Tag Archives: milk

Hey Breakfast Skippers…

28 Apr

I am up and at the gym by 5:30 most mornings. After a good workout, I dash back home for a quick shower and then zip off to work. Nope-no time for breakfast.

But that is a huge mistake. We all know that. A healthy breakfast sets a successful eating pattern for the day, so we’d better make it a good one. That is a challenge on a tight schedule though. What is the solution? The Grab and Go breakfast.

No-not the drive through kind, the refrigerator leftover kind. Here is how to do it. First, grab a couple of eggs because they offer excellent protein. Why does that matter? Protein can help stabilize blood sugar and keeps the hunger pangs at bay. You feel full longer. Eggs pack a quality nutritional punch, so feel free to grab 3 or 4 of them. Next grab the leftover quinoa with spinach and pimento that you made last night for dinner.

Once you are at work, get situated. Check your emails, review your calendar, and fill your water bottle with refreshing ice water. Next, take your eggs and quinoa and find a microwave.

Crack your eggs into a glass microwave safe dish. Include one or two whole eggs and one or two of the whites only. Most of the protein in an egg resides in the white so use all of the whites. Don’t be afraid of those egg yolks though-they contain beneficial vitamins and minerals like choline, selenium, and B vitamins like folate.

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Next, take a fork and whip up your eggs. If you are a milk drinker, add a few tablespoons to make your eggs fluffy. Add some pepper for a little kick. Pop it in the microwave.

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Try cooking your eggs in 30 second increments until almost done, stirring your eggs every 30 seconds.

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Next, add in your grains. This adds fiber, texture, flavor and a bit more muscle building protein.

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Finish cooking your eggs with the grains.

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So there you have it. You are having a delicious healthy breakfast at the office in a snap. This is how to do a healthy Grab and Go breakfast. And the best part is that this is very budget friendly because you used leftovers. Love that! What are you doing with your leftovers?

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Naughty In Charleston

27 Dec

Sneaking off to Charleston, South Carolina is one of my favorite things to do when I get the chance.  Everybody has places that cleanse our mind and free our spirit.  In addition to my house of worship, Charleston does that for me.  My breath slows, my mind calms, and my priorities shift. I love it there.

The history of the city is fantastic.  It is an old port city and definitely, like all old cities,  has a naughty side.   But the history, showcased in but not limited to the architecture, is beautiful.  Walking around the city taking in the historical churches, centuries old residential homes, and cemeteries of yesteryear take you back in time.  An appreciation for the present can be felt by stepping into the past.

That is an amazing part of Charleston, but I digress.  Being a foodie is reason number one to love Charleston.  It is a wonderful culinary destination.  You can go the budget route and find great food at reasonable prices.  After a long morning of walking around Charleston, grabbing an inexpensive lunch somewhere is easy to do.  If you are lucky, squeezing in an afternoon nap is a decadent treat too.

Refreshed from a little power snooze, there are a number of places to enjoy roof top cocktails, some tapas, and a blazing sunset that produces every color in the rainbow.  After the sunset, wander down just about any street.  Stop in one of the many fine restaurants for a dinner that will knock your socks off.  It is a great way to end a day in Charleston.  But how should the day begin?

Starting the day with naughty is a delightful beginning to any day in Charleston.  Take a walk down King Street, and you will enjoy world class shopping.  But do not be distracted for long before breakfast or you will walk right by the most naughty place in all of Charleston. Glazed Gourmet Doughnuts. This place is a show stopper.   Oh yeah.  Slow down, take a big whiff, and your nose will guide you.

This is a place to relish the delightful gourmet doughnuts, the friendly service, and the oh so yummy  treats.  And yes…go all the way and get a glass of whole milk to wash down that doughnut.  Go all out naughty.   As I said, Charleston feeds my soul. In many ways. Sometimes being naughty can be so good.

A bacon maple donut...this is pretty naughty-and happily so!

A bacon maple donut…this is pretty naughty-and happily so!

Soup-Rich warm comfort food! Yum!

21 Sep
Home made tomato basil soup.  Easy and delicious!  And the leftovers were fabulous.

Home made tomato basil soup. Easy and delicious! And the leftovers were fabulous.

 

As the weather continues to turn from steamy days to the cool crisp air of fall, I am on my comfort food fast track.  Last week, home made tomato basil soup filled the bill.  And if I may be so bold,  it was creamy, rich, and quite delicious. (Ouch!  It hurts to pat myself on the back!)

Tomato basil soup is a snap to make with just a few things on hand.  I used canned tomatoes, but had fresh basil still going crazy in it’s sunny patio pot.  I began by sautéing onions, celery, and garlic in olive oil.  Next, in went some canned tomatoes to simmer for a bit. I use a variety of tomatoes depending on what is in the pantry.  (Whole tomatoes are just fine to use if you have a stick or immersion mixer to smooth it out). Salt, pepper, and a dash of sugar is also necessary.  I use both black pepper and red pepper flakes because I like a little heat in my soup, but you can be light handed with the pepper if that suits your personal preference.

Even if using fresh basil, tossing in about a tablespoon of dried basil while the soup is simmering adds a nice flavor touch, and certainly adds to the succulent aroma.  When the soup starts simmering, the amazing scents of tomatoes and basil begin wafting through the air.  Pathetic true confession: sometimes when I am cooking and it starts to smell good in the house, I will go outside for a sec, then step back inside and let those incredible aromas hit me all over again.

Fresh basil.  The taste is amazing and the aromas are truly mouth watering!

Fresh basil. The taste is amazing and the aromas are truly mouth watering!

There are so many reasons to love soup.  The house warms up with delicious lingering scents, and you can really customize it for your own taste and occasion.  Add a little of this and a little of that.  And soup is super budget friendly.  Soup is also easily paired with a well toasted or grilled sandwich…the crisp texture  of the sandwich is wonderful with the warm smooth soup.  Very pleasing to the palate. Make it on the weekend and use the leftovers for a quick week night supper.

Amy’s Tomato Soup

  • 2 T. olive oil

    Simple soup ingredients.

    Simple soup ingredients

  • 1/4 cup each of chopped onion and celery
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 2 cups chicken stock (can use vegetable to make it vegetarian)
  • 2 32 oz. cans tomatoes
  • 1 cup milk (optional-and I use skim)
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 2 T. ketchup
  • 1/2 t. sugar
  • 1 T. dried basil
  • 2-3 T chopped fresh basil
  • Salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste

Put olive oil in large stock pot.  Heat briefly and add onion and celery. Sautee until soft, about 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add garlic and stir for another minute.  Gently pour in stock and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring twice.  Add all tomatoes, tomato paste, ketchup, salt, pepper, sugar and dried basil.  Give this a good stir.  Turn heat to medium to low and let simmer for 20 minutes.  Use immersion or stick blender to smooth out the texture, being mindful of the hot liquid.  Taste for salt and pepper at this time and adjust for taste.  Add fresh basil  and let simmer on low for 15-20 minutes.  You can whisk in the milk at this time if you choose.  Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese and fresh basil.

This is a fun recipe to tinker with.  Feel free to make it more hispanic by adding cumin.  Make it a little more greek by adding oregano.  Go for it.  Have a blast!  Welcome fall into your family kitchen by adding this fabulous comfort food.  Try this soup, make it your own, and then shoot me a note to let me know what you did.  I can’t wait to hear about your foray into fall comfort food!

 

 

Surviving Morning (C)rush

25 Feb

Any busy parent has been stuck in what I call “The Morning Crush”.  We get caught up in finding this, grabbing that, scheduling this, signing that.  Find a coat.  Pack up lunch.  Locate the car keys.  Take the dog out.  Yup, mornings are busy.  But they are survivable.  It does take some planning and organization though.  But any parent with kids, a job, multiple schedules, taxi duty, and household management duties can do it.  In fact, planning and organization makes mornings a bit of a breeze sometimes.  As with anything, practice is key here.  You get better with experience.

Making one change at a time is a good way to make positive changes work for the long-term.  Let’s begin with a good hot nutritious breakfast.  Made fast.  Loaded with vitamins, minerals, and goodness.  And super easy.  Just pull it out of the fridge, heat it up, and enjoy.  Impossible you say?  Nope, not at all.  With a little advance planning and prep, weekday morning breakfast will be a snap.

My secret weapon here is oatmeal.  Made ahead of time, my oatmeal will keep in the fridge, and can even be frozen.  It is quick to reheat on a busy morning, and a healthy way to begin any day.  And for those of you with a sweet tooth, you can add in fresh or dried fruit to sweeten this without sugar.  The possibilities are endless with the add ins to make my oatmeal into your oatmeal.  Just toss in what you have around, within reach, and bammo!  You have a powerhouse start to your day in minutes.

I make oatmeal with quinoa.  Why add quinoa to oatmeal?  Well, first of all, it is a good way to add another whole grain to your diet.  Second, quinoa is a complete protein.  Third, this pumped up oatmeal is stick to your ribs and will really hold off hunger and temptation for the entire morning.  Quinoa is also a good source of iron and fiber.  I like to make a big batch of quinoa and keep extra in the fridge.  In addition to adding it to oatmeal, I also add it to, for example, roasted veggies for an easy side dish for supper.  But back to oatmeal.  Let me share my pumped up oatmeal recipe for you to try.

Do Ahead:  Make a large batch of quinoa.  Cool and keep cooked quinoa in the fridge.

Amy’s Pumped Up Oatmeal

  • 2 cups skim milk (may substitute with almond or soy milk if desired)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups oatmeal
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • dried fruit like raisins, and/or 1 banana to add, sliced, at serving time (avoid if watching sugar intake. Dried fruits are high in sugar.)
  • nuts or seeds, like sunflower or almonds, to add at serving time

Combine water and milk in a saucepan over medium high heat.  When boiling, add oatmeal and cinnamon, stir, and turn heat down so the oatmeal simmers uncovered.  Cook for 5 minutes.  Stir in quinoa.  Continue cooking until desired doneness, about another 5 minutes, stirring as needed.  Remove from heat.  Portion in 6 ounce serving size and refrigerate or freeze.  Easy tip:  Freeze in muffin tin.  Pop out to heat and serve.

When ready to prepare, remove number of portions needed from fridge or freezer and place in separate bowls.  Add 1 T. water and microwave for 2-3 minutes.  Stir and add fruit, nuts, and/or seeds.  Enjoy a super fast, easy, and nutritious breakfast.  This is a terrific recipe to customize for preferences.  I have had this breakfast, and it has lasted through morning crush, a tough workout, and a busy morning at work.

There you go.  One step toward making morning crush more manageable.  And a way to start your day off with a solid healthy breakfast!  Go ahead.  Get going.  There is nothing stopping you.  Bon appetite!

Quirky

12 Jun

Everyone has their food quirks.  Something that makes our food distinctly ours.  My oldest son?  He likes what I call a “naked” sandwich.  No condiments.  Bread, meat, maybe a little lettuce or banana peppers from a jar.  That’s it.  I say eeww to that.  Too quirky.  I simply cannot eat a naked sandwich.

And ketchup.  Does it go on the pile of fries, or next to them to be dipped?  Or do you forgo the ketchup all together and go for the European way with mayo on those fries?

Then there are hot dogs.  Kind of a sacred food for this Chicago girl.  Being of german heritage with Chicago as my home town, no hot dog is edible without that bright yellow mustard slathered o it!  In fact, I am into a Chicago Dog all the way.  That includes mustard, celery salt, peppers, tomato wedges, and never ever ever does a Chicago dog done right include ketchup.  In fact, just forming that last sentence, the very thought of ketchup on a hot dog made shivers go up my spine.  No kidding

And Rice Krispies are not at all edible unless there is a ripe banana (no green whatsoever!  It must be soft, yellow and well on it’s way to brown!) cut up in neat little slices plopped into the bowl of  snap! crackle! and pop! in milk on my breakfast table.  But my friend will not eat Rice Krispies unless they are mixed in with a heap of melted marshmallow.  It’s just his thing.

Being a foodie, I, of course, will try just about any food prepared any way.  But I must hail back to my roots and recognize my quirks.  Deleveloped somewhere along my forty-something years of eating, I am not certain quite how my quirky food habits formed, but I allow them air time.  I embrace them.  I also very much enjoy hearing and observing others food quirks.  We all have ’em.  They are fun, and distinguish us from one another.  As in all things, I celebrate differences.  I find differences in food preferences, eating habits, and individual quirkiness intriguing.  Interesting.  Thought provoking.  Fun.

Try all foods, expand your palate, but for comfort…embrace your food quirks!