Breakfast Time

What do they always say?  Breakfast is the most important meal of the day?  I do agree that it is very important to start your day with a good meal.  There are many reasons why you should not skip breakfast but two of the most important reasons in my book are:

  1. If you are trying to lose or maintain your weight, breakfast is the meal that is going to kick start your metabolism. If you don’t eat something in the morning, you are wasting valuable time where you are not burning calories.  Calories in versus calories out is the mantra.  So if you don’t eat in the morning, your metabolism doesn’t start to burn calories, and now you are behind all day long.
  2. Starting your morning with a breakfast that contains some protein allows your body and it’s blood sugar to be more balanced all day long.  Try it out for yourself.  If you eat protein at every meal and every snack, you will NOT have that dip in energy in the afternoon. If you have too many carbohyrdrates in the morning and it is not balanced with protein, no matter what you eat the rest of the day, your energy will not be as even and you will experience dips throughout the day.

Experiment with it and see what makes you feel good all day long.  Is it eggs and toast? Oatmeal with nuts? Chicken Soup?  Every person is different.  See what makes you feel the best.  If you like something hot to eat in the winter time, then try out this yummy breakfast!

Hearty Morning Cereal

*This is another delicious recipe based on one in “Feeding the Whole Family” by Cynthia Lair. This was my go to cook book for a long time.  The cereal is like a cream of wheat, but more nutritious and packed with protein. You may use any grain that you like in place of the oat groats, millet and amaranth. I just like this combination because it offers some natural sweetness to the cereal. Oat groats do not contain gluten so if you are gluten free, then this combination will work for you.

½ c. oat groats

¼ c. amaranth

¼ c. millet

¼ cup walnuts

¼ cup almonds

¼ cup sunflower seeds

¼ cup pumpkin seeds

Lightly toast all of the above ingredients in an un-greased skillet. Toast only until a distinct nutty aroma is apparent. Grind all ingredients in a coffee grinder or blender, until fine. Cook 1/3 cup of the ground cereal with one-cup milk, milk alternative or water in a small pan over medium heat. Cook until thick. Stir frequently to avoid burning. Store the rest of the ground cereal in the refrigerator or freezer.

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Tapas anyone?

tapas

I just love this time of year. The warm days and cool nights are a refreshing treat after some of those hot days of summer. However, what I really love about this time of year is the wonderful and abundant array of vegetables available at the farm and farmer’s markets. I get excited about canning some of those lovely vegetables and fruits in preparation for winter: Salsa …done, Peaches…done, Corn…done, applesauce…not yet! I also love experimenting in the kitchen with what’s in season and reminding myself of those recipes that I haven’t wanted to cook because it was just too hot. It is also a great time of year to share the abundance with friends. Picnics are great in the summer, but now it is time to change up the menu and do something different. Why not invite some friends over to enjoy the nice weather and do a tapas party. What are tapas? Tapas are the Spanish way of serving many small, flavorful courses to help satisfy your hunger while preventing overeating. Here are some recipes to get you started. The first two recipes are great served with cut-up vegetables or crackers. Easy finger foods to get the party started! The last recipe is a nice way to round out the meal with something sweet but healthy. The in between courses are left to your imagination. Bon Appétit!

hiziki

Hiziki Pate

I love this recipe. Cynthia Lair introduced this recipe in my Whole Foods Cooking Class when I was at Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington. It is a wonderful way to sneak seaweed into your friends diet. Adults and kids alike will love it. Just wait until the end of the party to tell them what is in it!

1 c. Hiziki

1 1/2 c. apple juice

1 tsp. tamari

1/4 c. sesame seeds, toasted, then ground

1/2 pound firm tofu, crumbled with a fork

2 Tbs. light or white miso

1/2 bunch parsley, finely chopped

2 scallions, thinly sliced

Soak hiziki in water for 5 minutes and chop fine. Put hiziki in a medium-sized pan and add 1 1/2 c. apple juice or less – just enough to completely cover the hiziki. Bring to a simmer. Cover and cook until all apple juice is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Toward end of cooking time, season hiziki with tamari.

While hiziki is cooking, prepare other ingredients. Sesame seeds can be toasted in a skillet on the stove for several minutes, then ground. Gently mix tofu, sesame seeds, miso, parsley, and scallions together in a bowl. Let the hiziki cool and then add to the mixture. Serve with whole grain crackers, bread, or as a side dish. Will keep in the refrigerator for 3 days.

From: Feeding the Whole Family by Cynthia Lair

lentil

Lentil-Walnut Spread

3/4 c. lentils, rinsed                                              1 c. finely minced arugula, spinach or watercress

1/4-c. walnut halves                                            3 Tbs. broth

1 Tbs. flax oil or olive                                         1/4 tsp. ground cumin

1 small clove garlic                                              1/8 tsp. ground coriander

1/2 tsp. salt

Combine lentils with 1 1/2-c. water and cook until tender and water is absorbed-35-40 minutes. Drain and transfer to a small bowl. In food processor, process walnuts and oil to a smooth paste. With a rubber spatula, scrape mixture into a bowl with lentils. Mash to paste with fork. Mash garlic and 1/4 tsp. salt together and add to lentil mixture along with arugula, broth, cumin, coriander and remaining salt. Cover and refrigerate up to 4 days.

carob

Carob Fudge

This is another recipe that I learned while at school. My friend was requested to bring this to all of our potlucks. People will never know that it is not chocolate.

1 c. honey or brown rice syrup

1 c. natural peanut butter or almond butter

1 c. carob powder

3/4 c. raw sunflower seeds

1/2 c. coconut

1/2 c. walnuts

1/2 c. raisins

Greese an 8” square baking dish. In a large saucepan, heat honey and peanut butter; stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and mix in carob. Stir in remaining ingredients. Spread in baking dish. Chill at least 3 hours.

Recipe modification: use 1/2 c. tahini and 1/2 c. peanut butter

Kitchen Experiments – Creamy Beany Broccoli Soup

I love soup! I love soup in the winter, spring, summer or fall. I love soup for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Any time of day, any time of year! I love brothy soups, creamy soups, or loaded with stuff soup. I just plain love soup! I am usually not a follow the recipe kind of a soup maker, I am usually just a throw it in the pot and see what happens kind of a soup maker. However, there are several recipes that have made it into my repertoire when I am in the mood to follow a recipe. The “Creamy Broccoli Soup” by Cynthia Lair from her Feeding the Whole Family cookbook has been one of my favorites since I had Cynthia as a teacher at Bastyr University while getting my masters in nutrition. The only problem that I had with this recipe was that it did not have a significant amount of protein in it. As I said, I like to have soup for breakfast, especially when I am working, but I like it to have protein so that it holds me over for the morning and I don’t spike my blood sugar. So, I decided to tweak the recipe just a little.

soup

Creamy Beany Broccoli Soup

2 large stems of broccoli with flowerets

1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2 medium onions, chopped

2 leeks, white part mainly with 1 inch of green top, cleaned and chopped

1/2 t. sea salt

1 tsp. coriander

2 medium potatoes, diced

1 15oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

5 celery stalks, chopped

4 – 4 ½ c. water

2 Tbs. cashew butter

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

  1. Cut off the broccoli flowerets, cut into bite-sized pieces. Place flowerets in small saucepan with a little water on the bottom. Steam for 5 minutes, until the color just starts to change. Peel the broccoli stems and dice into small pieces.
  2. Heat oil in a 3-quart pot. Add onions, leeks, salt, and coriander. Cover the pot and simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion/leek mixture cooks down to a nice mush (10 to 15 minutes).
  3. Add the broccoli stem pieces, potatoes, cannellini beans, celery, and water to the onion mush; cover and simmer until the potatoes are soft (15 to 20 minutes).
  4. Put the soup mixture in a blender, or use a hand blender, with cashew butter and blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Preparation time: 45 minutes

Makes 6 servings

I hope that you will try this recipe and enjoy it as much as I do for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Happy cooking!

Kitchen Experiment – Brown Rice Crispy Treats

When I went to school for my masters in nutrition at Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington, I had a great teacher for the class “Cooking with Whole Foods.” It was probably my favorite class out of all the classes that I took because we actually cooked in the class.  It was in this class that I finally learned how to hold a knife to chop vegetables.  It is also where I first had the inspiration to try new recipes and to makeup new ones based on the food I found in the kitchen.  Cynthia Lair was the teacher and when we graduated she published her first cookbook called “Feeding the Whole Family.”  This was and still is one of my most used cookbooks on the shelf.  What I love about this cookbook is that all of the recipes are simple but delicious.

One of these recipes is just what I was looking for when I had a hankering for something sweet. It is not always easy to use an existing recipe because of the limitations of our current rotation diet which is based upon the ALCAT results from our food intolerance testing.  Luckily, I remembered this recipe from Cynthia Lair’s cookbook and couldn’t wait to adapt it to my needs.

rice crispy treats

Brown Rice Crispy Treats.  This is the healthy version of rice crispy treats made without the marshmallows and refined sugar and instead uses brown rice syrup, nut butter and a little oil.  You can add what you like to the recipe to suit your needs and taste.  For my recipe, I substituted sunflower oil for the sesame oil, I used hazelnut and sunflower seed butter that I made in my Vitamix and added sunflower seeds, raisins and cranberries.  These treats are just sweet enough and really hit the spot.

Check out the recipe at the link above and if you are looking for a great cookbook, check out “Feeding the Whole Family” by Cynthia Lair!