Open faced pesto omelet with kale and cherry tomatoes

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Not all mornings are created equal. And yet, it’s the way we handle them that can set the tone for the rest of the day. For me, the majority of my days start the same; I wake up at 5am, go to crossfit from 6-7am, shower and head to a long day of work followed by grad-school or yoga. I’m running a tight ship in the mornings, so I have to be pretty planful on what I’m bringing with me to eat, to make sure that I can get something healthy and nutritious to start my day. Planning, time-constraints, constantly on the go, these are the areas that I’m good at. This post is not about that.
My schedule switches around from time to time with work, and today was one of those days. I had the morning off and decided to try and slow my life down (something I’m terrible at) and sleep in, go to a later crossfit class and just enjoy the morning before I had to go into work for noon.
I went to crossfit and had a tough class. I felt awful leaving, and, because I had nothing planned, free reign, I went down the street to the local orchard with one thing on my mind…comfort food. I walk in there prepared to buy the whole display of freshly baked pies and cider donuts. Instead, I walk out with a grapefruit and a gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free pumpkin cupcake. I look at the cupcake, which I’m sure sounds like the most ridiculous type of treat to a lot of people, and I actually don’t even want it anymore.
My life, constantly on the go, has left little time for patience with myself. It feels like a whirl-wind where the tiniest slip up can send everything crashing to the ground. When, in actuality, that isn’t the case. Talking to a good friend pulled me back into reality; she grounded me again. Some days just aren’t good, and those are the days which it’s hardest to keep all the good things in perspective. It’s hard to hold it together all the time. And well, that okay. You just keep working hard, because the alternative is to stop and that’s just silly.
So I came home, put my cupcake in the fridge (I will still eat it, just at a time I can actually enjoy it) and decided to make myself a delicious breakfast. I knew cooking would make me feel better, and eating a hearty, nutritious breakfast would reset my off morning and set me up for a much better day.

Open faced pesto omelet with kale and cherry tomatoes
¾ cup organic cage-free egg whites (about 6 egg whites)
1 cup organic kale, washed and roughly chopped
About 6 organic grape tomatoes, quartered
1 tsp organic basil pesto (it’s easy to make your own, but I keep a jar on hand just to add a quick little bit to the occasional recipe, but if you have time to make your own, by all means!!)
Organic extra virgin coconut oil (I use the spray when cooking eggs, but you can use a little of the regular stuff, or even olive oil or your favorite other cooking spray)

Directions:
Heat a medium sized skillet on low to medium, spray with coconut oil
Sauté quartered tomatoes for a minute or two and add the kale. Continue to cook until kale is wilted.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl add 1 tsp of basil pesto to egg whites and whisk together.
Turn your pan down to low, give it a minute to come down in temperature, and then pour the egg white mixture over the kale and tomato mixture.
Cover the skillet (I just use my largest pot’s lid since my skillet doesn’t come with a cover, 🙂 Improvise!)
Let cook about 5 minutes or until the top of the egg is set. (Be patient, and don’t turn up the heat to make it cook faster because the bottom will burn! By covering it, the steam will help cook the top and you won’t have to flip it!)
And that’s it, just slide it out onto your plate and enjoy 🙂

Coconut banana chocolate protein pancakes

Part of what I love about cooking is how much flexibility I have with my food.  I can open my fridge and just create dishes from what I have on hand, throwing a little of this, and a little of that to build flavorful meals.  So when it comes to baking, or anything where ratios and measurements are concerned, I tend to shy away.  I like getting the occasional inspiration from recipes, but not following them.

This is something I’m trying to change my mind set about.  Measuring shouldn’t be my enemy, and I can still make recipes “my own” while following someone else’s direction.  So I wanted to try out something I hadn’t made before, protein pancakes.  My view of pancakes was always that the batter was a difficult thing to perfect.   You were either using a box mix (no thank you), or measuring out ingredients exactly (yikes), or you were ending up with a disaster.  I’m actually not a huge fan of regular pancakes, they leave me feeling too full and weighed down, but this healthier version piqued my interest and I decided to start researching it.

In looking around the internet at recipes I realized that most of them all had similar base ingredients and similar ratios.  Happily, I decided to compile a general outline to follow and then decided to put my own twist on them.

The result: Coconut banana chocolate protein pancakes, drizzled with honey, natural peanut butter and dark chocolate dreams peanut butter.  A-MAZ-ING.

Coconut banana chocolate protein pancakes

I’ve decided to count this as a positive step and compromise in my fear towards recipes and a hopeful move in the direction of easing my fear of baking.  😉 There will be more experiments to come I’m sure!

Here’s what I used:

1 scoop protein powder (I use Garden of Life Organic Raw Cocoa Protein)

½ cup egg whites

½ organic banana

¼ cup organic oats

1 TBS organic coconut flour

1/8 cup (Silk) coconut milk

1/8 TBS baking soda

2 dashes of cinnamon (optional)

Dash of nutmeg (optional)

Blend it all together.  You can use a regular blender or I used my smoothie blender cup (kind of like a magic bullet but cheaper haha)

Cook over medium low heat in a skillet sprayed with coconut oil.  You know they’re ready to flip when bubbles start to form and pop!  This made 3 decent sized pancakes for me, and yes, I ate them all. 

I finished them off with a drizzle of honey, and then melted in the microwave a healthy tablespoon of Whole Foods fresh ground natural peanut butter and Peanut Butter & Co Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter.  Simply delicious!!

Healthy Cauliflower “Fried Rice”

I’ve been having really hectic weekends lately.  Between the semester almost ending and all the presentations and school work that go along with that, and all of the friends in my life having babies and getting married, I haven’t had much time to prep my weekday meals like I usually do.  What this means for me is I’ve been eating a lot of salads and tuna haha. 

Luckily, last night I finally had some free time to get back in my favorite place, the kitchen.  I wanted to make a dish that I knew would yield a lot of food for me, but wouldn’t be a lot of work because I was exhausted! I love this dish because it’s not only packed with veggies, but it’s simple and easy to make!! I’m not a huge fan of take-out food, but if you’re a fried rice lover, I highly suggest trying this instead.  It’s a much healthier and more nutritious option and you will be pleasantly surprised at how much it tastes like you’re actually eating fried rice!

cauliflower fried rice

You can really throw whatever veggies you want into it, but here’s what I used:

  • ½ onion diced
  • ½ red bell pepper diced
  • ½ yellow bell pepper diced
  • Hand grated 5 baby carrots (because that’s what I had in my fridge!)
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • Fresh grated ginger

You’ll also need:

  • 1TBS oil (I use extra virgin coconut oil)
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 TBS low sodium soy sauce
  • Any protein you may want to add
  • salt and pepper of course 😉

Start by sautéing your onions in 1 TBS of oil until translucent.  Then add the garlic, ginger, and other veggies and cook through.

While the veggies are cooking, cut off the florets of the head of cauliflower.  Some stem is ok, just not big pieces of it as it doesn’t process as nicely as the florets do.  Pulse them in your food processor until you get a rice-like consistency.

Add the cauliflower rice to the pot of veggies and stir to combine.

While the added cauliflower is cooking through, I whisked together the 2 eggs and scrambled them in a separate small pan. 

To finish, add the soy sauce and scrambled eggs, (add whatever cooked protein you would like at this step too) mix it all together and voila! Dinner is served! This made 4 servings for me, but really I wanted to eat it ALL! I served it with some hand cut chili spice sweet potato fries that I made also, but that’s another post! Hope you enjoy!!

cauliflower fried rice and chili spice sweet potato fries

Thai peanut sauce stir fry with soba noodles and salmon. Dinner guest success!

Food is something that I thoroughly enjoy everything about.  Going to the grocery store or farmers market and picking out fresh, organic produce is a fun afternoon for me.  Then getting the food home and thinking of how I can use it in recipes and trying out new foods makes me excited to cook just thinking about it.  While cooking for one means I don’t ever have to consider anyone else’s likes and dislikes when deciding what to make for dinner, it can also sometimes feel like I’m missing an important part of the food-love puzzle; getting to feed others.  I know I love my cooking, but to be able to give others something delicious to eat and have them love the food you make too is a feeling of achievement you can’t find elsewhere.  And because I know what I’m serving them is a healthy and nutritious meal, I always feel great about getting to cook for other people, especially family!

Tonight I had the pleasure of having my sister and future brother in law over for dinner.  It was a last minute decision to get together and she had already planned on cooking some salmon that night for their own dinner, so I told her to bring it over and I’d cook and incorporate their filet’s into my dish.  I had gone to whole foods this past weekend and picked up a ton of amazing veggies…but most importantly, a BIG tub of their freshly ground peanut butter.  Seriously, this stuff is uh-may-zing (and a special thanks to my cousin Jessica who introduced me to it!).  While I can, and have, literally eaten this stuff by the spoonful, I wanted to use it in another way. I thought, why not make my own Thai peanut sauce? This is certainly nothing I have ever made before, but trying new things is what I’m all about! How hard can it be?

In the spirit of full disclosure, my first attempt came out AWFUL! People say to me all the time, your food always looks so delicious, and well, that’s because you only see the delicious foods! Haha.  But my never give up attitude made me start all over and the second product came out simply spectacular.  Lucky for all of you, I even remembered to measure this time 😉

sf with salmon

While the sauce is what made the meal for me, the veggies and soba noodles played a winning supporting role.  I used bok choy, mushrooms, and yellow and orange bell peppers for the veggies, cooked with garlic and fresh grated ginger in virgin organic coconut oil.  The coconut oil really gave this dish another nice level of flavor.  The noodles tossed in there are soba, or buckwheat noodles, which are a favorite of mine and go great in Asian style cooking.  The creamy peanut sauce mixed in there, and topped with baked salmon, made this dinner so good that we just kept talking about how good it was while we were eating it!

stirfry

 

 

This sauce is something I will continue to experiment with and change up, just because that’s how I am, 😉 but trust me, it’s amazing and incredibly simple to make as is:

Thai peanut sauce:

  • 2 TBS (whole foods freshly ground) peanut butter – (the grainy texture really added that extra oomf to the sauce)
  • 1 TBS rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp organic honey
  • 2 splashes Silk almond milk (I wished I had coconut milk but this actually tasted great with the peanut butter, and I got the coconut flavor from cooking the veggies with coconut oil instead)

Whisk all of the ingredients together in a bowl then add to the cooked veggies and noodles and there you have it! YUM!!

Tonight’s dinner really made me think about a couple of different “don’t forget’s”.  Most importantly, don’t forget the importance of eating together.  Not only does cooking for others feel great when they like your food, but eating with family and friends is really good for keeping your mind healthy as well as eating a healthy meal does for your body.  And two, don’t forget that it’s not going to come out delicious or perfect every time, but that doesn’t mean its a failure or to give up.  Sometimes the best things come from the knowledge you gain by making mistakes…like don’t forget to be delicate with the soy sauce when getting creative 😉 lol

 

Sweet Potato Hash

hash

Breakfast is a great time to get creative with your food.  Making the same old bowl of cereal or oatmeal can get boring after a while, and even the staples like eggs and potatoes, can use a little twist to keep things interesting.

Sweet potatoes are an excellent healthy alternative to regular potatoes.  Not only are they high in nutrients like B6 and potassium, they also have twice the fiber that regular potatoes have.  And even better still, sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene, which is an antioxidant that prevents certain types of cancer, and Vitamins C and E which combined are great for your hair and skin.    Sweet potatoes also  have a low glycemic index, meaning that they won’t cause your blood sugar levels to spike like regular potatoes do.   Plus they’re delicious!  

This is my “recipe” for the hash.  I don’t have measurements since this was pre-blog days, but the proportions are pretty easy to just estimate visually based on your preferences and how much you want to make.

The potatoes: Start by washing off and dicing up a sweet potato into small, equal-sized cubes.  Leave the skin on, as that’s where a lot of the nutrients come from and it crisps up nicely when sauteing.  In a large pot of boiling water, cook the potatoes for 3-5 minutes (depending on how big your cubes are) until they are cooked through and can be pierced easily with a fork.  Drain and gently pat them dry.  Season the potatoes with cinnamon and crushed red cayanne pepper.  Sweet and spicy always goes well together!  In a large skillet heat your oil over medium (I use virgin organic coconut oil) and add the potatoes letting them brown up nicely on all sides.  To get a good color on the potatoes, try not to move them around too much as you might end up steaming them instead of letting them brown.  Once browned, remove from the pan and set aside.

The veggies: Using the same skillet, add a little bit more oil if necessary and throw in a  diced mixture of onion and red, green and yellow bell pepper.  I season this with some salt and pepper, and saute until the mixture is almost cooked, where the onions would be translucent and the peppers soft.

The hash: When the veggies are about done I add the potatoes back to the pan and toss it all together.  Having the cooking finish as a whole allows the flavors to blend and make every bite delicious.  Also, this lets the potatoes crisp up some more and get extra browned, since that’s how I enjoy my hash 🙂

And there you have it!  I served mine along size a green bean and spinach, egg white omelette with grapefruit and blueberries on the side.  With of course a nice big cup of organic fair trade coffee with almond milk.  Yumm!