Showing posts with label breakfast. Show all posts
Showing posts with label breakfast. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Breakfast, lately

I am obsessed.

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With this breakfast. So much so that I have been eating it days on end.

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OK. I've been eating it since Monday but that's still three days in a row, which is a lengthy streak for my first meal of the day. For further blog cred, I will venture to guess that I will eat it tomorrow after my ride on the trainer. [Ow, ow ... did you catch that attempt at accountability. If not, read it here: I will not let Miles interrupt my ride on the trainer. I. Will. Not.]

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The great thing about this breakfast, which by the way is an egg "white"-veggie wrap, is that it's easy to prepare, full of good things and incredibly filling. If I was [still] one to put ridiculous, pageview label grabbing names on things, I would call it healthy and a power meal.

But I won't. Rather, I'll give you the basics.
  • Flatout Light Sundried Tomato Flatbread. These were BOGO at Kroger, and I couldn't resist. I will admit they have a bit of "fakiness" in flavor but it has 90 calories, 9 grams of fiber and 9 grams of protein.
  • 1/2 cup egg whites.
  • 1/2 cup sauteed veggies - I like mushrooms, onions, something green (spinach or broccoli) and tomatoes
  • Laughing Cow Garlic and Herb [or shredded mozzarella]
These take about 10 minutes or so to make but you can prepare them in advance, "flash" freeze them and store them in the freezer. I often make breakfast burritos in bulk for Mark, and a half-hour of time equals three weeks of morning meals for him. As I bought two packages of the Flatouts, I'm likely to do that.

And then I can have a true streak!

What are you eating for breakfast?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Kid's kitchen: Frozen Blueberry Breakfast Bars

"It's too cold."

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Of all the things I expected Miles to say about the Frozen Blueberry Breakfast Bars, it was not a complaint that they were too cold. I thought it would be more like, "Yummy!", or another enthusiastic expression as he was once again a part of kitchen preparations.

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Yet, he was unimpressed by the frozen treat and insisted that I eat it. Not that I minded - I found the bars to be sweet and satisfying, an interesting balance to the fourth cup of coffee I had this morning.

 The recipe for the bars was sent to me by Yoplait Greek (as was the yogurt to make them ---> full disclosure) was quick, easy and very toddler friendly. Miles was able to help by stirring together the butter and granola, dumping the yogurt on top when it was cool and sprinkling on the garnish.

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And since there were no chemical reactions (rising, leavening, etc.) or raw ingredients, I didn't have to worry about whether he added too much or too little of a particular ingredient, overstirred the base or licked the spoon.

The only worry, it seems, is being patient enough for them to thaw so we can eat them at a more palatable temperature.


Frozen Blueberry Breakfast Bars


2 1/2 cups Cascadian Farm® organic oats & honey granola
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 containers (5.3 oz each) Yoplait® Greek blueberry yogurt
1/4 cup fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons Cascadian Farm® organic oats & honey granola, coarsely crushed

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, mix 2 1/2 cups granola and the melted butter. Firmly press in bottom of ungreased 8-inch square pan. Bake 10 minutes. Cool 10 minutes on cooling rack. Freeze about 5 minutes or until cold.

Spoon yogurt over crust; gently spread to cover. Sprinkle with blueberries and crushed granola. Freeze about 3 hours or until firm.

Remove from freezer 10 minutes before cutting. To make bars, cut into 5 rows by 2 rows. Wrap each bar tightly in plastic wrap. Store in freezer. Makes 10 servings. 

Nutrition: Calories 180 (Calories from Fat 60); Total Fat 7g (Saturated Fat 3g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 15mg; Sodium 100mg; Total Carbohydrate 24g (Dietary Fiber 1g, Sugars 6g); Protein 5g

Try any of the Yoplait® Greek yogurt flavors in this bar in place of the blueberry. These bars can be stored tightly wrapped in the freezer up to 2 weeks.

Monday, August 19, 2013

First and only meal

I'm in a rut. A big ole breakfast rut.

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Every morning, I put into a saucepan a half banana, 1/3 cup oats, 2/3 cup almond milk, 2/3 cup water, 1 teaspoon chia seeds and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. I let it cook as I put away dishes and prepare something for Miles, stirring occasionally to keep from having to scrub another pot. When it's sufficiently thick, I stir in a teaspoon or two of Nuttzo and eat.

I enjoy it, too, for the most part but I don't love it. I just love that I have whole grains, fruit and some healthy fat in a bowl. There might be some protein, too. And I'm fine with that.

Or I thought I was until I listened to the Another Mother Runner podcast on my long run yesterday. Sarah and Dimity spoke to an Indiana (!!!) sports dietitian Jackie Dikos, who said that people trying to lose or maintain body weight often fall into a rut of eating the same things - more than likely because they garner certain results. However, by eating the same things over and over, one can limit the nutrients that the body is getting. Jackie recommended using a three-day rotation where you would switch breakfasts (or other meals) every three days.

I immediately thought that it was a great idea ... until I realized that I didn't know what breakfasts to add to the rotation. I like eggs but haven't been feeling them lately, and I find that smoothies do not hold me. What. So. Ever. I did get some coupons for Silk Fruity & Creamy yogurt via BzzAgent so some yogurt bowls might be an option.

Tell me: What do you eat for breakfast and how often do you switch it up?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Love muffin

Have you entered my Yoplait Greek 100 giveaway? Time's a tickin' ...

◊ ◊ 

I'm in a bit of a lull right now. Training is over and the holidays are a few weeks away. The weekends are quiet and time is seemingly plentiful. Well, unless of course it's nap time, and then there's never enough of that.

{insert mental image of nap time here. actual nap time image not Web appropriate since someone learned to take off a diaper.}

On Sunday, I tried to make the most of the 2.5 hours Miles gave me and went on a tear in the kitchen. I made Hungarian Goulash (later served over potato gnocchi), freezer breakfast burritos and Banana Coconut Muffins.


I might not have any holiday shopping done but damn if I can't be productive in the kitchen. Not only did the goulash make enough for dinner last night but there are leftovers for later in the week; Mark gave the burritos two thumbs up, saying they were better than McDonald's; and Miles actually ate the muffin. The whole darn thing.


Making muffins might not be a feat of greatness but given that I totally winged them (and almost forgot the egg), I think I deserve some points. Preferably in the form of a brownie.

Many of the recipes I found were not what I wanted or required ingredients (butter, coconut oil) that I didn't have. With two very ripe bananas, though, I was determined to make something. Not only for me but to take to my grandma next week. The sweet thing had a nasty fall last week, and there's nothing she needs more than a basket of tasty, easy to grab goodies.


She loves coconut, and I love the combination of coconut and bananas. Even better: Coconut, bananas and pineapple. I think there's a drink like that somewhere ... Anyway, what came out of the oven was a moist, flavorful muffin that's just sweet enough.


Like my grandma.


Banana Coconut Muffins


1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup coconut
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup pineapple juice (from can of pineapple tidbits)
1/2 cup canola oil
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup pineapple tidbits

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray muffin tin with non-stick spray or line with muffin papers.

In a bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, salt and coconut. In a separate bowl, combine mashed bananas, pineapple juice, oil, egg and extract. Add wet ingredients to dry, whisking to just combine. Fold in pineapple bits.

Fill muffin cups 2/3 full with batter and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a tester comes out barely clean. Cool. Makes 13 muffins.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Core values

The sound of bacon sizzling crackled in the air, eggs cracked on the kitchen counter and grease popped in the cast iron skillet. Shouts of "Get out of here" and "Is it done yet?" filled the small galley kitchen of my childhood home.

Saturday morning breakfast was underway.

Nearly every weekend morning, my mom would make a big breakfast. It was her favorite meal and ours, as well, as we got the time to connect as a family after a busy week of sports practices, scout meetings and multiple jobs. It was also one of the regular occasions where I don't remember my family fighting. There would be any combination of fried eggs, bacon, sausage links, hash browns and, what I looked forward to the most, biscuits and sausage gravy.


No one made sausage gravy quite like my mom. It had just the right ratio of gravy to sausage and the sauce was white - not that gray you sometimes see at a restaurant. The sausage was definable, not overly crumbly and not too chunky either. The spice was nice, letting the flavor of the fresh-from-the-butcher, full-fat sausage shine through.

Even to this day, I have not found a gravy like the one I ate on so many Saturday mornings. While I have made many of my own versions, I know I didn't do it justice by trying to make it too healthy - skim milk, turkey sausage, low-calorie margarine.

So this morning, I didn't try. Even as I have thought about her breakfast specialty for days.

But I did make biscuits and gravy.


Pumpkin biscuits with apple gravy.


I had leftover Pumpkin Biscuits from the BODYPUMP launch, and I have been enjoying them since with Earth Balance and honey. But I wanted something more. Something different.

And that's when I began thinking of my mom's biscuits and gravy. I was sure the flavors of sage often found in sausage would complement the biscuits but I didn't feel like going to the store. And thus laziness breeds ingenuity.


Made with apples sauteed in Earth Balance, cinnamon, stevia and almond milk, the gravy is sweet and creamy. Perfect a top the soft pumpkin biscuit.

I enjoyed this for breakfast with a side of egg whites but I'm sure it would be nice with some whipped topping or ice cream for dessert.


Apple Gravy

2 teaspoons Earth Balance or butter
1 apple, chopped
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 packet stevia
1.5 teaspoons whole wheat flour
3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze

In a skillet over medium heat, melt Earth Balance. Add in chopped apple, cinnamon and stevia, cooking until the apples are soft; about 4 minutes. Sprinkle flour on apples, tossing to gently combine; cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in almond milk to prevent lumps. Cook over medium heat until the mixture bubbles; turn down heat and cook for 3 minutes more. Makes 2 servings.

Nutritional stats per serving: 111 calories, 7 grams of fat, 12 grams of fat and 2 grams of protein.

To cut down on the calories, use a light butter or margarine. Earth Balance, which I use because I'm dairy free, has 100 calories per serving - compared with 45 calories for a popular light margarine.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Saturday morning breakfast: Pancakes two ways

I see things. I see them everywhere. Recipes for this, DIY projects for that. The only problem is that I can never remember where I saw the idea. (Note to self : Must use Pinterest more.)

So when I decided that I wanted to have Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes for breakfast, I found myself in a  bit of a conundrum. I knew the idea didn't come to me from the food gods but I didn't know just which food blog I had seen the recipe on. I searched Google and, as it turns out, there are lots of blogs with lots of recipes for Pineapple Upside Down  Pancakes.

D'oh.

I looked at a few but as it always seems to go, I decided it would be much easier to do it myself. I had the idea of what I should do down from reading, and I could just adapt one of my standard pancake recipes. Even better: I could adapt my standard recipe mid-cooking because Mark wouldn't touch a pineapple with a 10-foot pole and promise of a baby-free weekend.

Healthy Wheat-Oat Pancake recipe

Standard Saturday Morning Pancakes for Mark.

Healthy pancake recipe

Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes for me.


And a little bit of both for Miles.

Healthy pancake recipe

I topped my pancakes with homemade coconut almond butter and a couple cherries for good measure but I saw lots of good ideas for rum sauces and the like. No matter how you plan to enjoy them I promise that you will. This recipe is the right blend of dense and fluffy without being overly healthy.

Saturday Morning Pancakes

2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup old fashioned oats
3 packets stevia or 2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 tablespoon applesauce
Scant 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Canola oil for the pan

In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix together egg, applesauce, almond milk and egg. Add wet ingredients to dry, gently combining with fork or whisk until just mixed. Let batter sit for 10 minutes so oats can soak and batter can rest.

Heat oil in large skillet or griddle over medium to medium high heat. Add the batter by 1/4 cup fulls to the pan. Allow the pancakes to cook until they look dry on the edges and bubbly in the middle; about 3 minutes. Flip and cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes.

For Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes:

Replace 1/4 cup of almond milk with pineapple juice. Melt 1 tablespoon Earth Balance or butter with 1 teaspoon brown sugar in the skillet. Place a pineapple ring or pineapple pieces in skillet and scoop batter on top. Cook pancakes until they look dry on the edges and bubbly in the middle; about 3 minutes. Flip and cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Top as desired.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Three Things Thursday: Life outside the cube

She had it all - a plan, the will and the Beaba.

One of my best girlfriends, who gave birth 6 months before me, was determined to make her own baby food purees. It was a way for her to contribute to the family, as she said, and provide nutritional, chemical free food. She said that it was easy and took but a couple hours a week.

How to use puree baby food

Inspired by Heather, I committed to the same. Or my version of same. Heather's schedule had a bit more flexibility in her day to make the purees each week. I was afraid that with working, I wouldn't have the time every weekend. I decided that it would be best for me to make in bulk.

And I mean bulk. I made 10 pounds of steamed, then pureed, sweet potato cubes; five pounds of carrots; and what had to be at least 10 pounds of pears and apples. There was banana, too, and avocado. (I saved things like green beans and peas for Gerber.)

Recipes using pureed baby food

The things I failed to realize, as my food processor whirred with exhaustion, was that Heather is a stay-at-home and would be offering every meal - not just the two or three I would be. Oh, and she would be offering meals to her twins. Twins. Double the meals, double the babies.

Ways to use baby food purees
Miles with his friend Luke, one of Heather's twins
She made purees each week; I had enough to make it through another baby. Thank goodness I discovered how to use them without getting knocked up.

 Do you know the muffin (wo)man? The apple and pear purees were the easiest and most obvious choices. Applesauce can be a substitute for oil in baking recipes and the same for pear puree as it has a similar consistency. Both tasted delicious in the Carrot Zucchini Muffins I've baking for Miles and me.

Oat'ncha gonna try it? I am pretty sure that I've tried on more than one occasion to make a carrot cake-inspired oatmeal but have come up short every time. Shredded carrots doesn't magically make it carrot cake. I came close, though, here recently. I defrosted a cube of carrot puree and mixed it into the oats, along with golden raisins, cinnamon, pecans and a packet of Stevia.


Smoothie operator. Every fall, people flip for pumpkin this and pumpkin that - myself included. In my world, though, sweet potatoes aren't that different from pumpkin. I decided if people drink pumpkin smoothies that Miles could drink a sweet potato smoothie. He's been drinking a blended fruit drink at morning snacks lately, and he happily took down a mix of banana, frozen sweet potato, low-sugar apple juice, milk and a dash of cinnamon.

It looked so good that I considered stealing it from him ... until I realized it had dairy. D'oh.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Say cheese (+ you're a handful)

Lucky No. 13


Wouln't you know it - she's the winner of the handful bra giveaway. So who is she? Well, I believe she just rocked a redemption marathon, earning herself a medal and a shiny new PR.


Bobbi, email me your contact info (hlthystrides at gmail dot com) and I will pass it along to the handul folks. (And please forgive me for stealing your photo. You were looking fierce this weekend!)

***

I could feel the rumble in my stomach. I could feel the draw to the kitchen. I could feel the drool pooling in my mouth.

I was jonesing. For something but what - well, I wasn't so sure. I just knew that my seemingly well-rounded breakfast of egg whites, yogurt and carrot-zucchini muffin was not cutting it. I guess that's what happens when you take a leisurely 1.5-mile walk on a rest day.

I sauntered to the kitchen but before I could start pillaging the pantry, I noticed something suspicious.


The bananas - well, they were looking ripe. Real ripe. Perfect for me, rejected by most. I considered just slathering one with peanut butter and calling it a morning but I couldn't do it. Nope.

Recipe idea for overripe banana

As I stared at the bananas, I was reminded of a recent breakfast I made for Miles - mashed banana laced with peanut butter and slathered on a piece of bread. It was delicious - or so it seemed as he gobbled it up despite the inclusion of a fruit. If the snack was good enough for an 11-month-old, it was certainly good enough for me.

Right? Umm ... maybe.

I was settled on the idea but wanted to look for a way to make it a little less calorie dense and hopefully a little more satiating. Inspired by one of my fellow BODYPUMP trainees (who also happens to be a blogger), I decided to include cottage cheese. Tara puts cottage cheese in many, many of her recipes - probably because she has stock in a dairy farm. Or, because cottage cheese is a good source of protein. You pick.

What I came up with was delicious and filling, and I think it makes a great snack or light breakfast. It might even make a good meal for a picky toddler. Not that those exist.

Healthy snack idea


Do "The Mash" Thin

1 sandwich thin or two slices of wheat bread
1/2 very ripe banana
1/2 tablespoon peanut butter (or 1 tablespoon PB2 if you have some of that lurking around)
2 tablespoons low-fat cottage cheese
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, more or less to taste
Drizzle of honey

Toast the sandwich thin on bagel setting, if your appliance has one. While it's getting nice and golden, use a fork to mash together banana, peanut butter and cottage cheese. Add cinnamon, mixing to combine. Spread on toasted thin and drizzle with honey. Enjoy with cup of coffee and the sound of silence as the baby naps.

Note: If you don't like the texture of cottage cheese, mix together the ingredients in a mini food processor or use a substitute such as ricotta cheese or plain yogurt.

Nutrition: 215 calories, 6 grams fat, 37 grams carbohydrates and 10 grams protein

Friday, June 22, 2012

Food Friday: Peanut Butter Banana Pancakes

I would like to think that it's all about me. Me, me, me. But the truth is, it's not. Not even a little bit.

And not at all this past weekend. It was Father's Day weekend, and I wanted to do my best to make it all about Mark. Or at least 75 percent about him. I took him out on a date Friday night. Dinner! In a restaurant! Without a baby! I made him a Spanish-inspired menu on Saturday night, complete with Sangria.

When Sunday arrived, I knew I had to do it right. Even though I was sweaty and tired after my first long run, I asked Mark what he wanted for breakfast. Anything he wanted, I told him (secretly hoping that he'd pick the Greek diner down the road).

Wait it wasn't about me. It was about him. And him wanted some Peanut Butter Banana Pancakes.

When I've made these for him in the past, it was because I had leftover peanut butter chips from a recipe. I would make a basic pancake recipe, add chopped bananas and the chips and voila! - peanut butter banana pancakes.

I had no such chips this weekend but I wasn't going to be the one to let down Mark on Father's Day. He deserved those Peanut Butter Banana Pancakes (especially because he baby wrangled while I finished my long run).

With the help of my BFF Google and a fair share of tweaking, I think we did OK. Actually, more than OK. Those pancakes have been requested more than once and a big batch were put in the freezer for easy thawing/quick breakfasts.



Peanut Butter Banana Pancakes

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon (or less depending on taste)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 very ripe medium banana, mashed
1 1/2 cups milk, divided
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, salt, sugar and cinnamon. In a small bowl, whisk together peanut butter, banana and 1/2 cup milk until smooth. You might need to slightly warm the peanut butter to get a smooth consistency (though I did not). Add peanut butter mixture to dry ingredients, mixing gently until crumbly. Add remaining milk and vanilla, whisking until just combined. Set aside. (Don't skip this step! I've found it's important for the batter to rest a few minutes. It helps the pancakes rise.)

Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium to medium-high heat. Add canola oil and/or butter. Wait until the oil is hot before adding batter. Spoon batter onto skillet or use a small scoop - about 1/4 cup per pancake. Wait until the edges of the pancake are dry and there are bubbles in the middle before flipping, about 3 to 4 minutes. Flip gently and cook another 2-3 pancakes. Makes 15 pancakes.

To freeze: Place cooked pancakes on a cookie sheet and stick in the freezer for an hour. Transfer from sheet to zip bags.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A spring break, French style

 It's spring break around these parts.


No, not that kind of spring break.


More like this kind of spring break.

And while I do have to monitor my jealousy of Mark's video game-filled days, I have to say that I get my own free time since Mark is available to baby wrangle. Time in the morning to spend putting on makeup and straightening my hair. Time to pack a lunch filled with real food.


And time to make breakfast.


 Like French toast.


Lots and lots of French toast. Like this Strawberry-Banana stuffed number.

Strawberry-Banana Stuffed French Toast

2 eggs
1/3 cup egg whites
1/3 cup skim milk
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
8 slices bread
4 wedges Laughing Cow Strawberry Cream Cheese Spread
2 small bananas, sliced
Butter, syrup, etc.

Preheat skillet on medium heat with drizzle canola oil. In a shallow bowl, beat together eggs, egg whites, milk and almond extract. Dip bread in egg mixture, allowing it to soak about 15 minutes per side. Place bread in skillet and ... well ... cook it. I'm sure you all know how to make French toast.

Once the French toast is cooked, spread on the Laughing Cow Strawberry Cream Cheese Spread - one wedge each on four slices. Top with sliced bananas and another piece of French toast. Top with butter, syrup or whatever else you like to do.

Since I've had French toast a million times this week (it's Mark's favorite and we had the bread from the Nutri-Run), I've tried several versions. One with no banana, just the cream cheese - meh. The LC is good with stuff but has an odd taste on its own. Another, the best, was with no banana but all-fruit blackberry jam. So, so, so good.

What's your favorite kind of French toast? Have you tried the new Laughing Cow cream cheese?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Don't know (flap)jack

I don't run with music.

It's not so much a "I'm better than you, and I don't need it" thing. It's more of a safety thing as most of my runs are with the dog and the stroller, and I need to be aware of cars in the event their drivers aren't aware of me.

When people hear that I run "naked" so to speak, the question I most often get asked is: What do you think about? Things. I think about things. Sometimes it's the day ahead or how beautiful the day is (today was a gorgeous "warm" 28). I sometimes write my grocery list or, if I'm lucky, I completely zone out.

Today, though, my thoughts were not focused on any of those things. I had just one focus: Pancakes.


 Lots and lots of pancakes.

I normally like to eat a protein-rich breakfast because it holds me best. However, Mark will be out tonight and I'm going to take advantage, eating a dinner he won't - breakfast. Seeing as I didn't want eggs twice in a day, pancakes seemed an appropriate way to end a 4-mile run.

I thought I would make my favorite, banana pancakes. Heck, I could go crazy and add some chocolate chips to the recipe ... until I discovered that Mark ate the last one. Jerk.

So I made the next best thing*: Oatmeal Applesauce Pancake for One.

*Note: This excludes any pancake with pecans because those are on a whole other level of awesomeness.

Source - I don't have a photo of my actual pancake because ... well, let's just say it was a little crispy.

Oatmeal Applesauce Pancake for One

1 egg white
1/4 cup no-sugar added applesauce
2 tablespoons skim milk
Scant 1/4 teaspoon maple extract
1 pouch instant plain oatmeal
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1/2 packet Truvia
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

In a bowl, beat egg white until foamy. Whisk in applesauce, milk and extract. In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Gently add dry ingredients to wet, mixing until just combined. Spoon batter onto a hot skillet sprayed with non-stick spray or coated with canola oil. Cook like a pancake. Serve with toppings of choice - I had light I Can't Believe It's Not Butter and Sugar-Free Hungry Jack syrup.

If you don't like the texture of rolled oats, you could pulse them in a coffee grinder or food processor to achieve a finer, more palatable consistency. 

Nutrition (without toppings): 205 calories, 2 grams fat, 41 grams carbohydrates and 10 grams of protein.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Smooth and spicy Southern breakfast

It took this New  Orleans born girl 29 years (6 of those working at a Cracker Barrel) to discover that I like grits.

And boy do I like them … with Parmesan cheese and spicy lemon shrimp ;with cheese, tomato sauce and smoked sausage; with cheese and a fried egg.

As it turns out, I also like them with cheese and a fried egg … and green chiles.

P1010362

Meet my creamy and spicy grits.

1 cup water
Generous pinch Kosher salt
1/4 cup quick cooking grits
1 Chipotle & Queso Fresco Laughing Cow wedge
2 teaspoons chopped green chiles (from a can)
1/2 slice white cheddar cheese
1 egg, cooked over medium

Bring water and salt to a boil. Add grits; lower heat. Whisk often as grits cook. Just as the grits are nearing completion, add Laughing Cow wedge. Whisk in until melted and smooth. Add chiles. Pour grits into bowl and top with cheddar cheese and egg. Serves 1.

Do you enjoy grits? Have you had enough turkey yet?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Make this now: Breakfast barley

I have a confession to make.

I've developed a small dependency on those sugar-laden oatmeal packets. I know they are so not the best thing out there, junk masquerading as healthy, but I can't help it. The packets are convenient, make a great pre-run snack and are a great base for pumpkin oats. Oh, and did I mention they are convenient?

While my beloved slow cooker steel cut oats are also convenient, tasty and great with pumpkin, I had them for two ... three weeks in a row. Boring! I needed something new - something healthful and something not so full of sugar. And then, as if she knew I was on the hunt for a change, a co-worker mentioned wanted to try barley for breakfast.

Jackpot!

I had barley a time or two and loved it as a cold mix-in to yogurt but the gray, rainy weather had me itching to make a warm barley bowl.


Pumpkin Chai Slow Cooker Barley
Adapted from the recipe here

2 cups strongly brewed chai tea
1 cup apple juice (I used Motts for Tots, which has 40 percent less sugar)
3/4 cup barley
1 cup pumpkin puree
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Add all ingredients to slow cooker; stir. Cook on low for 8 hours or overnight. Enjoy with splash of almond milk and garnish with raisins, nuts or favorite toppings.

Have you ever tried barley? What's your favorite way to eat it?


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Makin’ it big time

Today is a big day. Huge.

While I can’t really tell you why – not yet, anyway - I promise that it really is big.

And a big day like today deserves a big breakfast. Growing up, that term meant homemade biscuits and gravy, over medium eggs and bacon. My mom made a mean biscuits and gravy.

A moment of silence, please.

Rarely, though, did she make french toast or pancakes – sad because pancakes are so yummy and so worthy of the big breakfast term.

Especially these Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes.

P1010215

Swoon.

Ingredients:

1 cup baking mix, such as Jiffy or Bisquick

1/2 cup oatmeal

3/4 cup milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)

1 egg white

1/2 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon, depending on taste

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

2 packets Truvia or 2 tablespoons sugar

Raisins or other fruit

P1010214

To make:

Add 1 tablespoon canola oil to skillet and preheat over medium heat.

In a bowl, gently mix together baking mix, oatmeal, milk, cinnamon, vanilla and sweetener. Let the mixture rest for a few minutes. I find that this resting period is key to getting a fluffy pancake. Also, as you are using uncooked oatmeal, it allows the cereal to soak up some of the milk and soften up a bit.

Spoon batter onto skillet and sprinkle with raisins (or fruit, like bananas, if your husband has a weird sense of what tastes good). Allow the pancakes to cook until they get a smidge dry on the sides and have bubbles in the middle. Flip. Cook all the way through.

Serve with butter, syrup and a glass of ice cold milk.

Note: If your raisins sort of suck, allow them to soak for a half-hour or so in some water – which will give you time to make some coffee and feed your screaming 3-month-old.

How do you like your pancakes? What are you doing today?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Go daddy

Move that body: 2.7-mile run; average pace (including two walk breaks totaling 0.3 mile), 11:45.

This morning, at the late hour of 7 a.m., I rolled over and wished Mark a Happy Fathers Day.

And then I told him to get his @ss up – we were going for a run.

OK, OK. I didn’t really say that.

Actually, I offered to make him a big breakfast, which I’d let settle before playing on the treadmill later in the morning. He wanted to walk first thing and have breakfast at which point I said, “No walk. Run.” He was a bit hesitant - and rightfully so - after Thursday’s struggle but decided to entertain me under the pretense that if it felt bad, I had to stop.

I agreed. I was actually sort of prepared that I’d have to stop during this run and cut myself off for the rest of the pregnancy. But as it seems to go with this thing, every time I start to count myself out, I get a nice little surprise. I felt really good, made an effort to structure the walk breaks and take them before I needed ’em and relax. Twas a nice gift for me.

And, as far as a nice gift for Mark? He got this:

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French toast made with homemade Blueberry Banana Bread (I used this recipe from Cooking Light for the bread and Egg Beaters in the dip), garnished with fresh strawberries. Mark also had a side of sausage links, and I had a MorningStar “sausage” patty and Egg Beaters.

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And half-caff coffee, of course.

By the way, this French toast would have been even better (if that’s possible) had I cut the slices thinner and later stuffed it with strawberries and sweetened cream cheese. Light cream cheese sweetened with Truvia, of course.

Do you like big breakfasts on the weekend? What’s your favorite?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

On the Wild side

Workout: Jillian Michaels “30-Day Shred,” Level 1. Anything on the floor was subbed out for extra bicep curls, tricep exercise and shoulder raises.

I am so smart. Acknowledging that my legs were sore for a good three days after last week’s attempt at “30-Day Shred,” I decided to give it another go today. A day before a planned run. It’s not that I haven’t run on sore legs before but it should just add injury to insult.

A look at our weather:

weather

Boo!

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about something a little more fun. Like my breakfast.

This morning, I paid homage to the Surfer Girl omelet I had at Wild Eggs in Louisville in October.

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God, how I miss drinking that much caffeine!

omelet

I was in no mood to make an omelet so I opted to go real crazy and make an egg sandwich. Notice I said “egg” and not “egg white” – off the chain.

Here’s what I did:

Put a bit of canola oil and butter in the pan, until it was hot. Threw in two slices of light whole-wheat bread to grill (way better than toasting). When one side of each piece was looking good, I flipped one over to grill the other side and put the other one on top to make room for the egg. Cracked an egg into the skillet. While that was cooking, diced up some avocado, sliced a tomato and got out the sprouts. Grill the second side of the other piece of bread and flip the egg. Blot grease from egg and top with slice of cheese. Take slice of bread that’s grilled on both sides and top with avocado, smooshing it with a fork. Add tomato slices and sprouts (I used broccoli because that’s what we had). Put over-hard egg on top and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with other piece of bread. If you are going crazy, schmear top piece with reduced fat mayo before topping the sandwich. (Call me Paula Deen because it’s true - I do believe mayo makes a lot of things taste better. )

P.S. If you scrambled the egg or did whites, you could easily toss in some spinach and get a bit closer to the Surfer Girl omelet.

Phew! What a long-winded way of saying, “Hey! Why don’t you try topping your egg sandwich with tomatoes, smooshed avocado, sprouts and mayo?”

What did you have for breakfast today?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Three Things Thursday

Workout: 2.9-mile run and 10 minutes with my weights

Is it just me or does this week seem loooong? I was sitting on the couch last night, watching "Survivor," and bemoaning the fact that it was only Wednesday. It definitely felt like Thursday. And now today is Thursday, and it feels like Friday.

Except it's not.

1. I think part of the reason it feels like such a long week is because it's been a busy week. I was in meetings all day Tuesday and we met Mark's parents for dinner that night. Today, I have a full plate at work and then Mark and I are meeting the Realtor to look at two more houses. Yep, we're still looking. Want the scoop?
a. We had to walk away from the house on which we had made an offer. The sellers did agree to replace the furnace and roof but only under the condition that we pay half the closing costs and $2,000 above list price. Say what? Apparently, they were way under water and couldn't afford to take less on the house and make repairs. Considering their situation, our Realtor wasn't confident that they would pick reputable contractors and we were released from the contract.

b. Mark and I went out again last weekend and again found a house we liked. But there are glitches. The house was purchased by an investor (aka flipper) and updates were made to the house. New roof, newer furnace and hot water heater, new bathroom. Awesome. Glitch? The house was bought, remodeled and being sold (potentially) in less than six months, subjecting our loan to greater oversight. The seller could be asked to justify the increase in price (160 percent) by providing receipts and if the lender didn't find it acceptable, they could deny the loan. Even if the house appraised for the selling price. Boo.

c. House No. 2 isn't out per se but we're feeling a little gun shy, prompting the meeting tonight. At least I'm bringing cupcakes.
2. Lately, I have been having an issue with vegetables. As in I don't want to eat them. The thought of a side of broccoli or carrots as a snack makes this former veggie queen nauseous. I can manage to eat salads but that's about it, and it's forcing me to get creative with my meals. Case in point: breakfast this morning. I made a "pizza" scramble - sauteed mushrooms, onions and spinach; 10 grams turkey pepperoni, 1/2 cup Egg Beaters and 2% cheese. The pepperoni made the vegetables palatable and was actually kinda good with the eggs. Salty, salty. It would have been better with tomatoes but we didn't have any. (By the way, a helpful hint: Cook the veggies in 1/4 cup chicken stock to cut down on oil.)

3. I felt so smart today. I was able to change the display on my Garmin so that I only see time and distance - all I really need to see right now. I can no longer glance to see what pace "slogging" really is and I don't get the urge to push myself beyond my comfort level. Kinda nice. Sort of like today's run - minus the wind.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Oatta here

Workout: 2.4 mile-walk with Denali

Sit down. I want to talk to you about a topic near and dear to my heart.

Food.

More specifically, this morning, let's talk about oatmeal.

I like oatmeal just as much as the next gal ... unless that gal doesn't care for it. I eat it as a pre-run snack, as a side dish to an egg white sandwich. Heck, I might even put a scoop of ice cream on it and eat it for dessert. More often than not, though, that's as far as we go. Why? Oatmeal doesn't really fill me up. And to get a bowl big enough to do so, doesn't seem worth the calories. I'd rather spend 500 calories on an egg white omelet, toast and hashbrowns.

But this morning, I might have met my oatmeal match. It was a Peaches 'n' Cream Oatmeal Parfait, inspired by Hungry Girl.

Peaches 'n' Cream Oatmeal Parfait

Oatmeal:
1/3 cup oats
1/4 teaspoon Truvia
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or sweetened if you picked up the wrong carton like I did)
3/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup sliced peaches, packed in juice, drained and diced

Parfait:
1 (6-ounce) container non-fat Greek yogurt - plain, vanilla or honey
1/2 cup sliced peaches, packed in juice, drained and diced
2 tablespoons Cool Whip (optional)

To make the oatmeal, combine oats, sweetener, cinnamon, and salt in a small nonstick pot on the stove. Add almond milk peaches, vanilla extract and cup water. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 9 minutes, stirring often, until thick and creamy.

Allow to cool slightly. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1.5 hours.

To make the parfait, stir oatmeal thoroughly until uniform in texture. Spoon half of the oatmeal into a tall glass, and top with half of the yogurt and half of the peaches. Repeat with remaining oatmeal, yogurt and peaches. Top with Cool Whip and dig in!

Let me tell you, this was good ... and filling. I ate this at 7 a.m. and didn't want for a snack till 10 a.m. (Three hours between meals/snacks is pretty good for me.)

I hope you enjoy the recipe and the many other recipes I plan to present to you this week. Wanna know why? I have declared this week Healthy Strides Food Week! Yay! I'll be sharing with you more of my meals, more of the recipes I fall back on and some planning tips.

Say it with me ... YUM-YUM!