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Category Archives: Breakfast

Homemade Banana Bread Larabars

YES. You read correct. THIS HAPPENED.

Larabars are one of my favorite things in the world. It’s snack food that’s healthy (no added sugar, salt, or anything that you can’t pronounce) and DELICIOUS. For a while I went through a serious Larabar phase – picking one up every evening after work, eating half of one, and then saving the other half for post yoga/run/wherever I was going. The only (tiny) problem with this obsession is that it’s expensive! While $2 a bar doesn’t sound like much, it definitely adds up, especially when you consider that they’re only made from a handful of ingredients. Enter “Do It Yourself” Stephanie.

My favorite bar is the Banana Bread flavor. This one consists of only three things: almonds, bananas, dates. Lucky for me, I had all of these on hand, so I gave it a whirl. The results were AWESOME. They tasted as good if not better than the original.  I plan on making way more of these, AND in  other flavors too (blueberry muffin? coconut? peanut butter and jelly?!)

What You Need – Makes Two Bars:

1/4 cup dried banana

1/3 cup raw almonds

1/4 cup chopped dates

Food processor

What You Do:

First, you have to dry out your bananas. Pick a small banana that’s over ripe (the more brown spots the better), slice it, lay the slices on a baking sheet with parchment paper, and place in the oven at 175 degrees for about 2.5 hours.

In the  meantime get your almonds ready. Process them in a food processor until well blended, but NOT a powder. You definitely want pieces! Remove from the food processor. When the ‘naners are done (see pic below), add them into the FP with the dates and process. This will take a while, but keep at it. Everything will come together into a thick paste.

Remove this mixture from the FP, and mix by hand with the almond crumbs in a small bowl. Mix everything really well, until it’s all sticking together easily.

This is when it gets (sort of, but not really), tricky. Lay a piece of saran wrap out on the counter and place the blob that you finished mixing, in the center. Fold over the saran wrap. You can use a rolling-pin, but I used my hands to flatten the date/almond/banana mush and eventually formed it into one long Larabar. It took a bit of prodding and sculpting, but I did it! I sliced it into two pieces and voila! Store these in saran wrap and enjoy them as snacks, pre work out, dessert, WHATEVER.

Enjoy!

A Word on Smoothies

I’ll keep this short and sweet because really, smoothies aren’t TOO hard to mess up. Liquid + frozen fruit + blend, done. But I did want to share some tips and things I’ve found yield the tastiest of frozen concoctions.

My secret ingredient? Raw spinach. Best part about it? You can’t even taste it! I swear. Blends completely into the smoothie and you get all the awesome health benefits (Fiber, protein, vitamin C, etc) without having to really eat it. Win win.

When making my smoothies here are the basic steps I follow:

  • Start with non dairy base – I always go for almond milk (Almond Breeze – Original flavor)
  • Next, handful of washed baby spinach  – see above
  • I always add a banana (frozen preferred, but room temp works too) into my smoothie. Makes it thick and creamy
  • I also usually add in flax seed — around a tablespoon or so. Again, you can’t taste it!
  • Next – FROZEN FRUIT. Frozen is key! It eliminates the need for ice cubes (which honestly just melt and make your smoothie taste watery) but still adds the frozen bits and thickness that makes smoothies, well….smoothies! Strawberries, blueberries, mango, raspberries – any combination will work.
  • Finally, the sweetener – sometimes I skip the sweetener completely if I’m using sweet fruit, but if my blend needs it, I’ll add in Stevia, agave or lately, honey.

The smoothie pictured here was made with 1/2 cup blueberries, 1 banana, 1 cup raw washed spinach, 1 tbsp flax, 2 cups almond milk and honey to taste.


Savory Breakfast Oats

Hi, my name is Stephanie and I’m addicted to oatmeal. I’ve addressed this before on this here blog, but like, guys – I don’t know what my morning, no, DAY would be like without them. They’ve had a consistent presence in my life for the past 26 years. If that isn’t dedication, I just don’t know what is.

While I enjoy them in many forms (overnight, peanut butter, bananas, etc) I’ve never really understood the whole savory oats thing. Salt? In OATMEAL? Gasp. So, as you can imagine, I surprised myself by falling really, deeply, truly in love with this rendition of savory oats, inspired by an article in this month’s Women’s Health Magazine (trust me, I didn’t concoct this one entirely on my own. Oats are meant to be SWEET, people!) Blame it on the sunny side up eggs and swiss cheese combo, but my taste buds aren’t lying — this recipe is a keeper. Best part is it takes five (yes, five) minutes to make and requires only a handful of ingredients — spinach, oats, eggs, slice of cheese, salt and pepper – most of which you probably already have! Perfect for a weekend brunch or in my case, a Tuesday night dinner.

What You Need:

1/2 cup rolled, old fashioned oats

1 cup of water

dash of salt for water

2 eggs

handful of chopped baby spinach

slice of swiss cheese

salt and pepper to taste

What You Do:

Bring the water to a boil, add the dash of salt, and pour in the oats. Lower the heat to medium, and let cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. While the oats are cooking, spray a pan with cooking spray and make your sunny side up eggs! Once the oats are done, stir in the spinach, swiss cheese, top with the two eggs and season with salt and pepper. DONE!

 

Homemade Blueberry Jam

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I’ve been on a blueberry kick the past few weeks. Blame it on the farmer’s markets, but I suddenly want to take advantage of the fact that everywhere you turn there are fresh, sweet, blueberries waiting to be baked/cooked/jammed. Last Sunday, I made the blueberry pie that beats all other blueberry pies, and then, inspired by my friend Sarah’s most recent post, tried my hand at making jam. It was really, really easy, yielded a TON of jam (see: for the rest of ever), and is delicious! Brian helped himself to five (yes, five) slices of toast this morning topped with the jam and Earth Balance.

Before settling on one recipe, I Googled around and found that most recipes are all fairly similar: crushed fruits + lemon juice + some quantity of sugar + pectin. The sugar content of most of them was high (2 cups!), so I cut it down by half as the blueberries I had on hand were already pretty sweet. Here’s what I did.

What You Need:

4 cups, rinsed blueberries

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 teaspoons pectin

2 teaspoons calcium water (this comes in the box with the pectin, along with instructions on how to make the calcium water.)

What You Do:

Add the blueberries to a large pot. Crush them with a fork, or, if you want to be fancy, use a drinking class to crush everything up (which is what I did).  Add the lemon juice, calcium water, stir, and bring to a boil.

In a small separate bowl, add the sugar and pectin. Mix well.

Once the berry mixture is boiling, add in the sugar/pectin mix, and mix well for 1-2 minutes making sure all the pectin gets dissolved. Let stand for another minute, then remove from heat. Pour into clean jars, leave a little room at the top, and then seal tightly. Let sit on the counter for 12 hours (don’t open it!) then refrigerate. Sit back, relax, and revel in the fact that you are now a jam maker, you.

Overnight Oats

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Have we discussed my love affair with oatmeal, yet? No? Well. Ever since I was little, I’m talking little little, I’ve been eating oatmeal for breakfast. I remember (and my Mom can attest to this), waking up, walking into the kitchen, and every single morning, there would be a bowl of oatmeal, covered, waiting for me on the stove. If it wasn’t? Forget about  it. Crying, raging, hysterical fit. Yes, I was a girl obsessed.

Years later, I’m still as committed to oatmeal. For the first 2 years I was in the working world, I ate oatmeal at my desk every morning. Without fail. It was the only thing that kept me full! This past year I discovered adding in different nut butters, peanut butter being my favorite. It’s amazing what one little scoop will do. Full for HOURS.

My new thing is overnight oats. Touted all over the blogosphere, I had been meaning to try them, but for one reason or another, never got around to it. Enter my former co worker Sophie  who started bringing them in to work for breakfast.  Never one to be out oated, I started making them and now I’m hooked! They’re easy, adaptable, filling and…different! Plus, when it’s 90 degrees outside, cold oatmeal makes so much more sense than hot. Duh.

The recipe is simple: 1/2 cup uncooked rolled/old fashioned oats, 1/2 cup (or more) of milk (I use almond), and then add ins of your choice. I usually go with some sort of combination consisting of uncooked oats + fruit + nut butter + spice. Past combinations include:

  • Blueberries, cinnamon, almond butter
  • Sliced bananas, almond slices, peanut butter
  • Flax, blueberries, peanut butter

etc, etc. The night before I plan on eating them, I put all of the above into a glass jar (usually an old peanut butter or jelly jar), close it, and let it sit in the fridge over night. The next morning, they’re ready to be eaten!

Enjoy!

Juice!

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For the past few months, I’ve been toting in bottles of green juice to work to enjoy deskside before the chaos of my work day begins. Subsequently, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about said green juice. Namely — Is it good? (Yes!), Where did you get it? (Chateau Stephanie), Why? (Because it’s like, really good?!) So, I’ve decided to dedicate this post to my elixir of choice – green juice!

After months of biting the bullet and spending $9 a pop for my juice fix, I took the plunge and invested in my own juicer . The results have been AWESOME. At first, I went crazy juicing everything in sight– strawberry orange , mint cantaloupe, grapefruit orange, all greens, pineapple orange apple, etc.  Now I don’t play around with it AS much, but I am pretty consistent about one in particular: the green stuff.  The recipe is pretty simple, and I don’t  use exact measurements, but the below yields about 16 ounces, or enough to fill up a standard clear plastic bottle. Here’s how I make it:

  • 2 small green apples, quartered
  • big handful of spinach
  • half a cucumber
  • a few leaves of romaine
  • half a lemon, peeled
  • a few stalks of celery (celery isn’t my favorite, so I so easy on it.)
Juice the above, and that’s it! You can switch it up depending on what you have:  replace the apple with pear, add some ginger, try some kale (I always have a hard time juicing kale, though). Once everything is juiced, I pour it into a clear plastic bottle, take it to work with me, pop it in the freezer for about 30 minutes to get it nice and chilly, and then guzzle it down. A few notes if you decide to make your own:
  • Wash all the fruit!
  • When everything is juiced, bottle it immediately. The longer the juice is exposed to air, the quicker it oxidizes (see: turns brown aka gross).
  • On that same note, if pouring into a bottle, fill it up as high as possible so that no air is in the bottle. I’m talking the very very VERY top, and seal it tight.
  • Best served cold.
Also, if anyone is wondering, this is boyfriend approved. Brian doesn’t drink it as much as I do, but when he does, he enjoys it!


Blueberry Oat Muffins

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Last Saturday I woke up with a very clear mission in my mind: BLUEBERRIES. I wanted to buy tons and tons of fresh blueberries and go crazy in the kitchen with them. And this is exactly what I did.

I marched to the Farmer’s Market at the ungodly early hour of 10 AM (it was a Saturday, people!) and already the market was packed — not to mention STEAMY. I picked up three pints of blueberries and marched right back home. Actually, that’s a lie. I also picked up a new addition to the herb family I’ve got going on in my kitchen: CILANTRO. How some people don’t have the taste for this stuff is beyond me. I just LOVE it!

I came home and set out on first blueberry adventure of  of the day*:  blueberry oat muffins. I’m of the belief that if you’re going to have a mufin for breakfast, shouldn’t it at least be a HEALTHY muffin? This one does the trick. Whole wheat flour, no oil (!), brown sugar, oats, blueberries….these are actually GOOD for you. Plus, they are incredibly easy to make, take about 15 minutes to bake, and are a crowd pleaser for sure. These went fast at the office!

What You Need: (adapted from Happy Herbivore)

1½ cups whole wheat  flour

½ cup rolled oats

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

½ cup brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg

¼ tsp salt

1 cup unsweetened applesauce

¼ cup pure maple syrup

1 cup fresh wild blueberries

What You Do:

Preheat oven 350 F. In a bowl, mix together the flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add applesauce, sugar, maple syrup, and mix, combining well.  Add in the blueberries and carefully mix. Spoon into lightly greased muffin tins and fill 3/4 of the way (you should be able to fill 12 muffin tins.) Place in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean!

Enjoy!

* There were more! Will post later.