Browsing Tag

breakfast

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Peanut Butter Chia Breakfast Pudding

February 10, 2014

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Let’s talk about breakfast. It is, after all, the most important meal of the day, but you already know that, don’t you? I’m always amazed at how many people don’t eat breakfast. Maybe that’s because I go to bed each night thinking about what I’m going to eat each morning for breakfast.

Breakfast gets your ready for the day and prepares you for whatever challenges you may face. Take, for example, when I put too much shredded beef down the disposal all at once on Saturday and it led to a major clog in our basement drain when all the beef tried to go down the pipe at once. Yeah, can you imagine how happy my husband was about that? I imagine he’ll be even less pleased when we get the plumber’s bill today. Thankfully. I had a large, healthy breakfast to keep the hangry (hangry = hungry + angry) at bay while dealing with said plumbing issues.

Since we haven’t been able to use the sink in our kitchen, cooking has been reduced to zero this weekend. We’ve been eating down leftovers from our fridge and freezer and using paper plates, bowls and silverware. This chia pudding has also been on rotation since it doesn’t require a pot/pan to prepare and is incredibly filling. It makes you feel like you can take on the world and fix all the plumbing issues. Okay, maybe that’s an overstatement, but you get the idea.

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If you’re new to the chia pudding game, don’t be afraid of their less than stellar appearance. The chia seeds plump up as they sit in liquid like milk, water or yogurt, taking on a gel-like consistency similar to tapioca. Chia seeds are packed with fiber, omega-3s and calcium, among other things. Plus, when you’re eating them you just feel super healthy. That’s got to count for something, right?

Since a lot of people (including me) are interested in nutrition when it comes to breakfast recipes, I did a rough calculation of the nutrition information in this recipe, not including the bananas or dark chocolate chips and assuming you’re using stevia instead of brown sugar.

Peanut Butter Chia Breakfast Pudding
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
 
Creamy chia pudding made with almond milk and peanut butter is the perfect breakfast when topped with sliced bananas and dark chocolate chips for a bit of decadence.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon creamy natural peanut butter
  • 1 packet stevia or 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • Toppings such as sliced bananas or dark chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. In small bowl, stir together the almond milk, chia seeds, peanut butter, stevia, vanilla and cinnamon until well combined. Continue to stir for 1 minute longer.
  2. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes (or overnight) until the chia seeds are plumped and mixture is thick. Top with banana slices and dark chocolate chips before serving.

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Apple Pie Almond Meal Pancakes

January 19, 2014

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Is there anything better than weekend breakfasts? Joe and I make a point to eat breakfast together almost every morning. We’re even the crazy people who wake up an extra hour earlier than we need to because we want time to drink coffee, eat breakfast, talk and watch a little morning news. Weekend breakfasts, however, are an entirely different thing. We have time to wake up a little later and still soak up a few hours together, drinking cups and cups of coffee and lounging around in our pajamas, playing with the pups.

During the weekdays we stick to our routine of oatmeal or oat bran for ease, taste and convenience. But on the weekends, we get a little more creative. Eggs, bacon and homemade biscuits are a favorite, homemade pancakes, yogurt bowls with chia seeds and berries and plenty of drippy almond butter.

Although I love pancakes first thing in the morning, particularly of the whole grain variety, I don’t love the fact that they leave me hungry only a couple hours later. Almond meal pancakes, I’ve found, keep me full much longer probably due to the fact that they contain protein.

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For a while now, I’ve been making a quick “apple pie” mixture by mixing apple slices, a little brown sugar and butter, cinnamon and flour and microwaving the mixture for a couple minutes until soft and delicious. It’s amazing how much it tastes like apple pie and satisfying dessert cravings without totally blowing the rest of your day. I don’t know why it took me so long to figure out that combining this apple mixture with almond meal pancakes would create a breakfast nirvana, but I’m glad I finally did!

If you’re looking for a slightly more involved but totally delicious breakfast that’s worth every bit of effort, make time for these Apple Pie Almond Meal Pancakes. I usually steer clear of overly sweet breakfasts, so I don’t care for maple syrup on my pancakes, but I think most people wouldn’t mind a warm drizzle of maple syrup for moisture and sweetness.

Apple Pie Almond Meal Pancakes
Pancakes 
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon brown sugar (you could swap out the brown sugar for a little maple syrup or stevia)
3/4 cup almond meal (I used Bob’s Red Mill brand)
Apple Compote
1 large apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Very small pat of butter, melted (maybe 1/4 tablespoon or a little less)
1 packet stevia or 2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour

Directions
In medium mixing bowl, combine egg, cinnamon, vanilla, baking soda, almond milk and brown sugar or other sweetener of choice. Whisk until well combined. Mix in the almond meal until combined.

In a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat, melt a small amount of butter or spray with nonstick cooking spray. Spoon batter by the 1/4 cupful into pan. Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until edges are set. Flip, cook 1 to 2 minutes more or until pancakes are cooked through in the center.

In small microwavable bowl, combine apple, cinnamon, melted butter, brown sugar and flour. Stir until evenly combined. Microwave 2 to 2 1/2 minutes, stirring once halfway through, until apples are softened and cooked with just a bit of crunch remaining.

Layer apples and pancakes in a stack. Serve with a little maple syrup, if desired. Serves 2

Happy Cooking!
Madison

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My Favorite Way to Make Coffee

January 17, 2014

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It’s no secret I love coffee. You know that, right? I love everything about coffee: the way it smells, the ritual surrounding it, drinking coffee with friends and ending the night with something sweet and a cup of decaf. I’ve been doing an okay job with cutting out caffeine, but truthfully I usually use coffee as a reward for doing something good. Drank a lot of water and ate plenty of veggies today? Okay, have a cup of decaf in the afternoon. You get the idea.

Joe and I like to joke that we have way too many ways to make coffee at our house. We own a Nespresso Pixie, a drip coffee maker, a Keurig Vue and a stovetop espresso pot. Out of all the methods available to me I find it funny that my favorite method happens to be the cheapest. We’ve owned a couple stovetop espresso pots and am always amazed at how great the coffee tastes versus other coffee-making methods. I’m not going to say it’s the best (since I know very little about using a Chemex or other pour-over methods) but I do think it’s pretty darn good coffee.

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Like any method of making coffee, there are a couple different price points for stovetop espresso pots. In my opinion, the best of the best is the Bialetti model, which is relatively inexpensive considering it is the top of the line. Right now I have a cheaper version and plan to go back to the Bialetti next time.
Bialetti 6800 Moka Express 6-Cup Stovetop Espresso Maker

If you’re unfamiliar with this method, here’s how it works:

1. Fill the base of the pot with filtered water. Make sure it’s filtered when you make coffee if you care at all about your coffee tasting great.

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2. Place the small metal filter on top of the water and into the pot.

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3. Fill with strong freshly-ground coffee or espresso. Since I love my coffee strong, I don’t usually pay much attention to the ratio of coffee to water. I fill my pot up with water as full as it can go, then use as much coffee that the filter can hold.

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4. Screw the top piece of the espresso pot on tightly. Place on your stovetop burner over medium heat. The water will eventually start to boil, pushing the hot water up through the coffee grounds and into the top section of the pot, resulting in hot, strong and deliciously-flavored coffee. You’ll know it’s ready when you hear a lot of steaming/bubbling/gurgling.

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5. Pour your espresso into your favorite cup (I like mine with a little 2% milk or half and half) and enjoy!

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PS: Have you checked out Nellie magazine yet? I’ve been contributing with a bunch of other amazing women and am blown away by the great content everyone is sharing. And as a bonus, right now you can win a Nelli Magazine mug! Just click here to enter. Since I’m a contributor, I received one free, but it’s my favorite new mug, and I’m pretty picky about coffee mugs.

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Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie (aka The Healthy Girl’s Milkshake)

January 7, 2014

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Now that our first full week of January is underway, I’m finding myself with a serious case of winter blahs. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not seasonal depression or anything of the sort, but I find it incredibly difficult to jump from the warmth, glow and excitement of the Christmas season to the bone-chilling routine of January. Maybe if 2013 was a little less wonderful I wouldn’t be so sad to let it go and would have anticipated the arrival of 2014 a little more.

Of course, some of this probably has to do with the fact that we’re experiencing record-breaking cold temperatures in our neck of the woods, with wind chill temps that hover in the -50°F mark with a high of -20°F. No, that’s not a typo, that’s just Minnesota winter for you. It’s this time of year that I really start to long for long nights filled with tennis matches with Joe, walks with the dogs, our weekly CSA delivery and cooking everything on the grill. Summer’s pretty sexy, and it’s hard not to long for it in the depths of winter.

I tend to get really wrapped up in the big moments, the next fun event or the next mini trip or vacation that’s on our calendar. I look at our schedule and think about how many days until our trip to Idaho or our long weekend away just the two of us. There’s nothing wrong with anticipating fun events, but I’m beginning to realize that real life is more about the everyday living and ordinary events than it is about the next big thing.

Last week on Monday Joe and I made plans to have a beginning of the week date night. Since we’re working on being disciplined with our finances (and because we have a puppy who needs our time an attention after work) we kept it simple by picking up two brownies from our favorite restaurant and ordering drinks at Starbucks, where we had lots of Christmas gift cards to burn. We sat for about an hour at Starbucks, eating and sipping and talking about life things that we don’t normally talk about at home, when there are things to do and dogs to play with and TV shows to watch. We got away from our phones and all other distractions, and looking back, that Monday date night in all its simplicity was the highlight of my week.

I think, more than anything, the reason I love summer is because I savor every moment. A Tuesday night feels special when it includes a tennis match and a trip with Joe to get froyo. But when I’m hibernating all winter, a Tuesday night just feels like a Tuesday night. So this year, I’m setting a goal for myself to make weeknights, even those in the winter months, feel a little more special. We’re already off to a good start since we had friends over last night to watch the BCS Championship and we have dinner plans with Joe’s parents tonight.

My lack of creativity means I really have no nice transition from one subject to the next. I guess this smoothie recipe, which is on regular rotation at our house, isn’t really related in the least bit to savoring the weekdays through the winter. But perhaps if you think about it as a milkshake (it really tastes like one!) then perhaps a regular smoothie at home can become something a little more special. Milkshake and movie night, anyone?

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Peanut Butter-Banana Smoothie (aka The Healthy Girl’s Milkshake) 
Makes 1 smoothie
Ingredients
1 cup unsweetened almond milk or milk of choice
1 medium banana, peeled, cut into chunks and frozen
1 packet Stevia (optional)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (make sure it’s high quality vanilla)
1 tablespoon peanut butter
2 to 3 cubes of ice

Directions
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth, adding more milk if necessary to reach desired consistency.

Happy Cooking!
Madison

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Triple Chocolate Pumpkin-Chai Muffins

January 2, 2014

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Happy New Year, friends! I think that in order to be accepted in the food blogger universe, I should really be sharing a recipe for salad, or a smoothie, or green juice. But since I can’t stick to the rules, I’m breaking with convention and sharing a recipe for muffins, with lots of chocolate and pumpkin and a little bit of chai.

You see, I got a little carried away with holiday recipe testing but got behind on posting some of the recipes I meant to share before the holidays were over. So instead of saving these recipes for Feburary (after you’ve all ditched your diets and gone back to regular modes of eating) I decided to share them now.

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I will, of course, be sharing some recipes that are a little on the lighter side in the next couple weeks. But today is all about muffins. These little beauties are incredibly easy to make and have a ton of flavor thanks to the chai added into the mix. It’s a quick way to add a lot of flavor without much fuss. Enjoy!

Triple Chocolate Pumpkin Chai Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup chai concentrate
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions
Heat oven to 350F. Line 12 regular-sized muffin cups with paper baking liners.

In large bowl, stir together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt until well combined. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the pumpkin, eggs, oil and chai concentrate. Stir until wet ingredients and dry ingredients are well combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Spoon batter into muffin liners. Bake 22 to 24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Happy Baking!
Madison

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