Weekends with Waffles

Ok…. I’m sure by now you have noticed my new-found love on the weekends, waffles! Yes, this was primarily due to the fact that I got a waffle maker at my bridal shower about a month ago, but now it seems to be a new weekend tradition for me (and one that I’m pretty darn excited about!). Waffles to me are a little like oatmeal, a blank slate that you can jazz up with fruits, nuts, spices, nut butters… whatever your heart desires!

When I am looking for a waffle mix, I typically look for something with minimal ingredients, preferably whole grain, and without an added flavorings. This gives me the most freedom in flavoring or boosting up my waffle. Why do I use a pre-made base mix? Because it does just that, give me the most basic base without me having to measure out flour, baking soda, or baking powder, and is just a small step that is easier skipped.

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How do I use this base? It is very simple. For 1 average-sized waffle (not spilling out over the edges and a little crispy on the side) I use:

  • about 1/3 cup Trader Joe’s Multigrain Baking Mix
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/3 over ripe banana, mashed
  • dash of cinnamon

Now, like I said, this is my base. Depending on what kind of waffle I’m feeling that morning, I sometimes will also add: PB2, vanilla extract, chocolate vegan protein powder, blueberries or other berries, etc. Make sure you spray your waffle maker well before adding your batter. I typically don’t use all of the batter, but if you want a little fluffier or thicker waffle, go ahead and scrape that bowl clean! each waffle take about 2-3 minutes to cook; go more towards 3 if you want it fairly golden-brown!

Once my waffle is finished, let the toppings begin! For my PB&J Waffle show below, I use 1/2 banana, about 1/4-1/3 cup frozen raspberries warmed in the microwave, 1-2 Tbsp nut butter, a little light maple syrup, and an extra dash of cinnamon. Play around with taste, textures, and combinations to find your perfect weekend waffle! Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

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Pile on Pancakes… Protein Pancakes That Is!

Good morning football fans! I will be cheering on the Buckeyes from my couch this morning as I catch up on a million things that took a back seat during my first week of work! Seeing the snowflakes hitting my beloved Buckeyes on the field is a nice confirmation of why I am hereย looking outside at a beautiful blue Arizona morning sky.

With a hectic first week behind me, this morning called for something special, relaxing, and delicious. Pancakes it was! I love a good stack of pancakes on a Saturday morning, but we all know that piling on the pancakes can come with a price. Calories from the typicalย pre-made mix, sugary syrup, and gooey butter cannot only add unwanted calories, but a little extra lovin’ to the tummy with a few more grams of fat then we would all probably like.

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My pancakes were light, delicious, and still had that warm, fluffy pancake texture. A little protein powder assured me that I was indeed getting in a little protein this morning (because as I’ve said before this is often a struggle of mine), and the naturally sweetened fruit topping added all the sweetness I needed. Add a cup of coffee to the side, and my morning was just about perfect!

If you are a pancake lover, I encourage you to play around with this recipe. Many things could be added, substituted, or changed; this is kind of my blank slate for pancakes. By not using syrup, you open up the option of using other topping such as fruit, jellies, Greek yogurt, or even a few chocolate chips (because everything is better with chocolate!). Enjoy your Saturday, and fill your tummy with something delicious and nutritious!

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Banana Blueberry Protein Pancakes: 215-240 calories per stack (varies with toppings)

  • 3 Tbsp whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 over-ripe banana, mashed
  • 1/2 cup blueberries (divided between batter and topping)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp chia seeds

In a small bowl, mash your banana and add 1 egg white. Mix until they are well incorporated. Add your flour, protein powder, and cinnamon. In a small skillet, cook your pancakes over medium heat. I added a few blueberries into the batter of each pancake. Once finished, heat the remaining blueberries in the microwave for 40-50 seconds, or until they begin to form a juice. Pour the blueberries on top of your pancakes. I also added chia seeds and a little extra sprinkle of cinnamon onto mine. If you add the chia seeds directly into the batter, your batter may thicken to an unwanted consistency, as chia seeds can form a jell when mixed with liquid.

Enjoy!


Smoothie Scene

Smoothies seem to be the new trendy way for people to start their day, so I thought I’d take some time to give my take and share with you some of my favorite smoothie recipes! Personally, I love the new smoothie trend! Why? A few reasons. How many people actually count how many serving of fruit or veg they are getting in a day? Although I’d like to think everyone, I’m also a realistic person, so I know that it is not happening. For some people, like my fiance, fruit and veg servings don’t even cross their mind, and well….he did choose to get engaged to a dietitian, so he had to realize I was going to start to push the fruit and veg on him sooner or later.

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My recent solution to his lack of interest in trying different vegetables or fruits (or really eating any for that matter): make him a colorful, tasteful smoothie a few mornings duringย the week that he can down in a few gulps without even stopping to ask what’s in it.ย Tricky… I know ๐Ÿ˜‰

Smoothies are a great way to be sure you, your children, or your spouse are in fact getting in AT LEAST 1 serving of fruits and vegetables each and every day. Believe it or not, leafy greens such as spinach or kale are not even noticeable taste-wise when blended with a helping serving of fresh or frozen fruit. I pack it in there when I make one for myself. Jeff, I have to be a little more conservative with so that I don’t get a funny brown color mixing greens with berries.

When it comes to green smoothies, one of my favorite new recipes is:

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 cup vanilla Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1/2-3/4 cup frozen pineapple chunks
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup ice water (if too thick or having trouble blending)

Jeff often likes berry smoothies, so my go-to very berry smoothie is:

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk or any low-fat or fat free milk of your choice
  • 1/2 cup vanilla Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 banana
  • 3/4 cup frozen mixed berry blend or frozen blueberries
  • few leaves of fresh spinach
  • 1/4 cup ice water

For a little added fiber you can always add 1/4 cup rolled oats, or 1 tsp ground flaxseed for some added omega-3’s. If looking for a little extra protein, omit the milk, use 1 cup of Greek yogurt and 1/4-1/2 cup ice water to thin it out. Protein powder is also another great alternative, although I haven’t really used this in mine so I can’t give you any tips or advice for recipes!

However you choose to make your smoothies, remember that often times it doesn’t matter what fruit combo or veg you choose, it will typically taste fine! Experiment with your smoothies, and see what you like best!


Pretty In Pink Smoothie

I know the title is cheesy, but not only is this smoothie pretty and pink, it is also delicious, light, and the perfect drink to cool you off when you are sitting by the pool, laying out with a good book, or procrastinating studying (my RD exam is in how many weeks…..yikes!). Also, did I mention its only 75 calories? I love smoothies during the summer, especially when it starts to get hot and muggy. Ohio is purely into extreme weather this year. Let me know what you think if you give it a try! Also, don’t fret if it’s not as thick as your usual smoothies; watermelon is about 90-92% water, so it is going to be a little watery!

Pretty In Pink Smoothie

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup ice water
  • 1/2 cup Carbmaster vanilla yogurt (Kroger brand; you can substitute with another low-fat vanilla Greek yogurt if you’d like)
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  • 3/4 cup diced watermelon
  • 1/2 tsp honey (I just eye-balled it!)

Blend your ingredients until smooth, and top with a few extra frozen raspberries!

Tip for smoothie making: Always add your liquid first; this give the blender a little help with breaking down all the rest of your ingredients and makes it move a little faster and smoother!

 


Shifting to Summer

I’m sure not everyone is as excited when 70 degrees rolls around, but for me after this terrible Ohio winter, seeing even 60 on the thermometer gets me feeling energized and ready to get outside. After being cooped up all winter, I’m sure you’ve seen some changes in your eating habits (at least I do). Being cold and being cooped up inside triggers my brain to do one thing, and that is eat. Not only does your body naturally need a little extra insulation during those cold winter months (causing the munchies to come around a bit more often), but you are also bored! And what can boredom often lead to… mindless eating.ย 

With the warm weather creeping in, use this new exciting, and fresh weather to transition some of those not so favorable winter eating habits into healthy, fresh, summer ones. Not only can you get outside, enjoy the new warmth on your skin, and get in a little physical activity, you can also embrace the tastes, textures, and colors of summer foods. Fruits will be sweeter, vegetables have a little more crunch, and the possibilities for grilling and utilizing the freshest ingredients are endless. Here are my top 4 weekly summer must-haves when it comes to preparing dinner each night. Any of these can be whipped up in a few minutes, are versatile, and can be used to showcase the tastes of summer!

1. SALADS: I know this may seem a little cliche`, but come on. What better to start off a meal each night then a big bowl of colorful fresh fruits, vegetables, or even make it an entree and add in some protein. I’ve said many times how I love combining sweet fruits with either salty nuts or cheese to top a salad, and summer is the perfect time to experiment. Take some chopped romaine, arugala, and baby spinach and top with crunchy walnuts, slivered mandarin oranges, feta cheese, and same shaved radishes. Dress with a light raspberry vinaigrette and you have the perfect basic summer salad to add to any entree. Want to make this an entree? Add some grilled chicken, grilled fish, or even grilled tofu and you have taken this basic salad into an entree that is not only light, crisp, and colorful, but provides carb, protein, and a little fat. Talk about satisfaction ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

2. QUESADILLAS: Yes, this is another one of my summertime favorites. Why? Because you can grill them and they taste even better then when pressed. They also form the perfect crust that makes them almost taco like and holds in ingredients tight. Try these combos: grill some portabella mushrooms, onion, and a little red pepper with salt and pepper until tender, add a little shredded mozzarella and grill between 2 tortillas or flatbread, delicious!; grill a chicken breast, slice and add a few tablespoons of goat cheese and a few roasted red peppers, top with a sweet or spicy salsa; a traditional favorite of fresh mozzarella, basil leaves, and sliced tomato made that much better by pressing it between 2 flatbreads or a whole wheat quesadilla on the grill.ย 

3. BARBECUE SKEWERS: Another extremely versatile dish that can really showcase tastes common to summer. For example, one of my favorites is marinating tofu cubes for about an hour with a sweet barbecue sauce and alternating tofu with pineapple chunks, orange pepper slices, and onions for a sweet and salty skewer. Mix up your proteins and try different fruits as well as veggies. The weirdest combos are often the best!ย 

4. BURGERS: Whether you eat meat or prefer a meat alternative, burgers are classic for summer, barbecuing, and any type of outdoor celebration. I have already posted numerous recipes for meat-free burgers (take a look at my black bean burger and sweet potato white bean burger!), but here are some ideas for toppings: sliced avocado with a little dijon mustard and shredded mozzarella cheese; grilled mushrooms with a little drizzle of balsamic vinegar and some crumbled feta cheese; granny smith apple slices with a slice of gouda or if you like your meat, a few slices of lean turkey bacon!

I hope some of these ideas sparked your interest in summer cooking! Let me know if you try any and what you like best ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy cooking!