Special Edition: “Breakfast Week”

“Join me as I eat my way through a week of new breakfasts.  Thanksgiving marks the finale, which means I have one full week to try a new breakfast each and every morning.  It could be delicious (it could be outrageous!)  But the whole idea is to just have fun.”

It all started with a tub of chobani.

Well.  Two tubs, thanks to the kind people over at Chobani, who asked me if I’d be interested in sampling their 32-oz containers of the wonder yogurt.

I considered just eating a tub of the thick creamy yogurt for breakfast and calling it a day, but…sigh…I resisted.

Let’s keep it balanced, Sarah.  Let’s keep it interesting.

Instead, I decided to mess up the kitchen with some inspiration.

(we can’t all be clean cooks!) 

A tub of chobani.

A bunch of overripe bananas.

A hungry girl.

Breakfast was born.

This does take some morning time, but the good news is that the individual slices freeze and reheat well.  Which means you can (a) cook it way ahead of time, (b) freeze them individually and (c) take them out whenever the mood strikes.

That’s what I call success.

The resulting loaf was sweet (but not too much) and dense, while also being jam packed with walnuts.

I know there’s yogurt inside the loaf, but I simply couldn’t help myself.  I added another good scoop, a few slices of sweet banana, and a sprinkle of cinnamon to call it complete.

Complete.

Completely new breakfast.  Completely satisfied girl.  Completely happy.  Don’t you just love mornings?

Banana Breakfast Loaf

Don’t equate this with your beloved banana nut bread.  It’s a completely different twist on your old favorite.  Much more dense and hearty, this bread will keep you going all morning long.  The yogurt replaces any need for oils, but I like to add walnuts for a healthy dose of omega-3 fats.  Enjoy a slice with a side of fruit, a dish of yogurt and/or a glass of milk.

This is best served warm from the oven, but you can easily reheat the individual slices in the microwave as well.  Enjoy!

  • 1-1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup crushed flax
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup regular oatmeal
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2-3)
  • 3/4 cup 0% chobani yogurt (or other greek yogurt)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup walnuts
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, flax, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, oats,  and cinnamon in a large bowl with a whisk.
  3. Combine mashed banana, yogurt, vanilla extract, and eggs; add to flour mixture. Stir just until moist.
  4. Fold in walnuts.
  5. Spoon batter into an 8 x 4-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 50-55 minutes or until golden brown. Cool at least 15 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!

QUESTION: What is your favorite yogurt?

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one little week.

So.

I’m sure you may have noticed this already, but…well…I’ve been kind of gone this past week.  And I don’t mean just here as a blogger.  I mean everywhere. (I may have to email some friends to convince them that I’m really, truly alive.)

There are quite a few things that have happened over the course of just one little week.

First.  That job I was so excited/nervous about?  The one that I want more than anything?  The one that I’m trusting God’s best decision on?  Well.  I have an interview on Monday and now I’m officially freaking out.  I can’t say that I’ve ever had a professional interview before (grocery stores and babysitter’s parents hardly count!) so this one has me googling “job interview tips” like some sort of crazy person.

Absolute insanity.

Just wait until Monday.  There will be no living with me. 😉

Next: I have a running injury.

It’s true.  It was the beginning of an eight mile run this past Saturday, when I began to feel pain in my left achilles area.  I foolishly shrugged it off, thinking it was nothing.  But then on the last two miles home, it really began to hurt.  I’ve had achilles tendonitis before, so I know what it feels like.  This is similair but strangely different (more dull and achy.)  I’m hoping it’s nothing, really, and that a week off of running will make me good as new.

In the meantime, I’m doing a lot of yoga and speed walking (which strangely doesn’t hurt it at all.)  All to keep me sane and healthy until I can resume running. 😉

Lastly.  Let’s talk breakfasts.

I’m in a “same ol’, same ol” breakfast rut again, how about you?  That’s why I’ll be debuting Breakfast Week, where I’ll be making a new breakfast from here until Thanksgiving morning.

Today I went out for breakfast with my parents at Parker’s Maple Barn in Mason, NH.

Does this really count as “making” a new breakfast for Breakfast Week?  Does this count as cheating?

Oh well.  It sure was delicious. 😀

One blueberry buckwheat pancake.

One gingerbread pancake.

One side order of maple baked beans.

And lots of sticky sweet syrup.  That’s my kind of breakfast.

Sillies.

That’s what we are.

I wish the interview was over and that they loved me. 😉

Trying to keep warm!

SMILE.

Hello.

Goodbye for now, Parker’s Maple Barn.

(we’ll be back soon!)

Yep.

A lot sure has happened in just one short little week.

But I’m back.  Stay tuned for some yummy breakfasts.  I’ve got a good one coming for you, tomorrow morning. 😀

QUESTION: Do you tend to eat the same breakfast every day or are you colorfully creative?  If you’re in a breakfast rut like me, join me for the Breakfast Week, by trying a new breakfast for each morning from here until Thanksgiving!

Five Delicious Ways (Part I)

Five Delicious Ways To…

…Enjoy A Mindful Morning.

1. Stretch out before stepping foot from your bedroom.

Spend a few minutes practicing some basic yoga poses.  Downward dogs.  Sun salutations.  Or, just reach tall and high for the sky, looking up and stretching out.  Focus on how you feel upon rising.  How does your body feel in this particular moment?  Tight?  Loose?  Energetic?  Tired?

2. Choose a mindful breakfast.

Do you always feel cold in the morning?  Opt for a warm bowl of oats, a couple of whole wheat waffles with peanut butter, or some fried eggs with toast.

Always feeling uncomfortably warm?  Choose a chilled fruit smoothie, a bowl of cereal with walnuts and low-fat milk, or a breakfast cookie.

3. Be present during breakfast.

Even if you have but 10 minutes to spare, you can still eat breakfast mindfully.

Give a short word of thanks for being so richly blessed with the opportunity to fuel up for your day.  And then, before eating, check in with how you feel.  Is your stomach growling?  What does being hungry feel like to you?  Notice how the food tastes to you.  The textures, the colors, the feel, the temperature.

4. Savor a cup of steamy hot coffee or tea.

There’s something wonderful about a cup of hot coffee or tea in the morning.  While you’re sipping, spend some time just being present.  Don’t read the newspaper.  Don’t watch the cooking channel.  Don’t feed the dog while simultaneously making today’s lunch (been there, done that.) 😉

For at least a few moments, just let yourself be.

5. Take a walk.

Again, let yourself focus on this given moment.  Notice what it sounds like when your feet touch the ground.  When the wind rustles through the trees.

Notice what it feels like when the sun hits your face.  When a gentle breeze whistles your hair into a frenzy.  What it feels like when your body is in motion, walking or running along a path.

(If morning walks aren’t a possibility, you can still practice being mindful of these things as you walk from your parking spot to the office building!)

Enjoy the moment.

Enjoy your morning.

QUESTION: Do you tend to be mindful of the moment or are you normally a million miles away?  I have to really work at being mindful, as my brain tends to go a million miles a minute with things I need to do, or things that I THINK need to be thought of.  For me, it’s a continuing practice. 😉

K is for Kale. L is for Love.

This may come across as a little awry.  A little off.  But.  Well.  It simply must be said.

I think, maybe, I might possibly–who knows?–be in love with kale.

The idea came to me as I sat on my porch, feeling the warmth of summer creep up by the hour.  Any last chills from the morning quickly dissipated, as the sun rose higher and higher.  Humidity turned into a comfortably dry warmth, and only the lingering shady spots underneath the trees told the tale of a former rain storm.

And there I sat.  On the porch, basking in the sun.  Alone and completely at home, with a bowl of raw kale salad sitting in my lap.

I used to be of the opinion that kale was best served with something saucy, as to cover any unwelcome bitter flavors.  But my tastebuds changed their mind, as they often do, and now I am in love with kale.  It was bound to happen, really.  You don’t spend that much time with something unless there’s a bright, flavorful future there.  Right?

There is no sauce to this recipe.  Nor bitter flavors either, for that matter.  Only a creamy rubbing of avocado with a spritz of fresh lemon.  And some walnuts and tomatoes and sweet vidalia.

If I am not alone—if you too love kale—then you will simply love this recipe.  If you’ve never (ever) before tried kale, or if you have tried kale and thought it to be the most boring vegetable in the world, then wait until next week and I’ll share with you your first go-to recipe, so that you can introduce this forgiving green into your life.

I do have to warn you though.  Love happens.

Raw Kale Salad

(Serves 2)

This recipe is raw, vegan and gluten free.  It’s also delicious.  Feel free to add sauteed tofu, chicken, or your other favorite protein source to make it a more well rounded, satisfying meal.  I ate mine on the side of some baked beans.  No need for fancy when you’re striving for delicious. 😉

  • 1 head of kale, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/2-1 tomato, diced
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1/4 vidalia or other sweet onion, diced
  • spritz of lemon (about 1/4 of a fresh)
  • 1/4 cup walnuts (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large bowl, use your hands to smush and smash avocado together with the kale.  Add tomato, carrot, onions, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Stir well.  Toss in walnuts if using.
  2. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  Refrigerate for 1 or more hours and serve.  OR, if you are impatient like me, enjoy immediately.

QUESTION: What is your favorite GREEN vegetable?

The Flying Onion vs. Mr. Stress

Well.  It happened.

I fought it.  I really did.  You’d be truly proud of me, really.  But still.  It happened.

In a pure moment of weakness, I finally let Mr. Stress get the better of me.

You know exactly what I mean.  That tight feeling up in the chest.  Head swimming, ready to burst.  Tightened shoulders.  The feeling of being nervously energetic and tired all at the same time.

I’m usually pretty good about things like this.  Feelings like that don’t pop up all too often.  But.  This time?  They did.

My new job officially started on Thursday, and I found myself feeling overly flustered with the whole ordeal.  I’m learning three new types of software.  I’m learning what a zip file is (don’t laugh, I had no idea there even was such a thing!)  And I’m calling people to collect dietary data for a nutrition study.  

(Which, in case you didn’t know, I have a major phonephobia.  It’s true!)

I reached my breaking point somewhere around 4 o’clock yesterday.  This is when I realized how silly I was being.  How feeling tight and wound up was doing nothing—absolutely nothing!—for me, except to give me really tight shoulders (and I really can’t afford a massage therapist right now…bummer!)

Sarah, I said to myself.  It’s time you did something about Mr. Stress.  Fight back!

And so, I did.  I dragged myself to the kitchen table and helped (i.e., taste tested and watched) mom frost and bake a batch of cookies.  I indulged in a deep session of yoga flows.  I went for an after dinner walk, just because.  And I counted the hours until I’d be hanging with this gal:

She’s making us smoothies for tomorrow’s shopping trip, which she swears tastes just like the Starbucks Chocolate Banana Vivanno.  This could be a very, very good thing.

(Don’t you worry, I’ll try my best to convince her to share the recipe!)

Sigh.  Yes.  I am stressed.  A little tight.  A little wound up.  A little anxious about starting a brand new job on top of keeping up with my dietetic internship requirements.

But you know what?

I’m okay.  I’m more than okay.  And in two hours, I’ll be shopping with my best gal friend and laughing without a care in the world.  I’m fighting back and it seems to me that Mr. Stress is losing.

QUESTION: How do you usually handle stressful situations?