Carrot Apple Muffins (veg)

Mmm, breakfast!! Dave loves baked goods in general, and these muffins are a tasty and healthy option that can be eaten in the morning or as a snack. They’re great toasted and buttered too. Next time I make them, I want to use Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free baking mix in place of the whole wheat flour. Until then, here you go:

CARROT APPLE MUFFINS

Adapted from Whole Foods

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 c whole wheat flour
  •  1/4 c sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup shredded carrots, chopped through several times (you may instead grate whole carrots)
  • 1/4 c walnuts and/or raisins
  • 1- 3.9 oz container unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 c milk
  • 1/4 c canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla

my sweet whole wheat flour canister, a $2 antique shop find

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour a muffin pan. I always use shortening to grease cake and muffin pans- it has a neutral flavor and a little goes a very long way. I dip a paper towel into the container and swirl a bit into each cup, then flour with the type of flour I’m using in the recipe at hand.

wet & dry

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In another mixing bowl, combine chopped shredded carrots, walnuts and/or raisins, oil, milk, eggs, and applesauce. Stir half of the wet ingredients into the dry ones; combine well and then add the rest of the wet ingredients.

my sous chef

Fill each muffin cup about 3/4 of the way full (1/2 for a large tin)- this will make a dozen muffins. Bake for 20 minutes, and you’re done. Very good buttered, served with scrambled eggs, or as a coffee snack. Such a nice treat for fall!! Enjoy.

all done!

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Quickie: Chicken Avocado Omelette, or: “One Way To Use Grilled Leftovers” (gf)

Today’s breakfast was fast, easy, healthy, and used leftovers! Fast, easy, healthy are pretty much the qualities I look for in cooking a perfect meal, and I was able to use some extra grilled chicken from earlier in the week. Be still my thrifty, beating heart. Here’s an idea for how to use those summer leftovers of your own- don’t forget that steak would work well, too!

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CHICKEN AVOCADO OMELETTES

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 eggs
  • 1 leftover chicken breast, heated and cubed
  • Half an avocado, sliced
  • Pico de gallo
  • Shredded cheese of your choice

Directions:
Whisk 2-3 eggs for the first omelette. Pour into heated omelette pan. Cook until edges are firm, then lift edges with a spatula to allow runny egg to flow under and cook. Sprinkle with cheese as desired, and add half the cubed chicken. Fold in half. Cook for a minute more, then slide onto a plate, garnishing with avocado and pico de gallo. Repeat and serve. Delicioso!

As we ate this morning, the possible moral dilemma of eating chicken and eggs at the same time came up. Is it wrong? The chicken, the egg? Together? Like a really delicious punch line to the classic joke? We didn’t decide. Probably out of guilt, since we had polished off both chicken and egg. I can say that if it is wrong [and topped with buttery avocado] I don’t want to be right. Enjoy!


Breakfast Smoothie & Detoxifying “Green Drank” (v, gf)

Recently, a reader asked why I have posted only one true breakfast recipe. The answer is, I usually blend a protein smoothie for myself and throw it in a blender bottle in the morning- it’s a fast, portable meal that keeps me full for hours, and the protein is timed well after morning workouts. Posting variations of the same smoothie would be boring, but I thought I’d share the basics.

My favorite combo is:

PB & CHOCOLATE BANANA SMOOTHIE

  • 2-3 scoops chocolate protein powder (your choice- whey, soy, both, other)
  • 1 banana, cut into chunks
  • 1 tbsp natural peanut butter
  • water (1 1/2- 2 cups)

Directions: blend all ingredients well, for about 2 minutes in a food processor. Pour and serve.

But this morning, I made:

VANILLA-BLUEBERRY FLAX SMOOTHIE

  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder (whey or vegan)
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 2 cups water Read More

Apple Cinnamon Granola (veg)

Dave loves granola, and I’ve been pretty unhappy with what we’ve been buying. So much of what’s available in grocery stores is laden with fat and way too much sugar (which is why it’s so good, but still). I’d been wanting to try to make my own so I wouldn’t feel like I was sugar poisoning my husband, so this apple cinnamon version was my first attempt, mostly because I had all of the ingredients at home. It was soooo easy- just mix and bake.

The recipe I loosely followed still used more sugar than I did, so my measurements are below.  The proportions of oil and liquid/sweeteners to nuts and grains seems like a good jumping off point for other versions. Ta-da!

APPLE CINNAMON GRANOLA

Adapted from Rockstar Diaries

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 3.9 oz cup Motts Natural applesauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon (I used Penzey’s Vietnamese Extra Fancy– ooh, la la)
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 3 tbsp agave syrup
  • 1/2 c almonds, unsalted
  • 1/2 c cashews, lightly salted
  • 1 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • parchment paper to line baking sheet Read More

Field Trip: Duff’s

To explain my absence during the last week, I had the stomach flu. Not. Good. Sunday, I finally had the energy to have a (delightful) day among the living… and it included food! Joy of joys!
We started our day with brunch at Duff’s, in the Central West End neighborhood of St. Louis. Duff’s is the kind of spot that’s been around for decades, is upscale casual, and serves simple, straight-up, delicious food. And I was blown away by their wall art: mob movie quilts!!

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could this idea BE any better!?!

The quilts had descriptive panels sewn onto them: money on The Godfather, little guns on Scarface… so funny! And mob unrelated, but no less spectacular, the piece de résistance: the Priscilla, Queen of the Desert quilt!!

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The vivid colors and clever subject of these quilts really brightened my day, and so did my food. I stuck with something simple and had scrambled eggs, which came with fruit and a toasted English muffin. Nothing too spectacularly different, but a safe bet for my battered stomach. I also treated myself to a piece of cinnamon raisin French toast on the side, which was a great call. Duff’s also serves a very fragrant iced tea that’s worth trying on your next visit. Looking forward to the coming week, which will involve cooking and eating instead of yacking and sleeping! Appetite > Stomach Flu

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classic breakfast… I can eat again!!


Healthier Banana-Nut Pancakes with Blackberry Syrup (v)

It’s Saturday morning again, my favorite time of the week!! In our house, Saturday morning means a big workout and a big meal, preferably with eggs and something sweet.
Dave is training for his first marathon and I swam laps in a ridiculously crowded pool this morning, so we needed some healthy but rewarding carbs after our workouts. This is a favorite recipe of mine: it’s fast, healthy, can be made ahead, and the fruit and nuts can be swapped out for lots of other combinations.

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BANANA-NUT PANCAKES WITH BLACKBERRY SYRUP
Ingredients:

  • 1 c oats
  • 1 c whole wheat flour (or 2/3 c whole wheat flour and 1/3 c vanilla protein powder)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp agave syrup or honey
  • 1 1/4 c soy milk, almond milk, or skim milk
  • 1/4-1/2 c chopped nuts (I used walnuts and almonds)
  • 1 banana, diced
  • Canola oil
  • 1/3-1/2 c frozen blackberries
  • 1/3-1/2 c sugar-free syrup of your choice

Directions:
In a medium bowl, mix the first eight ingredients until well combined. Note on the oats: for a smoother pancake, you can grind the oats into a flour in a food processor. I usually do this, but skipped it today so I could eat 45 seconds sooner. Once the batter is formed (it will be chunky), fold in the bananas.

Read More


Quickie: Fried Eggs On Toast

Because sometimes, Kashi Go Lean will not cut it.

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Fry two eggs while you toast a piece of good French bread. Butter the toast, place the eggs on top, shred Parmesan to cover. Place in broiler 3 minutes. Remove; crack black pepper over cheese. Savor. Very good with fresh fruit and someone you love.

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Sweet Potato & Black Bean Burrito Filling (v, gf)

I came across this wonderful recipe on one lovely life, a really sweet little blog. It had been a long day and I had a mish-mash of seemingly unrelated ingredients in my pantry; the opportunity to use some sweet potatoes that had been hanging out in the potato bin since Christmas (! ugh, SO lazy) seemed like a good one. Plus, this is a mix and roast recipe that creates leftovers. Doubly good!

I tend to go for highly seasoned foods, and have been trying to cut out meat where I can- I feel so much lighter and more energetic when I turn down the meat content and up the veggies. This recipe fit the fast and meatless bill perfectly! Here it is:

SWEET POTATO AND BLACK BEAN BURRITO FILLING

(adapted from One Lovely Life)

Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato, diced. I left the skin on to retain more nutrients. You may peel if your heart so desires.
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2-3 Tbsp taco seasoning (I used Ortega reduced sodium). Amount will depend on taste and how large your veggies are. You may use homemade seasoning if you’re an overachiever.
  • 3 tbsp canola oil. *you may use another oil, but I like to use a neutral oil with highly flavorful seasonings and high roasting temps.
  • 1 (14.5oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Tortillas or tortilla chips
  • Any toppings you’d like to add. I opted for Trader Joe’s Salsa Verde and Chobani plain, nonfat Greek yogurt in place of sour cream.

Directions: Preheat the oven to 375. Dice your sweet potato and onion; try to keep the dice of each fairly similar in size. This makes for a prettier dish and even roasting.

In a large bowl, toss all ingredients. Stir to coat well with oil and seasoning. Spread mixture out on a large baking sheet.
Roast for 30 minutes, stirring 15 minutes in, adding more olive oil if necessary. I used the 3 tbsp of oil as to avoid this.
Toss black beans and roasted vegetables and serve with chips or in tortillas. Trader Joe’s baked blue corn tortilla chips were DELISH with this filling, and added visual interest; the salsa verde, creamy white yogurt and blue chips made quite a pretty bowl of chow. The subtle sweetness of the roasted onions and sweet potato, paired with the smoky seasoning and black beans gives an unexpected punch of flavor. Top with what you wish, and enjoy! Here are my leftovers at work the next day:

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Makes 4 servings for 4 hungry people.