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?

simply perfect

 

Sometimes I go a little overboard with dressing up my salad.  Just a little over the top.

Sometimes I layer it in creamy sauces and deep, rich, lively vinaigrettes. 

Sometimes I want my salad to be ready for the ball, when it really just wants to hang out with lettuce and tomato, on some casual, laid-back Friday afternoon.

 

3

 

For a girl who enjoys practicing the art of simplicity, I sure did lose sight of the simply dressed salad. 

Until tonight, of course.

 

4

 

Honey, here’s your wake up call…

 

5 

…sometimes you can’t beat simple.

A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

A dash of freshly ground sea salt.

A squeeze or two of honey.
   

2  

Simple.  Perfect. 

Simply Perfect.

 

1

 

Question: What is your favorite way to dress a salad?  Vinaigrettes?  Creamy dressings?  Oil and vinegar?

a taste of summer

 In my house, an overripe avocado is like an overripe banana.  It doesn’t exist. 

This explains why we rarely eat banana bread.  Why banana fro-yo is such a prize.  Why avocado dressing is some sort of far reaching dream. 

But now and then, every once in a while, there comes along an avocado with just a few brown age spots.  Some unsightly blemishes; an avocado with no personal faults aside from having been left in the fruit bowl for one too many days. 

I love overripe avocados, just like I love overripe bananas.  They’re perfect.  Creamy.  Soft.  Full of possibilities.  Practically begging me to smoosh them with a fork (not together, of course, although I have seen some promising avocado banana bread recipes over the past couple of days!)  Begging to be loved and used and appreciated.  I’m asking you, how could a girl possibly say no?

“It’s about time,” I thought to myself, “that I have an avocado dressing sitting in my fridge.”

I also decided that it was about time I use up some of the frozen, “fresh” basil that a friend had given me over the summer.  Despite my fears, it still tastes just as good as it did when I first recieved it.  Bright and brimming with summer!

Once all the ingredients were in the processor, I just let them do their thing.  Mixing and mingling and just hanging out.

And then I made a tropical salad filled to the brim with black beans, fresh pineapple, garlic rubbed chicken and diced bell peppers.

And then I made an oath to always have an overripe avocado on hand.

Avocado Citrus Dressing—adapted from the Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health Cookbook
(Makes 2 cups)

Be sure not to use too much water when you’re thinning out the dressing.  Otherwise, the result will be a watered down guacamole look-alike.  Not a good thing!

This dressing can also work well as a veggie or a pita dip, if you keep it thick and creamy.  In the same way, it can also be used as a spread on sandwiches and things like that.  The bright lemon flavors add a summery note to this zingy avocado dressing.  You’ll enjoy it any which way you serve it. 😀

(p.s. As is true with many dressings, this tastes best when served the following day!)

  •  1 large ripe avocado, pitted and peeled
  • 1/3 c. orange juice
  • 4 T. lime juice
  • 1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro or basil
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • salt to taste
  • dash of cayenne or ground black pepper
  • honey or agave to taste (optional)
  • 1-2 T. olive oil
  1. In a blender, puree all ingredients together until smooth and creamy.  Add a little water if dressing is too thick.  Add salt to taste.  Store in refrigerator for about a week and bring to room temperature before serving (this prevents congealing.)

 Question: How do you make use of overripe fruit in your house?  If apples are over done, I like to make applesauce or muffins.  Bananas are obviously turned into banana bread, or frozen for later use.  And pears?  I’m hoping they overripen soon so I can find out. 😀

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?

an ode to muffins

I love muffins.

I love that they’re so easy to pack.  Easy to eat. 

I love that they can verge on the side of sweet.  A not-so-subtle dessert.

I love that they can be your go-to healthy morning meal. 

Versatile.  Muffins are completely versatile. 

I love that a big batch of muffins can be whipped together in under 30 minutes.

I love that muffins are so forgiving.  They work with what you’ve got on hand.

I love that you can add just about anything you want to a basic recipe (carrots?  raisins?  flax?  pumpkin?) and watch it come out perfect.

Muffins.  I love everything about them. 

 

When I’m looking for more than just a “special treat”—when I need a muffin to be strong and carry me through an early morning—I usually look to bran.  Veggies.  Fruits.  Whole grains.  A bit of healthy fat. 

A muffin can offer all of these things.

Since I was looking for a hearty breakfast muffin, I decided to experiment with a basic bran muffin recipe.  Cutting out some of the oil and replacing this with carrots did nothing to the moisture content.  Not even the second day left a hint of difference.

The apples added a natural boost of sweetness (and fiber, thanks to leaving the peel intact!) 

And the spices and molasses offer that extra somethin’, somethin’, just to make you dream of autumn.

Quick.  Convenient.  Healthy.  Delicious.

Just what I need to carry me through a busy week of early mornings and late nights. 

(I paired my morning muffin with more veggies and fruits in the form of a smoothie.  A cup of milk, a cup of frozen blueberries, half a cup of canned pumpkin, a tablespoon of flax and a few handfuls of baby spinach leaves.  Sprinkled off with granola.)

I ate my smoothie upon waking up and took the muffin to go.  

Because—you know—muffins are totally transportable. 

Autumn Spiced Bran Muffins

Muffins always taste best on the same day that they’re made.  Even so, these do hold over really well.  If you don’t plan on eating them all within a few days, however, simply double bag them and store in the freezer.  Take them out the night before and you’re golden.  They make a very convenient and healthy breakfast or snack to have throughout the week. 😀

  • 1 1/2 cups wheat bran
  • 1 cup milk + 1 T. lemon juice (or 1 c. buttermilk)
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 small to medium apples, diced (peeling not necessary!)
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg
  • cloves
  • ginger
  • 1/2 c. chopped walnuts (optional)
  • Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Spray muffin pan with cooking spray or line with muffin tins.
    2. Mix together wheat bran, buttermilk, apple and carrot; let stand for 10 minutes.
    3. Beat together oil, egg, molasses and vanilla and add to buttermilk/bran mixture. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt. Stir flour mixture into buttermilk mixture, until just blended. Fold in walnuts if desired and spoon batter into prepared muffin tins.
    4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in pan and then transfer to a cooling rack.  ENJOY!

    Question: What is your favorite busy morning breakfast?