A Clean Lunch

As ya’ll know, I like to use Mondays to prepare for the week ahead.  This is in general and when it comes to food and meals.  This week is a bit odd, as we are just finishing up with Passover and then heading out of town.  I bought a few fresh ingredients at the grocery store this morning and was planning on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch this week.  Except, that I found this interesting recipe in my Clean Eating Magazine last night.

Luckily, we have some cooked chicken breasts that the BOY made last night and I had most of the other ingredients as well.  I picked up some apple cider vinegar at the store today, substituted dried cherries for the grapes (which were outrageously priced) and decided to give it try.  I made a slightly larger salad thinking that I could take half for lunch tomorrow.  Way more exciting than PB&J!

I combined the first ingredients and then mixed the ‘dressing’ in a separate bowl.  I had a little trouble stirring up the fresh ground almond butter (which I was worried might happen), so I nuked it for 10 seconds and everything blended smoothly.

I poured the almond butter mixture over my chicken, tossed to coat, and ta-da…in under 10 minutes I had a delicious and super healthy clean lunch.  I guess I should tell you that I subbed in a touch of agave instead of maple syrup since I had maple syrup this morning in my breakfast.

I paired my lunch with a leftover grilled sweet potato and packed half up to take to work tomorrow.

Bu-Bye boring lunches!

Back to the Bread (And Oats)

Although Passover is not technically over until tomorrow night, as of this morning, I am done with the matzah.  I started my day with an amazing bowl of Carrot Cake Oatmeal.  To be honest, I was searching through my notebook for my Scottish Oats recipe (that I am still raving about) when I stumbled upon this one.  I have never done the cool topping with warm oats before, but the contrast reminded me of eating a warm cobbler…with icing!  It was a decadent way to start the day.  AND, it gave me the energy to make it through a brutal training session (my last one before vacation) and a few hours of errands without feeling hungry!

Straight off the stove… I like thick oatmeal, so the oats simmered for about 10 minutes

I love the Greek yogurt/syrup combo so much that I made twice as much (and added a pinch of cinnamon)

Then I topped it with pecans and (more) cinnamon

I can’t remember where I found this recipe and Google can’t find it either!

Not-Quite-Carrot Cake Oatmeal

1/3 cup rolled oats

2/3 cup water

1/3 cup milk

dash of salt

1 Tbsp ground flax

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 small carrot shredded (about 1/3 cup)

1 Tbsp nonfat Greek yogurt

1 Tbsp maple syrup (I used sugar-free)

1 Tbsp pecans

Cinnamon to taste

Combine first 7 ingredients in saucepan.  Heave over medium heat until boiling.  Simmer a few minutes, until the oatmeal thickens to your liking (about 10 minutes).

While oats are simmering, combine yogurt and maple syrup.  Drizzle over oats and sprinkle with pecans and cinnamon.

Happy Easter!

Good Morning Friends!

I love this kind of Sunday!!!

…the kind where I don’t set an alarm and sleep in to 9:00 AM

…the kind where all the classes at the gym are cancelled, so I am not rushing off to a spin class

…the kind where I start my morning with a new Chai tea (a gift from a friend)

…the kind of morning where Emmy will sit and stare outside for hours

…the kind of morning where I have time to prepare the BOY and I a fabulous brunch of MATZAH KUGEL (okay so maybe our brunch options are not so fabulous and exciting).

…the kind of morning where the BOY actually suggests that we take a walk!

A quiet day, usually spend with friends and family, while the sun is shining…LOVE IT!

I finished my brunch and I am heading out for a bike ride.  Matzah Kugel  is a great idea for the end of Passover when you have lots of matzah left.  I used half whole wheat and half plain.  I am not even sure this dish is meant to be a brunch, but I got it in my head that we would be having it for Easter brunch and so we did.  Check out the full recipe HERE and thanks to Cooking Light for all the creative Passover recipes!

The boy added some extra salt and cheese to his breakfast!

Sinful Chocolate (Flourless) Cake

My Passover cookies turned out great!  Everyone seemed to enjoy them on Monday.

The last of my holiday desserts was a Chocolate Fudge Cake from Southern Living.  This cake is absolutely unbelievable and perfect year round.  It only has a few ingredients and is super easy to make.

I used Bakers chocolate, but I am sure a fancy chocolate would taste just as good if not better.

Straight from the oven, it takes time to cool.

 After 30 minutes…

 

After 1 hour…I think that it is cool enough.

Oops!  My cake comes out in pieces!!!

Luckily, I was able to put it back together

And sprinkle it with powdered sugar. It almost looks like a full cake…almost!

This cake tastes AMAZING and this was all that was left after dinner.  Nobody seemed to mind its puzzle piece look.

Plus, I was able to steal a bite before dinner without anybody knowing.

I Miss Overnight Oats!

Day 4 of Passover and I miss my typical morning breakfast…especially oatmeal!  Not only is it super easy and super quick, it is super tasty.  To make up for my lack of  ‘super-ness’ in the morning, I bought myself a fun new treat…Hazelnut Butter!

 

This nut butter’s only ingredient is dry roasted hazelnuts.  Supposedly, it has more iron than other nut butters (6%), but I don’t have anything to compare it to right now.  This fresh-tasting nut butter has a unique flavor.  This morning, I spread it on matzah with a sliced pear.  For a Passover breakfast, it was pretty tasty!

My breakfast was filling and I am looking forward to eating more Hazelnut Butter throughout the week!

Making It Through the Week

So I know it only happens one time each year, but my week without bread is always  tough for me.  I love me some carbs and definitely get a little cranky without them.  Luckily, I made some fabulous foods for our sedar and like every holiday, there were plenty of leftovers.  This recipe is suggested as dessert but we serve it as a side with our meal.

Passover Fruit Compote

I bought a variety of dried fruits (figs, prunes, pineapple, cherries, cranberries, apricots, and apples) from Whole Foods.  Just a heads up, you need to soak the fruit over night in cold water.

I am not a huge fan of macaroons, but I found these to be very fresh…they were perfect in the compote.

I made the compote at my place and then baked it when I got home to my parents.  The only substitution I made was using Turbinado sugar instead of white sugar.  This dish takes a little bit of time, but it is totally worth it!  The cinnamon and clove flavors combined with the unique combination of dried fruit is perfect for a holiday filled with taste-less unleavened bread.  The leftovers were just as good!

Enjoy this amazing recipe any time of year and feel free to use this delicious fruit in other recipes too!

A Busy Monday Morning

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I can’t believe that yesterday we were outside at the White Sox game and this morning I woke up to this…YUCK!

 

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I thought it was supposed to be spring time!  I was up early this morning and headed straight into the kitchen.  I enjoyed a bowl of overnight oats (made with chopped apple) and an Awake Tea.

 

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I quickly got started on my Passover ‘baking’.  Last year was the first year that I attempted to make some Kosher for Passover goodies that didn’t come out of a box.  It was a challenge baking without flour, yeast, etc, but I found some new recipes to add to my book.  This year, I searched for even more recipes.  Since I was in charge of dessert for tonight’s seder at my parents, I had a lot of kitchen time ahead of me.  I started the simplest recipe, a Date and Almond Truffle that I found in Cooking Light.

 

I bought dates and blanched slivered almonds from the bulk bins at Whole Foods.  I put all the ingredients in my 7 cup food processor and pulsed for about 30 seconds.

 

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I scrapped the sides and pulsed for another minute before everything started to mix well and form a thicker mixture.

 

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I formed the dough into balls and rolled them into the coconut.  I decided to try toast my coconut, but left it in for too long.  The color was a little darker, but it still tasted good.  As someone who doesn’t love coconut, I was surprised at how good it tasted…it reminded me of Samoa girl scout cookies.  Yum!  These are so good that I will definitely make them again!  And I won’t be waiting until next Passover.

 

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I finished my first of many desserts and I am off to the gym.  With two weeks before my cruise, I have a session scheduled with my trainer (she’ll be happy that I have some homemade treats to share).  Then it is back to the kitchen for some Fudge Cake and Macaroon Fruit Compote. 

 

Stay tuned for more Passover recipes to come…

Cold Morning Cycle

So I was feeling guilty about not going to run club yesterday, so despite the chilly weather, I got up early and packed up my bike for 8AM cycle club.  For the record, I did get to the gym yesterday and logged some running miles on the treadmill with the BOY next to me.  Yes, that’s right the BOY went to the gym and for the first time in his life used a treadmill.  He seemed to enjoy playing some basketball and definitely worked up a sweat.

Now back to cycle club, so I showed up because I was feeling guilty AND because I was excited to take my new bike out for a ride.  I just purchased my first road bike from a friend and I am so excited to get riding.  But cycle club was CANCELLED because of cold weather.  There were three of us who didn’t get the message and we decided to brave the wind and go out for ride. 

This was my second time out on the bike.  As someone who has been riding a ‘fitness’ hybrid, it is definitely a change.  I now ride in a more aerodynamic position and I have clip-in pedals (ironically called clip-less pedals).  Of all of these differences, the hardest adjustment for me is the narrow tire.  You should see how slow I turn for fear of falling.  I felt much more comfortable on the bike today.  Even with the wind, I was able to keep up and stay upright.

Together we rode about 10 miles against some strong wind and cool temperatures.  On our way back to the gym, we decided to stop at Starbucks for a well-deserved latte.  The only trouble was that I forgot about my pedals and almost fell over in front of Starbucks.  We pulled our bikes into the store and enjoyed a latte and good conversation.  This was my first group ride (although there were only 3 of us) and I was prepared to do 25 miles.  However, 12 chilly miles and a warm latte was even better!

Check out my new ride!

Loving My Morning Oats

I have been loving the Overnight Oats this week.  I picked up some chia seeds and made the original version and a pumpkin flavored version.  They are easy to eat on my way to work and definitely keep me full until lunch.

This morning, I passed on the run club. I know, I was so excited to get back, but the idea of running an hour in the rain just doesn’t do it for me.  I love to run and will run in a lot of conditions, but the feeling of wet socks and shoes and your clothes sticking to your body.  Yuck!  The sad thing is that I will have to go to the gym and workout indoors (boo rainy April weather).  The interesting thing is that the BOY has expressed interest in coming with me…hmmm…we shall see.  He usually skips breakfast, but he did have 2 Quaker granola bars for ‘energy’.

Since I had the time, I was excited to start my morning with another batch of Scottish Oats.  I used the recipe I made last Saturday, but with some modifications.  For starters, I didn’t have a soft banana.  I did have an apple  though and instead of Cinnamon, I used a fabulous Apple Pie Spice.  I decided nix the first step of grinding my Irish oats into Scottish oats because I wasn’t sure if it made a difference.  This was a mistake. It definitely makes a difference!  This morning’s oats were tasty, but I think the added banana makes a huge difference in texture.  Also, the oats took longer to cook and I had a few chewy ones (because I didn’t process them beforehand).  Next time, I will definitely pull out the mini food processor.

I am hoping for a little more sunshine tomorrow so that I can take my NEW bike out with the cycle club!  I’m off to the gym…alone or with a workout buddy???  I still don’t know!