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Monday Meals: Veggie or Fruit Infused French Toast

It’s Monday Meals!

I thought this was such a smart idea – infuse your french toast (or just about anything) with veggie or fruit puree.

not the prettiest picture. i guess i need to work on my food presentation.

I have done this with pancakes (pumpkin) before, but I  had never thought about doing it with french toast.  French toast is our main go to in the morning.  I whip up the mixture and make sure to double the recipe so I’ll have extra for the week.  I mix it in a small, rectangular casserole container with a lid so that I can store the left over mixture in the fridge for use the next morning (think the size of bread slices).

I opted for sweet potato veggie puree, because Jax will always eat fruit so I don’t really need to “supplement” these into his diet.  The recipe:

Infused French Toast

(serves 4)

Combine the following in a bowl/container:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp veggie or fruit puree (banana, pinapple, sweet potato, carrot, butternut squash, pumpkin)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla (the recipe doesn’t call for this either, but I love vanilla in my french toast)
  • (the recipe doesn’t call for it, but I add a little milk too, about 1/4 cup.  That’s how my mom always made french toast)
  • 4 slices of bread
How to cook:

  1. Soak your bread in the mixture for about 30 seconds.
  2. Turn a griddle on medium-high heat.  When the pan is hot coat the bottom with butter (roll it around to melt all over).  When the butter melts, place your soaked bread slices on the griddle and cook till each side is golden brown.
  3. Serve with your pure maple syrup (I make sure it’s the real deal, not corn syrup with “maple syrup” flavoring) and/or these toppings; applesauce, peanut butter, fruit.
recipe adopted from Deceptively Delicious

Jax usually has 1/2 piece of french toast (I eat the other half), a 1/8 cup of fruit, with an egg.  I get both fruit and egg too.

Let me know what you think!

ENJOY! ash

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Monday Meals: Low-fat Cranberry Almond Scones

Perfectly golden brown Cranberry Almond Scones

We thought we’d post something for a Mother’s Day breakfast for Monday Meals since Mother’s Day is this Sunday.  Plus, this hidden nutrition – baking edition will spoil mom but also make her feel nice and healthy!

This recipe is adapted from the blog Farmgirl Fare with some tricks from some of her other scone recipes. Farmgirl Fare is a treasure trove of delicious home-made recipes. If you’re going to try baking your own bread, her farmhouse white is the place to start!

I like to use whole-wheat flour and sneak flaxseed meal into pretty much everything I bake for added nutrition. Flaxseed meal is so good for you I love using it, but I try not to add more than 1/2-1/3 of a cup so I don’t mess with the texture of the final product. But in my opinion, every little bit helps!

Also, the best-kept secret to low-fat baking? You can use cream cheese in place of butter and yogurt+milk in place of buttermilk for some recipes like these!  Talk about cutting down on calories!

Low-fat Cranberry Almond Scones
Ingredients:
2 cups whole wheat all-purpose flour
1/3 cup flaxseed meal
1/3 cup almond meal (you could sub another healthy grain here, I just used it to add nutrients and boost the almond flavor)

Hidden nutrition!

1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried nutmeg
1/2 cup low-fat cream cheese
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 egg
2 Tablespoons yogurt
3/4 cup low-fat milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400.
  2. Mix together all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Add the cream cheese to the dry ingredients and mix with a pastry blender or with your fingers to make fine crumbs.
  4. Toss in the dried fruit and nuts you want to use and mix well.

    Add your favorite nuts and dried fruit

  5. Whisk together in a small bowl the egg, 2 tablespoons yogurt, and 3/4 cup low-fat milk. Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing well but not overworking the dough (it doesn’t seem like the wet ingredients will be enough, but I promise the dough will come together!).
  6. Turn out the mixed dough onto a floured surface and use your fingers to push the ball down into a circle about an inch thick and 6-8 inches in diameter.
  7. If you want little scones make two circles to cut into slices, for larger scones make a single circle.

    Make 1 large circle if you want big scones, 2 circles for small

  8. Use a serrated knife dipped in flour to slice the circles into triangles and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment.
  9. Bake for about 20 minutes until they are golden brown. Then enjoy the crumbly goodness!

And okay, we all know eating a diet of just scones isn’t healthy, but at least now when you have a craving for some baked goodies you can feel better about indulging on these!

Enjoy!
D”

Monday Meals: Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Perfect for birthday breakfasts! Perfect for ANY breakfast!

OK so this is what we SHOULD have done for Dee’s birthday.  The Plan was to fill her room with balloons while she slept so she woke up to a surprise and then finish the morning with chocolate chip pancakes but . . . Hong Kong happened!

So Saturday we threw the “party” I had planned for no reason, and you know what?  I think it was better that way – just a nice surprise for the weekend! So without further ado, here’s my recipe for healthy semi-healthy Chocolate Chip Pancakes:

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup white whole wheat flour (or regular flour)
  • 1/3 cup oats (I actually used one a pack of brown sugar oatmeal and left the next two ingredient out)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and optional 3 drops almond extract
  • brown sugar or stevia, if desired
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder (and optional: pinch baking soda for flavor)
  • 1 egg (or egg substitute)
  • 1/2 cup w milk (or water or maybe even juice, if you wish)
  • chocolate chips galore!

Steps

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients. (This can be done days in advance.)
  2. Put liquid ingredients into dry, then stir.
  3. Cook on medium-low, flipping 1/2-way through.
  4. Top with grated chocolate or chocolate syrup sauce.

Optional:

5.  Add a toddler and a room full of balloons and you’ve got yourself one happy little camper!

Had to test the waters first but then she dove right in!!

Fun times with a room full of balloons!

meg

Monday Meals: Harvest Veggie & Quinoa Patty Salad

I don’t know if I could ever top Diana’s Lifesave Smoothies Meg posted last week!  Soooo good, but here’s a little something, something I’ve been into lately . . .

Serves 4-6 people:

Quinoa Patty & Roasted Harvest Veggie Salads

I like making the patties this way cause you incorporate a little egg and some cheese for a pretty wholesome, full of protein main course.  I use herbs to give them extra flavor because I typically go completely without extra salt and pepper.  I’ve found that Jax loves the Quinoa this way.  I do the three parts: prepping the salad, the veggies, and the Quinoa all in tandem.    I typically buy most of my stuff at Trader Joe’s.  They have really good prices for organic produce, especially the sweet potatoes and baby tomatoes.

Start by prepping the veggies:

Preheat oven to 350.

Dice 2-3 sweet potatoes, toss them in a little olive oil, and add about 1/2 a tsp of cinamon.  Then toss them on a pan and roast them in the oven for about 15-30 mins till tender.

Dice zucchini, tomatoes, and carrots and toss them with olive oil.  Then toss on a pan and roast for about 15 mins till tender.

Once those are cooked and tender, pull out and set aside.

To make the Quinoa (yields about 10 medium sized patties):

Follow the directions on your bag of quinoa.  Typically it’s a ration of 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups of water, simmered for 12-20 minutes.  However, I add about 1/2 a cup extra of water, and simmer for 30 minutes.

Once the quinoa is cooked, let it cool then place it in a bowl (or if it’s cooled completely and the pan is not hot use that), and add the following:

  • 3 Large eggs
  • 1/2 a cup of shredded cheddar cheese (I usually use the Mexican style shredded cheese that comes in the bag already shredded)
  • 3 tablespoons of parsley
  • dash of salt, dash of pepper (I go really light on these cause of Jax and I’m definitely the healthier – especially with the salt)
  • 1tsp of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp of onion powder

Mix it all together.  Meanwhile, add about a tablespoon of butter to hot skillet.  Grab a handful of the Quinoa mix and make a patty (this is kind of awkward.  I try to mold it in my hand a little, but then shape it in the pan immediately after I drop it in).  Cook each side ’til golden brown on medium-low heat.

Dice when slightly cooled.

Rinse and lightly chop some spinach – about 4-6 cups.

To Plate:

Put the spinach in a bowl, throw some of the Quinoa and roasted veggies on top, and serve with balsamic vinegar (I also like using Apple Cider vinegar) and olive oil.  Add salt and pepper to taste if you’d like, since it’s very lightly seasoned for Jax!

FOR YOUR WEE ONE: dice the Quinoa, and plate some of the sweet potato and veggies (such as the zucchini).  Good for 9 months and up (from my experience).

Hope you like it!  Feel free to make substitutions as needed.  These were just my solutions.  If you have any feedback or good suggestions feel free to leave us a comment!

ENJOY! ash

Monday Meals: Diana’s Lifesaver Smoothies

Today’s Monday Meals comes to you via one of my best friends in Portland, Diana, or as I like to call her D (Yes there are lots of Ds in my life).  It couldn’t have come at a better time because Nate left for China and Dee and I are flying solo.  The first day did.not.go.great. So I didn’t really have time for a Monday Meals post. Dun-du-da-duuuuuhhhnnnn *super hero song*. In flies D and her fabulousness!

From D:

Kid or not, I like to use the strong flavor of berries to overpower the flavor of healthier things I may not eat otherwise. By adding a small smoothie to whatever I’m eating most days I at least feel that I’ve covered my nutritional bases.

Hidden healthy quick smoothie recipe

Ingredients:
– 1 1/2 to 2 cups frozen berries
– 2 peeled fresh bananas (frozen works, but you’ll need to add more liquid to compensate)
– 1 cup plain yogurt
– 1/2 cup orange juice, plus extra if needed to blend
then hidden goodness ingredients . . .
– 1/2 cup chopped carrots
– 1 cup kale, steamed (don’t skip the steaming! microwaving the kale with a few tablespoons of water in a loosely covered bowl for 1 minute will cut down the bitterness of the kale and hide it much better!)
– this is a great place to use up little extra bits of sweet or green veggies from the fridge or freezer (think peas, broccoli, bell peppers, zucchini) – just make sure to steam potentially bitter veggies first. Adding more than 1/2 a cup of any extra veggie might start to affect the flavor, though, and of course no veggies that have been cooked with oils or seasonings!

A warning to vegans/lactose intolerants – I would not recommend adding tofu, it does unfortunate things to the texture! I would try vegan soy-yogurt, coconut milk, or even some white canellini beans to add a protein punch and get that creamy consistency.


Seems easy enough, and we all know smoothies are healthy, but the biggest problem with making them is that nobody wants to break out the blender every day. Fortunately one of my wise friends taught me the best trick for smoothies (and everything ever made in liquid batches) – an ice tray.

Pour everything you don’t want to drink right away into empty ice trays and freeze, then throw all of the smoothie cubes into a ziploc to use the rest of the week. Then every time you want a quick snack you can throw 5-6 cubes in a cup, microwave for 30 seconds and mash with a fork to get back to smoothie consistency. So easy! This recipe makes enough for one small smoothie plus about 3 ice trays.

Thanks D!  Let’s hope there’s many more where that came from :)

Also, these are great ways to get veggies into your kiddos too.  Dee never realizes she’s eating spinach, kale, or other great green veggies that she’s hesitant to eat on its own.

meg

Monday Meals: Easter Brunch

Yummmmmmy!!

We were so busy with the giveaway that we didn’t get around to publishing the Monday Meals!  So it’s Tuesday and late to boot but I decided you guys needed some inspiration for Easter brunch.

I themed this brunch off of what my mom traditionally made for us every Easter Sunday – cream cheese french toast casserole.

Maple Cream Cheese French Toast Casserole

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Place the bread cubes in a buttered 13 x 9-inch baking dish.
  2. In a bowl beat the softened cream cheese with sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth and well combined.
  3. Add in eggs one at a time mixing well after each addition.
  4. Add in milk, half and half cream, maple syrup and vanilla; beat until well combined.
  5. Pour the cream cheese mixture over the bread cubes in the baking dish, using a fork or spoon gently lift the cubes so that they coat evenly with the egg mixture.
  6. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8-24 hours.
  7. Next morning set oven to 375°F.
  8. Remove the dish from the fridge and let sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  9. Bake uncovered for about 45-50 minutes or until set and a golden brown colour.
  10. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with maple more maple syrup.
  11. Delicious!
My mom usually did two layers of french toast and put the cream cheese in between but this sounds yummy in little bread pudding chunks as well.
Instead of scrambled/over easy eggs my mom always made what I now call buttered eggs from our Easter eggs.

Buttered Hard Boiled Egg Mash

  1. Shell 2 hard boiled eggs
  2. Place in dish with 1-2 tablespoons of butter and mash egg and butter together
  3. Heat in microwave until butter is melted (~30 secs)
  4. Salt and pepper to taste
It is SO fattening but SO good!
Enjoy!
meg

Monday Meals: Blueberry Baked Oatmeal!

Ok, it’s Monday! Both Meg and I are experiencing a hectic week already.  I just had to share this fabulous recipe I found this weekend for baked oatmeal.  I must tell you, the RAGE . . . it’s all true . . . baked oatmeal IS amazing.

image courtesy of Becky Bakes

We found the recipe on tastespotting.com (think pinterest but for FOOD!).  The recipe is from Becky Bakes:

Here’s the low down to make and bake!

Blueberry Baked Oatmeal (Becky’s original suggestion in parentheses)

  • 1 1/4 cups blueberries
  • 3/4 cup soy milk
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2  large eggs (I used egg replacer)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ¾ cups butter, divided (I used Earth balance)
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoons salt
  • 4 tbsp.  brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350° F. Melt butter; pour 1/4 cup into the bottom of a 9-inch square baking dish. Sprinkle blueberries and 2 tbsp of brown sugar on top of the butter. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix together the soy milk, honey, eggs, remaining butter and vanilla.
In a large bowl, whisk together oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well. Pour over the fruit and smooth the top. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tbsp. of brown sugar.
Bake at 350°F for 40 to 50 minutes, or until browned on top and fruit is bubbly. Allow to cool slightly. Serve with milk or cream. This would also be fantastic topped with a dollop of vanilla yogurt.

I actually used a 1/4 cup of maple syrup in place of honey since Jax isn’t quite old enough yet.  But man – I can’t wait to use honey.

We had it with milk over the top.  It’s so good!  We have a little left over also, which will be great as leftovers for the next couple of days (if it lasts that long).  I don’t know about you, but I always need to get meals ready fast.  Zapping a square of this in the microwave for Jax in the morning will make my life super easy!  Not to mention – Jax LOVED it, which he has become a bit of a picky eater as of late.

LOVE . . . and a must try!

ENJOY! ash

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