Gazpacho – Fresh and Delicious

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The first time I ever ate gazpacho, I was working as a waiter in Washington DC back in the mid-80s. I loved the refreshing flavors of the fresh vegetables, especially the cucumber, and the boldness of the tomato base.

I’ve been making it for years from scratch using whole tomatoes from a can, but find a delicious workaround using a scrumptious locally-produced Bloody Mary mix, from Pope’s.

Pope’s makes a variety of delicious products and are based in Shaker Heights. While I never met the owner, I know he was part of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program as I was with my company. Check out their website at If you’re not local to Cleveland, you can order it online.

I would highly recommend the “Traditional Recipe” Bloody Mary Mix for Gazpacho, as they do make spicier recipes as well. I find that if it’s too spicy, I don’t taste the coolness of the cucumbers as much. I know Pope’s is available in Heinen’s, as well as the Wine Reserve in Bainbridge. I’m not certain if Giant Eagle carries it. If you find out they do, leave a comment!

Anyway, give it a whirl. I’m sure other Bloody Mary mixes will work too, I’m just a fan of Pope’s!

Make a batch of this refreshing gazpacho before summer is over! Considering it’s all veggies, the only WW Points are from the olive oil, which would be basically 1-2 points max per serving, if that!



A super-quick way to make a delicious homemade chilled gazpacho.
Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Appetizer, Soup
Cuisine Lunch
Servings 2 bowls


  • 1 29oz can Whole tomatoes (slightly mashed with potato masher)
  • 1 cup Pope's Bloody Mary Mix (Traditional Recipe, or other mix you prefer)
  • 1/2 Cucumber (Diced)
  • 1/2 small Onion (Diced)
  • 1/4 Green or red pepper (Diced)
  • 2 cloves Garlic (Pressed)
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Salt and Pepper to taste


  • In a large bowl, pour a can of whole tomatoes and smash with a masher, releasing the juices. Mash, but keep chucky too.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients to the mixing bowl and blend
  • Chill and serve
Adam LapsevichGazpacho – Fresh and Delicious
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Super Delish Black Bean Soup

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Yesterday when I was making the chicken burger (with pretzels and sunflower seeds), I was also making a small pot of black bean soup. I never made it before but had a taste for it after reading the vegan cookbook that Christine had bought me.

I do a lot of research when I want to make something different. I try and find at least 4 or 5 recipes and then decide which bits and pieces of different recipes appeals to me… then of course, I “adamize” – which basically means, I make it my own but adding or removing ingredients or change up the way I make it. That’s exactly what I did with the black bean soup recipes I came across.

Even Better the Second Day

Today I heated up a bowl of the soup and one of the chicken burgers and have to say, the soup was even better today! The flavors had time to seriously meld overnight.

This black bean soup recipe is only 3 points on Weight Watchers Green, and is 100% vegan. I added a daub of sour cream though. If you’re looking for a healthy, low point, low calorie meal that is filling and tasty, give it a try.

Super Delish Black Bean Soup

A spicy, rich, and tasty healthy meal. Low in WW Points too!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Ethnic, Lunch, Soup, Vegan, Vegetarian
Cuisine Dinner, Lunch
Servings 4 people


  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 cloves Garlic, pressed
  • 1 Onion - Small
  • 3 Scallions
  • 1/2 c Red and/or Red/Green Pepper
  • 2 cans Black beans with liquid - Reserve 1/2 can
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1/2 inch Jalapeno
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Oregano
  • 1 tsp Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tsp each Salt, Pepper, Red Pepper Flakes


  • Using a food chopper or processor, mix all ingredients, except for oil and beans
  • In a saute pot, heat olive oil and saute the vegetables until soft, about 3-4 minutes
  • Add 1 1/2 cans of black beans to the pot.
  • Take remaining 1/2 can of beans and puree in the food chopper or processor to thicken, and then add to soup.
  • Simmer on low about 20 minutes uncovered. It should thicken a little. If too much, add a touch of water.
  • Serve topped with optional cilantro, jalapeno, or sour cream.
  • Keep any leftovers in the refrigerator overnight for even a better soup tomorrow!
Keyword Black Bean Soup
Adam LapsevichSuper Delish Black Bean Soup
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Chicken, Pretzel and Sunflower Seed Burger

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A friend recently purchased a vegan cookbook for me for the fun of it. I’m not a vegan, but I do enjoy trying new things and know that following a plant-based diet is certainly not bad for anyone. There was one recipe in it that I loved. It was a “Chickpea, Corn and Sunflower Seed burger”. It was so good I actually made it twice already.

Well, this inspired me to try something loosely based on that concept but prepared with ground chicken.

I’ve been trying to eat less red meat and have been experimenting with ground chicken recently. I find for us, ground white meat can be rather dry though. I decided to start mixing ground white and dark meat together and have to say, it’s pretty darn good.

Pretzel Crumbs Make a World of Difference

Most chicken burger recipes call for an egg and bread crumbs to be blended into the meat. Tonight I had another epiphany!

My partner returned home from a short trip with his family. He brought back a huge tub of sourdough pretzels…. the huge crunchy ones that I would end up eating non-stop. Those are something I never even think of purchasing. Well, that’s where my epiphany came in. Why don’t I crush the pretzels as use those instead of bread crumbs?

I took out my trusty little Ninja chopper, added 5 pretzels into it, and crushed them a bit…not too much though as I wanted them to have some texture still.

I thought back to the vegan recipe and decided to add some of the ingredients into the mix now. I added about 6 cornichon pickles, the dijon mustard, sunflower seeds and some spices. I mixed it all into the chicken and formed burgers. I AMAZED MYSELF THEY WERE THAT GOOD!

I was able to form it all into 7 burgers, 4 of which I did as described above, and 3 which I added some black bean soup to. Kinda crazy, but Tom isn’t into a lot of foods (onions and peppers to name a few). I had made some black bean soup from scratch tonight as well and decided to add a few tablespoons of soup into the meat mix and formed the remaining 3 burgers. The flavors of the soup, which had a kick to it, really made my burger taste even better than his I thought!

We served them open faced but they’d be great your favorite bun as well. This is definitely something I’ll be making again – as long as I remember to buy pretzels!

Chicken, Pretzel and Sunflower Seed Burgers

Adam Lapsevich
A new twist to boring, dry chicken burgers.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Chicken
Cuisine Dinner, Lunch
Servings 7 burgers


  • Ninja food chopper or food processor
  • Frying pan


  • 1 lb Ground white meat chicken
  • 1 lb Ground dark meat chicken
  • 5 Sourdough pretzels The large, crunchy ones
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 cup Sunflower seeds
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 5-6 Cornichon pickles
  • 1 tbsp Ground cumin
  • 1 tsp each Salt, Pepper, Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil


  • Blend dark and white ground chicken together in a large bowl with 1 egg.
  • In a food processor, or Ninja chopper, pulse the pretzel with the sunflower seeds, dijon mustard, cornichon pickels, and seasonings into breadcrumbs, but not too powdery. (NOTE: This is where I also added about 3 tablespoons of the black bean soup I made).
  • Blend the mixture into the chicken completely. Form into burgers.
  • Heat olive oil on in non-stick pan. When hot, add the burgers and sear to a brown crust forms. Reduce heat and flip to cook the other side. Covering the frying pan at this point will keep moisture in the burgers.
  • Serve open face with a side of homemade Black Bean soup or on your favorite bun with some cilantro and mayo.
Keyword Chicken Burger
Adam LapsevichChicken, Pretzel and Sunflower Seed Burger
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