Pancakes… on a school day??

Good morning everyone!!  Despite having been out of school for over a decade a short while, I will always think of Monday to Friday as the ‘school week.’  And maybe a little denial about being a grownup  😉

Well, great news… with this recipe, you can enjoy hearty, filling, healthy pancakes in minutes.  Totally do-able for a weekday breakfast!

Oatmeal Powercakes

Enjoy this quick and filling pancake in minutes… pancakes no longer need to be relegated to a weekend-only meal!  And you can top with anything you like.  I event heard about a girl that topped hers with chocolate chips… perhaps that was just an urban-pancake-myth, or maybe that person was me  😉

  • 1/2 ripe banana
  • 1/3 cup oats (I like texture of the thinner cut variety or ‘quick cook’)
  • 3 Tbs egg whites (or 2 egg whites)
  • dash of pumpkin pie spice
  • toppings: strawberries, blueberries, almond butter

Heat a skillet to medium heat, it’s important that the heat isn’t too high… you want the pancake to cook through without burning the outside.  Smash the banana with a fork and mix in the egg white, oats and spices.  Add to the skillet and cook until set, about 5 minutes.  My first few pancakes were more like pancake scrambles because I flipped to early.  Flip and cook another 2-3 minutes.  Top with berries and almond butter and enjoy!!

oatmeal powercakesYou all know how much I love my morning oatmeal… I must say, this is a contendor for weekday breakfast favorites!

In other news, this week started the 21-day meditation challenge with Deepak and Oprah!!  Jonathan and I have participated every day so far!  I had big plans to finish unpacking our spare room and create a beautiful meditation space before the challenge stared…. alas, I got busy and the room is still in disarray!  But, this proves that you don’t need a special zen garden to start a new practice and reap the benefits of meditation.  I often find that making just a humble beginning is all it takes!

I hope everyone is having a great week!

xox, Kristen

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An Ode to the Stolen Menu

Hi everyone!  I have some bad news… my very favorite, favorite breakfast restaurant has closed.  Not even ‘is closing’ …as in, I could get there one more time.  Closed, past tense, done (wipes tear).  Such a bummer!

The cafe was called The Stolen Menu.  The food was the best… always delicious, with inventive combinations and the freshest ingredients, and lots of veggies, which naturally, I love.  I also loved the name and concept… the ‘stolen’ menu was inspired MJ’s own experiences eating and cooking good food, and she aspired to one day have a menu that others would want to steal from.  Well, that day has definitely arrived!  I actually swiped a menu during a visit with the intent of borrowing some of her masterpieces.  🙂

My parents introduced me to this gem… so, Jonathan and I invited them over for a farewell brunch while I recreated of one of my favorite dishes.  It was a hit!

Stolen Farm-to-Table Breakfast

This recipe was inspired by one of my favorite meals at The Stolen Menu in York, Maine.  It’s almost a Benedict with the poached eggs, toasted foccacia and pesto drizzle… but way more delicious!!  And it goes together super fast, which is important when you wake up hungry.  Oven roasted sweet potato homefries are a perfect side.  Serves 4

  • 2 portabella mushrooms
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 12 stalks asparagus
  • fresh baby spinach
  • eggs (1 or 2 per person)
  • 4 slices foccacia bread (if you make your own, I’m really impressed, I picked up a loaf at a local bakery)
  • 1/4 cup pesto
  • 4 Tbs milk
  • thinly sliced swiss cheese (I used Jarlesburg, sliced with a vegetable peeler)
  • 2 sweet potatoes, optional as a side dish

stolen ingredients

If you are serving the sweet potato homefries, scrub and chop the sweet potatoes into small cubes.  Toss with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and spread on a baking sheet.  Roast at 450F for 35 mins while you prep the rest of the meal.

Thinly slice the mushroom, zucchini and red pepper.  Chop the asparagus into bite-sized pieces.  Sautee the veggies over medium-high heat, I like to keep them a little crisp.  I had an OCD-moment and cooked the veggies separately for plating purposes, but you could definitely cook them together.

stolen sautee

Toast the foccacia and keep warm in the oven.  Heat the pesto and thin with a few tablespoons of milk.  You can throw this in the oven to stay warm as well.

Now poach the eggs.. this goes quickly, so make sure everything else is ready!  Bring a pot of water to a boil, you only need 3-4 inches of water.  Here’s my little trick: first crack the eggs into a cereal bowl and then slide the eggs from the bowl into the boiling water.  So much easier than breaking eggs directly into the boiling water!  You can crack all of the eggs into the bowl and slide them together into the water.  Turn the heat down and watch carefully.  I check them constantly.  Depending how runny you like ’em and how many eggs you are cooking (more eggs take longer), poaching takes about 5-8 minutes.

To serve, start with a small bed of baby spinach.  Add the toasted foccacia and layer thinly sliced cheese with the sauteed vegetables.  Top with a poached egg and pesto drizzle.  Serve alongside sweet potato homefries.

stolen bfast

stolen bfast2

And an up-close of Jonathan digging in…… it makes me so happy to see people enjoy my cooking!  🙂

stolen digin

Everyone loved breakfast!  The pesto drizzle works really well with the vegetables… the crunchy foccacia softened by the poached egg and hint of cheese… it’s really a perfect combination of flavors.  MJ, your lovely cafe will be missed!  Warm wishes to you and yours!

xox, Kristen

Summer Lovin’

Hi everyone!  There is a HUGE snowstorm rolling in up here… seriously, people are using words like ‘snowmageddon,’ which sounds a little over-the-top to me!  What I can say is that all of this chilly weather has me dreaming about summer and lounging in the sun.  So, on that note, I’m here to share this great smoothie recipe, reminiscent of a summer day at the beach.

Banana Dream Smoothie

  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup coconut almond milk
  • 2 Tbs almond butter (of course, I use the homemade variety)
  • dash cinnamon
  • small chunk of ginger, peeled
  • scoop protein powder (optional)

banana dream smoothie

I picked up some unsweetened almond coconut milk, which really gives this smoothie that beachy taste… but it would also be great with regular almond milk or dairy milk.  If you are wondering what you will do with the rest of the almond coconut milk, trust me, it’s delicious.  It’s great on oatmeal, or in cereal, or in a recipe, like coffee cake.  I’ve also been all about adding a little nib of ginger in my smoothies… the ginger gives you a magical warm feeling in your belly… it is, afterall, still winter!  😉

This recipe also calls for protein powder, although it is totally optional.  If I’m drinking up for breakfast, I usually add the protein for a little more lasting power.  I really like unsweetened vanilla brown rice powder.  My favorite new-to-me brand is Sunwarrior… I sent them an email asking to sample their product at support@sunwarrior.com and they sent me a BUNCH of free samples!  Yay, for free stuff!

sunwarriorPretty cool, right?  Oh, and while on the topic of smoothies… Jonathan and I just signed up for a 30 day smoothie challenge.  It’s not a fast (believe me, I am not up for 30 days of smoothies-only in February!).  The goal of the challenge is to add one healthy smoothie to your usual daily food.  I’m also looking forward to some new smoothie ideas!!  Check it out!  Free 30 Day Smoothie Challenge with Young and Raw.

Okay friends, I am off to play in the snow!  And I’m super excited about it (as are my snowshoes!)  Stay safe out there!

xox  Kristen

Birthday Brunch… Success!

Hi everyone!  I hope you are all enjoying the weekend!

Jonathan’s family came up celebrate his mom’s birthday.  Sometimes the logistics of putting out a big meal can be challenging, so I thought it would be helpful to share my brunch strategy.  😉

Here’s the goal: vegetable frittata, roasted sweet potatoes, green salad, veggie sausage, coffee cake and green smoothies.  And here’s how it went…

8:30 am, wake up… remember I’m missing a few ingredients… shoot out to the grocery store.

9:30… okay, ready to start for real!  Guests arriving in two hours.  Preheat the oven, game on.  First order of business is the cake, because it goes together quickly and will need time to cool.  10:00… sautee veggies and prepare the frittata… this cooks at the same temp, so it can share the oven if you’re ready to roll before the cake is done.  The frittata can also sit at room temp a while, so it’s up next!

10:30 – rejoice that I am ahead of schedule and break for tea.  I’ve been all about the ‘I Love Lemon’ tea lately!  Yum!

10:45am – chop sweet potatoes, bump up the oven temp and toss those in.  (I leave the skin on, toss with olive oil and salt and roast at 450F for 25-30 mins, the key is to leave space between the potatoes so they get crispy)  Make salad.  Cut and plate the cake.  Oops, just remembered that I wanted to serve veggie sausage… luckily this is quick… turn off the oven and keep potatoes in to stay warm.  Return frittata to the oven to warm.  Sautee sausages.  Whip up smoothies… and voila, we’re ready to serve!!

tanya's bday brunch

Everything came out delicious.  I love cooking for people and especially love showing friends and family that healthy eats can be so tasty!!

Vegetable Frittata

I’ve always been intimidated by frittata… the traditional stovetop skillet/finish in the oven sounds scary… but this is a super easy recipe.  No skillet required, it cooks exactly like a quiche, minus the crust.  This recipe is also very adaptable, feel free to use whatever veggies you like or have on hand.  And I like my frittata chock full of veggies. 😉

  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 3 cups spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 small onion, thin sliced
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup egg whites
  • oregano, thyme, cayenne, black pepper, turmeric

Sautee the mushrooms, onions and zucchini in 1 Tbs olive oil until soft, 10-15 mins.  Add spinach to wilt.  Lightly oil a deep pie plate.  Add sautéed veggies and red peppers.  Whisk eggs and whites… there’s nothing wrong with a few whole eggs now and then.  Especially if you get the farm fresh one’s from my friend Shelly over at Burnt Swamp Farm!!  But, I do like to mix it up with some egg whites to keep the cholesterol low.  I add a little shake of turmeric to give the egg whites that familiar yellow hue.  Plus turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory and a natural healer, so it’s great to sneak it in where you can.

Add egg mixture right on top of the veggies.  Sprinkle with spices to taste.  I used about 1/4tsp each of oregano and thyme, a teeny dash of cayenne and several cracks of black pepper.  Cook 45mins at 350F.  The top will be firm when cooked.  Frittata is great for brunch because it’s equally great hot out of the oven or at room temperature.

fritataYum!!  Can you see the steam rising?  With all the veggies, this gives a nice hearty slice.  Serves 6.

This frittata is great with a green salad: baby greens, chopped apple, pecans, celery, dressed with olive oil and balsamic.

Raspberry Pecan Coffee Cake

Since I made this for a birthday brunch, I dressed it up with some carob chips.  Carob is vegan and tastes similar to chocolate, and carob chips have no added sugar.  If you don’t like or don’t have carob, some dark chocolate chips would also be delicious in this recipe.  I also used a combination of flours… spelt flour does contain gluten, but some people with allergies are able to tolerate spelt.  You could substitute with whole wheat flour, but will need a bit less, about 1 1/2 cups to replace the spelt, or 2 cups to replace both flours.

Cake:

  • 1 3/4 cup spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup oat flour (purchase or make your own by blending oats)
  • 1/4 cup raw sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon, dash salt, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (can sub with dairy milk)
  • 1-2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup neutral flavored oil
  • 3/4 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1/4 cup frozen blueberries (or more raspberries)
  • 2 Tbs carob chips

Topping

  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 Tbs oil, 1 Tbs cinnamon, 1 Tbs maple syrup, 3 Tbs carob chips

Combine all dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients and add to dry.  Mix until incorporated.  Lightly oil an 8×8 glass dish.  Scoop about 2/3 of the batter into the dish.  Spread fruit over the batter and sprinkle with 2T carob chips.  I like to break up the raspberries, which is really easy to do if you are using frozen berries.

coffee cake in progressDot remaining batter over the fruit.  Combine ingredients for topping and sprinkle over the top.  Bake at 350F for 35-40 mins or until the center is set.

coffee cake

This cake was delicious enough to serve as a ‘birthday’ cake, but not overly sweet, so it still works for brunch.  With rave reviews, the brunch was rated a success!!

And I’d like to share some other important news…

Jonathan tried his very first yoga class this morning at my home studio, Zev Yoga in Portsmouth… and HE LOVED IT!!!!  I am so excited and happy to share my passion.  A new yogi is born!  🙂 🙂

xox, Kristen

Banana bread breakfast cookies and my favorite almond butter

Good morning and happy Friday everyone!!  I’m here with an exciting post. Seriously, who doesn’t enjoy cookies for breakfast every now and again?  Well, great news, these cookies are delicious AND good for you… more like a healthy little muffin masquerading as a cookie.  Plus, these cookies are inspired by one of my favorite treats… banana bread!!  Mmmmm……

Banana Bread Breakfast Cookies

  • 1 generous cup of mashed banana, approx 2 1/2 bananas
  • 1 cup thick cut oats (you can use the quick cook kind, but I much prefer the texture of the thick cut oats in this recipe)
  • 1 cup oat flour (super easy to make, just toss some oats in the blender, or sub whole wheat flour)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp nutmeg, 1/8 tsp allspice, dash clove
  • 1 Tbs neutral flavored oil (like coconut or canola)
  • 2 Tbs maple syrup (the real stuff, seriously it’s much better)
  • 2 Tbs almond milk (can use regular milk or another non-dairy)
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
  • 1/3 cup raisins

Okay, this is an easy one… I just combine the ingredients in the listed order.  Be sure to thoroughly mash the bananas.  To toast walnuts, simply toss them in a 350F degree oven for 10ish minutes.  It’s an extra step, but toasting the nuts really boosts their flavor!

Scoop large spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Makes 12-14 cookies.  Cook at 350F for 14-15 minutes.  Let cool, if you can wait a few minutes!  These are totally delicious right out of the oven and also pack well.  They are the most amazing topped with almond butter!

bfast cookies

Maple Almond Butter  (you didn’t think I was going to leave you hanging with a mere mention of almond butter, did you?)  😉

  • 1 bag whole almonds (10 oz)
  • 2 Tbs maple syrup
  • 1 Tbs canola oil
  • few dashes of salt and cinnamon

I cut a little slit in the almond bag and add the oil and maple syrup right in and swish around.  Spread the almonds on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Cook at 300F for 20 mins.

almonds

The toasty almonds are really tasty at this stage… in case you were wondering.  I use my Vitamix for this part, but a food processor works too.  Simply toss the almonds into the blender and add enough oil to keep everything moving around.  I use about 1/4 cup.  I’ve tried to make it without the oil… it can be done, but it’s a lot of sticking and hard stirring.  The great part is that any excess oil separates from the finished product and you can just pour it off.

almond butter

Mmmm… almond butter, a favorite at my house.  In fact, I have a little confession… this particular batch of almond butter was whipped up because I ate ALL the almond butter Jonathan got in Burlington.  Luckily, homemade almond butter rocks, so I’m pretty sure he forgives me!  😉

Have a most excellent Friday!!  Here’s a little photo to start your day off right… I was up early for yoga and caught this on the ride home 🙂

xox, Kristen

sunrise Feb1

Whole Foods Cleanse

Happy Wednesday everyone!  Today is Day 6 of my Whole Foods cleanse… I thought it would be a great time to share how it’s going and some healthy cleanse-worthy food ideas!  I am following a program designed by Annie Wagoner of Core Nourishment in Dover with a group of fabulous women.  We’ve stayed in contact to share our experience and swap tips.  It is so great to have this support and encouragement!!

So…. I’ll back up a few days.  The 10 day cleanse started Friday.  Typically I like to start new things on Mondays.  Or on the 1st of a month.  Or, ideally, on a 1st that falls on a Monday (which doesn’t leave a ton of opportunity… could I just be procrastinating??).  I also wasn’t wild about the Friday start because that meant that we would be covering TWO weekends.  I briefly considered going rogue and starting on Monday anyway, but one really wonderful part of doing the cleanse with other women is the connection, the shared energy.  So I had to relinquish control (those of you that know me well can laugh here) 😉

As it turns out, a Friday start is positively genius for two reasons: First, I had the best of intentions to prepare/stock up the fridge after our seminar on Sunday, but the workweek can be crazy… when I finally came up for air, it was Thursday.  Luckily, I was able to scrap together enough food from the fridge to get through the first day without completely starving, then I had the weekend to do some real preparation.  Second, easing into the routine over the weekend was a gentle landing.  I’m actually finding that it’s much easier to stick to the program when I am home.

So, speaking of the program, I’m sure you are wondering what exactly it is.  This cleanse is about clearing out toxins and dullness by eating only healthy whole foods.  It’s not about deprivation, it’s about honoring the body.  The cleanse is also a time to ‘cleanse’ thoughts.  So, in addition to food choices, cleansing is a special time to pass on unnecessary and stressful inputs, like media or draining people. It is a time to practice self-care… for me, that means enjoy some solitude and savoring a bit of rest.  Having a hot tea and reading a book… maybe a trip to the spa.  It also means trying something new and having fun.  For me, the cleanse is about restoring the body’s natural balance… I suppose you could call it taking an intuitive approach.  😉

I also wanted to share a ‘day of eating’ on the cleanse.  Here’s how my day shaped up.

My go-to oatmeal cup is off the menu for a few days (heartbreaker) but eggs are on the menu.  I don’t make eggs too often, especially on a work morning, so it’s actually been great to mix it up.  Today I had scrambled eggs (I use one whole egg and one egg white) with roasted red peppers, mushrooms, and kale with oregano and cayenne pepper.  The spices really kick it up a notch!

eggs and grapefruitAttention grapefruit fans: what you are seeing in the picture is a grapefruit spoon.  I knew they existed but never had one of my own (another stocking stuffer this year)… let me tell you, the grapefruit spoon is a game changer!!  Seriously, do something nice for yourself, get the spoon!

Despite my protein-packed breakfast, I was a bit hungry by late morning.  However, things got super busy at work and next thing I knew it was time for lunch!

salad and a laptop

Spinach salad with carrots, cucumber, avocado and sunflower seeds.  The avocado is so creamy and delicious, it totally eliminates the need for salad dressing, and I love the nutty cruch of the seeds.  Are you loving my laptop-backdrop?  Yes, I am eating at my desk… I know, I know, it’s such a bad habit.  At least I wasn’t doing work while eating.  I took a few minutes to be mindful and enjoy… then I did a little shoe shopping online.

The afternoon was flying by and around 3pm, I was ready for a snack.

blender fruitsI whipped this baby up in the morning and took it to-go.

Green Orange Smoothie

  • 3 clementines
  • 1/2 c frozen mango
  • 1/4 c blueberries
  • small carrot
  • 1/2 banana
  • handful kale and big handful spinach
  • little chunk ginger

… blend with water (about 1 1/2-2 cups) and a few ice cubes.  Yummm!!  ps. If you’re thinking that’s an awful lot of fruit, this was a smoothie built for two 🙂  Jonathan has been on the smoothie kick as well!

I am really excited to share this dinner recipe with you all.

Quinoa Stuffed Mushrooms

  • 2-3 large shallots, 1 cup thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes (soak in water or orange juice to soften or use the canned variety)
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1 cup spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (I love to make a big batch and keep leftovers for other recipes)
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp or more fresh dried basil (I buy fresh and hang upside-down to ‘dehydrate’ for longer storage)
  • black pepper to taste
  • red pepper flakes (optional) (of course, I spiced it up with several hearty shakes)
  • portabella mushrooms, I used a 6-pack of mini portabellas, or use 2 large ones

Sautee the shallots over med-high heat in 1 tsp olive oil until soft.  Add the sundried tomatoes, walnuts and spinach.  Cook until wilted.  Add cooked quinoa and spices.  Remove mushroom stems and stuff the caps.  And I do mean stuff… I pile mine high!

Cook at 400F until mushrooms have softened and tops are browned, about 20 mins.  Feeds two… this would also  work great as an appetizer with small mushrooms.  Serve with a basic side salad.  I tossed baby romaine with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, black pepper and some chopped walnuts.

mushrooms cooked

I hope you enjoyed reading about these tasty meals almost as much as I enjoyed eating them! 😉  If you try any, let me know how they turn out!

I’m off work Friday to go snowboarding (yay!), which makes tomorrow virtual Friday for me.  Sweet!

Good night all.  xox,  Kristen

Fast Food Breakfast

Good morning friends! If you thought I was going for the egg-bacon-cheese kind of ‘fast food’ … think again 😉

I’m here to share one of my favorite go-to portable breakfasts, guaranteed to get you out the door faster.  And by ‘favorite’ I mean that I eat this just about every morning!

Quick Oatmeal Cup

The magic ratio with oatmeal is 1 part solid to 2 parts liquid. For a single serving, here’s what I do:

  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 3 Tbs oat bran
  • raisins and walnuts
  • a few shakes of cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup almond milk

Combine the oats, oat bran, raisins, walnuts and spices in a mason jar.  I would say add as many raisins as you like, but I need to cut myself off at a few tablespoons… ditto for the nuts.  And I really love pumpkin pie spice here… in my opinion, it doesn’t get nearly enough press during the off-holiday season.

Breakfast is perfectly portable at this step!

oats

Add water and microwave 2-3 minutes… keep an eye on it to prevent overflow.  Let cool a minute or two and top with almond milk.  I am lucky to have a super-short commute, so I cook mine at home and wrap it in a towel… still piping hot when I get to work.

Great news… not only is oatmeal warm and satisfying, it’s incredibly good for us too!  Did you know…

  • Oatmeal is a tasty source of heart-healthy fiber.  A special strand of fiber called beta-glucan, which works in our bodies to lower bad cholesterol.
  • This same type of fiber boosts the immune system!
  • The fiber in oatmeal helps to stabilize blood sugar, preventing that mid-morning crash that comes after a sugary breakfast of refined carbs.
  • Oatmeal is an excellent source of magnesium, which is a critical mineral in over 300 chemical reactions in the body.  Research shows that getting enough magnesium can lower your risk for Type 2 diabetes, help regulate blood pressure, prevent cardiovascular disease, and even help with migraines and depression!
  • Oatmeal is also gluten-friendly.  Oatmeal does contain a small amount of gluten (although certified GF is available) but many people with allergies can tolerate oatmeal.

I just wish today’s oatmeal was fueling a trek through the snowy woods (but alas, I will be staying warm and dry at the office today)

winter photo

Hope everyone has a great day!!  xox Kristen