Thursday, June 20, 2013

Bacon, Cheddar & Kale Frittata

So a couple of months ago I discovered the frittata. Oh, and what a delicious discovery it was!

It also opened the door of my imagination to a whole world of possible frittatas. How easy would it be to swap out the asparagus for some other vegetable? The Gruyere for a different delectable cheese?

Then I woke up one morning fantasizing about the combination of quality bacon with some sauteed kale (both of which happened to be hanging around in our fridge). Let me tell you, it was a winning idea.

I mean really, how can you possibly err when you saute kale and onions in bacon fat? And toss in some unbelievably bright farm fresh eggs. And Tillamook cheddar. I mean, really.

Bacon, Cheddar & Kale Frittata
serves 6

12 large eggs
3 TB half & half
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 slices bacon
1/2 medium onion, diced
4 cups chopped kale
1/2-1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, depending on preference

Preheat oven to 400.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, half & half, salt and pepper until combined.
In a non-stick, oven safe skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove and drain on paper towels. Reserve about 1 TB of bacon grease in pan. When drained, chop or crumble bacon and set aside.
Add onions and saute 1-2 min. Add kale and continue sauteing until kale is wilted, about 3-4 min.
Stir cheese and bacon into egg mixture. Pour egg mixture into the skillet with the onions and kale and cook, using a rubber spatula to stir and scrape the bottom. Large curds will begin to form after about 2 min. but the eggs should still be quite wet. Shake the skillet to distribute eggs evenly then allow to cook for 30 seconds without stirring- this will set the bottom.
Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake about 10 min. If the frittata is set but just slightly wet and runny when you cut into it, it is done. 
Remove from oven and let stand 5 min. Loosen edges with spatula, then slide it out of the pan, cut into wedges and serve.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Bites

Sometimes when that afternoon slump hits, you just need to be able to grab something small and quick to keep you going, don't you?

And sometimes you just need that little something to get you through your work out.

Or pick you up off the floor after it.

Ha. Not like that's ever happened to me...

Anyway, whether you're slumping or lying on the floor, these little bouncy balls full of energy-boosting nutrients will have you up in no time! And besides that, they taste like almost good enough to be dessert!

The variations you can make are endless, but my version is, of course, chocolate and peanut butter centered. You can use any kind of chocolate you like, but I think dark chocolate is a great choice, not only because it's rich and delicious, but because the darker the chocolate, the better it is for you! I also incorporate my favorite peanut butter, Simply Jif, which has 1/3 less sugar than the regular variety. Less sweet, more PEANUTTY. How can that be wrong?

Experiment and let me know if you find any other fantabulous flavors!!

Note: Keep in mind that while these snack bites are healthy, they are not a low calorie treat. Just one is roughly 80-90 calories, so eat sparingly if you're going for health benefits!

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Bites
inspired by Gimme Some Oven
makes around 2 dozen

1 1/2 cups old fashioned dry oatmeal
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
3 TB cocoa powder
1/3 cup miniature chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate of your choice!)
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract

Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined. 
Let chill in refrigerator about a half and hour.
Shape into balls of desired size (1-1/2 in. balls will yield about 2 doz.). 
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Healthy Cinnamon Banana Pancakes

So I think I told you in my last post that Hubby and I are on a bit of a "get healthy" kick. We've shed a few pounds between us so far and it feels great! I'm loving these sunny days because I really enjoy getting on my bike in the morning and riding along the river, listening to my audiobook (right now I'm working my way through Dickens classics!) and drinking in the scenery. 

One thing about getting in shape, however, is the need to give up some things. I'm not a big fan of dieting- I prefer simply eating variety and in moderation. But when you're trying to lose weight, staying away from a lot of sugars and unhealthy fats is pretty key. So I'm trying to practice saying no...

No to sugar in my tea. No to more than one cookie. No to hot cocoa. No to seconds. No to soda. Saying no can get old, so I was excited to find that I didn't have to say no to our typical Monday "big breakfast"! 

Monday is Hubby's day off, so we usually like to make something a little different than our weekday routine, such as pancakes or waffles. In the effort to use up a few fast-ripening bananas, I came across this fabulous recipe on Pinterest!

It uses all whole wheat flour, hardly any sugar and no oils at all and the best part is the pancakes totally melt in your mouth. I couldn't believe how delicious they were, considering I'm not normally a big fan of banana flavored treats. Hubby had his with a little syrup, but I sampled them with a light smear of peanut butter. I can hardly eat a banana without a spoonful of peanut butter, so why not? It was a perfect pairing. This breakfast sure tasted indulgent, but it was nice to know it wasn't!

Healthy Cinnamon Banana Pancakes
adapted from Big Oven
makes 8-10 pancakes

2 TB sugar
1/2 tsp molasses
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 egg
1 cup water
2 TB unsweetened applesauce
2 large, very ripe bananas, finely chopped
1 cup whole wheat flour
 1 tsp baking powder

In a medium bowl, combine sugar, molasses, salt, cinnamon, egg, water, applesauce & bananas, whisking until pretty smooth (bananas will be chunky).
Add flour and baking powder and mix in gently until just combined (stirring too much will make pancakes tough).
Heat a large pan or griddle to med-high heat and grease with non-stick cooking spray or a small amount of butter or oil.
Using a 1/4 cup measurement, pour batter onto hot pan. Cook 2-3 min. or until pancakes are no longer glossy on top and bottom is golden brown. Flip and cook another 1-2 min. Keep warm while repeating with remaining batter.
Serve with butter, syrup, peanut butter, additional fresh bananas or other toppings of your choice!

Monday, June 3, 2013

What's Cooking?

Hi there! So sorry to have been away so long...I'm afraid I've been busy enjoying my family visiting as well as other stuff and haven't had a chance to get on write! My brother and his family came to stay with us for a few days a couple of weeks ago and tomorrow my parents and my two younger brothers are coming to stay for almost a week! What a fun time!!

Meanwhile, Hubby and I are on a kick to eat healthier and each lose a few pounds. We're really enjoying using the MyFitnessPal app where we can connect with some of our friends and stay accountable. We're also enjoying being more active- the weather has been great for riding bikes along the river! It's a challenge to count calories and eat less, but I'm so glad my Hubby's doing it with me- it helps me stay on track!

You know how I said before that I was experimenting with shopping closer to home more often, rather than once a month? Well, I don't think it's going to work out. Our local grocery store is just too expensive, and as often as we make trips to Spokane, it's really not much of an inconvenience to shop there. We went back to our usual grocery store in Spokane (WinCo Foods) and I was so felt like home! However, my meal lists and grocery trips and menus were totally off this month because of all our company- just taking it one week at a time for now!

So now that we're caught up, here's the menu for this week!

Shepherd's Pie with Rolls & Mixed Veggies

Crock-Pot Chicken Tacos

Probably out in Spokane

Grilled Pineapple Teriyaki Turkey Burgers with Corn on the Cob

Taco Pizza and Pepperoni Pizza with Fresh Fruits and Veggies

Grilled Garlic Honey-Mustard Chicken with Rice & Grilled Asparagus

Other goodies: Butterscotch & Chocolate Chip Cookies- I know the boys will love those!
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