Vanilla Cinnamon Overnight Oats

My friend Katie reminded me the other day of how amazing Overnight Oats can be, so of course my craving for them resurfaced and I threw a batch together for my breakfast the next morning.  Here’s the recipe.  If your search for recipes on Google, be prepared to want to make about 1000 different kinds.  There are so many and they’re all pretty spectacular!

1/2 Cup Vanilla Almond Milk

1/2 Cup  Rolled Oats

1 Tbsp Chia Seeds

1. Mix together and refrigerate overnight

2. In the morning, stir your oats and then add your favorite mixings.  Here’s mine:

1 Tbsp Agave Nectar

1 Tbsp Almond Butter

1 tsp Cinnamon

Top with a sliced Banana

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Zucchini Cake with Quinoa Salad

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Last night I was feeling adventurous.  While thinking of ideas for dinner and trying to incorporate the veggies that were about to go bad in my fridge, I luckily stumbled upon a recipe I had pinned a little while ago that worked perfectly with them and made me feel excitedly resourceful.  Grocery shopping and cooking for one person can be a little tricky at times, especially when you aren’t a fan of eating the same vegetables each and every night (I like my variety), but in order to keep a smaller carbon footprint, I try to be creative with recipes from time to time.  This was definitely a keeper.

I tweaked the recipe a bit from the original, but I think it still turned out pretty good!  I threw together a small quinoa salad to go with the cake, another mosh posh of foods I had to use soon.

For Pancakes
1/2 zucchini, grated
1/8 c onion, grated
1  tsp salt
1/8 c. all-purpose flour
1  tsp sugar
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 egg white
olive oil
For Quinoa Salad
1/2 c Quinoa (I used Trader Joe’s white quinoa)
1 cup water
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 Tbsp Italian dressing
Garlic powder
Salt
Pepper
Make Pancakes
Shred zucchini and onion into a colander and toss with salt. Let stand for 20 minutes and then take handfuls at a time and squeeze all of the liquid out. Transfer the drained veggies to a large bowl and combine with flour, sugar, and pepper.
Hand beat egg white with salt then fold into the vegetable mixture.
Preheat a pan with 1 tbsp of oil. Pour batter into pan until it forms a pancake shape.  Cook until golden brown about 1-2 minutes each side. Remove and place on paper towels to drain the excess oil and sprinkle with salt. Place on top of Quinoa salad and serve with a dollop of Tatziki Sauce.
Make Quinoa Salad
1. Boil both water and quinoa together.  Once boiling, turn heat down to simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes, or until the water cooks out.
2. Chop tomatoes, onion, jalapeno and pine nuts and mix together with cooked quinoa.
3. Add lemon juice and/or Italian dressing (I used both)
4. Add garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste

Mastering the Juice Craze

Juicing has become the new “in” thing to do for your health.  You can get a days worth of vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables in just one glass if you don’t have the time to prepare them in their raw form. I like to make them before or after a workout because they’re so refreshing.

I bought a juice blend at Starbucks yesterday made by Evolution Fresh.  I was intrigued by the look of the bottle and the fact that it didn’t have any added sugar (like many commercially produced juices do); just what comes straight from the fruits and veggies.  Unfortunately I am not a huge green juice fan; the taste and smell of them just really turns me off, so I decided to save the bottle to use in one of my homemade smoothies that I’ve been experimenting with lately.  Let me just tell you it was one of the best smoothies I’ve ever made, and had so many more ingredients than I had on hand thanks to the juice blend.  And while I don’t have a super crazy expensive juicer like the NutriBullet or Vitamix, I do have a great personal blender that is quick and easy to use and clean up.

Ingredients

1/3 cup of Evolution Fresh Sweet Greens and Lemon Juice

1/3 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen)

1/4 cup raspberries

Handful of kale
Mix all ingredients in a blender and enjoy!  Add some more juice or water to make the consistency to your liking.

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For more information, check out these helpful links:

5 Things you Need to Know about Juicing

Juicing from WebMd

Spiked Popsicles?

I love Tasting Table.  They have the most unique recipes and enough foodie articles for an addict.  Check out their “Boozy Watermelon-Lime-Mint Pops” recipe, perfect for a Summer BBQ!

--Boozy Watermelon Pops

 

Healthy Recipe Substitutions

I’m always looking for new ways to incorporate healthier cooking habits into my regimen.  This infographic from Greatist might be one of my favorites.  Subbing applesauce or mashed banana instead of butter/oil works great for pancakes/waffles and I just heard about the Chia Seeds substituting for eggs over this past weekend from a family friend who owns a local gluten-free bakery, Freckled Frosting (which I can’t wait to try soon!)

Hope this helps you on your cooking adventures!

Healthy Recipe Substitutions: Baking

Don’t Mess with Texas

My trip to Texas last weekend was filled with a great amount of good company, good food and a little R&R.  My cousins have such a warm and inviting home, and it was nice to be able to spend time with them now that I don’t get to see them as often as when they lived in CT.

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Not too shabby, huh?

The weather was great; not as hot as I expected Texas to be in June, and the activities were just what I had in mind (mostly shopping and cooking)!  Here are some highlights!

First stop on the Texas tour… Tom Thumb.  Everything really is bigger here, even the grocery stores!

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I was also invited (tricked) into going to a workout class at a place called Velocity, which is really more of a sports performance training – boot camp gym (torture chamber).  But in all honesty, it was a great workout, I just couldn’t really move properly for about 3 days after.

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We went shopping in a small town called Grapevine, TX where we pretty much ate our way through the farmers’ market

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I found these cute packets of Almond and Peanut Butter, which looked a bit more appetizing than the unsalted kind I first purchased.  I can’t wait to try them!

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And I can’t forget the delicious food I continued to consume while I was here, mostly home-made, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Check out my post on my cousin, Austin’s Cilantro Pesto Chicken Panini’s!

All in all, it was a great trip!  I hope y’all (I learned how to spell it correctly this time) get to experience Texas at some point in your life.  It’s definitely one of a kind =)

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Cilantro Pesto Chicken Panini

My cousin Austin has some pretty good skills in the kitchen.  He whipped up this masterpiece one afternoon without even having to think about it.  I envy people who don’t have to follow recipe books, one day I will be one of them.  It’s not necessarily the healthiest lunch in the world, but boy was it tasty (and relatively easy)!

Ingredients:
1 cup Fresh Cilantro
2 Tbsp Lime Juice
1/4 cup Purdue Frozen Grilled Chicken Strips
2 slices Whole Wheat Bread
1 Tbsp Butter
2 slices Bacon
1 slice Monterrey Jack Cheese (sliced)
Preheat oven to 200
Blend the cilantro and lime juice together in a blender until it turns into a green gooey mixture (like so)
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Heat up the chicken as per the instructions on the bag and then mix the cilantro in with it until the chicken is coated.
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Heat the bacon (1 minute per slice in the microwave)
Coat one side of each slice of bread with butter and toast on the stove in a skillet.  Lay the bread toasted side down on a baking sheet and throw the rest of the ingredients on top of one side.
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Pop in the over for 2 minutes just to melt the cheese, and try not to eat it in one bite!
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Looks like someone was hoping for a little tasting!
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Flying High

I’m off to Texas tonight! Going to visit my cousins for the weekend and I’m so excited to see them. They moved to Newtown for three years when I started college, and then moved back a couple years ago. It was so wonderful to have them so close back then, since most of my family lives down south. But now it gives me an excuse to travel to their neck of the woods.

The occasion is for one of my cousins’ high school graduation. I think he’s literally grown two feet since I saw him last.

I’m at the airport now with my magical calm-me-down potion (aka a glass of wine). If anyone knows me at all, they know I don’t like flying. But it’s all worth it once you get to your destination and have a few fabulous adventures!

I’ll keep ya’ll posted!

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Protein Packed Breakfast

Remember how I bought that giant jar of almond butter, come to find out I’m more partial to peanut butter after all?  Well, that jar has been opened on very few occasions since its purchase, until I came across a recipe where I could actually use the stuff to my advantage – Almond Butter Granola, from one of my favorite bloggers, Peanut Butter Fingers.  I’ve never made granola before, so I never knew how easy it is to actually make.  Most of the ingredients are (or should be) staples in your kitchen.  I tweaked the recipe a little bit, since I, embarrassingly, did not have any vanilla extract in my kitchen.  And, instead of honey, I used Agave Nectar, which is lighter and a little less overwhelming than honey, in my opinion.

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It might be some of the best granola I’ve ever had, and I’m going to give props to the almond butter for that.  Less than 20 minutes to make, it’s a great on the go breakfast or snack for the day.

Does anyone have any favorite granola recipes I could try?  I’m hooked!

Spring Fever

Well hello again.  Time seems to have gotten away from me yet again.  Weeks fly by and weekends fill up with plans quicker than I can blink, but I’m not complaining =)  It’s been a nice few months and Spring has finally arrived.  I love this season, not only because my birthday falls in the middle of it, but because there are more flowers, sunshine and good moods to go around.  Not to mention all of the country concerts that, yes, I bought all of the tickets to.

With spring’s arrival and summer just around the corner, it’s time to get out of the stuffy gym and get outside!  I’ve always preferred to run outside vs. on the treadmill.  I never feel like I’ve gone anywhere on that machine, and I have a hard time running the same pace and distance that I can in the fresh air.  There are so many benefits to working out outside; it’s a nice change of pace.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to see this at the end of one of your runs?

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Although, I don’t get to experience this view every day.  Living in a downtown area is much different than the quiet suburban and beach towns that I’m used to.  There are so many more obstacles to avoid and interruptions that can really mess up your concentration when running.  I’m still on the hunt for a less noisy, more consistent route, but for now, I’ll just try not to get hit by any cars 😉

Along with new workouts come new workout fuel.  I’ve always wanted to try almond butter, the peanut butter of the health-nut generation.  I’ve read a lot of articles on the differences between the two, and while I didn’t find there to be a significant argument one way or the other, I did read that almond butter has 26% more Vitamin E, 3% more Iron, 7% more Calcium, 50% more mono-saturated fat and 25% less saturated fat than peanut butter (courtesy of Athletic Minded Traveler).  I finally caved and bought a jar of the Nature’s Promise, unsalted brand it last night at my local grocery store.  There weren’t a lot of options to choose from, so I would suggest looking at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods in the search for your jar if you get the chance.

One of my favorite breakfast meals is an English muffin with peanut butter and banana.  This morning I subbed in the almond butter for my go-to spread (I was so excited I forgot to snap a picture before I went to town).  It had a slightly nuttier texture than peanut butter, and definitely less salty (unsalted…who knew?), but I think I could get used to it.  Not sure if it’s really necessary, as long as the peanut butter I use isn’t loaded with added fats or sugars, like so many are.  Check your labels, kids!

That’s all for now, I promise to be back before 3 more months!

Food for Thought

What has your experience been with almond butter vs. the good old stuff?  Brands to try vs. stay away from?  Has anyone tried any other kinds of butters (cashew, coconut, etc.)?