Everyday Breakfast

I eat this breakfast most days and still crave it everyday. Full of fiber, beneficial fats, and protein, it’s a great way to fuel your day right.

1/3 c rolled oats
2/3 c  unsweetened, vanilla almond milk
1 banana, cut in half, sliced
1 Tbsp chia seeds

Place the oats and almond milk in a microwaveable bowl. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Stir, then microwave again for 30 seconds. Add the banana and chia seeds to the oats. Stir and enjoy!

This doesn’t take a lot of time! You can make this everyday.

What‘s for breakfast today?

P.S. Please ignore the cruddy quality of my phone picture. I need to find my camera charger!

A vote for oats

Oats, one of the many whole grains, can come in many different ways. Steel cut, irish, rolled, instant or bran.  My favorite is the rolled oats as they are easy to put in a bowl with some water and microwave every morning. However, when I have a little more time and forethought, steel cut oats are exceptional with some almonds, raisins, and blueberries.

(Going clockwise, from the left: Steel Cut Oats, Oat Bran, Quick Oats, and Rolled Oats)

Oats are nutrient dense source of manganese, selenium, tryptophan, fiber, B1, and some protein.In addition to being whole grains, oats have been linked to lowered cholesterol levels, valued antioxidants, and stabilization of blood sugars. Oats can be added to breads, eaten as breakfast or used as a binder in meatloafs (vegetarian or not).

This is a recipe that I make quite frequently, no matter the season, but it always seems especially appetizing in the fall. The combination of pumpkin, apples, walnuts, and cranberries, brought together with the flavor of vanilla and cinnamon is delectable.

It is perfect for a Sunday morning with a cup of coffee or tea and a good book.

Pumpkin Apple Cranberry Baked Oatmeal

(adapted from this version of this recipe)

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup wheat germ (omit for gluten free version)
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed (use 1/3 cup if using fresh cranberries)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (or 3/4 c. fresh)
  • 1 1/2 cups vanilla soy milk (or regular milk)
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp. pumpkin puree
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup apple, chopped
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Spray an 8x8in baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, wheat germ, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and cranberries.  In a separate bowl, combine the soy milk, pumpkin puree, egg, and vanilla, whisking until the mixture is smooth.
Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, and stir to combine all of the ingredients.  Add the apple and combine with the wet oatmeal mixture.  Spread the oatmeal into the baking dish, and sprinkle with walnuts.
Bake for about 20 minutes, until the oatmeal has set and the top is golden. Serve warm, topped with additional soy milk, if desired.
How do you like your oatmeal? Do you prefer it made with milk or water? Any great variations I need to try?

Roll with the grains

I love bread and rolls, especially homemade versions of both.  So when I stumbled across this recipe for multigrain rolls that included whole wheat flour, oats, and oat bran, I knew I had to make them. I have made them several times now, always freezing what I don’t need to reheat later with a subsequent meal.

The addition of nutrient packed seeds in this recipe really makes it that much better.  But let’s talk about the grains.  This recipe includes two types of whole grains – oats and wheat – and two different types of processes of oats.  These types are fascinating in their differences (a #youmightbeadietitiantobeif moment), and will be talked about in an upcoming post.  I wanted to delve into grains in general for this post, however.

The USDA recommendations for whole grains is at least 3 servings a day, or half of all the grains eaten.  A serving of grains would be equivalent to 1 slice of 100% whole wheat bread, 1/2 cup of cooked brown rice, whole wheat pasta or cooked cereal (like oatmeal) or 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal. They actually have a very handy chart that lists which items are whole grains and how much is needed to equal a serving found here.

The reason for whole grains is that they contain more nutrients than the stripped down, regular grain version. Whole grains contain the germ, endosperm and bran part of the grain. They are higher in fiber, which reduces constipation, regulates blood sugar and dissuages the feeling of hunger.  They also contain multiple B vitamins, such as thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), and folate (B9), which help maintain healthy metabolism, nervous system, digestion and blood cell production. Whole grains are also one of the handful of sources of iron not from meat (non-heme).  Magnesium and selenium are also in higher density in whole grains.

When buying grain products, be sure to look at the first ingredient in the food to make sure it is a whole product (such as whole wheat). Other grains to consider adding to your diet besides oats and wheat are amaranth, quinoa, cous cous, buckwheat, wheat berries, brown rice, barley, spelt, teff and maize (corn). 

Multigrain Rolls

Printable Version

(From Annie’s Eats, which was adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook)

Ingredients:
 
For the dough:
½ cup oat bran
¼ cup flax seeds
½ cup boiling water
1 cup warm milk (105-110˚ F)
2¼ tsp. instant (rapid rise) yeast
¼ cup honey
2 large eggs
2/3 cup old-fashioned (not instant) oats
7 oz. (1¼ cups) whole wheat flour
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. salt
15 oz. (about 3 cups) all-purpose flour
Oil, for greasing the bowl
 
For the topping:
1 large egg
1 tbsp. water
2 tbsp. mixed seeds (poppy, sesame, fennel, etc.)
Coarse salt, for sprinkling

Directions:

Combine the oat bran and flax seeds in a small bowl.  Pour the boiling water into the bowl and mix to moisten.  Let sit until the water is absorbed, about 5 minutes.  Set aside to cool. Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the milk, yeast and honey; mix briefly to blend.  With the dough hook and the mixer on low speed, mix in the eggs, oats, wheat flour, pepper, salt and oat bran mixture until combined.  Slowly add enough all-purpose flour, ½ cup at a time, to make a soft, slightly sticky dough.  Continue to knead on medium-low speed, about 3 minutes.

Form the dough into a ball.  Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1½-2 hours.

Brush a baking dish lightly with oil (I used a 10-inch round baking dish).  On a lightly floured surface, turn the dough out and divide into 16 equal pieces, about 2½ ounces each.  Form each portion into a ball and place the dough balls in the baking dish, spaced slightly apart so they have room to grow together.   Cover and let rise until puffy and nearly doubled in bulk, about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375˚ F.  In a small bowl whisk together the egg yolk and water.  Brush lightly over the proofed rolls.  Sprinkle the unbaked rolls with the seed mixture and coarse salt.  Bake until the tops are golden, about 26 minutes.  Let cool 10-15 minutes before removing from the pan.

Yield: About 32 small rolls or 16 large ones.

Nutritional Facts: (approximated, based on 32 small rolls, dependent on how much/type of seeds and salt you add on top of rolls)
Calories: 94; Fat: 1.6 g (0.3 g Sat, 0.7 g PolyUn, 0.5 g MonoUn); Cholesterol: 18 mg; Sodium: 300 mg; Potassium: 48 mg; Carbs: 17.2 g; Fiber 1.6 g; Sugars: 2.7 g; Protein: 3.3 g

A flower worth eating

It’s cauliflower! This cruciferous vegetable is an excellent source of Vitamin C (providing ~95% of your daily value!), Vitamin K, folate and fiber.  It is also a very good source of B6, omega-3 fatty acids (the really good kind), manganese and B5. Due to its Vitamin K content, cauliflower is considered one of the main foods  to treat inflammation, along with kale, spinach, broccoli, brussels sprouts & many types of greens (collard, mustard, turnip & swiss chard). Cauliflower also contains many phytonutrients for anti-oxidant support.  This is definitely a nutrient dense flower!

Cauliflower can be added to salads, mixed with broccoli and carrots for a side dish, placed on veggie platters with a flavorful dip, added to stir-frys and soups, or eaten plain. 

This particular side dish is fairly rich for a side dish, but would go excellent with my beet salad (how I served it) or a lean protein and basic starch (like rice).

Cauliflower Gratin

(adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe, via Food Network)

  • 1 (3-pound) head cauliflower, cut into large florets
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups hot milk  (skim or 1%)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Gruyère, divided
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs (make by cutting up whole wheat bread in a food processor)
  • Cook the cauliflower florets in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5 to 6 minutes, until tender but still firm.

    Drain.

    Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture and stir until it comes to a boil. Boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, or until thickened. Off the heat, add 1 teaspoon of salt, the pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup of the Gruyère, and the Parmesan.

    Pour 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom of an 8 by 11 by 2-inch baking dish. Place the drained cauliflower on top and then spread the rest of the sauce evenly on top. Combine the bread crumbs with the remaining 1/4 cup of Gruyère and sprinkle on top. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter and drizzle over the gratin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is browned. Serve hot or at room temperature.

    Nutrition Information: (approximated) 4 servings, per serving:
    Calories: 390; Fat: 20 g ; Cholesterol: 62.2 mg; Sodium: 407 mg; Total Carbs: 32.6 g; Fiber: 5.9 g; Protein: 20 g

    Beet it, just beet it…

    No one wants to be defeated! Or at least I am aiming not to be defeated when it comes to posting on this blog! I’m baaaaaacckkk!! :::echoes:::

    Hello?

    It has been a while since I have blogged a good recipe – mostly due to a job change and and unusual schedule in which I don’t cook dinner much.  However, I am constantly finding and making new recipes that I just can’t let that get in the way anymore.

    Oh yeah and in the year since I blogged last, I finished my Bachelor of Science in Dietetics!  An internship should be on the way soon, I hope.

    Back to the recipe.  This one is completely my own that I made when I got inspired by the beets in the produce section.  I had always heard that you could use both the beet and the beet greens, but I had never done so.

    I knew I loved roasted beets, so I started there.  Then the idea of a salad using the greens sounded only logical and thus the Beet, Mushroom & Gorgonzola Salad was born.

    Beets are root vegetables that contain betalains – phytonutrients that are also responsible for their coloring.  However, these betalains can be damaged during heating, so it is best to cook the beets with the skin on to preserve these precious anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients.  Beets are also an excellent source of folate, a very good source of potassium, and a good source of fiber, Vitamin C, copper, magnesium, iron and phosphorus. In other words, a welcome contribution to just about any diet.

    The other handy thing about roasting beets is that the oil used during roasting is infused with the extra beet juice and can be used on the salad. Reuse of ingredients? Check. Use of nutrients that would otherwise be lost? Check.

    Beet, Mushroom & Gorgonzola Salad

    by Megan Salazar

    Ingredients:

    • Bunch of Beets (about 3-4 medium beets)
    • 6 cups of spinach
    • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
    • 8 oz. container of Gorgonzola cheese
    • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
    • 3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
    • 1/3 cup of walnuts

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F).
    2. Remove stems from beets, save greens for later.  On a large piece of aluminum foil, place washed beets, olive oil and a pinch of salt.  Fold the foil over the beets, crimping the sides closed to ensure the steam remains inside.
    3. Place foil-wrapped beets in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the largest beets is fork tender.
    4. While the beets are roasting, chop or tear the beet leaves into bite-size pieces.  Mix with the spinach, mushrooms and cheese.
    5. Once the beets are done roasting, let them cool until they are cool to the touch.  Using a paper towel, rub the skins off.  Chop into 1/2 inch chunks and mix into salad.
    6. Combine the vinegar with the remaining oil in foil, plus more as needed. Drizzle over salad mixture and toss.

    Makes 3-4 main dish servings or 8 side salad portions.

    Blog Action Day – Fresh Produce

    When I first read about this event and the topic of climate change, I immediately thought about fresh produce and the farms that surround our suburban area. I love visiting farms – the selection, the produce, the colors, the smells … okay, maybe not some of the smells.

    I believe that we can make a small impact not only on climate change, but also economic change by visiting these farms in your area on a regular basis. By purchasing produce locally, you stop the pollution of shipping large quantities of goods across the nation (or world), you are supporting growing in the area, which increases the oxygen output by the plants, and you are using items that are at the peak of their nutritional value by picking them straight off the vine/bush/tree. This last one is my favorite.

    I also wanted to show how picking something from a local farm could translate to edible goods, especially since I am all about eating here at Nuts for Nutrition. Eating the good for you stuff – the produce that makes your body say, “Thank you”! So I took a trip with some friends to a local pumpkin farm, just on the northern outskirts of Denver, Rock Creek Farm.

    We enjoyed picking pumpkins, exploring the corn maze (for kids) and visiting the farm animals – donkeys, goats and pigs! After picking our big pumpkins, we went to purchase our items and I also picked up some pumpkin pie pumpkins, spaghetti squash and butternut squash. I knew immediately what I wanted to make with the butternut squash.

    So I cut them in half (which after doing this, I found that if you cut the bulb separately from the stem, it is much easier to cut each part in half), scrapped the seeds and fibers out and placed in a water filled 13×9″ pan to bake, covered with tin foil. After baking in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes, they were soft and smelled yummy. I let them cool for about 20 minutes, then I peeled the skin off with a knife and placed the meat of the squash into a food processor, adding a little water to help them get smooth.

    You could stop here and put them in ice cube trays for baby food. Or you could go further with me and make some macaroni and cheese with it. Yes, macaroni and cheese.

    But first, what is so great about butternut squash? This winter squash is rich in vitamin A, which can reduce your lung cancer risk, according to some studies. It is also rich in vitamin C (great to load up on during flu season), potassium, fiber and manganese. Folate, omega-3 fatty acids, copper and a variety of vitamins also fill this vegetable that is as rich in nutrients as it is in color.

    This dish I found to be more tasty re-heated than fresh made, so do not shy away from the leftovers. It is not my favorite mac & cheese preparation (and I am still looking for a good healthy one), but it was pretty good considering that most of the sauce is made from the squash puree! I hope you visit a local farm, purchase some squash and try it!

    Macaroni and Four Cheeses

    (from Ellie Krieger’s The Food You Crave and Food Network)

    Ingredients:

    • Cooking spray
    • 1 pound elbow macaroni
    • 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen pureed winter squash (or 20 oz. of fresh pureed)
    • 2 cups 1 percent lowfat milk
    • 4 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (about 1 1/3 cups)
    • 2 ounces Monterrey jack cheese, grated (about 2/3 cup)
    • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon powdered mustard
    • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, more to taste
    • 2 tablespoons unseasoned bread crumbs
    • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
    • 1 teaspoon olive oil

    Directions:

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

    Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until tender but firm, about 5 to 8 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.

    Meanwhile, place the frozen squash and milk into a large saucepan and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally and breaking up the squash with a spoon until it is defrosted. (Skip the breaking up of the frozen if using fresh and just heat squash and milk on medium) Turn the heat up to medium and cook until the mixture is almost simmering, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the Cheddar, jack cheese, ricotta cheese, salt, mustard and cayenne pepper. Pour cheese mixture over the macaroni and stir to combine. Transfer the macaroni and cheese to the baking dish.

    Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and oil in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the top of the macaroni and cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, then broil for 3 minutes so the top is crisp and nicely browned.

    More than just a fungi

    I love quiche. (Do you say key-shhh? Or ki- shhh?)  It can be made in so many different ways – sweet, savory, breakfast, dinner, brunch or mini!  Combining this variety with the fact that I love breakfast foods and often make them for dinner, this recipe was sure to be a winner in my book.

    I have made a couple of quiches before, but the crust on this one really made it.  Plus, the ability to add different vegetables, more spices and make it my own really appealed to me.  Not to mention it was healthy!

    The mushrooms take the highlight in this recipe (especially since they are part of the title).  Mushroom are fungus, but are a healthy fungus and come in various sizes and types – including some non-edible ones.  There are many types of mushrooms, but generally, they are an excellent source of selenium, various B vitamins, copper, potassium, and phosphorous.  Mushrooms are packed with phytonutrients and anti-oxidants to help you keep your immune system running well!

    Mozzarella & Mushroom Quiche

    (Source: adapted from The New Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen)

    Ingredients:

    Pie Crust:

    • 6 Tbsp. butter or margarine, cut into small pieces
    • 1 1/2 cups flour
    • about 4 Tbsp. cold water, milk, or buttermilk

    Filling:

    • 1 tsp. butter or margarine
    • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
    • 1/4 lb. mushrooms, sliced or minced
    • 1/2 cup baby spinach
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • black pepper
    • a pinch of thyme
    • 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
    • 2 whole eggs plus 2 egg whites
    • 1 1/2 cups low fat milk
    • 1 tsp. hot sauce
    • 2 Tbsp. flour
    • 1 1/2 cups (packed) grated mozzarella cheese
    • 1 tomato, sliced
    • paprika

    Directions:

    For the crust:

    1. Use a pastry cutter, two forks, or a food processor to cut together the butter and flour until the mixture is uniformly blended and resembles coarse cornmeal. (The food processor will do this in just a few spurts.)
    2. Add just enough liquid (water, milk, or buttermilk) to hold the dough together (add more if absolutely needed, 1 tsp. at a time). Roll out the dough and form a crust in a 9- or 10-inch pie pan. Set aside.

    For the filling:

    1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
    2. Melt the butter in a small pan. Add onions, and saute over medium heat for a few minutes. When they begin to soften, add mushrooms, salt, pepper, thyme, and mustard. Saute about 4 minutes more. Add the spinach in for the last minute to just wilt the leaves. Remove from heat.
    3. Combine eggs, milk, hot sauce, and flour in a blender or food processor, and beat well.
    4. Spread the grated cheese over the bottom of the unbaked crust, and spread the onion-mushroom-spinach mixture on top. Pour in the egg mixture, top with the slices of tomato and sprinkle the top with paprika.
    5. Bake 35-45 minutes, or until solid in the center. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.