A week or so ago I made our first attempt at ice cream and it was creamy and decadent. Shortly after our first bite, C asked if I could and when I would make Chunky Monkey ice cream. While I will eventually make it for him, albeit reduced-guilt, I couldn’t get the flavor combination out of my mind. Any morning that we are able to sleep in seems to require a special breakfast – waffles, pancakes, French toast, etc. As I have made more waffles than I care to count over the past month pancakes were the clear answer. I flipped through this book for inspiration on healthier breakfasts and made up one of my own. They are very easy to whip up and go down quickly, especially if dunked in warm buttery syrup…
Whisk up some whole-wheat flour, baking powder, salt, Splenda, cinnamon, and oats in one bowl.
In another some egg substitute, vanilla extract, milk, water and mashed banana.
Follow the normal pattern – add wet to dry and combine.
Next add in the chopped walnuts, chocolate chips, and banana.
Portion them out in to 2-bite pancakes and cook them until crisp on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside.
Chunky Monkey Pancakes (4 points plus/5 pancakes)
- 3 tablespoons rolled oats
- 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
- 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 packets Splenda
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 5 tablespoons fat-free egg substitute
- 2 tablespoons non-fat milk
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 banana, half mashed and half diced
- 2 tablespoons chocolate chips, chopped
- 2 tablespoons walnut pieces, chopped
- Preheat skillet over medium heat.
- In a medium bowl combine dry ingredients and set aside.
- In a small bowl whisk mashed banana, water, milk, vanilla and egg substitute
- Form a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet – whisk until just combined.
- Gently fold in nuts and chocolate.
- Use a tablespoon (or tablespoon-sized scoop) to portion out batter. Cook approximately 3 minutes on each side – they will be slightly crisp on the outside and light on the inside.
- While pancakes are crisping warm syrup with a bit of butter (I use 2 tablespoons of syrup and 2 teaspoons of butter).
- These will not last. Nothing bite-sized ever does… I put them out on a platter and portioned out 5 for myself.
What recipes did you grow up with? Maybe it’s restaurant dishes or a certain treat that stands out. There are several for me and often those foods are associated with a specific time of year or a person. For example, apple cake or muffins are a must have in January – or any time I need something special for my dad. As Carver tells it he and his sister were virtually raised on recipes from this book. My mother-in-law sent it to us one year and I have gradually added recipes from it to our repertoire. I must admit I was fairly hesitant about the tuna recipe below – Carver has asked for it for months and I have shied away. The original recipe calls for canned tuna which is an absolute NO in my book, and I was unsure of the cream and tuna. It just seemed unappealing to me. Carver finally convinced me to make it for his mom’s birthday this year and it was perfect. It says, “You’re special,” but it isn’t showy or over-the-top. Another quirk about Carver and I is we have a different definition of Strawberry Shortcake. I am of the classic school while Carver associates the dish with angel food cake in place of the shortcake. For this dinner I decided we should stick with what Carver remembered and it turned out very well.
Ahi Tuna with Creamy Pasta
- 2/3 pound ahi tuna steak
- 5 ounces whole wheat pasta
- 1/2 cup heavy cream, room temperature
- 1 lemon – zested and juiced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
- 1 tablespoon capers
- Cook pasta according to package instructions. Before straining reserve 1/4 cup cooking liquid.
- Season tuna steak with salt and pepper. Preheat grill pan over high heat. Sear tuna for 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove to a plate to rest.
- In a food processor, combine heavy cream, lemon and garlic. Pulse until cream thickens – it will look like sour cream and takes less than 2 minutes so be ready! Fold in capers and parsley.
- Add sauce to pasta and mix so pasta is coated with sauce. The cream sauce should be fairly liquid and easily incorporate with the pasta, if it doesn’t gradually add a bit of the reserved pasta water to the mix and stir until you get the desired consistency.
- Slice tuna and serve on top of pasta.
Carver’s Strawberry ‘Shortcake’
- 1 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
- 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 slices angel food cake, cubed
- Add half the sugar to strawberries, stir and set aside for at least 30 minutes. *macerate those strawberries*
- Before serving whip cream on high with a mixer until soft peaks form.
- Once you have soft peaks, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and beat again on high until stiff peaks form.
- Assemble the dessert: a spoonful of berries and sauce, a dollop of whipped cream, a handful of cake cubes, a spoonful of berries and sauce, and a dollop of whipped cream
Last week I mentioned that Carver had a moment of genius in suggesting lunches. One was turkey sandwiches, the other was a couscous salad. Back when we lived in Boston and I worked for Beth Israel, I had an office (read: gray cubicle) near this great diner called Zaftigs. I went there with some awesome coworkers for a farewell lunch and found something special. A couscous salad with cranberries, nuts, goat cheese and chicken on a bed of greens. That salad provided me endless inspiration. I decided to make the original this week. The vinaigrette makes this dish, it’s orange-mint. Clean, fresh and intensely flavorful.
I cook up one cup of whole wheat couscous in 1.25 cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. After the couscous is cooked I let it cool slightly. In a large bowl I put 1/4 cup toasted walnuts, 1/2 cup dried cranberries, the zest of 1 orange, and 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese. I pour the warm (but cooled) couscous over top so some of the goat cheese melts. I put this in the fridge until I am ready to assemble lunches. In the morning (or evening if I’m on my game) I fill a togo dish with greens and top with 1 cup couscous mix. Then I add 2-3 ounces grilled chicken breast. Separately I mix the vinaigrette (we have found that if you dress the salad too long before eating the mix ends up dry) and store until I am ready to eat/serve. The vinaigrette is simple: the juice of one orange, salt, pepper, 1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves, 2 tablespoons good olive oil. Whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients and taste for any necessary changes- salt, pepper, etc.
This dish is colorful, balanced, nutritious and far from boring. If you really want to pile up the nutrients serve with spinach. Combining the spinach and citrus will unlock more nutrients in the greens.
I get bored sometimes and need some motivation and inspiration. Lunches are often where this boredom shows. The same thing everyday, or I don’t pack them because the thought makes me want to cry. This week I managed to get lunches made everyday with only one hiccup- yesterday’s muffins. They may have been (probably were) put away stale… Oops.
On Monday while Carver and I were brainstorming meals for the week he came up with two good lunch options. One we used this week and the other will be next weeks- turkey sandwiches and couscous salad.
For the turkey sandwiches I knew we had to spruce them up a bit to keep healthy and interesting. To do this here’s what I used-
1. Light whole wheat bread
2. I substituted guacamole for the mayo/mustard- this avoids the greasy taste and added some healthy omega oils
3. Spinach and tomatoes for added vitamins and minerals
4. Lean deli turkey- go with Boar’s Head or another ‘heart healthy’ option. Look for the American Heart Association’s heart stamp of approval
Assemble and Enjoy!
Saturday I had this great idea to make these mini pizzas. It didn’t work the way I wanted and was totally discouraged. I’m going to share what I did anyways, just to show you dinner doesn’t always have to follow your plan for it to be balanced and delicious.
Here’s where I went wrong: I didn’t look up the recipe. Because I didn’t look it up, my measurements were off. I used 2 pounds of dough, with the intention of freezing at least half of my yield for the week after the wedding. I knew I wouldn’t be up for cooking the first couple days we were home – actually I probably won’t be up for grocery shopping, the cooking is easy. I have the hardest time with pizza dough. I canNOT get it to stretch out and form a nice thin crust. Never have been. I have found ways to make it work like par baking the crust so it doesn’t rise so much and won’t be gooey after we add toppings. So Saturday I knew the general idea of the recipe, put dough in muffin pans, top with goodies and bake. But my normal issue arose and I couldn’t get them flat. So I decided to just cut up the dough in 14 standard muffins and 10 mini muffins. I poked them with a fork so they wouldn’t puff too much and baked them for 10 minutes at 350. Meanwhile I chopped up some turkey meatballs. When the muffins were nearly finished (still a little doughy in the middle) I put them on a rack to cool.
Then a few hours later when it was time for dinner I preheat the oven to 350 and sliced the pizza dough muffins in half like a hamburger. Next was the assembly line. The muffin halves were lined up on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Each half got a dollop of tomato sauce, a sprinkling of meatball and then fresh grated parmesan and pecorino. They went back in the oven for 10 minutes until crispy and warmed through. We served it with a large salad. Not as intended, but still delicious.
We have the muffins left over and so when I am ready to use again I will defrost the night before then when it’s time for dinner I can get these guys ready in about 15 minutes.
I find myself eating in the near-dark this morning, going over the long list of projects I could spend the day doing. And then I realized it was a work day and thus I would spend the day working on other people’s projects, not my own. Well maybe since I am up and heading to work so early, I will be able to sneak in some personal projects this afternoon. Maybe more time organizing the office? And writing up a fabulous recipe to share? Hopefully purchasing the last bit of clothing for the wedding weekend.
I am also reflecting on my perceived failures over the past months. I knew I’d be busy so I did my research. Tried to find the best method to keep me sane and productive. I have felt like I failure on this subject for quite some time. Today, in the dark with my breakfast, I no longer believe I failed. I think I didn’t personalize the methods to fit my needs and our needs as a couple. Now I will create something, based on what I have learned from the experts, and make something that works for us and doesn’t make me feel crummy. I can do this.
Breakfast was nearly a home run. A slixe of toast with just a bit of butter, almond butter and honey. A cup of coffee and water to wash it down. And a banana on the side. Oh yah, about the banana… It was cold and not awesome. 😦 I put them in the fridge to keep them from ripening beyond the point that I like them. Lesson learned- take the banana out of the fridge the night before you want to eat it.
In three weeks Carver and I will be leaving for our wedding. It’s boot camp time. Drink your water, two a day exercises, getting to sleep on time, and getting $h!+ done. And of course eat deliciously healthy food.