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.

Kitchen Experiments – Granola in a Crockpot

I am all about having the right tools in the kitchen to make life easier. When I counsel people on how to improve their diets a common complaint is “I just don’t have time to cook good meals!” My first response to this is: “what kind of tools do you have in your kitchen?” This makes all the difference in the world! I do not think that I could cook without my pressure cooker, rice cooker and crock pot. OK, I could, but it would take me a lot longer.

A few years ago I really wanted to use my crock pot more so I bought several cookbooks. Who knew you could make so many things using a crock pot. I was thinking soups, stews, meats, but granola?  I never would have thought!  Well, if you think that you do not have time to make homemade granola because you don’t have time to stand around the kitchen waiting to turn the granola every few minutes so it won’t burn – pull out your crock pot and give this a try!

It was so easy.  If you have a favorite granola recipe or something sitting on the back burner waiting for you to have time, pull it out and let’s get cooking!  Basically what I did was put my dry ingredients in a large bowl.  I used gluten-free oats, pumpkin seeds, coconut, black currants, and maple sugar.  The recipe also called for milk powder but since I can’t have milk products yet, I used brown rice protein powder instead to give it an extra boost.  The next step was to turn the crock pot on high and melt/heat the liquids for 30 minutes.  I did not have that much time so I decided to heat the liquids on the stove in a small pot.  I used agave syrup and 1/2 cup of oil, instead of 1 cup and used 1/2 cup of applesauce as well. Once it was heated through, I poured the liquids over the dry and mixed it until everything was coated.

granola

I did preheat the crock pot while I was preparing the ingredients.  I had it on high for maybe 15 minutes.  It seemed pretty hot when I added the oat mixture.  Here comes the easy part.  I cooked it on high for 1 1/2 hours with the lid off, stirring once every 30 minutes.  After the hour and a half, I turned the crock pot to low, placed the lid on it, and left it for 3 hours.  The recipe had said 4 hours but when I came home after 3, it seemed pretty well cooked.  I removed the lid for another 1/2 hour to cook off some of the moisture and then it was done!

cooked granolaI allowed it to cool and then placed it in an airtight container.  The next morning I had delicious granola with oat milk for breakfast!  Boy, that was easy!

Kitchen Experiments – Nut Butter

I love nuts! I love nut butters! I love how easy it is to make any kind of nut butter using my new Vitamix! With the Alcat diet plan that we have been following now for almost 3 months, it is recommended that you follow a 4 day rotation diet plus eliminate all food intolerances that were found through the Alcat blood test. The idea behind a rotation diet is that the body can become over-sensitized to certain food components if it has to deal with them constantly, which is possibly how the intolerances developed in the first place.  In order to avoid creating any new intolerances and to allow the gut to heal, the rotation diet is prescribed.  This allows the body to metabolize the “safe” foods only infrequently making it less likely that the body will develop new intolerances to them.

So back to the nut butters!  Each day of the rotation diet allows for 2-3 different nuts and seeds.  While it is easy to find peanut butter, almond butter and cashew butter, it is not so easy to find walnut and hazelnut butter or macadamia and pumpkin seed butter.  Actually, the best thing about making nut butters is that the combinations are endless!

nutbutterThis is my new favorite – macadamia and pumpkin seed butter.  Oh it is so delicious!  And so easy to make in the Vitamix!  I have a Champion Juicer that I have used for years to make different nut butters, but honestly, using the vitamix was so much easier.  I did not have to feed the nuts into the top of the juicer in small batches and wait for the juicer to grind them.  Instead, a stuck all the nuts and seeds in the vitamix, turned it on, and voila!  Nut butter!  What fun! Mmmm, I think that nut butter is calling my name right now!