It was a busy week, and with school in full swing again, it's going to be another busy week. We ran to Costco one day this week to get a few things ready for cooking ahead, and one of those things was a package of breakfast sausages. Today was the day we cooked ahead to fill our freezer with meal starters.
I cooked a lot this morning, but started with the sausages because they take the longest- 30-35 minutes to reach their internal temperature of 160*F. The quickest way to cook a lot of sausages at once is to line a cookie sheet with foil, and then put them in a 375*F oven. After about 20 minutes, flip them and poke them with a fork. After another 15 minutes or so and confirming internal temperature, place them on paper towel to allow them to drain as much grease as possible.
While sausages aren't the best food to eat nutritionally, they add an enjoyable flavour punch to many dishes, and a little can go a long way. My philosophy is to enjoy them in moderation- the sausage won't be the focus of my meals, but an interesting flavour component.
Some of the meals I'm able to make with these sausages:
I also cooked a double batch of oatmeal...but that was because I accidentally added too much salt to my first batch. I cooked a second batch to mix with half of the first batch, and half the first batch will be used to #testkitchen a meal I referenced above, baked savoury oatmeal. I've got some good ideas stewing around in my head, and tomorrow morning I hope to try them out. #wastenotwantnot!
Oatmeal is one of the greatest breakfast foods of all time, in my humble opinion. You can dress it up or down for whatever mood you're in, and leftover oatmeal reheats beautifully and tastes wonderful. Dress it up right and you can make yourself a satisfying meal that keeps you full for longer. It gives you fibre to help lower cholesterol and keep you comfortable and provides iron and protein. It's easy to make and my goal is to get my boys to try it a few times before Christmas. I'm under no illusions that they'll actually love it or ask for it anytime soon, but eventually their taste buds and bodies will acquire a taste for it, hopefully sooner than later.
Some of my favourite ways to enjoy oatmeal are:
I'm sure as I play around with flavours and moods I'll find more ways to enjoy oatmeal. I definitely prefer to cook it plain rather than add flavours to the pot, because I like to cook enough for a few meals and I don't know what kind of mood I'll be in when I'm ready to eat it. Mental and emotional states definitely influence what we eat, when we eat, and how we eat, so cooking ahead in this way gives the best chance possible to eat well no matter what our emotional or mental state happens to be.
I toasted sunflower seeds and almonds today too. Toasted nuts make the most amazing flavourful topping to anything from yogurt to oatmeal to salad. I enjoyed a bowl of fruit salad this morning with a sprinkle of toasted almonds on my fruit as well as on a bowl of oatmeal with blueberries. As with any food, it's easy to overdo it with nuts- pay attention to portion sizes- but the health benefits of nuts make them valuable to add to your daily routines. If food allergies are an issue, don't forget to read the labels.
I hope your Sunday was excellent. Enjoy your week, and keep watching for my #testkitchen meals!
Questions, comments? I can't wait to hear them. Feel free to hop over to my facebook page and start a conversation there, add me to your email subscriptions, comment here, or email me!
A long time ago, I travelled. I've seen a large portion of the world. Since marriage and family, that travel has somewhat diminished. But does that make me a former traveller, or is it more true to say "once a traveller, always a traveler"? Does travel ignite a spark of wanderlust in everyone, or are some personalities more likely to engage in travel than others?
I don't know the answer to those questions, but I'm going to call myself a traveller. I still travel in my mind, and in my dreams. I plan vacations and trips online, and talk about the places yet to see with my family and friends. I remember places I've been, and know where I would return to in a heartbeat, and where I wouldn't bother.
This morning I stumbled across a photo of a Turkish breakfast. I was instantly and vividly reminded of a breakfast enjoyed at an Israeli kibbutz, which in fact had been my favourite breakfast for a long time after, until life got busy with small babies to care for- but now that I've remembered, it's going to be a favourite again. Eggs, tomatoes, cucumber, yogurt, whole wheat roll, and a spread. Back then, we had juice- but I'm going to have coffee with mine. OK, and maybe a glass of cranberry juice too.
Here is my recreated memory of an Israel breakfast. Granted, that's not a roll, and I don't remember what state the eggs were in when I was there. The tomatoes and cucumbers could have been diced up together in a bowl. But the basic ingredients are here, and it was the most enjoyable breakfast that entire summer. The next place we stayed at served corn flakes in slightly warm milk. Ewww.
When you've travelled- no matter where you've gone- have you come home with an appreciation for other foods from different places? Or have you been reminded of familiar, favourite foods that you used to eat but for one reason or another, forgot about?
And that's ok.
There are days when all there is left in the pantry and fridge is ingredients for breakfast. There are days when the only energy left in me for cooking is something simple, like pancakes. Sure, they aren't the most nutritious of foods, but they are a crowd pleaser. And when the plague hits your house the very last thing you want is to do engage in a complicated what's-for-dinner dance with your whiny, cranky, sick family. I did make it slightly more nutritious...half whole wheat flour. And look- there is fruit. In fact, we ate a lot of fruit that night. Vitamin C, baby.
Or Rice Pudding for Breakfast...
Rice pudding for breakfast sounds decadent, right? And it is. It's been the best part of my week, this week. It's crafted in the slow cooker, so all you have to do is mix everything together, turn it to high, take a nap, top it, and eat it. My recipe made a good 5 cups of pudding, so I did share a little with a friend because I am the only person in the house who enjoys it.
My recipe uses my favorite brown rice, and the best is topping it with a drizzle of milk, sliced fresh bananas and toasted walnuts. SO good, so filling, and very nutritious. It feels decadent, but there are all 4 food groups involved, and it's very satisfying. If you don't have that much leftover rice, use what you have, and cut the recipe in half. Or make more rice!
This is an exclusive recipe created by The Meals Maven! Please share but give credit!
So when you try it, let me know what you think! And feel free to share your favorite decadent, nutritious meal. All the best to you today, friends.
Growing up, I have fond memories of enjoying a special breakfast on Easter morning. It always involved homemade hot cross buns and fruit salad, along with stolen bites of chocolate bunny. My kids aren't so lucky. Easter morning breakfasts are usually the same thing they eat most other days with a few bites of chocolate thrown into the mix.
This year we have been particularly busy, with both spring break and our second son's birthday to celebrate. I found myself wanting to get back some proper nutrition after eating the birthday party food yesterday at Chuck E Cheese.
Having recently organized my fridge and pantry, I knew exactly what I wanted to eat and where to find it. I was able to put my breakfast together, from start to finish, in 15 minutes. I stir-fried some sweet potato, mushrooms, spinach, and grape tomatoes in extra virgin olive oil. Towards the end of cooking, I squeezed in some lemon juice and minced in a garlic clove, and added a couple of twists of black pepper and sea salt. I also enjoyed a cup of coffee, a slice of whole grain toast, and (of course) a couple of bites of chocolate my boys were kind enough to share with me.
What do you do for Easter breakfast? Do you have routines and traditions you enjoy each year with your family?
I know, I'm a day behind in posting. We took the kids to the zoo yesterday, so I had to get the lunches packed and ready to go as soon as I was done baking. What a great day. My second son made a kookaburra laugh. If you haven't heard that, you should check it out! It will make you laugh too.
As I was getting ready to make my pineapple zucchinni loaf, my second son looked up at me with his big blue eyes and asked me to make something that he likes to eat, which is why we made these muffins.
And I had a childhood friend this week tell me all about making mini omelettes in the oven, so I played around with this meal idea for me. They worked out so well- I'm going to freeze the rest in different ways to figure out the best way to freeze and reheat, and then get back to you.
Enjoy your day!
Originally found here, I slightly modified the recipe based on a friend's review of this recipe- I added an extra tbsp of vanilla, and 1/4c. less flour. I used whole wheat flour, because I don't know what white whole wheat flour is. My second son enjoyed them- "not really like a cookie, mom," he said, "more like an oatmeal muffin". We ate 2 this morning, so the full recipe made 24 cookies. I did measure them, but there's no way I could have gotten 30 as the original recipe states.
Getting these cookies done was not the easiest task today. I started them, remembered it was swimming registration day, and (because online registration doesn't work for me anymore) tried unwisely to make a run for the door since registration fills up ridiculously fast. I then tripped because my feet caught in a turkey lifter which I had left next to the stairs to remind me to give it to someone- whereupon I fell down the stairs. Mike had to rescue me, as I was clinging to the hand railing, my feet caught up in that turkey lifter, and I couldn't move without falling more.
Luckily though, the kids got registered (and they'd better be thankful!), I registered myself in yoga, the cookies got done, and I'm going to have another cup of coffee before I even attempt anything else requiring dexterity, such as housework. Apparently my fine motor skills are taking a break.
Have an excellent day!.
I doubled this recipe so I could make a batch of mini muffins for the kids to eat for breakfast this week, and send a loaf to my brother and his family.
These loaves and muffins have broccoli and carrot puree in them, but you can't taste it. I adapted a recipe from Deceptively Delicious, by Jessica Seinfeld.
My first baking day didn't get underway as early as I'd hoped, because I actually slept really well and just didn't wake up when the kids did. Still, it's done with, and not even 8:30am yet. Stay tuned for more baking tomorrow!
Whether I like it or not, this is the week I need to bake to get ready for school. The boys have daycamps the last two weeks of August, and I need to stay with my second son at his, so I won't get much done in the way of baking. It's going to be so hot this week, and I don't want to have to use the oven very far into the day, so here's my plan. Let me know yours!
I hope to get up just a little earlier than I have been so that I can get whatever it is into the oven before I even eat breakfast. My baking plan is to make one item each day for the week. Here's my list:
One of the ways I save money when grocery shopping is to limit the store-bought desserts and treats. Everyone likes cookies, for example, but making them from scratch at home is usually cheaper and a little less unhealthy. Likewise, loaves and muffins. They are easy to make, easy to freeze, and an appreciated addition to a school lunch. I can also hide multiple vegetables in them to give the kids an extra nutritional boost. For example, the gingerbread spice loaf contains broccoli and carrots! Sshhh. They don't know it, and I'm not going to tell them.
Another way to save money on groceries is to take advantage of seasonal vegetables and fruits. Always buy in season, whenever possible, because you will get the best value for your money. Freeze the extra vegetables and fruit you don't need while they're fresh- we waste too much food in North America. Consider planting a garden -even container gardening, if you don't have the space for a full garden, or a community garden plot. You can plant many vegetables and fruits that freeze very well, such as zucchinni and berries.
What kind of baking do you enjoy sending to school or taking to work?
Over the years I've probably heard the adage hundreds of times that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Anyone else hear that?
Recently I read an article that stated that belief is a myth. Well, no matter. I need breakfast. It gets me out of bed, some mornings, thinking about how yummy breakfast is going to be. And if I don't eat breakfast, I get cranky, shaky, and panicky. It could be because I will still drink coffee first thing, and that's pretty hard on an empty stomach for me.
Over the years breakfast has changed for me. I remember eating breakfast when I was growing up, staring bleary-eyed at the cereal boxes in front of me and reading them both in English and French, trying to remember what the words were in both languages. Neither my brother or I talked much over breakfast. I think we were trying to wake up before getting to school. Cereal and milk, a glass of juice.
In college I started drinking coffee. I remember those mornings so clearly, leaving my house in the quiet, muffled darkness. Driving to school through the country in the snow. It was so cold the windows would fog up and ice over on the inside of my car. Getting to school for my first class, and like any college student short on funds, I'd buy the cheapest hot drink I could afford. At college it was horrible-tasting coffee out of a huge urn. 25 cents a cup. I'd load it up with sugar and powdered creamer. Oddly enough I don't remember what I actually ate for breakfast, maybe an instant breakfast drink or a piece of fruit.
After I started working as a young married I'd eat (predictably) something overpriced and fairly unhealthy I bought at a coffee joint while getting my morning java, usually a bagel or muffin.
When my son was born the only thing I could manage was coffee and peanut butter toast. Don't get me wrong- I still enjoy peanut butter toast, and there's nothing wrong with it. But now that both my boys are older and more capable I enjoy a wide variety of morning meals.
This summer I've enjoyed homemade instant oatmeal, fruit and cheese, and lately I can't get enough yogurt with chia. I especially enjoyed my breakfast this morning. Fresh hot coffee (of course!), Liberte coconut yogurt, mixed with a tablespoon of chia seeds, and left to "set up" while I cut some fresh pineapple to mix in. So tasty and filling. I was sad to see it finished, but looking forward to tomorrow's breakfast: chocolate chia pudding, found here. I mixed up 2 jars and actually I don't know if one of them will make it until tomorrow. It just might be an afternoon snack. I made a few small changes, and will report back tomorrow with a new recipe under "Breakfast".
What do you eat in the mornings? Has it changed over the years?