Breakfast

Cherry Mango Smoothie

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cherry mango smoothie

I would like to begin this post with an apology for my long absence. A lot has transpired over the past two weeks – thankfully for better reasons than worse. From a family wedding to a recent engagement of a friend, 4th of July and a family reunion plus more. I haven’t had much time for blogging.  Despite the political and regional tensions where I live, nothing can stop me from delighting yourselves with my recipes. I thank you for your support and patience. I hope this healthy smoothie recipe I am about to share with you was worth the wait. I promise that more recipes will follow shortly.

Fresh cherries and mango happen to be at their peak this season. I stocked up on a bunch of fresh cherries and mango. I normally prefer to munch on cherries as they are but occasionally explore other creative options that I can use with them. I had many ideas in terms of treats that I can make using these fruits but I was stalling for too long and they were beginning to rot. It’s hard for me to dispose of fresh fruit, so smoothies were a simple, quick yet delicious solution to my dilemna.

What other healthy and exotic way to cool an overheated palate other than learning how to make smoothies using cherries and fruit? I could never tire of smoothies; the combination of possibilities never end.  I never incorporated cherries into my smoothies before but didn’t think of it as a risk factor. Adding cherries introduces a sweet yet tangy flavor this red mango smoothie. The mango merely heightens the taste of this smoothie.

For this recipe, you will need:

  1. 1 fresh or frozen mango cubed
  2. 1 cup of fresh or frozen cherries seeded
  3. 1/3 cup of fresh or canned pineapple chunks
  4. 1/2 cup of low fat plain yogurt of your choice

Instructions

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend till smooth. Add more water or milk if the smoothie is too thick for your liking. Use leftovers for popsicles if you like.

Yields 2 servings

 

 

 

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Red Berry Smoothie

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red berry smoothie

Berry smoothie recipes are on the top of my favorite smoothies. Smoothies basically constitute my breakfast. Sometimes I will whip up a berry smoothie protein shake after an intense workout. Smoothies have been my to-go quick breakfast for a while.  Fruit oriented smoothies usually consists of bananas and frozen berries.  This time, though, I exclusively wanted berries.  There are many thrifty ways of learning how to make a healthy breakfast using frozen berry recipes. Red berry smoothie is the only recipe that seems most feasible to me.

Smoothies are a healthy way to make most of the berry season with one glass of berry goodness.  Those who know me well can vouch for my compulsive berry noshing.  Fresh berries are a treat for me; I can’t ever have enough of them.  Aside for their amazing combination of sweet and tart flavors, berries are low in calories, high in fiber, and they contain vitamins and minerals your body needs to function normally. So think twice before complaining to me about overstocking on berries.

Until recently, I never gave much of a thought of learning how to make a healthy breakfast. I normally relied on a bowl of cereal and milk to keep me energized without reviewing the nutrition facts. Consequently, I would experience a frequent sugar crash. I didn’t entirely cut cereal out but I had to part ways with certain brands.  Until I moved overseas, I have been living off of Kashi cereal brands. Unfortunately, they are not available where I live. It was either oatmeal or smoothies and I don’t always have the patience or the time to cook oatmeal. Additionally, oatmeal has the tendency to leave me feeling bloated and I don’t wish to jumpstart my morning with a case of gastritis.

Food for thought, red berries offer a higher concentration of antioxidants than most other foods, and summertime is the prime time to indulge in these red gems. This red berry smoothie recipe is a great way of using fresh or frozen berries and creating a smoothie that not only has strong impact of flavors but is nutritious for you and easy to make.   I nearly forgot to mention that they are super filling and can keep me fueled till lunchtime.

For this recipe, you will need:

  1. 1 cup of frozen strawberries
  2. 1/2 cup of  frozen raspberries
  3. 1/2 cup of frozen pitted cherries
  4. 1 cup of unsweetened apple juice or milk of your choice

Instructions

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend till smooth. Serve chilled.

Yields 2-4 servings

 

 

 

Papaya Kiwi Smoothie

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A lot of you may feel that I am overstepping my boundaries when it comes to sharing my papaya recipes. Some of you may think that papaya is an overrated fruit by now. I don’t blame you for feeling that way. I would scream if I saw another papaya recipe but apparently papaya seems underused to me if I am posting my third recipe. If you haven’t figured it out m now, I am hooked on papaya. Yes I eat other fruit as well. If I am not obsessing too much over papaya, then why am I sharing another papaya smoothie recipe with you?  This smoothie recipe has an ingredient that sets it apart from other smoothie recipes. I added some fresh kiwi to the mix. I bought a couple of kiwis without think much about what I would do with them. Kiwis are expensive so I try to be frugal and creative on how I utilize them.  I know a good smoothie when I taste one. I suppose if I post one more smoothie recipe, I may as well create a separate smoothie blog. Papayas make a wonderful addition.  The sourness of kiwis offers a perfect balance. I enjoy the combination of both tropical flavors.

Smoothies are a great way to jumpstart your morning; especially good after a workout or an exercise or a swim. in this smoothie, you will taste a bit of all three fruits. Unless you have a sweet tooth, there is no need to add sugar or any other sweetener while making this smoothie. Aside from using  sweetener,  you can also include naturally sweet dry fruits, such dates or dry figs in the smoothie instead of sugar or honey.  It was already sweet that I didn’t have to add any sugar at all.

Smoothies are a brilliant way to incorporate fruit in your diet.  They can also act as detox for the system. Many health conscious people such as myself  prefer to start their day with fruits. there are variety of ways to easily include fruits in our diet.  As they say, simplicity is beauty and this is exactly how I feel with this 3-ingredient creamy and yummy papaya kiwi banana smoothie! If you have super-ripe and sweet bananas on hand that are either fresh or frozen and kiwis that have ripened so that they are quite sweet too, instead of super-tangy, then combine the two together in a blender and voila – this is what you get – a truly healthy sweet breakfast beverage that is enjoyable and guilt-free!Do yourself a treat and make this smoothie today! After that, I will go on a papaya hiatus for the sake of all our sanity 🙂

For this recipe, you will need:

  1. 1/2 of a medium sized papaya
  2. 2 ripe kiwis peeled and chopped
  3. 2 ripe bananas
  4. 1/2 cup of low fat milk or yogurt of your choice
  5. 1 cup of crushed ice (optional)

Instructions

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend till smooth.  Add crushed ice if needed.

Yields 3-4 servings

 

 

 

 

 

Basic Millet Porridge

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When I think of porridge, I cognitively associate it with Goldilocks and Three Bears. Thankfully, I never had an issue of someone breaking into my house to eat my breakfast. Although, I’ve encountered people complaining about not having what to eat for breakfast. If I were to create my own version of the story, it would illustrate Goldilocks as the housekeeper for the Three Bears who woke up one morning to finding nothing that they like to eat for breakfast. Goldilocks suggested making a millet porridge for them in which they agreed. She made sure that the porridge was neither too hot too cold, too bland, or too flavorful. Baby Bear wanted some fresh fruit served with his porridge while Pappa Bear and Mama Bear wanted to top their porridge with toasted nuts.  Goldilocks made it just right and the Three Bears decided to permanently hire her as their housekeeper.  Goldilocks made sure that breakfast was readily available for them the first thing in the morning  for the sake of her job and survival.  I suppose I am both the Three Bears and Goldilocks in this story. Thank God, it doesn’t take much to impress a household of growling bellies.

Millet is an ancient seed, originating from Africa and northern China.  It remains a staple in the diets of about a third of the world’s population to this very day. Rich in iron, B vitamins and calcium, millet has a mild corn flavor and is naturally gluten-free. At first glance, you might be tempted to think that raw millet resembles much like birdseed. But these little yellow bead like grains have a really lovely and light texture when cooked, are relatively quick-cooking because of their small size, and are incredibly versatile in dishes ranging all the way from breakfast to dinner.

As someone who is new to cooking millet, it took be a bit of trial and error to perfect it the first found.  I recently started eating millet and I had to rely on the imprinted cooking instructions on the package it get it right. I I made rice pudding before, how hard can making millet porridge be? I gave it a whirl and  the end result is like a mix between polenta and cream of wheat.  This porridge thicker than cream of wheat but creamier and softer than polenta.  The flavor is light and nutty and totally devourable without a single topping.  I thought it would need some cut up fresh fruit on top to sweeten or a honey drizzle but it was perfect all on its own for my taste buds. Okay, so I did splash in some vanilla extract and season it with cinnamon. I truthfully find this breakfast idea much more comforting and satiating than a bowl of oats and perfect for the cold snap that hit us this season.

For this recipe, you will need:

  1. 1/3 cup of millet
  2. 3/4 cup of water
  3. 1/2 cup of low fat milk of your choice
  4. 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  5. 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  6. Pinch of salt
  7. 2 tablespoons of raisins or toasted nuts (optional)
  8. Maple syrup, honey, or other artificial sweetener to taste

Instructions

In a small saucepan, combine millet, water, milk, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 25 minutes without stirring. If the liquid is not completely absorbed, cook for 3-5 minutes longer, partially covered. Remove from heat. Top with raisins or nuts. Drizzle with honey or maple syrup.  Serve hot or at room temperature.

Yields 1 serving

 

 

Tex-Mex Omelette Breakfast Burrito

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Burrito Omlette

Despite the fact that this dish is a breakfast burrito, I had this omelette for lunch.  It was one of the most scrumptious lip smacking lunches I’ve ever had in a while. And very filling too. It’s been 4 hours and the hungry pangs haven’t resumed yet. I generally try to avoid anything heavy with cheese, sodium, and carbohydrates even though I crave for them from time to time. I needed a break from my regular salad lunch routine and decided to pamper myself just a bit.  So I made myself an Tex Mex style omelette breakfast burrito, something I have been meaning to make and perfect for a while.  They would often fall apart in my attempt to make them. This round, I was satisfied with the results I achieved. After meeting my once a month egg quota, I may make this burrito omelette again next month but I may add more vegetables. 

As someone who is originally from Upstate New York, I have a ridiculous affinity to spicy (and Asian) food. I may not be an expert in Tex Mex cuisines as someone from the southern western region in America but I do appreciate a good home cooked Tex Mex meal. Unfortunately, there aren’t any decent Mexican/Latin restaurants where I live. Most of the Mexican/Latin condiments are imported and obscenely expensive. That is partially the reason why I prefer to make my own salsa. I also make taco shells from tortilla wraps, a brilliant idea a friend suggested to me. I bake them rather than deep frying them of course.

While omelettes are easy to prepare, I am ashamed to admit that I sometimes struggle with getting the right consistency. Sometimes a plain omelette is not enough for me.  I took peppers and tomatoes from the salad I was suppose to have for lunch and used them in my omelette along with some mushrooms. I also used a chili pepper that I was reserving for dinner later on in the week to liven up my omelette a bit. You can embellish your omelette breakfast burrito to your heart’s content with whatever additional ingredients you like. I would have included eggplant in there as well but didn’t have any. I used avocado instead. Although this is a breakfast burrito recipe, I intentionally did not include a tortilla wrap for a low-carb meal.  You can layer a whole wheat flour tortilla wrap the way you would for any burrito if you like. This recipe yields one omelette breakfast burrito but you can multiply the ingredients to make more.

For this recipe, you will need:

  1. 2 eggs
  2. 2 tablespoons of olive oil divided
  3. 1 medium onion diced
  4. 1 clove of garlic minced
  5. 1 small chili pepper chopped
  6. 2 ripe tomatoes diced
  7. 1/2 cup of chopped mushrooms
  8. 1 bell pepper chopped
  9. 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
  10. 1 ripe avocado sliced (optional)
  11. Salt and pepper for taste
  12. Grated reduced fat cheddar cheese (optional)

Instructions

Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Saute vegetables for a couple of minutes or until soft. Remove vegetables from skillet and set aside. Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet. Whisk two eggs in a bowl. Pour eggs into skillet and spread with a spatula. When cooked enough, carefully flip it over and sprinkle with cheese, salt, and pepper. Remove omelette from heat. Place avocado and 1/3 cup of the sauteed vegetables down the middle. Season with fresh cilantro. Roll up and cut in half.

Yields 2 servings

 

 

 

Carob Smoothie

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Carob Smoothie

To a lot of people I know and even to me at a certain extent, carob has a negative connotation. When I think of carob, I visualize these hard leathery pods that take minutes to bite into. I nearly dislocated my jaw from trying to chew into them.  I have no objection to carob powder though. And I have been using carob powder as of late; mostly in my drinks.  Carob is a pod like fruit that is native to the Middle East where is has been in cultivation for nearly 4,000 years.  Akin to cocoa powder and chocolate, carob powder come from a tropical pod in which the pulp is roasted and ground into powder.  Interestingly enough, most carob trees are monoecious. They contain individual male and female flowers. The dark-brown pods are not only edible, but also rich in sucrose and protein. Moreover, the pod has vitamin A, B vitamins, and several important minerals. Some nutritionists recommend using carob powder in lieu of cocoa powder and there is a reason for it.  The nutrition facts on one tablespoon of unsweetened carob powder lists 25 calories, no fat, no saturated fat, no cholesterol, and 6 grams carbohydrate. By comparison, one tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder contains 12 calories, 1 gram of fat, no saturated fat, no cholesterol, and 3 grams of carbohydrate. Despite the difference in texture and taste, a candy bar made with carob has about the same amount of fat and calories as a chocolate bar. Unlike cocoa powder and chocolate, carob is caffeine-free. Carob also contains three times as much calcium as cocoa powder. That doesn’t go to say that I am substituting cocoa powder for carob powder from hereon out. I am merely trying to accustom my taste buds to the flavor of carob powder. Plus the idea of making carob brownies and cookies is still of an interest to me. As of now, I will be sharing a carob smoothie recipe with you.

For this recipe, you will need:

  1. 2 ripe bananas
  2. 1 cup of milk of your choice
  3. 4 cocoa beans shelled (you can use nuts as well)
  4. 2 tablespoons of carob powder
  5. 1 tablespoon of flax or chia seeds
  6. 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Instructions 

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend till smooth. Serve cold.

Yields 2 cups

 

Strawberry Orange Spelt Muffins

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Strawberries are at their peak this season and I couldn’t resist the temptation of buying a couple of cartons of them. There is never a concern of produce rotting in my household, especially fresh strawberries. They are consumed within a day or two. The rest gets frozen for later use. There is one thing that is absolute; nothing ever goes to waste therefore there is no such thing as having too many strawberries in my house if you are a strawberry lover like me. Even though, I normally enjoy eating fresh strawberries as they are, sometimes I’ll make drinks, pies, or snacks when I have ample amount of them. I had an itch for strawberry muffins all week long. I encountered several recipes but I decided to create my own vegan version using spelt flour. You can use all-purpose flour and even gluten-free flour if you find the texture of these muffins to be too heavy for you from the spelt flour. Orange is a great combination with strawberries.  I used both zest and juice. I also used a less conventional twist by trying the basil variation. I heard that the hint of basil complements the fruity berries wonderfully so I had to try it for myself. This strawberry orange spelt low-fat muffin recipe works well with raspberries, rhubarb, or cherries as well. These wheat-free muffins are perfect for a dreary clammy winter morning. Moist vegan, sugar-free and flavorful, they taste the best on the day they are baked.

For this recipe, you will need:

  1. 2 cups of spelt flour
  2. 3 tablespoons of crushed almonds or walnuts
  3. 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  4. 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  5. 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  6. Juice from 1 large orange plus 1 tablespoon of zest
  7. 1 1/2 cup of chopped fresh or frozen strawberries divided
  8. 1/4 cup of chopped fresh basil (optional)
  9. 3/4 cup of milk of your choice
  10. 1/4 cup of canola oil
  11. 1/2 cup of honey
  12. 1/2 cup of agave nectar or sugar cane syrup
  13. 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray. Whisk the first 5 ingredients in a bowl. Set aside. Puree 1 cup of strawberries in a blender till smooth. Mix strawberry puree in a bowl with the rest of the wet ingredients. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients. Fold in the remaining 1/2 cup of chopped strawberries. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle with the almond or walnut topping, gently pressing into the batter. Bake the muffins until golden brown and a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool for at least 5 minutes more before serving.

Yields 1 dozen muffins