Tagged: almonds

Chocolate for Breakfast, Please & Thank You

Well hello there!!

What’s it been? 7 months? Yikes!

The hiatus was definitely necessary. Not because I DON’T enjoy blogging.
But because I DO enjoy being a Mom!!
Time has gone by so, insanely fast it’s hard for me to believe!

mom and em

At 10 months old, my sweet little Emma Bear has finally almost fallen into a routine!

HUZZAH!

This means a few things:

  1. With naps a part of the every day I have more me time – for things like exercise and blogging;
  2. Without being latched onto me 24/7, I am finally starting to have the time to experiment with new recipes instead of just making the same old all the time;
  3. Sleeping through the night may not be a thing yet, but we’re getting close! A well rested Mom and Baby are a much happier pair!

There are soooooo many different directions I feel like I could take this post. I could talk about the attempted face-lift I’m giving the blog. (It’s still a work in progress – so please forgive the ever changing layouts as of late. I’ll find something I like soon, I’m sure. You’ll also notice a name change! Twenty-Something & Starving has become Mommy Runs for Food! I’ll explain that later, too!) I could discuss with you adventures in breastfeeding and un-planned bed-sharing. I could talk about my latest workout routine, PiYo, and my conversion to being a team beachbody believer. But for today, I think I will stick with the classic quick and easy recipe!

In a perfect world I would eat chocolate every single day without consequence. (The same goes for peanut butter – but I’ll save that for another day.) There may have even been a time not too long ago when I did, in fact, eat chocolate every day. Ooopsies! Now that I’m really back on board the health train, I limit my chocolate intake to a few days a week and mostly have it in the form of protein, Shakeology, and dark chocolate on occasion. So having chocolate for breakfast is kind of my jam!

Now that it’s finally not freezing outside, overnight oats are a staple breakfast for me. At night, once I put Em down to bed, I usually have some decaf tea and get my hubby’s lunch together for the following day. While my water is coming to a boil, it’s soooo easy to just throw some ingredients into a jar and have breakfast ready and waiting for me in the morning. I’ve been experimenting with a few different recipes for overnight oats – but these ones may be my new favorite. Packed with protein and tons of chocolate flavor for a sweet addict like me – waking up has never tasted so good so fast.

Toasted Almond Chocolate Overnight Oats

In a mason jar or container with a lid, mix the following ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup oats (I used steel cut, but rolled would be great, too!)
  • 1/4 cup nonfat vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 1 scoop chocolate whey protein
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Set in the refrigerator and breakfast is waiting for you in the morning!

Serve topped with 1/2 of a sliced banana, a few chocolate chips, and some toasted slivered almonds!

 

toasted almond chocolate overnight oats

 

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

Happy Monday & Morning Munchies

Happy Monday, everyone!!

I love a good breakfast – I’m sure most of ya’ll have figured that out by now.

Just about every Saturday morning  (and some Sundays, too!) I  typically make my husband three scrambled eggs with American cheese, a big cup of black coffee, and two slices of buttered whole wheat toast. Although I enjoy preparing my hubby breakfast, especially when he asks me to do so ever-so-adorably,  sometimes it’s really hard to time it so that we can sit down and enjoy our breakfast together when I want something different (which is always, because I don’t care for scrambled eggs!). This weekend, though, I found a solution!

Note: I hope ya’ll have been enjoying my quinoa recipes, because here comes another one!! I  can’t help myself!! It’s so quick to cook up, so versatile, and soooooooooooo tasty! The fact that this stuff is actually good for me is the best bonus ever!

This recipe is really quite simple and I made it WHILE I had John’s eggs cooking away. By the time the toast was buttered, my breakfast was good to go, too!! It keeps great in the fridge if you make extra, too, btw! I still have some left for later this week that I can’t wait to indulge in.

Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Quinoa

makes 2 servings

  • 1 cup nonfat milk (soy or almond milk would be delightful, too, I just always have skim milk on hand)
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon honey (plus extra for drizzling as you see fit)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup apple. chopped
  • 1/4 cup almonds, chopped

Pour the milk into a small pot and bring it to a gentle boil. Add the vanilla and the quinoa, stir to combine, and cover. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let cook 15 minutes. (The milk looks scary sometimes and may bubble up to the lid. Just remove the lid and stir if this happens, it’ll all turn out fine!) Remove from heat and let sit with the lid on for 5 minutes more. Stir in the honey and cinnamon.  Serve topped with chopped apple, almonds, and more honey and cinnamon if you like! (I also poured a little extra milk on mine…I’m not sure why really…to make it like a cross breed of hot and cold cereal maybe? I just thought it was a good idea at the timebreakfast quinoa. It was. 🙂 )

 

Energy Bites and Peppermint Tea

That’s what making me happy today. 🙂

Energy bites and peppermint tea.

For those of you that know me you know that it’s exceedingly rare I ever go a day without a cup of tea…or four. But these days I do my very best to balance between the caffeinated and decaffeinated stuff.  I usually start my day with a big cup of English Breakfast tea, throw some green tea in the afternoon, and I spend my evenings drinking peppermint herbal tea. I’m telling you, even when I’m in the sourest of moods I find it pretty tough to stay angry when I take a sip of tea. Johnny even says I have a tea face…I think it looks something like this.

Anywho

Heh. Get it…because it’s an owl…

Seriously though. When I drink tea I make that face.

Now – onto the energy bites!! I, personally, am a huge fan of Larabars. They’re all natural and come in so many delicious flavors (although Central PA still hasn’t gotten it’s hands on any Carrot Cake  OR Blueberry Muffin ones *sigh*). I love the company as a whole and their dedication towards using all natural/organic/fair trade certified ingredients. HOWEVER – and I may or may not have mentioned this before – I’m poor and can’t justify spending money on them. At least where I shop they’re over $1/bar. Sooooooooo I’ve finally decided to take a crack at making a homemade version of them…with QUINOA!

When I made my Buffalo Chicken Quinoa and Cheese last week, I cooked up some extra quinoa that’s just been sitting around looking for a purpose. Why not throw some extra protein into these energy bites, right?! Right! The dates sweeten everything perfectly, the almonds are filled with protein and healthy fat, the cocoa powder will give you a dose of fiber and antioxidants, and the almond extract boosts the flavor to the next level. I adore these energy bites!

You need a food processor for this recipe and they’re a cinch to whip up! This recipe made 12 squares.

Chocolate Almond Quinoa Energy Bites

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/4 cup raw almonds
  • 1/8 cup unsweetend cocoa powder
  • 4 medjool dates
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Place the dates into the food processor and pulse until they form a sticky ball. Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor and let it wiz until everything is combined, scraping down the sides once or twice to make sure everything gets incorporated. Spread the mixture (which will be quite sticky- wet your fingers a bit to prevent it from sticking to you) onto a small pan to form an approximately 5×7 inch  rectangle about 1/2 an inch thick (I used the pan from my toaster oven).  Place in the refrigerator  to set – for at least an hour or two. Slice into squares and munch!!

Here’s what you start with…

the lineup

and here’s the finished product!

chocolate almond quinoa energy bites

Banana Nut Granola

Here is a quick, easy and rather healthy granola recipe I came up with this week. I used less oil than most granola recipes call for, which I think made it less chunky, but I’m willing to sacrifice a chunky granola if it means my tummy won’t get chunky from eating it! Feel free to alter this recipe to suit your tastes. I’m a banana nut lover so I thought the addition of banana chips and cinnamon to this granola made it top notch. In the fall I bet apple chips would be sensational! I’ve been mixing this in my yogurt all week! 🙂

Banana Nut Granola

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup wheat germ
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups mixed nuts, chopped (almonds and walnuts are my fave!)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 honey
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • A hefty sprinkling of cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup banana chips
  • 1/4 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large (microwave safe ) measuring cup, combine the oil, honey and vanilla. Warm in the microwave for 20 seconds or until warm and pourable.
Combine all but banana chips and raisins on a large sheet pan in one thin layer.
Pour the honey mixture evenly over ingredients. Mix well so that everything is thoroughly combined.
Bake for 10 minutes, remove from heat and stir, and bake for 10 minutes more.
Let granola cool completely before adding the banana chips and raisins. Store in an airtight container. Enjoy 🙂