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Granola and Flax Crusted Pecans

27 Jan

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Happy New Year!

Better late than never, right?

Maybe that will be the new name of this blog: Healthy Recipes, Better Late Than Never.

I have found myself using the term with a lot of free will these days. The whole work/get-a-life balance mixed with the occassional curve ball has left me appologizing for being tardy or absent more frequently than I’d like to admit. Most of the time when I feel like I am spread very thin in life I get a hankering to push my physical limits. Not sure of the psychology there, but let’s all agree that it’s not worth checking into a mental health clinic. Yet.

Last Saturday with the wheels in my head spinning,  I had a deep longing to get outside for some serious solitude; plug in my headphones, and run. My spirit of adventure and I decided on a trail run at Mount Tamalpais, one that I have never done before.

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Running the trails, amongst the giant redwoods and lush greenery was pretty inspiring. The fact that I never tripped and managed to make it out of the 7 miles or so unharmed was a feat for me. As I am typically pretty klutzy. Pretty klutzy meaning very.

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When I made it to the top of the Steep Ravine I stopped for a snack…. you see where I’m going with this? Granola and Flax Crusted Pecans! And water, so much water.

These pecans are the perfect quick snack, full of protein and quick carbohydrates. The cinnamon and sugar touch is one of my favorite flavor profiles ever, so I am biased in saying that I think they are the perfect treat.

Why you should eat this?

Pecans are full of good, heart healthy fats and fiber. Helping to decrease the overall LDL (bad cholesterol) and promote HDL (good cholesterol). If you are running, hiking, or doing any kind of moderate excercise, pecans are a great anti-inflamatory snack to help speed up muscle repair.  If you are not into physical activivty then just eat these because they are delicious and won’t kill you.

Granola and Flax Crusted Pecans

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen 

3/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup shredded or flaked unsweetened coconut
2 tablespoons ground flax
1/4 cup dark or light brown sugar (will try maple syrup another time)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Few pinches sea salt
1 large egg white
2 teaspoons water
2 cups pecans

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

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In a food processor, pulse oats, coconut, ground flax (also added a few slivered almonds), sugar, cinnamon and salt.

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Make sure that you do not totally process this mixture, you want some whole oats left for texture. You don’t want to make this a powder or flour texture.

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In a large bowl, beat the egg white and water until frothy.

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Add pecans to the bowl and coat them very well. VERY WELL. Stir the nuts around in the egg white mixture for a few good turns to ensure that every pecan gets a good amount of moisture, this is how the oat mixture will stick to the pecans and that is the point here guys.

Pour oat mixture into bowl with egg mixture and fold very gently. You will have more oat mixture than pecans, but that is all part of the deliciousness.

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Spread all of the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet in a single layer.

Bake for 20 minutes. Move the pecans around once with a spatula to ensure an even browning for all pecans involved.

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Allow nuts to fully cool. Then break up clusters and store in a tighly sealed container until ready to eat. Or whatever, just eat them straight off of the pan.

Trust me, so good.

Nichole

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Strawberry Rhubarb Chia Jam

7 May

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It’s spring. I know where has the time gone? It feels like yesterday I was talking about Pumpkin Pie smoothies. Mmmm pumpkin pie smoothies.

While there are so many things that I love about spring: strawberries and rhubarb are what make it delicious.

The other part of spring that I love, should be no surprise to anyone in the world that knows me: baseball. In particular the World Champion San Francisco Giants. strawberries, rhubarb, and San Francisco Giants make this continuing relationship with life really worth it. I tell ya.

Lookit.

Two championships in three years. Go Giants.

Two championships in three years. Go Giants.

So this jam. It’s sweet from the strawberries, tart from the rhubarb, and the little bubbly texture from the chia makes it fun. I like to leave mine a little chunky so when people eat it they know what they are eating. Alright, I ate this whole batch by myself, but IN THE FUTURE if I choose to share, people will know what they are eating.

I enjoyed mine with my morning steel-cut oats, spread on some toast with butter, in greek yogurt, and by the spoonful. I would never eat standard jam or jelly by the spoonful because it is SO sweet, but this one tastes like what it really is: fruit. Which makes it heavenly and palatable by the spoonful. As with all of my recipes, let your imagination soar. Looking to the future where there may be a chance this ends up on ice cream.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how incredibly easy this is to make. It might be more work than buying a jar of jam, but just barely. If you’ve never made a jam before, no worries! This won’t require canning, keep this in the fridge and use it within two weeks (mine didn’t last that long, no surprise) if you’d like to freeze the jam, let it cool completely and freeze in a Ziploc bag. Then defrost and store in glass.

Why you should eat this? 

Chia Seeds can be found in the bulk section of health food stores.

Chia Seeds can be found in the bulk section of health food stores.

Chia seeds are a whole food that can easily be absorbed by the body. They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, antioxidants, and calcium. And sometimes they are used to grow grass like hair on a rendition of Homer Simpson’s head. Don’t use those ones.

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Quickly: strawberries are best when bought organic. They are such a delicate fruit that they really absorb a lot of the chemicals from standard growers. They are also MUCH much more flavorful when organic. Look for farmers markets this time of year to get great deals.

Darling little strawberries are significant in vitamin-C which is a powerful antioxidant. They also contain vitamin B-6, niacin, riboflavin, and folic acid. They are an anti-inflammatory food that has been shown to protect against cardiovascular disease, some types of cancer, and improve the regulation of blood sugar to decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Strawberry Rhubarb and Chia Jam (Yield: 1 ¼ cups)

  • 1 cup stemmed and diced strawberries, fresh or frozen
  • ½ cup rhubarb, small dice
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons honey, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

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Dice strawberries and rhubarb to about the same size. Maybe a 1/4 inch each.

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Add all ingredients except the lemon juice  in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring frequently.

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Continue to cook for 20 minutes. Add the lemon juice.  Stirring frequently and breaking up any larger pieces of fruit along the way with a spatula.

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When the jam thickens significantly, a spatula will leave a clear path along the bottom of the pan. Like so.

Remove from heat. Allow to cool; jam will thicken as it cools. Spoon cooled jam into a jar. Enjoy as you will and go Giants.

Trust me, so good.

Nichole

Green Smoothie Goodness

23 Jan
No leaks in your smoothie please.

No leaks in your smoothie please.

If you’ve made a New Year’s resolution raise your hand. Notice that mine are firmly planted to the keyboard. Wait a second, you can’t see me. THAT is the beauty of the interwebz. I might have my hands firmly planted to plate of cookies for all you know.

I am not much of a resolutions maker. I’m more of a immediate fix kinda gal. If I am not happy with something I getter’ done real quick. Call it a lack of patience or a pursuit of excellence, I enjoy being thorough. Want to play therapist for a second? I have a standing day on my calendar each month to clean out one drawer in my house. Whether its the sock drawer, top shelf of my pantry, or the cabinet under my bathroom sink: something is getting cleaned out and thrown away (or donated if possible). What is this mental health condition called?

Any how, this year, I have created a New Years Challenge for myself. Because my competitive spirit responds better to challenge then resolution. (send therapist recommendations to ChefNicholeMayer@gmail.com) My new years challenge: try one new thing a month. In my immediate view – new thing is new activity. As the year goes by maybe I will try a new food or try a new cocktail? That hardly seems adventurous enough.

First up: Bikram yoga. Stay tuned for the results, they will not be pretty. I have two classes under my (very sweaty) belt and 18 more to go. The results so far is that I am now combining my morning green juice with my post workout smoothie: green smoothie. Boom.

I have had an on-again-off-again relationship with green smoothies in the past. Lately I have been hard into green juice and as always have loved my post workout smoothie, but the timing of my Bikram class and the importance of pre Bikram hydration (water, lots of water) have forced me to consolidate the two. So far the only good thing to come out of this experience.

Can you tell my review of Bikram will be glowing?

Potential smoothie goods

Potential smoothie goods

Why you should drink this?

Fresh green juice is loaded with enzymes, oxygen, minerals, and vitamins. Because blended fruits and vegetables are fresh, this makes them easier to absorb into the intestinal wall. Blending the fruits and vegetables, as opposed to juicing them also leaves you with all of the beautiful water soluble fiber. Everyone needs fiber. Think blending vegetables is weird? Invest in a really good blender that blends them very well. Also consider that the blender is ‘predigesting’ the vegetables for you – less work! OK, that sounds strange, I know.

This is not an exact kinda recipe. You can use pretty much any greens you would like. Substitute the apple for pears or cucumbers instead of celery. Add seasonal fruits during warmer months etc. Want your smoothie to be a little more rich? Add a few slices of avocado. Like fresh herbs? Add a handful of cilantro or parsley.

I always have frozen bananas ready to go for smoothies, but if you don’t have them frozen, use a few ice cubes. OR a few frozen cubes of coconut water. As with most of my recipes – let your imagination run wild here.

Green Smoothie Goodness (servings 1 -2) 

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 apple, peeled & cut – I like a tart one like Granny Smith or Honey Crisp
  • 1 c. spinach leaves
  • 2 stalks celery
  • ½ head kale or romaine
  • few splashes of coconut water, almond milk, juice, or water.

Blend all ingredients really well and enjoy.

Trust me. So good,

Nichole

p.s. Go 49ers!!

San Francisco City Hall lit up in Red and Gold.

San Francisco City Hall lit up in Red and Gold.

Blueberry and Lemon Muffins. Paleo Style.

17 Jan

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DO NOT BE ALARMED.

This blog and myself have not gone Paleo. Though, that would be a good excuse for my absence. Something like: ‘I hate everything and everyone. You can all just piss off. I am so miserable that I have to give up grains and beans that I might die and this blog is just not worth it anymore’! Now THAT would be an excuse.

Instead, same old – same old. Your girl is busy.

Don’t get me wrong here. I respect those who have made a commitment to a Paleo diet. I know someone who had terrible arthritis and has been Paleo for more than a year now, her symptoms are all but gone. There is no doubt that some people have allergies to food and have no idea that their health problems may be affected by what they are eating. It is certainly worth it to give an exclusion diet a shot if you feel like your health might be affected by an allergy.

With that in mind, I asked for this book for Christmas. See what the fuss was all about.

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I had picked it up once before and thought that the basic nutrition principles were great, something that I would enjoy reading. Really concise and easy to follow. The recipes were also right along my lines of healthy and holistic eating. I do really enjoy the book and will have my way with adapting the recipes to my liking. Not that they need much, they are pretty great.

OK: the goods. These muffins caught my attention in that they would be a low-glycemic-protein-packed-snack-on-the-go type of treat. You know how I roll, this is my thing.

Why you should eat this? 

It’s cold/flu season! What you need now is antioxidants. Blueberries are full of antioxidants and these muffins are not shy of blueberry goodness. In fact, I feel as if the ingredients in this muffin that are not blueberries, are just there to showcase how much blueberry goodness there is in these muffins. Added bonus that the muffins are hearty in egg which makes them packed with protein and gluten-free which makes them low glycemic. Perfect snack to make you feel full until the next meal.

Rejoice in these muffins, guys. They are healthy and delicious.

Blueberry Lemon Muffins

Source: Diane Sanfillipo (Servings: 12)

  • 6 eggs
  • ½ cup butter or coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup grade B maple syrup
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • ½ cup coconut flour (I feel like you can use Almond flour or Oat flour if your not going Paleo here)
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together the eggs, butter or coconut oil, vanilla, maple syrup, and lemon juice/zest.

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Fold in the blueberries.

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Add mix to lined muffin pan and bake for 30-35 minutes.

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They won’t rise very much, so keep an eye on how brown they get.

Eat warm with a slather of butter or just as they are.

Trust me. So good.

Nichole

Gluten Free Banana Protein Pancakes

31 Aug

Well, I’m still hungry.

Here is what I came up with last night in a moment of desperation. That moment was about 11-ish. In case you missed my last post (ahem, how dare you) I am training for a half marathon and my metabolism is off the charts.

I know what it feels like to be Michael Phelps. Minus all the gold. Ok, perhaps I just know a little about what it is like to have Michael Phelps’ metabolism. And his long wing span, my arms are really long.

Anyhow, these pancakes are good. They were especially good as a guilt free midnight snack. Don’t limit your pancake consumption to weekend brunches, folks. Live a little. These pancakes are a dense and gooey version of the classic. Banana filled, with a nutty texture, sweet and cinnamon-y. Good. AND good for you. Full of protein, omega 3’s, potassium, fiber, and gluten free.

Golf claps.

I like my pancakes with fruit preserves (jams, jelly, marmalade, you get the idea) and fresh fruit. By all means you can put butter and maple syrup on these … and if the mood stikes you – NUTELLA (food of the gods).

 

Here I had them with guava jelly and almond butter…mmmmm.

Why you should eat these? 

Bananas are one of our best sources of potassium, an essential mineral for maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function. Since the average banana contains 467 mg of potassium and only 1 mg of sodium, a banana a day may help to prevent or reduce high blood pressure.

Potassium is also one of the most important electrolytes, which helps to regulate heart function and fluid balance. Very important for athletes (yes, I’m an athlete).

You shouldn’t need more reasons to eat these. Sugar free, gluten free, full of goodness, and so easy.

All you’ll need.

Gluten Free Banana Protein Pancakes (Servings: 6)

  • 2 small bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 3-4 tablespoons oat flour (Can use ANY flour)
  • 3 tablespoons of protein powder (I like Hemp, can use any or none at all)
  • 1 tablespoon (or more) Coconut Milk (Can use water, milk, or almond milk)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

 

Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend. Check consistency, depending on the flour you use, you may need a little more liquid. Add in a tablespoon at a time.

 

Heat a pan with oil or butter. I used coconut oil, it is a high heat oil and it imparts a sweet nutty flavor that I like.

Let the pan get hot, then add your batter. Turn down the heat to medium to medium low. The key here is slow and low. Cook on this side for about 7-10 minutes.

 

The pancake will get brown around the edges, then like a normal pancake, they will form small bubbles. Flip.

 

This side will take another 7-10 minutes to cook. Guys, they’re worth the wait.

Serve hot.

Eat happily, brush your teeth, and go to bed. I know I will.

Trust me, so good.

Nichole

 

 

 

How to use a French Press to make the kind of coffee that can save the world.

12 Apr

Coffee, you are my ultimate frenemie.

I just can’t quit you . No matter how many times I have tried. If your keeping count: MANY.

Mornings are my favorite time of the day and its no coincidence that coffee has been a pivotal part of my mornings for a long time now. My old standby, I often feel like coffee is the key to me finding real happiness in this life.

In a tragic twist of fate, my schedule has me running in the mornings. Long distances. Which, after a cup of coffee, leaves me feeling as if I am going to relive my morning cup in reverse. Not good.

Terrible timing really, since I have found a way to brew the best cup of coffee ever and I’m here to share it with you. (YOU’RE WELCOME)

Here’s what you need to know about brewing the perfect cup of coffee.

Do: buy loose beans in small quantities. Buy from a local roaster or a store that sells a high volume, upping your chances of buying beans from a recently roasted batch.

Do: buy pre bagged beans in a heat sealed, aluminized mylar bag. If you can’t get recently roasted, the mylar bagged coffee is a good option at your local market.

Do: use filtered water. A cup of coffee is 98% water. Use the good tasting stuff or else we are all wasting our time here.

Don’t: rely on expiration dates. If your buying whole beans, rarely will you find an expiration date.

Don’t: store your beans in the fridge or freezer if you are going to get through them in 2 weeks time. You risk them picking up off flavors from other foods and extra moisture they may not need.

Don’t: buy preground coffee. Grinding speeds oxidation and the deterioration of flavor. Get over to Target.com and get yourself  bean grinder for less than $20. These are pretty invaluable in the kitchen, as you can use it to grind fresh spices or flax seeds too.

Why you should drink coffee? 

For the sake of brevity, go here . This Amanda Chan lady knows what she is talking about. I like her style.

My favorite Technique: The French press.

A French Press directly infuses ground coffee in just boiled water. Once properly steeped, the grounds are pressed to the bottom of the carafe. This method is considered one of the best techniques because the coffees oil is not filtered out. It yields coffee nearly as full bodied as espresso. The really dark, GOOD stuff.

What you will need: Something to make hot water (I like a tea kettle), a grinder, and the french press.

Grind beans to  medium-course. You want the grounds to stay under the plunger when you press. I hope that you can guess that these are whole beans, I didn’t get a picture of them ground. I’m not perfect.

Add 2 tablespoons of coffee for every 6 ounces of water.

Add just boiled water steadily, saturating the coffee grounds. Your water should be about 195-205 degrees. Do I think that you will pull out a thermometer and test the temp? No. Pull the water off of the heat right before it gets to a rolling boil. Water boils at 212 degrees – THAT IS TOO HOT.

Give it a big stir with a long spoon or chopstick.

Add the lid and let it steep for 5 minutes. Put on a little mascara, brush your hair….

With even steady pressure, press down the filter.

Pour yourself a big hot cup. As you sip, notice that the world is a much better place.

OK, that’s not guaranteed.

My new favorite mug full of positive affirmations. Cheers!!

Trust me, so good.

Enjoy,

Nichole

Mostly Muesli

7 Mar

Last year when I was eating my way though Italy,  there were times when I became desperate for something that resembled fiber. In a country full of pasta, rich meats, pasta, overly braised greens, pasta, and bread…. there it was, my morning solace: muesli. I loved to say that breakfast in Europe is mostly muesli (tongue twister).

Don’t call it granola.

Europeans will not know what you are talking about and then you will really have NO fiber. You’ll have to go chew on a cardboard box, believe me, I considered it. Fast forward to now and I rarely say granola anymore, it makes me sound worldly and well traveled. Honestly there is not a big difference in the two. I find that store bought granola tends to be more crunchy than store bought muesli. Muesli as an American adaption is more of a cereal and granola a more snack-on-the-go or yogurt topping.

This recipe really allows for all of those purposes. I make a big batch and keep it stored in an air tight container. I eat it with fresh fruit and almond milk like cereal. I also have it over yogurt, and keep it in a baggie for on-the-go-snacking. Its a really versatile recipe. This version is an ode to my Hawaiian roots. Lots of honey toasted coconut and dried pineapple. I sometimes go with raisins and cinnamon. Maybe even cranberries and yogurt (or white chocolate) chips. Let your imagination run wild, when you find a variation that you love, you may never buy boxed cereal or granola again.

Why you should eat this? 

Whole oats are an excellent source of  thiamine, iron, and fiber. Fiber is helpful in reducing cholesterol levels in the bloodstream. Oat products in general also contain beta-glucan, which may help people with Type 2 diabetes control their blood glucose level, and might also help stimulate the immune system to fight off bacterial infections. ** If you have diabetes, for this recipe, you might want to forgo the dried fruit. Dried fruit tends to be high in sugar content.

Hawaiian Muesli   (8 servings)

  • 6 c. of Rolled Oats
  • 1 c. raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 c. slivered almonds
  • 1 c. unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 tbsp. raw sesame seeds
  • 3/4 c. honey
  • 4 tbsp. vegetable oil (or coconut oil, my fave)
  • 1/4 c. dried pineapple, diced
  • 1/4 c. dried turkish apricots
  • 1/4c. unsweetened dried cranberries

*** If you do not normally shop in the bulk section at health food stores, this is a good recipe to start with! Bring your list and get to exploring the bins. It is easy and you will save a lot of money by shopping for just the amount that you need.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees

Put rolled oats into a large bowl. Add sunflower seeds, slivered almonds, shredded coconut and sesame seeds. Stir to combine. Set aside.

Heat honey and oil in a saucepan over low heat.

Pour the warm honey mixture over the dry ingredients and stir until they are well coated.

Spread the mixture on across two baking sheets and bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The mix should get a nice color brown, like a tan.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

You don’t get to rest during this time. MEANWHILE, dice up your dried fruit. Like this.

And like this.

When the oat mixture is cool, add your dried fruit.

Give a big stir and voila! You will love it.

Share the health and enjoy!

Almond Milk Chai Latte

3 Mar

I talk about my love for my almond milk chai lattes a lot. I go back and forth with giving up my coffee habit. The times that I am off coffee, which is my current status, I drink a lot of tea. During those times, I miss the richness of coffee with a little cream.

Here is my solution. Rich, sweet, spicy, goodness.

I typically will brew a VERY strong chai tea. Fill a teapot with boiling water and throw in maybe 5 teabags to steep for an hour or so. Keep in the fridge for a week or so to have on hand.  I LOVE this one.

HOWEVER. I have been a girl pressed for time lately. So I have been literally carrying around the pre made chai mix, almond milk, and honey in my bag. These guys here. Yeah, its a big bag.

I prefer unsweetened almond milk over soy or rice milk. I try to save any real dairy that I eat for special cheeses that I can’t live without. All about balance.

Why you should drink this?

Just a few benefits of unsweetened almond milk:

– Unsweetened almond milk without added sugars or flavoring contains 60 calories per each 8 oz serving size. This option works well for people looking to lose or maintain weight.

– Unlike other milk alternatives, unsweetened almond milk contains only 8 grams of carbohydrates per serving. The 7 grams of sugars that make up the carbohydrate content have a limited affect on our blood sugar levels. When we consume simple sugars, our metabolic functions tend to miss the nutrients, storing much of the carbs as fat.

Instead, the low amount of sugars in unsweetened almond milk have a low glycemic nature, meaning our bodies fully digest them and use them as energy. Diabetics can benefit from this characteristic.

– Almond milk contains 30% of our recommended daily value of calcium and 25% of Vitamin D. These nutrients work together to build and maintain strong bones.

Good stuff, right?

Almond Milk Chai Latte

  • 1/2 c. Chai Tea
  • 1/2 c. Almond Milk
  • 1 big spoonful of honey, agave or sweetener of your choice.
Add all ingredients to a pot. Heat to about medium and whisk until the sweetener is dissolved and the drink is about the temperature at which you can ingest it.
Sprinkle cinnamon or nutmeg on top.
Voila! Done.

Trust me, so good.

Nichole

Cocoa Banana Chia Smoothie

13 Feb

My work days are loooonggg. I don’t have a lot of time in the morning to get myself together and whip up eggs benedict, drink coffee and read the morning news.  Really wish I could drag myself out of the comfort of my warm bed to manage it, but no.

This smoothie has been my go-to breakfast for a solid month now. As I was in my kitchen just now, in a moment of weakness looking for something sweet to eat with no luck, I realized that this smoothie, if blended with less almond milk would be a lot like ice cream.

So there it is.

I am eating this smoothie with a spoon as I type this post.

I am in love with this one. There are many variations that I go with depending on how I am feeling each day. Somedays, if I workout before smoothie time, I will add a big scoop of Hemp protein. If I am a bit more hungry, I will add a big handful of granola. Don’t fret about this one, when you blend granola, it still tastes like granola! If I am low on Chia, I will add Hemp seeds or ground Flax. If I am out of almond butter, I go with peanut butter.

Any of these additions or substitutions won’t really take away from the taste or richness of this deceptively decadent and healthy treat.

Why you should eat this? 

Chia, yes the stuff we use to farm a green patch of hair on a Homer Simpson head that you can buy at the drugstore? THAT same kind of Chia is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, even more so than flax seeds. And it has another advantage over flax: chia is so rich in antioxidants that the seeds don’t deteriorate and can be stored for long periods without becoming rancid. And, unlike flax, they do not have to be ground to make their nutrients available to the body. Chia seeds also provide fiber (25 grams give you 6.9 grams of fiber) as well as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc.

Another advantage: when added to water and allowed to sit for 30 minutes, chia forms a gel. Researchers suggest that this reaction also takes place in the stomach, slowing the process by which digestive enzymes break down carbohydrates and convert them into sugar. I always feel very satiated from this smoothie, I suspect from the combination of protein from nut butter and the fiber in chia.

I find mine in the bulk section of my local Whole Foods and I store them in a container in the freezer.

I know that they also sell them bagged. You can certainly find a good selection on Amazon.com.

Quick notes

Once a week or so, I buy a lot of bananas. I break them into pieces and put them in gallon sized ziplock bags and freeze.

Someday, I will do a post about making your own almond milk. Because it is easy and it’s one of those really  fulfilling tasks. You can pass this recipe on someday and change the verbiage to “housemade almond milk”.

Until then, I’m not gonna front. I love this unsweetened vanilla version by Pacific Organics. I also love this Unsweetened Cocoa powder by Green and Blacks. And I will not do a post about making cocoa powder.

Cocoa Banana Chia Smoothie (1 servings)

  • 1-2 Frozen Bananas, broken in pieces
  • ½ c. Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1 tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 2 tbsp Almond Butter
  • 2 tbsp Chia Seeds
  • 1 tsp Honey
Add all ingredients to blender and puree.
** I use the Magic Bullet and this makes a smoothie the size of one of their cups, which is about 12 oz.
Enjoy right away, cold and delicious.
Drink up!

Sweet Potato Hash

30 Jan

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I know exactly what you should make for breakfast. Sweet Potato Hash. So good. Everyone tells me so and I believe everything that I hear when it comes to my cooking. By everything, I mean everything GOOD. If you have any dissent, I just assume that you have a terrible palate and there’s not much I can do with that.

I digress.

So the hash, its warm, sweet, spicy, deliciously comforting for chilly SF mornings. Well, any morning really. In particular, those ones where you maybe had a few too many cocktails the night before. You can pretty much match it up with anything that is breakfast like. In a quick pinch I will go with a fried egg on top, the gooey yolk running through the potatoes is incredible. It would be irresponsible of me to not have tried this with bacon, crazy amazing of course. Alongside pancakes, french toast, steak and eggs, Bloody Mary? Unbelievable. Let your imagination run wild. Also, let your hot sauce run wild. No really. I’m talkin’ Cholula, Tapatio, Tabasco…. you know the deal.

My devotion to this hash is a labor of love. As with anything to do with sweet potatoes there is a good deal of commitment involved, peeling, chopping, blanching…. don’t let this put you off. You can make this in huge batches, might as well, let it cool and freeze it in plastic bags. It will be worth your time. Trust me.

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Sweet potatoes (the orange fleshed ones with brown skin) are rich in anti-oxidents in particular beta-carotene, have proven to actually improve blood sugar regulation in Type-2 diabetes, and are a great source of fiber.

So eat up!

Sweet Potato Hash

Serves (4-6 )

Quick note: I like to use Coconut oil, I love the mild sweetness that it imparts, I know not everyone is that loyal to an oil (uhhh, that can be a future rap song). Use any high heat oil that you have, grape seed is a good one, even an organic canola. Olive oil is not a high heat oil, for this recipe you really want to brown the hash, so its nice to get to a high heat and not have the smoke that Olive oil or butter might give off.

  • 2-3lbs Sweet Potatoes , Orange Fleshed Ones, Diced
  • 1 Onion, Diced
  • 1 Red bell , Diced
  • 1 Green Bell, Diced
  • 4 Garlic Cloves , Minced
  • 1 Jalepeno, Minced
  • 2tbs Coconut Oil
  • Salt and Pepper

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Set a large pot of heavily salted water to boil. Roughly dice everything. I like the potatoes to be different shapes and sizes, so that there is a bit of difference in texture.

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Ok don’t dice the garlic. Mince that sucker and don’t be shy. If you like garlic. ADD. SOME. GARLIC.

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In the same spirit of the garlic. If you like jalepeno. ADD. SOME. JALEPENO.

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Chef tip: Prep everything beforehand and have it ready for action. We call it: Mis en Place (French for everything in place) or meez in the business. I’m sure the French totally appreciate the way we American cooks chop up their language.

When the water is boiling rapidly, throw all of the poatoes in and give a quick stir. Let them return to a boil about 5 minutes, not much longer, drain and set aside. (No pictures of this because it is a quick process where I needed both hands. Sorry about it).

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Add oil to the pan at about medium heat. If you have a big batch of this, you will want to divide this into 2 or more pans. You really want to not crowd the pans too much, a nice single layer in each pan will pretty much guarantee that you get nice even brown.

Browning = the good stuff.

Sweat onions for a few minutes, add a bit of salt at this point, add garlic, bells, and jalepeno and let sauté for a good 5-8 minutes. The onions should be translucent about now. Add in the potatoes. Stir a bit, then let them sit at medium heat.

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Again, browning = the good stuff.

Stir everything around a couple times to get some of the smaller potatoes to mash and really mix in the flavors. Let it sit some more. Take a nice long sip of that bloody mary. Update your Facebook status (Making breakfast y’all!!)

You really can’t go wrong at this point. If the pan begins to turn black, GOOD!

Test the tenderness of one of the larger chunks of potato to make sure that it is ready. Finish with a good long grind of fresh black pepper and a good amount of salt.

Enjoy!