Tag Archives: breakfast

My Perfect Parfait

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This baby is like dessert for breakfast, and if you tell me you don’t like the idea of dessert for breakfast I’ll totally give you the side eye. Because that’s shady.

I grew up eating sugar sprinkled donuts and chocolate chip cookies for breakfast. True story. It was entirely my dad’s doing because he was (still is!) in charge of the runs to the little family-owned bakery shop in my neighborhood back in Mexico, where the smell is so sweet it makes you want to curl down in the corner and be cuddled. Anyway, he was the baked goodies provider and, really, who was I to question.

The good news is that this version of a sweet treat is way healthier than donuts and conchas, and its nutritional value can increase depending on what you choose to put in.

The trick is to keep the amount of yogurt to a minimum, and the added sugars nonexistent. Hey, it’s full of fruit and that’s sweetness enough already.

Fruit and Yogurt Parfait

4 Tbs. of natural yogurt– NOT flavored. I can’t say this enough. The fruity flavor stuff is full of sugar and we don’t need that. SHUN.                                                                                    (Use soy or coconut yogurt to make it vegan)

1 mango

1 banana

Frozen (or fresh) blueberries

Frozen (or fresh) strawberries

Handful of pecans, almonds and/or walnuts

Shredded coconut

Simply chop the fruits except for the blueberries, and begin layering like you prefer. In order from bottom to top, I did: Banana, 1 Tbs of yogurt, pecans, blueberries, 1 Tbs. yogurt, almonds and walnuts, 2 Tbs yogurt, strawberries, mango, shredded coconut.

It’s very easy to make, and I imagine it can be made the night before and kept in the freezer for the perfect grab-and-go breakfast.

As you see, you don’t need insane amounts of yogurt. I’ve seen recipes that call for one cup of yogurt. One cup! For one serving! That’s way too much. I like it better if it’s made up mostly of fruits and nuts, because I know I get the most benefits out of those ingredients. AND NOW YOU’RE DYING TO KNOW.

So here goes: The sexy mango is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and dietary fibers. The creamy banana aside from being full of potassium also aids in the natural absorption of other nutrients thanks to its prebiotic components. Nuts are super high in omega-3 healthy fats, manganese, copper and protein. Blueberries’ antioxidants improve our memory, plus they provide vitamin K and manganese. Strawberries are rich in vitamin C and anti-inflammatory nutrients, and are believed to be important in keeping cancer away. Finally, coconut gives us the benefit of iron and dietary fibers.

I don’t know about you, but I get more excited about eating healthy stuff when I know exactly how it will benefit me. The delighted geek in me claps like a juggling seal.

This is one of the best summer treats you can have. Go enjoy it under the sunshine. You have my permission.

The Ridiculous Brown Rice Pudding

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Yes, this brown rice pudding is ridiculous. Ridiculously tasty. Ridiculously practical. Ridiculously full of fiber. And ridiculously easy to make.

An overview: This pudding has a truckload of fiber, iron, manganese, selenium, and magnesium, all these just from the brown rice alone.

Then comes the warm goodness that is cinnamon, parading with its anti-microbial, anti-clotting, sugar-controlling, brain function-boosting medicinal properties. So humble you look, cinnamon. But I’m on to you and your magic.

Finally, we have the sweet raisins, showing off their lovely antioxidants to protect your cells, and not less important the boron, which keeps your bones strong and dense. Organic raisins are the best bet.

 

 

Not convinced yet? This meal is what in nutrition speak we call nutrient dense, at the same time that it is not calorie dense. This means that you are getting vast amounts of nutrients for only a small amount of calories. Or better said, every single calorie is good because they’re effectively contributing something of value to your body. And that’s what I call smart food.

To make the best of you breakfast, opt for having some protein along your brown rice pudding. Also, don’t go overboard eating bowls and bowls of the stuff. A serving of one cupped hand should be enough for a meal.

Brown rice pudding

2 C almond milk (or any milk you prefer)

1 C of brown rice (I used organic)

1 stick of cinnamon

Ground cinnamon to taste

Raisins to taste

Simply place milk* and the stick of cinnamon in a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil. Add the cup of brown rice and bring the heat down to very low. Cover and leave it as is for about 30 minutes, checking every once in a while to make sure the milk isn’t completely gone so the rice doesn’t burn. Feel free to add more milk as you wish– the consistency of this dish depends on your preference. Taste a grain of rice to make sure it’s fully cooked, remove the cinnamon stick, and serve hot with ground cinnamon and raisins on top.

Of course you can sweeten this dish, but be warned: Sugar isn’t your friend. Try to find a healthier alternative, maybe honey, stevia, or organic sugar. Anything but the processed toxic mess that is regular granulated sugar.

Since it takes a bit of time to cook this pudding I like making large batches and refrigerating any leftovers. Then it’s a super practical heat-and-serve hearty breakfast, or a great alternative for a healthy dessert.

Tasty, easy, healthy, practical, nutritious. Ridiculous.

 

*If you’d like to make a lighter version of this pudding, you can also cook the brown rice as indicated above, but using water instead of milk. So, cook rice in water until the rice is tender, then add the milk when you’re serving, directly on your bowl.

 

The Vegan Kickstart was my bitch (except for the part where I got drunk)

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Twenty-one days have gone by since the beginning of my trek down vegan road. I stuck with the plan to perfection, except on the night I got drunk with all my friends at my house and forgot to make double sure that my common-allergen-avoiding friend’s brownies were vegan friendly. They were taste bud friendly, for sure! But vegan? Not with those eggs in them. I would say sheesh and shame on me, but since this was an honest communication mistake caused by drunken stupor I totally let it go and went right back on vegan path. Upward and onward.

I got lazier about documenting exactly what I ate, so here’s a broad spectrum of some of the meals I’ve had in the last two weeks:

Breakfast

-Green smoothie: Cucumber, spinach and mango, blended in water.

-My super healthy pancakes, with flaxseed instead of eggs. Drizzled with agave nectar.

-The mother of all sandwiches: Half an avocado, yellow and orange pepper, green onion, homemade pickled cucumber and red onion, fresh cucumber and red onion, mix of salad greens, tomato.

-Banana smoothie: Banana, strawberry, spinach.

-Two vegan carrot muffins, one banana, one peach, a cup of tea.

-Cereal with almond or rice milk.

 

Lunch

-Stir fry: Red and orange pepper, green onion, red onion, shredded carrot, bean sprouts. Side of brown rice with peanut sauce.

-Brown rice topped with peanut sauce and banana slices (have you ever had rice with bananas? It’s delicious! This is how my mom would give it to me all the time when I was a kid). Half baked sweet potato with hummus.

-Two whole wheat wraps smothered in hummus and fresh vegetables.

-Lentil soup.

-Sauteed greens with fried tofu.

 

Dinner

-Chili! Made with TVP (texturized vegetarian protein) in place of ground beef.

-Sushi. We went to an all you can eat sushi bar and I had avocado rolls, cucumber rolls, udon noodles, tofu, spicy miso soup (delicious!), and seaweed salad.

-Two whole wheat wraps smothered in hummus and fresh vegetables.

-Black bean soup with amaranth and fried tofu.

-Baked kabocha squash, corn on the cob and refried beans.

-Stir fry.

-Homemade Mexican bean empanadas and yellow rice.

-Moroccan chickpea soup.

Snacks

-Lentil soup with Mary’s organic rice crackers.

-Baked sweet potato with hummus.

-Corn chips with refried beans and homemade salsa.

 

Now that the kickstart is over comes my time to decide what I want to do. Though I won’t be calling myself a vegan anytime soon, my interest is certainly peaked. I think I may want to keep eating this way, particularly because I noticed that while on a plant-based diet it is very difficult to fall into junk food (with the exception of the corn chips I had). This is what attracts my attention the most: it’s just plain healthy. And healthy makes sense to me.

 

 

 

Vegan Kickstart- Week 1 down!

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DAY 4

Breakfast

-Kashi cereal with almond milk

-One peach

Lunch

-For Anna: A re-do of yesterday’s sandwich, of course.

-For me: Leftover carrot and red pepper soup, now with hemp seeds sprinkled into it (delish!). Leftover skillet eggplant and pasta.

Dinner

-Whole wheat spaghetti with roasted red pepper and tomato sauce.

-Almond ‘meatballs’. My very own concoction, and very easy to make: Blend 1 cup of almonds and ground flaxseed with 2 Tbs of coconut oil, 1 clove of garlic, onion, parsley, sea salt and black pepper. You can add a bit of water too, to activate the binding feature of ground flaxseed. Roll into balls and bake or fry lightly. Ah-may-zing!

-Side of green salad with grapeseed oil, balsamic vinegar and lime juice for dressing.

Snack

-A big platter of fresh veggies including carrot, cucumber and sliced red pepper with some hummus on the side.

DAY 5

Breakfast

-French toast! With a recipe borrowed from Wendy, from Adventures in Chi: blend a banana, non-dairy milk (I used almond) cinnamon, 1 tsp of ground flaxseed mixed in a bit of water (this binds as eggs would do), and a splash of vanilla; use this mixture to coat your bread. I cooked mine using Earth Balance butter spread on the pan, and sweetened it with maple syrup.

Lunch

-Leftover spaghetti and almond meatballs.

Dinner

-Eggplant rolls stuffed with walnut pesto. Simply sautee the eggplant slices in homemade vegetable broth, stuff with walnut pesto an roll.

Snacks

Pre-workout a.m.-  Spinach fruit smoothie: Blend spinach and the fruit of your choice (I went for banana, blueberry and strawberry).

Pre-workout p.m.- Banana-flax pudding. Based on a recipe found in Brendan Brazier’s book Thrive, with my own tweaks: Blend two bananas, 1/2 C of mango, 1/4 C of ground flaxseed, 2 Tbs of coconut oil, 1 tsp of lime juice and a pinch of sea salt and enough coconut water to make it the consistency you desire.

-Kashi cereal with almond milk.

DAY 6

Breakfast

– French toast again. Soooo good.

Lunch

-Half an all-vegetable Subway (lettuce, tomato, green pepper, red onion, green and black olives, pickles), with mustard and black pepper.

Dinner

-The other half of my veggie Subway (we went to a party that night, so I brought this with me to eat there)

Snacks

-Fruits and veggies from platters brought to the hotel room where I was doing makeup for a wedding party in the a.m.

-Corn chips with black bean and salsa dip made by me, which I brought to the party in the p.m.

DAY 7

Breakfast

– Bran cereal with vanilla rice milk

Lunch

-BBQ! We were unexpectedly invited to a BBQ after a photo shoot I had for work, and the hostess was kind enough to have a bunch of options for me: A delicious cauliflower, red onion and cilantro salad; tomato slices with chopped fresh basil drizzled in olive oil; corn on the cob (minus the butter), and some very simple yet stunningly flavorful grilled shiitake mushrooms.

Dinner

-Thai food! We went out to our favorite Thai restaurant, and I wish I wrote down the names of my dishes. First I had a super tasty curry-based soup with tofu and vegetables in it, and my main course was spicy rice with grilled pineapples and vegetables. Yum!

Week one is down, two more to go and I’m really looking forward to them. I haven’t found this difficult at all, though I’m pretty sure I need to be eating a little bit more, definitely more often. I have to work on having more ready to eat snacks available, because my schedule varies so much I need to be prepared for when a sudden workout comes up, or for when I have to spend meal times away from home.

Vegan Kickstart- The first 3 days

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I have really been liking the recipes we’ve tried so far! On our first three days, this is what we’ve had:

DAY 1

Breakfast:

-Homemade oatmeal with vanilla almond milk, blueberries, and half a banana. Sweetened with a bit of Agave nectar (SO yum)

Lunch:

-Couscous confetti salad (we loved it)

-Carrot and red pepper soup  (It was thick, rich and super flavorful! Even Stephen liked it, though Anna hated it but I saw that coming because she only likes raw carrots)

Dinner:

-Green salad mix (arugula, baby spinach, baby romaine, etc) with grape seed oil, balsamic vinegar and fresh lime juice for dressing.

-Leftover couscous confetti salad

-Refried pinto bean tacos with homemade corn tortillas.

DAY 2

Breakfast:

-Kashi cereal with almond milk

Lunch:

-Crockpot lentil stew, made from scratch (no canned lentils), and two slices of whole wheat bread with Earth Balance vegan butter spread (tastes exactly like butter- I found it at Sobey’s, for all my local peeps.)

Dinner:

– Skillet eggplant and lentils with almond parmesan  We used organic brown rice pasta. This was soooooo good, we all liked it (even though Anna claims to hate eggplant, she didn’t even notice it in here)

Snack:

-Stove-top popped popcorn, with ground ginger sprinkled on it. The ginger definitely added a tasty extra punch to it!

-Post-workout: One Larabar, red pepper hummus with rye Wasa crackers.

DAY 3

Breakfast:

-Homemade oatmeal with vanilla almond milk, blueberries and half a banana, drizzled with agave nectar.

Lunch:

-Veggie sandwich: Whole wheat bread, yellow and orange pepper, green mix (lettuce, baby spinach, arugula, etc.), red onion, cucumber, shredded raw carrot, and tomato. The original recipe called for hummus as the spread, but Anna isn’t too fond of it. Instead, I improvised the protein and healthy fats by using my homemade walnut-cilantro pesto (simply blend walnuts, cilantro, olive oil, garlic powder, a pinch of sea salt and black pepper). She DEVOURED the sandwich. She declared her undying love for it. She kept saying how she couldn’t stop talking about how good this sandwich was.

This is definitely the kind of sandwich I would send my kid for school– if she went to school.  (She doesn’t, we homeschool)

I couldn’t grab my camera fast enough and by the time I got back to the kitchen the sandwich was almost gone:

So, winner? I’d say yes!

Dinner:

-Lentil soup (leftover from yesterday’s lunch), with sweet potatoes cooked into it for variety and extra nutrients.

-Leftover couscous confetti salad.

-Green salad with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice as dressing, sprinkled with leftover almond parmesan from yesterday’s dinner.

Snack:

-For Anna: Leftover popcorn with ginger powder.

-For me: Roasted red pepper hummus with carrot sticks and red pepper slices (oh how I love the stuff!)

-Post-workout:  One orange, one banana and one peach. An apple Larabar, a chamomile tea (in great company, I must add!)

I’m loving the easiness with which we can re-combine and use the leftovers.

There is one observation I have thus far: I’ve noticed that I feel more focused during my workouts, shifting attention away from the discomfort or difficulty, and placing it on what needs to be done in that moment. I’ve been eating on this plant-based way for only three days and I’m aware that it is far too soon to assume that this shift is directly a result of the switch in eating habits. I do think, however, that going through this conscious habit change has made me a lot more aware of my goals. It’s like thinking hey, if I’m switching up the way I’ve eaten my entire life because I want to better my athletic performance, then the least I can do is make every workout, every exercise, every repetition count. This is a viewpoint I wasn’t expecting but quite welcome with enjoyment. I feel more efficient.

Stuff I eat– Super healthy pancakes

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These babies are a great way to jump-start your day! This is my version, modified from The Fame of Health- Clean Pancake recipe.

Ingredients:

-2 Tbs Flax seed

-2 C rolled oats

-1 egg

-1 C organic rice milk– I like vanilla flavor

-2 Tbs cottage cheese

– Olive oil

-Assorted fruits– strawberry, banana, blackberry, blueberry, cherry, etc.

1. Start by grinding the flax seed in your blender. This is essential because whole flax seeds are too hard for our system to digest (they’ll pass through whole), and apparently ground flax goes bad really fast, so our best bet at taking advantage of all the nutrients is to grind the seeds ourselves. Also grind the oats. The resulting powder is the flour for your pancakes.

2. Add the egg and the cottage cheese and mix it all with a fork.

3. Add the rice milk and make sure you mix it in very well. You can add more or less milk depending on your preferred consistency.

4. Heat a tiny bit of the olive oil at medium-low heat and ladle your pancake mix. This is when I add my fruits of choice as it gives me a chance to make each pancake a different flavor.

5. Once the sides begin to brown, flip the pancake over to cook on the other side. Once it’s done, enjoy!

A healthier alternative to the sugary pancake syrup is honey– go for local!

Stuff I eat

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I drool all over again just looking at the picture

My breakfast yesterday:

Ramekin with layers of spinach, red & yellow peppers, purple onion, mushrooms, shredded carrot and one egg, baked in the oven for 20 minutes. Sprinkled with cilantro, freshly cracked black pepper, and paprika.

One side of homemade black beans. One slice of whole wheat toast with a bit of avocado spread on it. One cup of berries (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries)

To drink: One cup of black coffee and a glass of cantaloup blended with the skin left on!  The skin is an amazing source of fiber and is fantastic for our digestive tract. Once blended it doesn’t taste any different than regular cantaloup flesh.