Showing posts with label breakfast of champions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label breakfast of champions. Show all posts

Monday, January 26, 2015

Guest Post: Easy Real Food Granola

With 2015 here we can’t help but wonder what resolutions and changes we should make to live a happier healthier year!  Look no further, and jump-start your mornings with this heart healthy granola recipe destined to start off your day in the right direction!  Ingredients including oatmeal, mixed nuts, mixed seeds, and dried fruit not only make this recipe nutritious, but will also hit the spot early in the morning!

Easy Real Food Granola
  • 2 cups old fashioned oats (not instant)
  • 1  cup raw mixed nuts
  • 1/4 cup mixed seeds (sunflower, poppy, pumpkin, sesame)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups dried fruit, unsweetened
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. 
  2. Put oatmeal, mixed nuts, mixed seeds, coconut, and cinnamon on a baking sheet. 
  3. Sir well; smooth out. Drizzle with maple syrup and olive oil; stir. 
  4. Bake 20-25 minutes. Every 5 minutes or so take out and stir the mixture. Then spread granola out evenly on the baking sheet with a wooden spoon and put back in oven. 
  5. When granola is golden brown and your kitchen smells delicious, remove from oven, mix in dried fruit (roughly chop any large pieces); let cool. 
  6. Serve with milk or yogurt and fruit!
You can keep leftover granola in an airtight container about 2 weeks if it lasts that long!

Guest Post by Madison!
"Nutrition and health have always been a passion of mine and I am lucky enough to apply this interest by majoring in Nutrition with a focus in Dietetics and minoring in General Business at Miami University." - Madison, Grass Roots Nutrition Intern

Monday, March 4, 2013

Breakfast of Champions: Chocolate hazelnut steel cut oats

Is it April Fools day? Chocolate for breakfast? This is actually a real recommendation - yes, it is chocolate, but it is whole grain and not a ton of sugar. This is a great breakfast option to make on the weekend or in the evening when you have a pocket of time. Pack up your fridge and you're ready for breakfast success!




Chocolate Hazelnut Steel Cut Oats
Makes four servings
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups  milk - soy, rice, dairy and coconut are all great
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts
  1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter and Steel Cut Oats. Stir to coat and toast for a minute or two.
  2. Add cocoa, brown sugar, salt, milk and water. Cover, and bring to a boil. 
  3. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. 
  4. While oats are cooking, toast hazelnuts. You can do this in a dry skillet over medium heat - toast them until they're fragrant and browned slightly, but watch them closely to prevent burning. You can also pop the hazelnuts into the oven or toaster oven.When toasted, toss the hazelnuts into a colandar with wide holes and let cool. 
  5. When the hazelnuts have cooled enough to handle, stir them around with your fingers and massage off the skins that are loose. They won't all come off - don't worry about it. Chop the nuts.
  6. When oat cooking time is up, remove from heat and stir in most of the hazelnuts and allow to cool for ten minutes or so. You can add more water or soy milk if you want the oats to be thinner. 
  7. For breakfast ease, scoop individual portions into glass jars and garnish with remaining hazelnuts. Refridgerate until ready to eat; microwave for a minute or three and you're ready to roll! Bring on the day :)
Note: Hazelnuts can be expensive - check out the bulk section of your grocery store or food co-op for savings.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Breakfast of Champions: Steel cut oats with berries and cinnamon

One cool thing about nutrition, cooking and food is that there is always more to learn! I have had the splendid opportunity to spend more time with my sister lately as we are in the same city. I have long been a fan of oatmeal, especially as baked oatmeal.I had never tried steel cut oats and she shared this great recipe me that you can make ahead!

Steel cut oats do take longer to cook - about 20 minutes - but they hold up really well to being refrigerated and reheated. Make this over the weekend when you can nail down 30 minutes in the kitchen and then you have breakfast for the week!

Most fruits are no longer in season - pears and apples are, but berry season has long past and they took peaches with them. This is a good time to take advantage of frozen fruit - freeze your own when it is in season (and way less expensive) or purchase fruit without any added sugar.

Shopping tip: Having trouble finding steel cut oats? They may not be next to the flavored packets of instant oats - look in the organic or natural foods section of your grocery store or check out the bulk bins of the natural foods store. 

Steel cut oats with berries and cinnamon
Makes four generous servings
  • 1 apple, diced (keep the peel; more fiber and less fuss)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup frozen diced peaches
  • 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries
  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups plain soy milk
  • 1 cup water
  • Nuts and dried fruit for topping
  1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter and add apple and brown sugar. Stirring often to prevent burning, cook for a few minutes. Add frozen fruit and cook for a minute longer. 
  2. Add oats, cinnamon, salt, soy milk and water. Cover, and bring to a boil. 
  3. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. 
  4. After 20 minutes is up, remove from heat and allow to cool for ten minutes or so. You can add more water or soy milk if you want the oats to be thinner. 
  5. For breakfast ease, scoop individual portions into glass jars and garnish with a few nuts. Refridgerate until ready to eat; microwave for a minute or three and you're ready to roll! Bring on the day :)





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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Delicious (healthy!) brunch menu

Brunch is my favorite meal; it is the perfect combination of sweet and savory dishes and you can enjoy champagne with your coffee. What's not to love?

Too often, though, brunch menus tend to be on carbohydrate overload; pancakes, biscuits, potatoes, fruit and toast with juice and jam. Believe it or not, it is possible to have both excellent flavor without having to run a marathon afterwards to burn off that extra energy.



I hosted a casual brunch recently and the menu was a huge hit...and it was healthy too! Here is what I made:

Delicous (healthy!) brunch menu
The best part is that most of this can be made the night before so your morning is relaxing and fun. No need to stress; enjoy your party!

The night before, whip up your kale salad (it is a magical salad that keeps overnight with the dressing on!), set the table and use the cloth napkins. Mix up your pancake batter - if you put it in a pitcher or squeeze bottle, it will be even faster to make the pancakes in the morning. Blanch the asparagus and follow the simple lemon dressing recipe and set up your coffee pot with fresh grinds and some cinnamon and orange peel. If your fruit salad has fruit that will hold up well overnight, go ahead and cut the fruit too; this would include melons, pineapple, watermelon, apples and oranges. Berries, bananas and kiwis should wait until the day of. Sweet dreams!

The morning of your party, set your two salads on the table, the juice and the pistachios so your guests have something to munch on while you're finishing up the last minute details. Make your pancakes and warm up your fruit compote for topping. Finish cutting up any fruit for your salad and toss with some lime or pineapple juice, if you're feeling fancy. Scramble the eggs just before everyone is ready to sit down so they're hot. I sometimes stir in a bit of pesto when I make eggs - it takes it up a notch. Dig in!

This menu is a good start, but it is really flexible too. Instead of the pancakes, you could try cereal killer muffins, baked oatmeal with strawberries and peaches, peanut butter and berry baked french toast or the best banana bread. All are easily baked the night before, or assembled the night before and popped in the oven before your friends arrive.  

You could also substitute any number of salads that I have posted for you instead of the kale salad, or try some fresh vegetables and dip. Just make sure to have some veggies!

Don't like scrambled eggs? Try hard boiled. Simple, but delicous. Or a frittata

Cheers! Salud! Enjoy your brunch :)


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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Naturally sweet: berry compote

Fruit compote was originally a dessert; warmed fruit in a sweet syrup, served warm or cold. These days, fruit compote is more often used as a sauce and I love it on pancakes. Some recipes are loaded with added sugars, but with mine, we let the natural sweetness and flavor of the fruits shine through.

Don't forget about the naturally occurring sugars in the fruits however; this dish is not sugar free. What makes this dish better than candy or soda is the good nutrition packaged with the fruit; vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals. This is the good stuff!

You can easily scale this recipe down to one serving for you, or make a big pot for a crowd for brunch. For this reason, I don't have concrete measurement for you. If you like thicker sauce, add the higher range of cornstarch, if you like the sauce thinner, use less. Don't be scared, you can do it! This sauce looks very impressive to serve for a party, but honestly whips up in a snap!

Berry Compote

  • Fresh or frozen berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries all work well)
  • 1-2 teaspoons cornstarch per cup of fruit
  • 1-2 teaspoons sugar per cup of fruit
  • 1-2 teaspoons of water per cup of fruit
  • Cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, or brandy if you wish
  1. Place your berries in a saucepan; no need to thaw
  2. Before turning on heat, add your sugar and cornstarch and coat the berries - this prevents lumps from forming. Add water, stir well and turn heat to medium. 
  3. As the berries thaw and then cook, the mixture will turn cloudy as the starch molecules hydrate. You know that your compote is ready when it is thickened and clear.I like to smash the fruit using a potato masher, some people like the leave the fruit whole. Up to you!
  4. Use this jeweled sauce to top pancakes, waffles, scones, yogurt or ice-cream.
For most of the year, frozen berries cost way less then fresh and are just as nutritious
Coat the berries with corn starch and a touch of sugar
Part way through cooking: the starch is opaque
Bring on the pancakes!
I just tried this whole grain pancake mix and really liked it. Have you ever tried buckwheat? Despite having wheat in the name, it isn't actually a grain, it is a seed and by itself is gluten free (this mix contains wheat). Buckwheat is jam packed with good nutrition and has a great nutty flavor. Excellent for pancakes and waffles!

Quinoa is another pseudo-cereal; it tastes and cooks like a grain, but botanically isn't. It is delicious in this curried quinoa pilaf.



I used a potato masher to smash the fruit in this recipe as well as for my curried chickpea sandwich filling. This is a great multitasking tool!



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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Breakfast of Champions: Baked oatmeal with strawberries and peaches

Baked oatmeal is the happy love child of a bowl of thick oatmeal and fruit cobbler. Many recipes are loaded with butter so they lean more towards dessert; this recipe has all of the warm-in-your-tummy goodness of cobbler without the calories. Try baking this on the weekend and starting your morning with a quick breakfast before work or school; this reheats quickly in the microwave and is delicious with a splash of milk on top.

Ready to dig in!
Strawberry-Peach Baked Oatmeal

  • 2 cups strawberries (fresh or frozen are both fine)
  • 1-2 peaches
  • 2 cups old fashioned oats - the 5-minute kind, not instant
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup nuts
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 cups low-fat milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Spray a square baking pan or deep pie plate with non-stick cooking spray
  3. Pour berries into bottom of prepared square pan; top with diced peaches (no need to peel). Save the fruit scraps for your compost.
  4. In a 4 cup measuring cup, mix together the oats, brown sugar, baking powder, nuts, cinnamon and flax. Cover fruit with dry mixture and even out surface.
  5. Reuse your measuring cup to melt butter in microwave (let's not create more dishes than necessary!). Add eggs, milk and vanilla and whisk together until smooth. Pour liquid mixture over oats evenly.
  6. Pop into the oven and bake for about 40 minutes or until fruit layer is bubbling and edges are browned. This may take a bit longer if your fruit was still frozen. 
This reheats well in the microwave. I make this on the weekend when I have more time and then enjoy throughout the week for a fast and healthy breakfast. Enjoy!
Cut strawberries and peaches
Chopped fruit
Dry ingredients
Mixing the liquid ingredients
Pour over the dry ingredients and garnish with some pecans if you wish
Ready to dig in!




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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The best banana bread (really!)

The Best Banana Bread

Bake until golden brown
There are a zillion banana bread recipes available and some are mearly cake in disguise while others are too dry or crumbly. Some are too sweet, others lack the nuts and cinnamon that I love. This one is just right!! And.....it's healthy! The applesauce reduces unnecessary fat, sugar is cut way down and the oats add healthy soluble fiber and also help the bread to stay fresh longer...not that this bread is going to last very long!

The best part? This recipe comes together in minutes using only one bowl! Give it a try!

I have shared this recipe with my roommates and they have personalized it; one added a lovely swirl of nutella and the other swirled in peanut butter. Both are delicious! I sometimes add a handful of dark chocolate chips.

The Best Banana Bread

¾ cup all-purpose flour
¾ c. whole wheat flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 whole egg
3 whole overripe (nearly black) bananas
¼ cup canola oil
½ cup old fashioned oats
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
½ cup pecans
½  cup dried cherries or raisins, if desired


1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray loaf pan (or mini loaf pans) with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Add ingredients to mixing bowl in order listed. Mix just until combined.
3. Pour into greased loaf pan and sprinkle top with a small handful of plain oats. Bake at 350 for 1
hour (less for mini pans) or until toothpick comes out clean .

*This freezes well if you'd be so motivated as to make a double batch. Your friends and coworkers would also love a loaf as a gift
*This recipe works just as well with fresh ripe bananas as bananas that have been frozen and thawed

Mix all ingredients gently in one big bowl
Pour into prepared loaf pan and decorate with pecans if you're feeling fancy
Bake until golden brown


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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Breakfast of Champions: Baked peanut butter and berry french toast

Breakfast of Champions: Baked peanut butter and berry french toast

French toast is a great way to turn stale bread into something extraordinary; and making baked french toast gets the work done the night before and you away from the stove. Baked french toast is a great brunch idea and is also a healthy and filling breakfast to have throughout the week.

For this recipe I started with a foundation of whole grain bread and bumped up the eggs from traditional recipes. More eggs means more protein and will keep you going until lunch. Try to find eggs from your farmers market so that you're getting eggs from happy hens and that are more nutritionally dense.

For this recipe, I cubed the bread; I like having it this way so that it makes it easier to select the portion you need. If this is a part of a brunch menu, you probably want smaller pieces. But if this is the main dish for breakfast, you're going to want a bigger piece.

Allergic to peanuts? Try almond butter instead. Allergic to almond too? Poor thing: try soy nut butter.

Baked peanut butter and berry french toast
Serves four; easily doubled - use 13x9 pan
  • 4 slices of your favorite whole grain bread
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup low-fat milk or plant based milk (soy, coconut)
  • 1/4 cup non-hydrogenated peanut butter
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen berries (thawed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray square pan with non-stick cooking spray
  2. Cube bread and place into prepared pan
  3. Using a whisk, mix together eggs, peanut butter, milk, vanilla and cinnamon in a medium sized bowl. It doesn't have to be smooth, I like having small chunks of peanut butter.
  4. Pour egg mixture over bread cubes. Top with berries (stopping here you can pop this in the fridge instead and bake in the morning)
  5. Pop into the oven and bake until egg custard is set; about 40 minutes. When is it done? The french toast will pull away from the pan a bit, the top will be browned and the whole thing will puff up a bit. Also, a knife stuck into the center will be pretty clean
Get your ingredients together!

Cubed whole grain bread

Peanut butter batter to soak the bread cubes
Berries on top!

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I like the pan below because it comes with a cover; this makes it easier to take this dish for an office party or brunch as your friends house! And if you don't have a whisk, it is a great kitchen tool!

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Breakfast of Champions: Super Oatmeal

Oatmeal has a well deserved reputation of being a healthy breakfast. With the soluble fiber contributing to heart health and the whole grains keeping you satisfied, it is no wonder that people feel like they've gotten off to a good start when their breakfast bowl has oatmeal.

Since I like to tweak recipes to make them healthier and better, I have created a "super oatmeal" that is healthy and satisfying. 1/4 cup of oats may not seem like a lot, but when it is bulked up with fruit and nut butter, it is plenty!

Super Oatmeal

1/4 cup quick oats (cooks in 5 minutes)
1/2 cup water
1 medium apple, chopped
1 Tablespoon nut butter (almond, peanut, per your preference)
1 Tablespoon ground flax seed
1 cup low-fat milk or soy milk
Cinnamon powder and vanilla extract to flavor

1. Chop the apples and add to 1/2 cup of water in a small sauce pan. Cover, and bring to a boil.
2. Stir in the oats, cinnamon and vanilla and lower the heat to a simmer. Set the timer for 5 minutes and stir occasionally.
3. At the end of cooking, stir in the spoonful of nut butter and the flax seeds. Plop the thick cereal into a bowl and surround with your favorite milk. I like my oatmeal pretty thick, so I like this "island" approach with the cereal surrounded by the milk. If you prefer thinner oatmeal, you can either make with more water or stir in the milk. You choose!

This recipe is easily doubled or tripled to feed more hungry folks.

Interestingly, this oatmeal is actually good reheated. You can make enough for several breakfasts, reheat the single portion in the microwave and pour your milk in afterwards.

The flax seeds offer many benefits beyond their delicious nutty flavor. When ground up, the seeds offer fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids. The typical American diet is pretty low in omega-3 fatty acids and so we should embrace any opportunity to have more in our daily lives. Just make sure to grind the seeds before eating to have access to these benefits; our body cannot brake through the seed coat. Sprinkle on our foods and your body will thank you!

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Baked Oatmeal: Love child!

I was recently informed by my friend Sarah Schwartzman that something in my life had been missing; an excellent breakfast treat that is healthy and delicious....BAKED OATMEAL! What is this treasure? It is a layered treasure of whole grain oats, fruit, nuts baked together with milk and eggs and a touch of cinnamon. The texture is something like the love child of fruit cobbler and a bowl of thick oatmeal. Delicious!

I scoured the internet for recipes and found several. I found one recipe that used significantly less butter than most and then made it my own. Here is what I did:

Blueberry-Banana Baked Oatmeal

  • 2 cups berries (fresh or frozen are both fine)
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 2 cups old fashioned oats - not the minute kind
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup nuts
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 cups low-fat milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla


    Preheat oven to 375 degrees


    Spray a square pan with non-stick cooking spray
    Frozen blueberries; mixed berries would also be delicious!
    1 sliced banana

    Pour berries into bottom of prepared square pan; top with sliced bananas



    In a 4 cup measuring cup, mix together the oats, brown sugar, baking powder, nuts, cinnamon and flax. Cover fruit with dry mixture and even out surface.

    Dry mixture





    Cover the fruit!



    Reuse your measuring cup to melt butter in microwave (let's not create more dishes than necessary!). Add eggs, milk and vanilla and whisk together until smooth. Pour liquid mixture over oats evenly.

    Not too much butter!




    Pop into the oven and bake for about 40 minutes or until fruit layer is bubbling and edges are browned.

    All ready!

    Cut into rectangles and serve with a splash of milk and a tiny drizzle of maple syrup or honey, if desired.

    This reheats well in the microwave. I make this on the weekend when I have more time and then enjoy throughout the week for a fast and healthy breakfast. Enjoy!

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