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Archive for the ‘Breakfast’ Category

Pumpkin Pancakes

I wanted to make a special breakfast for my stepkiddos this morning to celebrate Halloween a bit early, as well as simply celebrate the coming of fall weather (we finally had a cold front with mornings in the 40’s!).

I had just a bit of canned pumpkin left over from the last batch of pumpkin scones. My youngest stepdaughter loves pancakes, so making pumpkin pancakes seemed to be the most logical option for something yummy and special.

I pulled out my standard pancake recipe, brown sugar whole wheat oatmeal pancakes, and modified it the tiniest bit. The resulting pumpkin oatmeal pancakes were so good! The girls enthusiastically had seconds and I will definitely be putting them on my regular cold-weather breakfast rotation.

PUMPKIN OATMEAL PANCAKES
Makes 12 5-6 inch pancakes
Downloadable PDF of Pumpkin Oatmeal Pancakes

  • Set a griddle to medium-low and allow to heat while you prepare the batter
    • I don’t own a griddle, so heat 2 nonstick skillets over 2 burners set to medium-low heat
  • In a large enough liquid measuring cup, mix the following:
    • 3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
    • 3/4 cup buttermilk (or 3/4 cup milk with 1/2 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar)
  • Let oats soak while you prepare the rest of the batter
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the following:
    • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
    • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 2 1/2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • To the dry ingredients, add:
    • 1 egg
    • 2 Tablespoons melted butter
    • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
    • 3/4 cup milk
    • The oatmeal/milk mixture
  • Mix batter well
  • Using a 1/4 cup dry measuring cup, pour 1/4 cup of the batter at a time onto heated griddle or skillets
  • Allow to cook until edges start to firm and a few bubbles appear on the top
  • Gently flip pancake over and cook other side until cooked through, about 1 – 2 minutes
  • Serve immediately or keep warm until ready to serve (I keep mine in a styrofoam tortilla warmer that keeps them very warm until everyone in the house gets out of bed)
  • Top with your favorite toppings – we topped ours with a bit of maple syrup, whipped cream, and chopped pecans

Pumpkin oatmeal pancakes

The oatmeal and the whole wheat pastry flour make these more filling than standard pancakes, and the pumpkin and extra cinnamon make them extra tasty. Topping with whipped cream and chopped pecans make them extra special for a pre-Halloween breakfast. I have just enough left over to warm up for the girls’ breakfast tomorrow morning.

These would also make a wonderful fall breakfast-for-dinner meal, served with some breakfast sausage on the side; hot, filling, and hearty.

Downloadable PDF of Pumpkin Oatmeal Pancakes

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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Blueberry Pecan Yogurt

With my new life counting calories, I have a new favorite breakfast that falls within my 350 calorie goal for the first meal of my day. After my morning work out that lasts between 30 minutes and 2 hours given the day, I look forward to this meal. It’s sweet, fresh, and makes me feel fully recovered from a tough workout, but not like I’ve eaten too much even on days when I don’t work out at all.

BLUEBERRY PECAN YOGURT

Served alongside 1 cup Smart Balance brand Fat Free Milk with Omega 3’s and Vitamin E (110 calories) mixed with 1 teaspoon Hershey brand Special Dark Chocolate Syrup (17 calories) makes a total of 342 calories. With about 22 grams of protein between the yogurt, milk, flax meal, and pecans, this keeps me full until lunch. The live bacteria in the yogurt and the omega-3 fats in the flax meal and the milk all help to keep my digestive system calm, which is an excellent way to start my day.

Blueberry Pecan Yogurt

This morning I walked the Pup for about 15 minutes through the neighborhood. It was too hot outside to take him further. So, I brought him home and then I set off for my own walk, which was about 40 minutes of alternating a brisk walk with a jog. Now, it’s off to the grocery store before spending the afternoon making pepperoni rolls from scratch for the kids. Tonight is the 6th grade dance, so E is going to her first dance with a friend of hers. That means B gets to have a friend over since she’s not old enough for this dance. I have a house full of kids tonight, one sleeping over, and a 6th grade dance amongst it all. That means they get a fun dinner of whole wheat pepperoni rolls with a tad of spinach rolled up in them as well!

Have a wonderful weekend!

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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Some of my summer favorites:

Sweet Corn and Poblano Chilaquiles

1. Easy, but tasty breakfasts like poblano and sweet corn chilaquiles or a soft egg over pan-fried sliced turkey and a corn tortilla. After so many years of rushed mornings of smoothie breakfasts in the car while driving an hour to work, now that I have time to make breakfast every day and enjoy it, I take advantage. I’ve taken to eating breakfast on the front porch while the Pup hangs out, playing with his tennis ball and watching the neighborhood – one of his favorite past times. While the afternoons have been dangerously hot, the summer mornings have had a slight breeze and a comfortable temperature. I nice cup of hot Earl Gray spiked with a touch of lavender enjoyed on the front porch is a perfect start to my summer day.

Lunch

2. Easy no-cook lunches. From an easy smoked salmon spread on crackers or crusty bread to the simple summer sausage, sharp cheese, and seeded flat bread above, these lunches let me feed the family lunch without taking much time from my day so I can stay on task with my daily to-do lists. I have a habit of making to-do lists longer than I have hours in the day to finish them. With a side of fruit and cut-up veggies, lunch is done and I’m back to work.

Tofu with Walnuts

3. Tofu crisped perfectly and tossed in a brown sauce with various mix-ins over brown rice. This one has chopped walnuts served over brown rice with peas. I’ve played with the seasonings for the cornstarch mixture the tofu is tossed in as well as the sauce to make different versions so we don’t feel like we’re always eating the same thing. I’ve used snap peas and carrots, the walnuts above, and just a couple nights ago used steamed broccoli. This meal is easy, versatile, light but filling – a great option the night after splurges such as pizza or burgers or steak fajitas, and tofu is super cheap (my grocer sells 16 ounces for $1.67!), making it way more affordable than Chinese delivery and much healthier (and tastier) made at home.

Halved Cherries

Peach halves

4. Desserts made from fresh summer fruits like peaches and cherries. My hubby, however, prefers something with chocolate! Can’t blame him, but I can’t let the fruits of summer go by without some desserts that remind me of the fresh produce and home-cooked dishes from my childhood at my grandparents’ house in Missouri. They had a wonderful garden!

Fried Green Tomatoes

5. Fried green tomatoes. Dipped in a vibrant sauce or stacked on a sandwich, I don’t care. Summer to me isn’t complete without fried green tomatoes. The fried green tomato BLT at Kerbey Lane Cafe is my favorite summer lunch. Ever. My homemade fried green tomatoes are dipped in a whisked egg then into a 1:1 mixture of flour and cornmeal seasoned with salt and pepper, then fried in canola oil in my iron skillet. It really only takes minutes for a small batch. Add ground cayenne or smoked paprika or oregano and other herbs to the cornmeal mixture to change up the flavor.

I could add coconut frozen yogurt, anything with mangos, cool smoothies on hot days, orange glazed beets, fried chicken, and summer veggies. Probably my favorite part of this summer has been the opportunity to change careers and spend more of my time at home with my family, something I haven’t had while working long distance from home since I married.

What are your summer favorites?

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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Sweet Corn and Poblano Chilaquiles

I’ve lived in Central Texas the last 14 years and never had chilaquiles. I’ve never noticed them on the menu at any of the restaurants we frequent. That was, until some friends asked us to meet them at a new place in town for dinner. Los Chilaquiles Bar & Mexican Grill has 9 flavors of chilaquiles, my favorite being the ultra rich De Rajas, with poblano pepper and onion.

To satisfy my new obsession with these chilaquiles (and poblano peppers), I make a quick version at home combining sweet corn and roasted pobalno pepper strips.

I sometimes make a batch of the corn and poblano pepper mixture (like I did earlier this week) and keep it in the refrigerator so all I have to do is crisp a couple tortillas and warm the corn and poblano mixture to spoon over (like I did this morning) for a quick breakfast. Or lunch. Or dinner. Because I could eat this any time of day.

CHILAQUILES WITH SWEET CORN AND POBLANO PEPPERS
Downloadable PDF of Chilaquiles with Sweet Corn and Pobalno Peppers

  • In a medium, deep skillet over medium heat combine:
    • 11 ounces sweet corn (drained, if using canned)
    • 7.5 ounces roasted poblano pepper strips (drained, if using canned)
    • I use canned of each since I make this all the time, making it faster to throw together, but you can use fresh corn and roast fresh poblano peppers as well
  • Once heated through, add:
    • 1/4 cup or so of cream
    • I use soy cream, and add just enough to cover the bottom of the pan
  • Once cream is added and heated through, add:
    • 1/4 – 1/2 cup cheese
    • Use any cheese you like: cojita, Monterey Jack; my favorite for this is fresh goat cheese
    • Add 1/4 cup first and stir, melting the cheese into the cream
    • If the dish isn’t creamy enough for your liking yet, melt in more cheese
  • Reduce heat to low and keep warm
  • In another medium deep skillet (I use an iron skillet), warm just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan
  • Once oil is hot, add:
    • Corn tortillas
  • Cook tortillas just a minute or two per side, until lightly crisped
    • For one individual serving, I usually heat 1 – 3 tortillas, depending on how hungry I am
  • Once the tortillas are lightly crisped, cut them into strips, then cut the strips into smaller pieces
  • Spoon corn and poblano mixture on top, sprinkling more cheese on top if desired

Chilaquiles

This was the perfect breakfast to tide me over after my morning workout of sun salutations and a run, before heading out to volunteer a couple of hours at the Cedar Park Farms to Market. I had a lot of fun meeting new people and helping out at the farmers market! It was nice to get out of the house and have a chance to socialize. I miss that part of going to work at the university every day.

Now, it’s time to wash off the sunscreen and bug spray and settle into my kitchen to make peppermint frozen yogurt . . . which I hope turns out because it sounds so refreshing after spending the first half of my day outside. It’s hot out there! Have a great weekend!

Sweet Corn and Poblano Chilaquiles

Downloadable PDF of Chilaquiles with Sweet Corn and Pobalno Peppers

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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Egg on Corn Tortilla

I used to jog 3 miles a day, 6 days a week. It was my time of the early morning to be with only my thoughts and the road that lay ahead. I would listen to the birds, marvel at the trees, and let my mind wander. I developed a multitude of short story ideas and one epic novel broken into segments for a series on those morning runs, and occasionally envisioned images to paint on canvas. My time to be creative, tucking away my written and painted creations into my mind to be explored later with pen and paintbrush.

I was in grad school, where I lived off of 3 – 4 hour naps spaced throughout any time allowed during any given day. I was going to school full time, working as a teacher’s assistant, working retail, and fulfilling my required internship. It was all a balancing act. I didn’t go to grad school for my major topic of study. It wasn’t my passion; I hadn’t yet figured out what my passion was. I went because I was already accepted into the program years before and I needed to refresh my writing skills – and get out of retail. It was the perfect program for all of that, though I still need to practice more to improve my writing skills (and dare I say, read more?).

Back then, those 5:00 a.m. jogs saved my sanity.

In early to mid August of 2006, I stepped into a room with three professors for my comprehensive exam. Twenty minutes after completing the exam (successfully), I stepped out of the building I’d spent the grueling previous year and a half, and walked up the hill to a bigger building on campus where an interview awaited me. And by the end of that day, I had both graduated with my master’s degree in public history and been hired at the place that would become my home for the next nearly five years. And just a few short weeks after that, I met the man who would become my husband. The man who lived 60 miles north of where I worked. The man who came with a crazy chocolate lab, two needy cats, two sweet, adorable little girls, a house, and a very large family of brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews.

The morning runs stopped. I no longer had any time left to let my feet roam or my mind wander to create stories or paintings. My canvases, paints, and even my easel are long gone. My time was replaced trying desperately to catch up on sleep after working and taking care of a suddenly-created family. My body changed – I wasn’t as fit anymore. My stress level increased – I was always busy. My personal happiness was missing – though I was happy with my family. I wasn’t happy with myself. My creative side was missing. I wasn’t running.

There’ve been spurts of running here and there. Nothing consistent.

With my life suddenly now not as hectic, I’ve started running again. Three days last week. Three days this week. My mind isn’t wandering or creating yet. It’s still crammed full of to-do lists. But today, I saw a brief glimpse of that inner peace running used to bring me.

I’ve been running to get back into shape. Instead, I should be running to find peace and quiet; running to find my most cherished part of myself again. That part that loves to paint even if I’m terrible at it. That part that has a new story idea or sudden paragraph in my head triggered by the most random of moments.

Until that part is fully back, I’ll keep running. And eating breakfast.

Egg on Corn Tortilla

A recent favorite: a corn tortilla crisped in a skillet, topped with two thin slices of roasted turkey crisped in a skillet, then an egg over easy and a sprinkle of ground black pepper and fresh goat cheese.

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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BEETS.

Not the favorite veggie of many folk.

Roasted Beets
Roasted Beets

I debated about sharing this dish.

Why?

  • I can count on one hand the number of people I know who like beets (and not use all 5 fingers).
  • I normally share recipes I think a number of folk I personally know would enjoy actually trying (and this ain’t one of them).
  • It will probably turn a few heads, and not in an, “I must try that!” kind of way.

Why, then, am I sharing it?

  • I love beets (when I began researching digestive problems, it seems everywhere I turned I read about the benefits of beets).
  • I love eggs. (That’s right, beets and eggs).
  • This was the best post-run-recovery breakfast I’ve ever eaten.

It also gives me a chance to mention both:

I am a Facebook follower of Johnson’s Backyard Garden. Yesterday, they posted a link to this recipe for Almond & Beet Pancakes by Sprout & Pea. I had just roasted 4 beets purchased from Johnson’s Backyard Garden at Saturday’s farmers market, and hadn’t yet decided what I was going to make with them. They posted a link, my dilemma was solved.

Beet Pancakes

My pancakes turned out thicker than those made by Sprout & Pea. I substituted a few ingredients because I didn’t have almond flour, almond milk, or agave on hand. Instead, I used whole wheat pastry flour, light vanilla soy milk, and brown sugar. Instead of pureeing the beets in a food processor, I pureed them with additional soy milk in a blender until smooth and thick.

I taste-tested two for lunch yesterday, drizzling them with butter pecan syrup.

  • Impression #1:  you can really taste the beets! (That’s a good thing.)
  • Impression #2:  syrupy toppings are too sweet. (That’s a bad thing.)

I tucked the remaining pancakes into a storage dish and stowed in the refrigerator, happy I liked the pancakes but bummed I didn’t like the topping. Another dilemma.

Fast forward to this morning. Just as I was about to come to the finish of my morning jog, I boldly turned around and started jogging it again, reversing my route and therefore, doubling my normal jog. Longest distance I’ve jogged in 5 years! (That’s a good thing.)

Not long after, I was starving! (That’s a bad thing.)

I instinctively reached for my favorite post-run food, dreaming of a golden pool of rich yummy goodness . . .
On top of a beet pancake?
That could work.
And it did!
Sometimes, I think I could eat anything so long as it’s smothered with a river of egg yolk.

Beet Pancake with Egg

Rich and savory, I was in heaven!

Egg over easy over beet pancake

Since I’m not a nutritionist, I won’t begin to tout the health benefits because, well, I’m not really qualified to. But for me, I know when I feel physically weak (like after an intense workout), nothing makes my body feel stronger than an egg. I know it’s easier for my weakened digestive system to process an egg than a host of other protein sources. I know when I eat an egg combined with a source of whole grain, my body feels stable and nourished instead of jarringly shocked like it does if I eat carbs without balancing them with enough protein. I know when I eat beets as well as items with whole wheat flour, I’m happier because my dysfunctional digestive system is suddenly functioning like a normal person’s.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. For folks with malfunctioning digestive systems like me, it can be the most debilitating meal of the day. If I eat the wrong thing that upsets the balance of my ultra-sensitive digestive system, it can take the rest of the day to heal from the crazy-painful, debilitating backlash my body reaps.

This meal was the perfect combination of . . . something . . . that made me feel amazingly WELL (and that’s a good thing).

BEET PANCAKES WITH EGG OVER EASY
adapted from this recipe posted by Mardi at Sprout & Pea
Downloadable PDF of Beet Pancakes with Egg Over Easy

  • In a 400 degree oven, roast:
    • 4 small or 3 medium red beets
      • I scrub the beets, place them on a sheet of foil, spritz with a tad of olive oil, and wrap the foil into a packet, enclosing the beets, then place the foil packet in a baking dish
  • Roast for 30 – 40 minutes, or until beets are tender
  • Set aside to let cool
  • Peel beets and roughly chop into large pieces
  • Place chopped beets in a blender and puree, adding soy milk (or milk of choice) as needed, until a smooth, thick puree forms
  • In a large mixing bowl, add:
    • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
    • 3 eggs
    • 1/4 cup soy milk (or milk of choice)
    • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Mix well, then add beet puree
  • If batter is too thick to pour, add additional soy milk to thin
  • Heat a skillet or griddle over medium to medium-low heat
  • Once heated, pour batter by 1/4 to 1/3 – cups-full and cook for just a minute or two
  • Once bubbles begin to form on top, flip pancake and cook for another minute or two, until cooked through
  • Remove and keep warm
  • Repeat with remaining batter
  • Heat another skillet coated lightly with cooking spray over medium-low heat
  • Add one egg to skillet, cover, and let cook until white is cooked through but yolk is still soft
  • Top one beet pancake with egg, season with fresh cracked black pepper, and serve
  • Other topping choices: syrup, honey, fruit, nuts

Roasted Beets

I promise, the next post will involve something normal, like chicken.

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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Diced Potato

One of my favorite foods for breakfast is hashed browned potatoes. Shortened to simply “hash browns” over time, this hearty breakfast side is a common fixture at my house. Simple, easy, and very delicious, hash browns with eggs is a breakfast that the kids, hubby, and I can all agree on. Sometimes, the kiddos can be quite picky about their breakfast, but I can always elicit smiles when serving hash browns.

There’s no recipe, just the easy method of cutting a potato into a very fine dice, melting a good portion of fat in a skillet until hot over medium to medium-high heat, add the diced potato and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crispy, then drain on paper towels. You can season as you like. I generally just use a very small dash of ground black pepper and salt. For the fat, you can use margarine, butter, a blend of the two, or even coconut oil.

Browned Potato

The dish becomes a “hash” if you add other chopped veggies and/or some chopped meat while browning. I prefer my potatoes plain, then stir them into scrambled eggs on my plate.

Potatoes are a food that I’ve read many people avoid for it’s lack of nutrition. In my opinion, the potato gets a bad rap for two reasons: 1. because so many of the ways it’s prepared is unhealthy, and 2. it can spike insulin for folks with insulin troubles. As with any food you put in your body, pay attention to how your body reacts and design your diet to compensate for what makes you feel the best.

I am one of those who feels better when potatoes are a part of my diet. Fat from poultry, beef, and pork is still very difficult for me to digest, and probably always will be. When I’ve consumed too much of any of these meats, I find myself craving the digestive calming effects of a potato. Whether it’s a sweet potato steamed to perfection, fluffed with some butter and smothered in cinnamon, or a side of hashed browned potatoes in the morning, or boiled small red potatoes tossed in olive oil and seasoned with kosher salt and rosemary for a cold summer potato salad, the potato always satisfies both my hunger and my body’s ability to process excess fat.

This morning, after a day of no cooking yesterday, I found all I wanted was to stand in the kitchen, take my time finely dicing a potato (chopping vegetables is a soothing therapy for me), and making fresh hash browns and eggs for breakfast. It was the perfect Sunday morning. There is something healing, both physically and psychologically, about a quiet, slow, Sunday morning, fresh food, and a good homemade espresso latte.

Diced Potato

I hope you also find time for a not-so-rushed preparation of a meal to satisfy your body, mind, and soul.

Are there any foods that are healing to you that are controversial in some health studies? I’d love to hear about them.

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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