Banana Bread French Toast Style Oatmeal

Even though I’m just back from vacation, I feel like I’m getting the vacation blues after being back to work for a week. Or maybe it’s just an entire week or two with a case of the Mondays? Some days I really connect with Sadness from Inside Out (Disney Pixar) “I’ll just lie here until tomorrow”- I think she might be my favorite character from that movie. Occasional melancholy is perfectly healthy. …In any case, maybe some yummy food will turn things around (noting that food can neither fix nor solve a problem), which is exactly why I went for some healthier comfort food.

And since breakfast is probably my favorite meal of the day, we’re back to breakfast! I’ve been on a major hot oatmeal kick lately and this time around adding some extra protein with an egg.  Yes, you heard that right, the best way to get the creamiest oatmeal is whipping in and egg. While yogurt is still my all time favorite and go to breakfast, these oats have been creeping their way up and are relatively “quick” to throw together before heading out the door for work.

Banana Bread French Toast Style Oatmeal

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c old fashion oats
  • 1 c water
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 medium banana mashed
  • 1/4 c milk of choice
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Toppings of choice: toasted almonds, cocoa nibs, dried cherries or cranberries, or whatever is your favorite.
  • Honey

Directions

  1. In a small pot on the stove, heat the water until boiling. Add the oats and stir until combined and oats are mostly cooked.
  2. Next, stir in your mashed banana to whip into oats followed by a touch of milk (2 T to 1/4 c).
  3. Once oats are back up to heat and bubbling, add in the egg and whip fiercely with a whisk or wooden spoon to fully incorporate the egg without getting large chunks of cooked egg (which is not what we’re going for here).
  4. Lastly stir in the vanilla and remove from heat.
  5. Spoon the creamy oats into a bowl, drizzle with desired amount of honey, and top with favorite toppings. I had toasted almonds, cocoa nibs, and cranberries on hand, but really lots of different toppings will work just fine.

If you have time on a work morning I would savor the morning with this treat, but it is also the most delicious breakfast after a walk with the dog on a Saturday morning. Oh, and I suppose you could multiply the recipe as well if you want to share. 😉

Enjoy!

What is your favorite breakfast grain?

How do you cope with a case of the Mondays?


Lemon Lavender Energy Bites

I hope everyone had a fantastic 4th of July! And after a little over indulging, it’s time to go looking for a healthier snack alternative.

I love, love, love my Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Energy Bites, but when looking to expand a little for an upcoming Health Fair I’m demoing at for work, I wanted to see what else might be out there in the the wide world of bite sized energy morsels. While scrolling through Lindsay’s Healthy Bites recipes at Cotter Crunch, I found her Lemon Pistachio Shortbread Cookie Bites. These were so outside the box from the usual energy bite recipe I see with dates, chia seeds, etc., I just had to try them. After looking at the recipe closer, I knew I’d have to make some modifications for a smaller batch, so I decided to branch out further and incorporate some lavender… because I just love the lavender and lemon combo. And by sticking with almond butter, the other flavors could really shine through.

I bought my culinary lavender from Los Poblanos Farms which is a local business, but their lavender products are featured in posh hotels around the country and you can buy most all of the lavender products online – yep even their culinary lavender, all organic. In addition to their lavender farm, they also have a historic inn and restaurant (all locally sourced or onsite farm raised ingredients) on the property. C and I had our first valentine’s dinner there – I loved the atmosphere, the size and style made me feel like I was in some old Spanish town and definitely not in Albuquerque anymore. Oh, and the food was also fabulous. 🙂

Lemon Lavender Energy Bites

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c raw, unsalted, pistachios (meats, shelled)
  • 1 tsp grated lemon
  • 1/2 cup almond or coconut flour
  • 1 T turbinado sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 c creamy almond butter (do not use peanut butter – it will overpower the other flavors)
  • 1 tsp whole culinary lavender (you can add an additional 1/2 tsp based on strength of lavender flavor)
  • 1/4 c honey or maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Place nuts and flour in the food processor first. I used a 2 cup food processor or small option if using a larger processor. Pulse until nuts resemble a course meal.
  2. Add in sugar, salt, lavender, and extracts. Process for another 3-5 second or until well combined.
  3. Lastly, blend in almond butter and your choice of honey or maple syrup. Pulse until well combined and the mixture holds its shape when pressed together. Add additional syrup 1 T at a time until mixture hold a shape without crumbling.
  4. Using a teaspoon, scoop mixture and form into round balls.
  5. Place balls in the freezer to set and hold their shape. After frozen, they can be left to be stored in the freezer or refrigerator.

I think this is my new favorite hiking snack or maybe just for work. 🙂

What are your favorite snack flavor combinations? 


Wild Rice Salad with Honey Mustard Viniagrette 

As I was exploring Minnesota my internet wasn’t the greatest, so I didn’t hit publish on this post until I returned. I wanted to share one of my favorite Minnesota dishes – Wild Rice Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette.  I first had this salad at the Douglas Lodge at Itasca State Park (the headwaters of the Mississippi) and then proceeded to buy their cookbook because it had this recipe! I have preceded to change it a little and make it my own and my mom continues to make this salad every time I come to visit or we get together in the summer. It may seem like a strange combination of food and flavors, but believe me it works pretty darn well. Celery adds crunch, grapes add sweetness, rice is chewy, and the almond can be toasted too for more flavor enhancement. Wait, I almost forgot about the water chestnuts and I’m the one who throws a fit if they get left out of the actual salad – they add a refreshing crunch although not super strong in flavor.

Wild Rice Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
Serves 6 or 4 large dinner salads

Ingredients

  • 1 c dry wild rice
  • 2 c water
  • 1 c halved red grapes
  • 1/2 c craisins or raisins
  • 1/2 c sliced water chestnuts
  • 1 c chopped celery
  • 1/4 c sliced almonds

Honey Mustard Dressing

  • 1/4 c cider vinegar
  • 1 T spicy ground mustard or other grainy mustard variety
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • Pinch of Cayenne (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Pour all salad dressing into a mason jar and shake vigorously. Set aside until ready to use.
  2. Prepare wild rice: Rinse rice prior to cooking.  Bring wild rice and water to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook until grains have split and rice is chewy but not hard. Rinse rice in cold water and drain.
  3. Combine the rest of the ingredients and mix well.  Then add in rice and enough dressing to coat (you will not use all of it the first time. The salad gets better as it sits, but you might need to add more dressing over time as the rice and raisins tends to soak up the dressing.

Just a nice short and sweet recipe!

Although this morning I’m exhausted, vacation was a much needed break where I really tried to unplug (didn’t look at work email once!) from my normal routine, see family and friends I haven’t seen in years, and really remember what’s important in life. Now it’s back to work and back to reality for me.  Hope everyone is having a great week!


Black Bean Hummus for the Ultimate Veggie Snacker

Black beans two weeks in a row? … at least one is sweet and the other savory? Oh well, I’m over that embarrassment, because this is another tasty healthy recipe.

I adore hummus as a healthy snack option. And find it really difficult to get bored of something you can customize so easily when you make it yourself. Traditional hummus is made from garbanzo beans, but whenever I make the original version in my little 2 cup food processor, it never gets quite as smooth. So I typically opt for a softer bean and my first favorite type of bean – the black bean.

This spread/dip is thick enough to be used on sandwiches, but my favorite is just for packing a flavor punch with veggies. 🙂 For some extra color try different color carrots, home grown or pickling cucumbers, and heirloom baby tomatoes. Oh and for a little extra crunch I’ve thrown in some Nut-Thins – seriously so good especially with the hint of salt in the sea salt variety.

Black Bean Hummus

Makes 6 to 8, 1/4 cup servings

Ingredients

  • 1 can black beans (~2 cups), rinsed and drained
  • 2 T tahini
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 c chopped green onion
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder (your favorite kind), adjust for spiciness
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • Additional water to improve consistency if needed.

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor (I used a 2 cup version) but you can also use the smaller bowl option on your large processor.
  2. Pulse and blend until smooth.

Yep, two steps – super simple.

Now you can pick your favorite veggies to accompany.

Happy snacking!

My other favorite hummus is the edamame hummus from Trader Joes.

What’s your favorite brand or type of hummus? What are your favorite snacking veggies?

 

Follow my blog with Bloglovin


Nutty Parsnip Fries

Looking back through some of my old food pics and blog posts I ran across my recipe for parsnip fries and was so mad at myself that I hadn’t made them in 3 years! They’re incredibly delicious. Nutty – slightly crazy – covered with a peanut almond sauce.  I immediately made them, along with a kale salad and crispy tofu. (oh, and wine too – it was that not so great day.)

Ok, right, Ingrid… parsnips as fries?  The answer is most definitely YES.  Parsnips are similar to carrots, but have a little more sugar, so they’ll cook up sweeter.  They are also packed with fiber, vitamin C, and some folate.  I would definitely recommend adding these to your basket next time you’re at the market – especially the farmer’s market come harvest time – yum!  I also made a parsnip gratin way back when – that was also crazy good (covered in cream and not at all conventionally healthy, but so good for the soul).

Nutty Parsnip Fries

Ingredients

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 3 T peanut butter (I like smooth best)
  • 2 T almond butter
  • ~4 large parsnips cut like  fries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F or 400F (depending on desired crispiness).
  2. Wash, peel, and cut up the parsnips.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together nut butters and oil. Toss the parsips in the butter mixture and coat evenly.
  4. Spread out fried on a large sheet pan, pop in the oven and bake for about 40-50 minutes or until to desired crisp.

Eat and enjoy!  I would say serves 2-4, but really I don’t share at all.  And good luck if they even make it to the table, they’re that addicting!

MAR
21

Nutty Parsnip Fries

Nutty – no not crazy, but covered with a peanut almond sauce.  I made these before and then they were gone so quickly I didn’t get a picture… but have no fear – this time I managed to snag one before everything got gobbled up.

Ok, right, Ingrid… parsnips as fries?  The answer is most definitely YES.  Parsnips are similar to carrots, but have a little more sugar, so they’ll cook up sweeter.  They are also packed with fiber, vitamin C, and some folate.  I would definitely recommend adding these to your basket next time you’re at the market – especially the farmer’s market come harvest time – yum!

Peanut Butter Parsnip Fries

Ingredients
1 T olive oil
3 T peanut butter (smooth or crunchy, I’ve used both)
2 T almond butter
~4 large parsnips cut like fries (you’ll want to make sure you have enough to share… or not)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375F or 400F (depending on how crispy you like your fries).
Wash, peel, and cut up the parsnips.
In a large bowl, stir together butters and oil.  Toss the parsnips in the nut butter mixture and coat evenly.
Spread out fries on a large sheet pan, pop in the oven and bake for about 40-50 minutes or until desired crisp.

Eat and enjoy!


Homemade Vanilla Pecan Cherry Coconut Granola

I kept reading how delicious and easy homemade granola was to make, but I’d just tell myself that I wasn’t a granola person – I much preferred other cereals like Kashi Go Lean in my yogurt. How wrong I was. This granola is the feeling of warmth and comfort, it’s slightly sweet with a great crunch and finishes with a tart cherry. I think I’ve found my next food obsession.


For about a month I was eating muesli with my yogurt and fruit and enjoyed it a fair bit, I was having issues with how quickly the volume of the muesli compacted when mixed with the fruit and yogurt. I went to see if I could find a base granola recipe and stumbled on Cook and Kate’s recipe and decided to use her suggestions for the ratios of ingredients. For the mix ins, I settles on pecans (because they’re my favorite nut), dried cherries, and coconut (because I’m also obsessed with the wide shredded coconut). Oh and in my opinion, it’s the cloves and nutmeg that really makes things pop!

Vanilla Pecan Cherry Coconut Granola 

Servings – depends on the size of your bowl?

Ingredients

  • 4 cups Old Fashion oats
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (I’ve tried brown rice syrup also, and maple syrup seems to work best)
  • 1 1/2 cup raw pecans (I used some New Mexico grown gems)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1 cup dried cherries

Directions

  1. Preheat over to 350F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the oats, oil, syrup, salt, nuts, vanilla, and spices in a bowl until everything is coated well.
  3. Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and spread the oat mixture evenly.
  4. Bake for 20-22 minutes, pausing half way through to gently stir the mixture and add the coconut.
  5. Granola will be done with nuts and coconut are nicely toasted – careful not to burn the coconut.
  6. Let granola cool – do not stir until cool to allow for clusters and clumps to form. When cool, stir in cherries.
  7. This will keep for a few weeks in an air tight container – if it doesn’t get eaten first!

Happy crunching!

I love mine best with plain Greek yogurt and honey. 🙂



Deconstructed Blood Orange Parfait with Toasted Almonds and Coconut

I really have no idea where this recipe originated, but one of my coworkers did a cooking demo with this recipe and I just had to try and recreate it at home. She made it as a dessert, but it could just as easily be one of the most delicious breakfast options. Although winter is winding to and end, at least here in Albuquerque where it’s been 70 degrees for the last week, I’m still obsessed with blood oranges whenever I see them – cocktails, sangria, and now a probably healthier option – a deconstructed parfait.


While impulse shopping at Sprouts, I found a new vanilla yogurt with cardamom, but for the purpose of this recipe you can make your own from scratch. 🙂 And just be warned, the smell of toasting coconut and almonds will bring all of your pets and SOs into the kitchen. Just in case you were thinking of not sharing.


Deconstructed Blood Orange Parfait with Toasted Almond and Coconut

Serves 2 or 1 very generously 

Ingredients

  • 1 blood orange
  • 1 cara cara or other navel orange
  • 1/4 cup large coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup vanilla yogurt or split with half plain yogurt for diminished sweetness
  • Pinch Cardamom

Directions

  1. Add almond and coconut flakes to a dry skillet and toast on medium heat until lightly brown, tossing and stirring often to avoid burning. You can also toast in a 350F oven for 10 minutes (or until golden) on a flat baking sheet. Let cool.
  2. To cut oranges, slice off the bottom and top of the orange, then slice around the side with a sharp knife to remove any pith. Slice into quarter inch slices. Arrange oranges on plate, alternating for color contrast.
  3. In a small bowl, whip vanilla yogurt (or plain with a dash of vanilla and honey) with a pinch of cardamom.
  4. Spoon yogurt over oranges and sprinkle with coconut and almonds.


Now the only decision you need to make is whether to have dessert for breakfast.


Mini Almond Pear Cakes (Gluten free and birthday friendly)

Ok… Only took a month to share this recipe from my birthday at the end of January. Since February is short, I’m counting this as a win it got done within a month.  I found this recipe on Pinterest from Mama’s Gotta Bake. It was on my “too bake” list for forever and after purchasing some mini spring form pans, I finally decided that now was the time. I altered the recipe slightly for the different pan size and some altitude. Since C and I were the only ones sharing in this dessert, I didn’t feel that I needed a giant cake to celebrate and these mini cakes worked perfectly for two people sharing one.


I seriously can’t get over how in love I am with how these beauties turned out.


Mini Almond Pear Cakes

Make 3-mini cake (serves 6)

Ingredients

  • 3 pears, any kind, 1.5 for batter 1 for topping
  • 1 scant cup sugar plus additional 2 tsp
  • 1/2 Tfresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 T ground almond meal
  • 4 large eggs, room temp
  • 1/2 tsp, plus additional 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon neutral tasting oil (like canola or grape seed)
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • Powdered sugar for dusting

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and place the rack in the center position. Spray mini spring form pans with non stick cooking spray.
  2. I used Anjou and Bosc pears, but any firm ripe pear will work (make sure they’re actually ripe – I had a pear that just didn’t want to soften while cooking). Peel and core two pears and then roughly chop them, since you’re only using 1 1/2 for the cake portion, you can snack on the other half while you bake.  Place the chopped pears into a small saucepan and add the lemon juice and 2 teaspoons of sugar. Cook the pears over medium heat in the covered pan for 10 minutes. Let cool. When cooled, mash the pears with a fork into a coarse puree. You can also use a food processor if the pears are still a little firm.
  3. Place the almond meal and 1 scant cup sugar in the bowl of a large food processor, and give it 5-6 long pulses. (This makes a large quantity of batter, so you’ll need a large food processor, not the mini kind). Add the eggs one at a time, along with 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and the pear puree. Pulse until all ingredients are incorporated. You can use an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment if you don’t have a large enough food processor. Pour the batter into the spring form pans.
  4. Next, peel and core the last pear and slice it into 1/4″ slices. In a medium skillet, heat the oil and the honey stirring until the mixture begins to bubble. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla. Add the pear slices and toss gently to coat.
  5. Sprinkle the almonds over the top of the cake, and add the pear slices in a fan shape. Spoon the remaining sauce in the pan over the top of the cake. Bake for 40-45 minutes until the cakes begins to brown and when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Place some foil over the top for the last 10 minutes of baking if cakes are looking too brown.
  6. Let the cake cool in the pan for 30 minutes and then you can remove the sides. Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with powdered sugar.


Enjoy!!