Sweet Potato Breakfast Quinoa

On a chilly winter Saturday, I am big fan of a breakfast that is…

Warm

Quick

Hearty

Easy

Healthy

Delicious

 

And this morning’s breakfast, based on this recipe for Hot Banana Breakfast Quinoa, was all of that and more.  Making a big batch of grains once a week is a good habit to get into, especially when you can use them throughout the week for salads, snacks, and breakfast.  This morning, breakfast began with leftover quinoa and a baked sweet potato from last night. 

 

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Add eggs and spice (the only remaining ingredients).

 

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And stir everything together until really well combined.

 

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Microwave for 3 minutes and this hot, simple breakfast is ready!

 

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This breakfast is unlike your typical microwave oats.  It is spongy and almost cake-like.

 

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You can top it with cinnamon, nut butter, maple syrup, or agave.

 

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And enjoy surrounded by fresh berries.

 

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This is the BEST way to start your day!  And considering, this decadent tasting breakfast takes only 5 minutes to make, it will give you plenty of time to sip on a warm tea or coffee while reading the paper or scrolling through your blog roll.

 

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And because it is loaded with protein, this breakfast will energize you for wherever your Saturday takes you. 

I am heading into the city to try out a Core Power Yoga class with a friend!  So excited!

 

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You HAVE to try this breakfast!

 

 

Sweat Potato Breakfast Quinoa

Adapted from Hot Banana Breakfast Quinoa

 

Ingredients

 

1/2 small sweet potato, baked and smashed into a puree (you can do this with a spoon)

1/3 cup cooked quinoa

1 egg and 1 egg white

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

 

Directions

 

Combine all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl or ramekin.  Microwave for 3 minutes or until cake like and the middle is set.  Let cool slightly before eating.

Top with your favorites, nut butters, fruit, syrups, jelly, etc.

Serves 1

No Bake Quinoa Energy Balls

I feel that I made it apparently clear that I am done with snowy Fridays

But apparently Mother Nature did not get my memo!

 

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Despite the bad weather, I made my weekly stop at Trader Joe’s to stock up on some favorites.

 

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And some wine…I was surprised to see a Trader Joe’s version of Blanc de Blancs.  For less than $5, I knew I had to try it!

 

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The snow was getting thick by the time I made it home.

 

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It was definitely a different homecoming than last week, but I had to smile watching the BOY sip on a beer and snack on some pretzels.

 

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Plus, this new beer was amazing!!!  Have you tried this new spring blend yet???  I stole a sip before passing the BOY his favorite Trader Joe’s sweet, mini peanut butter cups.

 

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His pre-dinner snack looked tempting, but I had a filling snack of my own this afternoon at work, these No Bake Quinoa Energy Balls.

 

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At the beginning of the week, I made a batch of quinoa.  I was inspired by my Afternoon Energy Bars to make another homemade power snack.

 

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These no-bake bars start with quinoa and add more high protein ingredients to create a filling snack.

 

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These will keep you satisfied so you won’t go looking for sweets in the office. Which is exactly what I need since I will be sporting my bathing suit in Vegas in 1 week.  And considering one of my 8 year old patients just asked me if I was having a baby this week (no joke…looked at my tummy and asked if it was a baby), I am all about the healthy and satisfying treats. BTW, this little boy learned an important lesson totally unrelated to our session. There are three things that you NEVER ask a lady…her age, her weight, and if she is having a baby!

 

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I have been trying to keep my meals and snacks healthy (and dairy free), which is where these balls fit in.  Although my mom thought they were a little bland, they do make a good afternoon snack and they are easy to grab quickly in between patients.  They kept me full enough to keep my fingers away from the peanut butter cups while I threw together dinner and poured myself a drink.

 

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CHEERS!!!

Here’s another great healthy snack…Almond Butter Cacao Balls

 

 

No Bake Quinoa Energy Balls

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Ingredients

1 cup cooked quinoa

1/4 cup almond butter

1/3 cup natural shredded coconut

1/4 cup dried cranberries

4 Tbsp ground flax

2 Tbsp light agave

 

Directions

 

Stir together quinoa, almond butter, coconut, cranberries, and flax in a bowl until well combined.  Add in agave until well coated.  Form mixture into balls and freeze until set.  Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 week.

Makes 9-10 balls.

Mmmm Lunch

My alarm went off way to early this morning.  I was really comfy and deep asleep.  I had the instant urge to turn it off and sleep forever.  However, a little kitten with a loud meow also heard the alarm and was not about to let me forget it.  Snoozing is not snoozing with a constant voice outside your door, so I let her in for a cuddle before finally dragging myself out of bed.  Despite being tired, I wasn’t about to miss this morning’s outdoor run.  A quick look at my phone confirmed that it was indeed 40 degrees at 6:15AM.  By the time I hit the road at 6:45, the sun was starting to rise.  I hit the trail which was a mix of melted snow and ice.  It was kind of like doing intervals as I walked across the slippery ice.  I was so excited to be back outside and it felt almost like spring.  I had a few quick minutes to shower and get ready for work.  I was actually excited for my lunch today, so much more fun than my usual PB&J.  Yesterday, I made this quinoa and edamame salad from Oxygen Magazine.

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I subbed in veggie broth for the carrot juice (because believe it or not, carrot juice is kind of hard to find).

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The salad turned out amazing and it is PACKED with protein.

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Here is the recipe from Oxygen.  I added in some chili powder too.  Just make the quinoa and then stir in the other ingredients.  Dried cranberries would be a good addition too.

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To go with my salad, I made Mama Pea’s Mmmm Sauce.

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I have read about the sauce on tons of blog, but never thought to try it. It was super easy to make and the perfect addition to my salad.

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The sauce stores in the refrigerator for a week and can go with anything.  Once you try it, you’ll totally understand!

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I packed my salad and sauce with a pita for lunch today.  I must say that this lunch was real good, a definite repeat.  I shared some of the sauce with my vegetarian coworker.  She ate hers with pasta and veggies and was a big fan too.  No pictures from the lunch table today because I’m not sure how I would explain that one to my coworkers.

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What fun recipes have you been making for lunch?

Anyone been out running and enjoying this ‘heat wave’?

A Kind Dinner

After 3 days of saltines, my appetite came back with a vengeance tonight!  When I got home tonight, I was happy to find this clean meal from The Kind Diet book waiting for me in the fridge. 

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This was the first recipe that I tried from the book, and I must say, I was not disappointed. 

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The fresh roasted veggies are perfect for this light, yet hardy meal!

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Add in some whole wheat couscous.

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And seasoned veggie broth…sadly though, as mentioned before, I was unable to find saffron, so I subbed ins some other spices.  I think it will be MUCH better with the saffron, but is still worth making without it.

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And then you just have to wait…

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For this delicious dish to be ready.

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It makes a healthy side or a filling meal.

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And I knew just where to go for a little something sweet…the freezer is full of treats!

 

ENJOY!

 

Moroccan Couscous with Saffron

Recipe from Alicia Silverstone

Serves 6

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cup(s) of peeled butternut squash, cut into 1/4” to 1/2” cubes
  • 2 cup(s) of yellow onion, large dice
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) of carrots, cut into 1/4” to 1/2” cubes
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) of zucchini, cut into 3/4” cubes
  • 2 tbsp. of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. of fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) of vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp. of Earth Balance butter
  • 1/4 tsp. of ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. of saffron threads
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) of whole wheat couscous
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts, chopped

Steps

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Place the squash, onion, carrots and zucchini on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper.
  3. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, turning once with a spatula about midway through.
  4. While the vegetables roast, bring the vegetable broth to a boil in a saucepan.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the butter, remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper, cumin, saffron and salt to taste.
  6. Cover the pan and steep for 15 minutes.
  7. Scrape the roasted vegetables and their juices into a large bowl, and add the couscous.
  8. Bring the vegetable broth back to a boil, and pour over the couscous mixture all at once.
  9. Cover tightly with a plate and allow to stand for 15 minutes.
  10. Add the scallions, toss the couscous and vegetables with a fork, and serve.

Spiced Quinoa Stuffed Squash

I picked up two new spices at a local shop in NJ.

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It was small business Saturday…so I HAD to get something to do my part and support the economy!

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Plus, these spices were amazing!

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I had this beautiful sweet dumpling squash and no idea what to do with it.  I looked around a little on the internet, but didn’t find anything exciting, so I came up with my own recipe for stuffed squash.  BTW, did you know you can eat the skin of this squash?

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I started by making red quinoa following the instructions on the box.

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And combining it with these premade stirfry veggies from Whole Foods.

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I added in olive oil, mushrooms, and Chinese Five Spice.

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This combo looked and smelled so good that even the BOY asked about it.  Although he was disappointed to find out there was no meat involved.

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Look how fabulous my first vegetarian dinner turned out!  The Chinese five spice makes for a fabulous flavor combination.  I was super impressed with how good it was.

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Spiced Quinoa Stuffed Squash

2 servings  (actually makes really good leftovers)

 

Ingredients

1 squash

1 cup cooked red quinoa

2 cups stirfry veggies (mushrooms, carrots, peppers, onions, etc.)

1 tbsp Chinese five spice (more as needed)

1 tbsp Olive oil

 

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

-Wash squash and slice it in half.  Scoop out the seeds (you can bake them like pumpkin seeds).  Bake flat side down in baking dish sprayed with cooking spray for ~40 minutes, until squash is fork tender.

-Meanwhile, stir fry veggies in olive oil over medium heat until soft and fragrant.  Add in Chinese five spice and stir.  Add in cooked quinoa.  Stir to coat and heat until warm.

-Place quinoa into squash halves and bake for another 10 minutes.

-Eat and enjoy this delicious vegetarian dish!

Quinoa Breakfast Recipe

I promised you a breakfast with quinoa and pumpkin (random…right?), so here it is…

I was taking a kitchen break Monday to catch up on some blogs when I came across Evan’s recipe for HOT PUMPKIN BREAKFAST QUINOA that he had just posted.  Could the timing be any better?  I ran to the kitchen…ok that’s a lie…I finished my episode of Grey’s staring at McDreamy while playing on my laptop.  Then, I walked back into the kitchen to whip up Tuesday morning’s breakfast.

 

It is not a requirement to make this dish ahead of time.  But after a week out of work at class,I had a feeling Tuesday morning was going to be a slow one.  I was hoping to drag myself out of bed for a run, and I always have a much more difficult time getting up on those cold, dark mornings. 

I mixed together the quinoa, eggs, pumpkin, and pumpkin pie spice in a microwavable bowl.  (I omitted the salt).

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I put the dish in the fridge and laid out my running clothes before bed.  The next morning, I popped out of bed snoozed at least 3 times and then reset my alarm before slowly getting myself up and ready, eating a pre-run banana, and heading onto the dim street as the sun began to rise.  I ran a comfortable 5 miles and came home ready to try my new breakfast.

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It looked pretty much the same that morning as the night before which I took as a good sign. I threw it into the microwave for 3 minutes.  I kept a direct eye on it to make sure it wasn’t going to overflow (if you have ever overflowed oatmeal in your microwave on your way out the door for work, you would understand).  My finished product was not as pretty as Evan’s, but the texture looked about the same.  Mine may have been colder after spending the night in the fridge.

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I took a bite and as I expected, it tasted good, but plain.  It was a sad day in suburbia with NO NUT BUTTERS in the house, so I got creative with my toppings.  I drizzled on some coconut, fresh cherry jam, and a few walnuts.  It was just what my taste buds needed to compliment the pumpkin cake.

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I was a big fan of this high protein breakfast (2 eggs!!! Not to mention quinoa is a complete protein source) and how simple and quick it came together.  I would suggest adding some vanilla to the mix and if you like a sweeter breakfast, definitely go with the maple syrup.  It’s a great way to use your leftover grains and the flavor possibilities are endless.

If you’re looking for a cold breakfast, Evan also has a Banana Breakfast Quinoa recipe.

 

On another note, I had the leftover quinoa from making my ‘END OF THE DAY’ AFTERNOON ENERGY BARSThey have been my go-to  snack around 4:00 this week and I LOVE them.  They are filled with real food, high in protein, and the cocoa is surprisingly tasty.  Even better, they are getting me through the end of my 10-hour work day without snapping at my patients because I am hungry and grumpy (also known as HANGRY!).  Don’t let the quinoa scare you…give them a try!

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Empty Kitchen + Mariano’s = Happy Tummy

It is no secret that the grocery store is my happy place!  Perhaps I should have added ‘shopping at new grocery store’ to this morning’s AWESOME list

Awesome Monday Continues…

I weightlifted with the TRAINER this morning.  She always works me hard and it was especially challenging since I have been focusing on running and not strength over the last few months.  Afterwards, I headed over to Mariano’s Fresh Market in Arlington Hts.  This newish grocery store has been open for around a year and I’m surprised that it took me this long to get there.  Everyone raves about the produce and meat and they always have samples.  Recently, they even built a Mariano’s in the city that has wine tastings.  So after hitting the weights for an hour, I made my way over to the market.

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The outside was decorated with pumpkins and assorted squash…at great prices!

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The store was surprisingly busy for a Monday at 11:30AM.  It is well-lit, super clean, and the moment you walk in, you are surrounded by a rainbow of fresh fruits and vegetables.

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The variety was unbelievable!  Look at all of these pears and apples.

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And the prices were fantastic!

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I got soo into my shopping that I didn’t take any more pictures.  Plus, the store was busy and I think people were starting to look at me funny.  AND, I bumped into an old friend.  I swear, this is the forth time this week that has happened and every time it has been a person from my past who I haven’t kept in touch with but truly enjoyed getting to catch up with!  Mariano’s is huge, and I took my time wondering the aisles.  This is partially because I didn’t know where to find anything.  They have a huge bakery section with some adorable cakes.  There is a salad bar and many prepared food options, along with a variety of typical grocery store items.  Since I am probably the last one to visit the store, I’m sure I’m not telling you anything that you don’t already know.  I left with 4 full bags of groceries and spent less than I usually do.

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And now my fruit basket is full again!

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And the kitchen is stocked with food…hooray…time to get started!  First step, making wheatberries and quinoa for this week’s recipes.  I defer to the Clean Foods book for how to cook my grains and they continue to turn out perfectly.

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Remember when I visited with Jessica of CHEW a few weeks ago.  She gave me some good advice and recipes.  One of my questions for her was how to fuel myself through my long work days…particularly in the late afternoons.  She gave me a recipe for Quinoa Cocoa-Nut Cookies made with peanut butter, oats, and quinoa.  I didn’t have any PB or AB (the only negative of my trip to the new grocery store, no fresh nut butters), so I threw some raw almonds into the food processor and made my own.  Then collected the other ingredients.

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I combined my ingredients with a few changes shown below.  I couldn’t find cacao nibs, but I stirred in 2.5 Tbsp of Cacoa powder instead.

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I used wax paper over an 8×8 inch pan to turn the cookies into ‘End of the Day’ bars.  I baked them at 300 degrees for 35 minutes.  I was worried that the bars should get dry, so I didn’t want to over bake them.

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The texture turned out just right.  I was able to cut it into 8 bars.  I plan to wrap them individually and freeze a few.

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Made with real foods, I am hoping these easy to eat protein and carb rich bars will help me through my afternoon slump!

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I came across a new breakfast recipe for my leftover quinoa, but you’ll have to wait for it. 

Here’s a clue…it involves pumpkin!

I had just enough time to catch up on Grey’s Anatomy before heading back into the kitchen to make dinner. I’m attempting my first curry. Yum! Below is the original recipe from Jessica and my modifications in orange.

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Quinoa Cocoa-Nut Cookies aka End of the Day’ Energy Bars

This recipe will make about 2-dozen cookies, one is never enough.

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup natural peanut butter (or Almond Butter)

1/3 Cup Raw Agave Nectar 2 Tbsp Light Agave

2 Tbsp Milled Flax Seed  3 Tbsp Flax

2 Cups cooked Quinoa, completely cooled  1 cup cooked quinoa

1 Cup Old Fashioned Rolled Oats

1/2 cup Dried, shredded, unsweetened coconut  2 Tbsp coconut

1/4 Cup Cocoa Nibs/Chips  2.5 Tbsp Cacoa Powder

1 Tsp Sea Salt

Method

Preheat the oven on its lowest setting.

In a bowl, mix together the peanut butter, agave, seal salt and ground flax seeds.  Mix in the quinoa, oats, and coconut.  Fold in the cacao nibs.  This mixture should be pretty clumpy

Mold into mini patties, place on non-stick cookie sheet and throw into oven for 1 hour-ish.

Bake at 300 degrees for 35 minutes.

Store in fridge and consume within a week.