Family Favorite

Why, hello there, Oats In A Jar.  It sure has been a while.

  • 1/4 c. oatbran
  • 1/4 c. wheat bran
  • 1 c. milk + 3/4 c. water
  • 1/2 banana
  • 2 T. raisins
  • cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, clove

I cooked the oats to perfection and then poured the hot mixture into an almost empty pb jar.  The Galaxy Granola was added a little bit here and a little bit there as I ate my way through.  This breakfast will never—never, never—grow old.

But enough with breakfast.  I have an announcement to make.  Ladies and Gents, I have found a yogurt that deserves to be called my most favorite yogurt of all: Voskos Honey Vanilla Bean.

It’s true.

I can’t decide if it was the silky texture, the homemade blueberry banana muffin that was crumbled on top, or the pure, sweet creaminess of it all.

I think the fact that real, honest-to-goodness vanilla bean is used instead of vanilla extracts or flavorings has something to do with it too.  Just look at these little vanilla specks sprinkled throughout!  This is the real deal.  My mom stated it was the best yogurt she’s ever had, and I couldn’t have agreed more.  All I can say is that it’s a good thing my local grocery store doesn’t carry this, or I’d go in debt over yogurt. 

Now that I’m on a role with personal favorites, deep obsessions and other such matters, I think it’s time I introduce you to a new favorite salad combination of mine…

  • 1 broccoli crown, cut into bite sized peices
  • 1/2 c. canned black bleans
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Combine the above ingredients and bake on a cookie sheet at 425 for about 20 minutes (remember to flip halfway through cooking time and adjust salt and pepper to taste.)

Once the veggies are browned to your liking, mix in:

  • 1/4 avocado (very ripe), smashed
  • garlic powder (don’t be skimpy!)
  • 1/2 tomato

If you think this sounds odd and strange, you are not alone.  It does sound peculiar.  Which is why you simply must try it. I promise that if you love guacamole, garlic, and roasted vegetables, you will love this simple meal.

On the side, I had 1-1/2 slices of Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat Sourdough bread, toasted, with a pat of butter.

Afternoon Snack: Homemade Dates & Coconut Granola Bar

If you’re a regular reader of Running To Slow Things Down, you have probably seen this Gypsy Soup more than one too many times.  But that’s simply because it’s one of my absolute favorites.  This is one of those recipes that has wiggled its way into becoming a family favorite.   It’s that “go-to” soup recipe.  It’s a soup filled with memories.  In fact—if it wasn’t too dangerous to say—I might even put it up there with chicken noodle soup as being a comfort food.  But that’s dangerous territory, so I’ll have to save it for another day. 😉

Needless to say, the recipe for Gypsy Soup will forever be dog-eared in my Moosewood Cookbook, and it will permanently be stained with turmeric and tomato juice.  And, yes, you will see it many more times in the future of this blog.  It’s just that kind of recipe.

Gypsy Soupcourtesy of Moosewood Cookbook with some minor tweakings

  • 1 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 c. chopped onion
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 stalk celery, minced
  • 2 c. peeled, diced sweet potato
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. mild paprika
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp basil
  • dash of cinnamon
  • dash of cayenne (I use about 1/8 tsp to make it spicy)
  • 3 c. water
  • 1 medium bell pepper, diced
  • 1 15 oz. can of chick peas (drained and rinsed)
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot.  Add onion, garlic, celery, and swee potato.  Saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Add salt, and saute 5 more minutes.  Add seasonings and water, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  2. Add tomato, bell pepper, and chick peas.  Cover and simmer for 10 + minutes or until all vegetables are as tender as you like them.  Taste to adjust seasonings and serve.

This bread is also a tried-and-true family favorite.  I love that it’s made with all whole wheat flour while still remaining moist and soft.  Yesterday I confessed to having a fear of tasteless, rubbery, overcooked red meat.  But I also have a fear of dried out, stale, tasteless bread.  100% whole wheat breads have a reputation for being dense and dry—cardboard, they call it (and oftentimes, rightly so!)  This bread, however, is the furthest thing from being dry.  On first bite, you’ll note how soft and moist it is.  You’ll taste the subtle sweetness of molasses.  And you’ll forever be convinced that whole wheat bread does not have to taste like cardboard. 😀

King Arthur’s Whole Wheat Bread

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast, or 1 packet active dry yeast dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/3 cups (10 1/2 ounces) water
  • 1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup (3 ounces) honey, molasses, or maple syrup
  • 3 1/2 cups (14 ounces) King Arthur Traditional Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) nonfat dried milk
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt

Mixing: In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir till the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface, oil your hands, and knead it for 6 to 8 minutes, or until it begins to become smooth and supple. (You may also knead this dough in an electric mixer or food processor, or in a bread machine programmed for “dough” or “manual.”) Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl, and allow the dough to rise till puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 60 minutes, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.

Shaping: Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, and shape it into an 8-inch log. Place the log in a lightly greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan, cover the pan loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the bread to rise for about 1 hour, or until it’s crowned about 1 inch above the edge of the pan. A finger pressed into the dough should leave a mark that rebounds slowly.

Baking: Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for about 40 minutes, tenting it lightly with aluminum foil after 20 minutes. Test it for doneness by removing it from the pan and thumping it on the bottom (it should sound hollow), or measuring its interior temperature with an instant-read thermometer (it should register 190°F at the center of the loaf). Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a wire rack before slicing. Store the bread in a plastic bag at room temperature. Yield: 1 loaf, 16 slices.

Nutrition per serving (1 slice, 51g): 150 cal, 3.5g fat, 5g protein, 24g total carbohydrate, 5g sugar, 3g dietary fiber, 0mg cholesterol, 200mg sodium.

Off to chillax with My Homemade Life.  What a great book!!! 

Question: Do you have a Family Favorite Recipe that is made over and over again?

TGIF!!

Whew…what a day.  Where do I begin?  Oh yes…breakfast of course. 😉

I woke up kind of wanting yogurt, but wanting something nice and filling too.  Yogurt & cereal just never really does it for me in the “filling department.”  Unless I have canned pumpkin to add for the super filling fiber content.  But unfortanetly there just wasn’t any in the house.  So I went with the closest thing to a cold bowl of yogurt…a Green Smoothie! 😀

This one was way better then yesterday’s.  No gagging, choking, or forcing stuff down. 😉  I have a firm belief that food has to be tasty plus healthy.  If it’s not tasty, it’s just not worth eating, you know?  So I was determined to make this smoothie tasty to make up for yesterday’s.

In the mix:

  • Amazing Grass packet
  • 1 banana
  • 2 c. kale
  • 1 c. soymilk
  • 4-5 ice cubes
  • 1 T. peanut butter

It was pretty good!  I’m not usually a protein powder girl…give me the real food!  But this one wasn’t too bad, and along with a whole wheat cinnamon raisin english muffin, I was full until lunch rolled around.  Not too shabby! 😀

100_6432

After breakfast, mom and I–of course–headed out for a 4-mile walk.  It was drizzling out at the beginning but the sun started to peak out by the end…love when that happens! 😀  Today’s walking topic was mostly mom going over her VIP party presentation that she has to give tomorrow at a clothing store she works at.  The topic is on choosing clothes that fit your body shape, and I think she’ll do great…looking forward to it mom! 😀

Lunch was kind of a Four Course Meal…

It started with a small bowl of Gypsy Soup…

100_6439

Continued on with a crunchy salad full of black bleans, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, and cauliflower…all drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

100_6438

Then came the Annie’s Whole Wheat Bunnies…I seriously love these guys.

100_6440

And finally?  Dessert of course!  Two squares of very intensely dark chocolate.

100_6443

I showered this afternoon, blow dried my hair, and figured out a professional outfit to wear for today’s interview with the RD and Food Service Manager.  Then I went out to relax on the porch before I needed to leave, while enjoying an iced coffee under some blue skies!!! 😀

100_6446

The interview went really, really well.  I start volunteering in the hospital’s kitchen on Monday at 8 am, and start volunteering with the RD on Tuesday at 7:45 am…I’m super excited to get started!! 😀  It’s going to be great to see what an RD does on a daily basis, in a hospital setting. 

When I came home, I decided to go out for a 2-mile run.  I’m glad I kept it short, because despite the fact that I felt great after the run, it was definitely a tough one.  I’m not used to this warmer weather and the humidity made things a little tough.  I’ll have to re-introduce myself to running in the heat again after this cold spell we’ve been having!!

After cooling off from the run, I got to work in the kitchen.  I decided to make Chicken Broccoli Stir-Fry…and since Matthew was home, I decided to make a vegetarian version of it as well.  Dad came in to check on me as noise erupted from the kitchen, but I told him everything was just fine.  Chaotic, yes, but fine…it’s completely normal for me to make a huge mess and a lot of noise as I cook.  It’s all part of the experience of quickly getting a healthy supper together for the family. 😉

This recipe is easily adapted to be vegetarian.  I used vegetable broth for both batches to avoid confusion, and substituted sauteed tofu in Matthew’s.  It would also be great with the addition of pineapple and red bell peppers if you have those on hand too!

Stir-Fry Chicken and Broccoli

1 lb. chicken breast strips (or tofu/tempeh)
2 T. olive oil
4 c. broccoli
1-1/2 c. chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
3 T. soy sauce
2 T. cornstarch
2 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 tsp ground ginger

+ brown rice to serve it on.

Stir fry chicken in hot oil in large skillet until browned.  Add broccoli, stir fry until crisp tender.

Mix broth, soy sauce, cornstarch, sugar, garlic powder, and ginger…add to skillet.  Bring to boil for one minute.

Serve over rice.  Makes about 4 servings.  ENJOY! 😀

100_6451

Then I had this juicy red pear for dessert. 😀

100_6458

I was excited to head to the backyard to check out the vegetable garden.  I couldn’t believe the beets were already popping up.  Before you know it, there will be roasted beets in the oven and braised beet greens with olive oil and garlic on the stove.  Mmmm…can’t wait!  😀

100_6455

And then I saw this little guy doing his job of insect control in the garden… how cute is he?  hehe…

100_6456

After dinner, I indulged in some yoga from Polly’s blog.  If you haven’t checked out her Yoga for Running video, check it out sometime!  I always feel so loose and wonderful after stretching out the hamstrings. 😀  Then I got inspired by the beautiful weather to head out for a short 2-mile walk. 

All the fresh air and activity left me hungry for a snack.  Since I hadn’t had yogurt for my breakfast, I turned it into a snack.  I mixed in a T. of crushed flax into the plain yogurt.  Then I topped it with:

  • T. of homemade pb granola
  • a few raisins
  • 1/2 banana
  • sprinkling of cinnamon

Mmm…hit the spot!

100_6460

Tonight was such a fun, relaxing night.  The family sat out on the porch, listening to Matthew sing and play guitar.  I indulged in a glass of Pinot Grigio and a small bowl of stove popped popcorn.  I loved this wine…very light and fruity!

100_6462

I could have sat out on the deck listening to his music for the entire night.  Somehow the gift of voice stopped before getting to me. 😉  But that’s okay, because I just enjoy listening. 😀

100_6467

I’m off to relax, and finalize some plans for the weekend.  I’ll be back to post a full weekend recap along with a product review too, either tomorrow or Sunday night.  G’Night Everyone!! 😀

100_6468