a few simple moments with a side of eggs.

Once again, time has gotten a hold of me.

I twist and I turn and I try to pull free, but somehow it becomes 3 o’clock and I’m just eating lunch.  It becomes 6 o’clock and I realize that I’m eating spaghetti squash for the second night in a row.  And, somehow, it becomes 8 o’clock and I once again realize that I’m fighting a losing battle.  A losing battle that has really already been lost.

Time.  Where do you go?

I’ve learned over the years that I can’t control time.  As a little girl, I could never make Christmas morning come any faster no matter how hard I wished for it.  As a freshman in college, I could never make time go backwards for just “a little more time to study.”  And now, as I sit here in my fuzzy socks, drinking tea, and blogging I realize: Sarah, you can’t control time.

But..BUT!

There is always a “but”.  But, I can control what I do with my time.

Even on the busiest days, I need to remind myself what “slow” feels like.  What it means to feel the wind on my face.  Or a water droplet splattering against my cheek.  The sound of a mallard duck flying overhead.  Even the sound of my footsteps on the ground.  Just a few things.  A few things to settle me down and realize that I’m okay.  That despite how busy life feels, the slow things in life continue on as well.

Sigh.  This is so satisfying.

Eggs, spinach and quinoa are satisfying too (yes, together!)  Maybe it’s the fact that I finally broke away from the repetitive nature of my spaghetti squash.  Or maybe it’s because the meal felt so out of the ordinary and totally random.  A splash of surprise for an otherwise normal, busy day.

Yes.  It satisfied every tastebud. :D

QUESTION: What are some of your favorite “simple” moments that you see or experience on a day to day basis?  If you’re not really sure, I recommend trying to seek them out tomorrow!  You’ll be surprised with what you notice. :D

a breakfast kick of sorts

You must bear with me for a moment or two.  I am on a breakfast kick of sorts.

Normally, when I’m on such a breakfast kick, I revolve my mind around oats and yogurt and muffins.  And things like that.

But then, this week, a friend told me that she was just diagnosed with Celiac Disease.  That she would miss her beloved raisin bread and melty chocolate chip cookies the most.  And then, also, she would mourn the loss of her morning bowl of warm and creamy oats.  That’s when I realized (by golly!) that I needed to do something about this.  The raisin bread and cookies, I’ll tackle later.  But with so many gluten free grains to choose from, I knew she could quite easily find a breakfast that would once again make her feel right at home in her own kitchen.

If you’ve ever been into feeding your backyard birds or even if you’ve ever been to an animal feed store, you know exactly what millet looks like.  It’s one of the most popular seeds used for feeding birds, especially in the US.

A tiny, seeded species of cereal crops, this grain is completely gluten free.  The flavor is mild and subtly sweet, making it ideal for things like rice pilafs or tabbouleh.  Or–in my case–breakfast.

This isn’t as fast as throwing together a morning bowl of oats.  But there are some shortcuts.  You could easily double (triple?) the batch and have breakfast for the upcoming week.  If you really find yourself enjoying it, it might be worth purchasing some millet grits, which are ground more fine, making them quicker to cook up in the morning.  This is delicious with walnuts on top or served in an almost empty peanut butter jar, which will offer the most ultimate, creamy pleasure.

Whether your health demands that you go gluten free or not, millet will quickly win your heart.  And your breakfast.

Warm and Creamy Millet

(Serves 1)

This breakfast takes about 25 minutes of total prep and cooking time, which is why I highly recommend making it in bulk and refrigerating the leftovers for the following day.  :D

  • 1 cup lowfat milk + 1/4 cup water
  • cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup millet
  • dash of salt
  • 1 very ripe banana, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. raisins
  • toppings: walnuts
  1. In a medium sauce pan, bring milk, water and spices to a bowl.  Add millet and a dash of salt.  Stir, cover and reduce heat to medium low, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching.  Cook for 15 minutes.
  2. Add banana and raisins.  Continue cooking for another 5 minutes or until millet has reached desired consistency.  Top with walnuts and ENJOY! :D
QUESTION: Are you adventurous with trying new grains or do you have your tried and true favorites?

limbo.

Some like it cold…

Verry Berry Breakfast Smoothie

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 Tbsp. crushed flax
  • toppings: sunflower seed butter and Natures Path Pumpkin Flax Granola
  1. Blend all ingredients together in a mixer and top with your favorite add-ons!

And some like it hot…

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 small/medium apple, diced small
  • 1 cup milk + 1/4 cup water
  • cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp. crushed flax
  • toppings: walnuts and Natures Path Pumpkin Flax Granola
  1. In a large dish, microwave all ingredients together for 5 minutes, stirring once halfway through.  Top with your favorite add-ons!

Me?  I haven’t really decided yet.  The weather isn’t officially feeling like spring.  But it doesn’t quite feel like winter either.  Yep.  Here in New England, we’re in a serious state of limbo.

QUESTION: What have you been eating for breakfast?

my recent breakfast kick.

I have been on a French toast kick lately.

I think this is due in part to all of my frantic running around.  Not ever really knowing if I’m coming or going.

I mean, it’s one thing to wake up and forget what day it is.  It’s another thing entirely, to have my calendar virtually tied to my waist so that I will never forget where I’m supposed to be or where I’m supposed to go.

Yes.  This is exactly why I have been on a French toast kick lately.

Because there’s something—something—comforting about having a few spare moments in the morning to just…mmm…breathe.  I even read the newspaper(!!)

I can’t quite place my finger on it, but French toast, to me, signifies the very thought of slowing down.  It’s relaxed and easy.  Not at all fussy or needy.

Yes.  I have been on a French toast kick lately.  And I really don’t think I’ll be stopping any time soon.

French Toast

Serves 1

Everyone has a favorite French toast recipe.  This one is my favorite, go-to breakfast recipe for during the week.  It feels special.  It’s healthy.  And it’s as simple as they come.  Enjoy this breakfast with your favorite combination of fruit and nut butters.  Blueberries and strawberries would be a wonderful touch, as would a thick and creamy Greek yogurt.  Just have fun with it!

  • 2 whole eggs (or 1 whole egg + 2 egg whites)
  • splash of milk
  • cinnamon
  • splash of vanilla
  • dash of sea salt
  • 2 slices Ezekiel bread (or your favorite whole wheat bread)
  • 1 banana, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 Tbsp. almond butter
  • sprinkle of coconut
  1. Heat nonstick pan over medium heat.  Spray with cooking spray.
  2. Whisk together eggs, milk, cinnamon, vanilla, and sea salt.  Dunk in bread slices, flip to coat other side, and place on heated pan.  Place bananas in pan alongside french toast.  Let french toast cook until underside has browned.  Flip and continue cooking until desired doneness.  Bananas may be flipped at any time, as they begin to brown.
  3. Place french toast on plate, smash banana on top, and drizzle almond butter over the top.  Sprinkle with coconut and ENJOY! :D
QUESTION: What is your current favorite breakfast?

She’s Going Overboard.

I tend to go a little overboard-–a little over the top—with most things in life.  This can be very, very good or very, very bad, depending on the situation.

Depending on what we’re talking about.

The perk of this characteristic is that when I focus on doing something—for work, school, play, etc—I do it really, really well.  There’s no wishy-washing around or getting side tracked with something else.

I stay focused.  Mentally.  Physically.  Focused.  .

The other side of this characteristic, however, is that I’m constantly overbooking myself.  Going overboard with things that “need to get done.”  Never giving myself enough time or energy to fit it all in.  In fact, to be quite honest, my calendar just isn’t quite big enough to hold all of my scribble, to-do’s, and reminders.

By the way—since we’re on this topic—have you ever noticed that “me time” is the last thing to be penciled into the calendar, if ever at all?  It makes you wonder…why??? We all need some well-deserved “me time.”  Saying that there’s just not enough time in the day is like saying there’s just not enough time to ever be with a best friend.  If that’s the case, something needs adjusting.  You deserve (and need!) the time to catch up, rewind, unfold, and breathe.

Anyways.

This week I went overboard on the bananas.

Don’t laugh.  This is totally serious stuff.  I’ve decided that the only thing worse than the thought of eating three bananas every single day—every day—is the idea of having to throw them out.  So I squeezed some “me time” into the calendar, snatched that overabundance of bananas, and baked myself a batch of muffins for tomorrow’s breakfast.

Because sometimes going overboard is a very, very good thing.

Banana-Blueberry Muffins

This is a standard old favorite muffin recipe with a few changes, here and there.  I’ve been experimenting with using honey as my sweetener of choice lately, and these muffins were practically made for such an ingredient.  So this was the first thing that I changed from the original version.  I also added in some cinnamon, doubled the vanilla, and reduced the sodium content by nixing the salt altogether.  The baking powder has plenty of sodium and I found the extra addition of salt completely unnecessary, which is oftentimes true for many muffin recipes.

I recommend making these whenever you have a big ol’ batch of overripe bananas.  They are best served warm, straight from the oven.  But, of course, they freeze well too.  Enjoy! :D

  • 2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1/4 c. honey (or sugar)
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 c. mashed, very ripe banana (about 1-1/2 to 2 bananas)
  • 1-1/2 c. frozen blueberries
  1. Whisk together first 4 ingredients up to nutmeg.
  2. Whisk together next 7 ingredients up to banana in a separate bowl.
  3. Add blueberries to dry mix; stir until blueberries are coated with the flour.
  4. Add wet mix to dry mix.  Stir just until moistened (do not overmix…this toughens the final product!)
  5. Pour batter into 12-muffin pan coated with cooking spray.  Bake for 17-20 minutes at 400 degrees F.

QUESTION: Do you tend to overbook your calendar with to-do’s and appointments?  How do you make sure that you still get some “me time”?

an old fashioned pancake

Dad turned in a special request, that pancakes be served for his birthday breakfast.  “No whole grains,” he emphasized.  “Just a plain, good old-fashioned pancake.”

The idea, I’m sure, arose from the fact that we have a bottle of fresh maple syrup sitting in our fridge.  The bottle comes from a relative’s local maple farm, and so I think we have all had pancakes on the brain.  Because, as you must already know, pancakes are simply the serving vesicle to a pool of maple syrup.

But every once in a while, there is a pancake that really stands out on its own.  Maple syrup or not.  Although I still recommend a bottle of fresh, local maple syrup if you can get your hands on it. ;)

I made several varieties of pancakes.  Plain.  Banana-Walnut.  Cinnamon.

My personal favorite was the blueberry-walnut. It tastes like an old-fashioned kind of pancake, and it will quickly win your heart.

Blueberry Walnut Pancakes

Blueberry Walnut Pancakes—tweaked from the original version as seen on allrecipes.com

Although I made these to order—i.e., no whole grains!—you could easily substitute whole wheat flour for the all-purpose.  Or you could go half and half if you prefer.  And since the toppings are added after you pour the batter on the pan, you can make as many flavor choices as you like.  Chocolate chips for the chocoholic.  Plain for the purist.  Peanut butter swirls for the peanut butter lover (i.e., most of us.)  Limitless possibilities.

Any leftovers can be frozen in individual layers.  Separate each pancake with a sheet of wax paper, and simply toss them in the toaster or microwave for when you want a quick breakfast.  They also, by the way, crumble really well over a dish of greek yogurt with fruit.  Enjoy! :D

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (I nixed the salt to reduce the sodium content)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 to 1-1/2 cups frozen blueberries
  • walnuts
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • cooking spray

Directions

  1. Combine milk with vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to “sour”.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and salt (if using) in a large mixing bowl. Whisk egg and butter into “soured” milk. Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and whisk until lumps are gone.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, and top with a spoonful of blueberries and walnuts, cooking until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.  ENJOY! :D

QUESTION: Honey?  Maple Syrup?  Molasses?  Granulated sugar?  What is your most commonly used sweetener of choice?

a little extra time

When I was small, my mom seemed to always have a loaf of zucchini or banana bread tucked away somewhere in the freezer.  And if she just so happened to take out a loaf or two—if us kids saw them sitting patiently on the counter—we instantaneously understood.  It was like some unspoken “code,” which everyone naturally understood.

“Who’s coming over to visit, mom?”

The bread would be warmed and sliced into soft, thick hunks of sweetness.  Placed just so, on a tea style plate for when company would arrive.  Coffee for the adults.  Milk and juice for the kids.  And if we were really, really lucky, there would be slices of both zucchini and banana bread sitting on the table.  Which, of course, means that you can have a slice of each.  Of course.

Last night, I came home from work a little earlier than normal.  Early enough to actually do something before preparing dinner or going for a run or diving head first into homework.

First thought: I want to take a nap.  Second thought: I want a banana bran muffin.  Always place your bets on the muffin; they always win.  I never take naps, but they sure sound nice.

At first, I set out to make a standard, favorite, and very well-loved version of the banana bread, but I’ve been wanting to use some of my pantry’s wheat bran for a while now.  Banana and bran go so well together, that it seemed impossible not to take the muffins in such a direction.  Impossible! Besides, I wanted my muffins to be sturdy and satisfying.  I also wanted them sweet and delicate enough to pass for dessert.  Hearty and healthy enough to be eaten for breakfast.

Banana bran muffins.  Yes.  That is exactly what I wanted.

Muffins have the glorious concept of being able to freeze individually.  They travel well, when breakfast needs to be taken on the road.  They’re versatile enough to be crumbled over oats or yogurt, slathered with peanut butter,or broiled in the oven with a pat of butter.  And while they are, of course, most delicious served hot from the oven, they can be easily rewarmed with results that are just as yummy.

You could bake them for when company comes over.  Say, you know, for brunch or an afternoon cup of coffee.  Or you could bake a batch, just because.  Just because you have a little extra time.  Just because you feel like eating a banana bran muffin.

Banana Bran Muffinstweaked from an original Eating Well recipe

If you ever want to change things up, add a sprinkle of walnuts to the batter.  Or chocolate chips.  Or raisins, pumpkin seeds, apricots, blueberries, etc.  You can make these muffins as personalized as you like.

If you’re not used to cooking with all whole-wheat flour or unprocessed bran, don’t be intimidated!  The bananas and small amount of oil help to keep these babies soft, moist and perfectly tender.  There’s absolutely nothing that’s overly grainy or dry about them.

Enjoy! :D

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 medium, very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 c. milk with 1 T. lemon juice (or 1 cup buttermilk)
  • 1 cup unprocessed wheat bran
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • walnuts for top (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat 12 muffin cups with cooking spray.
2. Whisk eggs and brown sugar in a medium bowl until smooth. Whisk in bananas, buttermilk, wheat bran, oil and vanilla.
3. Whisk whole-wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the dry ingredients; add the wet ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined.  Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups (they’ll be quite full). Sprinkle with walnuts, if using.
4. Bake the muffins until the tops are golden brown and spring back when touched lightly, 15 to 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Loosen edges and turn muffins out onto a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.

QUESTION: What seems to always be in your freezer?

Building The Breakfast Cookie

Six Steps To Building Yourself…

The Breakfast Cookie

1. Mash and smash one super sweet, medium-large banana.

2. Add 1/2 cup of uncooked old fashioned oats and your favorite spices.

(I usually add 1/8 tsp. nutmeg, 1/8 tsp cloves and 1/2 tsp cinnamon)

3. Add 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa.

This is important if you’re like me and live for all things chocolate.

4. Add 1 Tbsp. chunky peanut butter and a tsp of your favorite jam.

(Raspberry, you know, goes very well with the whole chocolate thing you’ve got going on.  Just sayin’.)

5. Smash, smash, smash everything together.

6. Roll out 4 portions in the palm of your hand, just as you would a meatball.

Top each cookie with an almond.

Sprinkle a pinch of coconut.

Serve with milk and enjoy each delightful bite.

If the mixture is too soft: Add wheat germ or wheat bran or crushed flax.

If the mixture is too firm: Add a Tbsp. or so of milk.

QUESTION: What are you eating for breakfast?

in the early morning

While I’ve always been a morning person, I don’t always bounce out of bed with limitless energy.  And yet, that’s exactly what I did this morning.  At 4:30 am.  On a Saturday.

What is wrong with me?

Anyways, I put the extra morning time to good use.

First, I got to work on fixing yesterday’s conundrum.  The misspelled word on my poster.  There was absolutely no way—no way!—that I was going to pay another $30 to have the poster printed.  So I took some photo quality printer paper and printed out part of the poster on an 8×11 sheet.  I really just wanted the word “The” so that I could paste it on top of the word “To.”

(It practically killed me to replace “to” with “the” on my saved version, without being able to so easily change it on the hard copy!)

While I wouldn’t say this was the most perfect, flawless solution, it did solve the problem…

My hope is that most people will stand far back and not even take notice. ;)

The sun was still barely waking up, as I rolled the poster back into its case.  It was just shy of 6 o’clock.  I didn’t have a long run planned.  I didn’t need to be out of the house until 9:30.  I literally still had an entirely full morning left.

Obviously, it only made sense that I bake a batch of blueberry muffins for breakfast.

I have always said that if I were to ever make it famous in life, I would want to be most famous for one of these two scenarios: (1) Owner and operator of a gourmet oatmeal buffet (don’t laugh, I can totally picture this!)  Or (2) a baker.  Of breads and pies and pastries.  And, mostly, of muffins.

Whole Wheat Banana Berry Muffins

Whole Wheat Banana Berry Muffins

Warm from the oven, these muffins make for an absolutely fabulous weekend breakfast.  They’re delicious as is, or crumbled into yogurt with almond butter too.  They also make the perfect breakfast-to-go, but honestly, I prefer eating them in the comfort of my home on some Saturday morning, in my pj’s, with a hot cup of coffee.

I used whole wheat graham flour for the fun, nutty texture.  But really, you can use any whole wheat flour that you happen to have on hand.  Enjoy! :D

  • 2 c. whole wheat graham flour
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 c. mashed, very ripe banana (about 1-1/2 bananas)
  • 1-1/2 c. frozen blueberries
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Whisk together first 5 ingredients up to nutmeg.  Whisk together next 7 ingredients up to banana in a separate bowl.
  3. Add blueberries to dry mix; stir until blueberries are coated with the flour.
  4. Add wet mix to dry mix.  Stir just until moistened.
  5. Pour batter into 12-muffin pan coated with cooking spray.  Bake for 17-20 minutes in preheated oven.  Once done, run knife around edges and pop out onto cooking rack to cool.  Serve warm for the ultimate muffin experience.

Sigh.

I love muffins.

I love early mornings.

Question: What was the highlight of your Saturday?

an overabundance of herbs

I used to be of the opinion that growing an herb garden was a massive waste of my time.

You can eat a tomato.  You can roast a couple of beets.  But, herbs?  Nobody makes a salad solely with parsley.

And then I found myself smack dab in the middle of summer with a large crop of basil and no idea what to do with it.  Bunches and bunches and bunches of aromatic, gorgeous basil.

Being the economical person that I am, I decided to use it in whichever ways that I could.  And so, beyond just freezing it, I added it to savory oats and pasta and pizza.  Sushi and hummus.

And eggs.

Tomatoes and eggs go together like peanut butter and jam.  Meant to be together. The addition of brightly flavored basil makes perfection.  The heat of the pan will inspire the basil to release its fragrant oils, contributing to the most wonderful smell on earth.

And the goat cheese?  The goat cheese is just because.

My overabundance of herbs—more specifically, basil—is quickly running out.  I can hardly wait until summer, when I’ll once again have a bunch of herbs that I have no idea what to do with.

Scrambled Eggs with Fresh Basil and Tomatoes

Serves 1

I love goat cheese with scrambled eggs, but fresh ricotta or mozzarella would be equally delicious.  Enjoy with a couple of whole wheat toasts and your favorite fruit for a complete meal. :D

  • 2 whole eggs + 1 egg white
  • splash of milk
  • 1 roma tomato, deseeded
  • handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 2-3 Tbsp. onions, chopped
  • balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • goat cheese, crumbled
  1. Spray a nonstick pan with cooking spray.  Heat over medium, add onions and cook until soft but still firm.  Add deseeded tomatoes and basil, add just a splash of balsamic vinegar and continue cooking until vegetables are tender and liquid has evaporated.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and salt and pepper.
  3. With vegetables still in pan, spray with more cooking spray.  Add eggs, and scrape down sides with a spatula, letting the uncooked eggs run underneath.  Cook until eggs are no longer runny, chopping every now and then.  Transfer to plate and top with goat cheese.  Enjoy! :D

QUESTION: Do you grow a garden in the summer?  What is one of your favorite things to grow?