Can I Get an “HLS”?

I don’t need rest.  No, really, it’s alright.  I function very well on minimal sleep, caffeine and residual adrenaline.

Yeah, I’m lying.

The past two weeks (between Seattle last week and HLS this weekend) have been non-stop and I’m exhausted, but I’ve had fun!

I had a great time at the Healthy Living Summit.  It’s been said a million times (or maybe 225 times by the bloggers that were at the conference), but it was really fun to meet all of my “blog” friends (and some new ones!) in person.  We share a special, slightly obsessive, bond that I think is a rarity in our otherwise hectic lives.

Since I jumped on the recap bandwagon a little late (I was just too wiped out last night to post), I’ll share some of my favorite recaps posted by other HLS-lovin’ bloggers:


Jenn from Eating Bender


Andrea from Can You Stay For Dinner?


And Amy from Second City Randomness

Yes, the hot mess in the orange Hooters shorts is me.  Try not to swoon.

I noticed some definite themes during the conference.

#1.  Don’t feel pressure to adhere to what other bloggers are doing or how they write. I think a lot of bloggers that consider themselves part of this crazy “healthy living/food/fitness blogosphere” would agree that there are definite trends in the community.  Examples: hot yoga, chia seeds, green smoothies, use of the words “epic” and “fail”…I could go on.  Some of these things are great (I mean, when you publish an epic post about your green monster, you don’t want to downplay its health benefits.  That would be a fail.) and some are not so great (like shrugging off your 9 mile run as just a light workout).

For me, I’m not so much into yoga.  There was a group trip to a yoga studio and a yoga session during the conference, both of which I passed on to take part in other things.  I tried not to feel pressure to jump on the yoga bandwagon because I know it’s not my thing and I’d feel uncomfortable.  It’s fantastic that so many people find yoga to be a great workout as well as calming and therapeutic, but I’m not one of those people.  And that’s A-Okay.

#2.  Strength training is all kinds of good for your body and booty. As Chandra informed us during one of the breakout sessions, you can’t just do cardio.  You have to work resistance training into your routine so that you don’t lose muscle.  Decreased muscle = slowed metabolism = bad news bears.

In honor of Chandra’s session, I got my fix of Jillian bright and early this morning.


I don’t care what anyone says.  I like my little butt kicker.

#3. Everyone should learn to cook and try to eat as cleanly as possible. It’s a no-brainer.  We all know that there are things we feed our mouths with that aren’t good for us- full of chemicals, altered fats and artificial yuck (sometimes delicious artificial yuck, I will grant you that) and by learning how to make our own meals at home we can offset some of the not so perfect things we consume while raging out on the town.

I took a page from this book tonight.  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Nacho Average Veggie Burgers!

Wow.  Just. Wow.  So, here’s the background: last night I decided to throw some ingredients to make stuffed peppers (which were great, by the way).  I had a ton of filling leftover, so I decided to make a veggie burger out of it.

1 can drained, rinsed black beans

1/4 cup sour cream

3 T. chopped cilantro

2 T jarred salsa (you could make your own, but let’s face it- that’s a lot of effort)

3/4 cup cooked brown rice

1 oz. sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 small yellow onion, chopped finely

2 small carrots, peeled and chopped

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 1/2 T. chopped jalapeno

1 t. cumin

1/2 t. chili powder

1/2 t. oregano

8 crumbled corn tortilla chips

Heat a small skillet over medium heat with a bit of light colored oil.  Add onion, carrot, garlic, jalapeno and spices and cook until sweated out and tender.  Turn off heat, reserve.

In a bowl, combine black beans, sour cream, salsa and cilantro.  Mash together with a fork until about 1/2 of the beans are smooshed and some are still whole. Stir in onion mixture.  Add shredded (or torn, if you roll like that) cheese, brown rice and crushed tortilla chips and stir to combine.

Now, here you can stop.  This was my filling for the stuffed peppers.  All I did was half a bell pepper and add the stuffing, then I threw them in a 375° oven for 25 minutes, then I threw some more cheese on top and broiled until they started to brown.  Good stuff.  Enough of that, here’s how I made the burgers.

Put about 1 cup (give or take) of the filling mixture in a bowl.  Add one egg and about 1/4 cup breadcrumbs and stir to combine.  Form into 2 large patties.  Preheat grill and once hot, turn the flame down to medium-low.  Grill for about 5 minutes on each side, turning carefully once making sure they don’t fall apart.

Oh man.  I’ve outdone myself.  These were surprisingly sturdy and didn’t fall apart on me at all.  Not to mention, they were addictively good.  (No, “addictively” is not an “actual” word.  So??)

I made some brussels sprouts on the side.  I made a brown butter sauce (by cooking about 1 T. of regular butter in a skillet for about 3 minutes until it starting browning and then adding a few T. of hot water) and added a pinch of cinnamon, a dash of salt, and some dried cranberries, then tossed in my steamed brussels.

Glistening and lovely like a hunk on Baywatch.  Only with more fiber.

I served it all with 1/2 a Trader Joe’s whole wheat pita spread with a little organic mayo.

I can’t talk about it anymore, it was too good.


#4.  Take whatever part of the blogging community that makes you feel good and use it! This is the best part, and what I LOVE about this lil’ blogosphere of ours is the people.

SOOO, a few of us Chicago-based bloggers that were at this conference decided that we should get all of the local bloggers together to hang out/drink wine/drink beer/get a lil’ crazy.  If you weren’t at the conference (or didn’t hear us squeaking about it), email me and I’ll get you in on the action!  It’s gonna be….epic.

Do you have a blog?  What are your favorite parts of being a blogger and the blogging community?  What about things you don’t like about it?  Go ahead, vent.  You’ll feel better. 😉

10 thoughts on “Can I Get an “HLS”?

  1. I recently started blogging and the thing that impresses me the most is the community. It was weird though reading so many blogs that all said similar things during the HLS. Made me wish I could of gone.

  2. I may have to have you give me a step by step on brussel sprouts. I have a feeling I would like them. But haven’t made them. Or had them. Problem? Yes.

    A number of girls have contacted me about future meetups! I’m glad we’re getting our butts in gear!

  3. Oh. My. Gosh. Those nacho burgers look beyond amazing. Dare I say… epic?? 😛 It was SO nice getting to finally meet you!! I reallyreally want to go back to Chicago, so hopefully we’ll get to hang out again!

  4. AMEN SISTA! to all of the above.

    and yes, meet-up in chitown saturday, september 11th. will e-mail you soon to set it all up! love your blog, love your attitude, and have a fabulous tuesday!

  5. Hey! I’m so glad I found your page. Your writing style is refreshing! I just began blogging a few months ago and recently tripped on a goldmine of all you health bloggers out there. It is fun to hop from page to page but the trends become apparent from day to day. Looking forward to contributing my own brand of unique to the community, as you have already;)

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