Category: Vegetarian

Certainly Uncertain

So few things in life are certain. Ben Franklin taught us only two things in life are certain: death and taxes. I always found this kind of dark and depressing. This is a little better:

*laser sounds*

Oh Harrison, what a dream boat.

Erm, anywho, I’m not trying to get all deep and weird here, by the way. What I’m getting at, I suppose, is that I am absolutely certain that just about nothing is certain.

Take pregnancy for example. Pregnancy is never certain. No matter how many times you read “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” you can never really know what to expect. You can get a pretty good ideaaaa of what to expect. Really, though, you won’t be certain of how your experience will be until you have it.

It’s kind of crazy for me actually. I may have heard my little munchin’s heartbeat twice already, but there are some days when I’m like…“Are we suuuuuuuuuuuuuure there’s a baby in there?” I’ve heard so many horrible stories about women spending the entire first three months of their pregnancy in the bathroom or passed out on the couch. Every email I get says “your nausea should be subsiding now” and “you’ll be less tired soon” and “soon your appetite will return”  and while I’ve absolutely had some mornings where I didn’t quite feel tip-top I’m still completely flabbergasted that I’ve made it this far feeling as good as I do. I’d like to attribute it to my healthy lifestyle, but I may never know for certain!

One of the few things that I am always certain of is my ability to make my Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins, without a recipe in front of me, every single time.

Johnny loves these muffins. I love these muffins. My in-laws love these muffins. They’re so delicious and chocolaty and I never feel too guilty eating them because I don’t use any butter or oil in the recipe. I love knowing that every time I make them they will come out exactly as I anticipate.

Besides bananas, the primary ingredient in these muffins is oats. These muffins are almost more like individual baked oatmeals than they are muffins, as they are quite dense. But two of these babies will ring in at just over 300 calories – perfect for the first meal of the day – and you get a wonderful combination or fruit, whole grains, protein, and chocolate!  Oats are also fantastic for moms-to-be! The fiber will help to keep your belly full and keep away any hunger pangs until lunch time.

There is absolutely nothing bad about these muffins, except, perhaps, that we go through them so fast. I literally make these once a week. Sometimes, for funsies, I’ll make them in my mini muffin tin if I want them to be more snackable than breakfastable. I hope you love them as much as my family and I do!! Look at that cute lil’ muffin!

 

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

  • 4 super ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup nonfat milk
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1/4-1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4-1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Spray a standard or mini muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the mashed bananas, eggs, vanilla, milk, and sugars. Mix well.

Add the oats, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Stir until just combined.

Add the chocolate chips and walnuts and stir gently to incorporate.

Fill the muffin tin with the mixture, filling each cup just about to the top as these don’t rise too much.

Bake at 375 until golden brown, about 25 minutes.

The batch in this photo right here have some dried cranberries and 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder in them, too. Because why not? They’re my muffins and I can do what I want. Try the above recipe or add your own flair to them. Either way, I’m certain they’ll be awesome!

Three Bean Tamale Bake

Greetings, ya’ll! As promised, I have returned with a delightful new recipe to share with you.

Now, I mentioned in my post Monday that with this baby on board, I’ve started to be a bit less fond of chicken. It’s so weird!! I can still eat a little bit once in a while, but I’ve started seeking alternatives for my quick post-workout meals.

This particular recipe is one I’ve had in my arsenal for a while and just kind of forgot about. Do you have any recipes like that in your repertoire?  I used to make this all the time with ground turkey or shredded chicken, but I decided tonight that would make it meatless! If your husband is anything like mine…the idea of a meatless dinner (unless it’s Mac & Cheese) may not be his favorite thing. Lucky for me, top anything with Jiffy Corn Bread and he’ll manage through with a smile on his face.

Starring a hearty combination of black beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans…all you really need to make this recipe is a can opener and a skillet! This recipe is fantastic for any mom-to-be who is experiencing any meat aversions or anyone looking for a meatless, high protein recipe! Future mommies should make it a point to try and incorporate beans and whole grains into their diet daily… your baby (and digestive system) will thank you later!

 Three Bean Tamale Bake

  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can sweet corn
  • 1 can green chilies
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/4 cup prepared salsa verde
  • 1 tablespoon Chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 box prepared corn bread mix (like Jiffy or Bob’s Red Mill), prepared to box directions
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
  • Optional Garnishes: avocado, lime, cilantro, scallions

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in an oven safe skillet. Add the onion, peppers, and tomatoes and sauté for 5 minutes or until they begin to soften. Add the remaining ingredients (except the cornbread) to the skillet and stir well until combined.

Pour prepared corn bread mix on top of the bean mixture. Top with cheese and place it in the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Let sit 5 minutes before serving (You don’t realllllllllllly have to wait if you’re impatient like me… it just will stay a bit more together this way and you are less likely to burn your tongue!!)

Here it is fresh from the oven….gosh I can’t wait to have a camera again (instead of my camera phone!)

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Annnnd heeeeeeeeere it is all delicious and served up with some shredded cheese, fresh slices of avocado, scallions, cilantro, and a little squeeze of lime. It’s not the prettiest meal I’ve ever made, but boy is it delicious!

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Confessions of an Omnivore

When you break it down to its most simple and basic definition, an omnivore is an animal or person that eats food of both plant and animal origin.

I am an omnivore and I am proud.

I love kale and blueberries. I love bacon and lobster. I love eggs and cheese.  I have no desire to omit any of these foods from my diet.

When it comes down to it, there are loads of other omnivorous creatures out there and I’m pleased as punch to be a part of the crew.

Turtles, Skunks, Chimpanzees, Hedgehogs, Sloths, Pigs, Red Pandas, and Piranhas are all omnivores!

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There have been times in my life where I’ve seriously considered vegetarianism – like after I watched Food Inc. for the first time or when I first started studying nutrition my freshman year of college.

Could I give up red meat, pork, and poultry? Probably. I’ve considered becoming a lacto-ovo-vegatarian or pesco-vegetarian before. Ultimately, though, I’ve always found both of those terms to be dripping in pretentiousness. “Hi. I’m Jen and I’m a pesco-vegetarian.” Ugh, I’d sound like such a douche! Particularly to friends and family who aren’t familiar with the terminology. I can just imagine someone saying “Why doesn’t she just say I only eat seafood?

Although I undoubtedly respect people who can adhere to a vegan lifestyle, I can openly admit that veganism is not something I’d ever be interested in. Now, don’t get me wrong,  I do love animals and  I certainly don’t support their “exploitation” or many parts of  American food and agribusiness industry, but it’s just not a lifestyle I want to live. The most “vegan” thing about me is probably the fact that I don’t eat veal or foi gras – though I tried both in culinary school.  I don’t think either of them are tasty enough to support the processes by which they are obtained.  Also,  I’ve never quite understood the vegan stance on honey. I’m not sure they all do either. Not hating…just saying.

It’s taken me  until very recently to realize that I think every food has its place in my life in one way or another.

Every food, of course, except for those few things I don’t eat. Aside from veal and foi gras, the list of things I don’t eat includes:

  • mayonnaise
  • dill (so also pickles)
  • anise flavored things (like black liquorice)
  • caraway seeds (rye bread)
  • sauerkraut
  • essentially anything containing these ingredients

Just so you know, and don’t judge me as hard, I have tried all of these things many ways on numerous occasions and I really just can’t stomach any of them. My Polish ancestors would be so disappointed in me.

The best part, in my opinion, about being an omnivore is that when I’m preparing food for myself or, ya know, whoever else happens to be around that day, I can use whatever I want! I love cheeseburgers, but I also love a great black bean burger, too! Usually at least two days a week I don’t eat any meat at all, but it’s quite rare that’s ever my intention. I just eat things that I enjoy! If what I make happens to be meatless, awesome! If it’s gluten free – spectacular! I think it’s such a blessing to have the ability so consume so many different things, as it assures my body has the best chance of obtaining all of the nutrients it needs from all of the necessary sources.

What brought on this omnivores rant?

Ha. I’m glad you asked…

Last night when I was preparing my breakfast for today I was just looking for something that would be tasty and good for me, which OBVIOUSLY is my favorite way to start the day. I threw some ingredients into a pot and before I knew it I realized it was vegan!

*Self Five*

I may not be a vegan, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy some tofu from time to time. I may not live a gluten free lifestyle, but I can’t stop eating quinoa! I think it’s so important to realize that you can do so much with food.

An omnivore’s options are only limited by their taste-buds.

Today’s recipe (I know, we’re finally here! Woot!) is so delicious and healthful that even the most carnivorous folks out there could enjoy this vegan and gluten free recipe… for breakfast OR dessert!!

Coconut Brown Rice Pudding

makes 2 servings

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 can lite coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • Splenda, Stevia, or Whatever Sweetener You Like – to taste (I used 2 packets of Splenda)
  • 1/4 cup almonds, chopped, for topping

Combine all of the ingredients except the almonds in a small pot over medium-low heat.

Cover partially with a lid to allow some steam to escape.

Let cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching on the bottom.

Serve warm, topped with almonds and more cinnamon, and enjoy!

coconutbrownricepudding

Monday Morning Munchies

Happy Monday!!

I hope everyone got to enjoy their weekend as much as I did. Do anything exciting??

Mine was pretty casual and super relaxing. That’s the best kind of weekend in my opinion!

I got to my Zumba class on Saturday morning which was awesome! Johnny and I went out a bit and I bought a new workout top at Target for $12 which I’m super excited about. It’s just a simple short sleeved top but anytime I find a nice workout top for under $15 I always take advantage. I LOVE certain brands and lines of workout attire but I can NOT justify ever spending $60 on a tank top. Ever, ever, ever, ever, ever. *sigh* When you work out, do you prefer tank tops or short sleeved tops? I totally prefer short sleeves. No idea why. 

We also went to a local Mexican place to celebrate my father-in-law’s birthday for dinner Saturday night. I got tamales and they were ridic! Ya know, in a good way. I was so hungry I forgot to snap a picture though. *OOPS!*

Sunday was delightful, too! I got to my yoga class and we had a substitute instructor who teaches in the Kirpala style, rather than the standard Vinyasa style most folks (including myself) are accustomed to. It was different and refreshing to try something new! Kirpala yoga focuses more on holding poses for longer periods of time, or “surrendering” to the poses. Vinyasa – which means “flow” – is much more intense and you flow from pose to pose moving with the breath. I love my Vinyasa yoga, but Kirpala was a nice change of pace. I also felt super energized after the Kirpala class so I hopped on the treadmill and ran for a solid 20 minutes. This, for me, is quite an accomplishment! We hung out for most of Sunday after the gym. Johnny was super sweet and made dinner with me!! That’s a rare occurrence that I was thrilled to take advantage of. We made mini turkey pesto meatloaves with mac &  cheese and peas. They weren’t particularly photogenic, but I may post the recipe on here soon if I make them again!

Anywho,  onto the morning munchies!!

I was up early enough over the weekend to take a little longer to prepare my breakfast. The recipe I’m sharing with you is one of my absolute favoritessssssss. I used to make it all the time when I was in college and I’ve recently revamped it a little bit – nutritionally and flavorly (because this is my blog and I can make up words if I want to). No butter, just 1 teaspoon of oil, and loadssss of flavor…and Frank’s Red Hot!

*Please be advised the amount of hot sauce in this recipe is to taste. I use a BOATLOAD of it…but you could even omit it if you don’t care for spicy and this will still be a hella cool (or hot 🙂 ) way to start your day*

Red Hot Breakfast Hash & Eggs

serves 2

  • 1 large russet potato, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 yellow (or green, or orange, or whatever) bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons Frank’s Red Hot
  • 2 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 green onion, sliced (for garnish)
  • 4 eggs (cooked to your liking)

Add the olive oil to a small skillet and heat on medium heat. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper and add to the pan. Toss the potatoes to coat with oil and then let them sit, untouched for abour 5 minutes. They will start to form a delicious, crispy, brown crust!

Add the peppers and onions to the pan, stir, and let sit for another 5 minutes. Turn the heat up to high and continue to cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes more. Add the garlic powder and Frank’s Red Hot, stirring everything to coat and combine. (You may want to stand back when you add the hot sauce…or you may suffer a coughing attack from all of the spicy goodness hitting the heat.)

Once everything is coated, turn the heat to low to keep warm. Sprinkle with cheese.

If you’re like me and you like an egg with a runny yolk – here’s how I make my eggs.

In a separate pan, spray with nonstick spray to coat and set over medium-low heat. Crack in your eggs and let cook until the white is mostly set. Add 1 tablespoon of water to the pan, cover, and crank the heat. Let cook until the yolk is set to your desired doneness. (This technique is called Steam Basting the egg…though some restaurants may do this butter or oil…the water will create steam which will cook the top of the egg. KNOWLEDGE!)

Serve your hash and eggs topped with more green onions and – you guessed it – more hot sauce!

redhothash&eggs

 

 

Guilt Free Quiche

The title says it all. But just in case you are still too awe stricken to comprehend it I shall reiterate…

GUILT. FREE. QUICHE.

I’m not even kidding when I tell you that this quiche, inspired by the Tortilla -Crusted Goat Cheese and Asparagus Quiche in the June/July issue of Everyday with Rachel Ray (who I absolutely adore, thank you very much!!!!), is not just INSANELY delicious, but one slice is a mere 2 Weight Watchers Points! The average store bought/restaurant made quiche  is a whopping 10 points!

How can this be, Jen??

I’m so glad you asked!!

Typically, quiche is made by combining whole eggs, heavy cream, LOADS of (scrumptious) cheese and pouring the mixture inside a fat laden, buttery pastry crust. Sure, it’s freakin’ tasty, but if you’re watching your weight quiche can be a brunch nightmare.

You can sleep easy with this quiche recipe in your arsenal! (Heh. That was so corny that I actually “laughed out loud” Heh. I rock. Moving on…) I took your typical quiche and replaced half of the eggs with egg whites, replaced the heavy cream with creamy nonfat yogurt and I filled my quiche to the brim with caramelized onions, mushrooms and spinach. Caramelizing the onions and mushrooms requires a little time, but the flavors that develop are absolute bliss!

The tortilla crust, a la Rachel Ray, worked wonderfully! I feared the bottom might get a little soggy, but it got surprisingly crisp! This quiche is great leftover reheated in a toaster oven to keep the crust crunchy! I hope you loveeeeee itttttt!!!!

Spinach and Feta
Tortilla-Crusted Quiche

  • 4 (fajita sized) whole wheat tortillas
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup egg whites (approximately 2 large or 3 small eggs worth)
  • 1/2 cup nonfat yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 small red onion, sliced thin
  • 1 1/2 cups button or cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Overlap the tortillas in a 9-inch pie plate sprayed lightly with nonstick spray.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt the butter over low heat. Once melted, add the onions and stir to coat. Let cook on low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, When the onions begin to caramelize, add the mushrooms and cook for 10 minutes more or until the mushrooms are brown. Add the spinach and cook until wilted. Pour mixture into the prepared pie plate. Sprinkle the top with crumbled feta.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, egg whites and yogurt together. Pour over the spinach mixture in the pie plate. Sprinkle the top with oregano and garlic.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top is golden in color and the center is set and no longer jiggly. Let sit 10 minutes before slicing and serving!

My apologies for the poor photo! The lighting in my kitchen is awful and I desperately need a new camera! Regardless, here is the finished product!!