My New Favorite Breakfast

For the past several months, I’ve been eating the same breakfast – not because it’s on some diet plan or because I HAVE to, but because I want to.  It’s freaking delicious!  I got the basic method from Swim Bike Mom’s blog and then tweaked it based on my own tastes.  It’s a great pre-long workout meal or just a terrific, “sticks with you” breakfast in general.

Protein Quinoa Bowl

1 cup cooked quinoa
1 banana, smooshed up (technical culinary term)
1 Tbsp almond butter
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I like Vega Protein & Greens)
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
dash nutmeg
1/2-3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
Sliced almonds, optional

Mix everything but the blueberries together in a saucepan and heat until boiling (careful not to let it scorch).  If using frozen blueberries, pour the hot porridge over the berries in a bowl.  If using fresh berries, just sprinkle them on top.  Sliced almonds are a nice finishing touch too.  🙂

NOTE:  This is really just a method more than a recipe.  I’ve used brown rice, steel-cut oats, and millet and the results are just as good.  Use whatever berries you like.  Drizzle with honey if it’s not sweet enough for you.  Use peanut butter (or other nut butter) instead of almond butter.  Play with it and see what you like best!  And it’s super quick if you make a big batch of quinoa in advance and then you just have to scoop it into the pan.

Hope you love it as much as I do!

Photo Credit: DamnDelicious.com

Photo Credit: DamnDelicious.com

What’s For Lunch?

whats-for-lunchRecalling that 2016 is the Year of #NoExcuses , I have made it my business to get my butt in shape both in the gym and in the kitchen!  Breakfast, dinner, and snacks are not a big deal, but lunches often have me stumped!  I am not a big sandwich eater.  I don’t like the way bread makes me feel and most gluten-free breads taste like dirt.  When you take meat and bread out of the mix, lunches can become a bit perplexing – especially when you also don’t want to eat salads for lunch every day of the week.

Well, I’ve come across two recipes that I dearly LOVE that I thought I’d share with you guys.  The cool thing about them is that it is super easy to change the spices and create a whole new dish.

The first recipe comes from our friends at Forks Over Knives (by the way, I highly recommend this site for recipe – they also have an app that is VERY handy).

Mexican-Rice-Soup-LFedit-800x534Mexican Rice Soup

BY HEATHER MCDOUGALL

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 15-ounce can pinto beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 15-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 cup long–grain brown rice, toasted (see note)
  • Salt to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place oil in a small pool in the center of a large skillet, and add garlic and onion.  Cook over medium-low heat for 4 minutes until soft.  (Again, I saute in water or broth)
  2. Add cumin, cayenne, and paprika.  Stir and cook for 1 minute to release flavors.
  3. Add diced tomatoes with liquid, water/broth, lentils, kale, and salt.  Stir and raise heat to high.  When mixture boils, reduce heat to low and cover.  Simmer for 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

VARIATIONS:

I omitted the cumin and cayenne and added a couple of tsps of dried italian seasoning.  It was terrific.

I think this would also be good with a curry flavor.  I haven’t tried it yet, but I think it would work well.

 

If you’re bored with your lunch routine, give these recipes a whirl!  They are delicious and so versatile!  Bon appetit!

So, what’s for lunch in your neck of the woods?

Keeping It Simple…

fogMy Mom is a HUGE advocate of keeping things simple.  She has a whole shelf of books devoted to the concept of living a simple/simplified life (Sarah Ban Breathnach, anyone?) that she has read over and over again.

I get the idea and I like things clean and simple – I really do.

However, when life gets overwhelming (as it tends to do often these days) I turn into a squirrel – over here, no there, no, back over there…  Things get “cluttered” – literally and figuratively – my desk, my house, and most of all MY MIND!!!

And that generally doesn’t work so well since I share my life with an OCD, neat-freak.

Eventually there comes a point where I snap and I can’t stand the clutter anymore – literally and figuratively – and I clean – my desk, my house, and most of all MY MIND!!

How does one go about cleaning their mind, you ask?

Well, I imagine the “gurus” all have their techniques, but for me, I just have to stop – EVERYTHING!  I go to a quiet place, sit down, close my eyes, and empty my mind.  I repeat “Every complex problem is just a series of simple steps – keep it simple” over and over again.

It’s as if I swiffer out all the cob-webby thoughts that were cluttering up the dark corners.

Sometimes it only takes a few minutes… Sometimes it takes an hour, but I ALWAYS feel refreshed and rejuvenated when I do this exercise.  I come back to my very complex world and start breaking things down to simple tasks, and the overwhelm does go away – for a while. 😉

Believe it or not, this post was not intended to be about my mental swiffering, but rather to share the thought that sometimes simple is just BETTER!!

Last night’s dinner was a perfect example.  We had steamed Old Bay Shrimp and corn on the cob and it was so, so good!  Nothing fancy, no recipes with 20 steps and 30 ingredients, just simple, real food.

I just wanted to share the recipe:

Steamed Old Bay Seasoned Shrimp

Steamed Old Bay Seasoned Shrimp

Steamed Old Bay Shrimp

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. shrimp in shells
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp. Old Bay seasoning

Directions

  • Bring vinegar, water, and Old Bay to a simmer in a large saucepan.  Add shrimp to pan.  Stir well.  Cover.  Shrimp should be opaque when cooked (only a few minutes).
  • Drain shrimp.  Peel and eat.

corn-on-the-cobCorn on the Cob

Ingredients

  • 4 ears of corn, shucked
  • water

Directions

  • Put corn in a stockpot and add water to cover ears by a couple of inches.
  • Bring water to a boil
  • Turn heat back to Low and allow to simmer for 10 minutes
  • Drain water, add butter, Voila!!

Recipe: Spicy Chicken-Broccoli Rice Bowl

2014-01-20 001 2014-01-20 003

LUNCH!!!

This “recipe” – and I use the term loosely, because it’s more of a method than an actual recipe – is quickly becoming my go-to lunch favorite.

It is super-quick, super-easy, and super-delicious.  It is also an AWESOME way to use up leftovers, which appeals to my more frugal nature, since you can throw pretty much any veggie or meat in the pan.

Today, I made a spicy chicken-broccoli brown rice bowl and, boy howdy, is it good!!! 🙂

Spicy Chicken-Broccoli Rice Bowl

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp EVOO
  • 1/2 tsp chili oil
  • 1/4 cup sliced red onion
  • 4 white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 5 oz. cooked chicken breast, diced
  • 1 cup broccoli florets (mine were frozen but I thawed them out first)
  • 1 tbsp chopped nuts (peanuts are good, but all I had were almonds – also quite delicious)
  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
  • Braggs Aminos to taste

Directions

Heat EVOO and chili oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.

Add onions, garlic, ginger, and mushrooms and saute until onions are translucent and mushrooms are cooked through.  Add chicken, broccoli, and nuts and stir fry until everything is hot.

Put rice in a bowl, spritz with a couple of pumps of Braggs Aminos, top with chicken/veggie mix, and spritz with a few more pumps of Braggs.

Enjoy!!  Makes 1 large serving, but it could easily feed 2 people for lunch.

New Year’s Eve Randomness

random-thoughts-1This morning I woke up with a bunch of “randomness” in my head – I think it’s time for me to go back to work – so I thought I would share it.

shrimp-scampi-c

Photo Credit: Elise Bauer, Simply Recipes

Random Thought #1:  Best Shrimp Scampi Recipe EVER

When we were planning our Free Week menu Deb suggested that we have Shrimp Scampi one night.  I was happy to comply – I love Shrimp Scampi and we rarely have it because 1.  Deb is not a big pasta fan (and you HAVE to serve scampi over pasta) and 2.  I thought it meant a plate laden with butter and wine, and that just doesn’t fit into our food plan all that often.

I was looking through my cookbooks for a recipe and I found this one in my Betty Crocker’s New Cookbook (1996).  No butter… No wine…  Why not?

It was soooo good!!!  Amazing actually!

Shrimp Scampi
Prep:  25 min.  Cook:  5 min
Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

1-1/2 pounds uncooked fresh medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp thinly sliced green onions (I used finely diced white onion)
1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (I used 1/2 Tbsp dried parsley)
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
2 large cloves garlic, minced
Grated parmesan cheese

Heat oil in large saute pan over medium high heat.  Cook shrimp and remaining ingredients (except cheese) for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, until shrimp are pink and firm.  Remove from heat.  Sprinkle with cheese.

Calories:  145; Fat:  8 g; Carb:  1 g; Protein:  17 g

Random Thought #2:  Quinoa Pasta

As I mentioned above, Deb is not a huge pasta fan.  I can’t relate… I’m Italian – I’ve been eating pasta since before I could walk and it’s always been a staple in my diet.

However, since the end of August, we have been eating (nearly) dairy-free and gluten-free, and well, pasta is nothing if not GLUTEN.

So, when I was at the market last week, I did some label sleuthing in the pasta aisle.  Who knew how many alternative grain pastas there are?  Surely not me! I generally buy whole wheat pasta whenever we do have it.  I tried Dreamfield’s back in the low carb days and didn’t like it at all.  I’ve heard it is better now, but I haven’t worked up the desire to try it again.

quinoa pastaAnyhow, I saw Quinoa Pasta, and although a bit pricey at $3.49 for an 8 oz box, I decided to give it a try.

Ingredients:  Organic corn flour, organic quinoa flour. (I like that!!)

It was REALLY good!!  It did clump together like nobody’s business, but who cares – it was DELICIOUS!!!  And BONUS:  Deb liked it too!

The package says cooking time is 6-9 minutes.  I boiled the noodles for closer to 9 minutes, so perhaps cutting it closer to 6 minutes would result in a less “clumpy” product.

2014-homeRandom Though #3:  Shameless Self-Promotion

I am not in the habit of promoting myself or my business on this blog, because that’s just not what it’s about.  However, January 1st is like our Super Bowl in the mindset coaching and achievement business.

Even if you have given up on New Years resolutions (I have), surely you have goals that you want to achieve in 2014 (I DO!!).

That’s what we do in our company – we help people get from where they are to where they want to be.  We have books, programs, and online coaching services that use a proven process which employs systems and accountability to make the self-discipline required to reach any goal habitual.

Our “tagline” is Where would you be if every time you said “I SHOULD…,” you actually DID?

Think about that!

Only you know what kind of tools YOU need to reach your goals – be they personal or professional, physical or financial, individual or team – the process works if you work the process!  So, that is why we have placed our entire online store on sale – so you can save on the tools that YOU need, not what WE think YOU need.

So check out our online store and if you see something that you feel will help you reach your goals – whatever they are – enter the promo code NEWYEAR14 at checkout and save 30% on everything as my gift to you.

Wishing you your best year EVER!!

RECIPE: Roasted Red Pepper and Prosciutto Stuffed Chicken

Omigosh!  I have to share this recipe with you!  Gina Homolka’s Skinnytaste.com site rarely disappoints, and this recipe is no exception.  I would totally make it for company.  The recipe as written calls for slices of mozzarella cheese, and this is fine.  We have chosen to really limit our non-Free Day dairy intake, so I substituted 1 tsp of shredded parmesan cheese for the mozzarella and it was really, really good!  Enjoy!

prosciutto-and-roasted-pepper-stuffed-chicken-breast

from Skinnytaste.com

Roasted Red Pepper and Prosciutto Stuffed Chicken

Ingredients:
8 thin chicken cutlets, 3 oz each
4 (2.8 oz) slices thin lean prosciutto, sliced in half
4 slices reduced fat provolone or mozzarella, sliced in half
8 slices (2.5 oz) roasted peppers (packed in water or homemade)
24 fresh baby spinach leaves (about 1 oz)
1/2 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1 lemon, juice of
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and fresh pepper
olive oil non-stick spray

Directions:

Wash and dry the chicken cutlets well with paper towels. Combine breadcrumbs in one bowl and in a second bowl mix the olive oil, lemon juice, and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Lightly spray a baking dish with non-stick spray.

Place each cutlet on a work surface such as a cutting board and lay 1/2 slice prosciutto, 1/2 slice cheese, 1 slice of roasted pepper and 3 spinach leaves on one side of the chicken cutlet.  Roll and place seam side down on a dish (no toothpicks needed). Repeat with the remaining chicken.  (Makes 8 servings)

Nutritional Information per serving:  Calories: 190 • Fat: 6 g • Carb: 7 g • Fiber: 1 g • Protein: 27 g

My Homage To Oatmeal

oatmeal-2I devote this post as a homage to oatmeal.

I LOVE oatmeal!  I love oatmeal A LOT!  It is versatile and healthy and clean (old-fashioned or steel cut – not a fan of instant oatmeal) and paired with a couple of scrambled eggs makes for just about the most perfect breakfast ever.

We eat eggs and oatmeal, on average, 3 times per week – especially during the cooler months – and it just never gets old.

Here are 10 great reasons to eat oatmeal (compliments of Mr. Breakfast Blog)

  1. Over 40 studies show that eating oatmeal may help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. According to Quaker, all it takes is 3/4 cup of oatmeal each day to help lower cholesterol. The soluble fiber in oats helps remove LDL or “bad” cholesterol, while maintaining the good cholesterol that your body needs. In January 1997, the Food and Drug Administration announced that oatmeal could carry a label claiming it may reduce the risk of heart disease when combined with a low-fat diet.
  2. The soluble fiber in oatmeal absorbs a considerable amount of water which significantly slows down your digestive process. This result is that you’ll feel full longer, i.e. oatmeal can help you control your weight.
  3. quaker oatsYou probably already have oats in your kitchen. It’s estimated that eighty percent of U.S. households currently have oats in their cupboards.
  4. New research suggests that eating oatmeal may reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes. In fact, the American Diabetes Association already recommends that people with diabetes eat grains like oats. The soluble fiber in these foods help to control blood glucose levels.
  5. With the exception of certain flavored varieties, the oats found in your grocery store are 100% natural. If you look at the ingredients on a canister of rolled oats, you will usually see only one ingredient… rolled oats.
  6. According to recent studies, a diet that includes oatmeal may help reduce high blood pressure. The reduction is linked to the increase in soluble fiber provided by oatmeal. Oats contain more soluble fiber than whole wheat, rice or corn.
  7. Oatmeal contains a wide array of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and is a good source of protein, complex carbohydrates and iron.
  8. The fiber and other nutrients found in oatmeal may actually reduce the risk for certain cancers.
  9. Oatmeal is quick and convenient. Every type of oatmeal can be prepared in a microwave oven. Even when cooked on the stovetop, both old-fashioned and quick oats can usually be made in less than 10 minutes. And what about instant oatmeal… a hot breakfast in under a minute… incredible!
  10. Oatmeal can be absolutely delicious! Whether instant, cooked on the stove or baked in the oven, the combination of flavors you can fit into a serving of oatmeal is limited only by the imagination. Visit Mr Breakfast’s Oatmeal Collection to see just 60 of the ways you can start to enjoy oatmeal today!
oatmeal
10 WAYS TO MAKE OATMEAL INSTANTLY MORE EXCITING
  1. Add fresh or frozen fruit. Sliced bananas are particularly good. A little fistful of frozen blueberries not only add flavor to oatmeal, but your mouth will marvel over the inviting temperature / texture differential when you bite into each little berry.
  2. Add dried fruit such as raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries, dates or sweetened shredded coconut.
  3. Add chopped nuts like walnuts or almonds. Finely chopped nuts can create a tasty crumbled topping.
  4. Add a tablespoon or two of your favorite granola. Mushy boring oatmeal is yesterday’s business. Today you can easily add a delightful crunch to any bowl of oatmeal.
  5. Add a dribble of pure delicious maple syrup.
  6. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Never be afraid of more flavor.
  7. grain-free-cinnamon-raisin-oatmeal-final-2Add a little dollop of yogurt. Flavored yogurts add taste and all yogurts add a smooth creamy texture.
  8. Crush a little handful of your favorite dry breakfast cereal onto your oatmeal. Cap’n Crunch oatmeal anyone?
  9. Stir in a couple teaspoons of your jam or fruit preserves and turn your oatmeal into a fruity fiesta bowl.
  10. Add a single tablespoon of ice cream to your oatmeal. Your mouth will go crazy with pleasure as the cool ice cream mingles with the warm oats.

My favorite way to eat oatmeal is  with about a tablespoon of brown sugar, a sprinkle of cinnamon, a few raisins and just a splash of skim milk.  Mmmmmm…

I think I’ll go make a bowl right now!!

slow cooker oatmeal