01/16/15

Low fat pina colada breakfast parfaits

Half way through January and I’m still standing strong with my commitment to healthier and cleaner eating. Most importantly, it has begun to show on the scale and measuring tape results.  The numbers aren’t yet life-altering but it is certainly easier to stay the course when you are seeing your efforts pay off.

Next weekend, I’m going to be allowing myself a bit – okay a lot – of a cheat when I attend the La Cookie Con & Sweets Show in Pasadena.  With a name like Doughgasm you better believe that I won’t be denying myself the chance to sample all the cookies and other goodies that will be at the show.

On the run up to the Cookie Con, I’m going to be extra good at counting calories and saving some in the overflow bank for all the intended nibbling.  Hopefully, that will mean I can have the fun of the foodie event without feeling too much guilt about it when weigh-in day comes around.

Adding to my motivation, I’m going to continue posting the healthy recipes that I  made frequently when I was in the midst of my 100 pound weight loss. Hopefully, bringing some of them back can help me make that 101 pounds lost and downwards from there.

Brain training is the biggest part of the weight loss process for me. Eventually, the rest of my body will follow once my brain has finally gotten the message.  So much decision making in regards to what I eat comes down to how I look at the choices before me.

These low fat pina colada breakfast parfaits are a good example. Really they are just yogurt, fruit and nuts in a bowl. Something which we all know to be good for us but may not feel as alluring first thing in the morning as that glistening croissant winking at you from behind the glass at Starbucks.

Start thing of it as something fancy like a pina colada and then suddenly it is more like a treat and not only could it be a breakfast dish but perhaps something your brain may also accept as a low fat dessert recipe. If you did want to go that path you could try subbing out the yogurt for fat free frozen yogurt for a similar but different experience.

Best of all, they could probably be prepared in less time than it takes to stand in that morning Starbucks line.

This recipe is for two servings of the pina colada breakfast parfaits so you will need to have two serving glasses or bowls to hand. Don’t worry if you are flying solo on this one though because it is easy to halve the recipe and it just means you have the ingredients to make it again the next day.

Low Fat Pina Colada Breakfast Parfaits

Low Fat Pina Colada Breakfat Parfaits Recipe

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups fat-free vanilla yogurt
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
2/3 cup banana, chopped
1/2 cup crushed pineapple, from a can, well drained
4 tablespoons flaked almonds, freshly toasted

Directions:

1. Put the yogurt into a bowl and stir in the coconut extract. Set aside.

2. Divide 1/3 of the yogurt between two parfait sized glasses.

3. Put half the the pineapple, then banana on top of the yogurt and then sprinkle with half of the toasted almonds.

4. Top that layer with another third of the yogurt, the rest of the fruit, the final third of the yoghurt and finally top with the remaining toasted almonds.

 

01/1/15

Accidentally Vegan Cardamom Macadamia Nut Pancakes

My attempts to focus on healthier eating are going pretty well. Life hasn’t been entirely void of treats but they’ve been few and far between and the rest of the time has been sticking to calorie counts consisting largely of fruits,vegetables and healthy proteins.

It’s easier to stay on track when I am cooking for myself rather than eating out. Not always the easiest thing in Los Angeles because there are so many foodie temptations here. However,as long as I have some quick but satisfying recipes to hand I can usually manage to make the right choice.

I’ve found myself reaching back to recipes that became fixtures during my previous weight loss success. This pancake recipe is one that I came up with several years back when I was living in London and was at the height of my weight loss. It was one of those mornings where I was super hungry but had barely anything in the house. Since I was taking the whole healthy eating kick thing super seriously what I did have were things like soy milk and nut oils.

What resulted where these really yummy cardamom macadamia nut pancakes which just so happen to also be vegan pancakes.  It’s one of those recipes that is a jumping of point where you can switch up the ingredients any number of ways to either suit what you have to hand or to try out new flavor profiles. As long as you have a milk, an oil and a spice, it should work.

Of course, you could take it out of the vegan category and use cow’s milk. I’m probably going to experiment more in the other direction and see which other non-dairy milks I can use. I have little doubt that almond milk would work just fine. Coconut milk would be an interesting experiment. Particularly,with the macadamia nut oil notes.

I like to top these off with some fruit,I grew particularly fond of adding slices of grilled bananas, and then drizzling with honey.  It feels like you are eating something special but with barely any fat in the recipe. That’s a win win in my world.

Cardamom Macadamia Nut Pancakes

cardamon pancakes

 

Ingredients:

1 cup plain flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 cup soy milk

1 tablespoon macadamia nut oil

Directions:

1. Mix the dry ingredients together into a large bowl and combine well.

2. Add the soy milk and the macadamia nut oil and stir until thoroughly mixed. If you are finding your batter is just a bit too thick at this stage then add a bit more soy milk.

3. Heat a griddle or frying pan until it is hot enough to make pancakes. I usually drop a tiny bit of water onto it and if it instantly sizzles I consider it ready to be used.

4. Either spray with non-fat cooking spray or use a tiny bit of the macadamia nut oil and then start to drop the batter on the hot surface.

5. Leave each vegan pancake until bubbles have started to form on the pancake. Then flip over and cook for a minute or so on the other side. Watch carefully because they can very easily go from perfectly golden brown to burned and ruined.

6.  Put pancakes onto two plates, top with your choice of toppings. I’ve enjoyed them with a bit of honey or the traditional maple syrup path. Even better topped with grilled bananas.

 

12/25/14

Candy Cane Marshmallow Cocoa Dunkers

Merry Christmas! No doubt you’ve been baking and cooking all day.  Now is the time to kick back, put your feet up and give yourself the gift of a few hours of well-earned relaxation.

These candy cane marshmallow cocoa dunkers are a great to make your holiday ‘me’ time feel special with remarkably little effort. Especially since you don’t have to add anything extra to your grocery list for them.

Chances are that you are going to have some odds and ends left over from your holiday baking. I’m talking about that odd half cup of chocolate chips and those couple of lonely candy canes. Rather than dooming them to months of hanging out in the back of your cupboard, put them to use in these tasty candy cane marshmallow cocoa dunkers. All you need is a few big marshmallows (the kind you would toast over a campfire), some chocolate chips and a few candy canes.

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Start by breaking the last two inches off of each candy cane. Put the broken ends into a food processor or coffee grinder and blitz for a couple seconds until turned into fairly fine bits. I like to keep a few chunkier bits in the mix for texture and presentation. Empty the candy cane dust into a shallow bowl.

At this stage, use the remaining portion of the candy canes to create handles for the marshmallow cocoa dunkers. Simply push the broken end of the candy cane about halfway into the top of one of the marshmallows. That should be enough for to keep things in place.

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Melting the chocolate is the next step. You could do this over the stove but the quickest way is to do it in the microwave. Put the chips into a microwaveable dish and zap for 15 seconds at a time until melted. Make sure to stop and stir the chocolate between those 15 second intervals because chocolate can go from not done to overdone really quickly. Sometimes all it needs to be ready is the extra heat from a good stir through.

What chocolate you use is up to you and you can certainly mix it up or even try blends based on what you have to hand. I had dark chocolate chip so that is what I used for these candy cane marshmallow cocoa dunkers but milk chocolate or even white chocolate would work just fine.

Once the chocolate is melted, dip the ends of the marshmallow into the bowls and carefully move them around until they are coated. It may be helpful to use a small spoon to smooth out the chocolate coating. After that, liberally sprinkle the candy cane dust over the chocolate.

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That’s all it takes to make the candy cane marshmallow cocoa dunkers. You could chow down at this stage and enjoy them just fine as a chocolatey peppermint treat. That would be fine but it wouldn’t be going the full path to holiday treat relaxation. Nope, these babies should be dunked in a nice cup of rich hot chocolate.

Last night, I made myself a cup of Ghirardelli hot chocolate, using unsweetened vanilla almond milk and hooked one of the candy canes over the edge of the mug so that it and the attached marshmallow were adding all that extra pepperminty and marshmallowy goodness to the hot chocolate.

I loved that when I got to the bottom of the mug, there was just this one little bit of candy cane left that was waiting for permission to melt in my mouth. MMM.

Now go treat yourself!

12/12/14

Quick Fix Avacado Toast With Poached Egg

Given that my birthday is merely a few days away and that Christmas is right around the corner,I am probably setting myself up for a challenge but I am going to be making an effort to focus on healthier eating. No danger exists of me giving up trips to the cupcake shop or enjoying some kick arse BBQ now and then. It just doesn’t hurt to be good to your body the rest of the time.

Nearly four years ago now, I lost about 100 pounds and  kept most of it off since. Lately though, a few of those pounds have been threatening to return. I’m  a big girl and have no hangups about it but I’d still like to strive to maintain what I worked so diligently to accomplish.

In between planning the Christmas cookie list and researching baked ham recipes, finding the time to plan out a week of healthy meals can be difficult.  Frequently, I’ve found myself falling back on some quick fix healthy recipes that I’ve kept in my back pocket throughout my health improvement journey (doesn’t that sound less judgmental that weight loss journey?).

This avocado toast recipe really couldn’t be much easier.  Yet, it is packed full of those healthy Omega 3 fats from the avocado and the protein of the egg.  Pile it all on some good whole grain bread and you’re treating your body to fiber too. Speaking of the egg, if you think a creamy yolk tastes good, just wait until you experience the lusciousness as that silky golden goodness soaks into the layer of avocado. Scrumptious and a great quick fix breakfast recipe!

 

Avocado toast with poached egg

avacado toast with poached egg

Ingredients:

1 slice whole grain bread
1/2 of an avocado
1/2 teaspoon garlic infused white wine vinegar or white wine vinegar and 1/2 clove crushed garlic
1 poached egg

Directions:

1. Put the bread into toast.
2. Meanwhile, scoop the avocado flesh into a bowl.
3. Add in the garlic vinegar and mash until it is roughly mashed and everything is combined.
4. Spread the avocado mixture on top of the toast.
5. Place the poached egg on top and enjoy.

Serves: 1