a pan of roasted asparagus

As much as I am a planner, I hardly ever put much thought into which vegetables go into my grocery cart.  Which ones don’t. 

Sometimes I come home with a bright purple globe of an eggplant.  Or a kholrabi.  That was a fun one.

Today, my fridge was home to a fresh young bunch of asparagus.

I could eat asparagus like potato chips; one is never enough.  I like the tender little spears sprinkled with lemon juice.  I like them roasted to a brown bite of crispiness.  I like them any which way, really.

But it is a fresh new year.  And with it comes fresh new ideas (and sometimes, a fresh new bottles of balsamic vinegar!)

I can’t remember where the idea of mixing asparagus with eggs originally came from.  All I recall is my mind swirling a million miles a minute as I added the ingredients together in my head.

Eggs.  Pan roasted asparagus.  Goat Cheese.

“How wonderfully tantalizing,” I thought to myself.

As an aside, I do hope that you never look past making yourself an omelette, for fear of messing things up.

Even the one and only Julia threw eggs around the kitchen, you know?  It’s no biggie.  Just repatch the eggs and carry on.  Everything will turn out just fine in the end.

Just crumble a bit of your favorite cheese to hide any cracks or breaks.  Nobody will know the difference.

Asparagus is delicious any which way you serve it.  Especially when paired with eggs and cheese. 

Scrambled Eggs with Pan Roasted Asparagus and Goat Cheese
Serves 4

Remember that it’s okay if the omelette breaks on you as you flip it!  I like to think that a slightly messy omelette adds to the rustic appeal of things. 😉

You can easily substitute some of your other favorite veggies.  Bell peppers, chopped spinach, roasted broccoli, mushrooms, et cetera.  So many delicious possibilities.  Enjoy! 😀

  • About 1 lb. of fresh asparagus, washed with any tough stems removed
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • garlic powder
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • balsamic vinegar
  • 8 eggs + 2-3 egg whites
  • splash of milk
  • cheese of choice (I recommend goat or a fresh ricotta)
  1. In a medium frying pan, heat oil on medium heat.  Add asparagus, sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste.  Cook until beginning to brown and tender but still firm.  Add a splash of balsamic vinegar, cook for another 1-2 minutes, and remove to a clean plate.
  2. Wipe pan clean with paper towel, place back on heat, and spray with cooking spray.  In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, splash of milk, salt and pepper until well combined.  Place in heated pan and cook, scraping down sides occasionally to let uncooked egg pour down to the edges (tilting pan here and there helps as well.)
  3. Once egg holds together, gently flip with a wide spatula, place asparagus on half the omelette, and flip over to “cover.”  Sprinkle with cheese and serve immediately.  ENJOY! 😀

Question: What are some ways you make sure that your New Years Resolutions/Goals are met?  I am a planner by nature.  Writing things down, setting mini goals for myself and keeping a journal of all my accomplishments (and set backs too!) helps me to succeed. 😀

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the sweeter side of life and oats

I very rarely add any form of sweetener to my morning bowl of oats.

Bananas, I think are plenty sweet enough.  Blueberries add their own form of fresh and sweet.  Cinnamon with apples is simple but lovely.  And so—most of the time—I turn up my nose to brown sugar, honey, agave and even maple syrup. 

Most of the time.

But yesterday I found myself walking through Whole Foods with a bottle of blackstrap molasses jostling around in my basket.  I didn’t quite know why or what I planned on doing with the jar (or how it managed to get there in the first place,) but buying it and bringing it home seemed like the right thing to do at the time.

Blackstrap molasses (not to be confused with the regular ol’ molasses seen in the baking isle,) is a by-product of processed sugar cane.  It retains many of the vitamins and minerals that regular sugar doesn’t have.  One tablespoon has about 45 calories, and offers 20% of the recommended intake for calcium, magnesium, potassium and iron.

I like to think that it’s basically a health food. 😉

With its rich, dark flavors, I do believe that this jar of blackstrap molasses is slowly converting me to the sweeter side of life. 

The sweeter side of oatmeal.

Creamy, Spiced Banana Oats with almond butter and blackstrap molasses

If you like your oatmeal to be on the sweet side, try adding a drizzle of blackstrap molasses!  A little goes a long way with this dark, rich treat. 😀

  • 1/2 c. uncooked oatmeal
  • cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1 T. crushed flax
  • toppings: almond butter and blackstrap molasses
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring milk and water to a boil.  Add oatmeal, spices, banana and flax.  Stir, reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking for 4-6 minutes or until thickened to desired consistency.  Stir well every couple of minutes to enhance creaminess.
  2. Drizzle with molasses and top with almond butter.  ENJOY! 😀

Question: Do you regularly add sweetener to your morning bowl of oats?  What are your favorites?

snow to be expected

Here in New England, we’re experiencing a bit of calm before a storm.  The news stations are claiming that 12-24 inches are expected by tomorrow.  Time to take out the snowshoes!

I figured it would be a good idea to get as much fresh air as possible today before the storm came, and went out for a nice, long walk.

And then I came home to bake a batch of breakfast muffins. 

Excuse?  The upcoming storm.  It’s not such a bad idea, you know, to prepare for any potential electric outages. 😉

Breakfast Muffins—as seen in Moosewood Restaurant’s “Cooking for Health” cookbook, with some tweaking.

I love muffins.  So when I find a muffin recipe that sounds both delicious and healthy, I throw on my apron and I bake a batch. 

These are perfect for breakfast, as they’re not overly sweet and give you plenty of fiber and nutrients to keep you going throughout the morning.  Simply pair with a glass of milk, a dish of yogurt, some fresh fruit and/or a handful of walnuts.

  • 1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 T. molasses
  • 3/4 c. dried cranberries
  • 1 c. oat bran
  • 2 c. finely chopped apples
  • 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 c. rolled oats
  • 2 T. ground flax
  • 1/2 c. chopped walnuts
  1. Preheat oven 5o 375 degrees.  Spray 12-cup muffin tins with cooking spray.
  2. In a mixing bowl, stir together the yogurt, eggs, vanilla, and molasses.  Stir in craberries, oat bran, and apples. 
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, stirring in the oats, walnuts (if desered) and flaxseeds.  Fold the dry mixture into the wet mixture, just until combined.
  4. Spoon batter into the prepared muffin tin; fill to the brims. 
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack.  ENJOY! 😀

Question: Are you expecting snow where you live?

a very special breakfast

Light, fluffy waffles smothered in blueberries.  It makes for a very special breakfast.

There’s something about a plate full of waffles.  It brings me right back to Christmas morning. 

Tissue paper everywhere.  Colorful bows hanging from the sides of opened packages.  The smells of coffee and buttery fried eggs floating through the air.  Christmas morning.

Once the majority of excitement and commotion died down, mom would reveal a heaping plate of waffles.  Thick, buttery waffles.  On the side, there was always—always— a large dish of steaming hot blueberries.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but I’m pretty sure these waffles were mom’s little secret.  The one tried and true way to pull a bunch of kids away from the Christmas tree and into the dining room. 

This morning, when the idea of waffles entered my head, there was just no going back.  Besides, I had a full bag of graham flour sitting in my pantry.  Waffles were the obvious choice.

I considered many different recipes, and finally decided to make Jess’s (aka, “Healthy Exposures”…click for recipe!) Cornmeal Graham Waffles.  Sometimes it’s best to leave these kinds of things to the experts, you know?  I’ve always envied her waffles and figured it was due time to try them for myself. 

I didn’t really change much, other than the fact that I replaced the chia seeds with 1 T. of flax because that’s what I had on hand.  I also doubled up on the portions since I had a busy morning planned.

For the toppings, I brought about a cups worth of frozen blueberries to a low boil, added in a tsp of corn starch to thicken, and served alongside. 

Yes.  There’s something about waffles covered in warm blueberries (…walnuts and coconut too!) that makes any ol’ morning feel downright special. 

THANK YOU Jess for sending me the Graham Flour (and also for the great recipe!)  I’ve only put a dent in the bag, and I’m looking forward to many more yummy meals. 😀

Click HERE for recipe.

Question: Do you have any food or non-food traditions on Christmas morning?

a typical day.

If you have the chance, check out my guest post at Ashlei’s blog (aka, the Vegster.)  Ashlei was nice enough to ask me to write a guest post on anything that I wanted, so I decided to put up together little ‘photography post.’ 😀

Good Morning! 😀

Tea and oats were eaten in standard form this morning, while sitting in front of  the Christmas tree.  I had exactly 15 minutes to eat, but it still felt incredibly enjoyable with the dazzling drama and glitz of a few colorful lightbulbs. 😀

But I still think it would have been useful to have just a bit more than 15 minutes to clear away any early morning brain-fog.

Look how I almost walked out the door!!

Not that I didn’t mind spending more time in a warm pair of Uggs and striped fleece pants, but…

…phew.  That was a close one. 😉

I managed to get myself out the door in one piece—and wearing a work-appropriate outfit—with a fun, smart lunch packed away in my backpack.

Homemade Baked Beans!

And a raw kale salad!

  • a couple handfuls of raw kale, shredded with hands
  • 1/2 carrot, grated
  • thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • a few splashes of fresh lemon juice
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Snacks included a red orange…

…honey roasted peanuts…

…and an apple, crackers and a cheesestick.

Plenty of snacks.  I’m finding this works best with my internship schedule, since I never quite know when I’ll have the chance for a “quick” bite.  Normally, I can’t go longer than 3 hrs without feeling tired and/or hungry, so having a little something to eat on hand is an absolute must.

Packed last night. 

Ready to-go this morning. 

Munched on throughout the day.

The 9 hrs. at work f-l-e-w by today!

This week’s internship rotation is going to be at a Long Term Care facility.  Today I visited a local nursing home, and I really, really liked it.  I grew up volunteering in nursing homes and working as a food service worker in an assisted living facility as a high school student, so I tend to feel at home in places like this.  And I love talking with the patients.  Their life stories are so fascinating!  Where else would you hear about living in Holland?  Or being born on a ship while having a father in the navy? 

I love it.

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Dinner; kept simple!

I’m on such a scrambled egg kick lately.  Usually I’ll opt for a veggie-styled omelet, but tonight I wanted straight up—pure and simple—fluffy eggs.  Nothing but a touch of salt and a splash of soymilk.

Crisp veggies were saved for the side, with a dollop of artichoke hummus.

And then I blasted the radio, flicked on the Christmas lights and s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d my way through tree poses, downward dogs and plenty of planks.  A delicious end to a typical day. 😀

Time to catch the final show of the Biggest Loser!!

Question:  What is the most enjoyable way that you stay active?  I change my opinion all the time.  Obviously, my true love is running.  But I also love a good long walk or a deep, energizing yoga session.  These days, I’m even enjoying strength training, which is competely new for me! 😀

over a bowl of oats

This morning, there were two things on the brain.

First, breakfast. 

I don’t normally like to eat and read all at the same time, but I did just that today. 

Well.  That is, if you count studying the t-stops to Beth Israel Hospital in Boston as “reading.”

Part of the dietetic internship involves traveling to various places and listening to different lecturers and speakers.  Today, Beth Israel Hospital in Boston was having a day-long lecture on the topic of Obesity (and how to best manage it,) self esteem issues in the adolescent, and more. 

This all brings me to the second thing on my brain: making my way through Boston.  A solo journey.  Normally, this kind of thing is deemed as fun and exciting, and it really doesn’t bother me in the slightest.  If I get lost, I get lost.  What’s the worst that could happen, really?  I end up in Canada?   That’s okay.  I like Canada.

(FYI, this is not my own picture.  And Boston is not currently seeing this much sunlight. 😉 )

(source)

Even though I’m not afraid of getting lost, I do hate, hate, hate showing up late to any sort of event or conference.  It’s one of my own personal little pet peeves.  And so, with a time schedule looming over me, I felt slightly anxious and nervous.

That was when my dad asked me with a smile, “Sarah, it’s not a big deal.  What are they going to do if you show up a little late?  Yell at you?”  I thought about this, realizing how silly I was for worrying about things that were completely out of my control (what if the T is running late???  What if I get a flat tire and can’t make it on time?  What…)

I thank my dad for always having the ability to just shrug something off, because that is exactly what I decided to do from that point on.  And then I just enjoyed the trip into Boston.  Reading during a 30 minute ride on the subway.  People watching.  Feeling deliciously independent as I walked into the lecture hall of Beth Israel Hospital (completely on time, I might add.)  Soaking up all the little bits of information like a sponge.  Walking home with a tall soy gingerbread latte from Starbucks.

Delicious.

Lesson Learned: Relax.  Breath.  And realize that it’s okay to not always have control over everything.  This is what makes life interesting. 😀

Question: How do you handle life’s little stresses?   

ready (or not) for winter

Dear winter, I’m not really ready for you yet.  I love your sparkly flurries, your rush of cool air, and yes, I even love your fierce and bold personality.  But…I’m just not ready for you yet.

It was only about 10 months ago, when I was out running 11 miles in the middle of a blizzard.  My face felt numb.  My feet felt like…well…they actually felt like nothing at the time.  And I had a smile plastered on my face, as if I had just been botoxed.  And, I truly loved every second of the experience.

Now, fast forward 10 months to the present:  December 8, 2010.

The moment I stepped my sleepy self outside and onto the front porch, I wanted to run back and hide under my warm, dreamy blankets.  Into my dark, cozy room.  For just a few more moments.  *Sigh.*

It was 16 degrees out this morning with a blustery wind that immediately burned my cheeks.  But I wasn’t out running 11 miles.  There was no snow on the ground.  I could feel my feet.  Life wasn’t really that bad after all. 

And so I kept on trudging.  One foot in front of the other until I began feeling warm again.  This happened on the last stretch home as I covered a nice gentle 3 mile run.  Sometimes getting out of bed and facing the cold is a major challenge for me, but it’s always so well worth it in the end. 😀

Overnight Oatmeal

If you plan on working out in the morning, it’s important to not give yourself any available excuse for getting out of it.  Especially in the winter, when we need all the motivation that we can possibly get. 😉

This preparation method saves you the trouble (and time) of putting things together in the morning.  A quick pop in the microwave, and your breakfast is ready.  And finally, after fueling yourself with a warm bowl of hot oats, head out and get your workout in.  You’ll be glad you did. 😀

  • 1/2 c. uncooked oatmeal
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 1 T. flax
  • 1 c. milk + 1/4 c. water
  • toppings: about 2 T. peanut butter
  1. Combine all of the ingredients together except for the peanut butter.  Place in a high topped (to avoid boiling over) microwaveable dish and put in fridge overnight.
  2. The next morning, place dish in microwave for 2-3 minutes.  Stir.  Heat another 1-2 minutes and top with peanut butter. 
  3. ENJOY! 😀

Question: Are you ready for winter this year?  What are some of your favorite activities in the winter months?

return of the breakfast cookie

Lately I’ve been preparing breakfast the night before, thereby eliminating any early morning rushing around. 

Currently, my heart belongs to the breakfast cookie.

I love the chewy, moist texture that the oats take on, after spending some quality time with pumpkin, bananas, and chocolate. 

Usually I’ll top the chocolate infused cookie with sliced bananas, a bit of granola, and some extra cocoa powder for good measure.  This morning I decided to slather it in homemade greek yogurt mixed with agave for a creamy change of pace.  It was lovely. 😀

Chocolate Pumpkin Breakfast Cookie

For a mocha version, add about a tsp of instant coffee to the mix before chilling in the fridge.  For a spicy, gingerbread flavor, nix the cocoa and add in about a tsp of molasses (and extra cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger!)

For topping ideas, you can either make your own homemade greek yogurt (sweetened with honey or agave,) add sliced bananas and granola, chop a few almonds, sprinkle on some dried cranberries, or smear on some vanilla flavored chobani.  Have fun mixing up the flavors! 😀

Oh, and don’t forget, if you’re using unsalted peanut butter for this, add just a pinch of salt to the mix to bring it all together

  • 1/2 c. uncooked rolled oats
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1 T. crushed flax (optional)
  • 1/2 c. canned pumpkin
  • 1 T. salted peanut butter
  • cinnamon and nutmeg, just a dash of each
  • 2 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
  1. Combine all of ingredients together in a bowl.  Mash with fork until well combined.
  2. Spread the combined mixture onto a plate.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  3. ENJOY the following morning! 😀

Question: What is your current favorite breakfast? 

good morning, scones.

During my last couple years of college, I was awake (and studying) into the late night hours.  For a girl who is normally in bed by 10, this was the furthest thing from normal.  😉

Countless hours were spent in my family’s living room chair, as I pounded my head full of nutrition notes and chemistry formulas.  I can still feel the anxiety of a chemistry exam, the pressure of doing well in my medical nutrition therapy class, and the thrill of seeing an A on my report card.  I also happen to remember the fear of seeing a C on my chemistry exam, but we won’t talk aobut that tonight.

This week, I felt like that college girl all over again.  I was up late doing homework assignments for my internship, and I felt that same pressure of wanting to do well.  Saturday night involved hours and hours of note reviewing, in addition to figuring out what I wanted to do my research project on. 

And then I started to think about future careers which brought a whole new level of emotions.  Exciting.  Scary.  Thrilling!

And then—finally—I decided to just stop thinking.  It was Sunday morning, after all.  A day of rest.  And I wanted breakfast.

Sundays are those perfect days when everything seems to just slow down. 

People tell me that I’m supposed to be depressed on Sunday—with tomorrow being Monday and all that—but in my opinion, there’s absolutely nothing to be depressed about on a Sunday morning.  It’s my time to (a) go for a run, (b) eat a lovely breakfast, (c) go to church, and (d) hit Starbucks with my best friend for some chatting time.  Sunday?  Depressing?  Not so much. 

My breakfast of choice for this morning was not at all fancy, but it did boast of energetic and bright flavors.  Perfect for a cold autumn morning. 

Breakfast scones are best served straight from the oven, as they have a slight crusty texture on the outside, and a warm, fluffy inside.  However, they’re also delicious served the following day.  You can simply warm them up in the microwave for a good 20 seconds. 

On the side of my breakfast scone, I served some homemade greek yogurt with flax granola and a banana smeared in almond butter.  A lovely Sunday morning breakfast.

Breakfast Sconesidea was taken from Eating Well magazine, with some tweaking involved.

The reason I’m calling these breakfast scones and not “blueberry scones” is that I’d hate to limit what this recipe is capable of.  You can turn it into an apple scone if you like.  Or a banana chocolate chip scone.  Or maybe even a savory cheese scone to be served with scrambled eggs.  So many possibilities. 😀

The orange zest adds a zingy and energetic note, making theses scones a lovely treat after a busy work or school week.  Enjoy! 

  • 4 T. reduced fat cream cheese, cut into small pieces
  • 2 T. butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 2 T. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2-3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c. frozen blueberries
  • zest of one orange
  • cinnamon or nutmeg
  • 2/3 c. plus 1 T. buttermilk, divided
  1. Preheat oven to 400F.  Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.  Place cream cheese and butter in freezer to chill, about 10 minutes.
  2. Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Cut cream cheese and butter into flour mixture with pasty blender, two knives or your fingers until it resembles coarse meal.  Add blueberries and orange zest, tossing to incorporate.  Make a well in flour mixture.  Add 2/3 c. buttermilk, stirring with a fork until just combined.
  3. Knead dough gently in bowl, 7-8 times.  Divide dough into 8 round balls.  Pat each piece into a circle about 1/2 inch thick and place on baking sheet.  Lightly brush tops with remaining 1 T. buttermilk and sprinkle with cinnamon or nutmeg.
  4. Bake scones for 12-15 minutes, or until golden and firm.  Cool slightly on wire rack.  Serve warm
  5. ENJOY! 😀

Question: Do you find that you work your best in the morning or at night?  I am most definitely a morning person!!

a simple cranberry sauce

After about a week of eating leftovers, I’m officially turkeyed, stuffinged, and mashed potatoed out.  Because as much as I love a good turkey soup, stuffing on my salad, or a big ol’ bowl of peppered turnips, my tastebuds are about to have a revolt.

Well, for the most part.  They (the tastebuds, that is) are making one small exception.  While the rest of the leftovers must go, the cranberry sauce can stay for as long as it wishes.

I’ll always say that stuffing is my favorite side on Thanksgiving.  But deep down, we all know that I have a deep, deep love affair with cranberry sauce. 

It all started with a can of store bought cranberry sauce, served alongside my Memere’s famous turkey dinner. 

Originally it was sort of a family joke.  “Hide the cranberry sauce.  Sarah’s here.”  Or, “Grab some while you can before Sarah gets to it.”  Cranberry sauce smeared on my turkey.  Spread on a toasted roll.  Jimmied into a plate of stuffing.  It was the highlight of my meal.

And then—then!—I discovered how easy it was to make my own cranberry sauce.  Homemade. 

My tastebuds were thrilled. 

The sauce was tangy, zingy, and sweet all at the same time.  Little bites of plump berries burst in my mouth.  I found myself wondering how I ever could have eaten so much jellied (canned!) cranberry sauce in the first place.  *Sigh.*  To think what I had been missing out on.

Yes.  Cranberry sauce can stay.  For as long as it wishes.  I’ll always find something new to to use it with.  Oatmeal.  Overnight rice combos.  Yogurt.  Toast with butter. 

Mmm.  So many delicious possibilities. 😀

Cranberry Sauce

This is as simple as simple gets.  The result is a tangy, not overly sweet sauce (add more sugar if you prefer it sweeter.) 

Don’t be afraid to dress this up with orange peel, walnuts, apples, pears, blueberries, or whatever else might come to mind.  Have fun and enjoy! 😀

  • 1 12-oz. bag of cranberries
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  1. Combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan.
  2. Bring to boil; add cranberries, return to boil.
  3. Reduce heat and boil gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover and cool completely at room temperature. Refrigerate until serving time. Makes 2 1/4 cups.

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A trip to the dentist has left my mouth in a bit of a droop.

Two cavities.  One upper.  One lower.  Which is a shame, since I’m so meticulous about dental care.  Harumph.

Anyways, since the entire right side of my face was drooping and not at all in good functioning order, there wasn’t a whole lot of this going on today:

For a girl who loves to eat, this felt horribly, horribly wrong.

But—really—the worst part wasn’t simply that I couldn’t chew.  It was that I couldn’t smile.  Or talk.  At all.  So when I bumped into a woman at the mall, I didn’t quite know what to do.  And so I grunted.  Yes.  I grunted.  Which left me feeling completely rude, even though it felt like the only thing that made sense to do at the time.  It’s amazing what life is like when you just can’t talk.  Or smile.

Life without a smile.  Can you imagine? 

With me in mind, please smile as much as possible today.  And tell someone you care.  And never forget to say “excuse me” if you bump into a lady when walking through the mall.  Grunting really doesn’t work so well.

Question: Going to the dentist…love or hate?