Sweet Potato Casserole for breakfast? Yes it really is ok! (Day 4)

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Sweet Potato Casserole for breakfast. Yes, that’s right (just wait till you see what I had for dessert last night). That is what my sunshine and I devoured gracefully ate yesterday morning. I got a late start to making breakfast so we were pretty hungry once it was finally ready. Let me just say though- It was totally worth the wait! Sweet potatoes are my favorite. Of course you know this already if you have merely browsed the rest of my blog. I’ll eat sweet potatoes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert. In my book they’re the yummiest :-)

Lucky you, you can have it too. Just follow the recipe below and enjoy you some scrumptious healthy sweet potato casserole for breakfast and at just under 300 calories!

Sweet Potato Oatmeal Casserole:
Recipe here from Oh She Glows with a few changes marked below by an asterisk

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup regular oats
  • 2 cups almond milk (I used half almond half coconut just because that’s what I had on hand)*
  • 1 small sweet potato peeled and chopped
  • 1 large ripe banana
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds (these expand so they’re kind of vital for the texture of the casserole)
  • 1-2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon + 1/8th tsp nutmeg + 1/4 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup* (reduced from 2 tbsp on original recipe)

(for crunchy topping**)

  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans*
  • 1 tbsp coconut butter*
  • 1 tbsp quinoa flour*
  • 1/8 cup coconut palm sugar*

**Basically I halved the recipe for the crunchy topping but still dispersed it over the four servings to cut down on calories and sugar. The coconut butter, quinoa flour, and coconut palm sugar make it fairly healthier as well instead of the original ingredients so I would try to stick to the new ones if possible.

Step 1:
Preheat oven to 350. Boil sweet potatoes for about 5 minutes then drain and set aside.

Step 2:
Bring oats, milk and chia seeds to a boil, then reduce to medium high heat and simmer for 7 minutes, stirring occassionally.

Step 3:
Add cooked sweet potatoes and banana into oat mix and mash until desired texture is achieved (I mashed the banana well but left chunks of sweet potato). Add in vanilla, seasonings, and maple syrup. Taste and add more seasonings/vanilla if needed. Reduce to low and cook for a couple more minutes.

Step 4:
Mix the ingredients for the topping together in a bowl until well combined.

Step 5:
Pour casserole mixture into an oven safe dish and disperse topping mixture evenly over top. Place in oven and cook for 20 minutes then broil on LOW for 2-5 minutes.

Step 6:
Cut casserole into 4 and as always, Enjoy!

Here’s what I ate all day:

Breakfast:
Sweet Potato Oatmeal Casserole

Lunch:
Chickpea-Brown Rice Veggie Burger (patty only, and left out egg in the recipe)
Large handful vive la France salad mix
1/4 avacado
1/2 small red bell pepper
juice from half a lime

Snack:
1 oz Rumiano Sharp Cheddar cheese

Snack:
1/8 cup raisins
1/3 cup Mesa Sunrise cereal flakes

Dinner:
2 cups arugula
1 cup sauteed squash and zucchini
1 whole wheat tortilla
1/3 avacado
1/3 cup black beans (low salt)
2-3 oz  ground grass fed beef

Dessert:
1/2 cup Alden’s vanilla ice cream
2 strawberries
5 raspberries
half a small banana
2 squares of Equal Exchange organic chocolate (23 calories each square)

YES I also indulged in a sugary dessert, I was careful to measure out what I ate though and was able to keep it at right about 285 calories. Here’s a picture :-)

Workout:
Jillian’s 30 Day Shred level 1 (this was pretty easy so I think I’m going to try level 2 today)

Day 3! + Yummy Easy and Healthy Overnight Oats Recipe

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Breakfast:
Overnight Oats **recipe below**

Lunch:
Almond Chicken Soup (recipe link on day 1)
medium pear*

Snack:
Strawberry Almond Butter smoothie (recipe link on day 2)

Dinner:
Lentil Chili (recipe link on day 1, minus the longhorn beef)
1/2 avacado*
1 slice Rumiano pepper jack cheese

Work out:
Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred level 1

*rather than constantly writing organic on every meal I figured I should note that everything I eat and cook with is organic or sustainably grown/raised and I will note when something is not. I truly believe going organic on top of eating healthy is what has aided me in my weight loss. Chemicals cause our bodies to be unbalanced and sometimes removing them from our lives might be the last little push it takes. That of course isn’t to say eating conventional won’t work for you – we’re all different! :-)

Stay tuned tomorrow for a weigh in update!

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Overnight Oats:

I had these for the first time earlier this week. They are super easy and yummy. It might be weird at first for some to eat “raw” cold oatmeal, but I found it refreshing and different. It’s a little chewy, but I prefer my oatmeal that way anyway! My favorite part is that you get to wake up to oatmeal that is ready to eat! No prep, no mess. Super convenient especially when you have kids!

Ingredients:
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup homemade coconut milk (or any other milk of your choice)
1 tbsp whole milk (you can leave this out if you want)
1 small banana, chopped
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1/8 cup raisins
1/2 tsp cinnamon
drizzle of honey

Put all ingredients in a jar and give it a stir, then place in refrigerator overnight.

Enjoy in the morning!

Super Delicious Almond Milk Recipe + Fun Before & After Pics

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As I’ve mentioned before, there are several instances where I have to improvise on a recipe because I don’t have enough of a specific ingredient (or also just because I feel like it). I accidentally discovered this “almond” milk recipe one day because I didn’t have enough almonds. Technically it’s actually a nut milk recipe, but either way it still tastes like almond milk, just an extra delicious version.

So why is this almond milk recipe so special you ask? Because it is made with cashews and is sooo creamy and thick. I’m not sure if I’m the only one but one thing I miss when drinking typical almond milk is the creaminess of cows milk- with this milk you won’t miss it, I promise! I recently tried the original recipe without adding the cashews and it was then that I realized what a difference they made. Thus I was prompted to post this recipe to share the creamy goodness.
Here’s what you’ll need:

1 cup almonds
1/2 cup cashews
4 cups filtered water
blender
nut milk bag (I use this one sold at Whole Foods or you can use a fine mesh strainer)

optional for an extra special treat:
1 tsp PURE vanilla extract
1 tbsp grade B maple syrup or raw honey

Step 1:
Soak nuts in water for at least 8 hours or overnight in the fridge. I always do it overnight that way in the morning it just takes 5 minutes or less to have your milk ready. You can combine them into one jar, I just had them soaking separately for a different use.

Step 2:
Drain nuts and add to blender with 4 cups of filtered water. If you are adding the optional ingredients, add them now as well. Blend for about a minute.

Step 3:
Pour mixture into nut milk bag over your choice of jar/container (preferable glass) and squeeze the bag to “milk” the almonds (or if using a strainer press with a spoon) until you are left with just almond meal like this (look out for a post tomorrow on what you can do with it):


Step 4:
Enjoy your delicious creamy almond milk! Cover and store whatever you don’t immediately devour in the fridge- it’ll keep good for about 3-5 days.

Oh and as promised, here are the before and after pics. I found the before pics last night on hubby’s computer and couldn’t resist sharing the progress. It has really motivated me to keep going to lose those last 19 pounds.

Day 2 – Coconut Curry Lentil Salad

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I am feeling great! If you are joining me, here’s all you need for day 2. And if you are just around for the show, I hope you are enjoying my journey!

Breakfast:
3/4 cup Mesa Sunrise gluten free cereal
1 cup Mill King whole milk
1 small organic banana
2 organic figs

Lunch:
1/2 cup Lentil Salad *recipe below*
2 big handfuls Organic Girl vive la France salad mix
1 big handful sprouts (I actually forgot what kind as I bought them at the farmer’s market last week but I think they were sunflower sprouts)
half red pepper cut into sticks
half a zucchini cut into sticks
1 slice Rumiano grass fed pepper jack cheese (sold at Wheatsville but you can get other varieties in block form at Whole Foods)

Snack:
half a Lundberg organic unsalted brown rice cake
1 heaping teaspoon organic almond butter (bought in bulk so ingredients are just almonds)
slices of organic banana, about half a small one
drizzle of raw honey

Dinner:
Coconut-Lime Soup (halved recipe, left out noodles and fish sauce, and used coconut sugar instead of brown sugar)
Salad consisting of large handful of vive la France mix, 1/3 avocado and juice from 1/2 a lime

Snack:
Strawberry Almond Butter Smoothie (used coconut milk, split in two glasses and saved one for tomorrow)

Work Out:

20 minute walk with sunshine including about 5 minutes of walking lunges

AND Jillian’s 30 Day Shred Level 1 (I was so excited to find the full length work out on youtube! Beware: this workout always makes me super sore the first couple of days)

Lentil Salad recipe:
derived from this Curried Lentil Dip recipe at Food 52

2 teaspoons coconut oil
1/2 large onion, chopped into small bits
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
pink Himalayan salt
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 1/2 cup dried green lentils (rinsed)
1/2 can of coconut milk
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon each ground cumin and black pepper
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

Cook onions, garlic and a couple pinches of salt in pan with coconut oil. Add ginger and cook until onion starts to become slightly transparent.

Add lentils, coconut milk, chicken broth, and about 2 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer uncovered for 20-30 minutes until lentils are tender.

Heat olive oil in skillet and add the cumin, black pepper, curry powder, red pepper flakes and cinnamon. Stir constantly till it turns slightly dark in color.

Pour oil mix into lentils and give it a quick stir.

Add salt to taste and top with fresh chopped cilantro.

Enjoy as a soup, or as I did with veggie sticks and/or over leafy greens.

The first day I made it I had it with carrot sticks, yum :-)

Who wants to lose 19lbs?

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So I have 19 lbs left to be at my personal and final goal weight. I had been stuck for a while but recently I lost 1 lb and now I want to finish the last 19. It just seems so close! My hope is to lose it within about 8 weeks (my 26th birthday) or at least by the end of the year. I decided to take some before pictures (below) and will take pictures once a week as well and post them. In addition I am going to post what I am eating, with links to the recipes, and what exercise I am doing. So feel free join me if you desire! Just remember, in order for you to follow me and be able to eat what I do I will be posting everything one day behind. Let’s see if we can lose these last few pounds together!

I started yesterday and took these photos:

Start weight:
175 (19 pounds from goal of 156)

I ate*:

Breakfast:
3/4 cup Nature’s Path Mesa Sunrise organic & gluten free cereal
1 cup Mill King low-temp pasteurized non-homogenized whole milk
1 small organic banana

Lunch:
Almond Chicken Soup (I halved the recipe and subbed Organic Girl vive la France mix for the collard greens)

Snack:
half a Lundberg organic unsalted brown rice cake
small handful of Newman’s Own organic unsweetened raisins (no oil)

Dinner:
Lentil Chili  (I halved the recipe, used 2 parts green lentils and 1 part red lentils, added 1/4lb Longhorn** grass fed beef, used 2 roma tomatoes instead of the can of diced tomatoes, and added half of a zucchini and 1 whole carrot both chopped into tiny chunks so my sunshine would eat them too)
1/3 cup Lundberg organic brown basmati rice

**did you know that Longhorn beef is so super lean it has less fat, calories and cholesterol than chicken!

Snack:
1 Jovial organic Cocoa Einkorn cookie (I’ve only found at Wheatsville)

*Please note: all the links provided are just to show you the products I am eating. I buy most of my stuff from Whole Foods so it should all be available there. Usually if you buy in bulk and get free shipping you CAN get a good deal with Amazon too.

Work out:
10 minute walk with my Sunshine
25 minutes on the treadmill (5-7 minute increments of running mixed with 1 minute increments of walking)
3 sets of 15 each of the chest press
3 sets of 15 each of middle back workout

If you can tell I’m not going crazy with dieting or working out, just trying to add a bit of working out and eating foods with little or no added oil, low sodium, and very small portions of meat. I’m also trying to stray away from gluten when possible in hopes it will help get me to my goal too. I hope to squeeze in more work out time in the days to come and add more fruits/veggies as well because I could have used more of both yesterday!

If you have any questions or are going to join me please let me know in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you :-)

Delicious, Healthy Breakfast Muffins…YUM :)

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So this is going to be quick. But I made healthy muffins today, and they were delicious. They have a vegetable in them, and they are delicious, oh wait I already mentioned that. They have an amazing crumb topping, and they are ever so perfectly sweet. They are perfect for an on the go breakfast- for yourself, your kids, whoever. They’d also be a pretty good substitute for a dessert.

NOW Savor the pictures and then follow the recipe below so you too can have healthy muffins!





Sweet Potoato Oatmeal Muffins

1 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup buckwheat flour*
1/3 cup quinoa flour*
1/3 cup spelt flour*
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 medium sweet potato, cooked and mashed (comes out to about a cup)
1/4 cup honey
1 medium mashed banana (comes out to about 1/3 cup)
1/4 cup whole milk (or any milk of your choice)
1 large egg

*or use flour of your choice amounting to 1 cup – just stay away from white all purpose flour if you want to keep them healthy!

Crumb Topping:
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup spelt flour
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cooconut palm sugar (if you must, sub with brown sugar)
splash of vanilla
1 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all dry ingredients in medium size bowl, mix well. Add in all wet ingredients and mix until well incorporated. Batter will be fairly thick and sticky. Divide into 12 cupcake/muffin liners. Divide crumb topping among the 12 muffins (it will be thick so just carefully mush between your fingers and spread at top of muffin).
Bake for about 15 minutes.

ENJOY!

Holy Spinach!!

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Are you ready for this??

1. I’M BACK!!

AND

2. my SUNSHINE ate SPINACH!!

This is going to be exciting, hopefully I promise! Either way, it’s the most exciting post for me to write. Miss Rae used to grab spinach off my plate and eat it when she was about 9 months old, after that I was still able to made a spinach pesto and she’d eat it no problem. But now that she’s older, more aware, and SUPER picky, you better keep anything spinach or dark leafy green related far away from her!

UNTIL TODAY! HOORAY!!!

I made spinach pancakes. Delicious spinach pancakes. I loved them, she loved them, and well… dada tried them and didn’t gag at least (which actually is a big deal). If you haven’t noticed yet by my previous sweet potato pancake post, I am just going to state now that pancakes are my favorite way to try to sneak stuff in. Sunshine loves pancakes, especially the cinnamon peach vegan pancake at Kerbey Lane. But sadly just because it’s vegan and from Kerbey does not make it an actual good breakfast food. Hence my search to create healthy “pancakes”. I should also mention: this is my second attempt at creating spinach pancakes. The first attempt was unsuccessful- though I am pretty sure it may be due to the bananas in the recipe and the fact that Sunshine is not a fan of bananas as of lately.

Are you ready for the recipe? YES get excited. You too can get your kids to eat spinach. And if they’re older and used to colors in their food, just tell them you dyed the pancakes green, or even better tell them they’re special HULK pancakes, or my clever idea- add in some apples and tell them they’re “green apple pancakes”. With all the junk food out there with artificial coloring maybe they’ll believe you and think they’re just as fun!

SUPER DUPER GREEN PANCAKES

(Recipe derived from nytimes.com)

2 handfuls ORGANIC* spinach (baby or large leaf)

1 cup spelt flour (or flour of your choice, but if you want to keep it healthy stick to whole grain flours only and NO all purpose white flour)

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

pinch of ground nutmeg

1/2 to 1 tablespoon of coconut sugar (or sweetener of choice like honey, maple syrup, agave nectar)

1/2-3/4 cup whole milk (add more or less depending on thickness of batter)

1 egg

1 tablespoon coconut oil or unsalted butter, melted

 

*Please use all organic/sustainable ingredients when possible and remember spinach is #8 on the EWG’s 2012 dirty dozen list.

 

Rinse spinach leaves and place in blender with 1/2 cup of milk. Blend until spinach is pureed and/or only small bits exist. Add the egg and melted coconut oil or butter.

In a separate bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and coconut sugar (if using a liquid sweetener add to liquid instead).

Add flour mix into blender and blend just until incorporated. Scrape sides if necessary and mix again by hand. I like to keep batter in the blender jar for easy pouring.

Butter (or oil) cast iron skillet and pour desired amount of batter; watch for bubbles then flip and cook for another minute or two.

Serve with a small pat of butter and maple syrup for dipping.

Most importantly, ENJOY!