The Sweetest Thing.

" I feel there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people" ~Van Gogh

Breakfast. May 14, 2015

Filed under: Breakfast — Jessica @ 8:00 am
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You guys get to know pretty much everything we eat for dinner each week through my Weekly Meal Plan posts, but what do I eat the rest of the day? I thought I would do posts on my usual breakfast, lunch and snack choices so you can see how it all fits together. Our dinners can be a bit more indulgent sometimes and I try to balance them out with lighter meals the other nights and healthy breakfast, lunch and snack choices. While I try to add a lot of variety to our dinner menu, I eat only a few different things for the other meals about 90% of the time.

Today, I am talking about breakfast. I actually really love eating a healthy breakfast. It feels like a great start to a day of healthy choices. I will often make up a big dish of something like my Easy Egg Bake, Banana Bread Breakfast Quinoa or Baked Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal and eat it throughout the week. I find it easier not to have to think about it on sleepy or rushed weekday mornings. If I haven’t thought ahead and made a big dish of something, I have a few go-to choices~

1. Oatmeal- I used to eat a lot of steel cut oats  but since cutting back on gluten, I now use the Bob’s Redmill Gluten Free Rolled Oats. I make my oatmeal base with milk replacing at least half of the water called for for some added protein. I also add cinnamon, vanilla extract and just a little bit of salt. (I will occasionally do savory oats and omit the cinnamon and vanilla). I always add fruit- sometimes I will add frozen berries while the oats are cooking, otherwise I top the oats with fresh fruit once they are in the bowl. Sliced bananas, fresh berries or any diced stone fruit all work well. Dried fruit added while the oats are cooking work if you have nothing else. The fiber in the fruit and oats need a little additional fat and protein to keep me satiated. I always top my oats with some diced nuts and a spoonful of nut butter. If I am feeling indulgent I will add things like a little butter or brown sugar, chocolate or white chocolate chips, shredded coconut or whatever else I might find in the cupboard. You can make a big batch of oats over the weekend and reheat by adding a little water and microwaving before adding toppings.

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2. Greek Yogurt Bowl- We always have a big tub of plain greek yogurt in the fridge and usually a few flavored single serve tubs of it. If I am using plain yogurt, I will add a bit of honey and vanilla extract. If I am using one of the flavored tubs it isn’t necessary to add these. I top the yogurt with fresh fruit and a bit of granola. Granola is usually really calorie dense and I try to be aware of my portion size. If I do not have granola, nuts make a great substitute.

3. Waffle Sandwiches- I have recently started making my own waffles but frozen waffles will work just fine. I was always sure to find ones with a simple whole foods ingredients list. I toast 2 waffles and slather one side with peanut butter and the other with jelly and make a sandwich. Sometimes I will mash the bananas right onto the sandwich and forgo the jelly. If you do not add fruit to the sandwich, serve a piece on the side along with your milk of choice for added protein.
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4. Scrambled Eggs w/ Veggies & Cheese- We always have some kind of cooked veggie in the fridge. I will often cook up a mix of onion, peppers and mushrooms during my prep cooking and just keep them on hand. Pretty much any vegetable will work. I add the pre cooked veggies to the pan and warm them up, add 2 eggs and stir while they cook. Once the eggs are almost cooked, I add some cheese- again, pretty much any kind will work. Serve with a slice of buttered whole grain toast for extra fiber.

5.Toast + Protein- This can go a few different directions. I really love toast and I am pretty much always excited to eat it. If I am in the mood for something sweet, I will top toasted gluten free whole grain bread with nut butter, mashed banana and drizzle with honey. If I am in the mood for something a little more savory, avacado toast is where it’s at. I smash half of a ripe avacado on a piece of toasted bread and top with a fried egg. I will usually add a piece of fruit to the side.

DSC01825That’s pretty much it! We eat a big brunch on Sunday but these are my weekday/Saturday standards. All of these breakfasts provide a good balance of nutrients, whole grains, fiber and protein and will keep you full until lunch time. Eating a healthy breakfast is  the great way to start the day.

What is your go-to weekday breakfast?

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Crock Pot Banana Bread Breakfast Quinoa. November 5, 2014

Filed under: Breakfast,Crock Pot — Jessica @ 6:00 am
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I feel calling this a crock pot recipe is kind of misleading. It is made in a crock pot, but it is not one of those dump it in and leave it all night so you wake up to a nice hot breakfast kind of situations. It is more of a make it on Sunday afternoon so you have it to eat for breakfast during the week situation. Unless of course, you are one of those moms who gets up way before the children and has a nice hot breakfast waiting for them. That is definitely not the situation around here.

Whatever the situation, make this soon! It is so good and it really does taste like banana bread. Protein packed quinoa, mashed bananas, walnuts, butter and spices cook up for a comforting and healthy breakfast. This will keep in the refrigerator all week and reheats really well.

 

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Crock Pot Banana Bread Breakfast Quinoa

serves 4

 

Ingredients

1 cup quinoa

1 cup milk

1 cup water

2 bananas (very ripe, mashed)

4 Tbls chopped walnuts

3 Tbls brown sugar

2 Tbls butter- melted

1 tsp vanilla

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

favorite nut butter, additional banana and walnuts to top (if desired)

 

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1.Place everything in the crockpot, stir to combine

2. Cook on low heat setting 3-4 hrs

3. Top as desired if serving immediately. If eating later, store covered and reheat as desired. I reheated it in the microwave for 2 minutes, stirring half way through and I did not need to add any liquid.

4. Enjoy!

 

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Chocolate Covered Strawberry Smoothie. October 20, 2014

This is a nice Monday morning treat for you. It tastes a bit indulgent to ease the Monday morning blahs but it is packed with healthy ingredients to get you through your work morning. The almond milk and greek yogurt provide protein while the oats and strawberries provide fiber. Be sure to blend really well to get the oats well incorporated. I usually blend 2-3 minutes. Hope you enjoy!

*I don’t really know how to take a great picture of a smoothie, luckily I can make one that tastes great!

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Chocolate Covered Strawberry Smoothie

serves 1

1 cup frozen strawberries

1 cup chocolate almond milk

1/3 cup old fashioned oats

6 oz strawberry greek yogurt (or plain greek yogurt)

1/4 tsp vanilla

 

1. Put everything in the blender & blend.

2. Enjoy!

 

Whole Wheat Cherry & Dark Chocolate Muffins October 4, 2014

Woah. I came up with something seriously delicious right here. Sadly, this was right before I learned I had to give up gluten, so I can’t use this recipe anymore, but you can! Somebody has to enjoy these delicious muffins. We can even call them healthy because they involve whole wheat,cherries, dark chocolate and minimal sugar. These muffins are a great Sunday brunch treat or something a little different to share with coworkers. They were so good that I actually didn’t get a picture of them once they were baked. We seriously just ate them all before I even thought about it. No joke.

Please do not substitute skim milk in the recipe. The fat in the milk helps keep them moist without adding a ton of butter or oil.

Here’s the one and only before picture-

chocolate cherry muffins

Whole Wheat Cherry & Dark Chocolate Muffins

makes 6 large muffins or 12 standard muffins

Ingredients:

1 3/4  cup white whole wheat flour

1/3 cup sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1 egg (beaten)

3/4 c whole milk

1/4 c butter (melted and cooled slightly)

1 tsp vanilla

1 c coarsely chopped cherries (fresh or frozen will work)

3/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter muffin tins (or use paper muffin liners)

1. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in large bowl. Set aside.

2. Beat egg in small bowl. Add milk.

3. Add to flour mixture and stir until mostly moist.

4.Add melted butter and vanilla. Stir just until combined. Do not overmix!

5. Fold in cherries and dark chocolate chips.

6. Divide batter evenly into muffin tin.

7. Bake in 400 degree oven. 28-30 minutes for large muffins. 20-22 for standard size muffins.

8. Remove from oven and let cool at least 15 minutes.

9. Enjoy!

 

Spicy Chicken Sausage & Kale Fritatta September 25, 2014

Filed under: Breakfast,Lunch — Jessica @ 5:00 am
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Surprise! Another egg recipe. This is one of my favorite quick and easy meals. It’s pretty healthy too. Leftovers are great for breakfast or lunch the next day!

 

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Spicy Chicken Sausage and Kale Fritatta

serves 4-6

 

Ingredients:

6 eggs (I added another after the photo was taken)

1 cup milk

2 spicy chicken sausage links (substitute your favorite flavor if you would like)

2 large handfuls kale (washed and torn)

small/medium red onion (diced)

olive oil, salt & pepper

 

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1. Heat about 2 Tbls of olive oil in large oven safe skillet (no plastic handles). Add diced onion. Cook 3-5 minutes until partially soft

2. Add sliced chicken sausage and cook 2-3 minutes. Add kale. Cover and let steam until bright green (about 5 mins)

3. Meanwhile, whisk eggs and milk together. Add salt and pepper to taste.

4.  Add egg mixture to pan. Cook on stove top 12-15 minutes until egg begins to set.

5.  Once egg mixture has started to set (get firm), put pan in oven and bake 10 minutes to finish.

6. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes. Slice like a pizza and enjoy!

 

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Since this dish already contains veggies and protein, I often keep the meal simple and serve it with some fresh seasonal fruit.

 

 

 

Caramelized Onion, Cremini Mushroom & Spinach Quiche. May 7, 2013

Looking back at the few recipes I have published on this blog so far, I see quite a few of them are egg recipes. What can I say? Eggs are cheap, delicious and a great source of protein! I will often make my egg dishes without a crust to keep them healthier for everyday eating, but once in awhile, usually for dinner or Sunday brunch, I indulge. For some reason, quiche used to seem fancy to me & I assumed it was difficult to make. It is not. This combination is a favorite of mine and made from household staples but you can put just about anything in quiche, so adjust to your tastes or what you have in the house to use up.

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Caramelized Onion, Cremini Mushroom & Spinach Quiche

1 pie crust (your favorite recipe or store bought)
1 Tbls Olive Oil
1 large red onion, sliced thin
8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 large handfuls spinach
4 oz cheese of choice, shredded (cheddar & Swiss are both delicious)
6 eggs
1/2 c milk
Salt & pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Press rolled pie crust into bottom of deep dish pie pan.
2.  Heat olive oil  in large frying pan over medium heat, add onions & cook until caramelized, stirring as needed.
3. Once onions are caramelized, add sliced mushrooms & cook until browned on both sides.
4. Add handfuls of spinach & heat until wilted & bright green.
5. Add veggies to pie crust.

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6. Mix eggs, milk, salt, pepper & half off the cheese together.
7. Pour over veggies.
8. Top with remaining cheese.
9. Bake at 375° until firm in center & golden brown around the edges (about 40 minutes)
10. Cool slightly before eating
11. Enjoy!