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?

let it…snow?

Well.  I tried to be mature about this.  But waking up to snow this morning was not at all my cup of tea.

In fact, I felt like doing nothing more (or less) than griping and complaining.  And I definitely let out a loud groan as I turned the coffee maker on, which probably (most definitely) woke my parents up.  Yep.  Real mature.

But a girl can change her mind, right?

I slipped on my flats (because I absolutely refuse to wear Uggs in April!) and stood on the porch, overlooking the magic around me.  It was beautiful.  Everything.  Beautiful.  The snowflakes were large and melted on my face as I grinned up at the sky.  The world was asleep and I was completely alone.  Watching the snowflakes.  Life is so beautiful.

Dad walked into the kitchen and ate some breakfast with a mug of coffee.  And then we decided to head out for our morning run.  In the snow.  I felt like a little kid on my day off from school, running and splashing through puddles.  Fingers feeling numb from the cold.  Face feeling frozen.  This is what contentment feels like.

Happy Easter, everyone!  I hope that you are able to enjoy the day with the ones you love the most.  :D

QUESTION: How are you celebrating Easter this year?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sarah’s “Official” Half Marathon Training Plan

Week 1: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—4 miles

Week 2: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—5 miles

Week 3: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—2.5 miles

Week 4: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—6.5 miles (YIPPEE!)

Week 5: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—3 miles

Week 6: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—8 miles (We. Did. It! :D )

Week 7: 
Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—3 miles

Week 8: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—9.5 miles (Feelin’ Good!!)

Week 9: 
Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—4 miles

Week 10: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—11 miles

Week 11: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—4 miles

Week 12: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—12.5 miles

Week 13: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—4 miles

Week 14: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—14 miles

Week 15: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—5 miles

Week 16: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—HALF MARATHON RACE DAY


all about the beans

Sometimes I just want a big bowl of hummus.

I’m aware that this isn’t entirely normal, and that most people who experience any sort of food craving won’t usually find themselves craving mashed-up beans of any sort.

“Quick!  Run to the supermarket!  I need my bean fix!”

Or…

“You know, I always stash a couple of extra beans in my purse.  You just never know when that urge will strike.”

You see?  Totally not normal.

I’m not trying to exaggerate my craving.  Because, really, when I want a big bowl of hummus, I want a big bowl of hummus.  This is serious stuff.  And so, tonight, when I found myself with such a craving—and no cans of chickpeas in sight!!!-–I needed to improvise.  White beans, I decided, would do just fine.  I added a drizzle of olive oil, a splash of zingy red wine vinegar and a sprinkle of rosemary to pull it all together.

It’s that simple.  It’s that delicious.  And it’s how my dinner became my dinner.

Anyways.  Continuing on with the bean theme…

I found this bag of “Beanitos” at the grocery store the other day and simply had to purchase them.  It’s nice to see a corn-free version of tortilla chips, especially when it revolves around black beans!

Love the ingredient list…

Love the nutrition facts…

Low salt!  High fiber!  Protein!

(Love those beans!)

Love that flavah and c-r-u-n-c-h!

A big ol’ scoop of the white bean dip found its way onto my roasted vegetable salad.

Dinner was simple.  Dinner was fabulous.  Simply fabulous.

Sometimes it’s all about the beans.

White Bean Dip

Beans are loaded with fiber, protein and nutrients.  They’re also loaded with flavor and they can be incredibly versatile.  Try whipping this quick dip together and make a veggie sandwich out of it.  Or serve over a couple of crunchy crackers.  Add it to a platter of veggie sticks for an easy appetizer.  Enjoy! :D

  • 1 15-oz. can of white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. rosemary
  • pepper to taste
  1. In a food processor, combine all ingredients until smooth and creamy.  Enjoy on your favorite crackers, salads, flat wraps, etc!
QUESTION: What is your favorite kind of bean and what is your favorite way to eat them?

Healthy Living.

Healthy living means never eating fast food.  Never!  Not even subways.

Healthy living means skipping a meal now and then.  Especially if you “overdid it” the day before.

Healthy living means never eating fatty foods like olive oil.  Or avocado…

…or nut butters, for that matter.  Fat = fattening.  Avoid it!

Healthy living means learning how to take control of yourself and never—ever!—eating your favorite foods, ever again.  Just say no.

Healthy living means choking down a ton of tasteless, colorless veggies.

Healthy living means never taking another bite of anything with carbohydrates.  They’re bad for you.  Horrible.  In fact, they will instantly add weight to your thighs and butt, making you feel tired and sluggish.

You need to also look out for things like apples, carrots, and sugar beets.  Keep an eye out for these top three danger foods, which are sometimes seen at your local farmers market.

Healthy living means exercising for hours and hours…

…and hating every second of it.

Obviously.

Oh, and since we’re on the topic?

No.

Walking around and exploring a new city does not count as exercise.  I’m surprised you even asked.

Healthy living means never being satisfied with your body.  There’s always something that could use improving, and it’s your job to figure out what that something is!

Healthy living means packing yourself boring lunches that taste like cardboard.  Because it’s healthy and that’s what healthy people do.

As you can see, healthy living is pretty miserable stuff.  But a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do. ;)

TODAY’s CHALLENGE: Find a way to be more active aside from “exercising.”  Take two 10 minute walking breaks during the day.  Park your car in the furthest parking spot.  Take the stairs.  Walk around the mall two times before actually shopping.  Walk to the furthest bathroom at work.  Most importantly, have FUN with it! :D

embracing spring

In all honesty, I almost didn’t make it to the computer today.  I almost lost myself with spring and sunshine and having nothing really to do but to go for a nature walk.  It was really, really lovely.

Everything looked just as it should on the first day of spring.  Exciting.  Fresh.  Rich and clean.  With promises of warmer weather to come.

In order to fully embrace spring—and all of the brilliant excitement that comes along with—the few green, plastic chairs sitting inside our shed were pulled out from hibernation, and the charcoal grill was fired up.  A fun, spring inspired meal was planned.  The deck was turned into our own private cafe.

Spring deserves such a bright, cheery welcoming, wouldn’t you say?

And then I overcame one of my most ultimate fears (aside from public speaking and roller coasters, of course) which was dunking my hands into a bowl of cold, raw turkey meat, squishing and squeezing the burger mixture together into one cohesive mess.  Shudder.

It didn’t kill me.  I didn’t grimace or groan or make (too) many faces.

But I certainly didn’t enjoy it half as much as hand-stirring a batch of vegan cookies, in which I can wholeheartedly lick my fingers afterwards.  Just being honest.

Dad took over as soon as the patties hit the grill, which is when I finished up with the sweet potato fries and threw together a warm kale salad.

The kale could not have been simpler:  Chop an onion.  Throw it in about 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large pot.  Heat over medium until browned; add 1 bunch of chopped kale, 1 can of diced tomatoes, garlic powder and lemon juice. It’s as delicious as it is simple and goes well with most anything.

The burgers were spectacular.  Well worth the occasion of having to hand stir (wow, I am such a wimp when it comes to raw meat!)

They’re moist and juicy, thanks to the red bell pepper, and they’re spiked with rich flavor throughout.  I sandwiched mine in between a whole wheat hamburger bun, topping it all off with swiss cheese, chopped garden cress, tomato and ketchup.

The main highlight was that, despite the 40 degree temperatures, we ate outside on the deck for the first time this year.  It felt like the right thing to do.  It was as if we were welcoming spring home, after its been gone away somewhere for a long, long while.

Really, I love each new season for its own unique reason.  But I tend to think that spring is one of the most delicious.

Ultimate Turkey Burgers—as seen in Clean Eating Magazine, with slight modifications

This is such a delightful recipe.  Don’t let its simplicity fool you!  The bell peppers lend the burgers a moist, rich flavor, and the garlic offers just enough pizazz to really excite things.  Serve with your favorite garnishes and sides for a fun, spring-inspired meal. :D

  • 1 lb. ground lean ground turkey
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. parsley, finely minced
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.  Divide into four balls and place each in between wax paper, flattening to about 1/2 inch thick.  Chill in freezer for 30 minutes before grilling time.
  2. Place patties carefully on grill over medium-high heat.  Grill 3-4 minutes and flip.  Grill for another 3-4 minutes or until burgers are golden brown and firm in the middle.  Enjoy!

QUESTION: What is a warm weather activity that you’re most looking forward to this year?

enjoying the journey

I can’t even begin to tell you how frightened I was of this morning’s long run.

For starters, I was flying completely solo.  Dad had to go into work (therefore, running his mileage later in the day.)  And as much as I love running by myself, it scared me silly to think that I wouldn’t have our usual conversations to distract me when I needed it the most.  Somehow, talking to myself never feels quite the same. ;)

Secondly, I haven’t run 9.5 miles in over a year.  A year!  And the last time I did, I had some major knee issues.  Speaking of knee issues, my third reason for being scared out of my mind was that my knee has been acting up over this past week.  Needless to say, my inner runner’s confidence was feeling a little shaky.

It was morning.  It was 7:30.  It was now or never.  (Never was never an option.)  I grabbed my water, a clif shot (which I had picked up for free from last week’s 5k,) and began my fearful trot.

Mile one and two were the toughest.  But from that point on, I sort of just melded into this lovely groove.  “Settle down, Sarah.  You’re fine.  Relax.  One step at a time.  Enjoy this run.”

(See?  I do talk to myself. )

Once my mind quieted down, I found myself quite enjoying the sounds of crunchy sand beneath my feet.  I enjoyed the sounds of morning doves cooing to each other.  I enjoyed the smells of muffins and coffee whirling up to my nose as I passed by the local bakery.  I even enjoyed the raspberry clif shot and being scared half to death by one quite large, almost unrealistically over-sized goat.

Running wise, I haven’t felt this good in a long, long time.  Probably going back to my pre-injury days!  It was such a delicious feeling. :D

As always, I immediately refueled (and rehydrated!) myself post-run.

Sweet and Salty Garden Salad
Serve with homemade bread ‘n’ butter, crackers with cheese, or whatever suits your fancy.

  • Mesculin Greens
  • Cucumber and tomatoes
  • Avocado
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Snap peas
  • Green bell pepper
  • Raisins
  • dressing: sprinkle of sea salt, olive oil and a drizzle of honey

There was a little more refueling later on after dad completed his 9.5 miles.  We both found ourselves in the mood for something cold, creamy and delicious.  The choice was Ben & Jerry’s.  Obviously.

Chunky Monkey = my favorite

Time to relax and unwind with a good book.  It’s been forever since I read last, and tonight it just feels like the right thing to do.  Hope you’re all having a happy Saturday! :D

Sarah’s “Official” Half Marathon Training Plan

Week 1: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—4 miles

Week 2: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—5 miles

Week 3: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—2.5 miles

Week 4: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—6.5 miles (YIPPEE!)

Week 5: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—3 miles

Week 6: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—8 miles (We. Did. It! :D )

Week 7:
Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—3 miles

Week 8: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—9.5 miles (Feelin’ Good!!)

Week 9:
Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—4 miles

Week 10: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—11 miles

Week 11: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—4 miles

Week 12: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—12.5 miles

Week 13: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—4 miles

Week 14: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—14 miles

Week 15: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—5 miles

Week 16: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—HALF MARATHON RACE DAY

QUESTION: Favorite ice-cream flavor?

a taste of home

Oops.

(source)

My motto this week has (very fittingly) been “don’t cry over spilled milk.”  From poster mishaps to broken glass to flat tires.  I’ve convinced myself that none of these things really matter.

What matters is Pepere coming to the rescue, and having him tell me to call him anytime in such “emergencies.”  What matters is sitting down to a bowl of split pea soup at the end of a long day, with the family and the muffled sounds of country music playing over the radio.  Yes.  What matters is family.  What matters is laughing and being silly and embracing each moment as it comes, day by day.  Moment by moment.

What matters is having fun in the kitchen, cooking for the people I love the most.  That is what matters.

And so, tonight I decided to make a big batch of split pea soup.

Split pea soup has long been a favorite of mine.  It all started on a chilly winter’s night over my sister’s house.  Nicole had just moved into her new place and called me over for dinner, dessert and a movie.

She whisked around the kitchen—talking with her usual enthusiasm and spice—serving her husband and I big round bowls of the soup with hunks of warm foccaccia bread.  “Wait!”  I stammered, my mouth still full with soup.  Nicole paused mid-sentence before asking, “is it okay?”  “Oh my word,” I stammered.  “This is amazing!”  She smiled.  She popped dessert in the oven.  And then we kept on chattering, as we always do when there’s dinner, dessert and shopping involved.

Ever since, I have had quite the little love affair with split pea soup.  I don’t admit this to many people.  Split pea soup, as you know, has horrible connotations.

“This weather is as thick as pea soup!”

“The color looks like pea soup!” <—and this is really not a good thing, in case you were ever wondering

And yet, when I want to taste “home,” I want to taste split pea soup.  I find the texture to be absolutely irresistible, and I find the flavors to be so simple but grand all at the same time.  It’s not at all a show off like some of those other soups out there.  It carries a level of quiet confidence.

Split pea soup is humble and mellow and really quite simple.  I like that about split pea soup.

Split Pea Soup—as seen in Moosewood Cookbook and on this website

There are all kinds of split pea soups out there.  Many call for ham.  Some call for bacon.  I’ve even seen some include such ingredients as sweet potatoes, raisins, and parsnips.  But when it comes right down to it, I like to keep things pure and simple.

There’s nothing fancy about this recipe from the Moosewood Cookbook, but that’s what makes it so special.  You can cook a batch any time you please.  It freezes well, makes an ideal sandwich companion at lunch, and is super healthy to boot.  What’s not to love?

  • 3 cups dry split peas
  • 7 cups water or veggie stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 2 cups minced onion
  • 4-5 medium cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced thin
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced or diced
  • 1 small potato, cut in half lengthwise and sliced thinly
  • 1 tsp salt
  • lots of fresh-ground black pepper
  • 3-4 Tbls red wine vinegar
  1. Place split peas, water or stock, bay leaf and dry mustard in a large soup kettle.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to lowest setting, and simmer for about 20 minutes, partially covered.
  2. Add onion, garlic, celery, carrots, and potato. Partially cover and simmer for an additional 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add pepper, vinegar, and salt if desired. Serve topped with fresh tomato and/or minced parsley.  Enjoy!

QUESTION: What is your favorite kind of soup?

 

 

hello, garbanzo bean.

 

Garbanzo beans and I used to be the best of friends.  I would sprinkle the little chicks onto (and into) everything.  From salads to pilafs to hummus to ridiculously spicy, Indian-inspired entrees.  It was quite the little love affair.

And then, somehow, we fell out of touch with each other.  I’m the one to blame.  I neglected and abandoned the innocent little garbanzos.  Sure, I still cracked open a can now and then (they make for a nice, quick source of protein during a busy weeknight!)  But it was never really anything…you know…special.  Certainly nothing worth talking about.

 

Obviously, it was about time that I reacquainted myself with the simple little bean. 

 

 

Garbanzos are simple.  Very simple.  And they prefer to stay fresh and bright and cheery whenever they can.  For this simple garbanzo bean salad, I chose the freshest ingredients that I happened to have on hand.  A spritz of lemon.  Olive oil.  Fresh basil reserved from the summer.   A small handful of walnuts, thereby adding just a touch of earthiness to the entire dish. 

 

 

I came pretty close to sitting right down, grabbing a spoon, and making a straight up meal out of this garbanzo salad. 

But I practiced some willpower and made sure to reserve some for my lunch.

 

 

Hello, garbanzo bean. 

It’s really nice to see you again.

 

 

Lemony Basil Garbanzo Bean Salad

This simple bean salad is very, very versatile.  Feel free to change up the types and amounts of herbs that you use.  Same goes for the spices.  And—well—same goes for the garbanzo beans (I promise I won’t tell!)

Serve this mild and tangy salad over a fresh garden salad, stuffed into a whole wheat pita pocket, or presented as a side with your favorite meal.  Enjoy! :D

  • 1 15-oz. can of garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1-2 large handfuls of fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 c. chopped walnuts
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • Dash of garlic
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients.  Let sit overnight for the best flavors.  Serve and enjoy!

Question: Do you enjoy eating beans and legumes?  What are some of your favorite ways to serve them?

 

cupcakes and family

I grew up in a very French family. 

Both sides of my grandparents (known as Memere and Pepere) are from Canada (and their grandparents’ grandparents are from Canada too.)  As they made their way to the US, one of their main goals was to find jobs, with an effort to support their family as best as they could. 

Family, you should know, is really important.  It was important to my grandparents, it’s important to my own parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.  And, it’s important to me.

My family values family. 

We laugh a lot.  We’re not afraid to be loud and crazy and wild.  We’ll hug you as you’re coming in, as you’re leaving, and we’ll hug you again just in case we forgot the first time around. 

We’ve cried together over sad moments.  I’ve been held more than once by my sister.  A cousin.  Just when I need it.  Just because they know.  Supportive.

Most of all, my family is filled with love.  There’s no mistaking that feeling when you walk through the door. 

We also like to eat. 

My mom has this thing where she “wants to make sure that everyone has enough food on their plate.”  And so, when you walk into my sister’s housewarming party, there is food for vegetarians, carnivores, and everyone in between.  All members of the family contribute by bringing a dessert, an appetizer, something to share. 

Obviously, the housewarming party for my sis and brother-in-law was a smashing, family-filled success.

I have a fascination with making and baking desserts.  It’s one of my greatest pleasures.  

And so, I was more than happy to contribute to the party on the foodie front. 

You all know how obsessed I am with cupcakes.  I like to think that a whole lot of thought and consideration went into each individual one.  Personalized dessert! :D

I’ve also recently become obsessed with the Barefoot Contessa.  I don’t actually own any of her cookbooks, but after meandering my way through the local book stores, I certainly wish I did.  I decided to settle for second best and went to FoodNetwork.com to find the recipe for her coconut cupcakes. 

Yes.  Coconut cupcakes. If you’re like me and wish you could put coconut on everything that enters your mouth, you will love these cupcakes.

I’d like to say that you need to a be a baker, a chef, or some sort of artist to make these cupcakes.  I’d like to say that unless you have culinary expertise, you should not make this recipe. 

But it’s simply not true.  This was actually the first time I’ve ever made a homemade cake from scratch, and it could not have been easier.  Foolproof is what it is.  Trust me! 

Delicious.

Coconut Cupcakes—courtesy of the Barefoot Contessa

When I make dessert, I want it to be the real deal.  These cupcakes were.  Filled with coconut, smeared with a cream cheese frosting, and a fluffy, flavorful cupcake that was still worthy of standing alone.  A deliciously perfect treat for that special occasion, birthday, or celebration.  You’ll love it!

  • 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 extra large eggs at room temperature
  • 1-1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 tsp pure almond extract
  • 3 c. flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 c. buttermilk
  • 14 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut, separated

Frosting:

  • 1 pound cream cheese at room temperature
  • 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp pure almond extract
  • 1 1/2 pounds confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in 7 ounces of coconut.
  4. Line a muffin tin with paper liners. Fill each liner to the top with batter. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely.
  5. Meanwhile, make the frosting. In a medium bowl, with the mixer on low speed, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts.  Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth.
  6. Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with the remaining coconut.
  7. ENJOY!

Question: What is your favorite kind of dessert and how do you fit it into your healthy lifestyle?  I love indulging in a favorite dessert when the occasion arises.  I keep the richer desserts out of the house (out of house, out of mind! ;) ) and I always have whatever I like when I’m at someone’s house or going out with friends.  Balance, balance, balance.  It’s a great place to be. :D

(p.s. my favorite dessert, by the way, is cupcakes :mrgreen: And dark chocolate, which I always have on hand. )

Breakfast Bonanza, Day 4 (don’t forget to layer!)

I went for my first chilly run this morning. 

Yes, the temperatures have previously reached 45.  Even 40.  But today it was a meer 28.  This is also known as “nose burning, bring a kleenex, wear your winter tights” kind of cold.  It was, in one word, blissful.  :mrgreen:

Come January, after I’ve run through my third or fourth blizzard in the dead of winter, I give you full permission to taunt and tease me.  Yes, you may.

“Sarah, you said you like winter running!  Stop complaining!!”

As for now, I am fully enjoying these chilly morning runs.  They feel so refreshing. So invigorating.  Filled to the brim with energy!  Besides, I’m not really cold during these runsThat’s what mittens, wool socks and warm winter tights are for.  It’s all about the layering!

Kind of like breakfast.  Layer after layer after layer of goodness. 

Layer 1: Pumpkin mixed with yogurt.

Layer 2: 1 T. ground flaxseed

Layer 3: 1/2 c. cooked millet

Layer 4: 1 sweet banana, sliced

Layer 5: walnuts, cranberries, coconut.  Just because.

The Mighty Millet Mish-Mash

I’m a creature of habit when it comes to whole grains.  The bulk of my diet is made up of oats, oats, and oats.  But sometimes it’s fun to try something completely new and different.

I was a little unsure of how much liquid I needed to cook the millet, and ended up going with a 2 1/2:1 ratio of water to millet (that would be 1-1/2 c. of water to 1/2 c. uncooked millet.)  It seemed to work out pretty well for me, but I did use the strainer to get rid of some excess water afterwards.

Millet is sweet, soft, and very mild flavored.  It reminded me of quinoa without the slightly “exotic flavor”.  Another plus is that it’s gluten free, making it the perfect grain option for people who have celiacs and/or a gluten intolerance.  I’m a new fan of this humble little grain, and plan on incorporating it regularly into many future breakfasts and side dishes. 

  • 1/2 c. canned pumpkin
  • 6-oz. plain yogurt

Combine above together and place on bottom of bowl.

  • 1 T. crushed flaxseed
  • 1/2 c. cooked millet, mixed with cinnamon and nutmeg if desired
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • toppings: walnuts, craisins, coconut

Layer the flaxseed, the millet, and lastly the banana on top of your yogurt mix.  Top with walnuts, craisins, coconut and whatever else suits your fancy.  Enjoy!

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Since we’re on the topic of breakfast, have I previously mentioned that I’m slowly weaning myself off of coffee?

 

It’s true. 

During the weekends, I find no greater pleasure than sitting down with my big blue mug, sipping on a dark, roasted coffee with soy.  Filled, filled, filled to the brim with warmth and goodness.  But during the weekday, I find myself guzzling the contents of my mug in 5 minutes flat.  The result is an overheated, slightly delirious, over-caffeinated girl.  Not pretty.

I’d like to save coffee for the weekend, when I can thoroughly enjoy each and every sip.  But since I’ve never been a cold turkey kinda gal, I’m slowly decreasing the amount that I drink each week.  Right now I’m about 3/4 of a mug full, and slowly making my way to half.  We’re getting there. ;)

Question: Are you a coffee drinker?  Do you go for “regular,” straight up coffee?  Do you have a favorite signature drink?  I like my morning cup with soy and no added sweetener, but whenever I go out to a cafe, I always order a grande soy misto with extra foam and a pump of toffee mocha, pumpkin, or cinnamon dolce.  I consider this my signature drink. :D