Tag Archives: breakfast

Homemade Oat and Seed Granola

9 Apr Homemade Oat and Seed Granola with oats, salba, chia, pepitas, and flax

As I recently filled you in, I’m on a mission right now to keep The Hubs feeling full while watching his race weight as we continue the countdown to Boston.  This task is far more difficult than one might expect; on one hand he is the most relentlessly driven, self-disciplined person I’ve ever met, yet on the other- as soon as it’s territory he doesn’t have to dominate (read: any and all of the choices on the food he consumes)- he very willingly relinquishes all control.  Don’t read into this as a complaint, I take great pride in the fact that such a capable, intelligent person would entrust his diet to me fully.  It does mean that I have a very important job.

It also mean that my phone features a constant feed of questions about what he can and cant eat.  Which is pretty adorable:

text collage

A donut? Are you serious?

See… adorable.

In order to keep Mr. Adorable away from the donuts on the road to Boston, I try to send a variety of tasty, wholesome snacks along each day to help keep him feeling satisfied.  Granola is the absolute easiest option since it can be consumed a variety of ways- dry as trail mix, sprinkled over yogurt or cottage cheese, layered over sliced bananas and fruit, or in a bowl with alt-milk and a spoon.

For me, granola is one of those foods it makes me sick to think of purchasing because the store bought versions are A) infuriatingly expensive in comparison to their raw ingredients and prep effort level, B) normally contain lots of unnecessary salt and refined sugar, and C) are always lacking just a little something that would make it exactly what you wanted… but that you could easily make at home in the perfect, custom manner.

Chances are, you have the basic raw ingredients hanging out in your pantry just waiting to be used.  See what I mean:

  • 2 cups whole rolled oats
  • 1/2-3/4 cup nuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4-1/2 cup seeds
  • 1/3 cup dried fruit (coarsely chopped if using apples or apricots)
  • 1/2 tsp of sea salt or kelp flakes
  • 4-6 tbs of honey or maple syrup
  • 2 tbs of coconut oil

From there you can get fancy with a pinch of this or a dash of that, but in the end it’s really all the same.  It ends up being a great way to use up odds and ends in the pantry- which is far more eco-friendly and budget conscious than buying store bought.

Granola making (and consuming) rarely looks the same way twice in this household, but I do have a favorite framework I like to work around that includes lots of fabulous seeds and other little nuggets of scrumptious goodness.  Give it a go in your kitchen, but don’t be afraid to change it up to your liking.  And- MOST IMPORTANTLY- don’t turn it into something that necessitates a trip to the grocery store… use up what you’ve got in that pantry.

Unless, of course, you aren’t yet someone who stocks oats, seeds, and grade B maple syrup. In that case, get thee to the market PRONTO!

 

Homemade Oat and Seed Granola with oats, salba, chia, pepitas, and flax

Homemade Oat and Seed Granola

  • 2 cups whole rolled oats
  • generous 1/2 cup raw almond, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup pepitas
  • 2 tbs salba
  • 2 tbs black chia seeds
  • 2 tbs quinoa (raw)
  • 2 tbs golden flax seeds
  • 2 tbs shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 tsp kelp flakes
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 tbs grade B maple syrup
  • 2 tsp local honey
  • 2 tbs coconut oil, melted
  • slash of vanilla extract
  • splash of almond extract
  • generous pinch of sea salt

Directions: Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and, using a silicone spatula, toss well to incorporate.  Spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven, toss, and return to bake for 10-15 minutes more.

Allow to cool completely on baking pan before serving of storing.

*Frequency of tossing during cooking as well as length of cooling time will affect the size of your granola clusters.  If you like chunkier granola, toss less and allow to cool completely undisturbed.

Will keep in airtight container for about 2 weeks in fridge.

Breakfast on the Run: Baked Egg Cups To Go

15 Jan

The The Hub’s new Team Rogue schedule is a bit of a game changer in our household (not just because they’ve lead him to finally accepting that he has insanely loud feet).  He’s now out the door for the day pre-workout instead of our old routine in which he ran the neighborhood/area, came home to eat breakfast and get ready for work, and then left for the day.  Because it was routine, I found this slightly easier in my mind because the dirty laundry made it in the bathroom immediately and I could worry with his morning nutrition on the spot.  In reality, I’m realizing that it made me less strategic- and also meant The Hubs often made his own eggs while balancing a business call if and when I managed a morning run for myself.  We’re multi-taskers ’round here, y’all!

I’m realizing that pre-prepped breakfast to go is a thing of beauty.  It forces me to be strategic and also means I don’t feel like a lazy bum on the mornings that I sleep in a bit later than I meant… because I was up later than intended… because I took extra time to stop and smell the roses with the little one during the day… (You see the cycle right?)

Last week I created Mango Recovery Muffins for The Hubs to tote along for breakfast and this week I’ve added baked egg cups into the mix.  They are easy enough that you could bake them the morning of if you prefer, but I’m streamlining our morning shenanigans (read as: I’m not waking up at 4:15 am for someone’s track practice until it’s because I have to get up to drive Baby Bird to the track) so I’m baking them the night before and packaging them up neatly for the next morning.

Breakfast on the Run: Bake Egg Cups, fruit skewers, Mango Macadamia Recovery Muffins, and Raspberry Refrigerator Jam from Go Running, Mama!

As you can see- via the beauty that is my late night Instagram snapshot- The Hubs left this morning with two baked egg cups, fruit skewers, a Mango Macadamia Recovery Muffin, and a generous scoop of raspberry chia refrigerator jam.  The kiwi blueberry skewers made it easy for him to eat his fruit quickly without having to use utensils or picking up each piece with his fingers.  A little box of balanced, satisfying, premade nutrition designed for him to consume quickly in the transition from workout to work.

Now that is a productive start to the day!

Baked Egg Cups To Go

Ingredients

  • 2-4 jumbo eggs
  • i slice of thick cut bacon; cooked, fattiest part removed, and diced
  • truffle salt
  • butcher’s cut pepper
  • olive oil

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

“Grease” silicone muffin cups with olive oil.  Place muffin cups on a baking pan or sheet.

Crack an egg into each muffin cup.  Sprinkle each egg with diced bacon, truffle salt, and pepper.

Place baking sheet and muffin cups in oven and bake for 16-19 minutes, rotating pan each 6 minutes.  Remove when eggs are white and yolks still have a slight wobble.

Mango Macadamia Recovery Muffins with Raspberry Chia Jam

14 Jan

Mango Macadamia Recovery Muffins with Raspberry Chia Jam- Go Running, Mama!

These muffins were born of the need to provide The Hubs with a homemade “recovery” food that was portable for his early morning runs.  I can make a batch, toss them in the freezer, and pull one or two out each evening for him to take with his very portable breakfast. The jam only has to be made once a week and a generous scoop in a small Wean Green container makes are great muffin accompaniment.

I needed an easy, freezable non bacon and eggs protein option for The Hubs to easily reach for in transit post workout since I keep having to stress over and over and over and over that he needs to start consuming protein within the first half hours after a hard workout (which, given the fact that I’ve spent countless hours ensuring this is the best nutritional plan for him, means that I will soon discover is completely incorrect in the next major nutrition paradigm shift). These muffins pack in a little extra protein and TONS of nutrients thanks to the addition of both Vega protein and Amazing Meal.  I love the chia jam as an addition (Thanks to Family Circle for this idea… OMG.  That statement really drives home the fact that I’m a middle aged mom.)  because it assists with hydration and provides a hefty does of Omega-3s.

Most importantly… they are darn tasty.

No more morning excuses.  Put the PopTarts down.

Mango Macadamia Recovery Muffins with Raspberry Chia Jam- Go Running, Mama!

Mango Macadamia Recovery Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup frozen mango, coarsely chopped
  • 2 egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup grade B maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup vanilla rice milk
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3 cup raw macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
  • 30 g Vega Sport Vanilla Performance Protein
  • 30 g Amazing Meal Pomegranate Mango Infusion
  • 1 1/2 cups wheat bran
  • generous 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 3 1/3 tsp baking soda

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Combine egg whites, maple syrup, and rice milk in a bowl and mix well to combine.

Add rolled oats to a food processor and pulse to create a fine textured oat flour.

Combine oat flour, wheat bran, baking soda, Amazing Meal, and protein to a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine well.  Make a well in the center and add wet ingredient mixture; mix to combine.  Add mango and macadamia nuts and mix well once more.  Gently stir in the coconut oil.

Line a 12 well muffin tray with baking cups.  Fill each well almost to the top.  Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven to a cooling rack.  Cool in muffin tray for at least 10 minutes before removing liners from the tray directly to the cooling rack.

Cool completely before enjoying.

Raspberry Chia Refrigerator Jam

Ingredients

  • 3 cups frozen raspberries
  • 1/3 cup grade B maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1 tbs lemon juice

Directions:

Combine raspberries, maple syrup, and lemon juice in a medium sauce pan.  Heat over medium heat for about 5 minutes until raspberries are defrosted and beginning to cook down very slightly.

Stir in chia seeds.  Continue to cook over medium low heat for 8-15 minutes until thickened and and slightly gelatinous (the consistency is a judgement call here).

Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.  Store in a tightly sealing jar in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Long Run Breakfast: Maple Walnut Kefir Biscuits and Fruit Salad

30 Dec Maple Walnut Kefir Biscuits- Go Running, Mama!

Hey, Jenn… remember when you stated a blog and called it ‘Go Running, Mama!’ because you spent all of your ‘me’ time running?  Remember that? Do you think you should… I don’t know… actually talk about running again sometime soon!?

Fair point, Inner Dialogue. Very fair point.

Except I haven’t been running consistently since the summer because the second half of 2013 has been a bit of a comedy of errors for me.

So what’s a mother runner on hiatus to do?  Post about my husband’s runs.  Obviously.  It’s smoke and mirrors, y’all… just enough to get myself back into training mode (which is happening TODAY) so that you forget that you read the last 10 posts and thought “She should have called this blog ‘Go Make Ornaments and Cookies, Mama!'”  It’s all a clever ruse.

This weekend The Hubs had his first long run with the Team Rogue Sisson crew.  We’ve both been working with an amazing coach, Leah Soro at Enlightened Performance, for a almost two years (I like to describe myself very officially as the most infuriating runner Leah has ever had to coach) and she has pushed The Hubs to a level of excellence… not to mention the miracles she always works with me in the inevitably short period in which I focus before each race and claim I’m going to be consistently dedicated forever and ever from that point on (Spoiler Alert: I never follow through on that promise).

The only thing that is lacking with one-to-one coaching is teammates.  For me, this is is fine- I need someone who is going to help me work around toddler illness and playdates, late nights and nap boycotts, and who understands that workouts change based on whether or not I might need to push a stroller that day (Hill repeats?  During a week filled with freezing rain? With a toddler in a jogger?  It’s great to be able to send a text to Leah and get some different direction); when I need a running buddy I toss mine in the stroller; and there are no shortage of ladies I know willing to run my pace during a race.  I need the world’s most flexible way to be a coached runner- which Leah has patiently and graciously provided for me.

The man of the house is different.  If it’s on his plan, he will do it.  If there is a blizzard he will still do it, and he will probably do it better and faster than you asked him to perform.  And then he will come home and do double the conditioning exercises you asked him to do, a focused yin yoga series and foam rolling, and commence to quiz me on his appropriate nutrient intake based on that specific workout given our current elevation and a slight fluctuation in his temperature and heart rate.  And then he’ll do 100 burpees because he’s been standing still for too long.  So he’s a little serious.

In his less than three years as a runner he has made major strides, much of that with Leah’s guidance.  Joining Team Rogue is going to give him a new edge- the ability to push himself to the performance level of even faster athletes.  Peer pressure at its finest.  I don’t know if you can tell, but he’s not the kind of guy who likes to be left behind.

The Team Rogue Sisson crew was scheduled to run 20 miles on Saturday.  The Hubs is coming back from a calf injury so he said he thought he’d run 15 or 16.  I know him, so I figured that meant he would run a 10 mile warm up at 4:30 am and then decide to run the full 20 with Rogue as well.  Judging by his extreme focus and determination when laying out his gear on Friday night, the odds seemed in my favor.  30 miler, anyone?

Big training events are celebration points at our house, so Baby Bird and I decided to make a big breakfast for Daddy.  After a long run, he needs around 20 grams of protein and ideally we aim for around a 3:1 carb to protein ratio for his meal 30 minutes after his run.  Though I knew he would come home and immediately ask for bacon and eggs, I wanted to back off of the cholesterol and rely on healthier fats.  I decided on scrambled eggs, fruit salad,and maple walnut kefir biscuits.

Maple Walnut Kefir Biscuits- Go Running, Mama!

Our scrambled eggs are eggs with just a pinch or salt, butcher cut pepper, with a little olive or grapeseed oil in the pan- no extra daily mixed in.  (Last year we did an elimination diet in which we discovered The Hubs performs better when he avoids uncultured dairy) We mixed up a fruit salad with berries (high in antioxidants), bananas (potassium), mint (abundant in nutrients such as vitamin A and iron), and avocado.  In addition to the abundance of healthy monounsaturated fats contained in avocados, they also help to slow down the flow of glucose to your cells so they provide a bit of a balance to the high sugar content in fruit salads (especially if they contain high glucose fruits like grapes, date, bananas, or oranges).

Maple Walnut Kefir Biscuits were born of my love for all things drop-biscuit married to the prolific use of walnuts, grade B maple syrup, and kefir in my kitchen.  We are seriously obsessed with kefir.  I often use it as a substitute for sour cream, creme fraiche, or yogurt when cooking.  It’s a great probiotic addition to smoothies and make a really simple pasta sauce.  Plus, it’s about as toddler friendly as probiotics get.  Lifeway Probugs have been a game changer for us, Baby Bird thinks they are the greatest dessert in the world.  When she saw that Lifeway had a booth at ACL Kiddie Limits this year and were giving away free Probugs push pops, she declared it the coolest event in the universe.  She is still talking about how much she loves ACL.

Maple Walnut Kefir Biscuits- Go Running, Mama!

A maple walnut biscuit should clearly be a sweet biscuit.  Using maple syrup in the biscuits lets me cut down considerably on the sugar content, and using grade b maple syrup lets me use even less maple syrup in the sugar’s place without sacrificing sweetness or mapleyness.  Glazing the biscuits with grade B maple syrup packs an extra punch of manganese and zinc for a guy who is sufficiently sweating out huge quantities of salts and minerals on a daily basis.  Walnuts are high in omega-3s but, more importantly, research shows they may have significant cardiovascular benefits.  And a healthy heart is a very good thing for an endurance athlete.

When The Hubs returned home from his run (20 miles… underachiever) he was in great spirits and very much in need of a post run meal.  Once he hit the entryway, I heard the expected question… “Can we have some bacon?”

The answer was yes… a little… spread sparingly on a walnut kefir biscuit (in the form of bacon beer jam) and enjoyed with fruit and eggs.

Maple Walnut Kefir Biscuits and Bacon Beer Jam- Go Running, Mama!

That was an acceptable compromise.

We all sat down to enjoy a recap of that morning’s run over a fabulous breakfast.  And admire the sweet new Adidas Glide Boosts he purchased at Rogue after his run.

And, of course, to enjoy a little family core work and yin yoga.  And to discuss the carb to protein ratio in the exact breakfast portions The Hubs had just consumed.

Some things never change.

Maple Walnut Kefir Biscuits- Go Running, Mama!

Maple Walnut Kefir Biscuits

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted cultured butter (slightly softened)
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbs grade B maple syrup + more for glazing biscuits
  • 1/4 cup plain kefir
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • generous 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Combine butter, sugar and egg in the bowl of a stand mixer and cream.  Add the maple syrup and kefir and mix well.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking soda and whisk well to incorporate.

Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing until just combined.  Gently stir in the walnuts.

Drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto a baking sheet lined in parchment paper.  Bake for 12 minutes until biscuits are beginning to brown slightly.

Remove to a cooling rack and brush biscuits with maple syrup to glaze.

Make 12-14 biscuits.

Maple Bacon Biscuits

12 Sep Go Running, Mama!: Maple Bacon Biscuits

Hi, my name is Jenn and I’m about to make your weekend breakfast awesome. Legitimately awesome. Objectively awesome.

Maybe not healthy… but awesome.

Around here, weekends are about the long run. Which also means Sundays are about the equally important “post long run breakfast.” Usually that means pancakes, but that is a serious undertaking in our household because I strongly believe the only classic pancakes worth making are those with stiffly beaten egg whites incorporated throughout which means that they are only good straight off the skillet- no pre-making, early prepping, or-gasp- freezing excess for the next weekend allowed… because that would make pancakes with beaten egg whites just terrible. Flat, mealy, gritty….Ick! And this makes me sad because pre-making, early prepping, and freezing leftovers for easy breakfasts later in the week are basically the first three bullet points on my Mommy Kitchen Creed.

Last weekend I had biscuits on the brain after receiving a heavy dose of undeserved praise the previous night for the ultra easy cheddar biscuits I toted to accompany minestrone soup at our best-running-family-freinds’ house along with some thick cut apple cinnamon smoked bacon that was a prime candidate for post long run breakfast. Bacon biscuits and scrambled eggs seemed like an obvious conclusion to reach. It took about thiry seconds to find a recipe on Joy the Baker for Brown Sugar Bacon Biscuits that was an ideal jumping off point. And Joy was onto something that makes me really happy- the combo of baconiness and sweetness.

Yep, I’m one of those cliche individuals who loves the idea of bacon and sweets… as an occasional treat, of course I love the Vogues Bacon Chocolate bar. At the donut shop, I opt for a maple bacon donut. One of my running teams has a “bacon challenge” during marathons (Endurance Sports Connection/Run Disney so I can Eat Disney shout-out!). I own both smoked bacon sugar and maple salt. Because those things make sense together. They are good- cliches, trends, and faux hipness aside.

Sweet/salty combinations are undeniably amazing. The king and queen of this regal pairing? Bacon and maple syrup.

Okay, so bacon and maple syrup it is.

I played around with the inspiration recipe just a bit in order to form my own perfect marriage of maple and bacon in biscuit. And, as I said before, it’s awesome.

Please run before you eat these- because chances are you aren’t stopping with just one!

Go Running, Mama!: Maple Bacon Biscuits

Maple Bacon Biscuits

  • 6 slices of bacon
  • 3 c all-purpose flour
  • 2.5 tbs brown sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • butcher’s cut pepper (very coarsely ground)
  • 3/4 c cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 c + 1/2 c grade B maple syrup
  • 3/4 c buttermilk

Directions: Preheat oven to 370 degrees F.

Line baking sheet with foil and spread slices of bacon into a single layer. Sprinkle with pepper and bake until crisp, 15-17 minutes.

Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees F.

Remove to layered paper towels to cool and drain. When cool to the touch, chop into medium chunks and set aside.

Add flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and a generous 1/2 tsp butcher’s cut pepper to the bowl on a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the cold butter and pulse until flour mixture resembles a very coarse meal and butter has broken into pea-sized chunks. Transfer to a mixing bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, maple syrup, and egg. Add to four mixture and stir to incorporate, adding bacon immediately after buttermilk mixture.

Turn onto lightly floured surface and knead several times just to incorporate, being careful not to overwork dough.

Roll or at dough into 1.5 inch thickness and cut into circles using a biscuit cutter. Reshape dough to make additional biscuits with scraps, being careful not to manipulate dough to the point that the butter begins to melt (shape biscuits away from the oven!).

Place on parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes.

Remove biscuits from baking sheet to a cooling rack placed over parchment and drizzle each with 1/2 tsp grade B maple syrup before serving.

Makes about two dozen biscuits.

Rosemary Peach “Breakfast” Cookies

21 Aug Go Running, Mama!- Rosemary Peach "Breakfast" Cookies

It looks like we’re talking cookies this week!

Honestly, it’s probably mean for me to share this recipe as we close out peach season because it really necessitates getting your hands on a good number of lovely, ripe peaches.  There is always a chance that you can… and if you can, you now have a great way to use them!

This recipe is really a tweaked version of Martha Stewart’s Fresh Peach Drop Cookies that I’ve added to my repertoire to utilize the rosemary peach butter I made thanks to a fabulously easy recipe from Kate at Food Babbles. (Not familiar with Food Babbles? Do this now- open new tab, check out Food Babbles, drool, bookmark and pin recipes.  I’ll be here waiting for you when you’re done!)

The name of these cookies is a bit of a misnomer and comes from one of my husband’s coworkers.  At the end of each quarter, I become somewhat of a business team room mom for my hubby and his coworkers to help cheer them through moderately insane hours.  I made these cookies for his team last quarter the day after I sent a chocolate chop cookie cake that his coworker insisted could be considered a breakfast cookie since it arrived in the morning.  These Rosemary Peach Cookies went to work with my husband the following day with the understanding that they were a far more acceptable breakfast option than cookie cake.

You shouldn’t eat cookies for breakfast.

But if you did eat these for breakfast it wouldn’t be the end of the world.  Especially since these are easy to make and best enjoyed warm and fresh.

I’m just saying…

Go Running, Mama!- Rosemary Peach "Breakfast" Cookies

 

Rosemary Peach “Breakfast” Cookies

  • 2 c + 2 tbs all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1/3 c coconut palm sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large ripe peaches- peeled, pitted, and diced
  • 1/3 c + 1 tbs Rosemary Peach Butter
  • 2 tbs rosemary infused granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp ceylon cinnamon

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Whisk together 2 c flour, salt, and baking soda.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat 1/2 c granulated sugar, coconut palm sugar, and butter on medium-high until pale and fluffy.  Reduce speed to low and add in egg and vanilla.  Beat in the flour mixture in two additions.

Toss peaches with remaining 2 tbs of flour.  Mix peaches and peach butter into the batter until well incorporated.

Drop generous tablespoons of dough  about two inches apart onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Combine rosemary sugar and cinnamon.  Sprinkle the tops of cookies with 1/8 tsp of the sugar mixture.

Bake cookies for 6 minutes then rotate baking sheet and bake 5-6 minutes more.  Cool slightly on baking sheet before removing to cooling rack.

Makes 36-40 cookies.

Get to Know Your Grains: Quinoa (Cinnamon Quinoa Lunchbox Bars)

12 Aug Go Running, Mama!- Cinnamon Quinoa Lunchbox Bars; clean, healthy snack or breakfast on the go

About eight years ago I was exposed to quinoa at Walt Disney World while staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge.  Boma, the African buffet restaurant on property, served a hot quinoa breakfast porridge every morning and even without knowing its nutritional prowress I found it to be a delightfully tasty alternative to normal breakfast cereals.  I knew I just had to have it as a morning meal option in my own home.  Anyone who has been to WDW knows that they do customer service right so when I asked about how it was prepared, the chef provided me with the preparation method and recipe.

When I returned home, I did a little research on this mystery grain and quickly learned that it was quite the super grain.  Along with preparing quinoa in the mornings I started seeking out other ways to enjoy it.  At that point I was living in Houston and the fabulous Monica Pop would sell a red quinoa salad (that I have often tried to copy, yet have never managed to get quite right) at the T’afia farmers market that became a common staple for me.  I also started making a quinoa and flax granola occasionally that- looking back- seemed very forward thinking despite the fact that my friends made fun of me for taking time to home make a seedy little granola.  It’s probably one of the biggest contributors to my crunchy hippie reputation amongst my NFL dance friends.

By now I think most everyone is familiar with quinoa and has used it at least once in their kitchen- even if it’s simply been in place of rice as a side dish.  And however you might use it, you’re doing your health some serious favors.  Nutritional evaluations of quinoa lead most dietitians to classify it as a complete protein.  It’s high in antioxidants, phytonutrients and the flavonoids quercetin and kaempherol- higher, in fact, than the celebrated cranberry.  It contains eight essential amino acids yet is low in fat.  It is gluten free.  It’s easy to prepare and store for midweek meals.  No wonder it’s considered the “Mother Grain.”

To be frank, practically the only way you can go wrong with quinoa is to pronounce it phonetically.  Stop with the “kwin-oh-uh”… it pronounced “Keen-wah.”

Say it with me- “Keeeeeen-waaaah.”

Now go eat some!

Nutritional Information (1/2 c prepared quinoa)-

  • Calories- 111
  • Total Fat- 4 g
  • Sodium- 7 mg
  • Carbohydrates- 19.5 g
  • Fiber- 2.5 g
  • Protein- 4 g
  • Vitamin E- .6 mg
  • Thiamin- .1 mg
  • Riboflavin- .1 mg
  • Niacin- .4 mg
  • Vitamin B6- .1 mg
  • Folate- 37.5 mcg
  • Calcium- 16 mg
  • Iron- 1.4 mg
  • Magnesium- 59 mg
  • Phosphorus- 140.5 mg
  • Zinc- 1 mg

Go Running, Mama!- Cinnamon Quinoa Lunchbox Bars; clean, healthy snack or breakfast on the go

These are perfect for my toddler’s snack during dance camp because they pack a protein punch!  If you’re making them for adults, up the flavor factor by tossing in some additional baking spices.  You can also toss in raisins to make them more similar to traditional granola bars for bigger kiddos.

Cinnamon Quinoa Lunchbox Bars

  • 2 1/2 c quinoa, prepared and at room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbs flax meal
  • 6 tbs water
  • 1/3 c almond milk (I’m crazy for Califia Farms)
  • 1/3 c grade B maple syrup
  • 1 tbs local honey
  • 1 tbs cinnamon (ceylon is the best bet for use in this quantity)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Directions: Preheat oven to 370 degrees F.

Line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper.

In a small mise en place bowl, mix flax meal with water and allow to congeal.

In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs and flax meal mixture.  Reserving quinoa, add remaining ingredients and whisk once again.

Add quinoa and mix well to combine.

Pour into parchment lined baking dish and bake for 25 minutes.

Allow to cool 10 minutes in pan before removing on parchment to a cooling rack.

Once completely cool, cut in  a 2 inch grid to create 16 bars.

Unjunked Blueberry “Pep” Tarts with Coconut-Macadamia Nut Butter and Maple Glaze

17 Jul Go Running Mama- Unjunked Blueberry "Pep" Tart with Coconut-Macadamia Nut Butter and Maple Glaze

When it comes to planning to ensure our nutritional needs are met in this household, I deal with considerable inner conflict- As an active mom with an equally active husband and daughter I want to live by my inborn desire to graph, chart, and color coordinate our weekly menu guaranteeing all our nutritional needs are fully met and no food will go to waste:  As a hippie momster locavore foodie I want to live only by what’s freshest and most exciting, ingredients that speak to me at a moments notice or flavor combinations that engage my senses most fully when they are accidental discoveries.  Though it would probably be easiest on my sanity if I took a hardline stance and invested fully in only nurturing my type-A side, the hippie drippy lala in me seems to be guiding our family palate this summer to enjoy what the universe is offering at a moments notice.  Happily, I’m learning that the universe is just as opposed to wasting food as serious Jenn.  I’m also learning that the universe has some killer ideas about snacking awesomeness!

While in WIlliams Sonoma recently, I stumbled upon a Toaster Pastry Press that was on sale for $2.50.  No, I didn’t put the decimal in the wrong place- that is actually $2.50!  Obviously the universe was insisting I purchase that press because A) I love embarking on fun food adventures that my toddler can join in as well, and B) anytime anything is marked down to $2.50 in Williams Sonoma you would be completely crazy not to purchase it!  I set it aside knowing it would be just perfect for a rainy day kitchen adventure sometime.

Fast forward to the past 48 hours in Austin where, tut tut, it’s looked like rain (hint one…).  The arrival of our weekly CSA box provided a most welcomed diversion for a homebound toddler who was delighted to discover a pint of local blueberries inside.  “These are good for making!” she declared (hint two…).  As I started running through recipes in my mind to see what clever, toddler-friendly item I could conjure I remembered the local whole wheat flour we had received last week and the super duper exciting pastry press.  Okay, Universe… I give in!  Toaster pastries it is!

Go Running Mama- Unjunked Blueberry "Pep" Tart with Coconut-Macadamia Nut Butter and Maple Glaze

My little one has never had a pop-tart-esque pastry before, so I didn’t really have to “compete” with a familiar comfort item but I’m not one to try to duplicate icky food by making more nutritious versions of ickiness.  What’s the point of that?  It just disappoints those who find the original comforting and doesn’t add anything to the party for those who want a really tasty snack instead of a copycat of bland and dissatisfying comfort food.  My daughter is a big fan of graham crackers, so I decided to tweak our homemade graham cracker recipe for the dough.

Go Running Mama- Unjunked Blueberry "Pep" Tart with Coconut-Macadamia Nut Butter and Maple Glaze

We obviously had to use the blueberries for the filling, so I whipped up the same honey-sweetened reduction I use for homemade fruit yogurt.  I also remembered I had some leftover coconut-macadamia nut butter I made this weekend to serve dolloped on top of a tropical fruit salad that would make a lovely addition.

The end result?  Totally stellar yumminess brushed with maple syrup.  I’m not sure there will be any left for breakfast!

My daughter is obsessed.  As she frantically signed “more” to me, her mouth filled with the final bite of her pastry, I made the mistake of colling them Pop Tarts.

“More Pep Tart, peeeease,” she pleaded.

More Pep Tarts it is, Dear.

Go Running Mama- Unjunked Blueberry "Pep" Tart with Coconut-Macadamia Nut Butter and Maple Glaze

Unjunked Blueberry “Pep” Tarts with Coconut-Macadamia Nut Butter and Maple Glaze

  • Coconut-Macadamia Nut Butter (recipe below)
  • 1 1/2 c blueberries
  • 3 tbs local honey
  • 2 tbs water
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 3 1/3 c whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 c wheat germ
  • 1 scant tsp coarse salt
  • 4 tbs grade B maple syrup
  • 2 tbs almond milk
  • 8 tbs olive oil
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon

To make blueberry filling:

In a small saucepan, heat blueberries, honey, water, and almond extract over medium-high heat and bring to boil. Stir frequently and simmer to reduce by half using a wooden spoon to crush berries that do not pop on their own.  Reduce heat to medium if necessary.  Once reduced, remove pan from heat to thicken.

To make pastry dough:

Add flour, wheat germ, salt, and cinnamon to a mixing bowl and whisk to incorporate.   In a separate bowl, combine maple syrup, almond milk, olive oil, and vanilla.  Mix well to combine.  Make a well in the dry ingredients.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.  Mixture will be crumbly.  Turn out onto a baking pan lined with parchment and roll dough into a rectangle to cover baking sheet about 1/8 inch thick.  Chill at least 30 minutes.

To assemble “pep” tarts:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

If using a toaster pastry press, cut dough according to press instructions.  If using a pastry or pizza wheel, cut dough into 3×4 inch rectangles.  In the center of every other square, place 1 1/2 tsp coconut-macadamia nut butter and 1 1/2 tsp of blueberry filling.  Cover with dough and crimp edges with pastry press or fork tines.  Chill for at least 10 minutes.

Bake in oven for 14-16 minutes.  Using a pastry brush, glaze each pastry with grade B maple syrup immediately after removing pan from the oven.  Allow to cool on pan for five minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

Makes 6 pastries

Coconut-Macadamia Nut Butter

  • 4 c shredded coconut
  • 2/3 c raw macadamia nuts
  • 1 tbs grade B maple syrup
  • coconut oil (to suit personal texture preference)

Directions: Add first three ingredients to food processor and process for 10 minutes.  Scrape sides of bowl and check consistency of butter (should be similar to nut butter, although slightly drier).  Continue to process if needed.  Add coconut oil by the teaspoon is texture and consistency is to dry for your liking and you desire more spreadability at room temperature.  Store in an airtight jar.

Roasted Green Pepper Harissa

16 Jul Go Running Mama- Roasted Green Pepper Harissa

There are few things in the world that can excite my toddler like the delivery of our summer CSA boxes- the colors, textures, varieties, and aromas provide enough introspective stimulation to magically end even the most earth shattering of temper tantrum.  She loves to carefully handle each item and describe it to the fullest extent that her limited vocabulary will allow:

“Oooh, nice cold green pepper.  It’s slippery and smooth!”  She beams with particular pride when she is able to call the item by name.

And- I’m not going to lie- I beam with pride each time she can correctly name a vegetable.  And I’m well within my right to do so- the more time she spends knee deep in the shredded newspaper lining our box, bonding with with the purslane and peaches the more likely she is to eat each item when it arrives at the table and she can recall the lovely bounty she lovingly arranged in our refrigerator and pantry.  I go to great lengths to ensure none of our CSA produce goes to waste, but every season provides us with its own wave of bumper crop that starts to stump me… and bore me.

Last week, I listened to my sweet girl ramble on about “green HOT pepper” twelve separate times (“Watch ooooout… it make your fingers spicy!”) and this week I got to giggle at “yellow fernanner pepper” no less than 16 times.  Folks, thats a whole lotta of pepper to deal with at one time in a family of three!

When we woke up this morning to our second day of rainy dreariness, I felt like our breakfast routine needed a jolt of brightness and heat- a little artificial sunshine, if you will- to get us going.  A quick glance in the fridge reminded me that my cache of peppers could be a great candidate.  I’d already settled on scrambled eggs this morning instead of our normal smoothie/juice, and I desperately wanted a freshly made condiment in place of my standard Sriracha. That’s when it hit me- HARISSA!

I turned on the broiler, pulled out the banana peppers, a few hot peppers, and a green bell pepper and got to roasting.  Twenty minutes later we had some very happy scrambled eggs, and now I have a beautiful jar of fresh spiciness in my fridge (and not nearly as many peppers!).

Okay, so maybe it’s not truly harissa in the purest sense since there are no dried peppers and not a single red pepper to boot, but it’s bright, beautiful, and the perfect balance of heat and complexity so it pays homage to its namesake well.

Go Running Mama- Roasted Green Pepper Harissa

Roasted Green Pepper Harissa

  • green bell pepper; halved, stemmed, and seeded
  • 5 hot green peppers of your choosing
  • 14 medium-large sweet banana peppers
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground clove
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • juice of half a lemon (to taste)

To roast peppers:

Set oven to broil.  Spread peppers on a baking sheet, positioning the cut half of the bell pepper downward.  Place baking sheet in oven, positioning 6-10 inches from heating element. Roast peppers until skin is blistered, turning frequently with tongs.  Remove blistered peppers to a brown paper bag as they finish and allow to cool.  Once cool to the touch, peel peppers. Stem the peppers, fully seed the banana peppers, and seed the hot peppers dependent upon level of spice desired.

Assemble harissa:

Roughly chop peppers.  Add peppers and all ingredients except olive oil to food processor and pulse to combine.  Add olive oil and puree to desired consistency. Store in fridge in an airtight jar, covering the surface of the harissa with a layer of olive oil to preserve freshness.

My Smoothie Plus Juice Revelation

10 Jul Go Running Mama- Routines

As the stay at home mama of a toddler (and a former classroom teacher), I’m a big fan of streamlined routines.  After all, any place I can save a little time and effort means even more time for family adventures or physical activity.

Go Running Mama- Routines

I make prep time count to save time- Cherries are pitted immediately; half are frozen for smoothies, the others make easy snacks!

Morning routine is one of those places where efficiency is a necessity- we have two adults who need to get in training runs and showers and a toddler to dress while I tackle lunches, snack boxes, and smoothies and juice to make before we usher Daddy out the door on the way to work and I snag the little to make it to the dance studio or park playtime.

Even a little tweak here and there, as insignificant as it may seem, gives us a happy cushion in our domestic rush hour, but finding these areas for adjustment is rare.  However this morning I experienced a happy accident that is destined to become a beautiful second saver in our morning routine… I was out of coconut water!

Coconut water is a staple in our household, so I’m still not exactly sure how this happened nor how I overlooked the gaping hole in our pantry normally filled by carton after carton of the good stuff.  I’d like to blame Daddy for drinking the last carton and not alerting me, but that would be ridiculous given that I reorganized the fridge and pantry less than 48 hours ago and failed to notice the lack of coconut water in both locations.  Regardless of how it happened, at 8 am this morning I found myself without a drop of coconut water.

I made our juice for the morning- a super fab mix of cucumber, celery, parsley, kale, spinach, and apple- and started pulling out our smoothie staples when I realized my predicament- plain kefir, raw oats, freshly pitted cherries frozen (an abomination to many, I realize, but freezing them means I don’t have to add ice to the smoothies to thicken them up), coconut oil, kelp flakes, macadamia nuts, grade B maple syrup, cinnamon… and no coconut water!

For a moment I was dumbfounded.  What’s a mama to do?  Without any liquid it would be too thick, water would make it taste watery, and I didn’t love the idea of adding more dairy.  But then it hit me… add the juice!  Woohoo!

I held my breath and gave it a try.  Not only were the texture and flavor fabulous, but combining the two will save me the time of gathering, cleaning, and prepping an extra Lifefactory glass bottle for each family on a daily basis which buys several delicious minutes every morning.  Plus, I have a great new smoothie to add to our repertoire!

Go Running Mama- Revelation Smoothie

Revelation Smoothie

  • 6 oz plain kefir
  • 10 oz fresh green juice
  • 1/2 cup raw old fashioned oats
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen cherries
  • 1/3 c macadamia nuts
  • 1/2 tsp kelp flakes
  • 1 tbsp grade B maple syrup
  • cinnamon to taste

Directions: Add ingredients to blender in the order listed.  Blend on high until smooth.

Serves: 2 adults and a toddler