Friday, November 30, 2012

Oatmeal Quinoa Breakfast Bake

This recipe intrigued me when I first saw it on Frolic Through Life.  

I am making a real effort to eat more oats again because I keep reading how good they are for us!  They just never stick to my ribs till noon though so my oats always need some dressing up with protein. I am already a quinoa fan so the combination of oats and  protein-rich quinoa in this Oatmeal Quinoa Baked Breakfast looked very good to me.

I don't like to have leftovers around for more than a day or two, so I did halve the ingredients to make up just 4 servings.... and because the recipe calls for one egg, and I couldn't figure out how to halve an egg, I used 2 Tbs of egg whites (the equivalent of one egg white) instead and just 2 tsp of coconut oil.  Also, I used one cup of frozen berries, slightly thawed, instead of the fresh berries that Sylvia  used in the original.  That is what gives my dish the purplish hue.

Partway through the baking time, I took the dish out of the oven and stirred it because I didn't like the idea of having crunchy bits of quinoa on the top... even so, there were a few.  A little crunch is okay

I let it cool for about 10 minutes after I took it out of the oven and then served it for breakfast with some vanilla yogurt.  It was really good!

This dish takes 40 minutes to bake in the oven so make it on a day when you have lots of time or in the evening, and store it in the fridge.  It is quick and easy to heat in the mike so a great breakfast to have on hand already made for a busy morning when you don't have a lot of time to cook.

Wet ingredients, dry ingredients, and berries... mix together and bake!

Served with a bit of vanilla yogurt.... a complete and satisfying breakfast.
If you use certified gluten-free oats, the dish is gluten-free.
And for my Weight Watchers friends, cause I know you wanna know...  I am going to share the N.I. as I made it - remember, only half the ingredients and with the changes I cited above:
Per serving without yogurt.
Weight Watchers P+ = 4.
Calories 156; Protein 5g; Carbohydrates 22g; Fat 5g; Fibre 3g.
Have you ever mixed oats with quinoa before?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Love This Sweet Squash Scramble

The other day I came across this idea at Carrots 'n' Cake.  And I have to admit, I was pretty skeptical about it... but I did have some ambercup squash left over from dinner the night before, and decided to give it a try... but not for breakfast... for lunch.

It was delicious!  And you really have got to try it.

I think it would be really good with sweet potatoes or any other kind of orange squash too... I am going to cook some butternut squash, just to have leftovers to make this again.

Tina calls it Sweet Breakfast Scramble... but honestly, you could enjoy it any time of the day, not just at breakfast.  I had it for lunch and would make it for a recovery snack after a hard workout or long run, too.

With some almond butter on top...

and a bit of vanilla yogurt too.
The real trick to it, I think, is to make sure you are patient enough while cooking it, to keep stirring the mixture in the pan and get the egg cooked all the way through... it does change color a bit and the texture changes, too, as it cooks so there is a visual clue.
In the skillet, not yet cooked.
Any nut butter would be a great topping along with some cinnamon...

and your favorite yogurt, too, if you like.
The possibilities for variations are really endless... you might try pumpkin with all the appropriate spices such as ginger, cinnamon, nutmet and cloves...

and I did try it with banana too.
The N.I. as I made this, with ambercup squash, is as follows:
Per serving, without toppings.
Weight Watchers P+ = 4.
Calories 149; Protein 14g; Carbohydrate 12g; Fat 5g; Fibre 2g.
You can easily afford a few more P+ for adds ons!
Check out the original post on Carrots 'n' Cake for the recipe and instructions... and leave Tina a comment telling her I sent you! 
Have you tried anything like this?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Winter Soup

We went out for lunch one day this past week, something we rarely do... to get together with the people that we house/kitty sat for the past three winters.  It has been a few months since we have been together and well past time for a visit!

The place we chose is one of those great little out of the way joints, that serves breakfast all day till they close at 3:30 p.m., along with great burgers and some soups, salads, and sandwiches.  The decor is colorful and funky, the serving staff are friendly and the prices are pretty darn good for the wonderful food and upbeat atmosphere.

When we first sat down I checked out the chalkboard for the daily specials and was quite excited to see Butternut Squash and Coconut Soup there... but before we got a chance to order, one of the gals erased it from the sign and replaced it with Winter Broth, Butternut Squash and Kale Soup.  I have to admit I was a bit disappointed but decided to go ahead and have a bowl of soup with a gluten-free corn muffin anyway.  (Just as an aside, there was a message on the chalkboard that said all of the daily soups are dairy and gluten free.)

There was no need for disappointment!   It was delicious... a nicely spiced turkey broth, cubes of butternut squash and chunks of kale.  I couldn't have been happier.

And so I decided to try to make something similar at home.

I didn't have any kale in the fridge so I substituted spinach.  If you don't have turkey broth or chicken broth on hand, you could use bullion cubes instead.  And use whatever kind of oil you like... olive or even coconut would be good, I should think.  And I added onions... 

The Captain is always so helpful when I ask him to pare and cut a butternut squash for me.  And he scooped the seeds and soft flesh from the cavity and then cut the half I used into half-inch cubes as well.  Sometimes I am just not strong enough to cut through the tough shell of these Winter squashes so it is great that he can help me with that.

I got out my soup pot and got started!  I am calling my creation Winter Soup and it goes like this:

Winter Soup
Makes 6 servings.
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil (I used a canol/olive oil blend)
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and minced
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped. about 8 ounces
  • 1/2 butternut squash, about 20 ounces
  • 4 cups turkey broth
  • dashes of cumin, cinnamon, and salt
  • 1 cup fresh spinach leaves
  1. Gently heat the oil in a large stock pot and cook the onion till translucent, about 7 or 8 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and squash and cook for another 5 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle seasonings over the veggies and stir in.
  4. Add the stock, bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and allow to simmer, covered for 40 minutes.
  5. To serve, ladle the hot soup into a bowl and toss in a few spinach leaves on the top and stir them in to wilt.
Per serving.
Weight Watchers P+ = 2.
Calories 79; Protein 4g; Carbohydrate 16g; Fat 1g; Fibre 3g.

I didn't put the spinach into the soup pot because I thought it would get too wilted and break up, but if I were using kale, I would put it into the soup pot for the last 10 - 15 minutes of the simmering process.

Simmering in the soup pot.

Hot soup ladled into a bowl.
With a bit of spinach tossed in.
We had this as the main focus of our lunch on Sunday, and we were both quite hungry as we had just come in, stretched, and cooled down, after a 5 km run.  Lunch needed to happen before showers even!  So I added 2 ounces of cooked chicken breast to each bowl, too, before I served it.  For another couple of P+ it was a great way to get in some tasty protein and make the meal more complete.

With cooked chicken breast added to the bowl.

Delicious and very filling.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Pumpkin Protein Cake

I have been craving pumpkin lately.  It probably has something to do with the power of suggestion.  Everywhere I look on the internet or in magazines, the pumpkin recipes are truly a display of creative genius... not to mention just plain old eye candy.  I wanted to get in on the action, too.

So I decided to make something like the Banana Protein Cake, but I used 1 cup of canned pumpkin puree instead of a whole banana, and also added some more spices.  It was delicious.... like having pumpkin pie for breakfast.  Of course you can halve the ingredients if you like.

I suggest cooking it in 2 stages to make sure it is not running over the edges of the microwave dish during cooking. If you just set it for 3 minutes and leave it, it is likely to end up on the bottom of your microwave oven!

Pumpkin Protein Cake
Makes 2 servings.
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 Tbs chia seeds
  • 2 Tbs almond milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  1. Mix all the ingredients together and place in a shallow microwaves-safe dish that has been lightly coated with a non-stick spray.
  2. Cook on HIGH for 2 minutes.  Then cook on HIGH 1 minute more.
  3. Remove from the mike and let rest 5 minutes.
  4. Divide between 2 bowls and top as desired.

Per serving, without toppings.
Weight Watchers P+ = 5.
Calories 175; Protein 19g; Carbohydrate 14g; Fat 8g; Fibre 7g.

Stir everything together in a large bowl.

The batter should be fairly thick.

Let it rest and finish cooking after it comes out of the mike.

Place half into a cute serving dish and top... vanilla yogurt and pepitas for The Captain.

and for me, too.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

#Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cookies

I haven't baked anything sweet for what seems like ages, and lately The Captain has been hinting that he would really like me to make some cookies.

I made these up because there was a cup of canned pumpkin in the fridge that I wanted to use up and thought they would fill his need for a sweet... well, they didn't quite, unfortunately. But I really like them so I am going to share them with you anyway.

They are not very sweet.  The Captain actually ended up putting a little dab of apricot jam on his and then he did enjoy them... and whilte the last few were baking I was thinking about how I could salvage them and I realized that they might really benefit from a bit of sweetened Laughing Cow Cheese.  So I did try that with a couple and it was quite delicious! 

One wedge of the cheese, sweetened with a bit of Stevia or Splenda will easily perk up 6 cookies.  I didn't include it in the N.I. but overall, it won't make much difference.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cookies
Makes 22 drop cookies.
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup fat free milk milk
  • 1/4 cup honey
  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F.
  2. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and stir till combined.
  3. Using a Tbs measure spoon, drop the batter onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.  You can bake a bit longer if you would like a crispier cookie.
  5. Remove to a baking rack and let them cool for 5 minutes or so before eating or a bit longer if you are adding the 'icing'.
Per cookie.
Weight Watchers P+ = 1.
Calories 44; Protein 2g; Carbohydrate 4g; Fat 3g; Fibre 1g.

Mix all ingredients together.

Drop onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes and allow to cool.

If you like, put a bit of sweetened Laughing Cow cheese on the top of each one.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Eggs-N-Oats and Variations

On Sunday morning I enjoyed a leisurely cup of coffee while looking at recipes on line, thinking about what I would like to have for breakfast.

I have been reading The Abs Diet For Women by David Zinczenko, and while I don't need to lose any weight, I am definitely working on building strong and lean muscle.  One of the staples in his food plan is oats. 

I do like oats, but I don't like to eat a lot of grains of any kind, and I always need to have some sort of protein with them.  Otherwise, I am looking for something to eat a couple of hours later.

I found a recipe on SparkPeople that sounded interesting called Eggs-N-Oats.  It was a mixture of egg, egg whites, raw oats, and milk, all scrambled up in fry pan.  Intriguing yes?

So I looked at the Nutritional Information and read all the reviews and decided to go ahead and try it.

I made the recipe as written and halved it.  After seasoning with a bit of salt and pepper, I served it with a half ounce of grated cheddar cheese on the top, a slice of lean deli ham, a cherry tomato, and half a Ruby Red grapefruit.  (We are both so happy to see these beautiful red grapefruits show up in our local produce markets at this time of year and just cannot get enough of them.)

It was really good!  I was afraid that the oats wouldn't be cooked enough but they were.  The Captain liked it too, but he thinks it would be even better if it were 'eggier'...  by adding a second whole egg to the mixture. 

I suggest that you go and read the reviews on SparkPeople as there are lots of interesting suggestions there to make this dish different every time you cook it... with the addition of different veggies, spices and seasonings, or even yogurt and fruit, or cooking it like a pancake instead of a scramble.

  • 1 whole fresh egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup raw rolled oats
  • 2 Tbs milk
  1. Mix all the ingredients together and cook in a skillet that has been coated with non-stick spray.
  2. Season as desired and serve warm.
Weight Watchers P+ = 7.
Calories 268; Protein 19g; Carbohydrate 30g; Fat 8g; Fibre 4g.

If you divide it in half the N.I. looks like this:

Weight Watchers P+ = 3.
Calories 134; Protein 10g; Carbohydrate 15g; Fat 4g; Fibre 2g.

I am sure that if I had not added the cheese, ham, tomato, and grapefruit to the plate, that this would not be enough for a meal in itself.    So, this morning I made up a single serving for myself and after sauteing a bit of red pepper, tomato, mushroom and spinach I added:
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 2 Tbs milk
The N.I . (without the veggies ) would then work out to:

Weight Watchers P+ = 5.
Calories 201; Protein 14g; Carbohydrate 20g; Fat 7g; Fibre 3g.

It was delicious and really filling. I like the texture of the oats in the scrambled egg and veggie mixture... a LOT!

Mix all the ingredients together.

Pour into warm prepared pan.

Cook till egg is firm but not dried out... about 4 minutes.

Season and serve.

Nice texture and the oats give the eggs some oomph!  You won't miss the toast!

What do you think?  Would you add oats or other grains to your srambled eggs?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Crock Pot Sesame Chicken

I first learned about this recipe a couple of weeks ago in a post by Jen at Running With the Girls, when she blogged about her menu plans for the week.  She linked to the recipe she uses for this dish.  I had a look at it, and made a few changes, so I am giving it to you here as I made it. 

I did a search for this recipe on the internet and found it on many blogs and no one seemed to have any real idea where it originated, so I am not giving any particular source credit for it. I am sure that versions of it have been around for some time.

It is delicious!  The chicken is succulent and tender and just melts in your mouth. It smells sooooo good while it is cooking.  And The Captain loved it and asked that we have it often.  I agree, it is very, very good. 

And it freezes very nicely too. When you thaw and reheat it, it tastes just as good as when it was first cooked.

I think next time, though, that I will add more onion to it.  The small amount here gets lost in the sauce and I really think it would be good if the onion was more prevalent alongside the chicken pieces.  I think I will use about half a medium onion, sliced vertically.

I hope you'll try it.

Crock Pot Sesame Chicken
Makes 6 servings.
  • 2 pound boneless, skinless breasts
  • Dashes of salt and pepper
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons diced onion
  • 4 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 Tbs canola oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 4 Tbs water
  • Sprinkle of sesame seeds
  1. Season both sides of chicken  lightly with salt and pepper, and place pieces into into a crock pot that has been coated with non-stick spray.
  2. In a small bowl, combine honey, soy sauce, onion, ketchup, oil, garlic and pepper flakes. Pour over chicken in crock pot.
  3. Cook on LOW for 4 - 5  hours or on high for 2 - 3 hours until chicken is cooked through.
  4. Remove chicken pieces from crock pot and place on cutting surface.
  5. Remove most of the sauce from crock pot and place in small saucepan.
  6. Dissolve 4 teaspoons of cornstarch in 4 Tbs of water and pour into saucepan. Stir to combine with sauce.  Boil lightly on stovetop for several minutes until sauce thickens a bit.
  7. Return the sauce to the crockpot.
  8. Cut chicken into bite size pieces, then return to pot and toss with sauce before serving.
  9. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve over rice or noodles.

Per serving.
Weight Watchers P+ = 8.
Calories 303; Protein 32 g; Carbohydrate 38g; Fat 3g; Fibre 0g.

Layer everything in the crock pot.

Remove chicken after it is cooked and cut into cubes.

Serve over rice or noodles.

All you need for a complete meal is a veggie on the side.

Do you have a favorite crock pot recipe to share?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Christie O's Crock Pot Balsamic Pork with Onions

I am so excited to share this delicious meal with you! 

It is called Crock Pot Balsamic Pork with Onions and I found it on a blog that I love and read regularly called Average Moms Wear Capes.  In just a few words, Christie is an energetic and enthusiastic Florida Gal who wears a variety of caps (and capes) with the labels Mom, Runner, and Writer, to name only a couple.  I always look forward to getting her blog posts in my inbox.

This dish is just too good not to pass along... and it all comes together so easily that you will want to make it again and again.   It is the season for crock pots, so get yours out, wipe off the dust and get cooking!

Start with a pork roast, some onions, dark balsamic vinegar, water, salt and pepper... layer them in the crock pot....

Cook it all up for a few hours... then thicken and sweeten the sauce and serve.  It's just that easy!

The Captain loves potatoes so I spooned some of the sauce over them like gravy.  Delicious.
And I had mine with some kabocha squash.
The pork is so succulent and so tender after cooking in the crock pot all day, and it just falls apart when removed.    We had the leftovers the next night with some rice and veggies.  Next time I will make a larger batch and freeze the leftovers... there are pork loins on sale at one of my local markets this week and I am on my way to get some.
Please check out the recipe and instructions as Christie wrote them  and when you comment there, please tell her I sent you... and then go plug in your crock pot!
And for my Weight Watchers friends... I didn't calculate the N.I. of this dish.  The numbers are going to depend on the kind of pork roast you use, and the number of servings  you get out of the recipe.  My pork roast was only very lean and about 1 pound so I halved the ingredients and it made 4 ample servings.  I would think you should get at least 8 servings out of the ingredients Christie describes... and the P+ value would be approximately 7 or 8 for the pork, onions, and sauce.  Very reasonable.
Are you a crock pot fan? 
Do you say 'slow cooker' or 'crock pot'?

Friday, November 09, 2012

Another Banana Omelet

You already know that I am quite enamoured of the Banana Omlet recipe that I posted recently.

I have been doing a bit more experimenting with it, trying to find a way to make it a little less calorie-laden and came up with something pretty good. 

On days when I want that higher protein breakfast, I will still make up my original recipe, but this one is great for those mornings when I want just a bit of something before heading off to my busy day.  It is very tasty... and the banana flavor is much more apparent than in the orginal Banana Omelet.

Give it a try, I would love to know what you think.

I made it this way for The Captain and me, but of course you could halve the ingredients and use a smaller pan.  I served it with a bit of soynut butter on the top.

And if you have a frozen banana, great, just make sure it is thoroughly thawed before you start mixing.  Don't use too high a heat setting - the sugar in the banana will burn fairly easily.


Another Banana Omelet
Makes 2 servings
  • 1 medium banana
  • 2 eggs
  • Dash of cinnamon
  1. Mash the banana well and mix in the eggs and beat till frothy.
  2. Pour mixture into a skillet that has been coated with non-stick spray and set over MEDIUM heat.
  3. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
  4. Once the edges of the omelet are a bit dry and cooked, cover and let sit till the eggs are cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  5. Fold in half and serve.
Per serving.
Weight Watchers P+ = 3.
Calories 129 ; Protein 7g; Carbohydrate 14g; Fat 5g; Fibre 1g.

Beat the eggs and mashed banana till frothy.  I used my immersion blender.

Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Fold to serve.

With a bit of nut butter and some fruit and toast. 
Do you think this is something you would make?  If you do, I would love to know if you liked it.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Melanie's Prize Winning Apple Pie Baked Oatmeal

I recently found a recipe that one of my fellow Fitfluential Ambassadors, Melanie, developed for a Quaker Oats Contest... and I thought it looked and sounded too good to pass on.  It is an Apple Pie Baked Oatmeal.

It does take a few minutes to assemble and get into the oven, and it has to cook for 45 minutes, so this is not something you are going to do on a busy workday.... but on a weekend, yes, do give it a try.  And once it is made up, it keeps in the refrigerator for a couple of days and can be re-heated on those mornings you are in a hurray.  Always nice to have something quick.

Since I have had to start outfitting my kitchen, almost from scratch, I haven't purchased any pie plates yet... so I used a glass cake pan to make up Melanie's Apple Pie Baked Oatmeal... but I am going to share my pictures with you anyway. 

Chopped apples, oats, nuts and spices.

The wet ingredients added with the dry.

And poured into a prepared baking dish.

After coming out of the oven.  Smells wonderful!

A 1/6th serving....

with a bit of yogurt and syrup for The Captain.\

And mine is a 1/8th serving... not that much smaller really.
I did make a couple of small changes... I substituted walnuts for pecans, and I used coconut oil in place of vegetable oil. I did use a sugar free syrup, too, to keep the calorie count down for me and the other Weight Watchers who will want to make this dish.  Minor tweaks and I know you will want to visit Melanie's blog, nutritious eats, for the recipe and instructions for this delicious Apple Pie Baked Oatmeal... and also see her beautiful photos!
For my Weight Watchers friends who like to know how things shape up nutritionally, I am going to share the N.I. for the pie the way I made it up, noting my substitutions in the ingredients as described.
Per serving of 1/8th of pie, not including topping.
Weight Watchers P+ = 5.
Calories 194; Protein 5g; Carbohydrate 23g;  Fat 10g; Fibre 3g.
Per serving of 1/6th of pie, not including topping.
Weight Watchers P+ = 7.
Calories 259; Protein 7g; Carbohydrate 30g; Fat 13g; Fibre 4g.
By the way, I just found out that Melanies' recipe won the contest.  Congratulations, Melanie!
Are you an oatmeal fan? Have you ever tried baked oatmeal?