Homemade Coconut Flax Instant Oatmeal

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This may come as a shock, but Aurelia does not always eat what I do or what I make for us. For lunch or dinner, this is often not negotiable and she just eats what she wants from what I’ve made. Breakfast gets more flexibility, because it’s often a matter of “must eat something” and “2 minutes or less”. Mornings are indeed rushed and while many times she’ll go for a “dippy” (over easy) or scrambled egg, other times she wants something sweet or I need to make something even quicker than an egg that doesn’t require clean up.

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I was buying these apple cinnamon instant oatmeal packets and dividing them in half to make 1/4 cup servings Aurelia could eat quickly and I could make easily. When the last box ran out, I decided to look for a brand without sugar (or fake sugar), but still with flavor. My quick search turned up nothing and I finally had the wits to just google a recipe and try to make my own. Old fashioned oats don’t cook quickly enough or get soft enough to replace the instant oatmeal packets. Luckily, I found this article on the “secret” to making homemade instant oatmeal: the blender! Brilliant. Just blitz a third of the oats in the blender and add to the other ingredients. I’m not a fan of the sugar or creamer (??) included in the linked article, so I just used the technique and came up with my own recipe. I’ve made it three times now, making more than 6 pounds. Geez. I put it in 2 quart jars and freeze it, but already we’ve gone through a couple because what do you know, I can’t stay out of it. Turns out that it’s the perfect middle of the night snack when I wake up hungry (yay, marathon training) or for my own quick breakfast. I keep a 1/4 cup scoop in the jar so I can easily measure out one for Aurelia and/or two for me.

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In one 1/2 cup serving: 107 calories, 17 g carbs (.5 g sugar), 3 g protein, 4 g fat

Don’t buy the packets anymore. Make this, keep it for ages, feed your babes breakfast, and add your own sweetener (stevia, honey, fruit, jam, etc) as needed. Here’s to whatever makes the mornings easier!

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Homemade Coconut Flax Instant Oatmeal

Ingredients:
6 cups quick oats
1/2 cup flax seed meal
1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
1-2 Tbs cinnamon

Instructions:
In a blender, blitz 2 cups of the quick oats until ground. Pour into a large bowl, add the other 4 cups of oats, along with the other ingredients. Mix well. Store in an airtight container. To serve, combine 1/2 cup dry mix with 3/4 cup boiling water and let set for 1 minute to thicken before adding toppings (if desired) and eating. Use less water for a thicker oatmeal.

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Asparagus Dijon Crustless Quiche

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I make these crustless quiches rather often as a delicious way to use up whatever leftover meat and veg are still in the fridge on a slow weekend morning. This one is a little special because it didn’t have anything to do with leftovers and really highlighted the asparagus in season. It’s such a short, blissful season when we can get local asparagus, and nothing says spring and gratitude for green better than the tender stalks.

I hate calling these crustless quiches, because I promise you won’t be thinking of the lack of crust when you eat a big slice. This is a healthier and simpler recipe than making a traditional pie crust cheese filled quiche to what is supposed to be a quick prep breakfast. Though, I hesitate to call it a frittata, because in my mind, a frittata is made specifically by starting to cook the whole thing on the stove and then finishing under the broiler in the oven. Perhaps one of these days I’ll make it that way just so I can stop calling it a crustless quiche.

But if you’ll pardon the name, the method of cooking couldn’t be simpler. Sure, it has to cook for a while, but that’s the perfect time to make a pot of tea and ease into the morning with a book or the paper. Just my sort of weekend.

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Asparagus Dijon Crustless Quiche

Ingredients:
6 oz canned boneless, skinless salmon, drained
1 Tbs butter
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1 bunch asparagus, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1-2 Tbs grainy dijon mustard
1/2 cup whole milk
8 eggs
salt and pepper to taste

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Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, add the butter, onions, asparagus, and big pinches of salt and pepper. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the asparagus and onions are soft. Remove from the heat and use a spoon to spread out the mixture evenly on the bottom of the pan. Set aside.

In a large bowl, add dijon mustard, eggs, milk, and more pinches of salt and pepper. Whisk together until well combined.

Pour the egg mixture over the asparagus mixture in the cast iron. Bake until the eggs are set, about 35-45 minutes. Remove from the oven, cut into wedges and serve.

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Simple, Perfect Bacon and Eggs

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This was delicious and appealing enough to get it’s own post, even if it is so simple. But it’s the simplicity and the technique that elevate this standard breakfast into something to brighten your whole day. I know you’ll enjoy it. Eat hot! People must wait for perfect eggs. Eggs never wait for people.

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Ready for 3 steps?

1. Make Baked Bacon, finishing with a drizzle of maple syrup and crushed red chili flakes

2. Saute some chard or other hearty green in just a dollop of the bacon fat, salt, and pepper.

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3. Make the fried egg: In a skillet, melt a pat of butter over low heat. Crack an egg into the butter and put a lid on the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes. 2 for runny yolk and just set whites, 3 for over medium. I wanted a more set yolk, so this particular egg got 2 and a half minutes. Lift off the lid and slide the egg onto the cooked chard.

Couldn’t be better.

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Eggs Poached in Tomato Sauce

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This is a very loose interpretation of shakshuka, a traditional Israeli dish, that will just make your day. It’s a perfect breakfast, but I also like it as a lighter dinner with a simple green salad. Aurelia is a big fan of these savory eggs, too. If you like it spicier, add a chopped jalapeno with the onions. Just a bit of sriracha in the mix is enough for Aurelia and I top mine with more before eating. Something about the just set eggs on bold tomatoes stirs up all kinds of cravings in me and luckily, it’s a healthy, easy fix.

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Eggs Poached in Tomato Sauce
Adapted from Saveur

Ingredients:
2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 Tbs dried parsley
1-2 tsp sriracha (or other hot sauce)
1/2 Tbs paprika
1 14.5-oz. can crushed tomatoes (or half of a 28 oz can)
1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs
2 Tbs crumbled feta cheese
fresh parsley or spinach for garnish

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Instructions:
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, salt, parsley, sriracha, and paprika, and cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is soft, about 2 more minutes. Add crushed tomatoes to skillet along with 1/2 cup water, reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, about 10 minutes. Crack eggs over sauce so that eggs are evenly distributed across sauce’s surface. Cover skillet and cook until yolks are just set, about 3-5 minutes. Spoon the eggs and sauce on a serving plate, being careful not to break the yolks. Top with a bit of parsley or spinach and sprinkle with feta if you’d like. Eat hot!

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Herby Salmon Swiss Quiche

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I haven’t made a crustless quiche in a while and I have no idea why. They’re so easy to mix together, are flexible to whatever clever ingredients you have on hand, and are perfect for lazy Sundays at home when you have time to let it bake. Today was so lazy, this was intended for breakfast and ended up serving as brunch. I was in no hurry this morning and enjoyed reading with Aurelia, drinking coffee, and wrapping presents. We were rather hungry by our brunch time and this couldn’t have been more satisfying. What a proud protein feast, too.

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Herby Salmon Swiss Quiche

Ingredients:
Butter for pie pan
6 oz canned boneless, skinless salmon, drained
3 oz swiss cheese, chopped small
1/2 bunch parsley leaves, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1 Tbs dried chives
6 eggs
1 cup milk (I used raw skim)
1/2 cup plain nonfat greek yogurt
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

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Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9″ glass pie pan and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, yogurt, salt, pepper, and chives. Scatter the salmon, cheese, and parsley in layers in the bottom of the prepared pie pan. Pour the egg mixture on top and pop it in the oven to bake for 40-50 minutes.

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Oatmeal Blueberry Protein Pancakes

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First let me start by saying that this recipe is a great compromise. These aren’t your old fashioned fluffy buttermilk pancakes and they’re not as yummy as the protein pancakes I’ve made before. But what this recipe does have going for it and why I’ll probably be making these more often than any others is that it’s gluten free, sugar free, higher protein, super easy to make in a hurry, and quick to cook. Bonus: Aurelia absolutely loved them and has been asking for more since.

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I topped mine with a bit of plain yogurt and cinnamon and then later with a bit of almond butter and tiny bit of maple syrup. I preferred the yogurt topping with the blueberries inside. The almond butter topping was more filling. Really, plain would hit the spot most of the time too. It just feels like a treat to wake up and have pancakes, even if you’re in a hurry and they’re actually pretty darn good for you. 

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Oatmeal Protein Pancakes
Adapted from The Iron Den

Ingredients:
1/2 cup egg whites
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/2 scoop of protein powder
1 packet stevia
1/8 tsp of cinnamon
1/4 cup blueberries (optional)

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Instructions:
Mix all the ingredients except the blueberries together into a batter using a blender. Heat up a cast iron skillet or griddle over medium heat. Pour the batter by the quarter cup into the hot skillet to make individual pancakes. Top each pancake with a few blueberries, if using. Flip when the edges of the batter become dry and bubbles form in the middle. Cook for about a minute longer then remove from the skillet to a plate. Repeat with remaining batter until you’ve made all the pancakes you can (I got 6 small ones total) and serve.

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Winter Squash and Molasses Muffins

All the garden squash are harvested and in a gorgeous varietal heap on the picnic table outside. I picked out a beautiful blue hubbard to make these muffins.

I simply cut the washed squash in half lengthwise, scooped out the seeds, and placed the halves cut side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 375 for an hour. Cool, scoop out flesh into food processor, and puree. This squash gave me 7 cups of puree, so I put most of it in ziplocks for the freezer and kept myself from making an enormous amount of muffins. Though, now that I’ve already had two of them and called it lunch, I’m regretting not having more. They are perfect. Make ’em and believe me.

Winter Squash and Molasses Muffins
Adapted from The New York Times

Ingredients:
1 cup winter squash puree
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup molasses
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter 6 large sized muffin cups (or 12 regular sized) or line with papers. Sift together the flours, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, allspice and salt. Set aside. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter sugar. Add the eggs one at a time. Beat in the molasses, buttermilk, puréed squash, and vanilla. Quickly beat in the flour mixture and fold in the walnuts. Scoop into the muffin tins and place in the oven. Bake 22 to 25 minutes, until the muffins have risen and a tester comes out clean. Let the muffins cool in the tins for a few minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

Blueberry Zucchini Oatmeal Muffins

Muffin time again. Aurelia is on a blueberry kick and there is a never ending supply of zucchini. I took most of these to a work meeting and everyone is going to be nice and say they’re good, whether they are or not. I haven’t tried them, so you’re going to have to make them and report back honestly. Please and thank you.

Blueberry Zucchini Oatmeal Muffins
Adapted from Eating Well

Ingredients:
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbs baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 banana, mashed
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup coconut oil or butter, melted
2 cups grated zucchini, (about 1 medium)
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Oil 18 muffin cups or line them with paper liners. In a small bowl, stir together whole wheat flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and oats in a large bowl. Add the blueberries to the flour mixture and stir to coat. This will help them not sink in the muffins. Into a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, applesauce, mashed banana, and oil. Stir in zucchini. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir just until incorporated. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them about 3/4 full. Bake until the tops are golden and spring back when lightly pressed, about 20 minutes.

Everyday Eats: Breakfast & More Roasted Veg

I am a serious breakfast eater these days. I eat within an hour of getting  up and before coffee. What a change! Eating fat, protein, and vegetables first thing really is such a more encouraging way to start the day than with toast, juice, or cereal.

I keep a cast iron on the stove and just have to wipe it off to clean each time and season it occasionally. With roasted vegetables or fresh ones already chopped and in jars, the addition of meat and an egg or two couldn’t be easier. And I’m crazy about those single serve guacamole packs.

This breakfast features an egg, fried over easy in coconut oil with green peppers, Aidell’s Chicken & Apple Sausage, Wholly Guacamole, and fresh tomato.

Another quick staple of summer is roasted veg. You know I make a lot each week, but this time of year is just overwhelming with the amount of fresh produce making it’s way in to the kitchen. I have the kindest neighbors, friends, and family, who often drop by with a bag of vegetables and it’s all I can do to eat my weight in them each day. Roasting them together like this brings the flavors together, reduces the volume, and makes them easy to add to any dish. I add them to salads, sliced chicken breast, romine wraps, and eggs.

Into a large bowl, I combine the cut vegetables with a health glug of olive oil, kosher salt, and fresh cracked pepper. Stir well to coat and turn out onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Distribute into a single layer and roast for 30-40 minutes at 400 degrees, stirring every 10 minutes.

This mix was zucchini, green bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes.

Stored in a mason jar in the fridge, easy peasy.

Greek Yogurt Pancakes

I have another recipe for High Protein Pancakes that I just adore. But I woke up wanting something simpler this morning. Fewer ingredients, less time, less flour.

I’ve seen variations of these Greek Yogurt Pancakes on no less than two blogs, facebook, and multiple pinterest photos in the last week. So they were the first thing to come to mind when looking for something to hold up my fabulous apricot jam. (See what happens when I let sweets back in?!)

Anyway, these are easy. The addition of oats gives them a hearty texture. They’re super fluffy, moist, and toddler approved. The batter is quite thick and they need to be cooked low and slow, just like my High Protein Pancakes. It’s a lot of yogurt that needs to cook and you want to make sure they aren’t gummy at all in the middle. I cut one in half to check before I pulled them off the griddle.

Several greek yogurt pancake recipes use flavored (read: sugary) yogurt. I wanted to offer up a version using plain, non-fat greek yogurt and adding flavor with spices instead. The almond extract is a perfect complement, too. Delish!

Greek Yogurt Pancakes
Adapted from Healthy Berg

Ingredients:
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
1 egg
1/4 tsp almond extract

Instructions:
Preheat a griddle or skillet over low heat with a brush of oil. Mix flour, oats, spices, and baking powder together in small mixing bowl. In a separate, small bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt, egg, and almond extract. Spoon batter onto the preheated griddle, divided into four pancakes, or as many as your pan will hold. Cook for 5 minutes, until bottom is browned and the edges are firm. Flip pancakes and cook for 5-6 minutes on other side. Plate and top with maple syrup, jam, more yogurt, and/or fruit.