Healthy & (slightly) Spicy Turkey Patties

I started spending my Sundays prepping food for the week again, now that I’ve gotten into the swing of things with my new job…but most importantly, I’m in a wedding in less than one month.

I made these delicious turkey patties this morning as a post workout snack. I managed to get eight small turkey patties out of this recipe.

Ingredients:

1 lb. organic grass-fed ground turkey
1/8 – 1/4 cup Almond Nut Thin crumbs (they are gluten/wheat free!). I used the pepper jack cheese flavor.
1 egg lightly beaten
1/8 cup finely chopped white onions
1 garlic clove minced
1/3 teaspoon Himalayan salt (sea salt or kosher salt should be fine, too)
1 /4 teaspoon ground black pepper
A few shakes each of the following: ground black, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, chili BBQ seasoning
A couple shakes of garlic powder & onion powder
A few drops of Worcester sauce
A couple drops of liquid smoke

I recommend  playing around with the seasonings to get a combo of flavors that you like.

Cooking Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Make sure all ingredients are distributed evenly.
2. Create 8 balls of meat & shape into patties
3. Heat up your grill or griddle (medium heat)
4. Spray cooking surface with olive oil
5. Cook for 4-5 minutes on each side (until they look like they’re cooked enough to eat). Make sure you don’t overcook your patties. Otherwise, they’ll end up dry.

Enjoy!

Healthy & Spicy Turkey Patties

Seriously the best turkey patties I’ve ever eaten.

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Crispy Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Fries

My boyfriend, Kevin, has a bad habit of buying sweet potatoes and not cooking them.  Since he went out of town this weekend, I decided to hijack his sweet potatoes & make fries out of them.

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I really love sweet potatoes, and they are a healthier alternative to regular potatoes.  You can bake them, mash them, or grate them and add to a southwestern frittata or make sweet potato hash browns for breakfast.

Today, however, I was craving something crunchy–and it was a crunchy day, because I sprinkled some sunflower seeds on my poached eggs this morning–so I decided to try making some sweet potato fries.  They actually turned out quite good and crispy, so I’m pretty pleased with myself right now.

Ingredients:

  •  2 sweet potatoes
  • 1-2 tablespoons of corn starch or coconut flour (for you paleo people)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil (more oil if you want crispier fries, less oil if you want less fat & also less crispy fries)
  • Seasonings & spices (whatever you want)

Directions:

  1. Wash & peel sweet potatoes
  2. Cut them into 1/3-1/4 inch pieces
  3. Stick them into a bowl of water for an hour or two (or more)
  4. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Some recipes call for 450 degrees, but I’d be wary of burning your fries.
  5. When you feel that you’re done soaking the fries, dump them onto a towel to dry off excess water. They shouldn’t be soaking wet, but they also shouldn’t be so dry that the corn starch / coconut flour can’t stick to them.
  6. Dump the corn starch / coconut flour into a large plastic freezer bag.  Blow some air into the bag so that it puffs up like a balloon. Then shake the bag.
  7. Dump the fries into the bag & shake.  Make sure that they are lightly and evenly coated with the flour. Blow more air into the balloon if it isn’t puffy enough & shake some more.
  8. Add your seasonings & spices to the bag. Sea salt, garlic pepper, cayenne, paprika, curry powder – these are my favorite for anything. I’ve been really into adding curry powder to everything lately, so that’s what I did today.  Sea salt & curry powder.  Blow more air into the bag, if it deflated & shake again.
  9. Lastly, add the olive oil to the bag & shake. Make sure all the fries are coated evenly with the olive oil.
  10. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper & spread fries evenly across baking sheet. Make sure they’re not too crowded.  I actually made two batches, because they could not all fit on the baking sheet. This is okay.
  11. Bake for 15-20 minutes, then flip with a spatula, and bake for another 10-15 minutes. Be sure to check on them regularly so that they don’t burn. I have an old oven, so I have to babysit my baked goods.

I’ve seen people make dipping sauces like siracha mayo or curry mayo.  Store bought mayo  is kind of gross, but you can make your own from just an organic egg yolk, lemon juice, mustard, vinegar & olive oil.  Check out the recipe here.

Let me know what you guys think!

Career Lessons

I’m writing this post in hopes that my former mentees, younger sister, young cousin, some college student or new college grad will stumble upon it, and, hopefully, learn something from my experiences.

I graduated college almost five years ago, right before the stock market crashed.  It was a very difficult time, not just for me, but for many people I knew, many who had worked extremely hard their entire lives.  Half of my friends ended up going to graduate school, some ended up settling for jobs that weren’t in their field of study, some ended up freelancing/tutoring/teaching English abroad, and some were unemployed for quite some time.  Many who accepted offers in investment banking were laid off before they even started working.  Having a degree from one of the best universities in the world didn’t mean a damn thing.

So, here’s Lesson #1: Stay humble. No matter what a “rock star” you think you are, or how much you have accomplished up until this point in your life, you still need to prove yourself in the real world.  You are not entitled to anything.  Anything.

Lesson #2: Learn to negotiate. Before you accept a job offer, do your research on the salary and compensation.  Even if you’re offered a salary that is more than you think you deserve, make sure that it is market rate, at the very least.  But don’t be afraid to ask for more.  Stay humble, but don’t be an effing doormat.  And in the case that you end up kicking ass and exceed your (quantifiable) goals, ask for a raise.  Spend 3-6 months building your case, demonstrate that you’ve exceeded your goals & ask for a raise. One of my friends did this & got a 40% raise.  I’ve also successfully negotiated raises in the past.  Don’t think it’s impossible.  It is. And don’t think you don’t deserve it, because you deserve to be rewarded for the work that you do.

Lesson #3: Set quantifiable goals.  Always quantify your goals, because when you exceed them, there is no argument that you exceeded them.  You might be young & naive, you might want to do work that “makes a difference”, but you won’t be rewarded for that work if you can’t quantify it. Unfortunately, this is the sad truth.  Also, don’t set goals that are too ambitious, unless you have a direct stake in the success of the company.  Nobody cares how ambitious your goals are or how much you achieve if you can’t put a number to it.  This is something I still need to work on…

Lesson #4: Advocate for yourself.  This is especially important for those who grew up with Asian parents.  You’re supposed to be humble, self deprecating.  You were taught not to brag about your accomplishments.  Your parents did you a disservice. In the real world, you are going to need to advocate for yourself. Take credit for the work that you do.  There is nothing more demoralizing than having someone else take credit for your work, especially for work that they don’t know how to do.  This has happened to almost every person I know, including me.

Lesson #5: Never stop learning. Never.  If you’re lucky enough to work at a company that offers formal training for your job, then great.  But most people aren’t that lucky and nobody is responsible for teaching you anything, so take the initiative to learn as much as possible. Read books, read blogs, take classes, attend conferences, join professional organizations, be a network whore (see lesson #8), try to work with people who are smarter than you & who challenge you intellectually.  Ask to take on new projects where you can apply your learning.  No matter how much of an expert or “guru” you think you are, you can always learn more, or learn to think differently about what you already know.

Lesson #6: Be a leader. Not a boss. I’ve been in positions where I’ve had direct reports, and some of my peers are getting into roles where they’re responsible for managing other employees, so this is especially important.  The people are the most important part of any organization, so invest in your people.  Make sure your employees are happy and that they feel their jobs are meaningful  Provide the resources that your employees need to do their job.  Let them take ownership of their work (don’t give responsibility without authority) – you hired them to do a job, so trust them to do their job.  Otherwise, you obviously made a shitty hiring decision.  Leave your ego at the door. Listen to your employees, be open to their ideas, & provide advice.  Help them develop the skills they need to grow professionally.  And whatever you do, don’t micromanage. Let them learn to ask questions and figure things out on their own.  Give credit where credit is due. Set high expectations.

Lesson #7: Find good managers.  In my experience, your job satisfaction depends a whole lot on your manager, so make sure you find one that you get along with.  This is more important than the actual work that you or the company you work for.  You know that saying, “People don’t leave bad companies, they leave bad managers”? Well, it’s true. And people will stay loyal to a good manager.  Unless the company culture is absolutely toxic or they’re severely under-compensated   My best managers have been the “leader” type and not the “boss” type.  They were accessible, checked in regularly, gave me the resources I needed to do my job, gave career advice beyond my tenure at their company, let me take ownership of my work, and understood that I was human.  They understand that my family & health came first before my job, and they fully respected that.

Lesson 8: Be a network whore. Meet as many people in your industry as possible.  Respond to recruiters and hiring managers trying to recruit you, even if you’re not in the market for career change.  Answer their phone calls (yes, they’ve called me at work before), and let them buy you coffee or lunch.  You may not be ready to make a move now, but you may be ready to make a move a few years down the road, and keeping in touch with your connections will be invaluable when that time comes.  It doesn’t matter how hard you work or how much you accomplish if nobody knows who you are or the work that you’ve done.

Lesson 9:  Do your due diligence. A wise industry veteran recently advised me to “do your due diligence” on any prospective manager before accepting an offer to work with them.  In fact, do your due diligence before making any big life decision.  Before making a college decision, a decision to go to graduate school, a decision to undergo treatment for a health problem, a decision to invest a shit ton of time or money into something, etc.  It will save a lot of headaches and heartache later.  Trust me.

*Lesson #10: Don’t be a afraid to walk away.  Early in my career, I chose to make strategic decisions regarding my career.  I wanted to work in my chosen field and made many personal & monetary sacrifices to make it happen.  I rejected more lucrative opportunities because they weren’t aligned with my interests.  Don’t be afraid to do that.  You will be happier in the long run.

Also, don’t be afraid to walk away from your job, even if you don’t have a new gig lined up.  The company culture at one of my first jobs out of college was absolutely toxic.  I survived three rounds of layoffs, and ended up getting a lot of more senior level work dumped on me without being compensated for it. Talented employees were leaving left and right, in the middle of a recession.  Management was inaccessible at best, or they were in the “you’re lucky you still have a job” mentality at worst.  I had nightmares about work.  I had an anxiety attack, which I initially mistook as a heart attack.  Eventually, I reached a breaking point and made the decision to walk away without having a gig lined up.  Don’t be afraid to walk away.  Nothing is worth sacrificing your health for.  Nothing is worth sacrificing your values and integrity for, either.

*Make sure you’re constantly working to build up your nest egg, so you can do #10.

27

I’m turning 27 in a week.  I’ll officially be in my late 20’s.  I cannot believe it’s been almost five years since I graduated college.  If I had been on track with my life plans, I should have been in business school by this fall.  (One thing that’s holding me back is the cost. Education is really expensive when you don’t have your company or parents footing the bill).

But alas, life never goes according to plan. When I was a senior in high school, I had my heart set on going to Stanford, but ended up at Berkeley.  That was a huge blessing in disguise.  I didn’t expect that the stock market would crash right after I graduated, but I was determined to build a career in my chosen field and made tough, yet strategic, choices to get there.  At this point in my career, recruiters are contacting me weekly (& some from really amazing companies), and I feel really lucky to be in a position where I have many opportunities vs. where I was just five years ago.  Another thing I didn’t expect—I didn’t plan for a boyfriend, and thus, fitting one in my life means less time for other things, like extracurricular activities (e.g. music lessons) and volunteer work.  But somehow, having him around makes me happier, so I guess I can trade accomplishing fewer things to be happier.  That is okay, I think.

I’m not sure where this new year will take me.  I didn’t make any plans.  I do have a few goals, however.  The same ones I always have.  Read more, write more, spend more time with my family & friends, stay active, cook more, and challenge myself as much as possible mentally and physically.  Be an even better version of my current self.  Live a more simple and meaningful life.

My Year in Fitness: 2012

From my Daily Mile 2012 Summary, I’ve completed:

  • 330 miles
  • 284 workouts*

Let’s compare to my 2011 Summary:

  • 99 miles
  • 245 workouts*

My big hairy audacious goal this year is to run a half marathon, so I hope to clock in at least 1,000 miles (around 20 miles/week).  A big goal, but it’s something I want to accomplish by the time I’m 30.

I just purchased a few Dailey Method and Pure Barre classes, so I’m excited to try those out and see how they’re different from Bar Method & Cardio Barre.   I might write some reviews on here.  At the very least, the reviews will be up on Yelp.  I’m determined to earn back my Yelp Elite status this year.

*Majority of workouts include pilates, hot yoga, or boxing. And a dozen Bar Method or Cardio Barre classes thrown in there.

Delicious Low-Carb Breakfasts

So, once again, I need to back off on the carbs after my winter binge.  I ate mostly everything that people put in front of me because 1.) I don’t want to offend anybody 2.) I don’t want people to think that I don’t eat 3.) Everything was delicious.  (#2 was probably mostly true when I was in college, 20-30 pounds lighter & a size zero).

Anyway, I need to start preparing for bathing suit season & one of my friends’ weddings in September.  Yes, I start early.  Finding delicious low-carb breakfast options can be challenging.  Here are a few of my favorites:

1. Southwestern Frittata.  I made this one today, but made a couple of substitutions: I took out a few egg yolks, used fresh salsa instead of salsa verde, taco seasoning instead of chili pepper and cumin, and added some cayenne pepper for heat.  Now I have breakfast for the next couple of days!  I accidentally used yams instead of sweet potatoes before, and I would recommend using yams if you’d like your frittata a little sweeter.

2. A variation of these oatmeal protein pancakes.  Main ingredients include: egg whites, oats, vanilla extract, cinnamon & pumpkin pie spice.  I drizzled some maple syrup over the pancakes to sweeten them.  I made them for the first time this week, and thought they were fantastic.  I love the texture with the oats so I only mixed the ingredients, but you’re supposed to blend everything together to get a smooth batter.  You can also try adding other types of fruit like bananas or blueberries.

3. Greek yogurt with berries (blue berries, raspberries, blackberries) – I am completely obsessed with greek yogurt and anything, so I also eat this as a snack.

4. A variation of this green lemonade:

  • 5-6 romaine lettuce leaves
  • 3-4 stalks of kale
  • 3-4 stalks of celery
  • handful of spinach
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1 apple
  • 1 lemon (without skin & juiced w/a citrus juicer)

If you want a sweeter juice, you an add an extra apple.  Otherwise, this is one of my favorite green juices & a fantastic substitute for coffee in the morning.  I make this at least a couple of times a week.

5. These sweet potato latkes topped with eggs & bacon. Who doesn’t love bacon?  I actually have leftover sweet potato from the frittata I made this morning, and bacon in the freezer from several weeks ago, so I’m going to make these tomorrow morning.  I recommend eating the bacon sparingly, since it’s basically all fat.

What are your favorite low-carb breakfasts?  Add your recipes or links to recipes in the comments!  I would love to hear them.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello Blogosphere, 

Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and I have lots of things to be thankful for this year.  I have a lot of things to be thankful for most years, but this year, I especially have lots of things to be thankful for.  

Most of my friends and family are in good health, and we all have the basic necessities in life.

I moved back to San Francisco four months ago, for which I am extremely thankful.  I often randomly stop in the middle of my day–on my run to the pilates studio, while I’m shopping at the Farmer’s Market, buying a book at Kinokuniyia in Japan Town, driving across the Golden Gate Bridge with my friends, eating pumpkin muffins on my roof–and think to myself, “I can’t believe this is my life.”  I know I’ve worked really hard, but I also know that I’m really lucky.

I checked off a few more things on my 30 under 30 list this year: I ran a 10k, I moved back to San Francisco, and this past weekend, I took a trip down the California Coast (Highway One).  Even though I got carsick, it was an unforgettable experience. The views are absolutely breathtaking. Every Californian needs to do this trip at least once in their life.

Right now, I’m battling a cold, and I’m thankful for that. It’s a reminder of my mortality, and even though I have a need to feel productive or spend my time doing things that will move my life forward, I still need to take a break and rest once in a while.  So now I’m filling up on liquids, resting, and catching up on reading (& a couple episodes of Gossip Girl!)

Crossing Another Thing Off My 30 Before 30 List

I wanted to move back to San Francisco before I turned 30. And this summer, I’ve moving back. Now, I just need to find an apartment. For those of you who don’t know: apartment hunting in San Francisco is a competitive contact sport. I wish I was exaggerating, but I’m not.

To make matters worst, I will lose two weeks of apartment hunting time because I’ll be traveling to Europe & NYC (You probably don’t feel sorry for me. I don’t feel sorry for me, either.)

If worse comes to worst, I’ll just bum it in my sister’s apartment in SF until I can find a place to live. Worst things have happened.