercise class. Based on these facts, how could I possibly go to the gym???
I considered cancelling my membership, but the pushy gym people informed me that you can’t do that for a YEAR. After that conversation, I told myself, “This is good, Serena. Now you have no excuse. You have to exercise or Dad will have wasted his money. And remember how much you’ve always wanted to Zumba?”
This was a very productive conversation with myself, and fueled by guilt (and the potential for Zumba), I felt newly inspired. I would do this exercise business. Inappropriate legging holes be damned!
But then the emails started.
My inbox was bombarded with stress-inducing missives demanding that I come in for an introductory tour of the gym and and an information session. Then came the solicitations for private pilates classes, meditation, and personal training, followed by infinity reminders about the introductory tour. The scariest communiqué came from someone named Joey, who insisted that I sign up for a “fitness assessment.” Apparently, he’s eager to measure the fat on 37 parts of my body with a protractor, talk about my diet and exercise habits, and help me set fitness goals.
DO NOT WANT.
However, because I refuse to waste a good present, and I legitimately fear the effects of my sedentary lifestyle, I have made an appointment to be tortured by Joey next week. Since I’m guessing he will not be impressed with my athleticism, I’ll have to distract him with my exemplary eating habits. I plan to start by casually striking up a conversation about the wonders of Sweet Potato and Black Bean Turkey Burgers with Sriracha-Lime Crema…
These babies are a game changer, friends. Plain turkey burgers tend to be on the boring and dry side, which is why I like to load my patties with all manner of fancy accoutrements. In this case, a combination of roasted sweet potatoes, black beans, cilantro, and a simple spice blend add mind-blowing flavor and texture to otherwise bland ground turkey meat. Topped with a refreshing crema that’s equal parts refreshing, tangy, and spicy, these burgers are pretty much heaven on a whole grain bun (or lettuce wrap).
Miraculously, Sweet Potato and Black Bean Turkey Burgers happen to be every bit as nutritious as they are delicious. Packed with lean protein, fiber, and antioxidants, eating one of these bad boys will keep you full and energized for hours, while simultaneously fighting disease and making your skin glow. (Sweet potatoes are magical, remember?) Baking them eliminates the need for any oil (and simplifies cleanup!), which means that they’re virtually fat-free. The crema is also gloriously fat-free, and there’s only 30 calories in two tablespoons of the stuff. Joy of joys.
This recipe yields 6 turkey burgers that re-heat beautifully, so I plan on crushing them regularly until my hang sesh with Joey. They make a surprisingly delicious breakfast with an egg on top, and they’re downright delightful over a lunchtime salad, so I’m pretty confident I’m not going to tire of these powerhouse burgers anytime soon.
I would appreciate if all of you made these turkey burgers out of solidarity, and also because they’re awesome. Dude Dieters, I’m looking at you.
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Turkey Burgers with Sriracha-Lime Crema: (Serves 6)
2 cups sweet potatoes, cut into ½-inch cubes (about 1 medium sweet potato)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup canned black beans (a little more than half a 15-ounce can), drained and rinsed
1¼ pounds ground turkey breast
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon salt
For the Sriracha-Lime Crema:
2/3 cup fat-free sour cream
1 lime, juiced
2 teaspoons Sriracha
Salt to taste
For Garnish: (optional)
6 whole grain burger buns
Butter lettuce or romaine
Slice red onion
1 avocado, thinly sliced or mashed
Preparing your Sweet Potato and Black Bean Turkey Burgers with Sriracha-Lime Crema:
-Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
-Place your cubed sweet potatoes on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.
-Place the sweet potatoes and black beans in a food processor or blender and pulse until just combined. (It’s okay if there are still a couple whole beans or sweet potato chunks, friends. Texture is a good thing.)
-Place the sweet potato and bean mixture in a large bowl with the ground turkey, garlic, cilantro, cumin, paprika, and salt.
-Use your hands to mix the ingredients until just combined. (As always, this is kind of gross, but fun.) Refrigerate the mixture for 20 minutes.
-With damp hands, mold the turkey mixture into 6 patties, about ¾-inch in thickness. (You can also make 4 extra-large patties if you’re into that. Just cook them for 3-5 minutes longer.) Place the patties on a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet.
- 2 cups sweet potatoes, cut into ½-inch cubes (about 1 medium sweet potato)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1¼ pounds ground turkey breast
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup fat-free sour cream
- 1 lime, juiced
- 2 teaspoons Sriracha
- Salt to taste
- 6 whole grain burger buns
- Butter lettuce or romaine
- Sliced tomato
- Slice red onion
- 1 avocado, thinly sliced or mashed
- Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Place your cubed sweet potatoes on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Bake your sweet potatoes for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through, until they’re tender.
- Place the sweet potatoes and black beans in a food processor or blender and pulse until just combined. (It’s okay if there are still a couple whole beans or sweet potato chunks, friends. Texture is a good thing.)
- Place the sweet potato and bean mixture in a large bowl with the ground turkey, garlic, cilantro, cumin, paprika, and salt. Use your hands to mix the ingredients until just combined. (As always, this is kind of gross, but fun.) Refrigerate the mixture for 20 minutes.
- With damp hands, mold the turkey mixture into 6 patties, about ¾-inch in thickness. (You can also make 4 extra-large patties if you’re into that. Just cook them for 3-5 minutes longer.) Place the patties on a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet, transfer to the oven, and bake for 23 minutes until cooked through.
- While the burgers are baking, prepare the Sriracha-lime crema. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lime juice and Sriracha. Taste and season with salt. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Serve burgers warm with buns or lettuce wraps and garnishes of your choice. Make sure to drizzle them with with plenty of crema.