Archive

Breakfast

I always had in the back of my mind that I would never blog a steaming hot bowl of oats. First off, they are a pretty ugly food. Secondly, they’re oats, I mean come on, no matter what you add to them, they are just a glorified version of instant oatmeal, right? That’s what I thought too until I expanded my horizons and changed breakfast forever.

Enter cheesy tomato oatmeal. It would be perfect if I could just figure out how to get protein powder into the mix. I know: You just posted a picture of lumpy reddish glop. It is ok though, I promise, I included the requisite Healthy Living Blogger miniature oatmeal spoon, which, in this part of the world, comes standard with your furnished apartment. To further justify my actions, I have also included cheesy toast because it is just wrong to ingest tomato sauce without cheesy bread.

This may have ended my love affair with the overnight oats that I have been eating daily for years. That’s truly something!

Please at least give them a try before hitting ‘Unsubscribe’!

Figures that I would venture back into food blogging after a months long hiatus with precisely the thing that I vowed to myself never to write about.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 ounce provolone cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • pinch of black pepper

Directions:

  • Combine ingredients in a sauce pan over a medium heat.
  • Stir frequently until oats reach desired consistency.
  • Serve warm.

Servings ~ 1
Calories ~ 260, Carbohydrates ~ 35g, Fat ~ 9g, Protein ~ 11g

Remember the egg incident? Yeah. I’m still not eating eggs. I don’t know if it is a permanent thing, but it may stick around for a little while. It was seriously a traumatic experience. Avoiding eggs is going to seriously limit my breakfast variety until I come up with some alternative breakfast ideas though.

I am completely dedicated to my weekday overnight oats, but they don’t usually pan out for me on the weekends. Between forgetting to assemble the OOs the night before and just craving a change of pace, they are pretty much only an option on weekday mornings.

In the past, “protein pancakes” have been one of my weekend breakfast staples. In fact, I can’t believe that I’ve never blogged them before, you’ll have to just trust me on this one. One problem with the protein pancakes though:  they contain egg whites. A lot of them. Saturday morning I set out on a mission to make the perfect egg-free protein pancake. After one attempt that landed in the trash can, I discovered this recipe which Chris and I quickly devoured.

Any type of mix-ins can be added. Obviously chocolate chips would be the best one, although I have not personally verified this claim. We tried banana slices, blueberries, and walnuts (in separate pancakes) and both enjoyed the blueberries the most. Someday when Chris and I develop enough maturity and self-control not to eat them all in one sitting, maybe we can own chocolate chips and give that flavor of pancakes a try!

From: Vegan Baking

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/4 cups soy milk
  • 2 tbsp flax meal
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 scoops protein powder of your choice
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • Optional mix-ins:
    • chopped walnuts
    • banana slices
    • blueberries (This was our favorite.)

Directions:

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy milk, flax meal, apple cider vinegar and vanilla extract. 
  • Let it sit for about 10 minutes so the soy milk curdles.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk together the whole wheat flour, soy flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and ginger.
  • Whisk the canola oil into the soy milk and flax meal mixture then whisk the mixture into the large bowl containing the flour mixture and mix until fully incorporated.
  • Stir in mix-ins as desired.
  • Lightly coat a griddle or skillet with non-stick spray and heat over a medium heat. (If you are using a non-stick surface, you can forego the greasing process.)
  • Using a ladle, drop about 1/3 cup of batter to form a pancake.
  • When small bubbles appear, flip the pancake with a spatula.
  • Let the pancakes cook for at least another 2 minutes on the other side or until golden. 
  • After the first pancake is cooked, adjust stove temperature as needed to cook without burning.

Servings ~ 6 (Two pancakes each.)
Calories ~ 336, Fat ~ 6.7 g, Carbohydrates ~ 56.2 g, Protein ~ 16.6 g

As some of you know, my breakfast pretty regularly consists of overnight oats. My favorite OO concoction involves vanilla almond milk, oatmeal, guar gum, vanilla protein powder and blueberries. I imagine that I will continue eating this pretty routinely for quite a while.

I guess I am a creature of habit when it comes to breakfast. I generally find one that works and stick with it until there is some impetus for change.

So if you love OOs so much, what’s up with the breakfast cookie?

Well, as tasty as they are, OOs are not perfect in every situation. They cannot be taken through airport security, they are not ideal to eat while driving, and they certainly can’t be discretely eaten during a meeting at work.

The breakfast cookie solves all of these problems. Portable, one handed, and just as filling and tasty as OOs.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 2 tbsp dried cranberries
  • 1 tbsp almond slivers
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar or honey
  • Splash of almond (or regular) milk
  • Non-stick spray

Directions:

  • Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Work agave nectar and a splash of almond milk into the mixture.
  • Optional, for breakfast cookies to go: Place a square of plastic wrap on a small plate before continuing with the steps below.
  • Lightly coat a small plate with non-stick spray, then press the oatmeal mixture into a cookie shape on the plate.
  • Refrigerate overnight. The cookie can usually be lifted off of the plate easily after it has set. In the case of a to-go cookie, lift the plastic wrap and go.

Servings ~ 1
Calories ~ 423, Fat ~ 7.9 g, Carbohydrates ~ 68.6 g, Protein ~ 21.8 g

Although I eat oatmeal for breakfast nearly every day, I am just about the last kid on the block to try baked oatmeal. What gives?

For one thing, I didn’t understand what the hype was about. Everyone knows that oatmeal is better cold, so I have been solidly on the overnight oats bandwagon for a long time, but this weekend I finally got around to trying this baked oatmeal that I keep hearing about.

I liked it. Chris did too.

Chris really must have liked it. He isn’t a fan of bananas at all, but he still ate every bite of his oatmeal and even commented on how the apples at the bottom were so yummy and tasted a bit like apple pie. Read carefully below. Those were bananas. Don’t tell Chris.

 Adapted from Healthy Food for Living via Prevention RD.

Ingredients:

  • olive oil Cooking spray
  • 1 banana, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1/8 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/8 cup raisins
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp chopped pecans
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (cow or soy milk works too)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tbsp butter or margarine, melted (I used yogurt butter.)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (I bet this would also be good with honey instead.)

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 375*F.
  • Lightly coat 2-large ramekins or small oven-safe bowls with olive oil spray.
  • Layer the banana slices on the bottom of the bowls, then top with the frozen blueberries. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the oats, dried cranberries and raisins, brown sugar, pecans, baking powder, and spices. Set aside.
  • In another bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, butter or margarine, vanilla extract, and maple syrup. Set aside.
  • Spoon equal amounts of the oat mixture on top of the bananas and blueberries in each bowl.
  • Pour even amounts of the milk mixture over the oat mixture in each bowl.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top layer is lightly browned and crisp.
  • Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.

Servings ~ 2
Calories ~ 436, Fat ~ 11 g, Carbohydrates ~ 86 g, Protein ~ 9 g

So I think I am supposed to talk about bagels here.

The bagels that took three batches to perfect. The bagels that Chris, at first, turned his nose up at. And finally, the bagels you see below that Duke’s Household King of Bagels declared way better than store bought.

I was ecstatic when, after making and eating twenty not so great bagels, I finally nailed it, but, I was way more ecstatic after my run last night.

I didn’t feel like running yesterday. I promised myself that I wouldn’t look at my Garmin so I could run as slow as I wanted. Just get in the junk miles. It is a fall back week this week. You know the drill.

Somehow, I managed to avoid looking at Garmin until the fourth mile clicked by. 

8:14…Huh?          I decided to pick it up. 7:51. 7:59.

Ok, who cares. What does this mean?

Those last three miles were at a faster pace than my best 5K. Too bad I didn’t tack on another 0.1!

I’m thinking 5K during my next fall back week.

Oh yeah, and here are some kick butt bagels. (Says the girl from New Jersey.)

Inspired by Baking Bites.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups warm water (100 – 110 degrees)
  • 4 cups whole wheat flour, divided
  • 2 tbsp vital wheat gluten
  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tbsp baking soda

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, combine 2 cups of whole wheat flour, vital wheat gluten, active dry yeast, and sugar.
  • Stir in warm water, then let sit, covered with plastic wrap, for 40 minutes for batter to rise.
  • Stir in honey and salt, then stir in the remaining 2 cups of whole wheat flour. It may take some kneading to fully combine the flour.
  • When dough comes together, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes.
  • Place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour.
  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Dissolve baking soda in warm water.
  • Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and pat into a rectangular shape.
  • Divide, dough into 10 even pieces.
  • Working with one piece at a time (leaving the others covered with a towel or plastic wrap), roll each piece of dough into a 7-9″ long cylinder.
  • Form a bagel shape by pressing the two ends together. They may need to be pressed with some force to join them seamlessly.
  • Dip each bagel into baking soda mixture, then place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving 1-2 inches between bagels to allow for further rise.
  • Bake bagels for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned, then cool on a wire rack.

Servings ~ 10
Calories ~ 200, Fat ~ 1 g, Carbohydrates ~ 44 g, Protein ~ 8 g

Before our long run on Saturday I was looking for some kind of carby breakfast. Mostly bread, maybe some veggies, and of course eggs because I have been an egg eating machine lately. I am usually a bit hesitant to try new foods before long runs, but we planned on running later in the day and I had already tried out each component of this as a pre-run breakfast, so I decided to give it a go.

I was disappointed that the avocados turned brown in the oven because I thought that took away from the asthetics of the pizza, but the vibrant yellow egg yolks more than made up for it. This pizza was so fresh tasting and the aroma that wafted out of the oven each time I checked on it was just incredible.

Overall, this was a huge win. We both commented that we could definitely serve this to other people and even discussed having it again. Maybe even for dinner.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup julienned rutabaga (Finely chopped potato would work fine too.)
  • 2 tsp olive oil, divided
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pizza dough (I used 1/4 of this recipe.)
  • corn meal for flouring
  • 1/4 clove elephant garlic (or 1/2 clove garlic), minced
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup Mozzarella, shredded
  • 1/2 avocado, thinly sliced

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees with a pizza stone in it if you have one.
  • Toss rutabaga (or potato) in 1 tsp olive oil until it is lightly coated, season with salt and pepper, then saute over a medium-high heat until lightly browned, then set aside.
  • Sprinkle cornmeal on a sheet of parchment paper then roll and stretch dough to form pizza.
  • Lightly brush the crust with the remaining 1 tsp of olive oil, then distribute minced garlic over the crust.
  • Crack three eggs onto the crust being careful not break the yolks.
  • Arrange rutabaga “hash browns” and shallots on top of the eggs, sprinkle with Mozzarella, and place avocado slices on top of the cheese.
  • To transfer the pizza to the oven, carefully pick up parchment, place on pizza stone, then slide parchment out from under the pizza.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and pizza crust is lightly browned.
  • Note: If you prefer not to eat the egg yolks, they can be left out or easily removed with a spoon after baking, but they do make for a much prettier pizza.

Servings ~ 2 to 3

1/3 pizza w/whole eggs
Calories ~ 349, Fat ~ 15.4 g, Carbohydrates ~ 37.6 g, Protein ~ 15.6 g

1/2 pizza w/whole eggs
Calories ~ 523, Fat ~ 23.1, Carbohydrates ~ 56.4 g, Protein ~ 23.4 g

1/3 w/egg whites only
Calories ~ 304, Fat ~ 11.1 g, Carbohydrates ~ 37.6 g, Protein ~ 15.2 g

1/2 pizza w/egg whites only
Calories ~ 456, Fat ~ 16.7 g, Carbohydrates ~ 56.4 g, Protein ~ 22.8 g

After touting the benefits of meal planning last week, I failed at it miserably this time around.

Over the weekend we headed to not so sunny Southern California to visit Chris’ family. I went, armed with a purse full of “food” magazines, ready to knock out a meal plan on one of our four flights, but it never happened.

Wait, not so sunny?

Each winter as we get hammered with snow, frigid temperatures, and ice cold gusts of wind tearing across Indiana, Chris extols the virtues of the weather in Los Angeles. He is right. Sort of.

I closely followed the weather for days before we left. I fantasized about basking in the sunshine and considered that it might even be too hot for me to get in my long run on Saturday.

As usual, the temperature dipped just before our arrival. I even got to do my Sunday run in chilly rain.

The State of California should consider paying for me to move there because I can solve all of their drought problems. You see, it gets cold and rainy every time I visit.

Then again, maybe they don’t want me there as I would spoil their near perfect climate. On the upside, the weather was a perfect 55 degrees for my long run and the cool rain felt pretty good during my recovery run.

I apologize to all of the Angelinos for ruining your weekend weather. The song is a lie, it sure does rain in Southern California.  

Ingredients (per serving):

  • 1 slice of whole grain bread made into bread crumbs
  • 5 tsp Dijon mustard, divided
  • olive oil spray
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 8 oz fresh spinach
  • 3 tbsp half & half (I used fat-free.)
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 eggs

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Spray bread crumbs with olive oil, then toss them with 2 tsp Dijon mustard and mustard seeds, then spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  • Bake until golden and crisp, about 7 minutes.
  • As bread crumbs are cooking, add enough water to a skillet to coat the bottom, add the spinach, and toss over a high heat until the spinach wilts, about two minutes.
  • Strain the spinach, transfer it to a sauce pan, then stir in 3 tsp mustard, half and half, and chopped thyme.
  • Stir the spinach over a medium heat for several minutes until it thickens, season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Lightly spray a skillet with olive oil, crack two eggs into the skillet, then cook over a medium-high heat until the whites have cooked through.
  • To serve, layer the spinach, eggs, and bread crumbs.

Servings ~ 1
Calories ~ 334, Fat ~ 15 g, Carbohydrates ~ 25 g, Protein ~ 21 g

As we usually do on the weekend, we had a “real” breakfast on Saturday. Exciting, eh?

I got up bright and early trying to imagine how I was going to use leftover mashed potatoes for breakfast. Sounds simple enough unless you want a blog-worthy breakfast. That increases the challenge a bit.

Or so I thought. Look for many more mashed potato-y breakfast recipes in the near future as we seem to be on a mashed potato kick lately.

Saturday morning we did a test-pack for Africa to:

  1. Make sure that our gear actually fit into our bags.
  2. Check that our bags were not too heavy to check under Continental’s stingy 1 bag x 50 lb. weight limit even for international travel.
  3. Figure out what, if any, gear we were missing from our checklist.

Chris tried on his proposed safari getup. He figures that his “sun runner” hat, Omni-Shade shirt, and ie lavalava should make the perfect outfit. Maybe he’s on to something.

Notice our sweet 1970’s bathroom, complete with groady previous owner carpet. I bet we could have renovated our bathroom if we skipped out on this trip, but what fun would that be?

Results:

  1. Gear fit in bag test:
    1. No problem for Chris, his backpack is slightly bigger than mine.
    2. Somewhat problematic for me, I figured it out, but it could have been a stressful night before departure if I hadn’t completed this pre-pack exercise.
  2. Bag weight:
    1. My monster suitcase weighs 15 lbs. (No wonder I have so much trouble keeping it within the weight limit, right?)
    2. My gear in a duffel bag weighs 35 lbs. without toiletries or my case of Clif Bars packed*. (Anyone else see a baggage fee on the horizon?)
  3. We each needed (or wanted) a few new items:
    1. A “safari” dress for me. Just go with it. It will be phenomenally cool in the pictures.
    2. Down mittens for Chris. Ok, more practical than my “need”.
    3. A dry bag for our camera equipment. I think we should just use a few trash bags, I honestly trust them more.**

*Some of you will ask “Why on Earth are you bringing a case of Clif Bars with you to Africa? Don’t you want to experience the food?”

Yes, of course I want to experience the food, but I tend to be over the top adventurous in my experimentation with local cuisines. So much so that I have spent more than a few days on the bathroom floor of an “interesting” hotel room in a few remote locales fighting off impending death by dehydration and/or electrolyte imbalance.

At the conclusion of each of these experiences, I only wanted to eat something sweet, cake-like, and familiar. Thank you Clif Bar & Company. Your Clif and Luna Bars are very well responsible for my survival on more than one of these occasions.

**My last soaked camera experience was at Machu Picchu last year. Guess what. The camera was in a dry bag. Fail!

All in all, the packing test was a success!

Do these gaiters make me look like I have cankles?

Ok, on to breakfast.

From Country Egg, City Egg.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups mashed potatoes, heated through
  • 4 eggs
  • Coarse salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, chives, oregano, or thyme

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees F.
  • Divide the mashed potatoes into four individual baking dishes.
  • Make a deep well in the center of the mashed potatoes.
  • Crack an egg directly into each well.
  • Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Sprinkle 1/4 of the cheese over each egg.
  • Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until eggs are done to your likeness.
  • Remove from oven, garnish with fresh herbs.
  • Serve immediately.

Servings ~ 4
Calories (if your mashed potatoes are just that, mashed potatoes, no fancy stuff)  ~ 165, Fat ~ 6 g, Carbohydrates ~ 16 g, Protein ~ 10 g

a.k.a. Green Radioactive Sludge Smoothie.

Green Monsters are one of those things that you will either love or hate because it takes a certain palate to appreciate emulsified spinach, or worse yet kale, disguised as a (typically sweet) smoothie. I happen to be a proponent of Green Monsters.

It all got started a few summers ago when I first heard about these Shrek-like smoothies and decided to give them a try. At first, I was totally hooked, slurping down the radioactive sludge nearly every day. Eventually I got tired of washing my blender, so the Green Monsterfest subsided.

Let’s face it, scrubbing dried-on spinach out of my blender is not my idea of a good time. I prefer low maintenance meals with little to no cleanup, lazy girl foods. I still cook in Teflon pans (shhh, don’t tell my mother in law!) because if I had to scrub cooked-on food out of stainless steel pans with any frequency I would probably be relegated to daily take-out.

Over time, my relationship with the Green Monster has evolved. Today I tend to only drink Green Monsters when I have something to gain from it. For example, I like to make Green Monsters when I realize that I own half a pound of spinach that is wilted slightly beyond salad goodness and needs to be used ASAP or when our my (Chris is not a banana fan) bananas are getting a bit too mushy and brown to spread peanut butter on.

I have tried many Shrek-smoothie combinations, but this one is probably best for keeping me full and I think it tastes pretty good too!

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz unsweetened original almond milk
  • 3 cups spinach
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 banana, frozen (Make sure to peel and slice the banana before freezing…peeling a frozen banana is quite difficult!)
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar (More if you are feeling extra sweet.)
  • splash of vanilla extract

Directions:

  • Add ingredients to a blender. It works best to put the spinach somewhere near the bottom of the mix so that you don’t have to scrape stray spinach leaves off the sides of the blender – I hate to get a spoon dirty if I don’t need to.
  • Pulse several times to break up the frozen banana, then use the liquify setting on your blender if it has one.
  • Serve cold. I sometimes store half of the Monster in my refrigerator for up to a day or so.

Servings ~ 1 – 2
Calories (based on 1 serving/recipe) ~ 403, Fat ~ 5 g, Carbohydrates ~ 69 g, Protein ~ 25 g

This breakfast was an extremely enlightening one for me, so I was pleased for its serendipitous appearance in my kitchen.

Enlightening breakfast, you say?

Preparing breakfast for guests usually involves me, and hopefully Chris, scurrying around the kitchen like crazy making MTO omelettes or some equally labor intensive dish, often resulting in each guest eating their breakfast independently of the others and the chef standing stove-side noshing on the “mistakes”.

I have no doubt that Chris has every intention of helping out when we have guests. He is usually first to great them at the door, first to offer them a drink, and has an exceptional ability to make small talk with even the most awkward guests.

But, those of us who are close to Chris like to joke around about him being the guy who asks “What can I do to help?” at precisely the moment when you no longer need help. 

Chris has the best of intentions, but he is much more carefree than I am. As my Type-A-ish self is rushing around in a frenzy unnecessarily picking up after my guests, Chris is able to live in the moment, enjoying the party, not giving a second thought to the impending clean-up.

If only I could be more like Chris. There is always time to clean up later.

So what does this breakfast have to do with parties, Chris’ helpfulness, or my inability to chill? It has the potential to allow each guest to have an MTO frittata-esque breakfast with little cooking involved, hopefully encouraging me to have a more Chris-like experience.

We stuck with ham, cheese, and pineapple because they were leftover from our Aussie Burgers, but the possibilities are endless!

Ingredients:

  • 8 egg whites
  • 2 oz cheese, shredded (I used reduced fat Swiss.)
  • 2 oz extra lean ham, diced
  • 6 pineapple rings
  • olive oil spray

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Lightly spray six cups of a muffin pan with olive oil.
  • Beat egg whites, then distribute evenly among the six greased cups in the muffin pan.
  • Evenly distribute ham and cheese into each cup of egg whites.
  • Balance a pineapple ring over the top of each of the six cups. (The eggs will rise to meet it as they bake.)
  • Bake for about 16-20 minutes until the eggs are firm.

Servings ~ 6
Calories ~ 86, Fat ~ 2 g, Carbohydrates ~ 8 g, Protein ~ 12 g