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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Summer Catch

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Darlings, it’s summer already! I am two months into a new (big, wow, hard) job and I’ve found my free time sponged up by the gym and dates with Aurelia.

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I’m in training for the Smuttynose Rockfest marathon, thanks to my bestest best Betsy and her powers of persuasion. Part of my training includes a half marathon next weekend and a 30 k Payette Lake Run in McCall September 1st. Thrilling! I am not an extraordinary runner, but pace is really relative and part of what makes running so awesome is that your competition is really only yourself and the hardest part isn’t in your legs, but in your mind. I am loving the solace I find through a great run, even on the treadmill. I added a Daily Mile widget to the right side bar with a link to my profile where I track my mileage. I enjoy the design of the site and recommend it if you want an easy way to keep track of your workouts (running, cycling, swimming, mostly). I’m still going to CrossFit 3-4 times a week and love it more than ever, but I don’t track those WODS.

I don’t have any new wonderful recipes to share because I’ve been eating very routine, calorie-and-macro-tracked, portable meals. I’m skipping breakfast 2x a week to train fasted with BCAA’s and eat eggs and meat or bulletproof coffee the other days. I pack a big lunch of starchy veg and/or greens + meat + cut veggies + fresh or dried fruit to work every day. My primadonna tummy has been annoyingly particular for a couple months, so I eliminated all added sugar, grains, legumes, and (most) dairy in June and besides 2 cheat meals, I stuck to it and noticed …. no difference. I’m trying to slowly whittle off 2-4% body fat without losing lean muscle so I can run easier/faster/lighter and even while cutting out my much missed oatmeal, chocolate, and fro yo, my weight has still maintained the same +/- 5 pounds. My point is that my food is very predictable and a little bit boring these days. We all go through phases of creativity and experimentation countered with phases of survival and maintenance.

I bought two sets of the pyrex snap ware dishes from Costco and fill 6-10 up twice a week for all my lunches and more dinners than I should admit. Aurelia doesn’t seem to mind and it’s actually pretty easy feeding a toddler with so many pre-cut/cooked/portioned meals. She noshes on cucumber, salmon, chicken, hard boiled eggs, and sweet potatoes. And I have sausages, popcorn, whole grain bread, cheese, gallons of raw milk, and dried fruit just for her and it’s convenient enough. It’s so impossibly hot right now (108F today) that it’s been a relief to pull a protein packed meal out of the fridge and not have to heat up the oven or stove each night.

Here’s a few pictures from a recent multiple meal prep:

Sweet potatoes and parsnips tossed with sea salt, herbes de provence, pepper, and coconut oil. Ready to be tossed and put on a baking sheet to be roasted at 400F for 30-40 minutes, stirring a few times.

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Before grilling chicken breasts, put them one by one into a large ziplock and pound with a rolling pin until the thickest part of the breast is about 1/2 – 3/4″, about the same as the thinner part of the breast. This will ensure even cooking time. No one likes dry chicken. Marinate for 2-24 hours in salt and spices, then cook on a grill that’s been preheated to 375-400F. Cook for 3-5 minutes per side and use a meat thermometer to check each breast. Done when the internal temperature reaches 165F. Rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

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Mid prep – pumpkin puree, spinach for salads, cut veg and strawberries, cooked chicken, cauliflower read to be riced.

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Assembly – chicken cut and paired with pumpkin, greens alone for canned tuna, cauliflower riced and paired next to remaining cut chicken, bowls of roasted sweet potato and parsnips. Not pictured: sausage spiced ground turkey for the roasted veg.

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Not really dinner party worthy, but practical and healthy enough. I’m going to be adding in some rice, quinoa, and oats over the next few weeks to help fuel my longer runs and see how I digest them with some encouraging thoughts.

I’m rambling. It’s definitely time to wrap the catch up, but I promised my wonderful friend M that I would share my best running mix. It’s full of fast, positive, workout-specific music that has kept me going the last two months. I have 3 more months to go, so send me your suggestions for other songs I should add!

In alphabetical order:

  • Anything Could Happen – Ellie Goulding
  • Between Two Lungs – Florence + The Machine
  • Blurred Lines – Robin Thicke
  • California Gurls – Katy Perry
  • Can’t Hold Us – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
  • Collide (Afrojack Remix) – Leona Lewis/Avicii
  • Cosmic Love – Florence + The Machine
  • Dead Sea – The Lumineers
  • Dog Days Are Over – Florence + The Machine
  • Drumming Song – Florence + The Machine
  • Easy (Extended Remix) – Mat Zo & Porter Robinson
  • The Edge of Glory – Lady GaGa
  • Everybody Talks – Neon Trees
  • Feel Again – OneRepublic
  • Feel So Close (Radio Edit) – Calvin Harris
  • Feel The Love – Rudimental & John Newman
  • Firework – Katy Perry
  • Flowers in Your Hair – The Lumineers
  • Forever My Friend – Ray LaMontagne
  • Free My Mind – Katie Herzig
  • Girl With One Eye – Florence + The Machine
  • Gone, Gone, Gone – Phillip Phillips
  • Heads Carolina, Tails California – Jo Dee Messina
  • Ho Hey – The Lumineers
  • Home – Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
  • Howl – Florence + The Machine
  • I Love It – Icona Pop
  • I’m Not Calling You a Liar – Florence + The Machine
  • It’s Time (Kat Krazy Remix) – Imagine Dragons
  • Last Friday Night – Katy Perry
  • Lights (Fear of Tigers Remix) – Ellie Goulding
  • Little Lovin’ – Lissie
  • A Little Party Never Killed Nobody – Fergie, Q-Tip & GoonRock
  • Live It Up – Jennifer Lopez & Pitbull
  • Next to Me – Emeli Sande
  • The Other Side – Jason Derulo
  • People Like Us – Kelly Clarkson
  • Play Hard (Albert Neve Remix) – David Guetta
  • Pursuit of Happiness – Lissie
  • Put the Gun Down – ZZ Ward
  • Rabbit Heart – Florence + The Machine
  • Radioactive – Kings of Leon
  • Safe and Sound – Capital Cities
  • Shake It Out – Florence + The Machine
  • Storm Warning – Hunter Hayes
  • Submarines – The Lumineers
  • Teenage Dream – Katy Perry
  • Tonight I’m Getting Over You (Remix) – Carly Rae Jepsen
  • Wagon Wheel – Darius Rucker
  • We Found Love – Rihanna & Calvin Harris
  • Wonder – Emeli Sande & Naughty Boy
  • You Are the Best Thing – Ray LaMontagne
  • You’ve Got the Love – Florence + The Machine

Unless I have a secret audience interested in “Train Low, Race High” methodology, 30/30/40 macro splitting, crossfit and endurance, and how to carb load like a lion without sugar, I’ll probably say hello again in August!

Be well, buttercups.

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Eggy Porridge (gluten free, sugar free)

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I’ve made this countless times in the last month. It’s satisfying like a bowl of old fashioned oatmeal or grits. Not the same, but just as wonderful. It’s the perfect post workout meal and really filling. Aurelia loves it for breakfast and I’ve made it on a few very late nights. This is a big serving and I often share it with Aurelia or roughly halve the ingredients and have a smaller bowl to myself. But when I’m really hungry and craving something carb-rich, I can tuck into a big bowl of this eggy porridge, topped with some fruit, stevia, and cinnamon, and it hits the spot. It’s the best of both worlds – comfort and health food. Try topping with any fruit, nuts, cinnamon, cardamom, almond or vanilla extract, seeds, dried fruit, nut butters, or natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, or stevia. Really, it’s delightful and real fast food.

If you don’t want to use the microwave, it works beautifully in a pot on the stove. Just keep stirring over medium heat for a couple minutes until it reaches the right “oatmeal” consistency.

Nutrition data: (full recipe, using egg whites and raw whole milk)
Calories: 284
Carbs: 21 grams (Fiber: 9 grams, Net Carbs: 12 grams)
Fat: 10 grams
Protein: 27 grams

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Eggy Porridge
Adapted from Ingredients of a Fit Chick

Ingredients:
3 egg whites (3/4 cup) or 2 eggs
2 Tbs coconut flour
2 Tbs flax seed meal
1/2 cup milk

Instructions:
In a microwave safe bowl, mix together all ingredients until well blended. Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes, stirring every 45 seconds. Remove from the microwave and stir again until smooth. It should resembled a thick bowl of creamy oatmeal. Mix in your desired flavors or toppings and serve.

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Gluten/Sugar/Dairy Free Clean Eats Cake

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I’ve been writing down all my food in Cron-o-Meter for about a month now and while I’ve been keeping food logs on and off for ages, keeping track of macro nutrients takes food-awareness to a new level. It’s been tremendously helpful to identify when I’m hungry to see that I’m not getting enough fat or if my sweet tooth is too strong, I can see that I’ve been overeating carbs for a day or two.

I’ve been eating dark chocolate as a treat and a bit of frozen yogurt with Aurelia once a week or so, but you know me, I miss my everyday cakes. I’m far better without them, health wise, but the comfort is missing.

This is not German chocolate or plum cake or the like. I won’t try to pass it off like that. But it’s better in many ways. It’s real food, but without the gluten and sugar in traditional cakes or unusual flours found in many gluten free ones. It’s warm and starchy and satisfying. And when I have to log every bite, I can indulge without falling off course. Win!

Also, did you know that cinnamon help control blood sugar? Several studies have shown improved insulin sensitivity and blood glucose control by taking as little as ½ teaspoon of cinnamon per day. In 2009 Scandinavian researchers performed cinnamon research on 15 young, lean and non-diabetic participants. These healthy participants were randomly assigned to consume rice pudding without cinnamon, or with 1g or 3g of cinnamon respectively. It was found that the group that consumed 3g of cinnamon had significantly lower levels of insulin after the meal than the other groups, indicating that cinnamon can acutely decrease the insulin response of food consumption even in healthy persons, not just diabetics. (Brian St. Pierre, CISSN, CSCS)

I love cinnamon and the combination of the spice with the fat in the almond butter help with the digestion of the sugar in the banana, making this a dessert that won’t send you crashing soon after.

Ok, enough health reasons. It’s delicious and takes three minutes. That’s reason enough.

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Gluten/Sugar/Dairy Free Clean Eats Cake
Adapted from The Wannabe Chef

Ingredients:
1 small ripe banana
1 1/2 Tbs almond butter
1 egg
2 Tbs cocoa powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon

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Instructions:
In a microwave safe bowl, mash the banana into a smooth puree. Mix in the almond butter, egg, cocoa powder, and cinnamon until it forms an even batter. The batter will expand as it cooks in the microwave, so make sure the bowl is big enough. Microwave on high for 2 and 1/2 minutes until the center is set. Carefully remove the bowl from the microwave and enjoy hot, cold, or at room temperature.

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Paleo Banana Bread

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I try not to label my recipes “paleo,” “primal,” “clean,” “vegetarian,” etc. because I’m an omnivore and while I know I feel and look better when I limit my grain and sugar intake, I don’t ascribe to a strict eating plan normally and start feeling too obsessive if I have to follow a rigid diet with lots of rules. Paleo has lots of rules, none that I vehemently disagree with, but it’s not good for my mind to scrutinize at that level. You know I believe in trying to eat mostly whole, unprocessed, home cooked, farmer grown and raised, vegetable/meat/fat based meals, and that’s enough labels for me.

I had to add that disclaimer because this recipe is titled Paleo Banana Bread, but really, I just had to distinguish it somehow from the Banana Cake, Banana Bran Muffins, Banana Apricot Bread, My Best Banana Bread, Banana Coconut Bread, and the Sweet, Smooth, and Simple Banana Bread already in the recipe index.  It seems I like my banana bread. If I had to pick between the list above, I’d say the Best Banana Bread and the Sweet, Smooth, Simple ones are my favorites, but both of those are wheat and sugar based and set my sweet tooth on a bender. This recipe actually is right up there with those favorites, but it doesn’t have the triggers I try to avoid. Win!

Who knew that the trick to paleo baking was in the almond butter?! Genius. The result is so satisfying and really, not that unhealthy if you’re looking for a treat. Sold yet? Get baking.

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Paleo Banana Bread
Adapted from Civilized Caveman

Ingredients:
4 ripe bananas
4 eggs
1/2 cup almond butter
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 Tbs cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine bananas, eggs, almond butter, and coconut butter in a food processor and mix well. Once all of your ingredients are blended, add in the coconut flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla, and salt. Pulse a few times to mix well.

Line 12 muffin tins or oil one 9×5 glass loaf pan and line with a parchment sling for easy removal. (I made 10 muffin tins and 2 tiny loaf pans.) Pour in your batter and spread it evenly if needed. Place pans in the preheated oven and bake for 16-20 minutes for muffins or 55-60 minutes for a large loaf. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven, let cool in pans for 10 minutes, then flip bread out from pans onto cooling racks to cool a bit before serving.

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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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sweets for the sugar-free

I am not a fan of artificial sugar and do my best to cut back on my real sugar intake as is. But there are people like my dear grandfather who can’t have anything else. And who am I to keep one of my favorite men from cake on his 90th birthday? I’d do no such thing. Cheesecake is naturally less sweet and requires less flour than my usual cakes. I adore cheesecake and was nervous about the flavor with Splenda, but I must say, this recipe turned out quite well. I especially like the sour lightness the greek yogurt gave, as opposed to using more cream cheese. You could make this with real sugar, of course. I’m certainly going to try.

I usually wrap the base of the springform pan in foil and set it in a pan of water. But I’d read of a trick to simply put the pan of water on the shelf under the cake, without wrapping the pan, and I had to try it for the sake of simplicity. The cake still split vehemently on top, but was as moist as any cheesecake I’ve made. If you don’t care about the risk of splitting and want to save the foil, it’s a quick compromise.

Sugar Subbed Cheesecake
adapted from Instructables

Crust:
4 tablespoons (half stick) butter
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Filling:
16 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup Splenda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
2 cups greek yogurt

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 375*

For the crust: In a small bowl combine Splenda, butter, and graham cracker crumbs. Use a fork or your fingers to mix ingredients together and sprinkle evenly over the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan and press the crumbs down lightly. Place into pre-heated oven for 10 minutes.

For the filling: In a medium bowl (or mixer bowl) put cream cheese, Splenda, and vanilla. Beat until it’s fluffy and free of lumps. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until they just combine, add sour cream and mix until smooth.

Pour the batter into the springform pan with the prepared crust, place in pre-heated oven for 30-35 minutes. Refrigerate overnite before serving.