What to Eat For Breakfast When It’s Hot

We had our first taste of summer on Mother’s Day–a hot and humid one with temps in the 80s. Despite our ridiculously cold and snowy winter and spring, humidity will never be met with smiles from me. Give me cold over hot humidity any day!

Don’t let the trees fool you–it was hot!

The change in weather, coupled with the fact that the A/C hadn’t been set to go off at work, left us with a very stuffy office on Monday. I was glad for the cool breakfast I had already eaten (smoothie), while my coworker waited for her breakfast (oatmeal) to get to room temperature so she could enjoy tolerate it.

This got me thinking about some good grab and go breakfasts for the warmer weather and wanted to share some of my favorites. The best part is that they’re all easily adapted to what you’re in the mood for and can be made a day or more ahead if that’s how you roll. You know, like when you set up your breakfasts assembly line style.

Yogurt parfait assembly

Smoothie

My basic formula is:

  • protein powder
  • greens
  • fruit
  • fats
  • liquid

In the mix below is Garden of Life RAW Organic Protein Vanilla (here’s a review of the protein powder), a heaping teaspoon of almond butter, frozen banana chunks, giant handful of mixed greens, about a tablespoon of hemp seeds, a heaping teaspoon of shredded coconut, and about a cup of unflavored, unsweetened almond milk.
Green smoothie

A variation of this is the smoothie bowl. You usually use yogurt as your protein source and don’t add a liquid so it stays thick enough to eat with a spoon. I made the delicious blackberry coconut smoothie bowl below using a recipe from Hello Natural.

blackberry smoothie bowl

Yogurt Parfait

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know how much I love my yogurt parfaits! I have a basic formula for my parfaits:

  • Plain full fat yogurt
  • Fruit
  • Omega fatty acid
  • Sweetener
  • Nuts

Here’s a view of the layers:

strawberry yogurt parfait

This one had flax, a handful of oats, a handful of almonds, about 1/2 tsp royal jelly, frozen strawberries (made the night before, so they thaw overnight), and yogurt.

Overnight Oats

I love that this breakfast is adaptable for cold and warm temperatures. When it’s cold, I microwave it in the morning to warm it up and when it’s hot outside I’ll eat it cold or warm it up just a little bit in the microwave so it’s a little below room temperature. The formula:

  • Old fashioned oats
  • Chia Seeds
  • Fruit (usually frozen banana)
  • Liquid
  • Spices
  • Separate container of nuts and/or seeds for topping

overnight oats in glass container

The key is to use a 1:2 ratio of oats to liquid. Above specifics include almond milk, banana, and cinnamon topped with walnuts and raw pumpkin seeds (aka pepitas). The used Bonne Maman preserve jar makes for a great (and free!) container for this purpose. I also use them for my yogurt parfaits.

Breakfast cookie dough cereal

This is a bonus one that I make on the weekends. I could make it on the weekdays and then wait to add milk at work, I suppose, but I oddly like having something different on Saturday and Sunday mornings. I use Fitnessista’s recipe and will often throw it (figuratively, of course) in the microwave on cool mornings or eat it cold on warmer mornings.

Here’s how it starts out once you add the nut butter:

Breakfast cookie dough cereal

I’ll admit it’s a little bit of a pain when you’re really hungry and can make a bit of a racket, but the results are worth it! Once you’ve broken up and mixed in the nut butter, it should resemble something more like this:

Breakfast cookie dough cereal

Mmmm…now we’re talking! Then it gets even more fun–pick your toppings and drown it in milk! Below I’ve added raw shredded coconut, pepitas, walnuts, and raw cacao nibs.

Breakfast cookie dough cereal

This is one of the few times I use cow’s milk instead of almond milk. I don’t have anything against cow’s milk, I just find I like different liquids for different situations. And cereal is definitely the right occasion for regular milk for me!

Questions: If you had to deal with either bitter cold or hot and humid weather, which would you prefer? Do you change up your breakfast routine when the weather changes? What are some of your breakfast go-tos?

Quick and Healthy “Apple Crisp”

Well hello there! I’ve missed you all! Things have been quite busy with class and life in general, but I’m trying to make a conscious effort every day to be in the moment. I often do this while on my quick lunch-time walks. How pretty are the variety of colors, even with the overcast sky?

Autumn trees Massachusetts

Given it’s a busy time of year for many of us, I wanted to share a quick, healthy, and quite seasonal snack that is great pre-workout, post-workout, dessert, or just because. I’m torn whether to call it “apple crisp” (with quotes) or deconstructed apple crisp, because that makes it seem kind of cool and hipster and who doesn’t want to be cool?

Deconstructed apple crisp or “apple crisp” or apple, oats, and PB (whichever you prefer)

  • 1 apple, sliced (preferably a local Macintosh because they’re oh so good!)
  • ~1 tsp brown sugar or sweetener of choice
  • 1 heaping tbs of peanut butter or nut butter of choice
  • ~1/4 c old-fashioned oats
  • Dash of cinnamon

Combine the sweetener, nut butter, oats, and cinnamon and either blend in Magic Bullet-type blender or mix by hand. Put the cut-up apple slices in the microwave for about 45 seconds. Then, top with the oat crumble mixture and enjoy!

Healthy apple crisp

And if you want a much quicker snack, you can cut up the apple, top with some cinnamon, put it in the microwave for 45-60 seconds, and then dip the slices right in the PB jar.

cinnamon apples

Happy snacking!

Questions: Do you gobble up apples like no one’s business in the fall? What are some of your favorite ways to incorporate apples into meals and/or snacks? Are you enjoying the beautiful sights of autumn where you are?

 

 

Easy and Healthy American Chop Suey

First of all, can I give myself a small pat on the back for not having the same thing for breakfast every day? And I made overnight oats like I said I would in Wednesday’s post! I loosely followed this recipe for the overnight oats and it was quite yummy!

Overnight oats with nuts

I actually popped the oats mixture it in the microwave a little to warm it up (warm, not hot) since my office was chilly and something cold to eat wasn’t appealing. The texture was incredibly cream–very different from stove top or microwaved. Perhaps because of the almond milk (I usually use water)? My only complaint is that it didn’t keep me as full as I would have liked, despite adding the extra nuts on top. See–this is why I am hesitant to mix it up! But I will keep on with my pledge and want to try Gina’s breakfast cookie dough tomorrow!

Speaking of being cold, we had a serious cold snap a few days ago that left me craving some warm comfort food.

Wednesday temperature

This cold weather had me searching for clothes and blankets that had been put away at the beginning of May, then searching my mind for an idea for dinner. I remembered Tina’s post earlier this week about having American Chop Suey for dinner and I knew it would hit the spot perfectly!

The WHD version of this classic dish is a bit different from the one I grew up with. Growing up, it was just pasta, pasta sauce, and ground beef. WHH convinced me years ago that we should also throw in some pepper and onions as well as my favorite ingredient that makes it just a little bit better, Worcestershire sauce!  Here’s how you do it (full recipe at the end):

Start by getting some water boiling for your pasta. While that’s starting up,  cut up some peppers and onions and throw them in a pan with some oil to sauté (I’ve come to discover that I eat an awful lot of these as most of my recipes feature sautéed peppers and onions!).

Sauteed pepper and onion

While the peppers and onions are cooking, get another pan out and put a ground meat of your choice in it to cook (we used some ground bison).

Ground bison cooking

Cook the meat thoroughly and once the pasta, veggies, and meat are all cooked, combine them one pan with. Next, add pasta sauce to your desired sauciness and Worcestershire sauce to taste.  We end up using about 1/3 jar of pasta sauce and 1-2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce.

American Chop Suey in pan

A little trick to keeping the suey warm while you’re mixing everything is to keep the stove top going on a low heat. That way, when you serve it, it’s piping hot (hence the steam in the picture below).

Gluten-free American Chop Suey

Whole Health Dork’s American Chop Suey

Ingredients:
1 pepper
1/2 onion
1 lb ground protein of choice
~ 1/3 C tomato sauce
1-2 tb Worcestershire sauce

Directions:
Boil water for pasta and cook per directions.

Chop and sauté the pepper and onion. Get your protein of choice cooking at the same time. Sauté the veggies until soft and mix with the protein when cooked. Add pasta and desired amount of tomato and Worcestershire sauces. Mix well and serve hot.

I hope you enjoy!

Questions: Is Mother Nature playing tricks on your part of the world? Have you tried any new recipes this week? Anything fun planned for the weekend?

Quick and Easy Zucchini Boats

When I’m not hangry and have a little time to play around, one of my favorite things to do at the end of the week is to try to use up all of those random leftovers in the fridge.

Hangry definition

This is exactly the situation I found myself in one random Saturday night when I didn’t have anything planned for dinner and needed to figure out a healthy, but filling meal using whatever was in the fridge, and relatively quickly! I saw that we had a couple of zucchinis that needed to be used ASAP, some cooked lentils, and some tomato sauce, and I thought, “zucchini boats!”

Zucchini boats idea

Like my stuffed peppers recipe, best thing about this recipe is that you can use whatever is in your fridge. Have some meat instead of lentils? Use that as your protein! Want to put more of a Mexican twist on it with your spices and toppings instead of the pseudo-Italian one I have going on? Go for it!

Here’s what I found myself doing (full recipe at the end):

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Halve the zucchinis and place on a baking sheet. Once the oven is pre-heated, pop them in for 20-30 minutes.

While the zucchini is cooking, cut up and sauté your veggies. I went with garlic, pepper, and onion.

Chopped garlic pepper and onion

While those were sautéing, I chopped up some tomato.

Chopped tomato

Once the veggies were well cooked, I threw in the (already cooked) lentils and added some tomato sauce to warm it all up.

Chopped veggies with lentils and tomato sauce

By then the zucchini was all cooked.

Cooked zucchini

I then proceeded to scoop out the pulp in the middle. Some recipes have you do this before you cook it and it’s probably to make sure they aren’t as watery. I didn’t find it to be a problem, though.

Zucchini middle scooped out

I don’t like throwing away perfectly good food, so I saved the scooped-out part to have the next day with the rest of the zucchini boats.

Zucchini scoops

Once everything was ready to go, I put the sauté mixture into the middle of the scooped-out zucchini, topped with tomato and some cheese, and put it back in the oven on a low broil until the cheese melted, about 5-10 minutes.

Gluten free zucchini boats

And because I have to add a green to every meal, the finished product:

Zucchini boats with spinach

Bon appétit!

(Gluten-Free) Zucchini Boats

Ingredients:
2 zucchinis, halved
Sautéed vegetables of choice (e.g., onion, pepper, garlic, etc.)
Additional vegetables of choice (e.g., spinach, tomatoes, etc.)
Protein of choice (e.g., quinoa, ground turkey, lentils, bison, tempeh, etc.)
~ 1C tomato sauce
Cheese of choice (e.g., fresh mozzarella, shredded mozzarella, fresh provolone, etc.)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425. Cook halved zucchinis for 20-30 minutes.

Sauté your vegetables of choice while cooking your protein of choice (if protein uncooked). Cook veggies until soft and mix with the protein. Add desired amount of tomato sauce and mix all well.

Once zucchini is cooked, remove from the oven and scoop out the middles. Keep pulp if desired. Top with cheese and any other uncooked veggies. Broil on low until the cheese is melted.

Enjoy!

Questions: Do you enjoy going through your fridge leftovers at the end of the week to make interesting concoctions or do you wish you had a menu plan? Do you try to use everything perishable in your fridge by the end of the week? Do you have a favorite thrown-together meal?

Friday Favorite: RAW Protein + Recipe!

Happy Friday of a looooong weekend. At least it is for me. I’m taking Patriots’ Day, aka Marathon Monday, off this year to watch the marathon (from home) and enjoy some time off as there aren’t any hospital holidays between Presidents’ Day in mid-February and Memorial Day at the end of May.

Metro Boston map

Just realized this week what’s on the cover of the (outdated) atlas in my car!

For those who don’t know, Patriots’ day is a Massachusetts state holiday that commemorates the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775 (the first battles of the American Revolutionary War). If you’re from Massachusetts, you’ve probably gotten up very early at least once in your childhood to go to watch the re-enactments on the Lexington Green and the surrounding area.

Minute_Man_Statue_Lexington_Massachusetts

Speaking of the weekend, you know I’ve been trying to mix up my weekend breakfasts from my usual weekday yogurt parfaits. Making an appearance nearly every weekend is today’s Friday Favorite: Garden of Life’s RAW Protein.

Garden of Life Raw Protein Vanilla

I’ve used it in pancakes,

Gluten Free Protein Pancakes

Pumpkin protein oatmeal

Large handful of old fashioned oats
1/2 scoop protein powder
2 eggs
~1/8th cup pumpkin
Almond coconut milk as needed for consistency
Handful of almonds (~1/8 c)
Dash of maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and ginger

Mix everything in a pot on the stovetop until eggs cooked and voila:

Gluten free pumpkin protein oatmeal

If you want it more quickly and not to do extra dishes, you could pop it in the microwave for about 1.5 min, but it will come out looking like this:

Pumpkin protein oatmeal in microwave

It’s not quite as pretty and the texture is different, but no problem. Just break with your spooon and up and top it off!

Pumpkin protein oatmeal with walnuts

And, of course, I use the protein powder in its more traditional use as a smoothie.

Mean green smoothie

How did I come across this protein powder? I was at Whole Foods at the end of last summer looking for a protein powder to help me gain some weight healthfully. Whole Foods has single serving packets of some of the brands they carry so you can try the different products without committing to buying an entire container. Boy am I glad they do this, because I tried an egg based one thinking I would like it and I found it to be awful.

I was looking for something a bit different from the usual whey, since I already have a fair amount of dairy-based foods in my diet. And I steer clear of soy because of my under-active thyroid (soy is a goitrogen). I loved the idea of the RAW protein because it’s a plant-based supplement and we could all use more plant-based foods in our lives!

Garden of Life Raw Protein Vanilla ingredients

It’s also, of course, gluten-free (not all of them are) in addition to being organic, raw, vegan, and dairy- and soy-free. Just as importantly, there are no fillers, artificial flavors or synthetic ingredients.

Let’s take a look at what it does contain:

Garden of Life Raw Protein Vanilla nutrition

Some highlights:

  • 90 calories, <1g sugar, and 17 grams of protein (33% Daily Value)
  • RAW organic sprouted protein and live probiotics and enzymes
  • Enzymes, fat-soluble vitamins and nutrient Code Factors™ such as Beta-glucans, SOD, glutathione and CoQ10

It can be a bit grainy in texture, but that’s the only complaint from WHH, who has switched from his regular Trader Joe’s soy and whey proteins to “mine” because he likes it so much. The powder mixes well with everything (as evidenced by everything I’ve put it in!) and doesn’t have that distinctive dairy-esque taste that whey proteins can have. I’ve only used the vanilla flavor, but it comes in original (flavorless?), chocolate, and vanilla chai as well. I’m going to see if Whole Foods carries the vanilla chai in single packets. I’d love to give it a “chai.” 😉

Since I’m no longer chai-ing to gain weight (sorry—had to throw it in one last time!), I now incorporate it into my weekend breakfasts, as mentioned above, or will make a mini smoothie after a particularly hard run or workout, using about a half scoop and a small cup. You know I generally stick to eating only every 3-4 hours, but there are definitely times when I need to refuel after a workout. Don’t want my hard work to be for nothing! I also find that if I have a quick refuel then I’m less likely to head for seconds at dinner. Win-win.

Mini refueling smoothie

Mini smoothie

We’re also playing around with adding it to cookies, cupcakes, and bars for a healthier dessert alternative. I’ll be sure to post a successful recipe!

As for the rest of stuff, I’m looking forward to checking out a local trail after work to re-do stage 13 of Return to Running. I pulled my right calf on Monday’s run and my plantar fasciitis (on the left) had a slight flare after. I’m fine with re-doing the stage for those reasons and because I’m still working on bringing my endurance back. Those last few intervals of running left me more winded and my legs more fatigued than I’m used to!

Oh, and wish me luck over the weekend! I started the oral steroids early this morning and I think I’ve already felt some effects: I decided a couple of hours ago that my office needed to be cleaned (an RN I worked with joked that the good thing about the steroids is that I’d probably find myself with a clean house by the end of the weekend). A co-worker who’s also dealt with tennis elbow issue lent me his sideways mouse yesterday and my forearms muscles are already feeling better. Fingers crossed this combo works!

Evoluent Vertical Mouse

This is also now nice and clean 😉

Questions: Do you have Monday off? Are you going to watch the Boston Marathon? Do you incorporate protein powders into your diet? What type/brand do you use?

P.S. As much as I love Whole Foods, I do find their prices a bit steep for nearly everything. I buy my protein powder on Amazon!

Friday Favorite: Food Should Taste Good + Recipes!

I’m so excited to be able to partner with Food Should Taste Good for today’s Friday Favorite.

*Please note that I was not paid for this post, but was given the product to try. All opinions are my own and not influenced by the company.

I would like to start off by saying that while chips are not a health food, I strongly believe there is room in every diet for some treats. I regularly eat a few chips throughout the week as it is. I am happy to support any company that works to make a traditionally unhealthy food into a more healthy version. Food Should Taste Good uses non-GMO ingredients, zero trans fat, and real ingredients, and therefore falls in line with what I look for in a processed food (when I eat them). I am not reviewing these simply because they were free, but because I genuinely like them, have for a while (as you will see), and believe the company is doing good things. With that said, on to the food!

I was first introduced to Food Should Taste Good about five years ago when I worked at Boston Children’s Hospital. I was new to eating gluten-free at that time and didn’t really know how to eat a filling meal. Some days a salad just wouldn’t do it for me and I’d go in search of something else healthy. I often found myself wondering over to the Au Bon Pain instead of the caf…

Au-Bon-Pain-Boston-Children's-Hospital

Au Bon Pain at Boston Children’s Hospital c/o Osama F., Foursquare

One day while looking around Au Bon Pain, I stumbled upon some chips that, lo and behold, proclaimed “Gluten Free” on the front! I took a look at them to see if they were even healthy, and I was happily surprised to see that they were! The Multigrain flavor, which contains corn, brown rice flour, flax, sesame, and sunflower seeds, and quinoa, has been my favorite ever since.

Fast forward to last Friday when I came home to find this package from Food Should Taste Good.

Food-Should-Taste-Good-box

To say I was excited by my stash of FSTD chips is a bit of an understatement.

Food-Should-Taste-Good-chips

In case you can’t see the flavors above, they sent me Kettle Corn, Blue Corn, Chocolate, and Cantina.

Food-Should-Taste-Good-chip-flavors

I soon began plotting how I would incorporate all of these delicious chips into my meals and snacks over the next week. First up were the blue corn chips on Saturday night. I had bought some chipotle sweet potato soup from a local farm and wanted to add some texture to the smooth puree, as I often do with soup. It was a delicious combo, especially with a side salad and half a grilled cheese and tomato.

Chipotle-sweet-potato-soup-with-salad-and-grilled-cheese

I didn’t do anything with the Kettle Corn chips besides try them right out of the bag. I personally wasn’t crazy about them–I found the taste a bit confusing when combined with the texture of a chip (I kept expecting popcorn). They were a bit too sweet for me, but WHH really liked them. Within a few days, the bag looked like this:

Food-Should-Taste-Good-Kettle-Corn-Chips

Of course you know I was eyeing those chocolate chips! I’m a fan of just about anything chocolate (except white chocolate, because that’s not really chocolate). I had actually tried them a few months ago when my parents brought us some goodies from their Boston chocolate tour. I didn’t think much of them then, but when I tried them this time, I was pleasantly surprised. They have more of a cocoa taste, with only a slight sweetness. After a stop at Whole Foods on Monday (during which I always need to freshly grind some honey peanut butter–seriously, if you haven’t tried it, you must!), I knew exactly what to do with those chips.

Food-Should-Taste-Good-Chocolate-Chips-with-Whole-Foods-peanut-butter

Because chocolate and peanut butter are always a good idea. A few of those chocolate chips scooped into the peanut butter made for a nice little dessert after dinner a few nights this week.

The Cantina chips were last on the list because we were waiting for some avocados to ripen. But as soon as they were, WHH whipped up his deliciously simple guacamole.

Food-Should-Taste-Good-Cantina-Chips-and-guacamole

The guacamole is incredibly simple to make and I love how the taste of the avocado isn’t masked by a bunch of other ingredients. To make, simply combine:

1 avocado, mashed
1 small tomato, diced
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
1-2 tsp lemon juice, as desired
1-2 garlic cloves, as desired
Salt, to taste

Easy-homemade-guacomole

I decided to make some homemade hummus last night to go with the rest of our Mediterranean-inspired dinner and you better believe the Cantina chips were yummy with that as well!

Easy-homemade-hummus

In a food processor, combine:

1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
1 clove garlic
1⁄8-1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon paprika
salt to taste

Once everything is combined, add water as necessary until it reaches your desired consistency.

A little secret: pop it in the microwave for about 30 seconds and then stir. It’s really good warm!

Homemade-hummus-with-eggplant

This also made for excellent leftovers today! A new favorite in our household!

All in all, I really enjoyed these chips and can’t wait to try more of their new flavors. We already buy chips every few weeks and these will be sure to remain in the rotation. Next on my list to try? Avocado!

Questions: Have you tried Food Should Taste Good chips? What’s your favorite flavor? Have you tried any new recipes lately?

Have a great weekend!

 

Easy (and Healthy!) Stuffed Peppers

Hi everyone! How was your weekend? Did it go by way too fast just like mine? I was still a bit under the weather, so I took it easy and watched Breaking Dawn parts 1 and 2. Yes, I just admitted that. #noshame

What can I say, it’s entertaining. Not the best acting or script, but the scenery is gorgeous and my stuffed up head didn’t want to think!

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn

Since the weather is still incredibly cold here in Massachusetts, I wanted to share a quick and easy recipe to warm you up: (gluten-free) stuffed peppers! The best part about this recipe is that you can adapt it based on what’s in your fridge. That’s how this recipe came to be in the first place: I looked in the fridge, saw that we had four bell peppers that we needed to use soon, and decided to stuff them with what was available at the time!

I’ll take you through step-by-step and the full recipe is at the end.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. The part I skipped, but wished I hadn’t: parboil the peppers until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes, then place in a baking dish. While you are waiting for the oven to pre-heat, sautée some vegetables in a little bit of olive oil (we used onions, garlic, and red and green peppers).

Gluten free stuffed peppers step 1

While sautéeing the veggies and waiting for the oven, simultaneously cook your protein of choice (we used ground turkey). Once it’s done cooking, place it in a mixing bowl with the veggies (we also added chopped tomatoes, which we didn’t want to cook).

Gluten free stuffed peppers step 2

Mix the veggies and protein, then add tomato sauce to your desired thickness, as well as ~1 tsp basil, oregano, and marjoram. Stuff the peppers with this mixture, then add your desired cheese on top (we used the fresh mozzarella we had on hand).

Gluten free stuffed peppers step 3

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the peppers are quite tender and the cheese is melted. You may also choose to put a small amount of water (~1/8″) in the bottom of the baking dish. We didn’t do this and they came out just fine.

Finally, enjoy!

Gluten free stuffed peppers step 4

I added some cooked spinach to the bottom of my bowl, just for a little extra serving of veggies.

Gluten-Free Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients:

4 green bell peppers, tops cut away with seeds and veins removed

Sautéed vegetables of choice (e.g., onion, pepper, garlic, etc.)

Additional vegetables of choice (e.g., spinach, tomatoes, etc.)

1 pound protein of choice (e.g., ground turkey, beef, bison, tempeh, etc.)

1 tsp each basil, oregano, marjoram

1/2 jar tomato sauce

Cheese of choice (e.g., fresh mozzarella, shredded mozzarella, fresh provolone, etc.)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. If desired, parboil the peppers in a pot of boiling water until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove and place in baking dish.

Saute your vegetables of choice while cooking your protein of choice. Cook veggies until soft and cook the protein until it is browned. Place both in a mixing bowl and add any additional (non-cooked) veggies. Add the tomato sauce and spices and mix all well.

(If desired: pour enough water into a baking dish to just cover the bottom, about 1/8-inch deep.) Stuff the peppers with the mixture and place in the baking dish. Top with cheese. Bake until the peppers are very tender and the cheese is melted.

Bon appétit!

I’ve also had peppers stuffed with lentils and rice–yummy!

Questions: How was your weekend? Did you make up recipes on the fly? Have you made stuffed peppers before? What have you stuffed them with?

Protein pancake mix

Gluten-Free Protein Pancakes

Hi everyone! Did you have a nice weekend? We had quite a productive one! Not only did we get our homemade shelves up in the kitchen, but I also started, finished, and filed our taxes yesterday! Woohoo!

Here are the shelves (instructions from Amy Krist’s website). I’ve really been liking the industrial look and had fallen in love with these reclaimed wood shelves from West Elm as well as their L-beam wood shelf , but knew we could do something for less money. We only spent around $30 for the wood, brackets, stain, and screws (we already had the wall anchors). Much better than the $200-$250 we would have spent, plus we (or rather, WHH) have the pride of having made it ourselves!

Here they are empty:

West Elm inspired DIY Industrial Shelves empty

And with (most) of their intended items, such as our fruits and veggies that don’t go in the fridge:

West Elm inspired DIY Industrial Shelves filled

Now on to other things I’ve been whipping up lately: protein pancakes (gluten free, per usual)! I made up the recipe based on some other similar recipes I had seen. I need a hearty breakfast full of fiber and protein to fill me up for a good 3-4 hours. After messing around with different combinations, this one finally held me over! It makes about two medium-sized pancakes. The full recipe can be found at the end of the post.

Mix together 1/2 banana, 1 egg, 1/2 scoop protein powder (I use RAW protein in Vanilla), ~1/8 c ground oats (I use regular oats and grind it in our Magic Bullet until it makes a powder, but you could also use them as is).

Gluten-free protein pancake mix

Heat a little coconut oil on a small pan.

Heating coconut oil on pan

Once the oil is liquid, move it around the pan to coat, then put in about half of the batter. Flip the pancake once bubbles start to form and cook to your desired crispiness.

Finally, the best part: top with whatever your heart desires! Some combos I’ve tried are organic raspberries, a little family maple syrup, and fresh ground honey peanut butter from Whole Foods…

Gluten-free protein pancakes with organic raspberries, maple syrup, and peanut butter

…and what I call the “healthy Elvis”—peanut butter, a little family maple syrup, and the other half of the banana cut up.

The healthy Elvis: gluten-free protein pancakes with bananas, maple syrup, and peanut butter.

Whole Health Dork’s Gluten Free Protein Pancakes
Serving: 2 medium-sized pancakes
Nutrition (without toppings):  241 calories, 23g carbs, 10g fat, 17g protein, 71g sodium, 7g sugar

  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 scoop protein powder (such as RAW protein in Vanilla),
  • ~1/8 c ground oats
  • ~1 tsp coconut oil

Mix together banana, egg, protein powder, and oats while you heat up the coconut oil on a small pan. Once the oil is liquid, move it around the pan to coat, then put in about half of the batter. Flip the pancake once bubbles start to form and cook to your desired crispiness.

Questions: Did you get anything accomplished recently that feels really good to have done? Do you like tweaking recipes to find what works for you? Would you try my pancakes?

As always, I welcome any questions or suggestions! Thanks for stopping by!

Easy Enchiladas

Enchiladas have become one of our go-to weeknight meals. The best thing about this recipe? You can mix it up depending on what’s in the fridge and it’s relatively healthy. All you really need are:

  • A protein
  • Veggies
  • Cheese
  • Tortillas
  • Enchilada sauce or items to make it (see below)
  • Optional: sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, taco seasoning

We like to get the enchilada sauce going first. We use Emeril’s Easy Enchilada Sauce recipe. It makes about twice as much as you need, so we’ll usually freeze the remaining half for another night. We tend to use a little less chicken stock than is called for and replace it with water.

Enchilada sauce

One of us gets to vegetable chopping while the other mans the stove. This time, Whole Health Husband had found some kale and scallions in the fridge, which he quickly cut up and put a mixing bowl.

Kale and scallions for enchiladas

He then cut up some green and yellow peppers with onion, which I then sautéed. Once those were cooked, they went in with the other veggies.

Vegetable base for enchiladas

Veggies are still steaming

Meanwhile, I cooked the ground turkey. We threw in a little chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper for seasoning. I also pre-heated the oven to 350 degrees F.

Ground turkey for enchiladas

WHH then rounded up the rest of the items we needed: a mix of cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, some sour cream (you can sub plain Greek yogurt if you don’t have any), and his tortillas.

Dairy for enchiladas

These are my tortillas (GF):

Gluten free tortillas

Once everything is cooked, we mix the turkey with the veggies and put in enough sour cream to coat everything. We also put in about 1/2 cup of shredded cheese.

Enchilada stuffing

The final step before cooking is to stuff the tortillas. I plop some of the mix in the middle of the tortilla, then wrap one side over the other (no fancy burrito wrapping skills here).

Enchiladas being stuffed

Yes, the plates from our wedding less than five years ago have already cracked! (Crate and Barrel)

Assemble the enchiladas in a baking dish, pour the enchilada sauce on top, and top with grated cheese (Monterey Jack or, my personal favorite, cheddar).

Enchiladas ready for the oven

Once the oven is pre-heated, cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.

Cooked enchiladas

All that’s left to do is enjoy!

Easy enchiladas ready to eat

And if there are only two or three of you in your household, there is plenty for leftovers the next day!

Enchilada leftovers

Side note: Perhaps you caught this on Twitter, but I wanted to let you know that as part of my journey to become an RN, I will be taking Anatomy and Physiology I starting today! Class will need to be my primary focus outside of work (in addition to working out and eating well). Posts may be a bit shorter and a little less frequent, but I am still very much committed to this venture! In fact, I plan on sharing some dorky fun facts with you as I learn more about the amazing human body!

Anatomy and Physiology I textbook

Questions: What is one of your go-to weeknight meals? Anything you’ve recently started that you’re excited about? Any steps you’ve taken toward a long- or short-term goal?

Friday Favorite: Yogurt Parfaits

Hi all! How was your Christmas (for those who celebrate)?

Christmas tree 2013

Our holiday was hectic, but fun. It was wonderful to spend time with my brother, who was visiting from DC. He was entertaining, as usual.

Nick bag head

Today’s favorite is what I have for breakfast nearly every single day. What can I say? I’m a creature of habit and this breakfast can keep me full for over four hours! I usually switch to a hearty oatmeal mixture in the winter, but it hasn’t been staying with me as long as the yogurt.

Pumpkin parfait container

I make them ahead of time on “school nights” so all I have to do is grab one in the morning and go. I’ll usually make them ahead two or three times at a time, but no more than that because then the mixture can get kind of slimy.

Parfait top

What’s in the mix? I combine:

  • A handful of almonds (I have a small hand, so about 1/8 cup?)
  • A handful of uncooked oats
  • Approximately 1 tsp chia seeds
  • Approximately 1 tsp flax seeds
  • Approximately ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • A little less than ¼ cup Siggi’s or other flavored yogurt (if I don’t have any flavored, I’ll increase the amount of plain and add some agave or maple syrup)

The almonds add extra protein, the oats, chia seeds, and flax seeds add fiber, and the chia seeds and flax also add healthy sources of fat. Protein + fiber + fat = full for hours!

Parfait ingredients

As you can see from the picture above, I had some leftover canned pumpkin, so I added that and a little bit of cinnamon to make a pumpkin pie-inspired parfait.

Yum!

Yum!

Aw, all gone! :-(

Aw, all gone! 😦

Does anyone else have the same breakfast every day? What’s your favorite go-to breakfast to keep you full through the morning?

In Return to Running news, I have successfully completed Stage 3 after one attempt! I used the track again, KT tape, custom orthotics, and Sauconys. I warmed up with medicine ball rolling. I could tell my app was malfunctioning again because I actually exercised for over twenty minutes:

Run 12-22-13

I’m going to attempt Stage 4 today (which is actually the same as Stage 3). What will be different today is that I don’t have KT tape on my foot, so we’ll see how that impacts the plantar fasciitis. Everything else will remain the same. Oh, and I’ll be trying out a different app. I’ll let you know which one and how it worked.

I have to admit that I haven’t been as good as usual about icing and rolling my foot the past week, so I’m lucky my foot is feeling so good. I do keep an extra tennis ball/Foot Rubz set under my desk at work, so I’ve been trying to do that whenever I remember.

PF under desk

And of course, the dorky spreadsheet update (with mileage and date adjusted due to minor setback a couple of weeks ago):

Returntorunning 12-22

If you click in on them, the full size images of these look better. I’m still tweaking with the settings to get them to look better. 

Returntorunning stage 3

Does anyone have any exciting New Year’s plans for next week? Whole Health Husband and I will probably go low-key. After so much celebrating since Thanksgiving, something mellow sounds good to us.