Saturday, March 5, 2011

Muffin-worthy weather

I hear lawn mowers outside this morning... and it's only early March!

We've had 3 solid weeks of 70s and sunny down here in Texas, and I am loving it!


Growing up in the Midwest, I can tell you that the whir of a lawn mower or weed-wacker would not be heard anytime prior to May. And so, I decided to celebrate what I deem the official arrival of spring... with homemade muffins for breakfast! Jam-filled peanut butter, banana and oat muffins, to be exact.


These big boys lived up to my very high muffin standards: fluffy, yet substantial. Peanut-buttery and banana-y, with the surprise of warm jam in the middle. A sweet, crusty top... that I don't need to feel guilty about. No butter. No refined grains. I believe the words wholesome goodness sum things up perfectly. :)

Jam-filled Peanut Butter, Banana and Oat Muffins

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups sifted whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup light brown sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 large overripe bananas, mashed
6 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup milk or milk substitute

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup jam


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat 12 muffin cups with cooking spray or line with paper cups. In a medium bowl, mix together the first 6 dry ingredients (flour through cinnamon). In a separate large bowl, cream together the next 8 ingredients (applesauce through vanilla) until well combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and stir just until fully combined (do no over-mix).

Fill the muffin cups a little less than half full with batter. Spoon about 1 Tbsp of jam into the center of each muffin. Divide remaining batter evenly over the top of each muffin. The muffin cups will be very full -- these make big muffins!

Bake in preheated oven for 18-24 minutes, until tops are golden-brown and a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean. Let the muffins cool in the pan 5 minutes before moving them to a wire rack to cool.



Adapted from Healthy Food for Living.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Lentil-licious

Because lately I've been doing my darnedest to eat a bit lower on the glycemic index. This lentil stew/soup is filling, uber healthy and delicious!

Wish I could say my dear Starbursts and Ginger Chews have fallen out of rotation. But we all need the occassional treat, right?

Check out my recipe, and let me know what you think if you try it! Also, read below for my CSN Stores product review!

Indian-spiced Red Lentil Stew

Ingredients:
7 cups chicken or veggie stock
2 1/3 cups red lentils
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 cups baby spinach
2 tomatoes, diced
1 tablespoon Sriracha, or other hot sauce (optional)
Greek yogurt
Lemon juice

Heat oil in stock pot over medium heat, adding the garlic, onion and celery. Cook until translucent. Add stock, lentils, cumin, cayenne, garam masala, cilantro, spinach and tomatoes, and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add Sriracha and continue to simmer until the lentils are tender, about 15 more minutes. Stir in lemon juice and add yogurt to individual bowls of stew just before serving.

CSN Stores product review

As mentioned in my last post, CSN Stores was lovely enough to offer me a great new set of "green" food storage containers to review. The Kinetic Go Green Glasslock Food Storage Container Set features a tempered glass construction and is made with eco-friendly non-toxic materials. I've had my eye on these for awhile, as I've been working towards moving away from plastic food storage containers.



The verdict after a few uses of the new set -- I love it! The glass, of course, is heavier than the plastic containers most of us are used to, but not overly so. They also take up a bit more room to store, since they're not as easily stackable as Tupperware -- again, not a big deal. And the lids snap on and off very easily, secure so the contents don't spill (I know this because I tipped over a container with the lentil stew, and nothing dripped out!). Also important -- the containers are microwave, dishwasher and freezer safe. Two big thumbs up from this gal!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Crêpe expectations

First up... coming soon -- my first product review!

The friendly people at CSN Stores have graciously offered me the chance to review one of their gazillion products (seriously, what don't they sell?!). I will report back in the coming days to share my experience... and in the meantime, I'm drooling over their huge selection of dining room tables. Mr. Chutney, are you reading this? :)

Now, back to regular food posting...

The crêpe and I go way back. Back to early high school, in fact, to my 14-year-old self. It was during my freshman year that my family hosted a Parisian foreign exchange student, and when she shared her basic recipe for crêpes with my family, I fervently recorded it, then forever practiced--well, at least daily... for the next two or three weeks.

Later on, when I graduated from college, then moved to Chicago, I sought out all the French spots--particularly those which sold the delicate crêpe. I loved the versatility, loved the outer humbleness of the soft, slightly tanned shell. Loved that, when bitten into, simplicity switched to surprise--of a filling, sometimes complex, sometimes contrasting, yet always comforting and delicious.

Then I traveled to Paris in 2002 and I was head-over-heels smitten. With the gorgeous city's architecture, the history, the culture, the people (with their attitudes!). And of course, with the street-vendor crêpes. Avec Nutella. Avec fromage, jambon. Folded perfectly into a portable triangle of bliss. Smitten!

Two more trips to Paris later, and of course my love for the lovely crêpe still stands strong. And I share with you an easy, fail-proof recipe for one of my favorite treats. Bon appétit!

Crêpes

Ingredients:
2 eggs
1 cup milk
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

In a bowl with a hand mixer, combine eggs, milk, flour, salt and oil, blending until smooth. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes. Spray a skillet with cooking spray, and heat at medium-high. Pour 1/4 cup of crêpe batter into hot pan, tilting quickly to complete a circle and coat the surface of the pan. Cook 2 - 3 minutes, turning once, until golden. Repeat with remaining batter.

Fill each crêpe with your preferred filling (one of my favorites is cottage cheese and strawberry jam -- don't knock it 'til you try it!).

Monday, May 10, 2010

Peanut butter jelly time

Howdy!

Okayyyy... so maybe I haven't posted in a very long time. Again.

All I can say is that life gets in the way sometimes. But I miss you, so here I am -- sharing my latest recipe love with you. This one is a quickie. A snack, a breakfast, a dessert. A delicious treat that is satisfying yet quite guilt-free.

PB&J Yogurt Parfait

3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (I use skim)
1 tablespoon nut butter (I usually use almond butter)
1 heaping tablespoon jam or jelly (I use low sugar strawberry)
1 teaspoon chia seeds (optional, but highly recommended)
1/2 cup high fiber cereal (I use Trader Joe's High Fiber Cereal)

Add all ingredients to a bowl. Mix until well-combined. Savor... or devour. ;)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The early bird gets the cookie

Holy cow, has it been a looong time since I've posted! I don't have a good excuse other than, well, life got in the way. But here we go, back on the blog bus for what is hopefully a grand ride down food avenue. ;)

I haven't gotten many emails of late from my readers--I hope that means you've also just been busy, and that all is well! Miss you!

I've got a huge smile on my face this morning because Mr. Sun is in full force. Simple as that! Oh, and I'm currently pushing huge pieces of a ginormous cookie into my mouth. Mmmm.

"What's that," you say--"a cookie... for breakfast?"

Why yes, indeed. It's a breakfast wonder. The healthy, yet ever-delicious breakfast cookie--courtesy of one of my favorite bloggettes (and food n' fitness rockstar!), Fitnessista. (Note, this is a very different recipe from my original breakfast cookies, in that this makes a single, no-bake cookie.)

The coolest part? You don't even have to cook this cookie. Make it the night before and you're set up for your very own cookie hour the very next am!

Breakfast Cookie

Ingredients:
1/3 cup old fashioned oats (or 1/3 cup oat groats or millet, ground into flour)
1/2 scoop protein powder

1/2 tablespoon chia seeds
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch sea salt
1/2 banana, smashed (you can substitute 1/3 cup applesauce, if preferred)
1 tablespoon nut butter of choice
1/8 cup - 1/4 cup milk (or preferred substitute--I use almond milk)
Mix-ins of choice (maca, cacao, dried fruit, chopped nuts, pumpkin, etc.)


Dump everything except the almond milk and mix-ins into a small mixing bowl (I use a tall and wide plastic cup for fast mixing and mashing. Mix and mash with a spoon until everything is very well combined. Add milk or milk sub slowly, stirring until a thick batter (similar to cookie dough) is reached. Stir in mix-ins.

Plop onto a small plate and stick in the fridge, uncovered, overnight. Prepare to be a cookie monster the next morning!

[Breakfast cookie photo coming soon!]

Question: What is your go-to healthy weekday breakfast? Are you a creature of habit, or do you switch things up depending on your mood?

Monday, November 30, 2009

We have a winner!

Hi all! Did you have a good Turkey Day?

What about a super Black Friday? Cyber Monday? ;)

I had a wonderful long weekend with my family! My parents, sister and BIL drove a long 8 hours to visit us. It was great! We don't get to see them often enough; I think we did a good job of filling the days with QFT (quality family time!)... and of course, hightlights included eating 'til we popped and shopping til we dropped.

Husband and I really did eat like it was going out of style over the past week... sooooo... we've decided the next few weeks will be jam-packed with veggies, fruits and lean proteins (whenever possible, at least).

I even took the plunge and ordered a veggie spiralizer! I had a hunch that cute little spiral veggie "noodles" would be more tantalizing than the normal salad of baby greens -- and I was SO right! Our inaugural meal with the new gadget was such a success, I've been asked to make it again later this week!



Thai "Noodles" (Raw)

1/3 of a large jicama, cut into 2 wide strips, then spiralized into noodles
1 medium zucchini, spiralized into noodles
1 carrot, sliced into thin 1-inch strips
1/3 of a red pepper, sliced into thin 1-inch strips
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 green onions, diced
1/2 cup bean sprouts
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, for garnish
2 - 3 lime wedges, for garnish
Thai Peanut Sauce (recipe below)

In a large bowl, add jicama through green onions, tossing until combined. Add 1/4 cup of the prepared Thai Peanut Sauce, stirring until all veggies are coated. Stir in additional sauce until veggies are coated to your liking (you will probably have some sauce leftover).

Scoop about 1 1/2 cups of prepared veggies onto plate and top with some of the bean sprouts and cilantro. Serve with lime wedge.

Serves 2 - 3.



Thai Peanut Sauce

1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
water, added until desired consistency is reached (I probably added 1/4 cup)

Combine all ingredients and process in food processor or mix with an electric hand mixer.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Cookies for breakfast!

Good afternoon -- hope everyone is having a Friday full of fabulousness! I am sitting at my desk sipping a soothing cup of green tea and snacking on a Kashi TLC Fruits & Grains bar. I must say, the chocolate-coconut variety is yum!

No time for a photo of today's recipe, but I could not wait to share my latest creation:

Breakfast cookies!

These little half-spheres of goodness are soooo tasty, and even better, they are entirely wholesome and healthy. I eat them for breakfast with a slathering of almond butter on top and they taste completely decadent! Hope you enjoy....

Breakfast Cookies

2 cups Fiber One
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup pumpkin or cottage cheese (I've found that both work equally well)
1/4 cup cranberries (optional)
1/4 cup nuts, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Finely crush the cereal using either food processor or a rolling pin (the latter method definitely counts as a workout!). In a large mixing bowl, add the crushed cereal, flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In another bowl (or in the same bowl of the food processor), whisk together or process the egg, brown sugar, applesauce, vanilla and pumpkin or cottage cheese. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and combine just until mixed. Add in the other mix-ins (nuts, berries) if you're using them.

Drop dough by tablespoonful onto the baking sheets, leaving about an inch between cookies. Flatten cookies with the back of a fork. Bake about 18 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Leave cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

Makes about 16 cookies.