Let’s sweeten up the start of this workweek with some cookies, shall we?
It’s no secret that I have a sweet tooth. One of my favorite ways to experiment in the kitchen is to come up with recipes and meal creations that are healthy ways to satisfy that sweet tooth. Today’s recipe is a perfect example of that: apricot almond oatmeal breakfast cookies.
Summertime is my favorite season for produce. I just cannot get enough summer fruit in. Cherries, nectarines, strawberries… you name it, I love it. The fruit star of today’s recipe is the adorable apricot.
How was your weekend? Highlights of mine were a date night to celebrate my hubby’s admission into his MBA program of choice for the fall (exciting stuff!), a trip to the dog beach with my pup, and recouping from last week’s Vegas work trip. Resting up felt so nice after this busy time of work for me. I got a massage, hung out with my hubby, got a lot of sleep, did some yoga and drank a few glasses of wine. It all felt wonderful and was much needed!
Today’s recipe is one filled with veggies and a food that many people seemed to be freaked out by: tofu.
The truth is, I wasn’t always a tofu fan. Tofu is something that is totally dependent on how you prepare it and the flavors you add into it, and in the past, I didn’t know how to cook it to my liking. That is until I figured out how to get my tofu nice and crispy: pressing it, cutting the block into tiny squares, and stir-frying it in a bit of oil until the tofu is browned and crispy on each side.
This is the method of cooking that I used for the tofu in my recipe today using avocado oil – along with the addition of Old Bay seasoning to give the tofu some nice spiciness and flavor.
I nabbed my first bottle of avocado oil at the farmers market a bunch of years back, and I noticed that it’s become really popular recently. Avocado oil is heart healthy and rich in Vitamin E and the essential fatty acid called oleic acid that has lots of health properties. It’s mild while also being sort of rich in taste, and has a high smoke point – making it perfect for use in stir-fry dishes like this one.
Hello and Happy Monday! Hope that you all had a great weekend.
Let’s dive right into my weekend highlights!
After another awesome workout at Fitwall on Friday, I knew that strength training would need to be kept to a minimum over the weekend so that I could let my sore body recover. On Saturday morning, my little family and I headed to Elfin Forest to hit the trails.
It’s no secret that I love pancakes. I regularly include them in my diet on at least a weekly basis, and I’ve gotten into the habit of making my own healthy batter.
I often add protein powder or throw Greek yogurt into the mix, especially if it’s a post-workout meal. I think it’s important to include some protein in every meal to keep it balanced, and what some pancake mixes on the market today are missing is a good amount of protein.
Say hello to ProCakes – a gluten free, no added sugar, high protein pancake mix. Recently launched by, Caren Magill, a fellow FitFluential ambassador, ProCakes pancake mix is made with whey protein, organic coconut flour, gluten free baking flour, and almond flour, and sweetened with xylitol, a naturally occurring sweetener derived from tree bark.
A ProCakes sample was recently sent out to me to try, and I was happy to get my hands on my first protein pancake mix. I made my pancakes by combining the ProCakes mix with a flax egg and almond milk, then adding banana slices to the pancake batter.
I topped my pancakes with warmed chopped apple + more banana slices with cinnamon, plus a drizzle of honey.
Here’s what I thought:
Nutrition-wise, ProCakes are great, especially for someone like me who sometimes wants breakfast for dinner, but also needs a protein boost in my meal. The mix is fully made with recognizable ingredients, which I can always appreciate.
Taste-wise,I liked the ProCakes mix. I’m not the biggest fan of bean flour flavors in general (ProCakes contains fava and garbanzo bean flour), but I didn’t think the taste was overpowering or too-proteiny. Sometimes high protein products such as this are dry and cake-like, but my ProCakes had the consistency of normal pancakes.
My only negative feedback on ProCakes was that the batter stuck to my pan a bit when I tried to flip the pancakes over. It took a bit of finagling to get the pancakes flipped over without them falling apart.
Overall, I think that ProCakes make for a nice kitchen item to have handy when you want to make pancakes in a jiffy!
Questions: Have you ever had protein pancakes? What do you typically top your pancakes with?
If you read this blog at all regularly, you know by now that I love pancakes. I usually whip them up a couple times a week, but once in awhile, I’m more in the mood for waffles than pancakes.
This was the case a couple of weekends back, and so I broke out my waffle maker. But I wanted to make not just any waffles — I wanted to make decadent-weekend-treat-for-breakfast waffles.
In staring at my fruit basket, the idea of bananas foster came to my head. I haven’t had the scrumptious dessert of vanilla ice cream topped with bananas cooked in rum, banana liqueur, sugar, cinnamon, and butter in quite a long time — too long I would argue! — and so I decided to recreate the dessert with waffles as a most definitely delicious, kinda sorta acceptable breakfast (we can pretend right?).
I’m not typically one to leave alcohol out of meals, whether it’s going in a glass or cooking in my pan, but I didn’t have any rum or banana liqueur on hand, so virgin it was.
While these waffles are not the healthiest recipe I’ve shared, they are so worth the splurge. Trust me! If I hadn’t packed my waffle maker up into a box of kitchen appliances last night in preparation for my move this weekend, I’d be tempted to break it out and whip these waffles up this very moment.
If I ever own a restaurant, these bananas foster waffles will most likely find a way onto the breakfast menu….
In a medium bowl, mix the flour, almond meal, flaxseed meal, salt, cinnamon and baking powder together.
Add in the banana, almond milk, and vanilla extract, and mix together well.
Pour batter into the waffle maker and cook until lightly browned.
Meanwhile, to make the topping: melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium low heat. Add the maple syrup, cinnamon, sugar, and pecans, and stir until well combined. Add the banana slices and stir again. Reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, or until the sauce is thick and banana slices are tender.
Place the waffles on a plate and pour the bananas foster sauce on top. Promptly enjoy!!
Questions: What do you prefer, pancakes or waffles? Have you ever had bananas foster?
I think that one of the reasons why I’m always cooking and creating recipes is because I had my mom and grandma as cook role models growing up. Both of them have always enjoyed spending time in the kitchen making meals for the family to enjoy. To us, food is love.
You still can frequently find my 80-year old grandma in her massive kitchen, complete with 3 ovens, 6 burners, and plenty of counter space to work, cooking up a storm. Her first questions when you walk into her house are always, “Are you hungry? Do you want something to eat?” We’ve learned to never go to her house already full. She’s a persistent little lady, and even if you initially say no, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll somehow wind up with a plate in front of you.
Today I’m guest posting on My Own Balance (a blog I love and ready daily!), and I’m sharing a recipe that reminds me of my grandma: apple dapple pancakes. It’s one that she has whipped up for breakfast ever since I can remember.
Talking about apple dapple pancakes made me think of other favorite breakfast recipes of mine. While a lot of the time I simply grab a protein bar, eat a yogurt with fruit, or a bowl of cereal, I also like to take a few minutes to make breakfast on some days. Here are my top breakfast recipes these days:
After a week of wearing the dreaded cone, Harley’s rash has healed and I was able to take the cone off of her. In true Harley style, having the cone on was anything but easy. Besides her being generally miserable and refusing to eat for the first couple of days, there were 2 particularly annoying parts of the cone:
1.) The first night she had it on, Harley walked around whining and pacing my bedroom the entire night. You’d think she would tire herself out, which she would for 20-30 minutes at at time, but then she’d be back at it. It.sucked.
2.) While driving with her in my backseat, I had the window cracked for her. Harley took it upon herself to put it all the way down (yes, she just pushes the button), and just as I was telling her to get her head back in the car so I could put it up, Harley’s cone got stuck in the window. She panicked and frantically backed out of it, and with that, her cone, collar, and leash all went flying out of my window and onto the busy road. After having a mild heart attack watching cars dodge it, I was able to run into the middle of the road and recover her gear! This obviously did not phase Harley, and after I put the cone back on, she kept crying for me to open the window again.
We celebrated her cone freedom by going for a lunchtime hike today. It was cooler but nice out, and as usual around here, the views were pretty!
Moving onto food, this morning’s breakfast was a good one. I had a pear that was passing its prime and needed to be used ASAP (Anyone else feel like pears go from being underripe to being overripe in like half a day??), and I was feeling a little creative, so I came up with the idea to bake it with some honey, oats, cinnamon & date yumminess.
First I sliced my pear and layered it in a small baking dish.
Next I combined a few dates, old fashioned oats, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt in my food processor, then I spooned it over the pears. I drizzled honey over top and sprinkled honey slivered almonds evenly around.
After baking it for about 20 minutes, I practically inhaled my bowl of warm gooey pear. It turned out to be a healthy sweet tooth satisfier – at 9 am! Sometimes I eat things that pass as a meal but could really also be a dessert. No complaints here! 🙂
What a lovely Thursday night it is — despite the New York Giants losing tonight’s football game and going 0-6 of the season. Whomp. After a hard workout at the gym, I came home to whip up dinner and watch the game in hopes of a first win. With a pumpkin pie candle burning, the game on my TV, and my favorite grilled cheese for dinner – cheddar & gruyere with avocado, fried zucchini & horseradish mustard – I couldn’t help but think what a relaxing autumn evening it has been. Ya know, despite my having a slight heart attack and yelling at my TV in between bites of deliciousness.
The focus of today’s post is a breakfast or lunch combo that was born out my need to break out the new mason jar I bought in Amsterdam and start my day off in a fancy schmancy way.
I started off combining a few of my favorite things: honey and honey roasted slivered almonds, as well as some ricotta.
For my fruit, I had just bought pear halves in white grape juice to try out, and had some gorgeous berries on hand, but you can really use whatever fruit your little heart desires.
I simply layered the fruit and ricotta mixture, then topped the cup with more honey and slivered almonds.
I was on the lookout for a fun mason jar for awhile now, and while I think that the jar I bought from the House of Bols distillery was meant more for gin than fruit and ricotta, it certainly worked well! 😉
This parfait is healthy, yummy, filling, and extremely simple to throw together, making it perfect to serve to guests for breakfast on a lazy weekend morning…or to make for yourself on any day, as I did!
Before I get to this deliciousness, my first pumpkin recipe of the fall…
…I have a few things to chat about.
One, after much time and frustration I HAVE FIXED MY ANNOYING BLOG ISSUE! I thought that something was funky a couple weeks ago while I was in Europe, but I thought it had more to do with my traveling and using random Internet networks than anything else. When I came home, it seemed to get even worse, but then I had to get ready for my Seattle trip. Long story short, yesterday was the first time I had the hours & energy to figure out what the heck was happening.
The first person I spoke to at Bluehost (my server) was very little help and sent me into a tizzy trying to figure out what all of this technical stuff was that could have been the culprit. I went to bed with blog problems dancing in my head, and I had weird dreams and kept waking up. Clearly I’m not good at going to sleep with something unresolved!
This morning, I decided to try chatting with Bluehost again, and this time I got someone who was helpful and took the time to discover what the issue was. Long story short, it was this plugin I’ve had for quite awhile going haywire and messing up my whole site. It’s now deactivated, so hopefully all will be well moving forward! I did find out that I can optimize my site and make it faster by working on a couple things, so I’m happy that realizing that came out of the hours staring at my computer screen last night.
Why is it that in general, the first customer support person I ever speak to sucks? The lesson I’ve learned is that if you call somewhere to fix an issue and they supposedly can’t help you, wait awhile, then call back and see if the next person can help you!
Anyways, I’m just happy to have fixed the problem. If you’re ever having issues with your email subscription, RSS feed, or access to my site, please let me know!
Onto today’s workout, this afternoon I took Harley for a hike at Mount Madonna Park. We haven’t been there since before I got my foot cast on mid-summer, and it was nice to return to my secluded hiking spot on a beautiful day!
Since there’s no one usually on this trail, I let Harley off the leash to roam around as we hike. As bad as she is on the leash, Harley’s great when I let her off it. She’ll walk a bit ahead, then stop and turn around to make sure I’m right behind her, or she’ll stop to smell something but then run to catch up. It’s pretty cute and I like not having to tug her or constantly say “heel” the whole time.
It was so peaceful to hike and enjoy the scenery. What a perfect time to reflect and de-stress!
Now onto food!
As usual at the start of fall, pumpkin has been everywhere I turn, so naturally I got into a pumpkin recipe kind of mood. Since pancakes are my favorite fancy breakfast food, it was my obvious choice.
Pumpkin, cinnamon, pecans… this recipe just screams fall. And I’m sure that I’ll be repeating this recipe over and over as cooler weather moves in. Or this weekend, when it’ll be 90 degrees out. Same difference right?
Another weekend has flown by, and Monday came oh so quickly. As I’ve mentioned before, I telecommute for my job, and working from home has its perks:
Sometimes I work in my pajamas. As a matter of fact, if I have a conference call at 8 am or earlier, it’s an almost guarantee that I will not be dressed yet. I also get to work with my dog sleeping at my feet under my desk the majority of the time, which is pretty sweet.
I’m lucky enough to have a pretty flexible schedule. If I need a breather or am having writer’s block, I can go for a walk with my pup or take a workout break.
And since my kitchen is just down the stairs from my office, I make pretty much all of my meals. I love being able to make my own food and taking a few moments to play around with recipes. Cue today’s breakfast:
I wanted to include some veggies in my breakfast, but didn’t feel like making a green smoothie. So instead, I came up with these tofu tacos – combining bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, avocado, chives and salsa with tofu and shredded cheese, then piling the mixture on mini whole wheat tortillas. I used Smart & Delicious wraps, which I love – they’re low in calories and fat, and high in fiber and protein. The tacos were a yummy way to get some produce in early on in my day!